My blog is about the scenic, stressful, spectacular life (and everything screwy in between) of a
California girl turned expat transplanted to the land down under: North Queensland, Australia.

November 09, 2010

Australia has turned me into a baby.

I think I’m in a predicament, fellow readers. To be honest, every day here is a predicament in one way or another: to stay or not to stay. Of course 95% of me says stay, mainly because I love my husband, but the 5% eats away at me all the time. There’s a blog I read from an expat based in Sydney that gets to go back to the States three times a year. Three!!! If I was able to see my friends and family every few months none of this would be a problem…but I’m afraid that if I leave I may not come back. I think so many people think I’m on vacation, or living the dream, but I don’t think of it that way. My husband and I are just trying to get by and we were lucky to have a loving, supportive family (at both ends of the world) willing to help us out when they were in a place to do so. I wish I could do the same one day for my friends and family struggling back home.

Anyway, here’s the issue: In February my in-laws (who I live with) are temporarily moving down near Brisbane for a work-related contract. My husband is jazzed-we get the place all to ourselves. I don’t want to have it all to ourselves! I’ve been here nine weeks. Nine. I still have a hard time calculating the oven temperature from Fahrenheit to Celsius. At least once a week I hear a strange new noise thumping or chirping a little too close for comfort to our bedroom window. My husband works at night as well, so most of the time I will be alone in a still strange house in a still strange land.

Mum and dad are awesome, by the way. They turned my husband’s old room into our “lounge” room with a TV, two chairs, a table and a computer desk and we use my sister-in-law’s (who lives in New Zealand) room as our bedroom-complete with our own bathroom. It’s literally a closed-off section of the house, and it’s like our own little place. I’m antisocial. Always have been. So I tend to spend a lot of time upstairs alone. Not because I hate my family or anything, it’s just that I’m comfortable up here. I’ve tried to make an effort by getting the fam to do game nights (last Friday I kicked some serious ass on Scrabble and won-twice!) and offering to cook or clean the dishes when I’m feeling up to it. So it’s completely ironic (is this the right word? I hate using “ironic” because I never know if I’m getting the definition right) that I’m freaking out that they are going away because I’ll be really, really alone.

Reason number one? The cooking. I’m not familiar with the kitchen, and get by on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and eat what’s on the table or make do for dinner. I have no interest in spending five weeks eating cup o’ noodles or McDonalds every day, yet I’m dreading having to cook up meals when everything is so different from what I’m used to. Number two? February is still the summertime (I have yet to wrap my head around summer in February as well). Summer means bugs. A humid summer means LOTS of bugs, and they’re all trying to weasel their way into our cool, bountiful house. As we speak I’m looking at a gecko on the wall. There is a lizard in my room, and to the rest of my family it ain’t no thing. There is a lizard on my wall. A lizard! The moths here are the size of giant butterflies, and the spiders….*shivers* I’m not even afraid of spiders, but if a Huntsman (which is common here and tends to hang around houses) ever rolls up in my bathroom I swear to God, I may never pee again.

Number three? I am so freaked out by this place that when my husband isn’t home, I have to sleep with the light on. The light in the hallway that connects from the lounge to our bedroom is always on. When it gets dark I have to shut all the windows for fear of noises and creepy crawlies. I won’t set foot downstairs after mum has gone to bed. Australia has turned me into a nine-year-old. Lastly, the main reason I don’t want to be here alone is because I want to go with them! They are going to be an hour away from a city. A real city! A city with Starbucks! Mexican food! People!!! I’ve seriously considered asking them if I could tag along with them. Brisbane is the city my husband wants to move to the most when he’s done with school (*cough Melbourne cough*), so maybe I can use the excuse that I’m scoping the city out with my own eyes. That’s a good reason, right? Yeah, I’ll miss J…I’ll send him a postcard ha ha.

look! a REAL city!!!

Thanks for your well wishes about the migraine of death yesterday. I’m happy to say it finally dissipated around 10pm last night, so I have A LOT of blog reading and commenting to catch up on. Until tomorrow, friends!


  1. So glad you are feeling better darling girl. If it is any consolation most of us actually survive the wildlife and grow old here in Aus. A Gecko on your wall is considered good luck and will deal with the bugs if you leave him be. Keep on blogging your fears and they will get smaller. Keep a big can of bug spray nearby if you think you need it. 9 weeks isnt long but before you know it, you will be ignoring the lizard like the rest of your family. Hugs :)
    Ps you dont have to read Barb's story but it is very good.

  2. Aw, family is impor- AAAAAAHSPIDER GET ET AWAY!11!!!

  3. I think the only thing keeping me AWAY from ever visiting Australia are the big-as-your-face spiders.

    Shit creeps me out.


  4. ::laughing at what Jeff said and totally agreeing::


    Okay - February is quite a way away, so you have a few months to work on your fears. They are very real, normal fears - I don't blame you one bit for wanting to go with them, but a lot can change in a few months.

    I think you did an incredibly BRAVE thing by packing up and moving over there - not because it is an awful country - it is fabulous! - but because you left your comfort zone behind. For you that is hard, I see that. Oh heck hed - it is hard for a lot us, but you can do this. Perhaps it is time to look for your comfort zone in your adopted home and work from there. Start by making a list of everything that makes you happy there [1. Definitely your cutie patootie husband!] and just keep adding to it.

    What do they say - accentuate the positive!

    Not that there is anything positive about a spider that could, literally, eat my dog. BUT - I am sure [like Mynx said] a can of bug spray can be a good thing - if the spray doesn't work, just used the can and beat the shit out of the thing. Works for me. heehee

    You are going to do just great. And remember you have us!

  5. (Skippymom)...a can of bug spray can be a good thing - if the spray doesn't work, just used the can and beat the shit out of the thing...ABSO-FREAKING-LOOTLY!!!
    Glad your feeling better and your headache gone :)

  6. Hed...great comments on a great post. I'm laughing at the thought of taking Skippy's advice and using the can to beat the shit out of the spider but forgetting that it's on Jeff's face!!! I can't stop laughing. Jeff it's just a joke in my sick mind! Seriously though Hed, you will be fine. You've always got blogworld to entertain you!

  7. I would probably be the same way if I had to live in Australia. Is it a So Cal girl thing?

  8. I almost...almost didn't click on your blog because I saw that pic of the spider in my reading list. But I love you so much, I came by anyways. {Shivers} Never do that to me again, ok? :)

    Anyways...I'm new here and all and I guess maybe if I go back and read your first entries I'll know this answer, but since I'm about to climb into my bed and get some much needed sleep can you just tell why you moved to Australia? Wow, long sentence.

  9. You guys are all freaking hilarious! The lizards don't scare me so much as baffle me-it's a lizard in the house, COME ON!

    I have 7 new mosquito bites from yesterday alone UGH!

  10. Jumble! I promise to post the big story this month for you and FullyFashioned!

  11. If you are going to pound a spider to death may I recommend a size 9 thong or boot. If all else fails, a heavy book works well too. Personally I prefer a glass and a piece of card and putting it in the neighbours yard (you know, the one you dont like much anyway) Lizards are so cool to have around. We get them on the windows in summer catching moths

  12. Wow. That is quite a new world you are trying to get used to. I don't blame you one bit for wanting to keep them around. Or for considering going with them. Or for wanting to construct a bubble around yourself to protect you from the spiders. (Oh. Did I make that one up?) Still, it's still transition time. I have no doubt you'll find a way to make it your home and learn to love it. Or figure out how to kidnap your husband while he's sleeping and transport him to a less insect friendly location.

  13. I hopped over from Skippy's blog...
    Holy shit I couldn't believe that spider.... You'd need a CASE of bug spray for that guy- forget about spraying.. drop the case on him....
    YIKES!!!!!!!! and I'm sorry, but I would freak out if there was a lizard in my house too... (unless he was in a cage or something)

  14. Mynx-Yes, lizards are the lesser of two evils because they kill mosquitoes and other flying bugs, so I'll take em!

    FF-I have actually joked with my in-laws about becoming a bubble boy!

    LITML-Welcome! Yes, I pray (PRAY!) that I never have to run into one of them...