We reached our final destination and the reason for our true “travel it up experiment;” living in another country. We moved into our rental apartment for a month in Freshwater, Australia, a suburb of Sydney. We found our apartment through “Vacation Rental By Owner,” and it was everything it promised to be; located right on the beach, clean, organized, and equipped with all the modern cooking and cleaning devices. We rented a scooter, bought groceries, and were ready to live like locals.
We ran into a few glitches in the plans, however. As Scott ran out the first day with his SUP board to surf, he was told “No surfing this weekend, Mate. It’s Australia Day Carnival.” That meant it was their 4th of July type celebration and various beach clubs would be competing against each other in boat races, surfing, swimming, marching, etc.. Scottish bagpipers even played on the beach. The next time he tried to SUP, there was a shark warning. Third time, too windy. Beginning to get the point? I think he ended up surfing a few days total while we were there, and none of them were on our beach in front of the apartment.
We had a blast visiting our friends who live in Manly (2 beaches over). We had a picnic with them and their mates by the bay, had an al fresco dinner on their rooftop porch, and went with them to world famous Australian Surf Open.
When it started to rain, we spent a few days and nights taking the ferry into Sydney for excursions. We visited the Sydney Opera House and had a beautiful dinner at Aria. We ate innovative thai food at Longrain. We bought Helen Kaminsky straw hats.
We were living like locals and Scott was doing a yoga class at the local beach club, and then our world fell apart. He returned from yoga in extreme pain and he was yellow. To sum it up, he had to be hospitalized in Sydney, and they didn’t know what was wrong at first. They lost his paperwork, the line for a CT Scan lasted into the next day, etc… We had to fly home early and continue the tests as home. It turned out that he had a gall bladder attack (all that fatty food, like the suckling pig), and his gall bladder had basically shut down his liver and spleen, so they had enlarged. Yikes. He is fine now, and back to his regular healthy diet.
Since experiments are tests and we learn from them, this was a success in that regard. I learned quite a bit. I learned that living like a local in another country for 5 weeks is more difficult than I thought it would be. I thought the house work (cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc… ) would be tedious but that part proved to be relaxing and not a problem. The challenge was trying to fill my time with activities, especially during inclement weather. At home, I have my hobbies, routines, philanthropy, and friends. I tried to keep to a similar schedule abroad with my workouts, local friends, etc., but it didn’t fill the hours. Even seeing new sights and reading new books (one of my passions) could only take up just so much time. I felt unsettled. Then I returned home to a giant mound of paperwork. Even though my bills had been paid electronically and my emails had been answered, there were still many items that needed care. It took me weeks to sort through it all. Verdict? I think I’ll try 3 weeks next time and see how I do.
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