Today was my first day of school! I am officially enrolled (or enroled as they spell it here). I forgot how confusing a process enrolling at a new school is since the last time I did it was, oh, 11.5 years ago when I first enrolled at the University of Minnesota! But after reading and rereading and rereading different (and occasionally conflicting) information on the school’s website, I think I’ve taken care of all the things I need to, and its a relief. Now I’m working on getting a permanent office and my work computer set up. I found it pretty amusing that on the wall of my temporary office was a picture left by one of the previous tenant of a snow covered slope with a snow covered tree. Of all the pictures to see, I didn’t think that would be one of them. I wonder if people here put up pictures of winter scenes the way people back home put up pictures of tropical beaches.
Sunday, me and Pretty Boy took it easy after all the walking we did on Saturday. In the morning we hung around the apartment, doing research on apartments and op shops (what they call thrift and second hand stores). We found more apartments to look at which we will be seeing this week. One of the strangest things we’ve noticed in our apartment shopping is that refrigerators do not come standard with unfurnished apartments. One of the agents showing us an apartment on Saturday actually said that usually, apartments never come with refrigerators, though there are exceptions to the rule. Definitely something to think about in the furnished vs unfurnished debate. The most popular op shops here are Salvos (Salvation Army thrift stores), which we will definitely be hitting up once we decide on an apartment and know if it will be furnished or not.
While hanging around the apartment, Pretty Boy got some great shots of parrots in the tree right off our balcony. There were probably about ten birds in the one tree. A mix of male and female, both colored bright green, blue, and red.
After early morning fog burned off Sunday, it was mostly clear Sunday morning. Clouds rolled in Sunday afternoon, and it started raining right when we decided to head out to walk to the city center to buy a few things. We bought USA Sunkist oranges that were really tasty, and frozen Chinese food that we both found super comforting. Pretty Boy’s first choice was char siu bao.
His second choice was oreos.
After our third day of walking in the rain, Pretty Boy had a few pairs of wet shoes (I wore boots and apparently don’t kick up water quite like he does). I still can’t believe how humid it is here. Everything takes so long to dry, like towels, wet shoes, even our dishes! But my advisor tells me this is highly unusual and that this is the most humid its ever been here. He said normally it is even drier than winter in Minnesota. Considering the amount of moss growing on things outside, I don’t know that I believe him completely, but it will be interesting to see how it turn out once it stops raining all the time.
Canberra in general is pretty quiet. Our apartment is ridiculously quiet. There are only two main roads through North Canberra (where the city center and the ANU are) and neither are highways, so there isn’t much vehicle traffic noise. The campus is also really quiet. We haven’t seen any big crowds or in-between class rushes or commuters or anything like that. I saw the most dense group of people when I walked by the undergraduate dorms on the other side of campus. The campus in general reminds me of Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. Kind of isolated, super quiet, less cohesive building designs (as opposed to the University of Minnesota where most of the main building are of the same classic style). The building here are kind of a hodgepodge.
Here are some pictures of our current apartment. Its quite large, right on campus, and pretty comfortable (and very expensive). We don’t anticipate having this much space in our permanent place, so we are enjoying it while we can. I’m struggling with the electric, induction stove top though. The combination of the crappy pans provided with the apartment and the induction stove is just bad news, but we’re working around it.
The last observation I’ll add is that they spell curbs “kerbs.” Like on street signs, its says “Do not park up kerbs.”