Saturday, February 21, 2015

Moving in Rain

I’m alive! It’s a miracle, I’m alive!

Alright, maybe it isn't quite a miracle. None of my fears came to being.

Cyclone Marcia pleasantly disappointed us here in Brisbane. She came to the northeast of Queensland at a level 5 (with fire and brimstone), but quickly realized she was well beyond her league once she touched down, and scaled her power back to more of a level 3 or 2. What that means for us here in good old “brisy” is that she has graced us with a weekend-full of torrential rain, mild flooding, and cancelled plans. Simple, obnoxious rain.

That doesn't mean I didn't freak out yesterday morning. I encouraged my host to take me to Coles Supermarket to hastily get some canned food, in case Marcia got angry somewhere on her journey down the coast. With fear in our eyes, we paced the aisles looking for water jugs and easy-to-open canned tuna. Strangely, though, we seemed to be the only ones panic buying for a storm and not on a normal Friday stroll through the stores. There was a calm among our fellow patrons.

Once back, I watched the news and followed the storm coverage. That, too, was surprisingly peaceful, considering the storm level people were anticipating. The media were concerned, but it kind of sounded like everyone – even the locals further north – were saying in chorus, “We've got this.” This took me by surprise; I feel like when us NYC folks (and Americans in general) hear about a large storm headed their way, we go all out. Supermarkets are emptied. Media is frantic. Officials bite their nails. Crisis mode! High alert! We all, in some sense, become Doomsday Preppers.

And yet here, during what seemed to be during a pretty unusual storm cell, everyone kind of shrugged and said, “It’s a bit wet then, yeh?” I kind of like that. Everyone knew what was coming, and weren't fazed by the unknown too much. People reassured each other that this storm wouldn't be like the detrimental storm they encountered in 2011. Indeed, they judged this one pretty well.

The downside is that the big orientation my program was going to have this weekend at Stradbroke Island was canceled because of all of this rain. The island was going to be impossible to get to via ferry.

But hey! Yesterday I was able to move into my long-term apartment! During the storming and all. I’m so brave.

Not really, actually. It truly has not been that big of a deal.

Anyways, I hired a cab and brought all three of my bags to this gorgeous place I’ll be renting for the next while. It’s a newish, large apartment complex on the Brisbane River, and is really close to both UQ and CBD. There’s a pretty neat bar & cafe nearby, which I foresee my friends and I visiting during the school year. I’ve already used the complex gym, which is situated in a room outside right next to the pool. I’m just telling you because I’m bragging.

But really, I’m just glad to have settled in. There is something so relieving about moving into a place of your own. Once I got my goods into the apartment and unpacked my things, I realized I couldn't care less if Marcia would pass through with vengeance or not. So what if it floods downstairs and I’m stuck in my room for the weekend? I have a long-term room! I relished an evening getting acquainted with my new roommate and my cozy, fancy room.

That said, the rain is still obnoxious.

Today I had to go out to get some more things for my room, like a mattress pad and internet. (Internet here, if you’re wondering, can come as a USB modem – it chills out in your laptop and asks you when you want to connect to the rest of the world.) The rain didn't care about my errands, though. It made large, healthy puddles on my walk to the bus - for both me and the cars. On the sidewalks, I just happily trotted through the puddles with my unfashionable Crocs (I’m so glad I bought these atrocious things). For the cars…well…I had a Bridget Jones moment a number of times. Rather, I had walls of water poured over my foolish, squealing self whenever a car passed me. It happened maybe seven times before I wised up and made a large detour to a less popular road. I decided that, while being soaking wet wasn't so horrible, I didn't want to put myself through more showers on my way to get expensive technology. I chose the safer way – the train – and went to a different and dryer part of Brisbane for my errands.

My errand going confirmed for me that it’s definitely back-to-school time here. As I combed Kmart for some affordable kitchen and housewares today, I noticed I was surrounded by excited teenagers and their stressed out parents. Buying the same stuff that I was buying in the same stores. Because I’m also a student. Oh my goodness, I’m a student again.

Another side note: abbreviations. Aussies absolutely loveabbreviations. Brisbane turns to brisy. Afternoon turns to arvo (no clue how they came up with that one). Want to watch a bit of footy (football) this arvo (afternoon) in brisy (Brisbane)? Maybe eat a bikie (bisquit) and sip a coldie (cold beer) while you’re at it? On ya (Good on you)! I just made that whole scenario up, but the slang is very much real. It makes listening to Aussies a bit challenging at times because sometimes the abbreviation is far away from what I think they mean. Economic, yes. Understandable, not always. 

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