It’s been a busy week since my arrival. Emma and I have been working on the last of the paperwork needed for my visa, things are finally speeding up! And since I’m not allowed to be in Australia upon lodging, her parents have gifted us a relaxing week on Bali. I can’t settle anywhere like this! (that’s a joke of course).
As the title of this post suggests, I’m slowly settling into Australian life. I’m not yet ready to skip the Dutch section in the supermarket, and grab me some liquorice, but what’s wrong with that, right? I love all the stuff you can buy here, even though in essence it is fairly the same as Europe.
It’s often the little things that stand out. Like fruits and vegetables proudly claiming to be Australian Made. Something that is not exactly legal in Europe. It’s mandatory to list the origin of the product, but it’s considered a form of protectionism to boldly state which products are local, and how you should buy those. Don’t get legal on me about this by the way, I only once read a news article about this and it stuck with me like a cheap band-aid (ie. not so good).
Getting up to speed in a new country is, for me at least, sometimes quite a stressful and/or annoying process. You walk into the visa-thing often, for example when getting a new mobile phone with a data plan. But thankfully the people here are friendly and helpful, and often offer a good workaround. And sometimes stuff is super simple, like getting a debit card, or having your signature on official statements witnessed. You can just go to a chemist to get that done.
…some utterly strange things.
A part of me would like to write outrageous stories on how different everything is, and how I can’t see myself ever getting used to some utterly strange things. But that’s just not the case. Or maybe not yet.
Even driving on the other side of the road isn’t as much of a shock as I initially expected it to be. I have to stay focused, and I keep my left hand on my leg a lot, so I won’t enable the wipers when I want to indicate, but I’m already automatically looking in the right direction at crossroads, and aside from the less than social merging practises of some, driving over here is pretty much the same as in the lowlands. Perhaps a little less congested.
It’s fair to say you need a car when living here. And since Emma and I plan to move to the outskirts of the suburbs or maybe even proper rural in a year or two, I’ve decided to buy myself a ute (as soon as the house finally gets sold that is). For the Dutchies, a ute is a utility vehicle, or pick-up to us. I saw some nice big chunky utes driving around with a double cab, so you can still take friends with you when going somewhere. And a sturdy 4×4 will certainly come in handy when we move.
Since my last two cars where lease, and I couldn’t change a thing on those, I’m already scouting the internet for some nice new accessories. Think air filters, worklights, bullbars, and the like. I promised Emma not to go bogan, but that still leaves plenty of options for the boy trapped inside this grown up body. As one brand put it in a commercial, “when boys grow up, so do their toys.”
…you’re not alone in your endeavour
Not having a job or car sometimes confines one to the house a bit, but I like spending time with the cats, getting a feel of the house etc. Besides, since the job market is a bit slow lately Emma is working hospitality and that enables us to go out during the day. I love spending time with the in-laws, as it reminds me of the strong bonds in my own family. Her sister kindly lend me her tripod to make some pictures of the supermoon, which didn’t turn out very special, but maybe in 2034 they will. And I get along very well with her nieces, they even wrote me a card saying I’m awesome and gifting me a box of candy. I might put that on my resumé.
We also helped to set up the christmas market in the church her mom attends. We saw the pastor/reverent/father (can you tell how religious I am?) watering his lawn, while all his sheep were working hard moving the heavy pews around, but let’s just say the Lord works in mysterious ways, and apparently that rubs off on his employees.
At the christmas market we met some of Emma’s mum’s friends. Very lovely ladies who like to engage in conversation, and one lady had brought her 92-year-old aunt with her. I love hearing the stories of how they came over by boat at the beginning of the previous century. It’s nice to know you’re not alone in your endeavour, and to hear about the hardships some had to endure. I really have it easy compared to them, and if they managed, so shall I.