We made it! After a few travel delays that made our trip stretch to about 48 hours, we landed safely in Adelaide, South Australia and were greeted by Stan’s new boss. I’m sure I made an excellent impression, looking much worse for the wear even hours after this photo was taken:

I remember babbling on about something, and him telling us that if we wanted ketchup for our fries to ask for “tomahto sauce”, but that’s about it. That night, we tried to stay awake as long as possible, and we lasted until 5:30pm. I was nervous that we were going to wake up in the middle of the night and not know what to do with ourselves, but nope- we slept until about 7am the next day. I guess five fitful hours of sleep on the plane the night before wasn’t enough.

Since our arrival, we’ve been scrambling around to get our lives set up again. We set up our bank account, but naively left most of our money back home. We, uh, kind of need that for a deposit on an apartment and stuff. Good thing I have a nice brother-in-law who is going to wire us some of our money (and we’ll pay a nice $40 fee to have that done- awesome). I really didn’t think it would be that complicated to send money between accounts- I was wrong!

Next, we tried to set up cell phones but we have no credit here. So we’re going old school and buying prepaid minutes, which actually isn’t bad. It was nice to get a phone, because then I could call people about their posted apartments and they would know that I was a real person.

They do rent by the week here instead of by the month. It’s funny how easy it is to convince yourself that a $30-50 difference between apartments isn’t that much, but then you remember that monthly, that is actually a $120-200 difference. A lot of apartments posted online will have a time period where you can go “inspect” it, usually for only 15 minutes. So there’s you and a bunch of other people walking through and talking to the realtor (yes, pretty much all the ones we’ve looked at are being handled by agents, instead of just by the landlords themselves). Then you ask for an application and give everyone else the stink-eye hoping they will leave and not apply.

I really hope someone accepts our application. I’m nervous, because we don’t have a strong rental history (less than a week here in Australia, and owning a home back home with no one to put down as our landlord except ourselves). They also require lots of identification, and most of ours is obviously American. The temporary place we’re staying in now isn’t bad, but I’m excited to get our actual home set up.

Also, did you know that here, “unfurnished” means the apartment doesn’t come with a fridge? So add that to the list of things we need to buy, as well as a washing machine, bed, couch, ALL furniture… sigh. It might be a slow accumulation.

There are a few things about Australia that you may have heard, that are in fact true. Such as… the toilets flushing the other way, and people driving on the left. Proof:

I’m happy to report that as a pedestrian, my relationship with traffic has gone from a near-death experience due to forgetting which direction the cars come from, to maniacally spinning my head in every direction possible to check for cars when I’m even thinking about crossing the street, to intuitively knowing where I need to look before crossing. Although I sometimes revert back to the maniacal head-spinning, because one can never be too cautious.

Speaking of traffic, I saw the cutest thing yesterday. An out-of-service bus had a sign that said, “Sorry, out of service”. I don’t know why I love that. It’s just so polite, and you feel like the bus driver is sincerely feeling very sorry that he can’t pick anyone up.

I have managed to make an idiot of myself quite a few times, simply because I’m not really afraid to be a clueless American. Just today at the grocery store, I was looking for arugula and I kept seeing this leafy green that vaguely resembled arugula but was labeled “Rocket”. What the H is rocket?? So I asked the produce guy, “What is rocket? Is it like arugula?” and he replied, “No,” followed by an explanation of what rocket is that I couldn’t understand, either because his accent was particularly thick or because my brain is particularly thick. So I just walked away and put the rocket back.

Now that I’m sitting at a computer, why don’t I google it?

Googling… googling… googling…

Well darn that produce guy! Rocket IS arugula! Thanks a lot. Oh well, now I know.

One thing I love about this place already is the Central Market. Good, cheap, fresh, local produce. Check out this red bell pepper! It was only 50 cents! One half this size is like $1.59 back home.

BUT. I can’t find Cholula, and toothpaste is like six bucks. Life is about tradeoffs, I guess.

This post is taking me forever to write because I feel like it’s boring, even though I’m really having a good time. Since I started this post, we got approved for an apartment! It’s in a really cute neighborhood and it’s nice but a little generic, so I’m excited to tackle the challenges of decorating it and making it our own. One of the biggest challenges is going to be that since we’ll only be here for three years, we don’t really want to invest in super nice stuff. However, we’re also trying to move away from buying cheap crap. Somehow I’m determined to make the two go together.

I’ve been revisiting Apartment Therapy, and the fact that we’ll be actual apartment dwellers again gives me new eyes through which to see that site. Some of my fave shelter blogs are written by non-homeowners, and I’ll happily take suggestions for more!

Also this is a call-out to Crystal and Emily who live here in Oz and commented on a post a while back. Let’s be friends!Β  (Not to creep you out… we can just be internet friends if you want. :-)) Sometimes I’m bad at responding to the comments but I’m going to be better.

And lastly, here are some pictures.

I realize the following statement isn’t 100% geographically correct, but it’s more or less true: The next land mass across the ocean behind me is Antarctica. Craaaaazy.

Kristin, this last one’s for you:

Thanks for reading!

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