Monday, March 3, 2008

Making Friends

We just saw when our last post was. Has it already been a month?!? We've been very busy. Unfortunately it hasn't been busy traveling around Australia. We've been busy working. David perceptively noted - "When is this going to start being a grand adventure, and stop being our lives in another country?" It actually is a grand adventure, and we are learning a lot of new things. We just both want to be out doing more.

Part of the adventure has been trying to make new friends. Australia is a great country but the language barrier has been difficult. There is a type of speech down here that is called rhyming slang. It derives from the cockneys, and their desire not to be understood by anyone. Rhyming slang consists of a rhyme that has been so far removed from the rhyme that it doesn't make any sense anymore. A simple one is "septic," for Americans. Yank rhymes with septic tank, and hence you get septic. It is typical for the actual rhyme to be dropped. Now there are some friends here that only send us emails using slang. In response we only speak in Jive. For all we know, we could have started WWIII with Australia.

Communication remains key. Being able to share similar traditions is also very helpful in building a bridge. For instance, we have neighbors that have a 4 year old girl. We were talking to the dad, while the girl chased after Hugh. The dad decided to tease his daughter a little, and give Hugh a break. He said, "There is a spider on your back." The little girl giggled and said "Get it off!" A few seconds later, the girl said "There was no spider, it didn't exist." Jenni decided to join in, and said "Spiders don't exist, just like Santa Claus doesn't exi..." which was interrupted by the crashing sound of the dad's jaw hitting the ground. Luckily the girl didn't hear Jenni, or see his reaction and kept on playing.

To make friends, one needs to be open with strangers. Surprisingly, people have been very open with David, who usually discourages such frivolities with the permanent (non)expression on his face. But that doesn't stop the Australians from opening up to him. On one such occasion, David was about to add some hot water to his instant soup, when someone commented "That isn't a very healthy lunch. There's MSG in that you know."
"Oh is there?"
"Yah, you can smell it."

Good to know. On another such occasion, David was enjoying an afternoon tea. He is quite partial to strong sweet tea, and was in the process of adding his 2nd lump of sugar to his cup when someone piped up - "Is that enough sugar? You know sugar is bad for you! You shouldn't use so much sugar."

They are so helpful!

Even the cats are getting in on the action. Basil has made many friends in the animal kingdom. I think the lizards and he have signed a peace treaty.....which is probably about as effective as the Treaty of Versailles..Here are some pictures from a few trips to the beaches around here - Cullen Bay and Nightcliff Foreshore.

Cullen Bay, Wet Season.

The only time Jenni lets David take pictures of her is when she doesn't know he is taking pictures.

Spot the Parrots.

Kite Surfing at Nightcliff. The surfers come out when the water is rough, because it scares the box jelly fish off.

More kite surfing. If the wind and wave is just right they can fly into the air.

Wind and rain take its toll.

At the Northern Territory Wildlife park. These spiders weren't part of the exhibit, they were outside along the walkways. About the size of a hand.

These flying foxes were part of the exhibit, but take a walk around Darwin at night and you are guaranteed to see at least one. They are harmless, but come swooping overhead as they gain lift.

This dingo was hanging out in its pen. We did see one roaming the streets of Darwin early one morning.


Richard said...

Your parrots look nice as my wallpaper.

that sounds like a threat or a taunt

Eat it, Sucker.

lisa said...

The thing about living the "grand adventure" overseas - most often it does look just like your life in another place - the bugger of all that work to get there! :-) Miss you both!

fuhrmann said...

I'm still waiting for a picture of David in those little-boy shorts or whatever.

But parrots are good too. I guess.