Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Thoughts on 'Straya...One Month Later.

-->G'day Mates!
So, I’ve been in sunny Queensland for just about a month now and I have much to report! I figure the best way to present to you “how things have been” is in the form of a very short book or “novella,” if you will. 

But, before I really get into the meat (or, should I say, beef) of things, I'd like to quell (not quarter quell, just regular quell) a few rumors that have been circling...

First off, I think some of you have assumed that I have moved to the “true” outback. Ya know red, cracked, dry dirt all around. (see image below).

I have included a counter image for you that I took this morning….this is the view from behind my house. It’s quite lush, as you can see.

Secondly, they really do have iPhones here. I mentioned to some of you that I bought a Nokia from 2005 when I first arrived and I think this was widely believed. I do indeed have an iPhone, although Siri and I are not really getting along right now (as per usual).

Okay, now that that's cleared up. I shall take it upon myself to describe to you my first experiences here in Australia land....

Epilogue: A Brief Background

We are currently living on a leased property called “Palmbank”; it’s just outside of a small town called Theodore which is about 35 minutes drive from the Gunthorpe’s property “Tarramba.” The house at Palmbank is interesting, mostly because this entire property is owned by a large mining company. Because “Safety is #1” in the mining industry, a few strange modifications have been made to the house. My favorite is this sign on the outside of the shed behind the house:

I like this because it makes me feel important. I sometimes assemble here by myself, even when there is not an emergency going on. It makes me feel like I could someday be a Safety Officer or even an Incident Commander.

Chapter 1: When Your Skype Boyfriend Becomes Your In-Person Boyfriend

I’m learning a lot about Adam now that we technically “live together.” Namely, he has an unmatched ability to eat pasta. Just the other day he told me he was going to have some leftover pasta for dinner. I assumed this was quite a normal endeavor on his part until he came out of the kitchen with his so called “bowl” of pasta in hand. He literally had the equivalent of an entire bag of pasta in his bowl; it had two fried eggs on top and was smothered in barbecue sauce.  Many of you might be shocked by this and assume that I would have berated him for this odd behavior. On the contrary, my competitive nature has come out in full force and I am now determined to top this gastronomical feat. I feel that the Trex equivalent of such a meal must be an entire box of frosted flakes, topped with 2 fried churros, and smothered in jet puffed marshmallow cream. 

I think adam is learning a lot about me as well. I have surprised him with both my obsessive list making and my ability to burp louder than most truck drivers.

Chapter 2: Small Hurdles, Big Pay Off

There are certainly little things that are frustrating here. Like, for example, it’s much more common to use a clothesline than a dryer. Unfortunately, our spinny clothesline thing is built for someone about 10 inches taller than me*. It’s quite a strain on my already fragile lower back to reach that high to hang up a pair of heavy, wet jeans (I know, there’s violins playing for me in the background as I type this).  When I am having trouble accepting things like this, I’ll usually turn to Adam and say in a very accusatory tone; “Why do you people do this that way”. I.E:  “Adam, why don’t you people have neon open/closed signs on your storefronts so it’s more OBVIOUS if a place is open or not, ugh.”  I’ve heard that assimilation can be a “slow and continual process” but I’m confident I’ll get there.

Despite all this, it’s been a glorious thing to finally just hang out with Adam without the threat of departure looming over our heads.

*Since original publication Adam has shown me that the clothesline thing is actually adjustable and he has thus [lowered] it for me.

Chapter 3: A Dog Missed, A Pet Export Company Scorned

Stella has yet to arrive here. Poor mother Jeanne has been stuck in Santa Barbara caring for her and trying to navigate the overly complicated world of exporting a pet to Australia. Her date of departure was delayed by 4 weeks due to a missed vaccination booster. I don’t want to name any names, especially pending litigation, but it was most definitely the fault of the Pet Export Company based in Brisbane. Her absence is very much noticed! But, fortunately, I’ve finally mated up (that's Australian for "become friends") with little Archibald Gunthorpe (who was once, in fact, named “World’s Best” French Poodle [by online survey])

Chapter 4: Tarramba Tours

We have had not one but TWO sets of visitors since my arrival in early April. My intense popularity overwhelms me at times. First we welcomed Lidia and Brian who made an inland detour to Palmbank and Tarramba during their 2 week honeymoon vacation. It was wonderful having them here and I hope they thoroughly enjoyed their Tarramba Tour. Especially because we offered them “mates rates” and only charged $650/day for their Tour instead of the standard $1100. Last week we had the pleasure of spending a few days with Uncle Judy and Barb during their bird/fish/surf tour of Australia. We had a lovely time with them, of course, although there were some red flags that were raised (this brings me to Chapter 5…)

Chapter 5: Underground Protein-Powder Trading Ring

A few weeks before I left for Australia I visited Cousin Grace at her homestead in Mexico City. The day before my departure I received an email from Cousin Pete with a list of things I should try to take to Mexico for Grace. One of the items on the list was Whey Protein Powder. Thus, I found it interesting when Uncle Judy asked if he could unload a few of his things at our house as they wouldn’t have room for some of the items they had picked up on their long journey. Of course this was not a problem with me whatsoever but I did find it strangely coincidental when one of those items happened to be a large bottle of Whey Protein Powder. I’m wondering what the next move is here? Sister Annie, don’t be surprised if you get a call from Luis asking if it’s okay if he ships some protein powder to you and if you wouldn’t mind driving it up to Ruth in San Francisco.

Chapter 6: Enchilation

Things are getting a bit chilly here in Theodore. Our large house doesn't warm up too well, unfortunately. I don't think it's very well insulated. Or, as they pronounce it here, “enchilated”. To me it seems like enchilation would involve covering our walls with 1000's of cheese enchiladas. Although this might keep us warm, I think it would make me constantly hungry if I was always smelling enchiladas. And I don't know what the etiquette is regarding eating the enchiladas directly off the walls.

Chapter 7: Fresh Cut Grass

Today I had my first experience "mowing a lawn." I actually quite enjoyed it. I was on the sort of lawn mower that you sit on top of rather than push. I believe the lay people call this a "ride-on mower." It's sort of like a very slow motion Disneyland ride that's fun and productive at the same time. Also, I'm happy to report that I remain injury free after a 2 hour long lawn-mowing stint. This is quite unlike the Weed-Wacking Disaster of 2005 which left me with scars and burns all over my hands. (Well, actually that might be a bit of an exaggeration...I have one small scar on the tip of my finger from that fateful day. Incidentally, my hands and arms are indeed a bit scarred up, but that's a result of the Dog-Fighting Disaster of 2006).

Prologue: A Reflection of Sorts

I hope this novella has helped improve your understanding of my new life here in Central Queensland. I’m sure there will be plenty more stories to tell and novellas to write. In fact, I’ve already come up with a few titles that I will share with you now…

  • Sheep Rearing for Dummies
  • A Theological Argument For Abstaining from the Consumption of Lamb
  • Why I don’t Eat Animals If They Are Super Cute
  • Developing a working relationship with a working dog
  • Cattle ranching - what to do when you get attached
  • Homemade sausages in a variety of flavors
  • Learning to Muster and Wean in 5 Easy Steps
  • Kangaroos – Not What You Think


Anonymous said...

Great stories. We miss you Tracy and love you lots!. Hope there are no more delays with Stella's travels. xxoo dad.

Anonymous said...

So glad Adam Showed you how the lower the clothes line and your back is spared those wet jeans! Love reading about your new life and new skills. Sending oodles of,love to both of you. Xoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

Oodles of love from raw