Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Land of Kangaroos

Well, Steph was the last of a number of people to tell me I should continue blogging even though my life is not so interesting anymore (and even though I have a slow internet connection, meaning for now... no pictures)  So here I am...

In case you were worried, I made it to Australia.  Since I don't have stories of national parks and driving driving driving (although I do do a lot of that here), I thought I'd make a list for you.

The hardest things about living in Australia:
- Technology here is EXPENSIVE and SLOW.  Seriously, I never knew how good we had it in the US.  You're spoiled people.  Majorly.  I used to complain that it cost 50 cents a minute once you go over your cell phone minutes.  Here, it costs me 75 cents a minute (true its in AUD, but still...) to talk and there's NO free night and weekends.  Oh, and internet... you can only download a certain amount a month before it either costs you an arm and a leg or it slows down your connection to dial-up speed.  Goodbye downloading episodes of The Wire from iTunes.
- I have no job, no place of my own, and no friends, and sometimes it feels like I'm getting nowhere with any of the above.  Truth be told, I can get a little homesick.  I'm living in the suburbs and am finding it difficult to meet people and make a community for myself.  Job searching feels like I'm just sending my resume into a void of nothingness.  Now, I know that things are never perfect wherever you are, but sometimes this part of moving really sucks.    

The best things about living in Australia:
- Pools and Beaches.  Summer is coming, and in Sydney there are plenty of places to enjoy.  I have a beautiful swimming pool in my backyard, and if I want to swim laps there are tons of outdoor, salt-water Olympic sized pools.  Bliss.  Instead of swimming inside a smelly, chlorine filled Y, I get to swim outside!  The beaches are terrific.  I go to Bondi Beach at least once a week, and while I don't always get to the beach, I love that I can see the ocean from the park where I take my little cousin.  
- Having family here makes everything so much easier.  I'm living with my cousin Rob, his wife Ellie, and their two kids, Noah and Theo.  They are truly the easiest roommates I've ever had.  I occasionally babysit, and in return they cook.  They are good company and put up with the occasional breakdown.  And they're just a small part of the wonderful people here.  Everyone has been job-searching, inviting me to do things, employing me (!), finding an apartment for me, and hosting me.  I don't know what I would do without them all.
- Exploring a new place.  This could probably go under both categories, actually.  Sometimes I'm too lazy and too lonely to get out and the idea of exploring is overwhelming; it gets me down even more.  But most of the time, it's fun.  My cousin Dougie drove me all around the suburbs of Sydney last Sunday so that I could get a feel for where I want to live.  I love how Sydney has a particular look and feel that extends everywhere, and yet at the same time each neighborhood is unique.  And in December I'm heading up to Brisbane and Stradbroke Island for a beach holiday in Queensland (because my life is so difficult that I already need a holiday!  ha!)
- The family history here.  A quick story to illustrate... One of the suburbs Dougie and I went to was Elizabeth Bay.  We're driving by the harbor, high rise apartment buildings on either side (some people love it bc of the views but this wasn't my favorite suburb), when Dougie pulls over and says "you have to see this."  We get out, and there's a beautiful "historic" house in front of us called the Elizabeth Bay House.  Turns out that one of our family members (a Michaelis) lived there from around 1910-1926.  When my grandmother was little, she and her family would stay there when they visited Sydney.  It's really fun to live in a place where my family has such history.  Even looking for a place to live... If I decide to live in Glebe, then I'll be living right where my grandfather lived as a young boy.   
-Skype.  It is particularly Australian, but I would never have used it if I hadn't moved here.  I'm hooked.  I love the video call, and I even have a skype number (meaning I have a US number that calls my computer here.  If you don't have the number and would like, please send me an email).  Things like skype make keeping in touch a lot easier.  

Hmmm.  I think that's all for now.  I'll try to update more regularly from now on.  That is if people are really still reading?     

Lots of love, Tamara