Neither of us have driven a car in 6 weeks. There are some really wonderful things about not having a car, such as not having to deal with road rage (which definitely exists here in Melbourne), traffic jams, or rising fuel prices. We bike and/or walk most places. We do take public transport if our destination is far away, but in general we are getting much more day-to-day exercise in transit to wherever we are headed. This is fantastic most of the time, but when you are trying to grocery shop from scratch (you know...stock up on essentials to "start" your pantry selection) and shop for everyday foods, it is NOT easy to transport all of those groceries! Normally we'd have a grocery store within a mile of our house, but it is under renovations at the moment and won't be open until late 2012.
There are lots of "little" challenges as well. We are finally starting to adjust to biking/running on the other side of the road, though Erik is much better at this than I am. It is not that common to have clothes dryers here, so I am getting used to drying clothes on the clothesline. I realize this is not a huge deal, but it is hard because of the crazy weather...never knowing if my clean clothes are going to get dry or get rained on! I am still struggling to convert degrees F to degrees C, gallons to liters, and lbs to kgs. The most difficult thing is ordering lunch meat at the deli, where I've just resorted to using a dollar amount instead of grams.
Obviously one of the hardest things is adjusting to being so far away from our family and friends. We have started to make some friends and I know that I, personally, will make further connections once I am finally employed, but that doesn't change the fact that our family is 10,000 miles away. This past week my Aunt Emily passed away unexpectedly. I wouldn't say that I had a particularly close relationship with her, but when I did get the chance to spend time with her, I marveled at how independent, energetic, and genuinely kind she was. She hopped on a motorcycle at the age of 18 and headed from small town Virginia out West. Emily eventually ended up in Las Vegas where she worked for years as a dealer at Caesar's Palace. Just a few months ago she sent an email to my mom and talked about how she had learned that Erik and I were moving to Australia and that she had always wanted to visit this fabulous country. I had saved that email in my inbox because I wanted to contact her personally to tell her more about our adventures. Sadly, that email got buried among others and I never actually sent the email. I hope that my Aunt Emily knew that I thought she was an amazing woman. I hope that if you are reading this and you've been meaning to email someone just to say "hello" or to update them on your life that you hit the compose button soon.
|Erik captured this after getting home from work on Tuesday. I saw the full rainbow on my run about 15 minutes earlier and was amazed at how clear & full the rainbow was. It was the most crisp, bright rainbow I've ever seen!|