Monday, September 29, 2008

Our first lunch with Aussie friends

Well, yesterday we had our first meal with Aussies in their home. During last week my wife met a friendly lady at a park in Landsdale, and she invited us to their church. We went there this Sunday morning, and after the service another couple invited us for lunch.

They were just good, down to earth Aussies with a garden that needs some real garden-boy attention. Great people. The guy has an earring, and in the left ear he has one of those earrings that creates a big hole in his ear-lobe. You can see right through his left earlobe. But apart from that being strange to this desert-rat, they were just so great and we enjoyed the visit.

Our smallest daughter Anica played along with the other kids - she talks in Afrikaans and they go on in auslish, and they play like they are talking the same language. They had a fight about a little toy at one stage - just like good old normal children.

We made quite a lot of new friends. Another lady insisted that we bring the children over for a visit - she also has three children about the same age as ours, and they have a trampoline and lots of nice play-thingies.

I met another nice guy and when we discussed the awful taxis in South Africa, he mentioned that he was a taxi driver (in Perth). In South Africa we would have frowned at a job like that, but here it's just another normal good honest job. I met panel-beaters, security installers - all great people.

Sunday evening we visited another church. There is one guy I really like, called Gavin. He comes form Alice Springs. Good old plaasjapie in the Aussie style. Got a nice hat made from rabbit leather. He met Steve Irwin once, and proudly tells the story. He's been all over Western Australia, and has interesting stories about sandstone and killer-frogs.

We talked about the Anglo-Boer war, and when I mentioned a more recent war called the bush-war, he looked at me in awe. He has never heard about it. Can you believe it? I explained about Swapo, ANC, the commies and national service - he was looking at me like I was crazy. Namibia is a totally unknown place here, and even South Africa's war is not really something that people know about. They know about the Anglo-Boer war, and that's it.

Well, so much for those who say that the Aussies keep to themselves and won't reach out to you - maybe we were just in the right place at the right time, but hey, that's the way things happen with us.

We made a decision before we came over to Australia. We decided to try and get out of our comfort zones, reach out and make friends with Australians. We don't mind having South African friends, but we don't want to sit in an isolated cocoon and click with the "boys from home" all the time.

One lady told us how rude it is to her when South Africans get together, and just switch over to Afrikaans in the middle of a discussion. She feels totally left out when this happens. I know how this feels - the blacks in SA do the same thing. Ironic, isn't it?

Well, we've been in Perth for more than a week now. It feels like a lot longer. All of us tried out the buses, and we're much more comfortable with that now.

We will be moving into our house next Friday. We checked out the park in the area, and it is unbelievable. It feels like we moved into one of the top suburbs in Windhoek - only better than that. And this is just a normal, middle-class average Aussie neighbourhood. The park is massive, has two barbies, and rugby poles combined with footy poles on the field. A quiet place - except for the birds.

The birds here are all on steroids. I haven't seen anything like it. We saw cockatiels in the zoo. That thing will give you permanent back problems if you let it sit on your shoulder. Looks more like an eagle or something - BIG birds.

You get a lot of black crows here - also massive, and then you get the famous magpies, who look similar but are black and white. A cat will feed on this thing for three days - if he lives to tell the story.

The only negative thing I see here is the graffiti. The youth is a bit messy and some of the things they write are really disgusting. But this is mostly under some hidden place out of direct public view.

Well, I feel at home here. I can't remember that I lived somewhere else. You get into the system easily, and once you're over the initial shock, you feel at home. The people are really extremely friendly. Going into a bank or a post office is a breeze compared to the Namibian ehh, ahh and ohhh experience. I applied at MBF for private health insurance - was out of there in 10 minutes.

I don't miss my country very much. Sometimes I see my brother's son's picture on our digital picture frame, and I miss the little guy - but that's it. Come and have a look for yourself - you'll like it here.

Perth is great

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