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My Blog

July 2010

Sydney buses are backwards

We’re on day four of our “Adventure Down-Under” and we’re having a great time so far, although still feeling a bit shell-shocked.  Thank God for good humor (not the ice cream), and patience, lots and lots of patience.
Here are a couple different points of view (POV) on the adventure so far:
Wendy’s POV
The trip down - The boys were troopers, as always!  Not once did I hear the words "Are we there yet?"  They each put in a little extra effort when we got to LA since I suddenly became extremely nauseous (not just the anxiety induced kind of nausea either), weak and had major chills.  They carried all my stuff and as soon as we got on the plane (and I made sure I had enough barf bags, just in case), they wrapped me in a blanket and let me sleep.  Luckily I felt much better when I woke up.
School - All the boys are settling nicely.  Alex left today for his overnight at Bathurst.  Jake has made several new friends in his kindergarten class.  And Max is excited about all the new facts he's learning (Aussie state capitals, the number 19 in french, that a jumper is a sweater, etc.).
People - Everyone is unbelievably friendly and helpful.  The only challenge is that they think I know more than I do, so I have to ask even more questions.  The people at the school, the parents, our one American friend who moved here in January, have all been great resources for everything!
Weather - As you'd expect, we have brought crazy weather to Sydney.  They are having an extremely cold spell which I'm told shouldn't last much longer.  It's making me wish I had brought gloves.  But the skies (most days) are a gorgeous blue!  Thank god for the sun and all the good that does for out emotional state.
House - The Ikea furniture was delivered and assembled yesterday.  So we slept in our house for the first time last night.  Everyone was thrilled!  We still have a lot of shopping to do since the house feels very empty.  We have discovered a couple interesting things about the house... 1) The driveway which we thought was impossible to navigate in a car (it's very narrow, curvy and steep) can hold even a big box truck like the one the Ikea guys used yesterday.  That gave me hope that I'll figure it out eventually.  2) The heat is tricky.  The boys rooms (upstairs) are quite comfortable but the kitchen, living room & our master don't seem to get much heat.  So this morning it was 53 degrees in our bathroom!!!  Thank God I like my husband and am willing to cuddle with him.  I think I saw a space heater in a closet.  I may have to get that out.
Emotional state - Bit of a roller coaster, as you'd expect.  Being the perfectionist, type-A personality that I am, I want everything to be all set immediately and am learning patience from this process.  I know this is going to be a great experience for us and can't wait to feel settled.
Mike’s POV… So what about the buses… backward you say. 
I am feeling so blessed to have such a wonderful family around me.  Wendy, as you all know is an absolutely incredible partner, she is so strong and just plain powers through, not to mention the fact that she’s proving to be quite the left-hand driver (more on that another day).  The boys are so incredibly resilient and loving that I’m humbled and amazed every day by what they are able to handle with grace, dignity and good humor.   
Me I’m a puddle.  (Look deep, but am really quite shallow… and I splatter when I’m stepped on.)  In all of our efforts to settle in, I’ve been worried about all sorts of little things (thousands of them).  And one of the things that has caused me stress is how I’ll get to and from work every day.  I am, after all not much of a bus kind-of-a-guy.  So this morning I took my first adventure on a Sydney bus.  My first impression was that the bus was backwards.  I kept looking for the exit door (in case the bus plunged off a bridge and I had to get out fast as the bus sank to the bottom of the harbour)… and when I found the doors they were on the wrong side of the bus.  Duh… cars and trucks are backwards too, but the feeling is particularly acute in a bus
My second observation occurred as the bus crossed the Harbour Bridge.  This is one of the world’s most impressive bridges (ask Max he’ll tell you that it is the world’s widest long-span bridge).  And here is what I found most fascinating.  To a person, everyone on the bus was occupied with other things, (their newspaper or book, an IPOD or computer), but when I looked up and saw the Sydney Opera House sitting sentry over the most beautiful harbour in the world – with ferries running every which way and the sail boats capturing the morning tide – I was reminded that sometimes even the simplest thing (a ride on the bus into the city) can show you amazing things, if only you’re paying attention to the right view.   

T-Minus one day!

We leave tomorrow (July 17, 2010) on our exciting adventure down-under!  We’ve been talking about it long enough and have crammed so much summer into the last four weeks that the boys are ready to get back to school next week (well not really).
Here’s what we know at this point.  We have a home.  We’re renting a nice house in Mosman, just off Spit Road about halfway between Spit Junction and The Spit (I can’t wait until the boys hear that one… how long do you think it will take until they are renaming other roads after bodily fluids… look we just passed blood circle, look at that we’re on Snot Street… you get the idea).  The boys are also enrolled in a great school called Redlands.  It will definitely be an adjustment for them, but the people at Redlands and the families we’ve already met have been great, so we have high expectations.  Let’s see what else is there that we know?  We have so much stuff we need in order to be operational in Australia… we need furniture, we need a car, we need groceries, and on and on and on.  There’s a lot to do.
Here’s what we don’t know at this point.  While we have a home and a school, I’m not exactly sure how to get to work.  I know there are a bunch of buses that go past on Spit Road (hopefully none of them turn on Puke Ave.), but I’m not sure which bus number I should get on from the CBD to get me home, but that will come with time I guess.  We don’t know if there are other kids in the neighborhood; I sure hope there are, but we’ll have to see.  We don’t know if we’re going to like vegemite (I suspect not!)… and while we have high expectations, I think we’re all still a bit anxious about what’s going to happen and if we’re going to love it or not.  It is definitely a nervous time for any boys in our family who are between the ages of 6 and say 41 (and also the girls, but that age range is much narrower).
Oh, I almost forgot, there is one other thing we know for sure...We have each other.     
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