Master of the left (or was that right?) side of the road

Well Friday afternoon we had a fun time playing at the nearby park and underneath this HUGE Moreton Bay fig tree that Drew now calls his tree house, with our lovely neighbours that we have just met—Mom and three kids.  She, along with so many other people here, assured me they have never had any trouble with the public health care system, and recommended a doctor she’s taken her children, too.  It’s so helpful to talk to people who know things here!  However, I do think people are also more used to waiting for treatment than in the U.S…… 

On Saturday, we had Steve around, which is always nice, and helped a friend move.  On Sunday, I managed to drive to a major shopping mall about 20 minutes away—huge accomplishment!  I had Steve’s instructions and  my phone’s Navigation system—again, thankful for technology these days.  I also had to get gas on my own for the first time, which didn’t go quite as well.  I borrow my in-laws’ car, which was on E when I picked it up, and I hadn’t PLANNED to stop for gas, so I called Steve in a panic wondering how far I could get and where I should go.  The tank was on the passenger side, so I pulled up to the pump the wrong way,  then had to restart the car to pull up again, only to discover I’d pulled up to the same side!  I literally yanked at my hair wondering what was wrong with me, and Drew’s talking nonstop in the back, “Mommy, why do you keep driving around the gas station?”  Luckily, 3rd time’s a charm!  But, there’s no pay at the pump here, which means kiddos and all have to herd inside to pay—no fun. 

I also had a very helpful, positive conversation.  A good friend in CO put me in touch with a friend of her mother’s from Florida, who happens to live about 5 minutes from us now.  We still have not met in person, but he has been wonderful by email, and called on Sunday.  He happens to be a doctor, has practiced in both countries and has three teenage daughters and an Aussie wife.  He was asking how the boys are dealing with the change and I told him about Drew’s ear issues and he knows most of the doctors in the area, and recommended one to see, told me to tell her he sent us.  We have an appointment on Thursday!  He was wonderful, because he fully understands how confusing this system is when you are new to it, and it was just great to talk to another American—he’s moved his family over here, has had difficulties adjusting—all of it, the whole conversation was just so relieving.  He does recommend private health insurance, so we will see where this appointment leads us and talk more about that.  He also feels, after practicing medicine in both countries, that the system is much better here.  He said private insurance should cost us around $200 per month….wow. 

On Monday we had to drive down to the customs office near the Brisbane airport to file some paperwork related to picking up our shipment and pay more money, and also run errands related to the now constant project of trying to get my immigration paperwork complete to send in.  Out of the blue that morning, a woman I’d met last week in playgroup texted me to ask me to go on a walk that afternoon!  I was so excited and convinced Steve to let me go ALL BY MYSELF, so I got a lovely outing on my own while the boys napped.  It has been a bit weird not going out alone very often, so this was a great afternoon.  She was very friendly and fun—2 younger kids, English husband, has lived in both countries.  And, even Steve was shocked because I figured out how to get to her house, just through her texted directions—piece of cake! 

We also got groceries yesterday and each time I do that, it feels better; I find more things, and am enjoying my friend’s cookbooks and learning how to make meals that are more common here, with ingredients that are easier to find.  I think my family would agree that I’m doing pretty well on that end!  I was asked to make a passionfruit cheesecake for my mother-in-law’s birthday gala this coming weekend and I was FREAKED!  Cheesecake is HARD—I’ve only made it once and I don’t have my pan here, I don’t know the measurements or ingredients well yet; it needs to be gluten free; I am unfamiliar with her kitchen supplies, etc.  And, I’d never eaten a passionfruit until a couple weeks ago.  So, I worked really hard on that through this entire weekend, to make sure I could do it, and I do think I deserve an A at least for effort and presentation.  There are definitely random chunks of cream cheese floating around in there where there shouldn’t be, but it’s edible and cute (in my opinion).  Then Steve tells me I’m also requested to make garlic bread!  I can handle that; I just have to do it during the shindig, around all the guests, which stresses me out a bit.

Well, just when I think I’m doing good driving……..

So, this is a long story—I’ve become convinced that we need to start getting up earlier.  We’ve had trouble getting Zach to sleep much past 6 which has been driving us crazy, but I’m realizing I’m having trouble sleeping past then, too—I just keep trying because I want to stay in bed!  It gets light here at 5:00 and the birds start going NUTS (apparently a “woop woop bird” was hanging out in our yard last night calling for its mate—imagine what that sounds like late into the night and starting at dawn!), which I actually think are gorgeous sounds.  I’ve been asking around, and it seems everyone’s kids here get up at 5:00!  Yikes!  But it’s getting hot and humid here QUICKLY and the mornings are a good time to do things, so I’m trying to start exercising around 6:30.  This morning I was very proud, because I can now run for 30 minutes straight (BIG deal for me), but I think I wiped myself out and I was already feeling the heat and covered in sweat when I came home—must have overdone it.  I think I will need to go even earlier as the months progress and so I really need to get to bed earlier, too!  Then I took the boys to story time at the library this morning and then to run errands—we were out in the heat a lot and I swear I got on the wrong (right!) side of the road at least 3 times, all in parking lots—I think I made an old lady wet her pants!  Oopsie! 

I also locked myself inside the front door, because I can’t figure out how to work this screen door (I promise it locks on its own), so when the Postie (the Aussie slang term that cracks me up for the mailman.  The slang here is absolutely hilarious!  They call garbage collectors “garbos”, even in a news report about their current strike!  And car registration is “rego”) showed up to drop off the package I’d been waiting for from home, I couldn’t get out to get it!  I had to go through the garage.  THEN I locked myself in the bathroom while I was cleaning behind the door—lovely.  Apparently, the door to this bathroom (where they keep the toilet—there is a room around it, Aussies!) is broken and locks itself (for real), and just has never needed to be fixed.  Luckily for me, Drew hardly ever naps, and came to rescue me when I kept yelling for him.  He was very proud of himself!


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