Sunday, August 09, 2009

So Much Going On!

(Kitty) Wow, there are so many things we’d love to share with you! Life has been a whirlwind of activity since we arrived. Let’s try to catch you up. I put everything in subcategories, but I put in EVERYTHING, so feel free to skim! LOL!

House Hunting

We arrived on Friday 31 July (as Aussies write it) and started looking at apartments on Saturday. We saw two that looked okay but weren’t really what we wanted. Monday I went to John’s work and was welcomed to use the Internet to search for apartments while John worked. The last time we were here, there were seemingly more people than apartments and John and his co-workers had a difficult time finding a place. This time I was surprised to find a LOT of apartments that fit our initial requirements – about 3 dozen!

Monday I found “the perfect place” and emailed some of our friends back home to pray for us. But the first showing for the apartment would not be until Friday, so we made plans to see several others. Every day we rushed to take the bus to an apartment for its 15 minute inspection. You have to have seen the apartment in person in order to apply for it, and you have to get there during the 15-minute window when the realtor is showing it. Many of the places we saw were “okay” but I wondered if they were the best we would be able to find.

One was so bad looking, when we were out of sight of the realtor, John looked over his shoulder and started running! It was just to make me laugh, but also to make a point – we could NOT live there! Sadly, I saw one more that was so much worse than the one we saw together that I had to hold my breath as I walked around, then left quickly because it smelled so bad. I don’t understand the reasoning behind not cleaning the apartments before they’re seen. Seems like more people would want to rent them. But maybe you just get used to imagining what it will look like after it’s cleaned. I don’t know. Apparently our imagination isn’t quite that good. LOL!

Thursday I saw an apartment near Coogee Beach in a building of six. All six had been completely renovated and the place was really wonderful! I made a second appointment with the gracious realtor – whose name is James Cameron! – for John to see it Friday morning. We filled out all the paperwork on this one just in case the pictures for the “perfect” place didn’t prove to meet reality. I also saw a GORGEOUS 3-bedroom “executive” apartment Thursday that I fell in love with. Unfortunately, the price is well above our price range.

Finally Friday afternoon arrived and John and I were the first ones to show up at “the perfect apartment” for the inspection. Immediately we noticed the first imperfection – the place is about a block (an American block!) from the bus stop and up what surely must be a 30 degree incline hill! My legs and lungs were working hard to get me up there, and all I could think of was, “How will I make it with two sacks of groceries?!” LOL!

Nonetheless, we barely walked into the apartment and knew it was everything we wanted! It’s three bedroom, two bath, with a large living room, a large kitchen with dining room area, and a good-sized laundry room, on the second floor. The floors are mostly carpeted (I think it’s just the kitchen and laundry room that are not), and most rooms have slatted wooden doors. Above the doors are stained glass. It’s so beautiful! There is a large balcony overlooking a small nature preserve, and a large garage with a car space for each apartment.

I hadn’t even seen the whole thing before John and I were sitting down filling out the application. Since we had filled out one the day before, we already had all the information we needed – a Godsend. We talked to the very nice realtor and told her a bit about ourselves and why we were here, etc. I even told her that, just like the current resident who asked that everyone take off their shoes before coming in, we also don’t like shoes on the carpets. She said that actually might affect the owner’s choice! {grin}

So right now we sit and wait. The realtor and owner will go over all the applications and the owner will decide. We’ve been told by several people that because we aren’t uni students (uni = university) and we don’t have kids, that will push us way up the list. Yay!! We’ll let you know – we should hear today or tomorrow. (By the way, when you see I posted on Sunday, according to Blogger, it’s really Monday here.)

Oh! And one of John’s co-workers is probably lending us a car! More about that when we know more.


As most of you know, John and I ran a half marathon a mere six months ago. But we lost nearly all of our gains during our pre-move, move, and post-move. Well, there were “gains” but they were the fat kind! LOL! So after the miles of walking we did the first weekend we were here, we felt motivated enough to try a run on Tuesday. It was quite funny! Or sad, depending on how you look at it! LOL! We did mostly 2 minutes of running, 2 minutes of walking, over and over until we circled the golf course. I’m embarrassed to say that according to MapMyRun, that’s only about 1.55 miles! Eeek! LOL!

But we are determined to persevere and get in shape. Wednesday we went swimming in the pool at the apartment complex. I’m not sure, but I think the smaller pool we were in was a salt water pool. I was very buoyant, and I usually half-sink. LOL! Thursday, we overslept and only got up in time for John to get to work, but we stopped at a gym and got information on joining. Friday, we had to leave at 7:30 to get to an apartment inspection. Saturday we went down to the Farmer’s Market, then took the Ferry to Manly and walked around – much more fun than running! LOL! Today, Monday, John got up and ran twice around the golf course while I slept. Tomorrow we plan on going to the gym at the apartment complex. We’ve only been here 10 days, but all the walking is already showing changes in how we look. Enough to be encouraged!


You waited for it. You’ve been wondering if I’ve seen any yet. And the answer is – yes! And no. I saw some, but not in our apartment or John’s work or church or anywhere they REALLY SHOULDN’T BE! (Thank you, God!!) But I was disgusted by where I did find them – at the pool. I went into the women’s locker room for the required shower before swimming and immediately saw two. I placed my clothes on a dry area of the counter, showered, saw another one, went back for my clothes, and saw two ON THE COUNTER. I prayed and prayed and prayed none were in my clothes as I hurried out!

I was so glad that the custodian was cleaning the floors when we arrived. But cleanliness doesn’t necessarily keep out cockroaches. (Like ants, they’re often looking for water.) While I was swimming, I saw two more. One was two inches long!!! Again, many prayers and much begging that none were on or in my clothes as I dried off and put them back on. I loved swimming there, but I don’t know if I can deal with the cockroaches and return. We’ll see.

Food and Friends

All of our Aussie friends have been laughing and teasing me about Thai food since we arrived. If you remember our stories from before, there are a TON of Thai restaurants here and it seems nearly everyone eats at them. It wasn’t until our goodbye lunch last time that I told our friends I really didn’t like Thai food – after nearly a year of eating it with them! So last Friday Mel and Andrew treated us to Italian food (wonderful!). But Saturday I’m almost sure (I was so tired that first weekend!) that we ordered Satay Chicken at a Thai place – the one Thai dish I like. (Satay is a peanut sauce, so peanut butter-loving me really likes it!)

Last night Steven and Kate treated us to an Indian food restaurant and we had a couple different kinds of curries with rice. Delicious! (I think John and I will have to return to that place!) But on the way walking to that place, Steven made a game out of counting how many Thai places we walked past – nine! In just a few blocks!

Yes, I bought some vegemite and have had it on toast, on sandwiches, and as a snack on buttered bread. Mm, yum!

I’m finding more and more herbal teas I like – the ones that don’t actually have tea in them, but are fruits or mints or whatever. John found one that is blackcurrant and tea that he loves.

We’ve eaten a few times at our favorite chicken place – Chicken George. And we bought a loaf of delicious but expensive bread at our favorite bakery – Brumby’s. And we drank one and a half bottles of our favorite alcohol – Maxwell Mead.

And we’ve already eaten FOUR packages of our favorite cookies – Arnott’s Tim Tams. (Regular and caramel for John, dark and mint for Kitty. YUM!) John calls them the devil’s cookies now. LOL! We also are on our second box of Arnott’s pizza-flavored Shapes crackers. I think they’re coated with crack cocaine because you can’t stop eating them. John says Arnott’s is the devil. But we still buy the devil’s food. LOL!!

Actually, no more Tim Tams for a while – need to watch what we’re eating. We’re doing pretty well, actually. I think we’ve split our meals every time we’ve gone out except that first lunch here. (The wait in Customs was long and we were starving by lunch time. Note if you travel here – make sure the bottoms of your shoes are clean! We used to run down a street in Santa Monica that had trees with some kind of berry that fell to the sidewalk all the time. Customs pretty much steam cleaned our running shoes before letting us in the country, and asked us to make sure the shoes are clean next time.)

Oh, I did have an off-the-wagon moment Saturday night. Kate picked me up to go to a woman’s event at church called Chocolate, Stress, and God. It was so fun! There was one moment when I thought I was in the middle of the “Calendar Girls” movie – all those great accents and the funny things we talked about. LOADS (as Aussies say) of chocolate, chatting, and then a great speaker discussing stress and how to handle it and how chocolate fits in.

Did you know that four squares of dark chocolate (less than half a candy bar, the darker the better) per day has the same affect on your blood as half an aspirin? So if you need to thin your blood, eat dark chocolate! Also, there is a chemical in chocolate that is the same one women produce when they first see (or kiss or fall in love) with “the” man. That’s why women associate chocolate and love together. I’d always thought it was a myth! The great part of that night was that the speaker, a medical doctor, encouraged us for our good health to have planned down time. Guilt-free down time! Woo-hooo!!!! The affects of stress can last up to six months or a year! It is NOT good to ignore the signs, not even from "good" stress like getting married or having a baby or getting a great new job. If you want to know more, let me know. Especially, you Los Angelenos out there!

What’s Next?

Today, Monday, I’m doing a bit of waiting to hear from people – the realtor about the apartment, the finance person at John's work about the bank form for direct deposit, etc. – so today I may go window shopping for furniture and appliances. We need a refrigerator and a washing machine (I’m so excited! My first washing machine purchase!) and a microwave, as well as a couch and a TV, etc. Most things are a bit more expensive here, but some things surprise you at how much or how little they are. I was thinking of getting a $60-100 microwave – here that will run us $190-250! But at the farmer’s market there was a custom furniture maker offering a mission style, sleigh bed looking bedstead with two matching night stands for $1190. That was much less than I would expect to pay.

So some window shopping, checking out how to get to Sydney Uni from here. (I’m almost certainly going to apply to University of Sydney to get a master degree in creative writing!) Go back to the apartment and wash the dishes and finish the laundry. Send my sister and mom a birthday card. Do some writing. You know, all the other stuff I wasn’t doing when I was running around looking at apartments! LOL!

John is enjoying his job. He is working with many of the same people as he did on Happy Feet 1, and he likes them. After the crush of working 7 days a week, 12+ hours a day at the end of AVATAR, he is feeling very easy-going only working Monday through Friday 9 to 6. I’m thinking of applying for some part-time work on the film, if they’ll have me. The people are great, and it will make me happy to be involved in a film again. Plus it will be extra money for school tuition and books and stuff.

Hope you’re all well and happy and healthy. We’ll write again as soon as we can.
God bless you!!!
Love, Us

1 comment:

Dwigh said...

Wow, thats what I call an update! Glad to hear things are working out well. Miss you guys!