Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Hey, this is a test post... The first about our move from the US to Melbourne Australia. Below is a copy of an email sent to friends and family 2 days after arriving.

Hi everyone,

Been a busy couple of days, mixed in with bits of relaxation. Got into town ok and spent a day and a half with someone who works at the Bureau of Meteorology (Beth Ebert). She has just about the coolest home and family that I know of, ex-Californians who moved here 20-something years ago and raised two children. They did extensive remodeling over the years and their house has that certain architectural je ne sais quoi that I've imagined my California dream home would have when I grew up. We dined al fresco under the trestled grape vines. We also walked with our shopping buggy to the prahran market (http://www.prahranmarket.com.au) where there were dozens of organic/local/gourmet food vendors. Still trying to get our heads around aussie dollars per kilo versus us dollars per pound though. We've also been pretending that all the prices are in us dollars (1.4 aud ~ 1 usd), which has helped us cut back on shopping ($6 for cake? crikey!). Beth's son is crazy about board games so he taught us how to play Puerto Rico, which was fun. They then left on vacation and we're house sitting.

We've been doing a lot of research on rental places and we've been oscillating between living downtown, living near Beth, in the far suburb where I'll work or an even further suburb where the beach is. Beth lives in Northern St Kilda and I suspect we'll end up a little east of here. But it's been hard though with the holidays getting a hold of people to actually look on the insides of appts. We did have one appointment downtown today although ironically it was not for the place that we thought we were going to (we thought it was a 2bd/2br, and instead it was a dingy studio). We dressed up in suits and everything so I think the landlord was more impressed with us than we were with his place. The good part about some of these places though is that they're furnished and have a 2 month lease, so we can have an opportunity to live in one part of town for a while while waiting for our furniture to be shipped. While downtown we saw the arcade and the post office and a lot of the other classic places that tourists seem to go. We went to an open air rooftop place that overlooks the city and also shows movies on a wall at night

Since we were also considering just living out at a place on the beach for two months, we took the train all the way out to my work (a half hour from downtown) and then continued on out to the beach (another 20 minutes or so). I was terribly overdressed but we walked around there
for a bit and had some fish and chips (wrapped and wrapped in paper to the size of a basketball) on the sand by the ocean. Then came the black flies and we had to run away.

So hard to generalize, but I suppose we've noticed three things so far. First, we've been floored by everyone's generosity, even strangers on the street helping us out. Second, the fashions here are probably 10-15 years ago (Christine's remark was "Did we get on a plane or a time machine?"). Those strappy "Gladiator" sandals seem to be all the rage here. Third, what we've seen so far is really not that different from the US, in particular consumable goods. It's quite americanized (or is it "multi-nationalized"?)... Coke, Pepsi, American Apparel, we stopped by the Columbia Sportswear store today. Everything's been about 90% the same 10% different, the majority of which seems better... Like, why don't we have these dual flush toilets in the US? Seems like a no-brainer. Not everything's better though. Christine cried (not in a good way) when her plate arrived the first time she ordered a side of bacon.

Anyhow, still working on getting settled in, don't have a phone yet or anything, will try and keep in touch,

Tom and Christine

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