Sunset over Glenelg Beach (Glenelg, South Australia)
Australian Journal - October 2001
October 1-2, 2001 - Labour Day: Sunday we took off from relocation-related tasks, and did a driving tour of the Adelaide Hills region. Sandy drove from our apartment out to Hahndorf, and then on to Gumeracha. Tim took over for the twisting roads from Gumeracha back to the apartment via Tea Tree Gully. Many of the early settlers in South Australia were of Scottish or German descent, and several of the small towns in the area have developed "themes" based on these origins (somewhat like Leavenworth in Washington State back in the US - although the towns of the Adelaide Hills actually have a deep German heritage to fall back on, unlike Leavenworth). Hahndorf is one of these towns, settled by German Immigrants in the 1830s. They have a variety of interesting shops, wineries, and other local businesses. One of these whose products we've been eating since we've arrived is the Beerenberg Farms - they raise strawberries (which you can pick yourself at the right time of year - generally around Christmas) among other things, and make and sell a variety of jams. Very reminiscent of Remlinger Farms in Washington State. We ate lunch at the one of the many sausage makers in town; this one was the maker of the Lyndoch Valley Mettwurst which won the gold at the South Australia fair last year.
We also visited the previously-mentioned toy factory, where the girls where disappointed to find that Tim and Sandy were actually correct when they said that the owners no longer allowed people to climb all the way to the top, but only to the top of the rockers. The toy factory is the largest producer of wooden toys in Australia. They have an associated wildlife refuge which is filled with paths and ponds (plus a few "animals only" areas) and great numbers of birds, most of which were injured and brought here to recover. The birds are completely uncaged and free to roam or fly as they see fit (except for a few cockatoos, etc. which are in cages). We wandered among peacocks (Clara counted 8 male peacocks and many females in one small area), many types of ducks, geese, etc. Some of the birds were sitting on eggs on nests which were just feet from the paths - and you could feed these nesting birds if you cared to. The high point for Sandy was that most of the trees had labels on them - and there were a lot of different types - so this was a good introduction to the common trees of South Australia.
On Tuesday, Tim came home from work early, so that we could stop at a bank to get a check for the new car, then drop the rental car at the airport. We took a taxi from the airport to the car dealer - and once again, the Australian friendliness and sense of fair play came to the fore - we ran into heavy, unexpected traffic due to road construction which the taxi driver was unaware of - so the taxi driver flipped off the meter until we were well past the construction - and then backed off the meter some more. Can you imagine a cab driver from a major US city doing that? Anyway, we made it to the dealership very early. After a while, a call arrived from our salesman (who was at the downtown branch of the dealership, picking up our car and plates), saying that they just discovered the courier who was delivering the plates (on a bicycle) was hit by a bus! So, they had to dispatch a second courier, who made it safely to the dealership. Our car arrived shortly thereafter, we did a quick inspection, and signed the papers. We still have to take it back to get a piece of trim replaced, and the dealer is still looking for the second set of keys (we only gave them essentially a day to prepare the car, and they usually like to take 3 days - some of the dealers we talked to liked to take a week to get a car ready!) Anyway, we made it safely home, and are quite happy so far with our Zafira. Now, Tim has to unlearn the how to turn on the blinkers - since, unlike most Australian cars, the Zafira has the blinker control on the left side of the steering wheel (like American and European cars). And he was so proud of having finally learned to NOT turn on the windshield wipers by mistake when he wanted to signal a turn...
October 3-5, 2001 - A New House: Another difference we've noticed - in Seattle, when there is a forecast of rain - no one pays much attention and continues on as is - here, there was a forecast of light showers - and the umbrellas bloomed everywhere. We've never seen so many umbrellas in one place before!
Wednesday, Tim went to work, and the girls begged Sandy to go to the zoo again - it's very handy living within walking distance of a zoo. Once there, Sandy rented one of the push-cars which are common here - essentially a child's toy car (like the one Clara and Lucy used to have) with a handle attached to the back for pushing. Lucy rode and Clara pushed, all around the zoo. The girls fed deer, sheep, llamas and an alpaca, watched the penguins and pelicans being fed, and everyone had a fine day.
Thursday, we signed the lease on our new house, and began learning the ins and outs of it. Then a quick stop at a Hungry Jack's (the Australian equivalent of Burger King, including whoppers) for lunch, where Tim & Sandy discovered just what was in an Aussie burger - in addition to the basic Whopper burger, the Aussies add a fried egg and a couple of slices of pickled beets! The amazing thing was that Sandy (who in general hates beets) actually liked the beets better than the egg! After this exciting lunch, it was time to tackle the appliance stores, leading to an eventual purchase of a black Maytag side-by-side fridge/freezer, which is to be delivered on Friday.
We were also hoping that our air shipment would be delivered to the new house on Friday - however, the local movers were on the phone a couple times - they're having trouble getting our air shipment cleared through quarantine. It has actually been in country a couple weeks, sitting in Sydney. It arrived in Adelaide yesterday, and was supposed to clear customs today, for delivery tomorrow. We'll see whether they make it or not!
In the evening, we checked out the "Thursday Late Shopping Night in the Suburb" by making a trip to the Tea Tree Gulley Shopping Plaza - was that ever a mistake! There were multiple huge parking lots - and by the time we left, they were full. We guess that when stores are only open past 5:30 one evening a week - people take maximum advantage of it. We decided then and there that in the future, we would arrange somehow to do most of our shopping during the day! And any worries we might have had regarding the availability of Christmas lights for our tree and house were eliminated, since the Christmas departments in the various department stores (Target, Myers, etc.) were already up and running - jumping the gun on the Christmas season even sooner than the stores in the states, it seems.
Friday, Tim went to work, and later in the morning, Sandy and the girls took a cab to the new house to wait for the new refrigerator - and, hopefully, for notice that our air shipment was on its way. We received word that our shipping agent was at the airport again, trying to clear our shipment. The fridge arrived on schedule - and, finally, we got a call came that the shipment was out of quarantine and on its way! It arrived mid-afternoon, with news that the customs agents had confiscated one of the Christmas ornaments, apparently made of straw, and incinerated it. As the stuff came into the house, it was clear that customs had opened much of it. We're still not sure which Christmas ornament was taken, as the box was fairly jumbled, and one of the ornament boxes is in the sea shipment (due into Melburne on the 14th, and then to be trucked here by the 17th - and to clear customs who knows when - Tim is waiting with trepidation to see what happens to his fly-tying supplies!) We're afraid it may have been some German ornaments Sandy's mom brought back to her - the only good aspect is that we saw nearly-identical ornaments for sale in Hahndorf last weekend. Anyway, everything appears to have arrived safely; we went to the hardware store for a few essentials (and Tim went to the local Baileys and Baileys for a few single malt essentials ); then back to the house for unpacking. We hope to get on top of the unpacking tomorrow, and move in Sunday.
While Sandy and the girls were at the house, waiting for the fridge man and shipping company, the neighbor across the street came over with her 6 year old son and 4 year old daughter, and introduced herself. They are from New Zealand (as is another family on the street) and have been here three years. She said she would set up an afternoon tea for Sandy to meet all the local ladies (shades of White Horse Crossing!) A short while later, Clara was out playing with the 6 and 4 year old (who have a treehouse, much to Clara's delight), along with an 8, 5 and another 6 year old, all from the immediate area. So, it looks like the kids will be well integrated into the neighborhood soon. In addition, the Wilderness School folks called, and they are assigning another girl in Clara's class to be her "buddy" to help her get settled at school (and there is yet another New Zealand family living a short distance away with two girls going to Wilderness as well). So maybe the girls will end up speaking with a Kiwi accent, instead of an Oz accent (although Tim swears he hears an Oz accent in Clara after one afternoon with the other kids!)
October 6-7, 2001 - Moving In: Saturday, we continued the unpacking at the new house. The movers appear to have done a great job - no damaged items found yet. The girls have been luxuriating in having lots of space - as well as having their bedrooms plus playroom at the far end of the house from where Tim & Sandy usually are, which allows them to get louder than was permissible in the small apartment. In the afternoon, it is off to explore some more stores. We are learning the critical differences in terminology for stores - if you want to find appliances (such as refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers, etc.), you look under Electrical Appliances in the yellow pages. Looking under department stores only reveals three large stores that are like the Bon or Nordstrom's in Seattle. Stores such as K-Mart and Target show up under Discount Stores. And Target here is not very much like Target in the states - very little in the way of sundries such as toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. On the other hand, K-Mart is more like the version in the states. We visited various stores, eventually finding a local (non-chain) appliance store, where we got a microwave, toaster, clock radio, and coffee maker - now all we need is some coffee. (In the "Small World" department - the saleman who helped us used to work near Alice Springs with a lot of Boeing folks - and in fact named his oldest son after a close Boeing friend.) We returned to the apartment, where Sandy and the girls continued packing, while Tim loaded up the car for another trip to the house.
Sunday morning, we finished packing, loaded up the car, checked out of the Old Lion Apartments, and headed to our new house, for our first night! We got all the new small appliances installed and working (and the coffee maker even had a small bag of German coffee in it - but no filters - so Tim is getting closer and closer to his desperately desired first cup of real home-brewed coffee) - and our home computer survived the trip and seems happy running on the transformer we got before we left. However, the phone jack in the study / playroom where Tim set up the computer is non-funtional - so we will be waiting a few more days before Sandy has a PC to use for email while Tim is at work. While we were unpacking, Sandy received a phone call from another ex-pat couple, the ones from New Zealand with two girls, ages 4 and (almost) 7, who are also going to Wilderness. They currently live just a few blocks away (they arrived in country only a couple weeks before we did), but will be moving a little further away before too long. They are coming to visit Sandy, Clara and Lucy on Tuesday (and Sandy may have already met the older girl when she was observing at Wilderness, since the name is unusual and seems familiar).
Sunday afternoon, the kids from across the street came over to get Clara & Lucy to play. So, Sandy and Tim went out with them, and soon there was a general gathering of the immediate neighborhood - we met: our neighbors across the street (from New Zealand, India and other places - he is English and she is a native Kiwi); our neighbors diagonally across the street (also from New Zealand); our neighbors to the south (German - but they came over 51 years ago; they arrived here from New South Wales - the east coast of Australia - almost three years ago; in addition, they have beautiful roses - as do many people here - and as soon as they heard that Lucy's middle name was Rose, they went over and cut a beautiful rose for her); and our neighbors to the north - the token Australians on this block! Three of the neighbors have kids approximately Clara & Lucy's age, and one of them has a pool which sees great use in the summer by all the kids. Then, as we were chatting a police car pulls up (Tim immediately wonders if he didn't turn off the alarm correctly when we returned from shopping!) - but it is a friend of one of the neighbors - so Clara and Lucy and the other kids are invited to sit in the car, put on the emergency equipment, and generally have a ball. As we are breaking up to head to dinner, one of the neighbors offers us the use of a spare TV until we get one. This welcome to the neighborhood makes us all certain we made the correct choice in houses, regardless of the length of Tim's commute.
October 8-9, 2001 - The Joys of a New House: Monday, Tim made his first drive to work from the new house - about 46 minutes, including some backtracking to a McDonalds and driving through for breakfast. Sandy and the girls continued working about the house, and had a couple of the neighbor kids over to play. During the day, Sandy decided that she and the girls all needed to see a doctor, since they had all been suffering from various ailments such as bloody noses (and Lucy had been acting out-of-sorts for several days - we were unsure whether she was sick or just stressed by all the changes) - so, Sandy called up the doctor recommended by our neighbor across the street, and made an appointment for the next afternoon. Tim left work early (since he knew he'd be in for long days with the Boeing team arriving en masse today), stopping on the way home to test drive a Suzuki XL-7. Then it was time to take Sandy on her first real grocery shopping expedition. Tim and the girls started shopping with Sandy, but then the girls complained of hunger, so they left to find a place to eat - it turned out that all the little cafes in the shopping center were already closing (or at least not preparing food other than muffins) since it was approaching 5 pm, so it was off to a nearby Italian place in the car. When they returned at about 6:15 pm, Sandy was just finishing up shopping (this particular grocery store stays open relatively late, until 7 pm) - but the rest of the shops were closed down. Then it was home to put away the groceries, and get the kids to bed. Afterwards, Sandy began exploring the appliances more fully - and discovered that the gas range, the electric stove, and the dishwasher would not come on. None of them seemed to have power to them. And we couldn't find a breaker box to check. Another mystery for the morning.
On Tuesday, Tim got up before the crack of dawn (very painful for a software guy) to head to work for an early meeting. Sandy started in on more phone calls to sort out the appliance troubles. Then, the gas man showed up to read the meter, and noted the meters were reversed. He took care of that, and while Sandy was out chatting to him, she discovered that the breaker box was outside the house. She checked it, and found a tripped breaker - voila, the stove now worked! A little later, it was time for the girl's first showers in their new bathroom. Lucy was first up. Sandy got her in the shower, and then the phone rang. When she came back, she discovered that the drains were backing up - all of them - the shower drain, the drain in the middle of the bathroom floor, the toilet and the sinks - and water was covering the bathroom floor and threatening the study! She quickly shut it off, and had Clara run to grab all the spare towels in the house to use as a levee to keep the water in the bathroom. Eventually, the water drained - but additional experiments showed the drain was still plugged. Another problem for the builder to come back and resolve. Sandy and the girls then headed off to the doctor in a taxi - and met another wonderful doctor, who spent lots of time with them, and gave them a course of action to try (he felt most of the problems were due to the extremely dry air, and the Lucy was probably in the recovering stages from a virus).
Once back home, Sandy did some more exploring in dark spaces, and found a power switch, along with a water feed for the dishwasher; she engaged both, and the dishwasher now works. Finally, she tackled the washer - our first front loader. This also required exploring the water delivery system (with one miscue resulting in water pouring into the cabinet adjacent to the washer) - but then all was well, and the washer appears to work. We use the word appears, because we have yet to actually finish a wash cycle (which is very slow), and the washer is still working through its "break-in" cycle with no clothes... Guess Tim will be wearing jeans tomorrow, since it looks like there won't be any clean trousers ready in time. Off to read the manual for the dryer.
October 10-14, 2001 - More visitors: The tradespeople started arriving to work on our problems. The phone man came, and hooked up the line in the study, so Sandy was able to get her AOL mail direct from AOL (and Tim filtered 150 messages - all spam - from his AOL account). Then the mother and two daughters from New Zealand (whose daughters are going to Wilderness as well) stopped by for coffee and play - so Sandy got to try out her new coffee maker and have her first pot of non-instant in weeks! Later in the afternoon, the plumber arrived - and after probing around for a while, he came to the tentative conclusion that the girl's bathroom was not connected to any drain at all! He is planning to come back and do some more testing on Friday. In the meantime, the girls are using Tim and Sandy's bathroom (which is actually smaller than their's...)
Thursday, Tim had to be in the city by 7 am for a telecon with Seattle; so, he left the van with Sandy, and after the telcon, walked across the street to rent a car (since Sandy needs more time behind the wheel for familiarization and errands - and next week, school starts, so she will need car to pickup the girls.) The girls were really excited when he got home, since the car was small and green and they both loved it - they misunderstood that it was just rented.
Friday, the plumber came (before 8 am - good thing it had been an early starting day for other reasons and everyone was dressed and ready!) He determined for certain that the drains from the girls bathroom were not connected to a sewer line, and only drained into the sand under the walkway beside the house. Fortunately, the drains WERE at least connected under the house, so that he only had to tear up the walkway (which consisted of tiles set in sand - easy to replace afterwards). He got the drain hooked up while Sandy and the girls went off for their Friday morning coffe klatch with some other ladies (from the Adelaide New Settlers club) and one of our destination agents. They met at the Cubby Cafe, where the adults can sit around talking and drinking coffee, while the kids have a couple large areas of indoor climbing equipment (sort of like McDonald's) to play on. During the get-together, Sandy got the exciting news that the new Adelaide Borders book store was having a grand opening party that night, with discounts on everything, live music, wine, chocolates and balloons. We had noticed the new Borders going in with great anticipation when we were last in Rundle Street. We had not been satisfied with any of the book stores we had found to date, since they seemed to be quite small, with limited selections, and lacking any counter-balancing level of service and expertise (unlike the competing bookstores in the movie "You've Got Mail"). So, Tim came home a little early, we loaded up the rental car, and headed downtown. There was quite a crowd at Borders, as expected. According to our destination agent, this was an unprecedented event for Adelaide. The idea of a large book store - especially one in which you are encouraged to sit around drinking coffee and reading books - was unheard of - and the checkout queue (not line, as in the states) was concomitantly very long. However, we loaded up with an armful of books (Sandy picked up the non-abridged version of the Macquarie Australian dictionary, so she'll be less surprised when, say, someone offers her 4 and 7 year olds a cordial - they are not, in fact, offering liquor, but just a fruit juice drink!), and took turns standing in the line. The Borders staff was continually going up and down the line, handing out chocolates and wine to anyone who wanted them. And there was also a small jazz band out front to add to the atmosphere.
Saturday provided a chance to sleep in late, and then off on more errands - first, we had to go to the Wilderness uniform shop to get the rest of Clara's kit, which was supposed to have arrived by now (and this also gave Sandy a chance to try out her planned route to and from the school). The new dresses hadn't arrived, but the shop had reserved one of old dresses for her, to use until the new ones came in, so both she and Lucy are all set for school. Then it was off to grocery shopping at another new grocery store. As we were about to leave home again in between the grocery shopping and other errands, the kids from across the street came over wanting to play; after Sandy ushered them home, another 7 year old boy from two doors down, who had introduced himself to Sandy and the girls the previous day, called to see if he and his mother could come to visit! So, Clara and Lucy's social life is picking up right where it left off in Seattle! Then off to look at cars (Mazda Tribute this time), furniture and electronics, pickup a cordless phone and answering machine, a car seat for Lucy for Tim's car, and then home to crash!
Sunday morning, we relaxed around the house (with a surprise phone call from Sandy's Mom), and Clara and Lucy went across the street to play with the neighbor kids in their yard and treehouses. Then, we made another run to Wilderness, for Sandy to check out alternate routes once more. On the way home, we stopped at a news agency where Tim stocked up on newspapers and fishing magazines, and then at the Burnside Library and where we got library cards for all of us (along with armloads of books and magazines for everyone).
October 15-19, 2001 - School starts: Monday, Tim went to work, and Sandy and the girls stayed at home getting caught up on various things. Tuesday was the day Clara has been waiting for since we arrived - the start of school. We loaded up both cars, and headed to Wilderness in the morning. Upon arrival at the Year 2 classroom (after running the gauntlet of Clara's Year 2 teacher and a Year 1 teacher, both of whom remembered all of us [the ability of teachers to remember names constantly amazes Tim, who is hard-pressed to remember someone's name after meeting them several times!]), Clara met her two "buddies" - two girls from her class who will show her the ropes - they immediately took off hand-in-hand to go exploring. When Sandy picked her up at the end of the day, she was absolutely bubbling over. During the day, Sandy and Lucy had a surprise visit from the owners of the house - who dropped off a bottle of wine as a peace offering after the previous week's flooding. They had a long discussion about drapes for the "family room" at the back of the house, and promised to come back and get the alarm and garage door openers all set - as Sandy said, they want to "be involved" - which is not surprising, considering that they built this house to live in themselves 5 years down the line.
Wednesday, more excitement - Clara came bursting out of the classroom with a violin! All the Year 2 girls learn violin or cello - and Clara was so happy to have an instrument to play - she's actually learned a few basics already, and had a great time entertaining us this evening. Then, Lucy went to get her toy accordion that she received for her birthday, and we listened to duets! Clara keeps saying "I don't like school, I love it!" During the day, Sandy had a visit from the appliance specialist at the store which provided all the built-in appliances for our house; he answered lots of questions about the appliances, and made some recommendations which should help us adapt to these new types of appliances.
In the larger world around us, various interesting things have been happening. A couple weeks ago, the government of Australia called an election for November 10. We've been listening to the politicians with great interest, and trying to learn the system. Tim is still having trouble grappling with the fact that the current ruling party, the Liberal Party, is actually the local equivalent of the American Republican party (apparently the name is more closely derived from Liberal in the Libertarian sense than in the current American usage of Liberal). The local equivalent of the American Democratic party is called the Labor Party (not as much of a mental stretch) - but not to be confused with the local minority Democratic Party... Along these lines, the Liberals look like they have a lock on re-election, in no small part due to the events of September 11, and the subsequent support of the War on Terrorism by the current (Liberal Party-led coalition) government.
Another extremely localized event is something we haven't seen in the states for many years - gas rationing! The local Mobile refinery has been shut down for a while due to a combination of labor problems and concerns about the presence of asbestos in some of the buildings. This week, petrol stocks dropped to sufficiently low levels that an odd-even day scheme for gas sales was instituted. In addition to limiting gas sales depending on the last digit of your license plate number, the stations will be closed on weekends, each station can only be open 6 hours per day (either 6am-12pm or 1pm-7pm - that's it), and you can only buy AU$25 per day. Tim had a devil of a time getting gas today (Thursday), since the most of the stations chose to be open when the majority of the traffic would be on their side of the road - i.e., since most of the traffic flows into Adelaide during the day, the stations on the inbound side of the road were open. Of course, since Tim's commute is out of town in the morning, against traffic, it made it hard to get into stations - which in many places had lines extending out into the road and blocking traffic. But, he managed to get gas anyway on the way home, and was only 20 minutes late to the Mazda dealer, where he signed papers on a new Mazda Tribute, to be ready for pickup next week.
Thursday, Lucy finally got to go to school as well (she had been getting more and more envious of Clara, and Clara's obvious delight at going to school each day). She came home quite enthused as well, saying "I made two new friends today!" Unfortunately, we've been having a round of colds this week, so Sandy took the girls up in the hills to their new doctor - Clara appeared healthy, but Sandy was diagnosed with a secondary infection, and is starting another round of antibiotics. Tim is hoping that his cold clears up enough by Friday night so that he can enjoy another scotch tasting he is scheduled to participate in. During the morning, Lucy and Sandy went to the New Settlers' club meeting, which is a local group of ladies who are newcomers to Adelaide, who get together socially on a regular basis. The next gathering will be a luncheon for Melbourne Cup day (a big horse race on Nov. 6). The ladies have champagne, strawberries, potluck lunch, and a little wagering with 50 cent coins while they watch the races on TV.
Friday, Tim dropped Clara and Lucy off at school on the way to work, and Sandy went grocery (and gas) shopping by herself for the first time. During the day, the news came that the gas rationing would be canceled by Monday, as the refinery would be coming back on line over the weekend. In the evening, Tim went to his third Scotch tasting since arrival (he's still trying to build up to the standards of the local Scotch afficianados, who seem to go to or hold tastings at least once a week.) He also was exposed to yet another variation on "footie" - this one the International Rules (a combination of Australian and Gaelic Rules Football).
October 20-25, 2001 - A Hint of Summer: This turned out to be the first weekend without rain since we arrived - however, we still spent too much of it inside, trying to get our setting-up tasks done. Car insurance, rugs, and other shopping consumed much of Saturday. Sunday, we had a leisurely morning, then went back to the rug store to purchase a large Turkish rug for our very live-sounding family room / dining area / kitchen.
Another difference from the states on the political scene that we've noticed - whereas in the states, the commentators are always quoting this poll or that survey to indicate which candidate is leading - here, they call in the bookies, and request the current price on the various candidates.
Wednesday evening, Tim was off for another meeting of the Earls of Zetland malt club. He had another fine time, and was duly inspired to continue planning his Night of Laphroaig tasting - assuming all of his tasting glassware clears customs in the next few days!
Thursday evening, Tim picked up his new Mazda Tribute - he was so happy to trade in his Mazda 121 loaner (with the 1.3 liter engine!) for his V6 3.0 liter that he insisted on the girls having very quick showers, and then bundling then into the Tribute in their pajamas for a quick run through the Adelaide Hills to the Warrawong Sanctuary and back - Tim enjoyed the ride greatly, but Sandy spend much of it holding on for dear life (while the girls slept in the back). The most amusing aspect was the section of narrow, twisty, mountain road with a speed limit of 100 kph- in comparison to the wide and straight 4 lane roads Tim normally commutes on - which have a speed limit most places of only 80, and occasionally 60 or 70!
We're still hopeful that our household goods will arrive next week - they are currently in Adelaide, waiting for Customs (and then Quarantine) to clear them. Otherwise, things are proceeding well - we're learning our way around the area, the girls are settling into school well, and Sandy even managed to find time (and a hairdresser) to get a hair cut.
October 26-29, 2001 - Anticipation and Fulfillment: Friday, we received word that our sea shipment had cleared both Customs and Quarantine, and is ready for delivery Monday morning! This time, they confiscated some cardboard boxes (but not the contents - as best we can guess, they didn't like the Harry and David's boxes we use for storing various things in, since they are so sturdy and fit together so well - apparently, since they once upon a time contained fruit, they are verboten for entry into Australia), a couple pine cones (we're at a loss as to where these came from, unless we somehow mixed up one of the boxes of Christmas decorations that was supposed to be destined for storage), and a couple dried flower buds (again, no idea where these came from). At any rate, we're very excited.
We're having difficulty believing that Christmas is just around the corner, with the blue skies, days that are getting steadily warmer, roses blooming everywhere - Christmas in shorts is going to take some getting used to!
Saturday was another day of shopping for smaller appliances (a crock pot for Sandy and a coffee grinder for Tim - he found a good coffee store with knowledgable staff earlier in the week in downtown Adelaide - Kappy's and Wright [that's how they spell and puncuate it - the Australian use of the apostrophe confuses even the Australians - and absolutely infuriates the British!] - so Tim is in seventh heaven), and the long promised brightly colored towels for the girls bathroom - they chose green and yellow - but it turns out the green will go back, since neither Clara nor Lucy nor Sandy liked the green ones once they were in place. So it is back to the store next week, probably for pink ones.
Monday, everyone was up early - not only were the movers coming, but Sandy's car had to go into the shop to get the last dealer touchups done (replace a couple of pieces of trim, duplicate a key), and Clara had to go to school. All went well, and the movers showed up right on schedule, at 9am. After an hour, when the truck was getting empty, we realized that a LOT of packages were missing - "Oh, yeah, we have to go back and get another truck load" said the movers. So while Sandy, Lucy and Tim helped one of the movers place stuff about the house and unwrap things, the other mover went back to get the other two cages of stuff. But, by 2 pm, all 210 pieces were in the house, the furniture was unwrapped and reassembled, and the movers were on their way. What a difference! Now there is no room to walk!
Off to get Clara at school, trade in the loaner car for Sandy's Zafira, stop at the hardware store for a few more essentials, and then to a fish takeway shop (takeaway is Australian for carry out food) for dinner. (One other related language difference we collided with - if you order lemonade, what you'll get is Sprite.) After dinner, it's back into the car again to head to the grocery store for some more cleaning supplies (among other things). After everything was loaded in the car, and Sandy was taking the cart back, Tim started the engine. Clara immediately piped up "Don't forget Mom - we'll get in trouble if we leave her behind!" Lucy just as quickly corrected Clara - "No, we won't get in trouble, Dad will!"
Clara and Lucy remain excited about school (Lucy was NOT pleased to miss school today, just because Mom and Dad had to stay and assist the movers!) Clara's class has been studying Japan and the Japanese language this term, and will be going to a Japanese restaurant for lunch later in the week. They have been doing things such as origami and writing haiku - Clara's contribution to that art form was this:
Pink cherry pretty
Eating drinking yum eat
New leaves growing
So, the unpacking begins - it's going to take a while...
Oh, and one other change - Daylight Savings time has kicked in here (and kicked out in the states) - so our time difference from Seattle is now only 5 1/2 (or 18 1/2) hours. See the link below to check the current time in Adelaide.
October 30-November 2, 2001 - Unpacking: We're making headway against the piles of boxes, but we're running woefully short of storage space.
Wednesday was Halloween - something that had slipped Tim & Sandy's mind (although not Clara and Lucy's). Clara and Lucy had just gone to bed when the doorbell rang - it was the two boys from two doors down (the younger one of whom had introduced himself to Sandy one day). Fortunately, there were exactly two candy bars left in the house - and those were our only two trick-or-treaters! In addition, our neighbors across the street had been waiting with anticipation to see how Americans celebrated Halloween - they expected jack-o-lanterns everywhere, Halloween decorations, etc. Unfortunately, the arrival of our sea shipment interfered with our ability to celebrate - but there's always next year!
We've been having a lot of rain since we arrived - especially considering that South Australia is the driest state on the driest continent. Everything is growing wildly, very green, etc. However, we've been told by the locals that this is actually not a desirable thing, since the fast-growing grass and brush will turn brown and dry out once summer arrives, making a tremendous fire hazard (ala Montana in 2000). We are not in a brushy area, nor one prone to fire, but there are parts of the state that will be at great risk this summer (and the wildfires are already starting in other parts of Australia).
Meanwhile, the election is almost here - one more week. Interestingly (to us) - the election is on a Saturday, rather than a weekday. Presumably this is since voting is mandatory in Australia - you are subject to a fine if you fail to vote!
Saturday, Clara went to a birthday party for a girl in her class - while she was at the party, Lucy and Sandy went exploring and found a great new park - the Dunstan Adventure Playground, apparently named for Adelaide's former visionary premiere Don Dunstan (essentially equivalent to a governer - note that the standard of governers has apparently slipped a bit since Dunstan - two weeks ago the current premiere resigned amidst a scandal). It lives up to it's name of Adventure - there is a 30 foot tall slide, a cable/suspension type bridge, a swinging log bridge (these "toys" are hard to describe - let it suffice to say that those faint-of-heart should not attempt them - nor watch Clara and Lucy tackle them!)
Tim and the girls returned to the park on Sunday, taking the girl's bikes along, since the park is also a handy access to the bike trail which follows the Torrens River througout Adelaide (as well as the O-Bahn tracks - the O-Bahn is an import from Germany - essentially, it is a set of tracks for busses, as opposed to trains, to run along at high speed and without interference from other traffic).
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