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Week 41: The Beginning of the End + All the small things

We are now less than 3 weeks away from our return to the U.S. (we land in Chicago on November 13). I'd be lying if I said we aren't feeling a lot of trepidation due to COVID and who knows what else we may face.

But, we decided it's the right time for me to get back to work and for us to see family. Thankfully, most of the logistics are sorted out, so we are now trying to focus on enjoying our remaining time here and on the positive aspects of our return. We are indebted to the many family and friends who are helping us out practically, mentally, and emotionally, with the transition!

One recent thrill is that Joan made her way back to Sydney! It's been so wonderful to have her as our neighbor again. It felt a little surreal at first, as I had mentally prepared for not seeing her before we left. What a joy to have her 'round for dinner, to pop over to hers for a "cuppa," and to have my bushwalking buddy back! Now we are hoping that she'll be able to return to her family for the holidays.

I think I've noted previously that we've been surprised by how familiar Sydney feels. But there are still lots of little things about daily life that are just a tad different. Here's a completely incomplete list of some of the small things we've noticed about life down under...

> Paper size - Anyone who has lived in Europe will be familiar with this one...A4 paper is just different enough to, say, cut off your signature on a lease agreement printed in the U.S....

>Clothes lines: Aussies seem to hang their washing up much more than at home (perhaps owing to the greater abundance of sunshine?!) The "Hills Hoist" is a clothesline that is considered an Aussie icon (and not just according to that Wikipedia link...) How charming is it to have a clothesline, of all things, be a national icon?!

>Kilojoules - most food items are labeled in kilojoules rather than (kilo)calories as in the U.S. This mean I get to divide whatever number I see on a bag by 4, which feels great.

> Backing into parking spaces - I swear I see many more people back into parking spaces here. Seems like such a power move!

>Power Points - speaking of power, the outlets look like this....gotta remember to pop that sucker on or you aren't getting toast. Also, they are called power points.

>Viewer warnings - many shows / movies include a disclaimer for aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people that images, voices or names of an Indigenous Australian who has died will be featured. This is in recognition of indigenous customs.

>G'Day - yes, people really do say it. Even in receipts from online grocery orders.

Highlights this week...

Oscar's bday bash - Oscar's birthday is coming up on the 28th of October, so last weekend we had a small, Wiggles themed celebration with his neighborhood "mates." Another perk of having Joan back in Sydney: her baking skills and fully equipped kitchen.

Cremorne Point walk + lunch at Mosman Rowers club - the walk to Cremorne point was on my "pram friendly walks" bucket list. It was yet another lovely vantage point of Sydney harbor with a nice playground. The Rowers club is a long-standing venue in one of Sydney's poshest areas. It's right across from a ferry stop, so the scenery was of great interest to Oscar.


Shelley and Manly Beaches - we'd been to Shelley beach, but in the frigid depths of Sydney winter. It was great to experience it in its full, sunny glory. After a swim and lunch, the kids both fell asleep in the stroller so we got to walk all along Manly beach. The swells were so high that the beach was closed to swimmers, but that made it extra cool to watch the surfers.

Carabita park - Justin took the kids down the Paramatta river to this lovely green space and playground.

Low Moments...

Dishwasher fail (but also: triumph ) - we seem to have bad juju when it comes to dishwashers in Australia. The dishwasher in the first apartment was out of commission for several weeks. And our latest one broke recently too. A repair person informed us that it was an issue with the latch not securing, and we'd need a new part. So we did what any sane person would do: rig a system of household implements (specifically: iron, flip flop, broom and stick) to keep the damn thing closed. Yes, we could have just washed the dishes, but, I ask: who's in charge, us or the machine?


Posted by Bredwardz 04:50 Archived in Australia

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Wow!Awesome birthday party for the O- man! Was thinking about you all day, and looking forward to singing Happy Birthday to you! Lots of love and BIG, HUMONGOUS hugs! Bisous,Aunt Mary

by Aunt Mary

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