Our New House

Welcome everyone to the first tour of our new place! We signed the lease and got the keys today so I thought you would all enjoy a quick video of the empty house. We’ll probably be moving in this weekend so once we have our internet hooked up I’m sure there will be more videos of it as we start to make it more homely (that’s right…it’s not homey here, it’s homely).

I (Kathryn) also drove The Trophy from Leeming back to West Perth on the freeway…scary but good practice. My major problem was tending to hug the left side of the road. With a bit more practice I should be pretty good to go, especially if we end up getting a GPS, then I wont have to worry so much about getting lost when Tim isn’t there to navigate.

Odds and Ends (or Flushing Toilets and Perth Public Transit), featuring a very cute video of Eden

First of all, sorry for the lack of posts. I know we promised you, our faithful readers, that we would flood you with posts when we got to Oz but the current apartment we’re living in only has really expensive internet ($5/hour or $20/24 hours – the latter to be used within 3 days or it expires). So we haven’t bought much internet, just enough to get by.

Our fist piece of news since our last post is that we have found a place to live! Woohoo! We haven’t signed the lease yet but our offer has been approved and we have an appointment to sign it Monday.  It’s in a suburb called Leeming if you’re interested to see geographically where we are going to be living.

We’ve realized that our hope to get away without purchasing a car and relay on public transportation was a false one. Where we’re living right now, in West Perth, we can get away with it because there are buses that run all the time and we’re within walking distance of all the necessities. On the weekends the buses run significantly less frequently which makes it less convenient, especially for getting to church. Last Sunday we had to walk about 30 minutes (about 2km) to the train station (because the buses weren’t running yet). Took the train and then a bus and then walked another km or so before we arrived at church, approx 45 minutes early. By that time Eden was ready for a nap but  didn’t fall asleep, which resulted in a really long morning for us.

A few nights ago Tim went out to get a few groceries and planned to take a cab home since it was a bit rainy and he ended up getting more than he would have preferred to carry back. He called the cab company and after waiting for 20 minutes called them again. They said that they had been there and left and didn’t see anyone waiting. So apparently they sent another cab to pick him up. By that time the supermarket was closed and he was the only person around.  After waiting 20 more minutes he decided to just walk home. At work the next day his colleagues said that situation was actually not surprising at all.

After a morning at the library she was happy to get into her stroller and have a snooze

Today, we took a bus to Osborne Park – a large box store type of area with a few malls. We decided to check out a few car dealerships on the way to the mall to see what was available (we’d looked at some of the cars in advance on Carpoint.com.au). It was getting to be close to lunch time, so Eden and I were going to find some food while Tim stayed at this one place and discussed some options about a certain car. There wasn’t a restaurant within walking distance and it was quite hot, so we decided to call a cab. There were no cabs with car seats (we called both of the major companies in the city) and they said that it would probably be at least 20 minutes anyway.  Public transportation failed us again.

So we ended up buying a car…a bit spontaneous, but becoming more and more of a necessity, especially since we’ll be moving soon and have to pick up stuff for our new place. We came home with a 2003 Elantra we named “Trophy” (you’ll see why when we post a picture of it). We really liked our Elantra back in NB and it had a good amount of room in the back, which was nice. The boot (trunk) is also spacious, so we decided to go with what we know, it was also marked down $3000 for the weekend so that helped.

We’re still planning on using buses and trains as much as we can, especially while we’re still in West Perth, but it will be really handy for those late night grocery runs. I haven’t driven it yet as I would like to practice a bit on roads with less traffic, but Tim did well today, only turned on the wipers rather than the turn signals a few times (we’re driving on the left here people; those of you who’ve moved to Canada from the UK will understand).

On to some other interesting facts about WA:

  • Burger King is called Hungry Jacks
  • Tim is addicted to Angry Birds on his mobile
  • Dark Chocolate Tim Tams are one of the most delicious store bought “biscuits” I’ve had in a long time.  Tim Tams are a hugely popular biscuit (cookie) in Australia, and there are many tasty varieties.

yum...

  • Crows/Ravens are very whiny sounding (almost like they’re saying “waaaah, waaaah” – we’ll try and record it sometime)
  • Whinging (pronounced win-jing) is what they call whining/complaining
  • All toilets (public and private) have a dual flush system – yay for water conservation! They also flush in a torrent of chaos instead of spiraling down calmly (we’ve been asked about the direction of flow a number of times so here’s the proof – Which way does the toilet flush in Australia?

To end off this rather long post, have a look at this super cute video of Eden appreciating a little leg rub from Kathryn, taken this morning during breakfast:

 

First Impressions of Perth

Greetings from warm, sunny Perth, Western Australia. It’s been about a week since we arrived, and we’re doing pretty well. No more jetlag, we have a basic idea of the city layout, and we’re well into our search for a more permanent home. Overall, we’re having a great time!

There are so many things we could talk about, it’s hard to know where to start. I think the best way would be to share some first impressions regarding culture, climate, and living conditions. Let’s start with the easiest one first, climate:

It’s spring here right now, and for those of you back in Canada that conjures up images of rain, probably the smell of manure/mud for those in the rural areas, and temperatures in the positive degrees Celsius, maybe even double digits! Here in Perth, we’ve had scattered showers every day since we’ve arrived, but apparently that’s highly unusual for November. It’s normally very dry in November here. Temperatures have been in the low twenties every day, and in the teens at night. It’s warm, like shorts and t-shirt warm, and more like a Canadian summer than spring. The sun rises around 5am and sets by 7pm or so, and our wake/sleep cycle has been about the same, but an hour later. Most nights I (Tim) stay up until 9pm or so and Kathryn falls asleep on the couch before then. We’re all up by 6am or so, and Eden’s been sleeping really well (10-12 hours without a peep, plus 2 naps in the day). No complaints here!

Culture: Australians seem to be a lot like Canadians, which isn’t surprising since we’re both from Commonwealth countries, both have fairly small populations relative to our landmasses, and both have high standards of living. There are some differences that have jumped out right away though… let’s see if I can think of a few while they’re still fresh in my mind (before they become normal!):

Words: there are so many new ones, it’s even worse than when we moved to Labrador! Here are some that we’ve actually experienced in regular conversation thus far:

“If it’s a real corker of a day…”, when it was going to be hot

“I’ll give you a tingle”, when someone was planning to call me (“a ring” is also common)

A “ute” is like a hybrid between a sporty car and a pick-up truck – the kind of vehicle that boy racers would have if they were in Canada; they often have low-profile “tyres”, big shiny rims, expensive paint jobs, etc.

A pharmacy is often called a “Chemist”

Diapers are called “nappies”, and strollers are “prams”

Zeros are often called “nought”, as in the game X’s and Noughts

“Pommies” – you know who you are 😉

Moms always warn kids to “mind” things instead of watch out for them – e.g. “mind your fingers around the door!”

Other cultural differences:

Tipping – generally not expected

Walking/driving – on the left. We’ve confused/nearly collided with many people on sidewalks due to our favouring the right

Bare feet – seems like kids are always in bare feet, or at least they take off their shoes once they’ve arrived somewhere and run amok barefoot

Friendliness – pretty much everyone is really friendly. A lady implored me to go ahead of her in the grocery line because I had only 3 items, whereas she had about 7

Food – obviously there are many different foods, and in general it seems like there is less salt and sugar in just about everything (cereals, breads, etc.). I wonder if this is related to the fact that we’ve seen very few overweight people? Another factor may be that, even though we’re in a very central area with tonnes of people, there isn’t one McDonalds or similarly greasy fast-food joint within kilometres. Cafes and asian restaurants seem to be the norm, but pastries are definitely more common. McDonalds seems to be the only place people know of where one can access free wireless internet.

Tall people – there are lots (heaps!) of them, guys and girls… I don’t feel so tall around here.

Lifestyle: before this post gets insanely long, I’ll mention a few lifestyle factors that seem to be different from home. For one, it’s a year-round (basically) warm climate, so it seems that cycling to work is very popular, and the trails are great. They have paved trails parallel to the main freeways, and places to park and lock your bike at the station, should you wish to catch a train.

Even though it’s a huge city, most shops seem to close around 5pm in the downtown and (from what we’ve heard) 9pm or so in the suburbs. Most shops are closed on Sundays, completely.

Houses in general are smaller than in Canada, and very expensive. Kitchens tend to be particularly small, with only a metre or two of counter space in many 3-bedroom bungalows (the predominant house type). I’m not sure why this is the case, especially since eating out is so expensive (not uncommon to see regular dishes for $20-30 each – even stuff like bangers and mash at a pub!). I guess it just isn’t a priority for many Aussies. Lots of houses don’t have bathtubs either, just walk-in showers, and the whole bathroom is tiled. Eaves tend to extend far out around the house, to maximise shade and keep the place cool in summer. Typical exteriors are brick or something stucco-like, with red clay tile roofs. I haven’t noticed any houses with vinyl siding. Appliances also tend to be small, but that’s not bad because North Americans tuck away and waste so much anyway.

I’m sure we’ll have a lot more to say about culture and lifestyle once we’ve experienced it more, but like I said: these are our first impressions. Soon we’ll be living in our own smallish bungalow, amongst the locals and working with them. We’re excited about what’s to come. Rio Tinto is a huge company here, so everyone has heard of them. They seem to have a pretty good reputation, so that’s nice.

Here are some photos from our journey/arrival for you to enjoy – please leave a comment to let us know that you’ve stopped by. More than ever, now that we’re far from home, we will appreciate your comments!

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