State of Origin and other Confusing Matters

Wednesday last week brought me two major initiations to life as an Australian:  my first Tupperware party and the State of Origin football (rugby) game—whew!  That evening I left to go to this party when Steve already had his jersey on (of course he wore it to school that day) and was pretty revved up for the game.  My nice neighbour agreed to go with me, as this time, I had to drive across the city at night.  I got lost, but panicked much less with her in the car and we made it to my friend’s house safely.  Tupperware is a serious business!  Women at this party had been buying the products for years and felt very strongly about their worth and performance.  But holy moly, how much can plastic cost?!  Crazy!  I learned through the evening’s little Tupperware facts we were presented with that the U.S. is the 2nd highest consumer of Tupperware, but I don’t know anyone who has any.  I remember my Mom going to a couple parties for it when I was a little kid, but beyond that, I haven’t heard much about it since.  I wonder if that’s because the U.S. is likely the highest consumer of almost everything, partly because we have the biggest population, and partly because we are big consumers in general.

I arrived home to find Steve and his friend quite into drinking, eating all my frozen baked goods that they could find, and enjoying the game.  The whole premise of State of Origin is a bit odd to me.  As I understand it, they take all the professional rugby players away from their regular teams, and the players who were born in Queensland play for that team, the Maroons, and the players who were born in New South Wales play for the other, the Blues.  For some reason they don’t care about players born in any other states or territories.  They play three games each year and it is a BIG deal, particularly to the people in these two states, and I think a large form of entertainment for the rest of the country.  The three games take place over a 6-week period and in between the games, the players continue to play for their regular teams, who continue to play their regular seasons.  Interesting idea……

Another fun sporting event I have heard of over here is that a team of players for Australian Rules football (Australia’s own unique version of something like rugby) play a team from Ireland playing Gaelic football.  Neither sport is the same!  They just come together and see what transpires I think—crazy!  I don’t know when that occurs so more on that later.  By the way, they call sports here sport, crafts craft, and just to confuse you, the school subject of math, maths (I guess coming from mathematics).  And, although they call a period in punctuation a full stop, which I think sounds so cute, they don’t ever use one in abbreviations, therefore they become Mr, Mrs, St, Ave, etc.  It all just continues the theme that things are similar enough that I can figure it out, but different enough to leave me permanently confused. 

I keep hoping for these little bugs to leave our family.  I have my fingers crossed we are on our way, and am thankful nothing too serious has been going on.  Last week we finally discovered that my month-long stomach issues were caused by bacteria, so I am better now after a round of antibiotics.  We also discovered Zach’s first ear infection.  He is almost finished with his antibiotics and is feeling much better.  We discovered the infection on Thursday, again in a not-so-stellar parenting day for me.  I decided to take the boys to playgroup in the bike trailer, which I thought would be healthy for all of us and a nice way to enjoy the beautiful weather, and a treat for now, but I habit I hoped to get into when it wasn’t too hot.  Instead the idea nearly brought me to tears and did leave me feeling horribly guilty.  Instead of being excited when he saw the bike, Zach started throwing a fit, saying he didn’t want to go to playgroup and going inside and laying on the couch.  Did I stop to think that he might be sick?  No.  I lost patience and told him to get back outside and get in the trailer.  He kept refusing and said he wanted to ride in the car.  No, says kind patient mommy, get in the trailer.  He proceeds to cry most of the way to playgroup, as did I, and then had a fabulous time, clinging to me as he usually does for a bit, but eventually galloping around with a paper crown on his head and a dragon tail tied to his butt.  He’s happy again on the ride home and then gets crabby as we get ready for lunch.  I thought he was just exhausted from his two days at day-care and was thankful when he went down for a nap.  Except he couldn’t sleep and I eventually realized it was because he couldn’t get comfortable, and asked him where it hurt and he pulled on his ear and there you go.  Of course that kind of day had to happen on a day when Steve wouldn’t be home until bedtime, which I should not complain about at all because he very rarely has those these days.  But we all got through ok. 

I ran 7k Friday morning, trying again to train for a 10k in June.  I struggled through it so badly and I really hope it was only because of my antibiotics and not that there is no way that I will be able to finish a 10k next month—fingers crossed!  I was so whipped after Drew’s swimming lesson (Zach had to sit out last week), as we got through our big Target errand, hitting a big sale on flannel sheets and other winter supplies, and Zach insisted on being carried the entire time as I steered our overflowing cart, that it about did me in.  Also, in the middle of the aisle, he squatted down to do the only thing you would do in that position and stayed there for quite awhile (apparently this one took some time), not bothered at all by the crowds of shoppers around him or the fact that his mother was pretending she didn’t know him. 

One thing that drives me nuts about life over here is that the stores don’t have bathrooms!  How are we supposed to get through them without accidents?!  Since most stores are in big shopping centres, bathrooms are centrally located.  We stored our cart (trolley I should say) with an employee up front, trudged down to the nearest bathrooms, made our way back and continued the adventure.  As we loaded up our car in the parking garage, even though Drew had just gone when I changed Zach, he suddenly had to go again NOW.  Now, during the aforementioned pooping incident, I was wondering why I had two boys, but now I was again thankful, because I just turned him in front of a post and tried to block any passersby from seeing him.  There was no way I was trucking us all back into those bathrooms again. 

I really don’t understand the term ‘car park’ instead of parking lot.  It’s not a park for cars, but rather an empty lot where you park cars.  The lot and the spot itself are both called car parks just to add to the confusion.   You park your car in a car park in the car park.  What?! 

The rest of the weekend we were pretty mellow and got a lot of errands accomplished.  Those included a return trip to Target, not just because Friday’s visit was so fun, but also because in all the chaos, I bought the wrong sheets for Drew and forgot to buy the things I expressly went there to buy for Zach.  Now how could that have happened?

I ran a 5k on Sunday morning, which was a lot of fun.  It was pretty chilly!  But nothing major.  Steve and the boys were troopers to get up and out of the house early to come with me and cheer me on.  They had a lot of fun stuff there for kids and the boys really enjoyed it.  The highlight of the race was coming back into the athletics stadium (it was at the University of Queensland in Brisbane) onto the track, and Drew, who had stayed in his Thomas the Train fleece, footed pajamas all morning, got so excited he ran out onto the track with me and grabbed my hand to run to the finish line together!  SO, SO cute! 

I also ended up making two completely vegan meals for both Saturday and Sunday and the whole family, even Steve, actually enjoyed the healthy eating.  I have been trying to cook less meat in general, but the vegan part just came by chance—I just discovered really good recipes to try.  Even Steve’s brother, who came over on Saturday, enjoyed it!  It helps assuage some of the never-ending mother’s guilt when you can be satisfied you are putting good food into your loved ones bodies.  J

I’d be lying if I said my highlight these days wasn’t planning and preparing for our trip next month.  We finally finished all the pre-Colorado, Utah trip details and are very excited.  And, it is absolutely thrilling to be hearing from family and friends who are looking forward to us being there and trying to plan get togethers.  It is such a great feeling to feel ‘in demand’ for this short period.  We so enjoy the people here and have strengthened old friendships and are thoroughly enjoying the new friends we are meeting, but, as the saying goes “There’s no place like home.” 

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