And just like that we’re in a new city, in a new country and on a new continent. Almost everything we own is in a big steel box sitting on a dock in Cape Town waiting for its papers to travel. We’re living in an apartment, which is nice, but obviously much smaller than what we’re used to and there’s no dog constantly threatening to stand up on her hind legs (to almost human height) and gobble up all the food left carelessly within reach of humans. We miss her. We miss our family. We miss our home.
But everything here is new and that’s the upside. We’re like explorers setting foot on a new world, everywhere we go, it’s the first time we’ve been there. That’s a pretty unusual thing. I’m not saying our trip to the convenience shop at the local filling station last night at ten was particularly exciting or noteworthy, but it was the first time we’d bought anything in Australia and by extension, is a memory. Of course, the little guys, were a little nonplussed to find out that we were not going to buy Australian sweets for them – the primary reason for that was of course the fact that we don’t actually understand Australian sweets yet, not because we’re mean parents.
Obviously there are bigger differences that we’ve noticed, like the fact that this place is really wall to wall full of Australians. Getting used to their accent is definitely going to be a challenge. However, that’s not to say that we don’t understand the accent, because we do. It is in fact pretty similar to a South African accent in that it is also quite flat. When one is in America, for example, one is often mistaken for an Australian. But one must stop speaking in the third person singular and continue with the story.
No, the Australian accent is not a problem, it is the fact that everybody around us speaks with the accent that is the key thing, I think, that drives home the fact that we’re in another country. Yes, that and the fact that there’s no Oros here and that they put the cheese on top of the toppings on the pizza.
My sons weathered the trip over here very well, better than I did to be honest. In total, we flew for about fourteen hours and they slept right through most of that. I however did not. I spent those hours sitting up watching a very small little screen while my eldest boy stretched his gangly legs across me. The boys weren’t that enamored with the aeroplane food though, which is why we smuggled peanut butter and syrup sandwiches onto the flight (that we’re lovingly prepared by ’Da’). I myself snacked on a half sandwich to supplement the beef dinner in the foil container (that was eaten with plastic utensils).
Driving to our accommodation from the airport was a breeze (after we figured out how to get the car started) because we had a personal Sherpa in the form of a good friend ’from the old country’, who has made a home her, married a local lass and is raising two halflings of his own. He also helped us port the lions share of our luggage in his car. Included in the trip was a drive by of two key tourist attractions which we duly took shaky snaps of from the car, from behind tinted windows, on a cell phone. So, you know, really quality pictures.
I must confess that we got off to rather a shaky start in the hotel. The lift, by way of example, doesn’t work without the room key and the sequence of events to actually get the box moving is more complicated than one would imagine. Ditto for the front door and the lights to the room. The beds though, they worked as advertised and we slept well into the next day like we’d been out partying all night long.
Now, of course, it’s almost three in the morning here and the boys and I are all wide awake, drinking milk, asking questions like ’is it morning yet?’ and eating what can only be described as small, delicious, bacon-flavored rusks (courtesy of our Sherpa). My wife has to work in the morning and is doing her level best to stay asleep. I don’t envy her.
So, here we are, settling in, we have not as yet seen any poisonous local snakes or dog-sized spiders, thankfully, our fingers are firmly crossed that this trend will continue. Outside, Australia awaits.