Monday, February 27, 2012

This Spuds for you.

I want you to go into your closet.  I want you to pick out a bunch of clothing that doesn't match and is from several decades ago (note, if you need to go borrow some clothes from like your dad, that would be acceptable.)  Then put them on.  Congrats, you're a hipster.  I literally do feel like I'm living in an H&M catalogue, which is hysterical seeing as there ARE NO H&M'S IN THIS COUNTRY.  I have yet to get some really great pictures of hipsters, but here's a good teaser:
Note the hat, and extremely unflattering pants, and flats. I could do a whole blog on how they dress here.

This however, has invented several new games to play: "Hipster or Crazy" or "Hipster or Asian".  I do what I can to stay amused. 

Australians also have a funny way about them, where they like to inform you of all the things that can kill you.  This is not just me that's noticed this, this is confirmed from another non-native, one of Clint and Kendra's friends from New Zealand.  I don't know if they think it's funny or if they're just not trying to cry themselves to sleep.  (re:my bedtime)  But literally, there are SO MANY THINGS that can actually kill you here and they invent more.  Case in point: Drop Bears.  Drop bears are supposedly koala like animals that drop of of trees and eat you.  Because they are carnivorous.  They think this is SOOOOOO hysterical that the Australian Museum even pretends they are real.  (note the map to the right please------>bear face.)  And thanks, Australia Museum, this did give me pause for a second to consider if they actually WERE real. 

Moving on, for everyone who has ever lived a pedestrian lifestyle, let me tell you, it sucks.  I'm sorry.  There's no other way to describe it then, 'it sucks.'  Hey, it's raining out today, oh wait, I need food?  I HAVE TO WALK TO THE STORE.  oh, it's 95 degrees out today.  I want ice cream.  I HAVE TO WALK TO THE STORE.  And although I'm trilled with all this recent weight loss, I still really miss my car.  But it does make it easier to rationalize mcdonalds apple pies (count: 2).   But, on these many walks to the store and back, I have met a friend!  Hurray!  My first friend in Australia that I just met!  Yay, it's a cat.


Isn't he the CUTEST??
Yeah, we get it Devon, you miss your cats.  So much so that you're befriending street cats.  (but he's really cute and he's tiny and he looks like my sisters old cat Spudsy.)  Would it be awkward if I stole this cat?  Probably.

Annnnyyhhhooowww, we've been exploring the area lately thanks to C & K.  We've gone to the Yarra Valley for a quick winery tour, gone to the zoo (and I was horribly sick, so I need a re-do on that one) and gone to the beach!  So rest in the knowledge that I'm not just walking around the streets of Brunswick snuggling cats.  (even if that's my preferred activity)   

Let's start with Yarra Valley.  I'm assuming it looks a lot like California wine country.  That being said, I want to get re-married here.  And one of the finest parts of this winery/wine tasting  at Yearing Station?  IT'S FREE.  Yum.
This is what it would look like, DEAL WITH IT.
Mmmmmm Tasty Free Wine!

There was also Chandon Moet, but you had to pay there, and quite frankly it wasn't as good.  They had a sparkling shiraz, which although interesting in theory, was wayyyyy to sweet.  Therefore, they don't get pictures on my blog.  So there.

The next day we went to the Melbourne Zoo.  You'd think I'd be REALLY excited about this and post like a million pictures, but I felt a little bit like I was going to die.  It was really hot, my stomach was aching, so mostly, I spent time on benches, sitting down.  I then took like a million hour nap when we got home, because I was pretty sure I was dying.

Some zoo highlights:
The butt of a wombat.
Echidna!  All claws and cute
And now for your viewing pleasure:
That's correct.  PLATYPUSARY.

Platypus' swimming are pretty awesome.  also, pretty tiny.  I thought they'd be bigger.  But they're so tiny.  Not quite as tiny as the world tiniest turtle above (seriously that thing was smaller than my palm) but they're like the size of a kitten.  An aquatic, egg laying, venomous kitten.  Mull on that one.

The next weekend (when I was feeling less like death warmed over) we went to the beach!  I agreed to the beach because 1) it was like 6 million degrees here (I'm fairly sure that's an accurate Fahrenheit to Celsius conversion) and 2) there are supposedly no salt water crocodiles in the water (but there ARE blue ringed octopi which will kill you pretty much instantly.  joy.)

So to the beach we went.  Now you're thinking, awww, cool, beach like misquamaquet.  They have like vendors and life guards and crap.  Well, not here in Melbourne.
On second thought, maybe I don't need vendors.

Yeah, so that place is ridiculously good looking.  RIDICULOUS.  Honestly, what place on Earth looks like this???  Oh just the place that I live, no big deal.

I DID go in the water, (murderous octopi notwithstanding) which makes it TWO oceans I've been in.  And I can easily get three here, because I swam in the Southern Ocean.  I'm fairly certain that it's actually the Pacific Ocean, but Clint is pretty adamant that it's not, and he grew up here, so I guess I'm limited in how much I can argue.   At one point Shawn and I decided to take a walk on the beach, towards some rocks, because I thought we'd get some cool pictures.  Then the tide started coming in, and I freaked out juuuuuusssstttt a little bit.   
The beach.

Weird looking rock.
Hi there.  The tide is coming in and I'm freaking out.

Beach Super Hero.

OH!  and excitingly, we finally got a picture of our backyard possums!  (by "we" I mean I made Shawn go out there because I am scared of mosquitoes)  It's a momma and baby.

Shawn is starting school tomorrow and I've applied for 5 whole jobs.  Maybe I'll even get one, gasp!  Welp.  That's all for now!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sprite for your right to paaaarrrtaaaay!

And we've arrived.  Well, technically we've arrived like 5 days ago, but I've been too lazy to blog.  That's right, second post and I'm too lazy to blog.  Way to be a superstar, Devon.

Anyhow, arrival, woot!  For those of you who are curious, the flight gods were kind.  Extra seat in between me and Shawn meant for luxurious stretch outs for naps on the the way to Oz.  And if you're going to come and visit (and you should, if not for the delicious smell alone...for real the place smells delightful, which I'm TOLD is the eucalyptus trees), take Virgin Australia.  I could have stayed on that flight forever.  You could play Pacman for godsakes.  <3.

So things are good right now.  Shawn started orientation, and one of his new mates suggested he work as a waiter at a strip club.  Y'know normal chit chat.  I on the other hand have been chillin at Kendra and Clint's place with their dog Orson.  Yes, note, their dog.  Apparently some confusion was caused on FB in regards to my pet preference loyalty.  Still a cat person, even if I'm allergic to them.  I prefer a squishy pet.  Though Orson is pretty fun and he does like to snuggle.  (P.S. I miss you, Cosgrove and Remington!!!!!)

Other than that, I've been spending my time learning about my new city.  For those of you who are asking me if I'm having fun, it's sort of a strange question to ask.  Yes, I like it here, but I'm not really having 'fun'.  Because we've moved here, and are not on vacation, we're not doing fun things like at every second.  We're doing things like figuring out how to get around, opening up bank accounts, setting up phones, looking at apartments.  Not like, skydiving and snorkeling.  Granted, we'll get there, but not quite yet. (er, not the skydiving bit, thanks) Think of it just like any normal move.  Fun to come.  Speaking of,

Among eating delicious apple pies at McDonalds (this will be a dedicated post all to itself, trust me), we've been exploring Brunswick (where we're currently staying) and finding things like a pub with trivia (okay Clint and Kendra found that one) and the grocery store!

Oh the grocery store.  Where to start.  First off, everything is TINY.  by tiny, i actually mean the size things probably should be if you're not a fatty American.  like they have the itsy bitsiest little jars of peanut butter.  so adorbs.  (this will be less adorable when I want to eat a jar of peanut butter, mind you.)  And also, everything is in the metric system.  So you don't get gallons of milk, you get litres.  (yeah it's spelled like that, fool.) 

And since I've decided Australia is a health conscious country (y'know tiny, portioned foods and all), I thought, well this place will be loaded with Diet Soda.  WRONG.  1) stores keep trying to offer me coke zero and pepsi max like that's some sort of substitute for diet coke (re: it's NOT) and 2) I can't find any Sprite Zero.  WHICH IS HEARTBREAKING.  (also they call it lemonade here and lemonade is lemon cordial.)  So, in case you are wondering, I will now be accepting visitors who only come bearing Sprite Zero. I am not kidding.  Minimum 2 litre or you sleep in the streets.  (Withdrawls much?)

Admittedly, it's for the best, because soda is...oh I don't know, $5 for a 2 litre!! ($3.50 for a 20 oz)  Thank you in advance Australia for making me kick my diet soda habit. 

But that's okay, because I've found a soda that will replace my love of sprite zero:
That's premium.
 Yup, you read it correctly.  It has DOUBLE SARS!

Other things of note:  Tasty cheese.
This picture refuses to turn the other way, even though i TOOK it the other way.  I hate you, Blogger.

Now you're probably thinking "Devon, all cheese is pretty darned tasty. So I do like the forethought that went into naming a type of cheese 'tasty'.  However who's taste buds is this based on?"

Well, apparently the universes taste buds because tasty cheese is cheddar.  Why they couldn't just call the damn cheese cheddar is beyond me, but I guess they are right when they're referring to it as tasty. 

Some things of note I've learned while living here.

1) possums are adorable here.  They look like little tree wallabies.

Note, they are not these:

They are these:
We have some that frequent the back of the house at night and perch on the fence.  I'd take pictures of them, but last time I went outside, I was attacked viciously by mosquitoes.  I was outside NO MORE THAN 3 MINUTES and I have 8 bites on my legs.  I am NOT exaggerating.  Shawn's count: zero.  (obviously).  I can no longer go outside in the dark.

side note:  why I thought America was the only country that had mosquitoes was beyond me.

2) There are flying foxes here!  I'm really excited to see them some night (re: when I get some bug spray)  This brings me to my next very important point (and the reason I very well may never leave here):

3) Melbourne was founded by BATMAN.

I'm not kidding.  Batman founded this place.  They were going to name it Batmania.   So, now I'm living in the land that John Batman The Dark Knight founded, which is completely awesome.  He is the best superhero after all, besides the fact that Shawn says he's not a superhero.  Because by Shawn's logic, if he's not a superhero, than neither is Iron Man, and since he thinks Iron Man is then by default so is my boy Batman.   

But the Batman thing is totally true.  If you don't believe me:

I want to go to there.

In the next episode:  Good Lord, I'm living in an H&M catalogue, and stop telling me all the things that are going to kill me, kthx.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

All I Need is a Miracle, All I Need is You.

Shawn and I have been hiding a little secret these past few months.  As of this morning, we still didn't have our visas for Australia.  Y'know that little bit of essential information that the government needs to LET YOU IN THE COUNTRY?  Whoops.  It's a long story, but let's just say for the past few weeks, I've been feeling my ulcer creeping back.

So in the interest of trying to keep my mind off of it, we decided to go shopping at the fancy mall in NJ today.  I've been toying with the idea of getting Bose noise cancelling headphones for the 499,586,868 hour flight we are supposed to take on Thursday but since I have exactly $5 left in my bank account I just couldn't rationalize the $300 it takes to purchase said headphones.  Well I ended up finding a pair of noise cancelling headphones at Brookstone for $99.  And okay, they're not as good as the Bose, but they're really comfy, and they go around my ear (that's key, FYI) and I can use them for when I'm trying to do homework.  Think I can claim that on my taxes as a school expense next year? 

Back to the story at hand: While at said fancy mall, there was a water fountain.  (This mall was built by the same company who built West Farms in CT, a fun fact for all my chums back home, so it reminded me of home).  I took a minute and asked Shawn to make a wish with me.  So we did.  Shawn said he did not wish for a visa, he wished to win the lottery because that would solve so many other issues. I went another route.

At this point, I felt pretty sick/nervous so even though I needed to do more errands, we went home.  Y'know that whole 'No visa' thing was pretty bothersome.  We had called the embassy yesterday and in true governmental fashion, they were completely unhelpful.  Basically they said it's "in process" and maybe we should reschedule our travel plans.  (this is where I vomited a little bit because although we have travel insurance, being so close to the date we're flying out, prices of flights have skyrocketed).  Anyhow, in Shawn's email once we got home (and after I played some Words with Friends, re:priorities) WE HAD OUR VISA NOTIFICATIONS!  Which means, yes, in two days, we'll be flying out to AUSTRALIA!  (Recommence vomiting of joy/nervousness).

Well, it's finally real, and it's finally here.  This is completely weird.  Shawn and I had a quick minute to discuss how we're actually leaving and we'll be there for two years.  It doesn't seem real one bit and I did a fair amount of giggling.  But now after weeks of almost constant stress, I feel pretty good.  Maybe I'll get some real sleep this evening?
Tonight, I get to hang out with the excellent Selenfriend Family, and then tomorrow Shawn and I have our last minute US errands to run; closing bank accounts, cancelling cell phones, having lunch with my Pops & beating him at cribbage (not really an errand),  and then Thursday morn, we begin our journey west ward.

Wish us luck as we start our travels, and more importantly, say a prayer to the patron saint of plane sleeping for me. 

See y'all down under.
Devon <3