Friday, July 8, 2011

The Complaining Post

Happy to be here!
Sometimes I feel like our blog is very positive and happy and such...and that's not a bad thing.  But I don't want people to get the impression that everything is easy and perfect over here or that our lives are without problems of any sort.  In fact, there are definitely some struggles.  Since I don't want to whine about little things in lots of posts, I'm just going to do one big 'complaining about Australia' post and be done with it (at least until version two comes out!).  Don't go mistaking this as ungratefulness or wishing we weren't here or anything like that.  Sometimes we just need to vent.  Anyway, in no particular order, here are the things that have been bothering us lately:

1.  Our third anniversary was on Tuesday.  Zack had to work in Sydney from Monday through Wednesday this week, and I had gotten a cheap flight to go along with him.  We were going to celebrate out there, but then stupid Tiger Airways got grounded for safety issues.  I'll get a refund (eventually), and we're going out to dinner tomorrow night to celebrate, but I'm still annoyed that my flight was cancelled.

2.  The landlord at our old furnished apartment is trying to charge us for all sorts of things, some of which we don't think we did.  He's keeping our security deposit and wanting more on top of that.  For example, there is apparently a small chip in the stone countertop.  Now we're going to get charged for it.  We've got e-mails going and back and forth with him, and it's not fun.

3.  I bought a mattress off of Gumtree last week (the Australian equivalent of Craigslist).  The girl listed it as queen-sized, and when I got there, I even asked her if it was a queen, because it looked a bit small to me.  She said it was, I believed her, and then of course I got it home and found it wouldn't fit in our bed frame.  It's a double size.  I've e-mailed her, she won't give me a refund or take it back, and she's moved. Ugh.  I could take the case to VCAT (a tribunal thing they have here for issues like this), but that would cost me $37 and take six to eight months.  Probably not worth it.  Also, the fridge I got from her was really dirty and took me over an hour to clean.  Nasty.

4.  It's cold and gray and rainy here, and everyone is posting pictures on Facebook of themselves in tank tops and complaining about the heat back in the United States.  I know this will be switched around come November or so, so I guess I'll be quiet about that one.

5.  The internet service (at home and on phones) is RIDICULOUSLY slow.  Think of your worst dial-up service you had about ten years ago.  That's kind of how it is here at times.  Sooooooooooo frustrating.  Zack says it's even slow at work; it's a country-wide problem.  

6.  Streets are not always labeled.  We go the wrong way more than half the time when we're trying to get somewhere.  Of course, we did that in Denver too, so maybe that's just our problem.

7.  Stuff is expensive.  We're slowly getting used to that, but it just has to be said.  For instance, a Groupon-type deal might offer dinner for two for $39 at a restaurant, and that is a GOOD deal!

8.  Lots more people smoke here than in the United States.  It's gross.  At near $20 a pack, it seems like an expensively stupid habit.

9.  Stores you can count on in the States to have exactly what you need don't exist here.  Oh how I would love a Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  Or a Home Depot.  Or a good ol' Walmart!

10.  It's so much more difficult to find the information you want out here.  In the States, you can Google something and pretty much find the answer, know where to go or what to do, call somebody and quickly get something sorted out, etc.  Here you may search and search, call a bunch of places, go and ask various people in person, and you still might not get your answer.  For example, we still don't know what all the keys we were given for our new apartment do (and nobody seems to be able to tell us).

11.  Mail to and from the United States takes a really long time and is super expensive.

12.  Sometimes we can't understand people, especially when their accents are really thick and they talk quickly.  And sometimes people can't understand us.  For whatever reason, people really can't seem to understand Zack when we're at stores or restaurants.  Everyone thinks we're from Canada.  There are a lot more Canadians than Americans over here.

13.  We can't figure out how to get our gas stove to work.  We can't find the pilot light.  We've been lighting the burners by hand.  We're probably going to blow up our unit (or ourselves)!

14.  The footy field behind our place is kind of used as a dog park.  It makes us miss our dog Molly.  A lot.  We find ourselves watching the videos of her that Cindy and Justin post (thanks guys!) over and over.

15.  We can't find good pizza.  And we are pizza people!  We usually get it every Friday.  So far, the pizza we've had here has been pretty disappointing.  Bland, soggy, overpriced, etc.  It stinks.  We also haven't really found good Mexican food.

16.  Apartments or units don't come with dishwashers.  Sometimes, I'll admit, it's kind of relaxing to just wash dishes and look out at our nice view.  But other times, it's just annoying and I'd like to throw everything in the dishwasher and be done with it!

Okay, I'm sure I'm forgetting some things, but that's all I've got for now.  Of course, we're in Australia, and overall, life's pretty good, so I really shouldn't complain.  I know-boo hoo-poor us in Australia, right?  But I thought it might be interesting to note some of the differences and struggles we've had to deal with in this country instead of yet another post about the cool things we get to see and do while we're over here.  Hopefully you found it at least somewhat entertaining.  And hey, feel free to leave comments, ask questions, suggest future blog topics, etc.  It would make me feel like someone (besides my mother!) is reading this thing.  Hi Mom!  :)  

Life's not too shabby!


  1. The other thing is that most buildings downtown don't have a visible address. And my tram chair has a juicy brown spot on it. And yes, I ordered chocolate cake today and no one understood me. The choc cake btw is delish.

  2. I think most people tend to live in a bubble and forget how different everyday things are in other countries. It is nice that you could remind us, so we can remember it is not too bad here (or there really). I am sure in the end there will be things you love and hate about Australia and things you still love and hate about home. Every place has the good and the bad. What a fantastic opportunity you have and you are both making the most of it! Continue to enjoy your time and we can't wait to see you in a few months!

  3. That thing about the bed would have gotten me pretty steamed too. Good luck with your landlord... where's the strong arm Frank Azar when you need him?!

  4. I think the thing that would drive me most crazy is the internet issue. We Americans have no patience for that. We have had too good forever. I would like to see pictures of koala bears, kangaroos and the mysterious kookaburra bird (not in captivity, just roaming the green green grass country side of Australia. Get working on that. Remember all the issues that you are going through are just temporary. You have your health and that is the most important.

  5. Hi Aubree!! I am having lots of fun reading your blog....not just your Mom reading it!! Thought I should out myself since I have been reading in silence. ;) Just curious, why couldn't Molly come with you?

  6. Cindy-can't wait to see you guys too!
    Danielle-Frank Azar...that cracked me up!
    Aunt Jean-yeah, we want pictures of that stuff too...we'll work on it!
    Kelly-hi! We would have had to spend thousands of dollars for Molly to get all sorts of blood work done, she would be in quarantine for at least a month after a horrible flight over here (if she even passed the blood tests), and finding a place to live that allows dogs is really hard. Plus we plan on going on several trips, so she would have had to be kenneled a lot. We knew she would be a lot happier running around with Mascot in Justin and Cindy's big house and yard, and they were nice enough to agree to take her for a few years.

  7. Hi Aubree. I've been reading your blog. I like to see all the differences that you have been experiencing. Australia has always been a place that I would love to visit. I'm jealous :) So will you be finding a job while you are there or just enjoying yourself? I think you might have answered that one already, but I can't remember. Would you be able to teach there? Enjoying reading about your adventures!


  8. Hi Sandy-I'm not sure yet about the job thing. So far, I've kept myself busy getting us set up out here and such. But we'll see! I could teach over here, but I'd have to go through a heck of a lot to get the required certification (and it would take months and lots of money), so I'm not sure I'll go that route. Glad you're enjoying the blog-thanks for reading!

  9. Wow, that is really crazy all that would go into moving a pet over seas. I guess it makes sense that they have to have all that testing done, I just never thought about it! I'm sure she is much happier in Justin's big backyard with a dog buddy...but I'm sure you guys miss her too! It's nice there are so many options with technology today to keep in touch and see her via skype or video etc.

  10. Jennifer SlavickJuly 17, 2011 at 4:27 AM

    Just wanted you to know that it's cold and rainy in the Pacific Northwest. So I'll join you in complaining about the lack of summer. We wait patiently all year for a couple months of sun and at least 70-degrees. Nothing yet! Maybe I'll visit you in November when it will still be cold and rainy here but you will have gorgeous Aussie weather...hmm. Oh, and remember, don't believe everything you see on Facebook.

  11. I feel your pain about the weather. We're fairly new to Melbourne (from Iowa) and we're missing the summer too!

  12. Hello from Greece!
    I came upon your blog by searching "living in Melbourne" and I have found it very interesting. I see that many things that you find strange are British things. I lived in Brighton, UK for a couple of years and your posts remind me of that time when everything was strange and new and exciting and sometimes hard.
    Anyway, I am posting here to make a suggestion about the gas stove. Gas stoves are not really common here in Greece and I got one when we moved to our own house, so I don't know if this is the common way to do things, but you could try pressing down the knob so that there is a spark and while pressing down turn the knob to get a flame. Just my two cents...
    Enjoy your time down under!

  13. Thanks Effie. We figured out that we actually have to light our burners by hand. The spark knob thing only works for the oven. Very strange!