One thing that still messes with my mind as someone who’s moved from the UK to Australia…. seasons.
Having them reversed, and therefore associated completely differently to the labels we apply to calendar months still throws me into the occasional confusion.
It just isn’t winter in August! (In my mind at least).
And this view of Musgrave Park on my walk home from parkrun this morning did not help with the confusion, even if it did add a massive grin to my face.
It’s winter here…heading into spring. Yet this scene of trees surrounded by their dropped and browned leaves is straight out of my Autumn memories bank.
And actually, I think I really liked a UK like Autumn. Those random sun lit days with a bit of cold in the air, the changing scenery as the plants and trees starting preparing themselves for winter. The simple joy of stomping/ kicking/ walking/ running through piles of leaves.
I’ve been fancying fish and chips…..well actually mainly the chips for a while now. You see whilst chips are available on menu’s in many Australian food venues, they just aren’t like chip shop chips in the UK. And that’s what I wanted.
Having had this discussion with a fellow expat, she not only had informed me there was a British style chippy within an hours driving distance of central Brisbane, she also arranged for a small group of us to go out there and enjoy their offerings together.
They were the closest thing to my memories of British chip shop chips to date, and the bonus range of cans of pop (fizzy sugary drinks) available added a lovely touch.
I’m blaming them for the child like freedom that ensued in a bar on the way back, in that I enjoyed colouring in the place mats kindly provided whilst sipping on my rather brightly coloured slushie style cocktail.
My fault for taking a picture at night as I’d forgotten to do it earlier in the day.
I wanted to show the lovely patterns on the limbs of this tree that has lost all it’s bark (assuming it had some in the first place!). There are loads of trees like it. And bizarrely I haven’t stroked one yet to see if it’s as soft and smooth as it looks…..something to add to the to-do list.
First port of call was to get on a bus. Positives to note here – the driver was friendly and smiley. The bus didn’t set off until all new passengers were seated (wouldn’t want anyone stumbling). And when people got off the bus (a single height coach length vehicle, with doors at the front next to the driver, and about half way down the bus), they yelled thanks with a wave to the driver on the way, no matter which door they exited from!
There are also dedicated bus-ways – roads built specifically for the use of buses only. Makes for a speedy trip.
Now being in a new city, the first thing I’m looking for…where’s my next meal coming from? And Brisbane doesn’t disappoint on this front. There is food available everywhere I look it seems. We got off the bus at a station underneath a shopping centre, which has a food court, as does the next centre, and the next!
So my first Brisbane lunch: a delightful little selection from an outlet called FantAsia.
I am genuinely quite excited by the variety of food available here, and it’s day 2!
Next it was on to the things on the bureaucracy list:
Registering for Medicare – nice and easily done (despite us forgetting to NOT go through the smart gate at the airport, and therefore having no human placed stamp in our passport showing we’d entered the country two days ago, as advised to us many months ago) at the central government service centre (a centralised service, that as you guessed it is a one-stop shop for many government based services – now also producing an online mygov service to match).
Going to the bank to ID ourselves and get access to our already opened Australian bank account, get given our account card to be able to use ATM’s (must remember to only use certain ones to avoid charges though) and most importantly choose the colour of the debit card we want!
Buy a Go Card, a smartcard that can be used on all public transport services here, saving you money on the cash rate fares, and meaning you don’t have to worry about carrying change for the bus.
Something I’ve noticed so far too…..I haven’t been called “Sir” yet….by anyone! Now that’s a change from the last few months!
Back at the apartment, chilling out after dinner (mmmmm fresh salad that I didn’t have to wonder nervously how it might have been prepared!), I got my first scare from a big spider (yep, I’m scared of spiders), which having gone running to our kind hosts to just check what type it is and whether I should be worried, was thankfully informed….it’s just a huntsman, used to play with those as a kid. (Insert shudder here!)
Having landed late last night, and being awake for quite some time in the middle of the night, unsurprisingly a nice long lie in occured today.
Having stuck the laundry on (not actually giving it to someone else in a carrier bag and hoping it came back in a reasonable condition) …..using an actual washing machine…..located in the place we were actually staying…and under our control….. it was time to delight in the use of a shower for which I could control the temperature and pressure, and actually feel like I’ve thoroughly cleaned myself the first time in a long time.
Ok, so Brisbane has just started a very hot and humid heatwave, so I’m not gonna stay like that for long……but then I could have another later!
Just as I think about walking round to the local shop for the basics, we get whisked off to the local supermarket (thanks to a lift from our kind hosts in their air conditioned car), where we go a bit mad for fresh fruit, vegetables (I’ve been craving roast vegetables for quite some time now), and various familiar looking delights and I only realise when heading towards the checkout that I have less than $100 cash in my pocket and my credit card is still in the security pouch it has lived in for the last 4 months, which I had relished that morning at not needing to put back around my waist! Kind hosts to the rescue, we headed back and literally filled the fridge.
Yep, that’s right, a fridge….ours to use as we wish…..in the place we were staying!
Next it was onto the first bit of bureaucracy of moving to a new country – telling the tax man I’m here, and letting him provide me with my unique reference to enable me to pay him in the future (aside, not sure why I stuck with the traditional man label here?), otherwise known as submitting my application for a tax file number. All quite easily done using an online system, and my number should be received in the post within the next couple of weeks…..that’s right……in the post…..to the place where we are staying!
Having picked up every tourist brochure under the sun at the airport (not an untypical habit of a traveller), I started to read through those, and compiling a list of things I’d like to do……this has now formed the basis of my Brisbane based bucket list.
It seems I had then had enough of sitting, because I decided to go for a run. Yes, a run, in lycra, in the area I’m staying in, despite the heat and the hills. Because it’ll be ‘normal’ to randomly run here. But it is blooming hot…..and the hills are everywhere. Short intervals it is then. But that’s alright…..I’ve got time to improve and get back to the running ……’cos I live here now!
Without realising the peril, our hosts had pointed out the nearest takeaway whilst out in the car earlier, and oh yeah, I do fancy an Aussie burger! So the vegetables stayed in the fridge for tonight, and that burger was exactly how I remember an Aussie burger to be….yum!
And on the way, I spent 101 days in India. Whilst there I took at least one photo every day, and posted it along with a really brief summary of what we’d got up to that day on a popular social media forum.
It seemed to prove a popular way for friends and family back in the UK to keep up to date with what we were doing, but also, a way for me to ensure I actively looked for an image that summed up the day. So before we landed in Oz, I decided I would do the same thing once here, at least for the first 101 days.
However, what I have found is some days I’ve taken a fair few photos, so thought: why not extend my brief daily project into blog posts? Don’t worry not every one will be long, but it just gives me the opportunity to pull together more thoughts and images if the day calls for it.
And yes, for those that know me, and have been following on the afore mentioned social media channel, you’ll know I have a bit of catching up to do!