Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I'm here!!!

Hi everyone,
I know you've all been clamoring for info and I've finally found a combination of time and internet access...the county has been conspiring against me using the internet. Ours wont be connected until next week...though hopefully, the electricity we ordered for last Friday is going to be turned on. I didn't think I was moving to a developing nation but the electricity process has been very Nica-like!

I've gotten some feedback about the blog, including a few suggestions to put in a subscription service...which I'd love to do but I don't know how, so if you do...TELL ME!

So now, an update on the last five or so days...

Part 1: The Flight...aka What to do on your ass for 20 hours
The most excitement I had at JFK, other than getting through security without taking out my quart-sized ziplock because I forgot to remove it from my bag and the guy watching the x-ray was arguing with someone about his break rather than watching the machine, filling me as usual with confidence in the TSA folks, was when a random couple stole a pack of gum from me. I'd dropped it and this woman came over and said about 3 times that she'd been sitting there earlier and she had dropped it. I knew it was mine but didn't feel the need to argue, but thought it strange that she was so dedicated to getting a free pack of gum before boarding a flight to a far-flung destination. Given that the mint mojito flavor I so love will be hard to find here, I guess she was the smart one. The flight wasn't that bad. My row-mate on the LA- Mebourne trek was an ex-pat Aussie going to visit her family. I mention her mostly because it turned out that her oldest daughter went to Robin-hell- i mean del- and her husband went to Wineauke...though he's younger than my uncle. She said her daughter loved it there (for those out of the loop, Hedy and I did NOT) and as I witnessed her nasty streak, I decided her daughter was probably just like her which is why she liked it there! She actually told the woman in front of us with a 2-year-old who had about 5 minutes of crankiness the whole 20 hour flight- that she should just drug the kid with a sleeping pill.

I survived the flight with a combination of some great on-demand movies, an Ambien and an empty seat. At one point, I felt like I was at an Oscar party, as I watched Atonement and the people in front of me viewed Juno, No Country and Michael Clayton. Can't imagine seeing No Country on a plane. I never got to finish atonement because we landed. Stupid Qantas, getting me in early.

Another bonus was the empty seat next to me. Got to thank the crappy economy for keeping people at home so I can stretch out It was nice. Finally, the Ambien was great. I got about 6 hours of deep sleep- woke up with every joint aching having not moved the whole time. Having never taken a sleeping pill before, I wasn't sure if I'd have one of those Ambien reactions where I'd get up and try to fly the plane. Don't think I ended up in the galley helping myself to the food, but I did have a very vivid Amy Winehouse dream, so I may have been singing "Rehab" in the front of coach...hope my fellow passengers enjoyed the show!

Part 2: Reunion
After going through custom and retrieving my 4- yes, 4..its excessive I know, especially given the size of our flat- bags, I burst out the door into Adi's arms. Well, not quite. I couldn't see him over the stack of my bags, but he saw me and called me over to him. It was all a bit surreal...after 5 months of imagining the moment, coupled with the residual affects of the Ambien, it had a very dream-like quality to it. We stopped by our flat and I got the grand tour. After that took all of 1 minute, we were off on our surprise getaway...with a quick stop at his mum's house because he thought he'd forgotten his credit card (he hadn't he soon realized). I got to meet Cino the dog (named after Al Pa...) and learned that he has a peculiar genetic defect resulting in his front paws being permanently stuck in first position. Great turnout and a little quirky. This led me to ask Adi if any of his other friends had any unusual physical traits that he'd neglected to mention, ie, an additional arm or leg growing from their back or something.

Part 3: The Dandedongs
Adi planned a weekend getaway to "the bush" for us. We stayed in an absolutely adorable self- contained cottage run by an eccentric old Austrian (not a typo- I mean from Austria- wonder if he typed in the wrong name on a return plane ticket once and ended up down here!)) man (Gunther)..and theoretically by his wife Leonie though we never saw her. The Gundalee cottage...get it- Gunther and Lee- was just outside the little town of Warburton in the Dandedong mountain range. The one bedroom cottage had a kitchenette, though we ended up ordering pizza the first night- and even included "breakfast"-which meant that Gunther made us a homemade loaf of rye bread and gave us eggs and bacon and smoked salmon and Oj and milk. It was cozy and private and in a beautiful place, with views of lush, green hillsides and delicious smells.

I think Adi took me to the mountains to quell any fears I had about city living. Just about 90 minutes outside of Melbourne, the cute town had a bit of a hippy vibe to it and sat at the base of Mt. Donna Buang (Bew- Ang) which we drove to on Saturday. We took a walk in a "rain forest" of sorts- a temperate one, filled with Eucalyptus trees. Alas, we saw no koalas. We also took a walk along the river and other than occasionally doing a dance with people walking towards us as I moved to the wrong side of the path, it was lovely. We finished our Saturday afternoon with tea and scones (fine, I didn't have tea & Adi had a coffee) and local jam and then watched a bit of "the cricket" which was tedious and had no one who looked remotely like Jeter..though I will concede that none of the players looked like they were taking HGH either! But it was quite continental feeling and I tried to forget that some portion of my paycheck might be going to the queen.

Upon returning to Gundalee, we encountered Gunther and he offered a suggestion for our dinner out at a pub a few towns up the road. He also gave us a bottle of the wine he makes and offered to sell us some- though he won't sell less than 6 bottles at a time. If we'd decided to go for the half case, it would have run us a whopping $36 so I'll let you wine connoisseurs think about how good the wine was. Adi barely choked down his glass so we gave the remainder of the bottle to his brother the next day, as thanks for helping us move.

We took Gunther's suggestion and ate at this very Aussie pub, which Adi explained means mediocre food, generally. The Southern Sun it was not! We went back to town and stopped in at the other place we were going to eat because they had live music. As the boulder-esque ambiance surrounded us, I felt at home and as soon as a steak the size of my thigh went by, Adi agreed that we'd made a mistake not eating there. Oh well, I got my pub experience out of the way!

Sunday involved an accidentally long, scenic drive back to the city where we went straight to Adi's mum's house to let her as well as a few of his friends meet and greet the American. I've gotten in the habit of saying "in the old country" when I'm explaining how things are different in the US..I feel like its a little less obnoxious. We managed to schlep all of his stuff, other than his bed which didn't fit in the van we'd borrowed, and settled in a bit before returning to mum's for dinner and a shower...since our hot water is electric, we haven't had any of that, either!

This is lengthy so you'll have to wait till next time to hear about St. Kilda!

Until then, G'day mates!


Anonymous said...

I love your blog sherlyberly. Love it. hey so wouldn't you want to give Adi's bro a non-crappy bottle of wine for helping you move? just a thought. :-)

glad the flight went smoothly and that neither you nor i are your row-mate's daughter.

like your description of seeing adi after the duration of absence and drugs and jetlag...i know the feeling...bliss baby.

littlec said...

Yay! Nice move on the cottage A-dog! I'm so glad you settled in. I agree with kendra, why did you give the bro bad wine?