Sunday, 22 November 2009

Four week anniversary...

I’m writing this on the eve of our four week anniversary of arriving in Melbourne. Those four weeks have gone just as quickly as the four weeks leading up to our move did, and we’ve certainly had lots of fun times since we arrived. This week was all about ‘business as usual’ though, as Tom started his new job and we tried to settle into some sort of routine. This went pretty well, although we still feel like we are living in limbo in our tiny little studio. Every single day we talk about how excited we are to move to our proper flat – still nine more sleeps to go however!

Incidentally, Tom got off to a good start at his new job and hopefully will be very happy there.

With a week that consisted mostly of work (my honeymoon period is well and truly over!) there were just a couple of interesting titbits that I will mention to you. Firstly is my very exciting gym visit on Tuesday night – when who do I see in the tiny gym in our apartment block but Daniel MacPherson! Who??? I hear you asking... to you and me that is Joel from Neighbours! I was very excited about this and promptly tried (and failed) to take a subtle photo of him on my iPhone because I knew selected friends of mine (Lucy that’s you) would be very excited about my first Neighbours-star meeting! It turns out however, that Daniel MacPherson is actually a huge star in Australia - much more famous than I’d give him credit for being in Neighbours! He stars in a popular prime-time drama, and presents the Aussie version of Strictly Come Dancing. All of a sudden to going the gym has become somewhat more appealing...

Wednesday brought my first real test of driving the Melbourne roads for work - without having Tom to help me out with navigating and road rules. On Wednesday we drove into my office together and the plan was that I would drop Tom off and park the car, before driving out of town mid-morning to a client meeting. We had a small hiccup on the way into the office when the sat nav tried to direct us across a tram track, but Tom guided me on a different route and we made it to my office. Tom jumped out to leave me to park the car, because that's not difficult, is it? Well, if you're me it is! Corporate car parks can be more complicated than most, but I managed to make a total dogs dinner out of my first attempt at getting into the PwC Melbourne multi-storey. I was armed with a pin code and parking space number, and knew I would need to use to pin code to access the car park. So in I drive, go up the ramp, around the corner and up to the barrier. Nothing happens. Nowhere to put in my pin. A car pulls up behind me so I opened the window and called back for some help from the driver. I then notice that his car is right beside the pin machine! So, I have to ask him to reverse back around the corner and down the ramp (along with 3 cars behind him!) so I can go back and enter my pin. Needless to say I did a bit of girly reversing and ended up more than an arm's length away from the machine. So, I undo my seatbelt, open the door, jump out, input the pin. Nothing happens. So I pushed a random button. I waited. I'd only gone and called security! The guy behind me has now stopped finding this funny and is getting annoyed! Security then tell me I've got the wrong pin and I say NO WAY and repeat it aloud to them. Finally they just raised the barrier for me and in I drove! What a palava.

This weekend we were looking forward to another sunshine filled beach adventure – everything that we hoped for when we moved to Australia. Instead, Melbourne has seen a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours. Honestly. The locals keep telling us we are in a drought but you really wouldn’t believe it from the amount of rain we’ve seen! The real pelting rain usually starts as soon as we are in the car and trying to drive along a freeway, just to make visibility as hard as we would possibly hope for. The only time I can recall driving in such terrible conditions was in a Floridian storm whilst on holiday with Pippa in Fort Lauderdale. Luckily though, the rain held off long enough for us to enjoy a couple of hours at the Healesville Wildlife Park in the Yarra Valley. This was a 2 hour trip outside of Melbourne and our first long run in the car. We stopped for lunch on the way at our very first Aussie McDonalds! Our excuse was that there is a new Angus burger that is taking Australia by storm, and we felt that we needed to try it. One very interesting point of note was that all chicken burgers/wraps/nuggets that you buy in an Australian McDonalds can come either crispy (like in the UK) or seared – ie without the fatty coating and grilled, rather than fried. That’s a good enough excuse for me to justify more visits to Macca’s on health grounds!

Anyway, back to the wildlife. We saw the full complement of Australian animals. Tom was really looking forward to seeing the dingos, but as luck would have it the dingo enclosure was being renovated so we didn’t see those. The snake show was informative and we both got to stroke a snake, but the commentary was hilarious... [please read in thick Australian accent]... “Aaah look, there is absolutely no need to ever fear a snake, but it will slither into your bath tub, and if you step on it, it WILL KILL YOU!”. That, my readers, is the reason we’ve rented a flat on the sixth floor!

On the way back from the wildlife park we stopped off at a local winery to sample some wines and hopefully buy some for Christmas. Unfortunately our taste buds have been spoilt and will now only like Blossom Hill Rose - Zinfandel or Grenache!! We will have to become somewhat more sophisticated to truly appreciate the Aussie wines.

Today we have been to Melbourne’s Westfield shopping centre. I haven’t even been to the London one, but I hope it’s less stressful that the down under version – traffic to get there, terrible parking, nightmare in the food court and all in all a very stressful experience. I did find a new handbag though – so it wasn’t all bad!

To finish here are a few more photos.. until next time... g’day!

Our temporary home in St Kilda

A Yarra Valley Winery

Katie with a statue of an eagle at the Healesville Wildlife Park

Healesville had an animal operating theatre where you can watch the vets in action - amazing!

Tom and one of the snakes!

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