As my previous blog post announced, we have come full circle and been here in Melbourne a full year. This adds to the "normal" feeling. In fact, life is so much closer to my old normal that some things that were huge deals when we first arrived have become invisible to me.
- Accents (mine and theirs): I no longer really "hear" the Australian accent; it just something I have come to expect when speaking to people. Now I am surprised when I hear a North American accent. Many Aussie slang words and phrases are familiar to me now, too. I do still hear new ones and those are always fun to discover. I am less self-conscious of my own accent. I used to be so afraid of speaking because I would be labeled as a foreigner. But now, I'm almost surprised when people ask me if I am Canadian (apparently that is the politically correct question when you hear a North American accent - can't go insulting Canadians by assuming they're Americans now, can we??)
- Money: dollar coins, two dollar coins, yellow bills, pink bills, blue bills, and all the different smaller coins used to perplex me. But as a girl who likes to shop, handling Australian bills and coins is second nature to me now!
- Public Transport: this is something a little unique to us as Matt and I do not own a car (most of our expat friends here do own cars). Due to the lack of owning a car, we are largely dependent on public transport. Our office building is a five minute walk from our apartment building so the daily commute is removed from the equation. But there is still the other daily chores that have to be dealt with like grocery shopping. Well, I have to say that my skill of navigating the extensive tram and train systems here in Melbourne grows everyday. (Remember that the public transport in Houston is pretty much useless for most people in the city so I came to this place with little experience with dealing with such things). I can honestly say, that while I do miss being able to take the car out for joy rides whenever my heart desires, that feeling is hugely outweighed by the feeling a freedom from having to sit in traffic everyday and spend my free time maintaining a car. Plus, I get a lot of good exercise walking around the city. Our roaming circle is a lot smaller in Melbourne than it was in Houston but I don't feel like I am missing anything. Food, restaurants, stores, libraries, and beautiful parks are all right outside my door or a short tram trip away. It will be hard to leave this convenience when our time here in Melbourne has come to an end.
- Food & Restaurants: I missed Tex-Mex so much when we first left Houston, now I hardly think about it. I have become obsessed with the coffee here - yum!! I just have to keep a handle on it as I tend to get over-caffeinated and jittery! I have come to expect less attentive service in restaurants (which is also less rushed) and it is kind of nice not having to leave tips (food servers are paid full wages in Australia and don't survive on tips).
Thanks for reading!
Until next time,