Home Sweet Home

We moved into our new home on Sunday! It is located in the Balmain neighborhood, right on Darling Street, the main drag with all the shops and cafes. We are above the Flight Centre travel store and next door to a Pho place and a fish and chips joint. There are cafes galore and any type of food you could want as well as boutiques and two bookstores.

Karen is a major hero and lent us a dining room table and a bed for the duration of our time in Oz. We bought the couch off the previous owners so we basically are functional as a household. We had our first dinner in our new home on Sunday, despite lack of all kitchen supplies. We bought a rotisserie chicken from the local supermarket and whipped up a salad served on paper plates with a bottle of wine from a water bottle.

Help from the Swedes

I braved a solo IKEA run yesterday in a GoGet (their version of zip car) and survived the driving. It’s a very strange sensation to drive on the left; you have to overcome all the automatic instincts from years of driving. I basically turn on the windshield wipers every time I try to turn on the blinker. Except here they’re cakes windscreen wipers. Having other cars around to follow definitely helps, so does chanting, “left, left, don’t forget” over and over. I only got honked at twice for my slow driving and hit one curb, I’d call it a success!

IKEA was comfortingly familiar to every IKEA in the world. While I was in the windowless infinite corridor of showrooms, I almost forgot that I wasn’t home in the states. I had already eaten lunch, so no meatballs for me, but did enjoy some cake and a lingonberry soda to see me through the second, more daunting half of the store.

I knew I was going to have to hold back since I would have to carry and lift anything I selected myself, but somehow ended up with an overflowing cart. Service for 8, all the pots and pans and cooking implements, a quilt, wall hangings, and some plants for good measure. After texting pictures of options to Paul for a good 45 minutes, thank heavens, I finally arrived at the entrance to the warehouse area. I couldn’t possibly add anything else to the cart since I had decided those items were going to be too heavy to deal with loading and carrying up our three flights of stairs without Paul. Or so I thought. This set of outdoor tables and chairs reminded me of Natalie and Katie’s little apartment in Boston and were also priced at a stunning $40 AUD (~$32 USD) so I couldn’t not get them. Unfortunately there was no more space in the cart. In fact, stuff was already periodically sliding off the tower of items, including the plants getting dirt all over everything else in the cart. However, I persevered, pushing the cart ~20 m or so and then going back to grab the table and chairs and bring them up, then pushing the cart again, etc.

A kindly old man near the register hovered giving me moral support.

His son admonished him, “Dad, leave her alone.”

He responded, “Can’t you see she needs help?”

I did need help.

$500 later, after cramming everything into all the blue IKEA bags I had just bought, I slung one over my shoulder and put the other two in the cart with my new patio set and made it to the car! I spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking things. We’re aiming for the first dinner party next weekend…now to find friends besides Kendalle and Guy to invite…

I’ll take more apartment photos once it’s a bit more set up. For now, here are the ones from the original listing for a taste.

Miss you all!