Saturday, June 16, 2007

First time from this side of the equator

The 26 hour flight seemed shorter than a lot of the 8 hr flights I have done before. Qantas takes care of you, there is no doubt. Not only did we have a selection of about 60 movies, games, new release CDs and tv shows, we also had a lot of leg room even in the regular economy seats.

After about 30 hours of travel total, we finally got to the apartments we had rented over the internet. The old guy in charge was kind enough to leave it open and leave the key inside because we arrived late. Even though we felt like two pickles marinated on airplanes, we were happy to finally be in Australia. At the Sydney airport we had a little layover time, we walked around, checked the local prices and kept remind ourselves – we are in Australia!!!!

The apartments are nice for the price we paid. Of course it’s not a Mariott hotel but come on, we’ll be fine for a week or two here. The only thing I knew right away we’ll change were the sheets. When we pulled them off the bed they had little holes and looked like they’ve been used for about 5 years after buying them in a garage sale. But we were so tired we didn’t really care about it too much.

At first it was hard to fall asleep. The new noises of the place kept me awake for a little while. But then I was in a deep sleep until about 4 am when I woke up and was wide awake because of the jetlag. Until I fell asleep again, I was a little weary. Not because I doubted if we’ve done the right thing, but more because we are here and all our friends and relatives are everywhere but here. Just thinking about it made me realize how much we have leaned on Neil’s mom and dad while in England. Just the knowing that we can pop over to their place for a dinner any night was something so comforting that I think I might have taken for granted. It definitely made me realize how much they have done for us. It also made me so sad to think of Neil’s mom waving us goodbye at the airport, eyes full of tears but a smile on her face to show us that she is happy for us and will support us no matter what. This same feeling is something I had when I had just arrived in the US – a new place but no friends and not knowing what’s ahead. The only one I could cling on then was God. I know that once again He will take care of us, no matter what. Stepping out of the comfort zone don’t stretch us – it gives room to see God come through. That stretches room for more faith and thankfulness.

We woke up around noon. The sun was shining bright in the windows. We got up, got ready and went to find the guy in charge of these apartments, who is at a different address. The weather was warm but not too hot, around 20C (we are in the winter season now) palm trees growing on the streets, it looks very much like Florida. We paid a week’s rent and ventured out to the city. Neil had opened a bank account for us here while in England, so we went to activate it and chatted with a very nice girl at the bank. Before that we had talked to the lady who cleans the apartments who also seemed to be very friendly and smiley, which gave us a very warm feeling about Australians.

We walked to the downtown area, which was buzzing with people, restaurants, bands playing, little juice stands and coffee shops. It gets dark here around 5 pm, which makes the days seem a little shorter. We are hoping that it’s a winter thing. Since I was not going to spend another night in those sheets, we found a Target and bought a new duvet, pillows and sheets. Now we are talking! We headed back to our apartment and put the new sheets on, it looks and feels so much better now.

Since we were both really thirsty and no place was open to buy water, we stopped by a little karaoke/bar for some french fries and an Australian beer. Neil walked up to the bar and asked for half a pint of beer. The bar tender looked at him funny and said that no one here will know what a pint is, he said that they call half a pint of beer a “pot”. OK, when in Rome do like Romans do. We had a good time chatting and listening to people sing karaoke who really should not be singing but hey, different people love different things.


melissa said...

It seems a little surreal to think that you and Neil are down in Australia. I'm glad you made it there safely!

Can't wait to read all your stories about life there :)

Anonymous said...

Neil & Aggie, You did it! I am so proud of you two...I admire your sense of adventure and courage! I look forward to many funny stories in your new adventure!!

Felicia said...

I am so glad you made it in one piece all the way to the other side of the globe. I think I will need a few more blog entries to process the news that you guys are so far away... but I must admit that I am a bit jealous of this amazing adventure you are tasting... God knew you guys would be up for such an adventure, not anyone could do it. I admire you a lot! And miss you terribly. Keep us posted!!