Productive AND Fun

Today was both productive and enjoyable! After hours, days really, spent on the phone, I think I finally resolved the gas and electric problems. Because the retailers bill quarterly, we now have free electric and gas from when we moved in, 3/20, until the next meter read coming up on the the 10th of April. Crazy system but the free utilities works for me!

I recently found a hair salon and had a cut and color done at the Rocket salon (They’ve since changed the name to Wildlife hair) in McMahon’s point. $144 – ouch. But there is no tipping here in Australia, as a rule, although I do find myself tipping every now and then, especially in the higher-end restaurants. My hairdresser, Cody, was a lovely girl and interesting. At 17 years old she once worked at a slaughterhouse/meat-packing facility which turned her into a vegetarian in no time apparently. I think I would too… Across the street is Billi’s cafe so I had a nice lunch there after my hair appointment.

http://www.wildlifehair.com/#intro

https://www.facebook.com/billisburgers/

I also ordered change-of-address labels on Vista print and found petite clothing sites local in Australia. After more exploring up in North Sydney, I also discovered an Aldi’s, where everything is so cheap! A real refuge in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

This weekend also happens to be Easter and in Australia it is celebrated as a four-day-long weekend, Friday - Monday off is pretty damn cool. The bars/hotels were filled to the max around the city Thursday night. Our big excitement was borrowing a few dvds from the library until the internet kicks in on the 17th.

A typical, beautiful sculpture you will see walking the streets in the CBD (central business district) of Sydney. A native ibis has decided he likes the sculpture too. This sculpture also happens to have a water fountain in the center. (Jim in the pic, on the right, watching the bird.)

When Jim returned from Tokyo, he brought me back this lovely kimono. I just love it and wear it all the time!


He also brought back the winning lottery ticket from Japan too - well maybe not….

And since we are on the subject of Japan, I wanted to share this link to view these incredible Japanese prints.

http://blogs.loc.gov/picturethis/2015/04/seasonal-offerings-a-new-japanese-prints-flickr-album-and-special-sakura-display/?loclr=eaptb

Finally, I thought this was a fitting quote….

“One kind word can warm three winter months.”
~ Japanese Proverb


The Joys of Utility Hookups

So the Origin gas saga continues… gas was scheduled to be turned on yesterday. No time was given, not even a range. Just have to wait all day for them to show to read the meter. This is because the gates are locked to access the property so I need to be able to let the meter reader in. Ugh

At 10AM I asked Jim to call to pinpoint a time frame at least and so glad he called. They were never even coming out but just did not bother to let us know! So exasperating…  It’s a really convoluted system here. I just learned that the electric and gas are never actually turned off as it is controlled by one utility distributor. So you must set up a new account with a retailer, not the actual distributor. The previous tenant had Energy Australia but moved out and never paid the final bill so if we wanted to go with them, we were going to be on the hook for their balance owed!

On and off the phone all day with several different retailers has been dizzying to say the least. Jemena (gas retailer) told me that the gas was on and I only had to turn the knob under the sink to get it going. (It’s these little things that can make you mad when moving to a new country. =:- O )
Yay, finally have cooking gas at least and could smell it a bit but did not think much of it as it quickly dissipated.

Toward the end of the day, Jim & I met up at the library, our sanctuary, to use the computers and borrow a few movies. From there we stopped by “Billy Barry’s Hotel” for dinner – fun place! For those who are wondering, all the bars here are called hotels.

http://www.billybarrys.com.au/

“The word “Pub” is used in Australia to indicate a bar, also known as “the local”. They are often called “Hotel”, the reason for this dates back to the days that licenses only allowed pubs to provide alcohol to traveling public, the presence of a few rooms ( who might never be used) then gave some impression that the rules were being followed.”

http://www.amazingaustralia.com.au/pubs.htm

We then arrived back to our apartment around 8:15pm to discover the entire apartment smelled like rotten eggs – a catastrophic explosion waiting to happen!! We immediately turned off the gas line, opened all the windows and sat across the street in the park for a good 30 min. We emailed the landlord to call us ASAP. We then headed back inside once the gas has cleared out and went to bed. Lakis (our landlord) called 7:30 the next morning and sent Ivan the plumber out to check the gas connection. Sure enough, there was a major leak coming through and could have blown up the entire building. Needless to say, we were livid over the lack of accountability on the part of our landlord and have considered taking legal action.

For now, it’s good to know we are safe and I can finally cook!

Words of the Day

baby = bub
trunk (car) = boot


The Mundane and the Ridiculous

I think most people might have expected that we would be settled in quickly with our new lives here but honestly, it’s been a pretty rough start. We’ve been in our apt for a week and still no fridge, gas to cook or internet access. Without a car it’s very difficult to get around to buy the essentials and set up house.

We moved into our new digs on a Friday and Jim flew out the next day to teach in Tokyo so it’s been a bit challenging for sure. His trip this week was bad timing but this will be the nature of our new life here, lots of travel and adventure! The first time traveling to Japan was eye-opening for Jim. Japan is a very clean, pleasant and conservative country. In a professional setting, they have a tradition of exchanging gifts with their guests. So Jim bought some very nice, high-end chocolates to give to the consultant of the company, in exchange they gave him a bottle of Japanese black raspberry wine called Bokbunjajoo. Haven’t tried it yet but looking forward to it.

I discovered the library in North Sydney, an oasis and refuge for wireless internet access where I’ve been able to catch up with emails and bill-paying. Amazing how much problem-solving can be done with an internet connection! Also checking out second-hand stuff for sale on Gumtree, like our Craig’s list. Yesterday I bought a local phone to be able to make local calls as needed and started to coordinate the utility hookups.

The utility companies are difficult enough back home to deal with but now in a foreign country, it has been exasperating. I tried to connect with one, Origin, but I was not getting anywhere with them.

Update: We also finally got a refrigerator, yay, no more coolers full of ice! Decided to rent one for only $19/month, alot less hassle. And after several days of no cooking gas, EnergyAustralia finally turned on the gas and I cooked my first meal using the oven’s stovetop, voila, beef and veggie stirfry!

Love our new neighborhood. Took a walk along Lavender St. at dusk, this place is beautiful, day or night.

Finally, it’s worth noting that even though we are living in an english-speaking country, we are quickly learning the many different Aussie words and phrases that take on a whole new meaning. So with that in mind, each day I will write a word or expression at the end of each blog post. Then all my readers will learn Aussie too. And if you happen to be Australian and reading this, feel free to offer any corrections or additions that I overlook! G’day Mates!

“Good on ya” = good for you

Our new fridge



Our side gate to Lavender St. w/ the beautiful city skyline across the harbor.


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