Thursday, July 17, 2014

An Update and Some Observations

We are starting to get into the swing of things here. Peter started work, we have a good understanding of the public transportation system, we (roughly) know where things are, and now we have an apartment! It hasn't been all sunshine and butterflies, though. We moved into our apartment yesterday (bringing a bunch of suitcases on the train was an experience) and found that the dishwasher, toilet, and worst of all, heater, weren't working. Apparently the place has been vacant for a little while, and I'm afraid Australia might fall into the "Europe" category when it comes to getting things done. What I mean by this is the landlord said she would have a repair person call me, but she didn't know when, and not to expect a call today. So I just have a hunch it will be a few days-or longer- before everything is in working order. In the mean time, we are sleeping under lots of blankets. Tomorrow we will go to IKEA to pick out some furniture and likely spend the weekend trying to make friends who want to help us put together said furniture. Or offering someone our life savings to do it for us. I haven't put together IKEA furniture in a couple years, but I remember it being more painful than the dentist. I'm dreading the word MALM.

Anyone who knows me knows I am deathly afraid of spiders and my only hesitation in moving to Australia was the potential to see spiders the size of my face. Maybe even in our apartment. I'm happy to report I haven't seen any spiders yet, but I did see a few small bugs that didn't bother me until I googled "baby cockroach" and figured out what they were. In googling how to get rid of them I found out that spiders eat cockroaches. For the first time in my life I actually want a pet spider.

Now for some observations:
1) It's hard not having a car. This one seems obvious, but it takes a lot more planning to get things done without a car. Luckily, and purposefully, we live right across from the main train station and on the main road, so we don't have to go far for groceries, good restaurants, the train, etc. However, Australia's version of wal-mart, The Big W, is about 10 blocks away. This is a good thing in that I can literally only buy as much as I can/want to carry home. This is a bad thing in that I can only buy what I can/want to carry home. 
2) After getting used to the initial shock of being in a foreign country, Melbourne has a similar feel to a large US city, but is cleaner, and the people are nicer and have better accents. And of course it feels more European. There's also a more diverse population. Something like 50% of people in Melbourne were born outside of Australia. There are tons of Asians, among others. I'm interested to see what other areas in Australia are like when we have a chance to travel! 
3) I haven't seen anyone that looks like a surfer. This could be because it's winter; I'll report back on this in the summer when I'll probably be overrun with bro tanks. I have seen people in those stereotypical Australian bucket hats that Steve Irwin wore. No word on if these are tourists or native Australians, but my guess is the former. 
4) There's an alarmingly large number of street rappers. Literally people that set up a microphone and rap in the street for money.  If I can't find any other employment, it's currently plan B. 
5) I haven't seen that many police officers, but when I do see them they are in packs of 5-10. It seems counterproductive to me, but what do I know. 
6) Toiletries are EXPENSIVE. I think I've already mentioned this but Maybelline mascara is $20 and HerbalEssences shampoo is $10. If ever I was going to embark on a no-shampoo-for-a-year experiment, now is the time. I think we are just going to have to suck it up and get over how expensive things are here in order to enjoy ourselves! 

So, there's an update. Overall, everything is going well and we love Australia. We haven't encountered too many bumps in the road, which we are thankful for! I thought I better report on the bumps we have encountered, though, since we are getting used to a new life in a new country and not just on a vacation. The adjustment period is part of the adventure! 

 I am hoping to go see the Penguins at St. Kilda Pier this weekend and maybe even attend a football game, as it's already evident people in Melbourne are OBSESSED. Of course, I'll post an update on whatever it is we end up doing! 


  1. Sorry about the bugs....hope your service person gets to you soon! I think IKEA is a good idea. Hope you can put it together. Got any tools? Wish we could help. Miss you and love you.

  2. Just reading through your blog and loving your perspective on Oz (as someone who is born and raised here it's interesting to hear how you view it, what stands out as different to you and some of the expectations you had and how it compares). I knew our toiletries were expensive and this makes me feel like we're getting ripped off :-) I also LOVED the comment about not seeing any surfers around hehe - I suspect this is more to do with you being in Melbourne city rather than the weather - this made me giggle. Love it and I look forward to reading more :-)

    1. I can say without a doubt, you are getting ripped off on toiletries :). I have since seen some surfers, but only on our trips to Phillip Island and Torquay. Turns out there's not much need to carry around a surf board in the middle of the city!!



Welcome! I started Laura and Peter Down Under in July 2014 when my husband and I moved from the States to Melbourne, Australia for his job. I blog about expat life, our travels, food, and whatever else comes to mind. Follow along on our adventures Down Under!



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