02 July, 2012

Today's novelties and successes

Today we tackled our "to do" list with various services and shopping. We had some lingering details to sort out with our bank (as in, why they couldn't identify me over the phone and activate my credit card) as well as find our new Medicare cards (so I can go to the doctor tomorrow).

Then we hung out in Target and KMart, finding some great bargains, like a helmet for our 7-year-old who has a youth-sized head. Last Wednesday we could have bought him one in Tokyo for equivalent AU$60. Today we bought him one for AU$12! And cheap tracksuit pants for the boys, new camping cutlery, silicon muffin pans (these have seriously come down in price in three years), lunch boxes, and flannelette sheets (I know this isn't the term many non Australians would use, maybe flannel sheets?).

We bought groceries, sending the boys on a scavenger hunt to find various "treasures" like Australian soft drink (required an adult to translate), 3L bottles of milk (enormous to us), and dried pineapple. Just being able to buy ibuprofen in a grocery store is a real treat.

We had a basic picnic lunch in a fairly basic park, by Australian standards, but enormous and beautiful compared to the standard suburban park in Japan (wish I could show you a picture, but there are technological complications). The sky was blue and the grass (yes, grass, a novelty) was green. And there was no one else in the park! Often we've come back to a bleak, brown Australia. It is wonderful to come back to a lush, green Australia.

Our boys have noted that it is interesting to be in a country where we speak the same language as everyone else (mostly, that is). We can listen in on other people's conversations, we can understand almost all of what is spoken to us, laugh at the jokes, relax and enjoy the interactions.

I've also noted that having older children helps a lot. You can explain why you're doing such unusual things as waiting in a bank or shopping for an extended period of time (which is a mystery to my boys). They can understand the explanations and (mostly) cooperate! It is wonderful.

But now I'm off to cook some Australian sausages for dinner — yum.

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