What a whirlwind time it's been!
To start where I left off: my husband and I finished up work in Christchurch and then spent a week trying to relax and do touristy things, like the river walk around the CBD. However, some of these things were a lot of effort, as the weather remained ridiculously cold. We did the river walk in a miserable fourteen degrees, with rain drizzling on us. Towards the end of our time in Christchurch, I developed a terrible sinus infection from all the hay fever. Every time I bent over, I thought my head would explode. It seems weird writing this now, as my sinuses are completely clear and my head feels light. Anyhow, I had to take some serious medication so that I could fly without my eardrum blowing up.
In the meantime, we attempted to sell my car, which had been hit and run in November, the first time we had attempted to sell it. We had paid the money to fix it, only to discover that closer to Christmas, everyone is broke and doesn't want to buy a car. Then the car door handle stopped working from where the panel beater had messed around with it. When we took it back to the panel beater, he could see that he was in trouble, and he offered to buy it for a measly $500. I was so tired and stressed that I accepted it - and then shed a bitter tear when I saw he was trying to on-sell it for $1400 on Facebook. And he had had the gall to tell us it was barely worth anything!
But the time came to move on, and we headed to the North Island for a round of farewells. There, we spent a wonderful five days on Moturua Island in the Bay of Islands. My husband's grandfather has several houses on the island, and it was a privilege as always to experience the bay in privacy. Kayaking around the calm ocean waters afforded some amazing views.
From there we went to Hamilton to farewell my family. We enjoyed half a day out at the stunning Hamilton Gardens.
And then before we knew it, immigration day was upon us. My in-laws saw us off at the airport, and we got on the plane, only to discover we were in one of the few aisles that had no window at all. So our first sight of our new home was a tiny slice of the window in the row in front of us, that we could just see if we leaned forward and twisted our necks in the right direction.
My writer friend Russell Proctor put us up again for the night at his house in Brisbane. It was a pleasure to chat with him and greet his cat Humphrey (most reverently). The next morning, we picked up our dog from the Qantas cargo center. When the forklift brought her crate around and she lifted her little head at the sound of our voices, I was actually very moved. If you've never had a pet that you adored, you probably wouldn't understand. If you have, you'll know the gentle power they exert over you.
We discovered Peyton had wet herself in terror before or during flying. Her crate was absolutely saturated. So we had to bath her soon afterward. She was so relieved to see us that she fell asleep at my feet in the car.
Then we did something which - in retrospect - was probably insane, and we headed to the Gold Coast for a day, staying with a friend of Michael's for the night. The Gold Coast is stunning, there's no doubt about it. But I have to say, the humidity was simply crushing. I had never felt anything like it. Even a cold-blooded reptile like me was dying a slow, agonising death. And I was exhausted after immigrating the day before.
The next morning, we got up at four thirty, put ourselves, our luggage, and our dog in the car, and drove to Chinchilla, to be there by nine thirty. We met with our landlord and landlady, and got a quick tour of the house. I have to admit, I was very out of it. Getting up at four thirty does that to you. The local Presbyterian pastor arrived to give us a hand, and then the moving truck pulled up twenty minutes later, and it was all go, all day. The day soared to approximately thirty-five degrees, and I frequently felt like I was on the point of collapse, because I kept forgetting to eat and drink in my frenzy to make sure we had everything there. The pastor grabbed us fruit, food, and coffee, and helped us tirelessly till the end of the day. By the end, we had all our rooms more or less sorted and the most important things were organised - a bed to sleep in and a working fridge to stick our heads in if we died of heat.
The pastor and his wife generously had us to tea, and then we slept the sleep of the dead that night. Today has been busy too, but I'm beginning to feel more and more at home. I feel that we've definitely come to the right place. And to think, I had never heard of Chinchilla eight months ago!
Today, we applied for medicare, registered our dog, and got library cards. We also did a huge grocery shop that broke the bank. But it means we now have meat. I'm still waiting for a breeze to come up so that I can walk the dog. I keep getting warned that a carpet python might come along and eat her. I haven't seen any of those fiendish creatures yet... but it may not be long.
If/when I see one, I will take a picture. I promise to take pictures of many interesting things that we see here.
Certainly, not all wildlife is friendly. I stepped on the grass last night to be nipped in numerous places by little ants. But hey, at least they weren't fire ants. It could have been infinitely worse!