Sunset from our balcony

Sunset from our balcony

Ok couple of things to cover. First of all, WOOHOO! My best friend Bridget is coming to visit in October! Props to American Airlines for actually making it easy for her to put her frequent flyer miles toward a Qantas flight. Although I’ll see Beege in August when I go back for Casey’s wedding, it’s so exciting to know that we’ll have our first visitor, and she’s coming at what is apparently the best time of year, weatherwise. Waking up to that news totes made my day.

Secondly, thanks to expat blogger Jenny (via about.com) for this super-interesting info on the five stages of culture shock. I can’t remember the last time I felt like such a cliche. Behold, a rough outline of the stages of adjustment expats go through when moving to a new country:

1. The Honeymoon.
Everything is exciting, it feels like you’re on vacation.
2. Distress Stage.
Everything is confusing, and you don’t have your support system to fall back on.
3. Re-integration Stage.
You feel angry, hostile, and frustrated and idealize life back home. You reject the new culture as inferior.
4. Autonomy Stage.
You start to feel like yourself again, have more confidence, and no longer feel isolated.
5. Independence.
Embracing the new culture and everything in it, you start to feel at home.

Wow. It’s like they read my mind. So I think after spending a good long while in the re-integreation stage, I’m finally moving into stage 4. I’ve got a routine down (they know my name and how I take my order at the local cafe, and I’m starting to memorize the class schedule at the gym), I love our apartment, and I’m even starting to enjoy cooking dinner with tasty Aussie produce. Of course, there’s still a gaping hole in my life where friends are supposed to be, but I’m working on it. I also had coffee last week with a somewhat distant cousin of my Grandfather. She is super nice and excited to help us get acquainted with Australia. It’s kind of neat having “family” here who truly are Sydneysiders and know the drill, even if I’ve never met them before. Thank goodness my Grandma is the world’s greatest networker!

Finally, work has been INSANE of late as we prepare to launch our site next week (hence the reason I’ve been so MIA from the blog recently). Nonetheless, it’s a long weekend here in Australia (Monday is a holiday to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s birthday, even though it’s actually in April. I think they just wanted an excuse for a holiday in June). So, the hubs and I are renting a car and taking a short trip down to the South Coast of New South Wales, which is supposed to have beautiful coastline as well as a rainforest where you can sometimes spot kangaroos. I’m really excited to finally explore a bit of Australia; it’s almost overwhelming how many sites and different climates/topographies there are here to visit. We’re seriously going to have to be disciplined if we want to see even half of them!

Anyway, hopefully on Monday I’ll return with tons of great pictures to post. Regarding the one at the top, our apartment faces North so we don’t get the sunset perse, but I love how it looks reflecting off the tops of the eucalyptus trees and the clouds and the nearby buildings. Slow Internet be damned, this place is undeniably gorgeous.

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