Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Christmas in July?

For the last three nights, when I leave work, I've had the same thought. As I walk out at 5:30 and it's dark, the lights are twinkling in the chilly air, I automatically think "Oh, it's almost Christmas" (followed by a momentary panic attack that I haven't bought any presents). Then I remember, that it's July. July! I think that's one of the hardest things to get used to - that the seasons are backwards. Inside of bundling up for a football game in October, I'll be breaking out the shorts and heading to the beach.

On a side note, I wanted to mention a few things that I've noticed around here. In the US, it's pretty common that men will hold open doors for women and let women off the elevator first. I'd say it's pretty much the standard. I haven't seen that here. Men don't hold open doors and they will push their way off of an elevator. Makes me appreciate American men even more!

Also, a case of corona - $60 Australian dollars! Crazy!

And to the family - if you wanna send DVDs or something, i wouldn't turn them away. I have like six TV stations and two of them are pretty much all sports - well, rugby anyway. The rest show old American shows or crazy Aussie shows. I need something to keep me occupied!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

First Day at Work

So, today was my first day at work. It was a normal first day - mostly unproductive. They didn't have my user accounts set up yet, of course. So, they printed off a ton of power point presentations for me - mostly about the testing methodology. Yea, I wrote that in Arizona. So, I was bored most of the day. And then the jet lag kicked in about 3 this afternoon. I kept yawning. Finally one of the guys in the cube was like "Jet lag kicking in?" Umm, yes. And then the lady in the cube had her two kids with her. They hang out with her every day from 3:30 to 4:30. Oh joy. She even has a TV on her desk for them to watch cartoons. And she brings afternoon snacks that she heats up for them. How nice.

At least I'll be getting some form of exercise everyday by walking to work. I'm going to have to be one of those dorks that walks in her tennis shoes and then switches over to the heels. I walked all day in my heels today and my feet are killing me.

I'm not sure about this urban living. I'm used to driving to the grocery store and buying sacks and sacks of food and then driving home and unloading them. I can't do that here. I'll have to make short trips every day to get what i need. I even have a reusable bag.

I also had no idea how how it was to get broadband service outside the US. I'm finding that they measure everything here. I was told today that I have a cap of $5 a day for electricity usage. What the heck does that mean?? I have no idea what my normal consumption is. How am I supposed to know when I go over $5? And for broadband, you have to pay for how mucy you use. Unlike in the states where you just plug in and go. Here you have to gauge how much you're going to use. I guessed at 6GB a month. Who knows, I could use alot more than that.

Oh, and all the stores close here at 5:30. Yes, you read that right - 5:30pm. It's craziness. Oh, but they have LATE shopping on Friday nights. Woo-hoo! Wild and crazy Aussies! There's so much to get used to.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Finally - Online!!

I'm finally online! It may be dial-up but at least it's something. I'm finally in Canberra and slowly acclimating myself to the city. Getting here was a long day but it was good to know that I could do it.

The day started off crazy. I had to finish up getting the house ready - making sure everything was locked up, meeting the window guy for re-chalking, and just basic cleaning. Then it was off to pick up Merritt and drop her off at the airport. I think that's the first time I cried since this whole thing got started. Then it was back to the house to load up the car and drug up the cat. She didn't like it at all - it took about 15 minutes for me to get her to eat it. But once it kicked in, she was very cute. I wish I had taken a picture. From there, it was back to the airport. I dropped off my luggage and checked in. Then it was off to Terminal 4 to drop off Jillian and Zima. Zima was the chillest I think I've ever seen. When I tried to say good bye, she just laid there. Again, I cried...and Jillian laughed. I watched them go through security and then I dropped off the rental car and was off to Terminal 2.

The flight to LA was basic. I sat next to some high school girl going to China for some Christian thing. I did the whole "I'm reading and don't want to talk look". We left each other alone. Once in LA, my gate for Sydney was only a few gates down. This left me with alot of time to people watch. I love airports..for that simple reason alone - people watching. It's the best people watching ever. There was this guy, who I think was trying to dress like a woman, and he had the worst outfit on ever. A white button up and then these purple/black tie died stretch pants, it was awful. I was just hoping i wasn't sitting next to him.

The flight to Sydney was really great! I upgraded to Business class, and now I'm afraid I will never fly coach again. I didn't get on the upper level but, hey, I really can't complain. They were serving champagne as you were sitting down - nice. Then after take off, they were serving cocktails with warm nuts! YUM! And I didn't have to watch the movies in the pre-determined order. I could watch them whenever i wanted! Yea! So I watched Stop-loss. During the movie, we had dinner. This included a salad and appetizer - i thought the appetizer was dinner. But no, dinner was a filet migon with a baked potato and green beans! and it was good!! who knew that airplane food could be good? I decided not to have dessert - i was stuffed from the steak. I finished the movie and then laid out my chair completely. It was big enough that I was able to roll onto my side and then i was OUT. I think I slept for about nine hours. When I finally woke up, they were serving breakfast and there was only two and a half hours left to the flight. Breakfast consisted of fresh fruit and yogurt. Finally, it was time to land. I don't know how many of you have ever been on a 747-400, but the plane is HUGE. Let me reiterate - it's HUGE!! I thought for sure that it was going to be a tough landing. But NO - it was the best landing ever. So very smooth. I don't know if it was the size of the plane or the pilot but it was great. Unfortunately, after we landed we couldn't get off the plane right away. They had to spray us with some sort of Agriculture spray. Who knows, it was probably some strange Australian virus.

This is when things got interesting. I got my first stamp in my passport (woo-hoo!). And then I had to get my bags...all three very large bags. i finally get them and most of them are on a cart and I make it through customs (i had to give up my trail mix - who knew you couldn't bring cranberries into Australia?). I then find out that I have to take a bus to another terminal. Do you know how hard it is to push a cart and pull a bag behind. So anyway, i make it to the other terminal and get checked in (they waived the additional bag fee - you can thank me later Accenture). Then I get lost in the terminal. My ticket says Gate 35 but there is no gate 35. And it's not on the monitor. At this point, I'm about to cry but there are these really hot men in Cowboys jackets (I thought that meant American football, turns out it's a rugby team) and I didn't want to cry in front of them. So I buck up and find another set of monitors, and there's my flight - at gate 17. Whew. I end up sitting on the plane for about an hour b/c some dumbasses checked in but never got on the plane.

Finally! I'm in Canberra! The airport is something between the Manhattan, KS airport and the Idaho Falls airport. My family will know what that means. Basically - it's tiny. So i get the bags - again and find a cab. It still freaks me out that they drive on the wrong side. And I get to the apartment. I'll post some pics of it later. It's a nice apartment....very European. I think that's the best way to describe it. And it feels like a dorm. I've seen a few people in the building - mostly men (woo-hoo) and I've definately heard them - they were partying in the hall last night.

I walked around the city yesterday and today. The city center is nice. There's a huge mall with a Target and a Big W (aka Wal-Mart). I'm sad about the Target here. Deanna told me they weren't like the ones at home but i wasn't expecting this. It's more like Wal-Mart - no worse than Wal-Mart. I can't shop there. I don't want to ruin it for when I get back. The clothes are super-expensive but also super-cute. I may go broke. They have Subway, Starbucks, and McDonalds. They have what's called Hungry Jacks - which is really Burger King, I think.

So there you go. I'll post some pics later. And give an update on my first day at work. I hope everyone is well!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Time Zones

Phoenix Time

Raleigh Time

Colorado Time

Canberra Time