4 weeks Down Under
#50to50 It’s been exactly four weeks since we landed in Sydney to begin a new chapter of lives.
December was a whirlwind of activities and emotions: Highs, lows, fears, excitement. The last two years were a constant flow of uncertainty. Do we or don’t we? Stay or go? Here or there? So much so that right until we cleared Immigration at Sydney Airport, I wasn’t sure we would actually be here. I half expected to be told at border control that something wasn’t right and we couldn’t enter the country.
But that didn’t happen. We passed through Customs and Immigration in record time. And suddenly, we were here. In Sydney. Finally.
A moment of deep satisfaction and relief came over me as I watched my husband embrace and be embraced by his parents.
We made it. Goal achieved.
Since our arrived, we were caught in another kind of busy-ness. A new home awaited, one bought online, from thousands of miles away, sight unseen. We had to first do a Covid test within 24 hours; isolate for 72 hours. Then there was Christmas. Family and friends help the transition IMMENSELY by ensuring we had the basics supplied: food, towels, linen... and a Christmas tree! We had minimal furniture, which included one slightly damaged table and 8 chairs from our outdoor set.
When the children fell asleep that first night - our girls on mattresses on the floor - I thought at how my family started anew in the US some thirty-odd years in similar conditions. My husband may be coming home, but as a family, we will be building anew.
We’re not strangers to Australia, but coming to live rather than to visit adds a new component to everything we see and do. It mattered that I didn’t know how many breaks the schools offered in a day; it felt strange to be rejected for a phone plan because we had no credit history in this country. My sister-in-law had to translate “What’s your last name?” from English to … er ... English for me at the school uniform store. She nodded sympathetically when I questioned WHY I was having a hard time understanding everyone.
I tried to take notes of all the “new” I was being exposed to but it’s been a lot. My senses have been flooded: new sights, sounds, smells. It’s been both exciting and overwhelming.
But I’m ready for new, with all that comes with it. Interestingly enough, the question of being ready was prompted by the BTS concert in Los Angeles which was never in the plans for 2021.
But that’s for another blog post.
Meanwhile, as the day ends on this, our 28th night in Australia, my four children are sleeping in their bedrooms while my husband watches his cricket. The familiar and unfamiliar will be a running theme in the first few months of our new life here Down Under. #50to50 list of DONE:
1) Move to the Sierras.
3) Visit Yosemite with the children.
4) Discovered a new walking route to the Lake.
5) Tried a new coffee place: Cup of Cherries.
6) Buy a car from the other side of the world – untested and apparently wrapped in plastic.
7) Lunched at a new restaurant: Riva Grill by the Lake.
8) Drive from the Sierras to Los Angeles ALONE.
9) Attend a BTS Concert.
10) Eat in Korea Town, Los Angeles.
11) Pull over on the I-5 to stick duct tape under my car.
12) Drive to Los Angeles three times in a month.
13) Move a family to the other side of the world.
14) Move into a house I’ve never seen before.
15) Live in the Shire.
16) Go school uniform shopping in Australia.
17) Go to Wanda Beach.
18) Buy furniture from Gumtree . com . au
19) Buy my now-legal-to-drink-in-Australia-aged son a beer.