Two steps forward, one step back

All in all a pretty good week here.  It often feels like taking two steps forward and one back, always making progress but just not as fast as I’d always like.  Steve’s birthday bbq last Sunday went really well, although as I keep taking care of my boys and cleaning up after these recent parties, it seems to be hitting me harder that that is my deal here.  I can deal with the kids, and clean up after everyone, but I’m not the one with close relationships. I have really been missing close friends this week. 

On Monday, Steve’s actual birthday, the boys really enjoyed their first swim lesson and I was very impressed by the instructors and overall program, a step up from what we’ve previously done.  Then, my immigration paperwork got sent straight back to us—almost untouched other than an added letter saying we didn’t pay enough.  We had to add $2000 more and send it back the next day.  If I were ever to advise anyone on making this type of move, I would definitely tell them to at least start the immigration paperwork from the U.S.  Sending it in once here is still fine, but at least starting to gather all the bits and pieces would really make things easier.  We are still waiting on my background check from the FBI.  I would also tell people to have about $25,000 saved up just for use in the move—immigration, buying cars, re-buying all the stuff you got rid of, applying for new driver’s licenses, etc., etc.  Literally everything you had in your previous life you need to pay to redo in this new life.  Needless to say, we did not have that much cash accessible to us for this move, without dipping into our regular savings which we have not wanted to do.  So, we have been having car troubles this week.

Basically, I finally lost access to my in-laws’ car that I have been borrowing.  We cannot get a car loan because Steve has not had a job for at least three months.  No one cares that he had an employment gap of only four weeks with an overseas move taking place during those weeks, or cares about all the savings we have, or our credit history, or the fact that we have never missed a payment on anything.  It’s strictly the length of employment in this country that matters.  So, we struggled a lot this week trying to figure out what to do.  Australia is behind in some areas where technology is related—we found that to cash in some of Steve’s investments would take about five weeks, because nothing can be done online—wait for a form to be mailed; fill it out, mail it back….are you kidding me?!  I can get some of our investments over here from the U.S. faster than that by almost an entire month. 

Anyway, we are now fine and have a plan.  We’ve all heard that life is mainly about your attitude towards things and that is so true.  Once I was able to readjust my attitude and expectations, I realize that we have no problem.  Basically, we initially thought our Corrolla would be our “cheaper” car and after Steve started working we would buy a slightly more expensive used car, slightly larger to be our main family car.  Well, guess what?  Our Corrolla is our nice family car!  We will buy a cheap beater for Steve to use for work only to get us through the next three, six, however many months until we are more settled and can qualify for a loan.  That’s really no big deal—it’s all about attitude. 

Tuesday, we had a great day “off” and went to a beach north of here, called Noosa, an absolutely gorgeous place that I had visited here over 8 years ago on my first trip and not forgotten since.  We all had a blast in the sun and waves and saw a koala in the wild, too. 

But, Steve’s family took him out alone for his birthday; they are planning a men’s camping trip in the next couple weeks; his brother wants him to go out almost every night; friends are inviting him out for drinks to catch up…..again, attitude.  I started working harder at making good girlfriends and creating time for myself.  And it works!  Our wonderful neighbor wants to take me shopping to show me how to find good deals next Saturday and another new friend wants to find time to go to a movie.  Another friend has mentioned trying a yoga class together and I heard about some other moms that go to a running group that I may try.  Sometimes, I think I just get tired of having to work so hard for everything, but when I get out of my silly funk, it’s really NOT that hard, and the payoffs are so worth it.  And Steve, bless his heart, dealt with the boys last night, while I stayed out and had drinks with our friends! 

We now own a dining set, microwave, coffe machine, LOTS of everyday basic dishes and silverware, and a fridge!  I have never owned a fridge!  Apparently, you need your own here, even when you rent—same with washer and dryers—seems to create a lot of work, but at least I am grown up enough to own my first fridge now!  Again, people are so generous to us, and friends that were moving helped us out with stuff they were getting rid of, so we are just stockpiling it all for now. 

I have also been good this week at experimenting at being without a car.  We finally bought a bike and trailer which we can pick up tomorrow (ebay is used here like we use craigslist, as are printed ads in the paper—interesting tidbit).  We got Drew a used little scooter that he is enjoying practicing on, and on Friday we went for a walk to work on learning it more and also invaded our neighbors with a surprise visit, just keeping my fingers crossed that she’d let us in to play!  Poor thing, don’t think she really wanted to, but she did, bless her heart, and it went well enough that they invited us back for dinner—such a treat!  We also had my parents on skype for ages that day—I could have kept them on the screen all day, and I think they could tell!  It was almost like being with them…..although not…..

Today the boys and I successfully rode the bus to the nearest town and back, just to try it and see if we could.  It involved about a mile of walking, which Drew did really well and as long as you’re not in any sort of hurry, don’t have anything that needs to be accomplished and enjoy sweating a lot, it is a great way to get around!  Plus the bus itself is air conditioned, so we may just stay on it as long as we can next time!  I was so proud of my boys for how well they behaved, and then I almost strangled them when they melted down at lunchtime.  Now that the angels are asleep I realize how grateful I am that the meltdown was saved just for me, and not done in public! 

My Zach has had a cold this week and has been up a lot at night, but he is feeling much better which is a relief.  I thought my arms were going to break off sometimes—he needs to be held so constantly.  He and Drew are so different when they are sick!  Now I just need to figure out why I’m not sleeping, because life is just better overall when you’re rested.  I’m guessing it’s a combination of the new weather to adjust to and worry and stress over everything else to adjust to!  I’m sure it will come…..

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