Not Vacation, Not Ordinary Life Quite Yet

Thing I love about Australia: morning tea.
Thing I should avoid if I want to continue to enjoy the savory pies at morning tea: a scale.
Thing I’d forgotten about moving internationally: you spend the first weeks carrying around every document you own proving your identity and trustworthiness. The number of times we’ve been asked for these documents is unreal.
Creatures we are learning to live with: the little lizards that visit our window screens nightly.
Creatures we are happy to meet: the hermit crabs that we saw literally by the dozens at low tide the other day. (The water recedes, by the way, no less than 75 yards at low tide. It seems endless. The close-up picture is the “family” of crabs Samantha lined up together so they wouldn’t lose each other.)

Thing that reminds me just how close we are to the Tropic of Capricorn: mangoes.
Driving down the street, we have seen so many mango trees with mangoes fallen and split open. Mangoes are so common here that one grocery store even had a box of them offering customers to take one–for free!
I’d consider stopping to pick up mangoes by the road, but that presents too much of a driving challenge: which side can I safely stop on, again? I no longer have to focus quite so much on staying on the left, and I don’t panic when I see a car approaching from the right near side and turning to my right. I turn on the windshield wiper instead of the turn signal just once a day now, instead of every time I turn. Still, mango harvesting might have to wait til next month.
Every morning since we arrived, we have woken up to the sound of some unique birds. I would blame our early mornings on their calls (one warbles like an aspiring soprano, one outright screams), but between the jet lag and the early light, I can’t. The sun rises early: by 5:30am, it’s quite bright outside. Try convincing a three year old that just because the sun is up doesn’t mean that she has to be. I’m a morning person, though, so I don’t mind. Much.
In short, one week in, we are alternately comfortable in, frustrated by, and charmed by our new surroundings. The cross cultural trainer in me fully recognizes that we are still very much in the honeymoon phase…but the experience is very different when you are with kids/family. That will be the substance of future postings, I’m sure. But for now, bed. The morning birds won’t wait.

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