Thursday, February 2, 2017

The not-so expat life {3 months in}

I started these posts shortly after we moved to the Netherlands in 2010. And while I know we are technically no longer expats, re-entry has been *interesting* and it sometimes feels like we're living in a foreign country, so why not hash out one last post :)

So, life down under - 3 months in.

The good...

- The supermarket. Yes, the good old supermarket. While I might miss Sprouts and TJs, they were not a one stop shop. I couldn't get nappies and regular old toilet paper and toothpaste there (unless I wanted some random organic weird natural herbed flavor). And Safeway... I despised that shop. Coles and Woolies though, woo hoo! Love going in (minus the tiny humans) and love the home delivery service. Someone dropping my groceries on my kitchen bench, yes please - we live in an old Queenslander and have a zillion stairs.

- UBER EATS! It's like DoorDash all over again. In other words: take away for lazy people. Like me :) $5 delivery with so many choices around us, it's been a great service so far.

- So many of my fav shops are finally not only down under, but in Brisbane! Zara & H&M are already here and Sephora is opening at Chermside this year. Woo!

- COFFEE!!!!!! Finally, we have access to an abundance of proper coffee again! And fun coffee shops! In fact, just fun little food places in general. Apparently, there's even a food truck scene here though we're yet to go check it out.

- Kmart! It's like USA Target, but minus the decent clothes and groceries and Starbucks. But the homewares are so fun and cheap, it's kind of addictive going there.

- The beaches. I'm ashamed to say we've only been twice since getting back... three times if you count the Noosa river. But - nothing compares to a Queensland beach. Nothing. Not even Hawaii, Fiji, the mediterranean... Aussie beaches are special, although I wouldn't mind if there were a few less jellyfish. Got my first sting of the season at Coolum and even though it wasn't particularly bad, it still hurt!

- Shopping centres. Firstly, they have air conditioning. Secondly, they have everything. When I used to do groceries, I'd just go to the grocery store in the states. Here, the supermarkets are all inside shopping centres and there's obviously other shops and food and well, it gives us an outing and things to look at on days with not much else to do. I like that I can cross a bunch of things off my list in one place.

- Our closest Ikea is in a shopping centre. Right next to Kmart. Best idea ever!

The bad...

- EVERYTHING IS SO FREAKISHLY TINY. Now, don't tell me that I just got used to American sized things. I swear, the roads here (in Brisbane, Gympie was fine) are barely the width of my car and don't get me started on the carparks. It can take me an embarrassing number of turns to get in and out of a straightforward park in my car which is the exact same car I was driving in the states. The spaces are narrow, there's hardly any reverse room and I feel like it takes forever to find a spot because everywhere is so busy with everyone wanting to be indoors in a/c comfort not to mention that everyone (myself included) wants the undercover or shaded parks because - crazy heat. I'm starting to understand why Mums like minivans so much.... Having sliding doors in these tiny narrow parking spaces would be kind of amazing.

- The petrol stations where you can pay by credit card at the pump seem to be either non existent or few and far between. Which means dragging 3 tiny humans into the store to pay. I've been able to avoid it so far by making sure we fill up when we're both in the car, but I know this is going to be a nuisance long term.

- You have to pay for parking at Westfield shopping centres (after 3hrs) nowadays. Booooooooo.

- HUNTSMEN SPIDERS. Particularly, the ones that LIVE IN MY HOUSE. I feel like we're throwing thongs at one every day. Every time I go to turn on the light in the storage room, I feel like there is going to be one just waiting on the light switch. I'm paranoid.

- Heat and humidity. Oh. my. It's AWFUL. I'm re-thinking summer as my "favourite" season. Winter is sounding pretty good right about now, especially as winter in Qld = summer temps in CA. And the worst part is that the heat starts early. I've been going for walks around 6.30am and even then it's just too hot already.

- Not being able to buy wine with my groceries. Or with my useless but fun purchases at Target. Now I actually have to go into a bottle shop (like Bev-mo). Yes, they're everywhere and always beside a supermarket but still... I miss the convenience.

The hmmmmmm moments...

- The first time I encountered a roundabout again. I kinda missed those good old 4 way stop signs for a moment.

- Seeing all the American things that have made it to the shops in the time we've been gone with their crazy high prices. You can now buy Reece's peanut butter chips and Ben & Jerry's icecream (at $12 a tub!!!! Holy!!!! Given it always used to be on special in Target for what, $3.75?, I'm kind of appalled at the markup).

- Coffee shops (not chains) all seem to close by 3pm?! I guess this is because it's not Silicon Valley with all the techies working out of coffee shops all day/night? Still, I feel like it's kind of early. Mitch starts work at the crack of dawn and finishes mid afternoon to keep on USA hours, and it would be nice to have a coffee shop nearby to go have a little outing to after he's done for the day.

- The first time I took the kids the library. I was sitting on a bench outside at the park after reading the boys a book in the shade (because, it was way too hot to play - 'straya) when the older lady sitting next to me told me I had a lovely accent... What country do I come from?

We're still in a period of adjustment, but - it's nice to be home.

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1 comment:

  1. I laughed out loud at your last paragraph! I guess our American accents rubbed off on you a bit while you were here??! I'm sure the longer you are home, the more your lovely accent will come back! I know if I go back to the part of Texas my family is from, my Southern accent comes out more. Andrew is always like "who are you?!" But I can't control it! It just happens!! ;)


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