With today’s blog entry I bring very good news – we’ve moved! As I type I am sitting at our dining table and watching the sun set over Port Philip bay! It’s a cloudy evening and not the best sunset in the world, but it has great potential and is a beautiful 180 degree view of our new Melbourne surroundings.
This weekend has been a busy one, filled with fun activities and new opportunities to meet people. On Saturday we were invited to the country races with a colleague from my office. The Aussies are very passionate about horse racing and after the glamour and hype of the Spring Racing Carnival 3 weeks ago we thought we knew what to expect. This was a very different flavour however- 75km outside of Melbourne, in the Yarra Valley, a much smaller country race track with no dress code and a much more relaxed attitude. We dressed up anyway, and the group that we were with had hired a parasol and tables directly next to the track. We all bought a picnic item and made a fantastic spread between us. The horses provided some light entertainment but there was lots of conversation and general merriment and we enjoyed it much more than the formalities of the major racing events.
Sunday was M-day and the highlight of the week – MOVING DAY! We were up at 7am to do the final bits of cleaning and packing and by 12noon we had unloaded the car into our new apartment. Thank goodness for the capacious Ford Focus, into which we just about squeezed all of our belongings. It is such a relief to be out of the tiny studio flat in the rather too colourful suburb of St Kilda, and into the spacious surroundings of our two bedroom “pad” in Port Melbourne! I will post some photos once we are all unpacked and set up – our shipping from the UK arrives this Tuesday and once we have some familiar things around us I will be even happier!
Two hours after moving, we were due to attend our first ever Thanksgiving dinner! Our new friends Pat and Amanda are from Cleveland, Ohio, and threw a Thanksgiving party for all of their international friends (and a couple of locals). Despite some delicious food, the highlight of the party was the Kris Kringle. We were all asked to bring with us a $10 gift, and I was expecting a Secret Santa style exchange at some point in the festivities. What I didn’t realise however is that Kris Kringle has rules, and rather cut throat ones too! Everyone participating must pick a number from a hat which determines the order that you can select a gift from under the tree. When it’s your turn to pick, you can chose to “steal” a gift from a participant that has selected before you, if you want the item they were given. In this instance the guest who has lost their gift can pick again from the tree, but not steal from another player. Unfortunately I drew number one, meaning I had no one to steal from but 19 people who could steal from me! My gift was a rather cool massaging thingy, which lasted until player 15 or 16 and then I lost it in exchange for a mug. Tom and I had bought really tacky presents – chocolate and small reindeer toys that “poop” sweets when you wind them up. It was obvious through the conversation that we’d bought this, and I was a bit embarrassed at how tacky our gift was... until.... someone liked the pooping reindeer so much that they actually stole it from the player that had picked it first!! Everyone found it hilarious that someone wanted this toy enough to admit to it in front of 19 grown adults, and our gift choice was vindicated after all. Tom got a Saints (St Kilda) football (looks like a rugby ball to you and I) which was actually really great as this is the team that we are going to support!
That’s all for today as I must go and do some more unpacking, but finally – thank you to all of you who expressed your concern at my parking fiasco last week. I would like to report that I have since made it into my employers car park without a hitch. Phew!