11/11/2008 - 11/14/2008 84 °F
We found a place to live! We are staying in Glebe, which is right next to central Sydney. We have a great view of the downtown area and of the harbor. We are going back today to sign the lease and we move in next Saturday (the 22nd). Two of our friends, Jeff and Andy, are moving into a flat in the same house (so we'll at least know someone in the immediate area). It is a two bedroom flat with its own bathroom and kitchen area, I'll upload some pictures later. Dawn and I had originally planned to live separately, but decided that would work because we still each have our own space to spread out (not to mention Dawn was instrumental in securing the place, no way the landlord was going to rent to 3 boys).
Whew, it's such a relief to have a place for the holidays. Sydney is a big place to come to for Christmas and New Years, so all the hostels are already booked for the 15 days surrounding those holidays. Most of us trying to find places were starting to feel the pressure because long term accomodation is hard to come by here in Sydney. A whole group of us went to several places to check out possible places to live. One of the places (in Surry Hills) was a worse set up than my college dorm. We would have a bunk bed with one desk in a 12x8 room and one shower/bathroom for the entire floor (and it was $300 a week!). Another place was in a house, but it was $350 a week for two beds, a TV, shared kitchen and bathroom with the rest of the house, and it had electrical cords taped on top of the carpet (I did not want to live in a place that couldn't afford $20 to buy cables that were long enough). Dawn and I then decided that we would look somewhere together to see if we could get something more expensive and nicer. We went to view and apartment in a high rise. It was going to be $480 a week for a room, living room, and kitchen according to the ad. It was expensive, but it was going to be worth it after the other places I had seen. A guy met us at the high rise and took us up to the 45th floor. It had an INCREDIBLE view of the city and harbor, but it was also 1 room in a 3 room shared apartment. It had 1 bathroom that didn't look too good, and then the guy said we'd have to pay $1000 finders fee and $2000 up front. We decided to keep looking. We finally found the house we are going to stay in, and all 4 of us are very excited.
Speaking of Christmas, Christmas trees are already out in full force here. In the malls and in the office buildings you can see christmas decorations everywhere. In the grocery store yesterday I heard Christmas music. My sister would be in heaven, but for me it's torture. I always thought a whole month of Christmas music was too much, but now I have to endure two months. There's no Thanksgiving here (I had to explain what Thanksgiving was to the Irishman Andy), so I guess they start their holiday cheer a little earlier.
We are starting to get into a little routine over here. Yes, I still eat Cheerios and orange juice every morning for breakfast (although they only have the Cheerios with oat/rice/corn/wheat pieces all mixed together and it's made by Nestle instead of General Mills). I sit at the same desk everyday to do my work (and Dawn/Jeff/Andy know exactly where to find me when to distract me). Usually the same group of us meet in the dining area to cook dinner and sit down together and talk. We are all heading out to a free concert tonight at "The Rocks", which is an area near the Opera House and the harbor.
There are some things that I'm still getting used to here in Sydney. For example, We walked into the grocery store and went to the deli counter. I asked for 1/2 lb of turkey and the attendant just stared at me. I then realized that he had no clue what I was talking about since they are on the metric system, so I said, "Sorry, 1/4 kilogram of turkey." He still stared at me and just grabbed a handful of meat (since it is preshredded) and held it up and said "Is this enough?" I then tried to order cheese and just said "4 slices please" to avoid confusion. (By the way, you are supposed to order in grams.) Dawn and I then went to the chips isle. The have regular potato chips, but not regular Cheetos. Their Cheetos are "Cheddar & Bacon" flavored. They also have burger flavored and chicken flavored chips. I stuck with the original flavor.
I asked Dawn to take pictures of some of the things we normally run into around here (like the IEP office, the grocery, the hostel, the common area) so that you can see where we are staying on a daily basis. I'm charging my camera battery now so that I can start to take some pictures of my own.
That's it for now! It's hard to believe we have only been here a week now, it feels like it has been a month. Have a great weekend!