Jump to content

Sunshine after the Rain


MANDYBRENT
 Share

Recommended Posts

Please find below two chapters of life so far in Oz. If it is boring or too long I apologise, but I am writing from my heart and hope it proves valuable to some of you.

9 - 12 August 2009

Well, we’re here, eventually. Arrived 18h35 on Sunday evening our time. The fights were fine, just loooooonnnnggg. The kids were VERY well-behaved. Quantus was really nice, friendly staff, food was decent and provided good entertainment. There was about 1 ½ hour delay in JHB, so we caught a bit of the rugby in the coffee bar, GO BOKKE!!!! Landed in Sydney and had our luggage checked through customs. Dumbnut me, couldn’t find her keys for the suitacase with the wooden bedside lamp in it, so felt quite the tosser, only to be told by the official, I needed worry, it is okay I can go through. And then guess what – I found them, in my pocket – Murphy. Anyhow, customs were actually very friendly. In fact everyone was friendly and everything went really well. Just a word of warning, if you are flying Quantus, the checkin counters for Quantus are in the domestic terminal B, and not where you would think it would be, in Terminal A International Departures. I always thought Australia was an international destination. I must say thought that the jhb airport upgrade is beautiful and also very extensive. Modern and fresh looking as well, much nicer than Sydney airport.

When we landed, hubby, Dad and my brother in law were there to meet us. They were all very excited to see us. Then went and had Macdonald’s on the way home. We were all really tired, but happy it was all over. Or should I say all just starting. Macdonald’s tastes the same as in SA, not like in Hong Kong last year, where it tasted like soy sauce!!!

Then we made our way to our home in Tewantin and what a beautiful home it is. Hubby and Dad have done sterling job. It is fresh and bright and new and BIG!!!! The garden is immaculate and very lush. The rooms are quite big and my son has a “bachelor pad†type room just outside. Very cool!!! Also all stocked out with groceries and kitchen stuff. We basically have everything, including a lovely set of non-stick pots which my step Mom bought for us. We are situated in a quite close, which end up with a deadend, with a little wooden bridge which links us to a full on sports park, which has netball courts, soccer fields, rugby fields and tennis courts, freely available for the public to use. Very neat and safe. The kids can ride their bikes there quite easily and the walk is about 2 minutes from our house. Oh yes, on arrival the kids were given their bicycles, bought as a gift for them by my brother in law. They were thrilled and basically spent the first day here riding their bikes up and down the road and into the park. I slept until 10 on the first day – seeerrriouusss jetlag. We had a lovely red wine casserole at my Dad's place. I am cooking tonight – quite strange cooking with products you aren’t familiar with, but I think I will get around it. The red meat especially beef seems very reasonable here and fish. Some things are very expensive, and others much cheaper. Also depends where you shop. Aldi stores and the market are cheaper, whereas, Coles and Woolies are more expensive. Also the reject store is very cheap, if you’re prepared to look around a bit. Oh yes, on our first day here, my daughter noticed a young girl and her Mom climbing out their car across the street from us. She promptly went over and introduced herself, asked the little girl’s name and age and suggested they play. The little girl is was a bit shy, or should I say overwelmed by this very outspoken young daughter of mine. Unfortunately they were on their way out again, so they couldn’t play, but I am sure they will become good friends.

Yesterday we decided to take a walk to the information centre, just up the road apparently – riiiiiigggghhhhtttttt – just up the road. Well not when you take the wrong route and end up on the other side of town, where the ferry is. I went to the information centre for wildlife and camping – go figure. So we made our way back to town and still couldn’t find it, but did find a bakery which sold delicious donuts mmmm!!!! Jordy (my son) took his bike, but Paige (my daughter) and I walked so our legs were burning, but at least now I know which turn NOT to take lol!!!

Made appointments to meet with the schools, Paige today at 10am and Jordy 12 on Friday. Both seem very nice, friendly and organised. Paige’s school is just up the road from our house and I will be walking with her everyday – oh yay!!!!! The interview went well and even though she was rather timid at first after h started asking her some questions she was just fine – even asked him if this school was like the school in the movie “School of Rock†– go Paige. She starts on Monday in grade 1. We will be kitting her out in uniform first thing and then off to the class to be introduced. She will be allocated one or 2 children who will hang with her so she can familiarise herself with the school. She is very excited.

Paige made another friend in the neighbourhood again today. The little girl lives up the road with her two younger siblings. Jordy has yet to meet anyone, but should once he starts school. The one lady from Brent’s (my hubby) work has an 11 year old son and they live just down the road, so will be introducing them soon. Jordy just loves riding his bike around the area. One thing for sure, we are all going to become very fit what with all the cycling and walking around here. The town is very family orientated and everyone gets involved in community activities quite frequently.

I have applied for a tax file number – easy peezy – through the internet, for when I start working. Brent has pretty much sorted out everything else eg. Medical aid, telephones and bank accounts. He has been a real star and really done an awful lot before we arrived. I will start looking for work next week again. Really need that second income if we want to visit SA in the future. Oh yes I have a dishwasher, what a dream, don’t know why we never had one before – makes life soooo much easier. On another note, just some strange things we noticed. Most people paid weekly and bills come weekly, except for Electricity that’s quarterly. Life insurance is very reasonable and so is private medical aid and household contents insurance.

Brent is enjoying work and I think will enjoy it even more now we are all here. He has some really nice tools and made all the blinds for our home. I want to find a half day job preferably, in the near future. We can survive on Brent’s income but if we want to save for holiday’s and treat ourselves every now and then, we need the extra income. Not to mention the fact that I would just go off my rocker sitting at home, especially without a car. We are also saving for a cheap good quality vehicle for me to use as well. The bus service here is good but it is just so much better having your own transport. Brent is doing a course today on Motorisation or something like that.

The weather here is just super – cool in the evenings, but like a summer’s day during daylight hours. Not really humid, just warm. There are plenty of people with long hair around here, almost like hippies, and the kids all have longer hair than we are used to – actually looks quite cool and carefree. The road rules in general and around the school area are very strict to say the least and we HAVE to all wear seatbelts when travelling in a car, which is a good thing. Found my way to the local shopping centre Noosa Civic today, via car. Got around just fine with Brent’s map and instructions. Did my first banking and also bought a phone card for overseas calls. Then came home, put on some washing and chilled.

Devin (my brother in law) is coming to stay over the weekend, so sure we will have a braai or something – a wood braai nog al!

Loving every minute of it so far, although I must admit to feeling a bit homesick, especially not being familiar with anything and almost everyone, but this should pass with time I guess.

12 - 19 August 2009

Well I promised another instalment, so here it goes.

The past week has been rather busy. The weekend started with what the Aussies call a “Sausage Sizzle†(basically a wors braai), down at the riverside. It was really lovely with a beautiful sunset and just so peaceful and tranquil. All the families were down there, “braaing†or riding their bikes, scooters or boats or just walking their dogs. The sausage was good and Paige and Jordy played at the riverside making castles in the sand and splashing around in the water.

Devin arrived on Saturday and we just chilled all day, made a potjie (Dev had to try out his new pot) and later on he played some guitar and we just all sat around chatting and catching up. He sounds really happy living in Brisbane and with his job. He also bought Jordy some cool black takkies for school and Paige and I each a pair of Uggs – sweet. Paige was all over him all weekend and Jordy loved the time spent learning some new things on the guitar. He can now play the intro to “Sweet Home Alabama†and “Knocking on Heaven’s Doorâ€. We had an early braai on Sunday and Dev left Sunday evening. I am sure we will see him again soon. His roommate’s sister also gave us a bottle of Ozzie Wine as a welcome gift, which was really nice.

The kids started school on Monday. Brent took Paige and I took Jordy. Paige was just fine. She met her teacher and was taken to her class and then turned around to Brent and saidâ€Bye Dad†She is such a trooper, fitted in just like that. When I picked her up at 3pm - yes peeps, even the littlies finish at 3pm here, but they only start at 9am – she was soooo happy. She had taken out her pony tail, as the kids mostly wear their hair down with just clips. She looked just tooo cute in her little uniform. We got all her stationary and she has settled in well, even going for her first outing next week to Underwater World, which is about an hour away in Mooloolaba. I drop her off every morning at about 8.30 and then pick her up at about 3pm and we walk home. She had her first homework yesterday, practising writing letters of the Alphabet and a simple book to read. She was so keen to do homework (let’s see how long this lasts hey!!). She has made some friends at school and I think she is generally happy.

Jordy also started Monday. He was very apprehensive initially. We went early to buy his uniform and then off to the guidance counciller who arranged for him to meet his grade head. I think once he had his uniform, he felt like part of the school, not so obviously “the new guyâ€. When I picked him up he was in seventh heaven. He says the teachers are really cool, especially his English and Japanese (yes Japanese) teachers. Apparently the English teacher has tattoos and seems like a bit of a goth, but he says she is really funny and he enjoys her class. The other teachers are fine as well. He says the Maths is pretty much what he was doing in grade 7, so at least it is not over his head? He made a couple of friends. Says they are nice guys who have made an effort to get to know him and ask him plenty questions about SA. He says the girls in the school are “hot†and also very interested in talking to him – which I guess is a good thing, but he isn’t interested in that right now he says. The kids apparently ask him to speak “South Africanâ€. Well, he told them that there are in fact 11 official languages and he only speaks 2 of them and a little Xhosa. He is also taller than a lot of the kids, which has made him feel good. He is on a mission to grow his hair. Most of the kids wear their hair long in these new trendy styles. The girls wear earrings and some boys and girls wear piercings, in their noses and ears and eyebrows – weird, but actually quite cool. They are all in uniform, but at least they can still express individuality I guess. On day two Jordy had to catch the bus to school – my child who has never caught a bus to school in his life – and said it was great. He met up with one of the boys he has befriended and later on in the day caught the bus back home again. Because his school is more than 4.8 kms away from his home, we can apply for transport assistance, and pay next to nothing for busfare. Jordy is playing soccer as his sport this term. Push scooters are very popular here and so is surfing, so he will probably get into this at some stage. Other than that he is doing good and also helping out in the house like a good young man should be. He also goes cycling with Dad occasionally. Cycled 20 kms to Noosa Heads the other day. Said his butt was really sore afterwards, but keen to do it again.

Brent has been busy at work, but is usually home by 4:30pm, which is nice. He still has 1 or 2 more things to do in the house but other than that it is lovely. We have his beautiful forest behind the house which has a cycling path through it. We also have a lot of birds in the area, from Cockatoos, to crows, to laurikeets and these strange black and white birds which sing beautifully. Then there is this “bush fowl†or “wild goose†or something (can’t think of the name now), but it lands on our roof, with it’s gammy leg and runs across making the most awful noise. We thoroughly enjoy the Aussie tv. All the good shows are on the regular channels, eg CSI, Kitchen Nightmares, Australian Idol, Farmer wants a Wife and Worlds Strictest Parents. We also enjoy their late night talk shows and music programs. Some of the Aussie drama series are also very good. We are probably going up 40 mile beach this weekend to braai and swim etc. The temp this weekend is supposed to be 30 degrees – yippee more good weather. It has only rained here twice, but just a drizzle. Apparently it rains more frequently in Summer until about March. I went job hunting yesterday. Not something I enjoy, but necessary. Most places aren’t looking for anyone right now, but Woolworths took my cv and so did the local pharmacy. I have also posted my cv on some of the websites for vacancies in the area. I mostly walk and cycle around, can feel it in my muscles – and butt – who thought cycling would make your butt ache so - lol!!!!! The Aussies here always ask what country we are from, because they are not familiar with the accent. The other day someone asked Brent if he was “French†He joked and said if he was French, he would have a string of girls following him, but no he was a Souffff Effrikan. He gets on really well with the guys at work, which is good because they are all about our age and we need to make some friends. They all have families with kids about the same age as ours. Oh yes, I am going on a ladies night to the movies followed by a cheese and wine with my step Mom and a friend from Hubbies work on Thursday – that will be a first here in Oz.

Food (my favourite topic), well I am starting to get used to the various products. The fresh fruit and veg are devine, the variety huge. The meat is really good too and not too expensive in Aussie terms I guess. I battle to NOT convert to rands when spending money. What one needs to do, is work out what the percentage is of your earnings, something is, compared to what percentage of your earnings it would be in SA. That is the best way to do it. But with Dad’s help I am getting familiar with what is a good price and what is expensive. He know where all the specials are and took me on a whirlwind tour of the shops and markets on Friday afternoon. The trick is to buy a lot of something when it is at a really good price. This obviously doesn’t work with fresh fruit and veg so much, but with toiletries and tinned, dry goods it does. The range of goods is huge!!!!! Furniture is not cheap but when they have a sale it is REALLY a sale, so this is what we look out for. Sometimes up to 70% off. They also have weekly coupon in the local free newspaper and this helps too.

I read the newspaper a couple of times and mostly it is pleasant news or politics. There was one or two car accidents and a small plane with Aussies which went down in Kokoda, which was sad, but generally not much rape, murder, armed robbery or assault. The other day a Man’s license was taken away for 6 months, because he let his young daughter ride her bike in a large field, with no license. Most of the violent crime is gang related and in the major cities like Melbourne. The other problems are hooligan youths in the big cities, graffiti and petty theft is a problem, especially if they are on drugs. So you see, not perfect, but better. What I have noticed is that the Aussies are pretty litigious and there are systems in place for just about everything. The systems and rules work and are followed, and when broken there are consequences. I still feel a bit nervous when in a strange environment, as I don’t want to do the wrong thing or not follow the correct procedure, but as I become more and more familiar it does become second nature. Like with the recycling thingy. There are 2 bins, one for waste and the other for recyclable goods ie aluminium, plastic, bottles, paper. I am slowly getting used to keeping these things separate and doing a good right thing in the process I guess. They are also very big into charity and donations etc. These are supported really well and especially the one’s for children and disabled.

Oh yes the sweets are just yummy, especially the gummy ones and the choccies are good too. They have Cadbury’s but it is finer texture than in SA, with the same taste. Brent says the portions in the restaurants are really big (I haven’t been to one yet), except for Macdonalds which doesn’t count.

We haven’t been to the beach yet, but apparently they are prepping it for Spring holidays, pumping more sand onto the main beach (a lot was washed away with the bad weather earlier this year). Paige and Jordy can’t wait to swim in the sea – not sure how warm it is going to be now, but anyhow, they are kids and kids and much braver than I am.

To round off my fist 1 1/2 weeks, all I can say is - WONDERFUL!!!!! It is really worth all the grind and turmoil, tears and stress. I can feel in my gut that the lovely warm weather we have had here since arriving in indicative of the fact that this is indeed the "Sunshine after the Rain" for our family. I am no Jeffrey Archer or Wilbur Smith, but I will continue to post these journals for those of you who may gain some on hand knowledge of what the change is all about.

Edited by MANDYBRENT
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You have been busy !!! Thanx for taking the time and sharing your experience - it all sounds good.

Im sure your son will eventually happily settle down, IMHO the teens take a little longer than the littlies.

By the way, the black and white bird that yoddles (???) is a magpie. They are the ones that dive bomb you and just last week had our first case of dive bombing in the ACT - so the babies are on their way !! You'll see some Aussies with cable ties sticking thru their hats and helmets - to scare off the magpies !!

Hope you find that job soon and all the best for your new lives in Australia.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow - great update and written from the heart! Thanks, Mandy.

BTW - Noosa is going to apparently have temps of about 30 degrees next week and they said the beaches should be clean in time for the heatwave! So, enjoy - you are lucky to be living close to the beach.

Liesl

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mandy,

Thanks for your journal. It was a very nice read indeed. Hope you find a job soon. Enjoy your new surroundings and the great weather expected. Here in CT we are still freezing at the moment. Feels like the heart of winter all over again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Mandy,

Thanks for sharing your journal with us, sounds like you are settling in really well, hope you find that half day job, I work half day and I love it.

Do yourself a favour, if you are ever in Mooloolaba and I am sure you will be, right by underwater world where Paige is going is a little shopping centre, in there is a place where you can go on a river boat cruise, lasts about an hour, cost $40 for the family, absolutely fantastic experience, you sail around the marina looking at all the houses, feed the pelicans, wonderful cheap thing for the whole family to do.

Looking forward to the next installment.

bye for now Jill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Mandy,

Thanks so much for sharing your journal with us! It is anything but boring, so keep it coming.

Your kids sound great and I'm so glad they're settling in nicely.

Enjoy the weekend braai and good luck with job hunting!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mandy

Congrats with the big move, and thank you for sharing your experiences, its so nice to read, and to see that people are happy. Especially good to hear your little one is happy, mine is the same age and thats where my worries lie.

Good luck with job hunting, and please keep us updated with everything!

y

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing, Mandy, really enjoyed the read.

Had a good chuckle remembering our first 'sausage sizzle' ~ bit of white bread wrapped around a snag (or slag as hubby keeps confusing them) with some burnt onion and bbq sauce.... not the most appetising!

Keep it coming!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

20 - 31 August 2009

Well, the last week has been a bit different. The kids seem settled in school now. They have friends and Paige even went for her first outing with her school to “Underwater Worldâ€. She loved it and even saw a swordfish, slashing away t little fish to stun them – she can’t understand why there was not blood – bloodthirsty little creature Paige is. They saw sharks and all other types of sea creatures and she just loved it. She had such a good time she fell asleep on the bus on the way home from Mooloolaba. She is coping well with the work, just does a little extra to try get her to the same level as the other kiddies in her class, but she seems to be coping just fine. I think her good work ethic helps with this.

Jordan loves his school. Has made a good buddy named Jay, who he hangs with most of the time. Apparently the cool thing to do here in Sunshine Coast is not skateboarding but scooter, yes those push scooters that were in a few years ago in SA. The apparently take them to the skate park and do some really hairy tricks on the ramps with these things. So guess what my boy wants now – yes a push scooter!!! He is doing surprisingly well with the Maths and English (his worst subjects in SA). He says the work is done pretty much in groups in class and they aren’t spoon-fed at all. They have to ensue they do their work in class and if not done then it is homework. The kids are not checked up on from what I can see. However that been said, Jordan says the teachers are really approachable and always there to help if they have questions. He says the classes very interactive, which he enjoys.

The weather has been amazing to say the least. We have had temperatures ranging from 28 to 34 degrees this past week or so. The kids have been in the pool most days and we actually went down to the beach yesterday. It was lovely! We went to Noosa’s main beach at Noosa Heads. There were plenty people there but not overcrowded. It was so clean and the water was really nice – that’s a lot coming from me (usually has to b bathwater for me to even consider entering). We spent about 2 – 3 hours there, the kids body boarding with their Dad and me catching some much needed rays of sunshine them white beentjies of mine were looooong overdue for some sunshine. What I noticed – same as when we were on holiday here last year – is that one feels much less self conscious here than one would on a beach in SA. There are all shapes and sizes, although there were some really beautiful bodies on the beach that day as well – hubby had a good ol’ perve and so did I (harmless oooogling mind you). But no one seems to LOOK!!!! There were Moms and Dads, Grannies and Grandpas, kiddies and teenagers all sharing this beautiful time at the beach. All in all just a lovely day out and we are al nicely tanned to start the summer.

I am still looking for work, but in the interim Dad has offered me a part time job in his business from this week. I went around with him last week to watch while he does quotes in homes all over the Noosa area, just to get to know the products a bit before I start. Well, there were certainly a mixture of Aussie homes. We went to a VERY larny home in Noosa Springs, which is a golf estate where the very wealthy retire and some professionals have their holiday homes. An old couple and their dog, but wow what a house, it just went on and on and on – and the beautiful golf course on their back door, just stunning. Then we went to Doonan an older area in the hinterland, also lovely but lots of trees and tropical type environment. The lady there was German I think, very friendly as well. Her house was a mixture of eclectic and arty, a lot of European influences. Then we went to a house in Peregian Springs. Pretty much you normal suburban home, but how’s this. We arrive to meet the owners (it is their rental property). As we go around the house measuring up, we notice that no less that 3 main doors are unlocked and one even open. Clearly no worries about security in this area. Me been the typical South African, was horrified that they could leave everything open and unlocked. Then we went to Sunshine Beach area which was also lovely. I have noticed that even thought the houses range from very luxurious to ordinary there isn’t much class distinction between the people living in them. If you met them in the street there is no way one would determine if they were really loaded or just your average Joe. A lot less keeping up with the Jones’ I guess which is a good thing when you’re trying to keep to a strict budget.

I have made some interesting dishes whilst in Aus. I find I am making plenty of Asian curries and also made Butter Chicken last night which was fab – an Indian dish I had never heard of till coming here. They are big on breakfast crumpets here and I just love these. They are cheap and often on special. I also made some cupcakes on Friday – they weren’t terrible but I think I need a few more practise rounds.

We watched the Springboks play on Saturday – what a win!!!!! They are playing really well. Brent and I even dressed up in our Springbok gear and had a little braai by ourselves. I had a glass of Amarula to celebrate (didn’t have any peppermint liqeur to make it “Springbokkiesâ€. We find alcohol beverages very expensive, unless you buy for eg. A case of beer. 6 pack of VB is about $15, whereas on special you can get 2 cases of VB for $75. I notice that with a lot of things, bye in bulk and you get it for much less.

I have been watching Australian Idol – just love the talent. There is one guy who is very similar to Adam from American Idol – think he could take it, but then again, some of those girls are brilliant too. Just love Aussie regular TV – no need to even consider Satellite with programs like this on regular channels.

I have also found my first SA mother at Paige’s daughter’s school. She has been here for 2 ½ years now and just loving it. It was good to chat to someone who has moved over relatively recently and swop stories and advice on how to deal with various things – like not knowing if something is cheap or expensive – darn this currency thing is really bugging me. All I know is that if it says “Special†it is usually a very good price. She was also saying that the whole weekly paid thing took some getting used to, which is so true.

Brent has met a few South Africans whilst doing installation in various homes. The one guy even gave him and I diaries with our names printed on as a gift. The other day he got a 4 litre box wine from another lady. So he must be doing something right I guess. The people in Australia are in general very friendly and quite happy to start up a conversation with you.

For the first time this week I have felt a bit homesick. I know it is inevitable, but what I would have done for a chat with someone familiar to me. I miss my family so much!!!! Just wish they could all be here with us experiencing this peaceful way of life.

Anyhow, till my next instalment cheerio!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 - 31 August 2009

Well, the last week has been a bit different. The kids seem settled in school now. They have friends and Paige even went for her first outing with her school to “Underwater Worldâ€. She loved it and even saw a swordfish, slashing away t little fish to stun them – she can’t understand why there was not blood – bloodthirsty little creature Paige is. They saw sharks and all other types of sea creatures and she just loved it. She had such a good time she fell asleep on the bus on the way home from Mooloolaba. She is coping well with the work, just does a little extra to try get her to the same level as the other kiddies in her class, but she seems to be coping just fine. I think her good work ethic helps with this.

Jordan loves his school. Has made a good buddy named Jay, who he hangs with most of the time. Apparently the cool thing to do here in Sunshine Coast is not skateboarding but scooter, yes those push scooters that were in a few years ago in SA. The apparently take them to the skate park and do some really hairy tricks on the ramps with these things. So guess what my boy wants now – yes a push scooter!!! He is doing surprisingly well with the Maths and English (his worst subjects in SA). He says the work is done pretty much in groups in class and they aren’t spoon-fed at all. They have to ensue they do their work in class and if not done then it is homework. The kids are not checked up on from what I can see. However that been said, Jordan says the teachers are really approachable and always there to help if they have questions. He says the classes very interactive, which he enjoys.

The weather has been amazing to say the least. We have had temperatures ranging from 28 to 34 degrees this past week or so. The kids have been in the pool most days and we actually went down to the beach yesterday. It was lovely! We went to Noosa’s main beach at Noosa Heads. There were plenty people there but not overcrowded. It was so clean and the water was really nice – that’s a lot coming from me (usually has to b bathwater for me to even consider entering). We spent about 2 – 3 hours there, the kids body boarding with their Dad and me catching some much needed rays of sunshine them white beentjies of mine were looooong overdue for some sunshine. What I noticed – same as when we were on holiday here last year – is that one feels much less self conscious here than one would on a beach in SA. There are all shapes and sizes, although there were some really beautiful bodies on the beach that day as well – hubby had a good ol’ perve and so did I (harmless oooogling mind you). But no one seems to LOOK!!!! There were Moms and Dads, Grannies and Grandpas, kiddies and teenagers all sharing this beautiful time at the beach. All in all just a lovely day out and we are al nicely tanned to start the summer.

I am still looking for work, but in the interim Dad has offered me a part time job in his business from this week. I went around with him last week to watch while he does quotes in homes all over the Noosa area, just to get to know the products a bit before I start. Well, there were certainly a mixture of Aussie homes. We went to a VERY larny home in Noosa Springs, which is a golf estate where the very wealthy retire and some professionals have their holiday homes. An old couple and their dog, but wow what a house, it just went on and on and on – and the beautiful golf course on their back door, just stunning. Then we went to Doonan an older area in the hinterland, also lovely but lots of trees and tropical type environment. The lady there was German I think, very friendly as well. Her house was a mixture of eclectic and arty, a lot of European influences. Then we went to a house in Peregian Springs. Pretty much you normal suburban home, but how’s this. We arrive to meet the owners (it is their rental property). As we go around the house measuring up, we notice that no less that 3 main doors are unlocked and one even open. Clearly no worries about security in this area. Me been the typical South African, was horrified that they could leave everything open and unlocked. Then we went to Sunshine Beach area which was also lovely. I have noticed that even thought the houses range from very luxurious to ordinary there isn’t much class distinction between the people living in them. If you met them in the street there is no way one would determine if they were really loaded or just your average Joe. A lot less keeping up with the Jones’ I guess which is a good thing when you’re trying to keep to a strict budget.

I have made some interesting dishes whilst in Aus. I find I am making plenty of Asian curries and also made Butter Chicken last night which was fab – an Indian dish I had never heard of till coming here. They are big on breakfast crumpets here and I just love these. They are cheap and often on special. I also made some cupcakes on Friday – they weren’t terrible but I think I need a few more practise rounds.

We watched the Springboks play on Saturday – what a win!!!!! They are playing really well. Brent and I even dressed up in our Springbok gear and had a little braai by ourselves. I had a glass of Amarula to celebrate (didn’t have any peppermint liqeur to make it “Springbokkiesâ€. We find alcohol beverages very expensive, unless you buy for eg. A case of beer. 6 pack of VB is about $15, whereas on special you can get 2 cases of VB for $75. I notice that with a lot of things, bye in bulk and you get it for much less.

I have been watching Australian Idol – just love the talent. There is one guy who is very similar to Adam from American Idol – think he could take it, but then again, some of those girls are brilliant too. Just love Aussie regular TV – no need to even consider Satellite with programs like this on regular channels.

I have also found my first SA mother at Paige’s daughter’s school. She has been here for 2 ½ years now and just loving it. It was good to chat to someone who has moved over relatively recently and swop stories and advice on how to deal with various things – like not knowing if something is cheap or expensive – darn this currency thing is really bugging me. All I know is that if it says “Special†it is usually a very good price. She was also saying that the whole weekly paid thing took some getting used to, which is so true.

Brent has met a few South Africans whilst doing installation in various homes. The one guy even gave him and I diaries with our names printed on as a gift. The other day he got a 4 litre box wine from another lady. So he must be doing something right I guess. The people in Australia are in general very friendly and quite happy to start up a conversation with you.

For the first time this week I have felt a bit homesick. I know it is inevitable, but what I would have done for a chat with someone familiar to me. I miss my family so much!!!! Just wish they could all be here with us experiencing this peaceful way of life.

Anyhow, till my next instalment cheerio!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Mandy,

Thanks for sharing, we are hoping to move down Sunshine Coast way, probably by the end of the year, depends if hubby can find work there or not.

Hope the homesickness didn't last too long, I also had a really low day yesterday, just could have spent the day crying, really just missing my mom at the moment, was looking at flights to the UK and it is a long way away and that just made me feel worse, but what can you do, my brother said this is the "arse end of the world" and I suppose it is.

Keep posting, Jill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your next instalment!

Great to hear the kids are really settling in at school and doing well and that hubby's work is also going well.

The homesickness is inevitable I think, but hang in there, I'm sure it'll get less and less.

Noosa sounds wonderful, have only seen it on TV when they have the triathlon (hubby's quite keen, so who knows, maybe we'll see you there one day!)

Can't wait for the next instalment!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your next instalment!

Great to hear the kids are really settling in at school and doing well and that hubby's work is also going well.

The homesickness is inevitable I think, but hang in there, I'm sure it'll get less and less.

Noosa sounds wonderful, have only seen it on TV when they have the triathlon (hubby's quite keen, so who knows, maybe we'll see you there one day!)

Can't wait for the next instalment!

Hi Mandy,

great too see that you and the family are settling in well.

Well we will be in Noosabeginning of December and maybe we can meet up :ilikeit:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Mandy,

great too see that you and the family are settling in well.

Well we will be in Noosabeginning of December and maybe we can meet up :)

Thanks everyone, for the good wishes. Docrip, hope to see you guys in Dec. It will be good to meet some more Saffers!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Mandy,

Thanks so much for your posts, I love

reading about "newly" arrived Saffers!

Sounds like you guys are settling in really

quickly, that is wonderful. Enjoy!

Chocolate

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Guys and girls, below is another instalment of life in Aus – enjoy – we sure are!!!

Well the past week has been yet another week of new experiences. We had Dad and Rita over for a braai on Friday and a game of “Buzzâ€, which was fun. I found a delicious Danish Feta cheese which we had in a baby leaf salad, with beetroot – absolutely devine. Also did potatoes (normal and sweet) in the oven, mmmmm, really good. The stickiness of the sweet potato goes into the normal potato and it is just marvellous. Okay sorry guys – I just love food – thought I would share.

Anyhow back to our week. I worked on Saturday morning and received a call from a very “Merry†sister and best firend from back in SA!!! Sounded like they were in very good spirits and it was soooo good to hear from them. Dev (brother inlaw) came up for the weekend as well. He always spoils us when he is here, bought the biggest lamb chops I have ever seen and we had a braai and looked through photos and listened to music. Then on Sunday we went to Mooloolaba, about 25 minutes away. It is a bit like a mini Miami, with beautiful beaches and restaurants and clubs on the beachfront and esplanande (not that I have been to Miami, but you get my drift). There were also barbeques and play areas for the kids. Loads of people on the beach. We were invited by Devin’s roommate’s sister. She is married to one of the top radio dj’s in Sunshine Coast and we met some of their friends, one of whom is the boyfriend of the current Miss Australia – I know I am name dropping (sort of) but it was pretty cool. We had a barbeque and salads – very nice. And the kids played in the surf and later everyone played a bit of football.

I was quite busy at work this week. Starting to feel a bit more comfortable in the job, especially with dealing with clients. At first I found it difficult to understand the one’s with the strong Aussie accents and found myself saying “please repeat that†over and over again. In general people are real friendly and quite patient.

Oh yes, we made some “friendsâ€!!! Yippee!!!! I know – sounds real desperate, but I need friends k!! Paige has a little friend in class and the other day comes up to me and says she must come play. The Mom arrives and we swop details and arrange for Paige to go play the following Friday afternoon. Paige goes home with them after school and Brent and I go to pick her up at about 6pm. Wow – what a beautiful home!!!! Exquisite!! And the parents, just devine. He is an electrician with a business in home automation, like Clipsal. She is a stay at home Mom. They are just lovely. Invited us to come in and have a couple of beers and some snacks. We hung out there till about 9ish, just exchanging stories and having random conversation about everything really. They are very interested in South Africa and what it is like living there. He is an ex Pro bodyboarder, which impressed Jordy a whole heap. He had just come back from a “Boys weekend†in Vegas USA, 4 days ago – cool hey. He and his brother in law hired a mustang and drove from LA to Vegas and spent a couple of days there. Says it was awesome, but very hectic. They are obviously are very “comfortable†but so down to earth you wouldn’t think so. I have to tell you about their house. There are flat screen tv’s in every room, A home cinema room, stunning Indonesian type out door area with pool. I know I sound a big gaga over the place but it is what I would call my dream home and beautifully decorated, but with many personal touches like photos and things collected from holidays etc – very personal. We really clicked – I could tell the day I met her, we would click. She is very close to her family especially her sister, something I can relate to. She is still quite young, only 26 and he is 30, but we related really well. Maybe it was just being able to chat to people in a casual sort of friendly get-together atmosphere – this is something I miss so much about being back home. We are definitely going to have then around for a braai sometime. I think they could be a lot of fun, although no one would ever replace the good friends from back home.

Paige went to a party on Saturday at the Aquatic Centre – almost like Macarthur baths in PE. Had so much fun. The little girl was born in Aus but her parents are originally from CPT. Been here 10 years now and loving it. Needless to say she came home and crashed for the night – all that water and excitement really tired her out. Whilst she was at the party, Brent and I did some shopping at the local shopping centre. Nice just to walk around and see what’s what. Many people have complained about the style of clothes in Aus, but there are actually really cute things in the shops, even Big W. And not badly priced either. We also went to the fresh fruit / veg shop and Aldi – you can get things at half the price of elsewhere here. Basically it is a German owned company and they buy things in bulk at very special prices and then sell it cheap. The only thing is that their stock changes all the time because it depends on what they bought in for the month. Something else I had to get used to is swiping my own debit card at the checkout. Yip, the cashiers don’t for it for you like in SA. And putting in petrol – you play “pomp jokkie†when it comes to this – actually miss the smiling faces of the petrol attendants in SA I must be honest. Needless to say I haven’t put in petrol ye – get Brent to do it. (I know some of these things have been mentioned before, but I am mentioning them anyway for those who may have missed it)

Oh yes, Jordy has been doing so well at school – got a C for his social science and an A for the power point Natural science project and get this, an A for his latest Maths assignment – we are so proud of him and he is over the moon. He loves school chats about it to us all the time. That is another nice thing about life here. We have no one besides Dad, so we are finding we communicate a whole lot more with each other as a family – which is really nice!!

Anyway, today is just beautiful – about 29 degrees and kids in the pool – I am going to join then soon. Yes peeps in a cozzie!!!!! Got a very busy week next week working. Paige is going to holiday care and Jordy, well he is still deciding what he wants to do. Till our next instalment.

:ilikeit::unsure::holy::ilikeit:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Everyone,

Iiiiiii’mmmmm baaaaack!!!!!

Are you all a bit worried about us – sorry we haven’t emailed in a while, just been a pretty hectic week this week and last week there wasn’t much to tell.

As far as work goes, well, I am starting to find my way around the various products and not feeling quite so much like a fish out of water anymore, although there is still plenty to learn. The people I work with have been really nice to me and are trying their best to teach me the ropes, although it must be awfully frustrating for them I am sure – not that they show it though. Tracey is an ex-Zimbabwean who moved here about 4 years ago with her family. She is about 38, a real hard worker and very strong in admin. Then Jennifer is the other lady working in the office. She is Aussie through and through – very broad Aussie accent. She is 46 but you would never say so, she looks about early thirties, I kid you not. I asked her what her secret is and she says she doesn’t have one, so go figure. She is one of those people who come across as serious, but she is really quite sweet. They both work very differently to each other, Tracey always looks like she is stressing, but isn’t really and Jen always looks in control even when she is running around like a headless chicken. Both are quite competent in their jobs and basically run the operations and admin together with Rita. Hector is the first Cuban Aussie I have met – imagine a Cuban Aussie accent – VERY strange!! He is the guy who runs the factory and makes most of the security screens and flyscreens. Every one is always saying how he can get grumpy, if he is pestered to do things, but I have yet to see this. I think he is fond of Brent as well. He always asks how I am and how the kids are settling in – really nice guy. Then there is Luis. He is 17 years old and sort of Hector’s appy. Also real friendly, but very young and it shows. Travels around on his skateboard or gets picked up from work by bunches of girls – you know typical teenager. Then there is Simon – he is actually the Ops Manager but does a lot of installations as well. He is a honey. Ex-Brit, but been here for about 9 years I think. He has a fabulous sense of humour and him and Brent have clicked. They work well together and there is sort of an unspoken communication between them. He is always joking around and it is sometimes difficult to decide if he is serious about something or not, but he seldom stresses, even when he is under a lot of pressure. Rita (my Step Mom and owner of the business)is a bit of a worry wart, but very methodical and knows the business back to front. Dad does all the quoting and doesn’t stay in the office much. We also put out our first brochure in the local paper this week which has proven to be very successful and I am sure business is going to grow big time. People just seem to have money wherever we look over here – wish they would send some our way – although I must say we are quite comfortable and the dollar gets you far.

What I have noticed is that the Aussie workforce (well in this business anyway, except for Rita and Dad), are clockwatchers of note, they are quick to book overtime (even 10 minutes) and arrive at work exactly at starting time, no sooner and sometimes even later. They are not keen to work overtime or extra shifts. They ensure they never miss a teabreak or lunch break and basically just stop what they are doing to take these, almost like municipal workers in SA. I find this all really hard to understand as I was always someone who made sure the job was done first and then worried about breaks etc. I am not saying it’s wrong, just foreign to me (excuse the pun), they have every right to their breaks I guess. Also they seem to almost keel over if they haven’t had lunch by lunch time – I mean gee, I went many days without lunch, because I just didn’t have the .

Anyway, on to something different. Took the kids to the beach again the other day, they loved it as usual. Was quite busy actually but still very pleasant. The temp was about 29 degrees and the water devine. We caught the bus there and back. Paige gets on the bus on the way home and starts chatting to the people behind us. She introduces herself and starts telling them she is from “Africa†and that this is her home now and asks them where they are from and what they are doing in Noosa – quite the chatter box!! We were all giggling away at her. She is truly one of a kind. Jordy could just die of embarrassment when she does that and I think he wished the chair would just swallow him up. Silly teenage thing you know.

Devin came around last weekend – yes again!!!! I think Brent enjoys having someone of his family around to chat to and reminisce(spelling!!!!). I basically just leave them be from when he arrived on Saturday till when he leaves on Sunday. He is a honey though, always brings something nice for us – brought me some Tastic rice and a bottle of wine this time – also some potato bake mix (really miss this here in Oz). It was quite funny actually – we took him back home last Sunday to Brisbane and he didn’t know how to get to his house – guess that is what happens when you use public transport hey!!!! It is very efficient, but you don’t really get to know your way around like if you were driving yourself – we ragged him about not knowing where his house was after living there for almost a year now!!! Silly Dev. On the way to take Dev home to Brissie, we stopped at Eumundi markets and also at Ettamoga Pub and the shops around there. Just to have a look – didn’t really buy anything, but enjoyed the time out. Dad and Rita were away that day so we used their big 4 X 4 – think Brent was in his noppies with this. Eumundi market is lovely, loads of stalls and interesting things to buy – all Aussie made. We ate at a little restaurant – wow what huge portions – actually everything in Oz is BIG!!!

Oh yes, I have decided to study a Diploma in Business Management - just hope I cope!! Funny how this place can revitilise one's spirit.

The kids both had friends sleep over last night. Paige her little friend, Tasha from up the road and Jordy his buddy AJ. We are all kiddied out today – especially Brent who had to look after them this morning, while I was at work. They are both very well, happy and content. I know Jordy misses his SA buddies stacks and they both miss family a whole heap, but they are doing well and still the same kids as they were in SA. I find there are the few hooligans in the schools, even Jordy has told me he can see them a mile away, but he stays away from them and his friend AJ is a good kid (a typical “Jordy†friend, like he used to hang with in SA).

There has actually been some rain here over the past week – very welcoming as our gardens were getting really dry. Oh yes, my herb garden is growing beautifully. Little shoots are now showing. I have Origanum, Coriander, Parsley, Chives, Tomatoes, Sweet Basil. Can’t wait till I can use them in my cooking. Brent religiously waters it every night for me.

Anyway, back to something close to my heart – CHOCOLATE – I have found my new favourite choccie in the world. Cadbury’ Rocky Road – de-vine!! Basically Cadbury’s with jelly tot type thingies, nuts, nougat and sooo yum. Just thought I should share that with you. Oh yes and I have lost 5 kgs!!!!! That’s what all this cycling and walking will do to a person. I actually don’t know if I want to buy a car anymore – because I actually enjoy cycling around. It would be nice though if it rained or was really windy, to be able to hop in a car I guess. Can’t believe I am actually thinking of NOT buying a car – crazy I know.

As always, we miss everyone back home and looks forward to oneday seeing them again. We are really happy and eventually feel like the future is something to look forward to. We enjoy the peace and stability and yes, there are things that we don’t like, eg. the rice, all I can think of right now, but all-in-all well worth all the turmoil we went through to get here.

Till next time!!

MANDI

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanx for taking the time to write: it actually feels as if I'm there with you! I'm so glad your kids are doing great, that's my biggest concern......

Looking forward to your next post.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for the update!

Must say, I'm all for taking the lunch breaks et, I worked my behind off for my SA company, came to work early, no lunch breaks, stayed late, and for nothing. The only person who benefited was my boss, not me. Also, I think when you've got kids, it's nice to know that you will be home by a certain time and not be caught up with work and come home late, but that's just me :ilikeit:

Wow, 5kgs!! Congrats! :ilikeit:

Glad to hear the kids are settled and have some good friends!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the news...

Well done on the 5kg loss!

I think you may have sent them to me, problem with having my Mother and sister here is we seem to eat biscuits and cake and junk far too much, and although I haven't weighed myself (too scared) I can feel I have put on by the clothes!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Mandy for the updates!

Sounds like you guys are enjoying it very much.

Keep those posts coming!

Chocolate

PS: Can't wait to try that chocolate you mentioned - it's not my

nickname for nothing!!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...