Wednesday, October 7, 2009

G'day Mate

We're here in Brisbane. It is beautiful and a bit too hot, which is too bad since it's only spring. We're staying in temporary housing and it's driving me nuts. Enough complaining, we're moving to our house on Friday. Yes.

We survived the flight. The fourteen hours from LA to Brisbane were the easy part, thanks in part to a flight attendant named Peter. He was so helpful. We started our day with a 3 hour drive to Salt Lake and then a flight to LA, followed by a 5 hour lay over. Caleb fell asleep in the lounge before we had even gotten on the plane and he didn't get up until 2 hours before we landed. Actually, he did wake up, but I didn't. Thank you Peter for getting him some juice and starting a movie. With unlimited movies and video games, the flight was not hard. Getting through customs with 10 checked bags was a chore, especially since the kids were getting cranky and Caleb refused to sit in the stroller, which meant I had to carry "the child" and push the stroller too. Did I mention that he weighs 40 pounds. We were just lucky no one got lost. Let me tell you, I was glad to see Shon.
The kids started school on Monday. It has been great. People here are so friendly. We've already had play dates and party invites and one awesome mum from school even brought us dinner. There are a lot of people who have lived out of country themselves, so they really understand what our needs are. Penney even let us borrow some toys.

One of the big adjustments has been driving on the left side of the road. Shon is all-pro at it because he lived in Hong Kong. I spent the first day refusing to get behind the wheel (though I accidentally ended up there a couple of times - I was looking for the passenger side but it moved). I was waiting for a parking lot to practice in but there is a complete lack of parking lots here (not a bad thing). I finally submitted to driving on the motorway (freeway). Shon felt inspired to capture the moment on film. I look relaxed, right. Turns out it's not a big deal. Once I stopped running people off the left side of the road (we Americans tend to drift left) I was good. Until I tried backing up. Threw me off again. Oh and yesterday out of the blue I turned a corner and there was no one there. Suddenly I was on the right side again. Oops. I think I'm going to have to completely re-learn how to parallel park. I have so many things to learn.
The kids have been amazing. They got over their jet-lag twice as fast as I did and jumped right in to meet new friends at school. We're loving the new uniforms - one less decision to make in the morning. The girls look like Madeleine in their panama hats and midi skirts. They all belong to Hufflepuff house, I mean Bede. Emily has already asked if she could please stay as a boarder. I had to explain that the boarders come from far out of the city. And no way am I letting my children move out so young. I don't know how the boarders mums do it. I guess if you lived far out in the bush you'd do what you could to get a good education.

Bryce is doing great. He had to choose a sport when he started. His choices were: cricket, tag rugby, or water polo. He picked water polo, though I think he wanted to try cricket (the team was pretty full), which means he'll be wearing a lovely speedo swim suit (they call them "budgie smugglers" here). He blushed when we bought it. They make the kids wear a rashie (swim shirt) when they're swimming. I really like it. It's so much easier to slip on a shirt than to wear sunscreen everywhere.

Of course, the hats really help keep the sun off too. Better not forget your hat or they won't let you out to recess. There's been an epidemic of skin cancer in Australia - a combination of people of european descent and a hole in the ozone. I've already had skin cancer myself, so I welcome the fashions here. It isn't cool to be tan. The only tanning salons I've seen here are the ones that spray paint you.

So, it would be Eden here if only I didn't miss my family and friends so much. I need to talk to my sisters and my mom. I think I'm suffering from withdrawal - headaches, fever, nervous twitching. I haven't run in two weeks. I just ran a marathon on Sept. 19th (recap to come soon), so I keep thinking that I earned it and it can't hurt to rest, but I really miss it and mostly, I miss my friends. They did a marathon without me on Oct. 3. I really wish I could have been there with them. I'm so proud of them. They are awesome. Annie, Stephanie, Debi (and Keith too) you are strong women.


Joella said...

Oh Julie-you guys look good and your kids are so beautiful. I love the uniforms. I miss uniforms. When we lived in NOLA it made mornings so easy. I'm convinced they are the way to go but I won't win that battle here in the midwest. I look forward to more updates.

Kimberly said...

seriously I have reached for my phone about a million times to call you. How can I talk to you? We have to figure something out that is better than the rarely checked e-mail. Your kids are very darling! And once a week update isn't going to be enough!

Becky said...

Oh...I just love the uniforms there! Your kiddos all look so cute and grown up too. What an amazing experience this will all be for all of you. Can't wait to see your next post!