When we woke up next day, we met our lovely hosts Kelly and Mendell (Donn’y parents) They showed us around the house. Our friends A and S came to welcome us. They brought some garlic bread and dips. We had breakfast together and they took us to their home at Hornsby. We took a rail bus (which was a free service provided that day as the train trackwork was going on) We were planning to look for a house in that area as it was good place to live and also had A & S nearby. They took us to Westfield Mall and showed us the bank, post office, Vodafone showroom, Medicare office and supermarket. We would be frequenting this place over the next couple of weeks to get the initial formalities done. After buying a few staples, we returned to Gordon in the evening.
Few observations and feelings from the initial days:
• We saw cockatoos and rainbow lorikeets lounging in the backyard. We were so thrilled to see them and surprised to see that they don’t fly away at the sight of humans. Must be to do with the fact that humans here don’t harm them
• Gordon was an area where rich people lived. It was full of plush bungalows, each one unique and beautiful in its own way. There was no noise whatsoever and our hosts never locked their house.
• We noticed that there were household furniture and equipments strewn on the streets, which were very much usable and in good condition. We wondered why people chucked good stuff out of their home onto the streets. We later came to know that every third Thursday of the month was Council Cleanup day but people would keep the stuff that they don’t need outside so that whoever likes it picks it up. Whatever gets unpicked gets cleared up by the council
• There is so much of greenery that we could feel the difference in the air we breathed. I’m not exaggerating here.
• Every junction has a pole with a button for pedestrians. Where they may press the button when they need to cross the road. The traffic signal would align in such a way that the pedestrians get signalled to cross when the vehicles halt.
• We noticed that every passenger who gets off the bus thanks the driver. How awesome is that!!!
• The supermarkets have self checkout counters where people bill the items that they have in the cart, pay
and move on. So unusual for us after being used to the security guards checking the bags at the exit and stamping the bill
• We were looking for water filter as we had run out of drinking water. Our hosts told that the tap water is what they drink and that it is clean. We collected our jaws from the floor.
• The worst punishment for Abbas was to use the tissues in the toilet. He was so averse to it and would every time use a mug and finish his business. He would follow Mantam to the toilet and ensure that their butts were washed too. I told him that I would teach them to use the tissues as they needed to get used to it before they joined school. He gave up on them but he himself continued to use the mug himself
• The sun set by around 4:30 and by it would seem like midnight. Our hosts would have their dinner by 6 PM when we would have our coffee. Our biological clocks were still messed up with the jet lag.
• Mannu had turned omni-hungry (I created this word coz she was hungry anywhere anytime) and would keep demanding for more food
• Tammu never liked Australia initially. One day she even fell while walking and blamed Australian soil for her fall. Accepting change is against her DNA just like her dad.
• Mannu on the other hand adopts pretty quickly. She learns by observing. For example, within a couple of days, she began staying to her left on the elevator to leave the right side free for people in hurry, as is the norm here.
• We were in love with the trains for the comfort, ease of access and convenience. The transport department also observes Sunday as Family fun day. It is to encourage people to avail public transport, each ticket costs $2.5 and one can travel anywhere, via any medium (bus, train, ferry, lightrail) any number of times all through the day. To make it better, there is this app called Tripviewlight which shows real time status of ongoing trains when you enter your source and destination
• We even came to know about this app called Show The Loo which shows you the map like navigation to the nearest loo from your current location. It is extremely useful, I tell ya!
• There was a golf course near our home in Gordon. We would go there for evening stroll at times. There, we would hear hoards of cockatoos calling out to each other before they retreated to their abode. It was such a melodious sound to hear.
• I began going for long walks in the evenings around Gordon and enjoyed these lone timeouts to a great extent. Each day I would take a new route, fill my eyes with new beautiful houses, fill my lungs with fresh air and relish the peace.
• Mantam spent their time playing in the garden on their own, they collected twigs, leaves flowers and made articles out of them. They stood near the gate and waved at cars passing by and to their glee and our surprise, every single person who passed by slowed down, smiled and waved back.
• Kelly saw them drawing on some waste sheets of paper and gifted them two notebooks and some colours. Mendell gave them scooters and some toys to play with. Both of them would fill Mantam’s kitty with lollies and stuff. They always went out of the way to make our stay comfortable.
• Mendell would make the best dumplings ever. We would eagerly wait for the days when he would make them as he would give us two platefuls of them and our dinner would be done. Mantam also loved them to bits.
• Kelly was interested in Indian cuisine and would always come to see what Im cooking and would listen with interest when I would describe Indian cuisine.
It was our first experience overseas and we were completely overwhelmed. We had always wished that we would see people not jumping queues and signals. We had always wished that the streets that we walked would be clean and safe. We had always wished that we would be able to live a carefree life where there was no society you were answerable to for the choices you make, for the clothes you wear or the food you eat or the beliefs you value. It had all come true and we were found pinching ourselves every now and then to see if it was all for real. We were being let to live as we wished.