Whut? Sanitarium? Isn’t that where I go when I’ve forgotten to take my meds? Or where used “ladies products” are ditched?!
Pretty tasty cereal mind…
Last night I caught up with some friends who had previously lived and worked in the UK and one of their colleagues . It’s felt really nice already having a couple of locals to call on! So over beers and wine I grilled them about mobile phone contracts, bank accounts, flat rentals and the craziness of aussie rules football. They coped well with the never ending stream of qs and we had a merry old time, having a couple of drinks at The Bent Spoke brewery (https://www.bentspokebrewing.com.au/) before heading to eat at a place strangely reminiscent of the Digbeth dining club. The Digbeth dining club is a space where various pop up eateries collect around big tables and a main bar. Here in Canberra there is a space with a similar philosophy (need to dig out the name! #fail). So whilst I ate a Peruvian burrito, my friends had Indian curry and some kind of crazy chicken and bacon burger. We could also have had souvalaki (which is essentially kebab, but you don’t need to be half cut to enjoy!), Thai food, hotdogs… (and aussie food at somewhere inadvisably called ‘The Spit Shack’ !) etc. Finding space at a table was easier than expected, and there were pop up bars to buy drinks at. The place closed too early, it was my round at about 10 when the bars began to close up (10?!!) So we departed to try out a local joint called The Civic. It was awesomely awful in some ways, like a Wetherspoons in Worthing, with over dressed girls sipping alcopops, pool tables (which actually looked great for another day) and a different sport on each of three of four tvs, and a music video on the other. Nearly midnight was kicking out time for The Civic, and probably just as well with my jetlag. My friends kindly walked me home, they don’t live too far away thankfully, as I’m still liable to get lost and the public transport system here stops crazy early.
** Updated! I found out what it’s called! The Hamlet! https://visitcanberra.com.au/eat-and-drink/57031e8c5d234a7604ea80b2/the-hamlet **
So this morning I’ve woken up to more sunshine but a decided coolness in the air. I’m curling up with yesterday’s newspaper which I haven’t read yet before cracking on with a weekend if essay marking! Living the dream 🙂
This morning I checked out where the local Coles supermarket was on a map, attempted to commit the very short route to memory and got completely lost. For approximately 2 minutes I panicked, then I realised it really, really didn’t matter! Today I have nowhere to be until this evening so I just stumbled around Canberran suburbia, shivering in the shade, leaping into patches of sunlight, gawping at the weird and wonderful birds like the tourist I’m not supposed to be (but totally am) until I plucked up the courage to ask directions of a purposeful looking local (about 9am so probably on their way to work!). She pointed me towards the centre of town, a single toad to walk down, at the end of which she promixed me I “couldn’t miss it”. Which I did, of course I did! I did however find a pharmacy and, eventually, by dint of walking apparently in circles found the Coles store and bought some basic necessities. I was inordinately proud about this. It almost made up for asking in a cafe, where I bought some breakfast (this mornings pizza slice seemed a distance memory) for an exorbitant price, whether I was on Lonsdale street, only to discover on leaving that the sodding cafe was called Lonsdale Street Cafe. Christ knows what the staff made of me!
But back to the successes- building on my new found confidence following the discovery of Coles I ventured into a newsagents for a paper and magazine, with the aim of getting into the aussie frame of mind, AND discovered I could purchase the Canberra equivalent of the oyster card there, which I duly purchased. The cost of all this probably leaving a large hole in my British bank account. I need to discover the equivalent worth of the dollars here ASAP! Still, bowed down under my various items I staggered out into the sunshine AND found and boarded the right bus. So proud. I even got off at the right stop.
Since getting back I have downloaded city maps and bus maps in the hope of making it to the get together with some local friends at least within the hour arranged! Am now enjoying what feels like a well earned sit out on the sunny patio worrying about the three bonsai trees left in my care for the next few weeks, along with pots of herbs, lettuces, and chillies. I’ve got many many essays to mark…. in a bit.
Thought I’d brainstorm what I need/want to do over the next few days…whilst I wait for a posh pizza delivery 🙂
1. Find a local food shop and buy the basics
2. Find yoga classes local to Braddon- must for mental and physical sanity
3. Get a bus map and try to find out about the equivalent of London”s oyster card
4. Australian sim card and bank account
5. Email my soon to be new boss re. Monday start!
6. Unpack (really should have been number 2!)
7. Check out those Canberra blogs… ( check I posted that on here! *later: I haven’t! I’ll dig them out!*)
8. Find out which newspaper is a decent one! And about good morning TV/ news channel
So one was the getting here bit. This is the where I’m staying bit. I’m desperately trying to fight the jetlag, the siren call back to bed.., but know that if I go that route I’ll be wide awake at 3am… which will be annoying!
So it’s a cute little place I have here. The lounge/kitchen and patio are particularly lovely. The shower, super important after that long a flight is hot and reasonably powerful, everything is clean and there is space to hang and store clothes… so naturally I have dumped everything on the floor for now!!
Canberra remind’s me slightly of parts of california in the way the residential roads feel quite major because they are wide and there are plenty of cars. One thing I noticed when I first arrived was that it SMELT like Australia when I got out of the taxi. I’ve no idea what the smell of Australia is but my brain was instantly like “oh yeah this smells of Canberra”. Weird things brains!
The other thing I really noticed was the bird song. It’s SO different from home and I love listening to the birds chattering away. As I left the UK our local area was full of blackbird, robin and thrush song, twittering, tweeting, singing. Interspersed with the caws and chatters of magpies. Here more things seem to hoot, caw and cackle. As I got out of the taxi a cockatoo with a bright yellow crest swooped into a nearby tree, and something like a large Jay with powder pink wings hopped between trees as I fought with the stiff new keys to get into the apartment. I also nearly trod on a dragonfly the size of my head when I went to find the keys in their hiding spot!
The flora and fauna are definitely going to be things that keep my interest whilst I’m here!
OK so I haven’t been great at posting over the last week because it has been MENTAL, and in the times when I thought I’d post I decided to sit and share at a blank wall instead. Turns out, moving to another country is quite demanding! And I’ve been able to leave the last bits and pieces on the perennially broad shoulders of my partner. Who, admittedly, was sounding a bit frazzled when we last spoke!
So flights were… fine. I admit I was secretly hoping for some perks for travelling on my own and on my birthday. No such luck! But the flights were still fine. Emirates has much nicer planes and better entertainment systems, Quantas has much better food and drink. I didn’t sleep much, for me anyways, but was lucky enough to have two seats to curl up across on both big flights. One thing I cannot recommend enough was an impulse buy at the airport which tuned out to be The Best : Sanctuary Spa’s reverse beauty sleep mask. Totally fabulous, smelt divine and felt wonderful! I also packed a flannel in a plastic bag which came into its own at various airports / moments! (Man, is that some toiletries related overexcitement!)
I arrived in Canberra on a domestic flight. So went through customs and immigration at Sydney. They seem to manage to be thorough and friendly here. Everything was easy. Except moving my enormous case from international to domestic! Can’t pack light for 18 months! It was easy to find my air bnb accommodation and the local friend who the property owners had tasked with leaving me the key etc seems wonderfully friendly and sweet. She’s offered to show me the local area and also when it started with torrential rain has sent me a list of take aways for my first night! #perfect
ONE WEEK UNTIL FLIGHT!
My partner and I have been packing like loons since Monday morning. We have boxes EVERYWHERE. Decided what to take, what to air freight, what to store at my parents and what to toss/donate takes a fair amount of time and energy! I confess I kind of love a big clear out, but I HATE it when everything is a mess. And everything is a mess.
So I’ve spent this morning in particular being a grumpy little sh*t. And it’s not really necessary- my partner has made LOADS of progress clearing up and out his stuff- which is good as he is working from tomorrow until we leave which is a bit exciting. I’ve been fitting my own efforts in around teaching- 3 hours yesterday, 2 hours today.
Update since yesterday- I have spent 12 HOURS packing. And it still looks a state, and trying to fit everything I wanted to take in a suitcase… tricky! Sorry for the short posts. I. Am. Knackered!
So today I got a delivery of boxes. Empty cardboard boxes. Which wasn’t actually as weird as it sounds because we’d ordered them. Usually when I move house I go to the local supermarket or wine shop and collect up a bunch of boxes to pack everything in to. I’m not usually moving too far or really, with too much stuff. But given that we want everything that is boxed to be stored for over a year in my parents’ loft we figured we’d better invest in some good-ish quality boxes to make sure things stay in a reasonable condition… and also because I don’t have a car at the moment and couldn’t be bothered to carry boxes all the way home from the local supermarket on foot. But mostly the former…. sort of. Maybe.
My other half is away in Amsterdam on a Stag do this weekend (I know, I know! Cliche huh? But I bloody love Amsterdam so I am (not so) secretly mega-jel!). And the flat is a bit of a mess so I know I should spend the time tidying up, organising, and finishing my thesis corrections. NOT unpacking all the boxes, making them up, and spreading them all over the flat when we have lots of people coming to stay next weekend… But they are calling to me! Calling out to me to unpack the packing and prepare to pack… or something.
I think that maybe its because it’s Friday and I don’t really want to spend the evening tidying up… It seems so un-Friday funtime like! (Although in all honesty does unpacking/packing boxes sound any more rock n roll?!)
Watch this space.
There are currently lists all over my flat. On the lounge floor, on the coffee table, on the dining table, on my desk, on my bedside table, on my laptop. I am awash in a sea of lists!
There are so many of the damned things I am starting to feel a little overwhelmed. There are just so many different puzzle pieces of things that need doing, things that need storing, things that need packing, things that need sending, things that need buying… one list just isn’t able to cover it all. And consequently the lists are everywhere.
Everywhere there are things I need to do. Should be doing. Should have/need to have done. As a result, in a rush of feeling completely overwhelmed I have spent the last half an hour curled up on the sofa in a state of nervous disintegration. What a lemon.
The irony (?) is that things are going relatively smoothly… I think. We have ironed out the kinks in the shipping planning (using air freight for a small amount of extras, and hiring a van to take the rest of the stuff for storage in my long-suffering parents’ loft). We have all the paperwork (I think) we need to enter the country- flights, visas, places to stay.
I still have work stuff here to sort- corrections to finish and send off, student emails to respond to by the batch as their essay deadline approaches, and then their essays to mark.
But really… does that all sound too much? I suspect it is largely the fear that I have forgotten something important that is driving the nerves. Hence the need for lists… despite the fact the damn things, in some ways, seem to be making it worse… nightmare!