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First 5 Days in Australia!

Alright folks - the blog you've been waiting for has arrived! The hubs and I made it to Melbourne on Tuesday morning. Nearly every waking moment has been spent thinking about housing, surfing the web for new available rentals, sending text messages and emails, running from inspection to inspection. All this and yet, no home! We still have 7 nights left in our Airbnb but since I start work with the ILE+TC on Wednesday, we were hoping to be settled by then. We have a couple good leads making me calm enough to sit down and get some work done! Blog post commence.

First impressions:

  1. Australians are so friendly. From mimi at the cell phone store to our main man over at the Bank of Melbourne - everyone has been smiling and helpful and just all around great.

  2. It sometimes feels that we haven't actually traveled to the other side of the globe but instead are just in a new great city in the USA. It's been a very easy adjustment. It's like a more urban Austin with even more pockets of great neighborhoods and better public transport (and all the hipsters). The tv commercials feel the same, they have their own version of all the American shows ("60 Minutes" "Australian Pickers" "Food Network AU"). The hubs calls it "America South". They do say "Cheers" and "No Worries" a lot which makes me beyond happy.

  3. The coffee has 100% lived up to our expectations. No drip, all delicious. We've tried over 5 different cafes so far and they were all good.

  4. Beer is pricey, wine is not. I know what I'll be focusing on the next 10 months.

  5. Their Australia Day which was on 26 Jan is akin to the US's Columbus Day - more fanfare, same controversy. See the projection in the photo below?

  6. Australian architects love their fancy facade work. Good, interesting stuff all around the CBD. I envision a whole blog post about it in your future.

  7. The world is watching America - political posters are everywhere and opinions offered freely.

Also, because I am always thinking about the job that I love, on one of visits to inspect a sharehouse*, I chatted with the proprietor about what I plan to do here the next 10 months (see my previous post here for a recap). Turns out she has kids and gave me some insight into schools here in Australia:

  1. There is huge disparity between private and public schools and private schools do get some government funding. With vouchers being a hot topic in the US, I am glad for the chance to share how a similar system in panning out here.

  2. Her opinion of the infrastructure work that was completed during the Building the Education Revolution was that the new facilities were not meant to improve education but the effort was really just to provide jobs. Still clever and good all around, but different motives. This likely explains why there is a large gap between the type of teaching and learning the school designs can support and what actually occurs.

  3. One element of the infrastructure work in schools was sharing with the community. For example, if you get a new gym or library, there must be an element that the community can use. I am not clear in what case this applies, but she said it definitely was a focus. Our new friend's specific example is that a new library in her town (she said it looks like "ikea and an art gallery had a baby" in the best way possible - LOVE this) had a community room that could hold about 50 people and that it's booked up all the time, including during school hours. This concept of community use is one being discussed often in the US and specifically in Austin, TX lately. It's good to know there are successful examples. I'll make a point to explore more of these and ask more questions about how they function.

Finally, I'd be remiss if I forget to introduce you to Graham! He lives at the State Library of Victoria and is

*In case you were wondering, we did not end up picking the sharehouse - 12 people; 2 bathrooms. No thanks.

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