Sunday, March 5, 2017

How Australia is Different Than Home

I decided that I wanted to write a little bit about the differences between Australia and home. The biggest thing for me was learning to drive on the "wrong side" of the road. I took this picture driving home from the office. I was scared to take these two pictures because you can get a ticket here for even looking like you are touching your phone in the car!

I had to learn to drive pretty fast because Brent manages the car fleet for the missionaries and there is a lot of taking them back and forth to different dealerships for ding repairs and maintenance, and he needs me to follow him to give him a ride back to the office. The Australians all drive the speed limit...mostly, and never run the yellow/red lights, because if you mess up, these cameras in the intersection take your picture and you get an "Infringement" notice in the mail and they start at about $194.00 for speeding and $379 for running the red light. The speed cameras are EVERYWHERE! You can see the little white things on top of the light poles here, and there are actual bigger ones to tag you on the freeways and highways and even a main drag like 13th East at home. It is so weird to be all going the same speed and no one weaving thru traffic or having a road rage fit because someone is going slow in the fast lane.

They have these teeny tiny dryers here that don't vent to the outdoors, so I fluff our laundry for about 20 minutes, or as long as it takes the washer to run its cycle, then take the stuff out of the dryer and hang it out on the clothes line outside. Then fill up the washer again. I have actually come to like how fresh and aired out the sheets and towels are. Also, you can't find dryer sheets of any kind in any of the stores we have looked in! NONE! We know people who have had friends come to visit and bring dryer sheets from the states! Well, look what I found yesterday at Costco! These are like gold! Yay!

We have these little square buildings all over the neighborhoods, every few blocks right in the middle of the neighborhood. They are called "Milk Bars." This one we can walk to just down and around the corner. We have gone there a few times for milk, cheese or bread. It only has a couple of choices of things like cheese or milk, but candy and ice cream bars are plentiful. So it's easier than running to the grocery store that is about 8 minutes from home, but we try not to use it too often because it is a little more expensive than the store.

OK, this thing is out of the dark ages and now I will quote a letter from Portugal... "There are no heaters or air conditioners here. What? Don't these people believe in heating their homes?" This little mini unit is an air conditioner or heater that is in the family room and goes about as far as the kitchen. When its been too hot, we have a fan that sits in the door to the kitchen to blow down the hall to the bedroom. Barely does anything until about 4 in the morning when we pull up a sheet.

We have this other invaluable little guy (and one more like it) to heat the bathroom, bedroom and office. It will be interesting when it gets cold outside.

This little thing is our "ice maker." You fill up the teeny trays, freeze them and then turn the knobs in front and the tiny ice cubes fall into the tray underneath, about enough to fill 2 glasses. So we try to fill it more often so we have enough for a little extra.

Lastly for tonight's blog, we found out that Easter is the biggest time of year for chocolate in Australia. Cadbury chocolate is super abundant here, you see it EVERYWHERE!! We found these giant Easter eggs at the store yesterday. They claim to be filled with little prizes. Big chocolate bunnies everywhere too. I hope the Easter Bunny remembers I love chocolate and brings me something for Easter!