After the fun little ride in the plane it was time to find a way to our apartment/hotel. We knew we were going to be picked up but that was about it. So while the kids had fun looking for the right luggage, we looked around for anyone that had our name on a sign (I was really looking forward to that!). Steve finally went over to ask a guy who he was looking for, and he had been looking for us - but with a totally wrong name! It was part of a business that hired us but he didn't have our name or who Steve worked for! But we at least found each other. So off we went with all of our bags and a stinky Ethan to the taxi. The taxi was huge and had plenty of space which I was happy about because we'd been squished into 2 taxis in Fiji. He got us to Pinnacle Apartments and then left us to find our way up to our apartment.
The kids helped Steve take stuff up to the 3rd floor one or two bags at a time. Did I mention we had 26 bags?!?! Heidi was asleep in her carseat so I stayed with her and the luggage during the 1/2 hour it took to get all the luggage upstairs.
It was nice!! Steve said it wasn't as nice as the pictures online showed but I've really enjoyed the rooms. 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms - one with a washer and dryer in it, a full kitchen and dishes to use. Its basically a townhome - perfect for 6 kids to be stuck in, right?
Well, sort of. Just don't ask about the broken light, and the pen. But did you know that hand sanitizer can take pen out of a microfiber couch? I haven't figured out how to get it off the wall yet... I'm not sure where they even got the pen as we couldn't find one on the plane so we could fill out our claims forms...
Steve wandered off to find a grocery store while I started laundry and got kids bathed and relaxing. He found a Coles which is a pretty good sized store. He took Andy and Jakob with him and had to stop a few times on the way back because Jakob and Andy kept setting the bags down to rest on the way back.
The next day was Sunday and while it would have been easy to say 'we're tired, we've traveled and I just want my bed', we wanted to make it to church. Depression was hitting, as was the enormity of what we'd just done by moving our whole family to a whole different country. Steve and I were almost ready to turn around and go back. I knew I felt that way but was surprised to see Steve going through the same thing! Anyway, we both knew that we needed to make friends quickly and there was no better way than to go to church. So after waking up at 5:30 in the morning (still thanks to our jet lag), we got ready for church and headed off to Bus #1. We weren't able to leave until 9:02 because of when the buses started up and THEN we had a 20 minute walk to church from where we were dropped off. That was hike number one.
Church was wonderful. I walked in and within 2 minutes, along with changing a diaper and taking 3 kids to the bathroom, I'd also made three friends. One of those friends had found Steve and was inviting us to dinner after church by the time I got done changing the diaper. Ethan was worried about going to nursery until he saw toys, and down he hopped and didn't look back. Poor Gavin had a rough time so he went with Andy. We went from being in the biggest primary in the church to being in a small primary. Not tiny but small. The 4 and 5 year olds are together, 6 and 7 year olds and then 8,9 and 10 year olds are together!! Gavin had a rough time still so he spent Relief Society with Heidi and I.
After church we headed off to our friends' house. We were fed and enjoyed a great visit with them. Our kids had a ball on the trampoline and playing with bubbles, etc and we just enjoyed talking. We got to see all the different spiders that we get to watch out for (on paper thankfully). I'm very glad we met them and that we made the choice to go to church that day.
We came home and fell asleep early. And of course that meant getting up early! 5:30 we had kids running down the stairs. We had breakfast and then started unpacking. I didn't want to unpack all the way for two reasons. 1 I didn't want to have to repack. and 2. I didn't want spiders to find their way into all of my stuff. The kids had no DS, no Wii, nowhere to go and it was coolish outside. Not a good combination. We still let the kids go swimming and then we went on a walk to go to Coles to get a few more things. It was a fun walk. There were magpies and cockatoos everywhere. It was great!
Tuesday was Steve's first day of work. Which meant it was my first day in a new country with nowhere to go and no husband to help with the kids for the day. And did I mention that there was no DS, no Wii and no school for the kids to go to? It was sheer chaos. The kids decided our place was perfect for cops and robbers, tag, fighting over everything they played, and watching tv. They were thrilled to find some of the shows they loved and hadn't seen in months. Lazytown, Bob the Builder (with an Australian accent!!!), Charlie and Lola, etc. But of course that didn't stop them from continuing the running and jumping. I also got to figure out how to get pen off the stairs and the living room couch. I had it off the couch by the time Steve got home that night but I wasn't so lucky with the wall or the stairs...
Wednesday, Steve left a little earlier from work so that we could try and look at houses. We didn't get to do that but we did hop on a train (after swimming of course) and after walking all over the city centre we found where to buy cell phones - only to find out that they had closed 10 minutes earlier. We'd been warned that everything closes early here. We just didn't realize that that meant that malls close at 5:30!!! So we hopped back on the train and on home. The kids had a blast on the bus at least. The walk around the city area was not so great. Whining, kids darting here and there after leaves. I think I popped out a few gray hairs during that small trip. But we made it back to the apartment and had dinner.
Thursday was a rough day. Steve left early in the morning (I woke him up at 4 to get to the airport for his flight to leave at 6:45 - he didn't want to wake up until 5... that doesn't work!) and was going to be gone for two days. It WAS the first day after our trip that my kids finally slept until 8 AM! I was quite thrilled. And then I woke up to Jakob making toast for everyone. I went in onto the computer and hung out while the kids played. Jakob also made lunch for us. Quesadillas anyone?
Jakob got an email from his class in Utah. Each one of his classmates got to share a message with him. He was happy to write and I had to leave because I was crying for him. I knew how much he missed them.
Andy wanted so much to talk to one of his friends but I hadn't gotten in contact with any of them yet. He went upstairs to clean his room and he came down sobbing "I never wanted to come here!!!" he said through his sobs. Now, if you know my Andy, you'll know that he is a sweet boy who doesn't let much get to him. He'd been bouncing off the walls waiting to come. It absolutely broke my heart. I had him sit next to me and I just held him wanting so much to make him feel better but knowing I was in the same boat. I was ready to go home too. So we just snuggled.
That wasn't the worst of it. Shortly after that, Ethan came into my room and was upset about something else that one of his siblings had done. "Mommy I want to go home! I want to go home, mommy! Let's go get in the car." This wasn't fair. I was there in the house, without Steve and my kids were voicing the same thing I was feeling. I reached out to facebook and had some amazing feedback and words of encouragement from everyone. Minutes after snuggling with mommy, both kids were off playing and had forgotten their sadness. I was left with the heartache. I emailed Andy's friends' parents begging for emails from them so Andy would have someone to write to. I helped Ashley write emails to her cousin and life seemed just a little happier again.
Friday was much the same type of playing and hanging out. Jakob made breakfast again that day. He just needed to do SOMETHING and figured this would be the best thing to do. Plus my kids decided that it was time to eat us out of house and home. They have tried to eat nonstop since we got here! So instead of waiting for me, he figured he'd just do it on his own. While I watched the box scores on my laptop for the BYU game, I made omelettes because that was all we had left to make in the house. And they were GOOD. My kids were begging for more. But as it took 9 eggs to make what we'd already eaten, I decided to pass on making more. And hey, we won the game!! The kids enjoyed emailing cousins and classmates that day. It was great!!
Steve was able to take an earlier flight home that night. As much as I've always loved to have him come home, I don't remember being THAT happy to have him come home. Which is why I came up with the cheesy but heartfelt "Jaclyn Weist decided Steve is my W. Without him, I have a hole. With him, I am whole." status on Facebook. I just felt like life was right again!
Saturday was full of its own adventures. We spent the morning coming up with homes to go look at. Unfortunately, as much as I have wanted to stay away from driving on the opposite of the road, we learned the hard way that its better to learn that than to rely on buses all the time! We missed 3 showings because 1. they're WAY too short (1/2 for most and 15 minutes for a few others!!!) and 2. we were too late finding them because they were either happening right then or with in minutes. So we settled on one and headed out to do shopping until it was time.
We finally made it to Canberra Centre, which is their mall. It was very nice! We finally got cell phones for ourselves and we found a great umbrella double stroller at Target. Woohoo! I was also happy to find that a lot of what we'd need to buy wasn't nearly as expensive as I thought it was going to be. We had a picnic on the benches outside and let the kids run around for a bit. It was good for them. But then we realized we were starting to cut it close to when the open house was for the house. We took a bus thinking it would be close to where we were going.... 45 minutes worth of walking later we found it. Yes, 45 minutes. That consisted of trying to keep our 4 little ducks in a row while pushing the other two in a stroller. It was warm (not quite hot thankfully!) and it was a long walk up and down broken sidewalks. I LOVED the stroller (until the next day when I found bruises on my hands... but we still use it). No more carrying 20 pound babies that begin to feel like they're 100 pounds. The house was okay. The only problem was that they wouldn't be out until we to be out of the apartment we're in. AND it was only for 6 months. AND we didn't fall instantly in love it with it. So off we walked for another 15 minutes until we found a closer bus stop.
We then went shopping at another center and found a great place to buy groceries, etc. And Ashley found out that if you pull Gavin out of the stroller in the front, all the groceries, etc hanging on the back of the stroller will cause it to tip over - and that makes for a VERY angry little sister. We got to wait at a bus stop for 40 minutes until the next bus - during which Heidi screamed the ENTIRE TIME. AND the bus was late. And then she screamed until we were about 10 minutes from home. Nothing I did would make her stop. So I just kept trying because really, what else can I do?! We were very happy to be home. And even better, the kids finally had a charger for their DS so they were thrilled to have something to play again. We got the kids bathed and ready for bed and fed dinner. It was a VERY long day - but hey, my Lucky Jeans fit much better for it!!
Sunday was another wonderful day of church - the morning leading up to it was not so good. When we got on the bus, we realized that Heidi was rather... stinky. And not only that, she was leaking... not good on church clothes!! Halfway through the walk Gavin started crying (He spends a great deal of his time walking actually crying) because he had to use the potty. He didn't make it.... So we walked into church with one stinky one and one wet one. Oh joy!! But we were still happy to be there. I met more great people and the kids met more friends. It was wonderful to be there and get to know more people! I met another few families from the States. So that made 4 from Utah (Besides us) and 1 from San Diego. Plus two of those have ties to Eagle Mountain. CRAZY.
We went to dinner afterwards again and had a fabulous time. Great food, great friends! The kids had a blast and by the time we were done and ready to go my kids were begging to come back. It was great! We came home and enjoyed some quiet time at home. I say quiet time because DS' were played. I had hoped to blog but that just didn't happen. I had emails to write for kids, etc.
So that leads us to today. And what a day it was!! We looked around online to make sure we got all the houses we could to visit for the day. Steve was given the day off so we could look at homes. He walked to one while I was driven to another by my awesome friend (my other amazing friend was watching my kids!!). Steve called to say NO WAY after finding cracks in walls, light fixtures where the string to turn it on and off was hanging clear down in the middle of the floor etc. I got done looking at the house where I was and was frustrated. The pool wasn't gated so that posed a problem and the house just wasn't that well taken care of. The master bedroom was AMAZING with its walk-in closet and there was a great place for the boys to share a room. But I couldn't get past that pool and the unsafe hazards it brought to the family. The agent I walked through with was rather worried (even more than I was...)when she found out the ages of the kids. So a no go on two houses.
We had lunch and then we were getting ready to go do some grocery shopping when I got a phone call from another house. They were in the area so we decided to rush over to see it. Rush is a relative term in this case. Cue downpour. I'm not sure why rain likes to follow us but it does. Flooding in St. George, flooding in Eagle Mountain and big time downpour here - after having had a drought for the last 10 years!!! So we walked out into it. Luckily the rain was warm. We made it to the street we needed to get to by bus and started walking - and splashing. There were massive puddles EVERYWHERE so we couldn't avoid them. And true to form, we had one that needed a potty. Who cried for 10 minutes until we found a tree for him - and his brothers. Hopefully that's not illegal here.... And then on we walked. 20 minutes in a downpour was not a good thing. Especially when you get to the house that was not so great...
Now, part of it may have been because I was soaked. But I really had a hard time with the house the moment I stepped into it and felt like I was stepping THROUGH the floor. Outside was gorgeous. The yard was amazing. The neighborhood was amazing. The inside.... not so much. It was dark, the ceilings were low. The windows were huge, which were awesome - but were covered in little caterpillary worm things from the rain. Yikes!! The kitchen was TINY. And awkward to maneuver in. The rooms were okay but not great. And as we left one room Jakob told me not to look in the corner above the door - so i did. I saw 1 1/2 inch legs and that was enough for me to move on quite quickly. Luckily no one else saw it!! They had a 'rumpus' room (toy room) downstairs - but you had to access it by going outside!!! Ashley loved the idea of being able to play downstairs with no supervision.... Steve wanted to put an offer on the house and I flipped out silently. I just plastered on a smile and said that we would think about it and call her back. I couldn't do it. It didn't feel good to me. I couldn't raise my kids in that house!!
So on we trudged back to the bus stop. Luckily, the rain had calmed down by quite a bit to a slow drizzle. We took the bus home and I warmed up Heidi in a warm bath. The rest of the kids glued themselves to their DS until it was time for dinner - which was scrumptious spaghetti.
And now I am here. Still contemplating my choices in houses. Am I being too picky? Do I just grab one because its there? OR do I wait and get something that fits my family's needs? Steve had gone to see a house last Wednesday but when he got there the door was locked. The house is being renovated so I'm not sure how it will end up. but its still on our list until we see inside. Its so hard to get to this point and wonder what to do for housing. The same issue is happening with our car. Its not easy to find a car that will seat 8 people!! Our Odyssey did in the States but they don't here. So we just keep on watching and praying that it will work.
Now that I'm caught up I'm hoping I can get pictures in here and update more regularly. I decided I really should take a notebook with me on buses so I can write down what I'm thinking about as I travel. My sister also pointed out that I should be posting some of what I've emailed or posted on facebook. I'll start that in my next post because some of those thoughts are worth sharing. I just know that I have much to learn while I'm here!!