Friday, February 22, 2013

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener On The Other Side Of The Fence….

Or in this case, the ditch. … fact sometimes the grass can be a crispy brown – so crispy that it’s like walking on shredded brown paper. Hot, shredded brown paper.

The grass isn’t always greenest where you water it either – especially if there are water restrictions on & you can’t water it at all.

No, this isn’t an analogy about life…it’s a fact. Australian grass is completely different to New Zealand grass. I suspect the fact that it gets so hot here you can smell it heating up & marinating for a bit, before cooking itself, under the sun’s intense rays has something to do with it….along with the type of grass planted.
It’s also high time I posted about my arrival in Australia – something I started to do months ago, but somehow I got side tracked.

Oh yeah, side tracked by a country that is sensory overload on every which level. I’ve been visually distracted by birds so behaviourally bold & colourful that they refuse to be ignored, by dragonflies that resemble helicopters & butterflies & moths the size of small aircraft. 

My ears are constantly assaulted by sound - birds from dawn until dusk with cicadas & crickets adding to the wonderful cacophony on warm days (which is pretty much every day), frogs, possums & owls pitching in once it gets dark.

Perhaps I should save chatting about how easily distracted I am by the readily available tropical & sub-tropical plants that thrive in this climate for another time…. & about how excited I was to find a stand of Blue Ginger among the bush & weeds down the back or how I was hooked when the neighbour threw the first Bromeliad over the fence…..
And all of the above distraction is before I even leave home!!

 A few quick snaps from today in the garden ....
see what I mean about distractions!

This is city full of huge glitzy malls accessed by large busy highways bulging at the seams with loads of BIG cars (& even bigger trucks) often driven by people wearing maxi dresses…the cars that is – not the trucks! Just thought I’d throw that in there while using nouns relevant to size.

On one hand it’s a fast paced city, one that wakes early & ‘appears’ to sleep early too. On the other hand, once one discovers where to look it’s also a city full of beautiful parks, outstanding gardens, speciality markets, farmers markets & a seemingly endless round of entertainment &  fun community events ….often involving fireworks.

It’s a wonderful cultural mix. Locally there are many beautiful Sudanese women – tall & stately with a proud bearing & long slender legs that never seem to end. It’s always a highlight when I see the older women gathered outside a shop in their traditional colourful costume & head wraps.
Vibrant & colourful is the name of another game here too – tattoos. Large tattoos. Large, vibrantly coloured tattoos. Lots of full sleeve & leg tattoos…on woman. I'm pretty sure that I’ve seen more since I’ve arrived here than I have seen in my entire life before.

I’ve been here 7 months & one day. In that time I’ve been initiated into the Australian lifestyle by way of bush fires close by & a couple of good tropical storms – one the tail end of a cyclone. I’ve seen some rather substantial spiders, evicted some messy house geckos (well actually I might have set the cat onto one or two of them), stumbled across my first bearded dragon in the garden, have  killed a *few* cane toads & now drive willingly on that highway that I was never going to drive on – ‘never’ being right up to the point that I discovered a plant nursery that I needed to visit.

I've made new friends, met lampworking friends previously known only online, discovered that I have great neighbours & that tropical storms & flooding can bring about good things - such as enjoying the company of fabulous house guests & forging lasting friendships.

I love it here - even though I have to admit that the settling in hasn’t always been easy. The first 5 months were often fraught with obstacles in getting some of the more important things done such as arranging schooling, medical care, bank accounts, internet & a landline. You know, just the little things. Red tape, more red tape & all that. Now that I finally have myself a Doctor (one quite knowledgeable about thyroid issues – finally, thank goodness) & a bank account. I’m not sure which I’m most thrilled about ;)

Post Script: This post was intended for yesterday – I fell asleep in my chair last night before checking the draft & posting it. Remember those early starts I mentioned?....

It seems appropriate that I post it today though – as it helps me to focus on the positive rather than dwell too heavily on the significance of this date. I feel as if it can’t possibly be two years since that horrific day when  life, as my home town of Christchurch knew it, changed forever… for everyone. But there you have it.