Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Hardest Thing To Get Used To....

.....When coming to a New Country

Val has tagged me with this interesting subject, after chronicling on her blog the woes of supermarket shopping in Australia (versus the US) during the early 70,s.
Alice was inspired by Val’s post to write about shopping during her early years on the farm in Australia. I’m sure you’ll enjoy both posts.

Overlooking Whale Beach, NSW

The hardest adjustment for me, however, was not shopping…which was a pleasure here in this country. I’d have to say it was the Climate and the total lack of beaches in my new location.
I had come from the veritable paradise of Palm Beach (we actually lived above Whale Beach, but the postal address was Palm Beach), NSW, and the long, hot summers of Oz, to the countryside of NY State.
Here the summers are very short and usually quite mild, and the winters are long and cold! Initially, I was so excited to think I’d be living in an area where it snowed! I hadn’t even set eyes on snow until my 18th year, when I went on a skiing vacation to the beautiful Perisher Valley, near Mt. Kosciusko, Australia’s highest mountain.

Our back door in December 2002

Spending a week or two ‘playing’ in the snow is vastly different, I learned, than enduring an entire winter of it. After my first l o n g and seemingly never-ending NY winter, my enthusiasm had paled considerably. I’d seen all the snow I ever wanted to see! Not only did I have to get used to driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, I had to learn to drive in snow! Now that can be a scary experience, especially if one has to brake suddenly for a deer with very little road sense, that decides to run across the road in front of your car….not an uncommon experience here in the country. I assure you, it’s not fun!

Living close to the beach growing up, I had of course, spent lots of time there, swimming in the surf or the enclosed pool, sunbaking and reading a good book on the warm sand, exploring the rocky areas at either end of the beach. Walking on warm, damp sand at the ocean’s edge is an experience no one should miss. On hot days the dry sand burns your feet and squeaks when you walk on it :) There are a myriad things to see and do. The sights, sounds and smells of the ocean are a feast for the senses…..except perhaps rotting seaweed and dead sea creatures….although I think I could enjoy even those right now, as I gaze outside at yet another cold and windy, snowy day.

One does eventually get used to the climate though, and once our bodies are acclimatized to this weather the hot summers of Oz can feel too hot. When we moved back and lived over there for three and half years between 1979 and 1983 (before returning to this country), I found the summers too hot. I know most of my Aussie friends and family wouldn’t mind mixing a little bit of our cold weather with the extreme temperatures they were experiencing during December and January.
There are some positive things about winters in NY though. They give us some necessary downtime from working like a crazy person all summer in the garden, as well as all the other activities we try to cram into our too-short warm season. It’s a time for reflection and reading, and getting some of those jobs done that we don’t find time for in the summer.
And this winter, for me, it’s been a time to discover and get to know something about all those great new blogging friends out there!
I doubt I’ll get much time for blogging once the warmer weather comes :)

I sure would enjoy a stroll along Whale Beach right now on a lovely Aussie summer day……

I'd like to tag Chest of Drawers.....


Zoey said...[Reply]

Ah, snow. There's something I can certainly relate to! I bet it did take some getting used to --living in such a severe climate.
I agree winter is a time to slow down and enjoy the quiet activities.
I bet when summer gets here you will still find to blog...you will have to show off all those beautiful flowers as they bloom!

kylieps said...[Reply]

Me too!

Val said...[Reply]

Thanks for that great response to the tag, Kerri.

Having lived my first 15 years in New York, on Long Island, I can think of another positive of being snowed in as a kid: if it was bad enough the schools were closed! Oh, happy days! And our mom was the kind of mom who loved to have us around, and it was a treat for her too.

Alice said...[Reply]

Hey, what's this suggestion that come summer you won't have time for blogging? Listen, my friend, you just better make time - you can't leave me now!
'Big Sis'

chest of drawers said...[Reply]

I would love to be tagged!
I too miss the Aussie climate but Austria has a few more surprises that I will probably never get use to.

Sue said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri,
You beaches in Australia look very different than our west coast beaches.
The ocean is my very favorite spot to go camping with our fifth wheel trailer. I love the sound of the waves as I fall asleep. Don't think I'd ever get used to all your snow in NY. I'm a CA girl through and through!

Connie and Rob said...[Reply]

I am wanting spring so bad also but I will find time for blogging...Don't leave us!!


shellyC said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri

Firstly thanks for all your lovely comments on my blog.

Funny in the 12 years that I lived away from Australia and seven and a half were in Switzerland....really all that I missed was a beach!!! And I had never lived near one here in australia....but being near an Australian beach (and believe me I have been to many OS..they are just not the same) always makes me feel calm and "at home". I too enjoyed winter days in Switzerland (they were not grey like in England) and like you said it was time to do lots of indoor things. Back here I still hate to spend the whole day inside if it is a beautiful sunny day...trouble is we have so many of them!!!

Abandoned in Pasadena said...[Reply]

That was a nice walk down memory lane. Your snow picture looks terrible...I don't mean it the way it sounds. I mean that I wouldn't want to see that much snow all winter long. I would rather be walking along warm balmy beaches too.

I too never really saw any snow until I was 18 and I had so much fun playing in it. We get very little snow now and when we get a dusting we still get excited...at least I do. This year has been one of our snowiest years...I know you'll laugh...but we probably had about 3 to 4 inches for about 3 days.

I enjoyed reading your post as it was very interesting.

Alice said...[Reply]

I just can't believe all that snow. Nice to look at (maybe) but I'd be worrying about the garden and what it was doing to buildings, etc. No doubt you housed your cattle during the winters?

Like ShellyC said, if it's fine and sunny you feel obligated to be outside. That's one reason I used to LOVE wet weekends. It gave me an excuse to stay inside and do some of the other things I liked doing, apart from gardening.

I haven't seen many overseas beaches - only UK and some USA ones - but I constantly marvel at how fortunate we are to have miles of 'uninhabited' beaches with clear water and clean sand. Just to be near the water is so relaxing. The vastness of the ocean makes me feel very insignificant, but I love it anyway.

Sharon K said...[Reply]

Oh my I have not seen that much snow in years. I miss Ohio in the winter but your picture made me glad I am in Florida for another month. I enjoy your blog and pictures.

Anonymous said...[Reply]

Thanks for visiting me Kerri. I'm so glad you did, as new friends are a treat! Your words are wonderful and you tell a terrific tale. I'll be back for sure! :)

Marie said...[Reply]

I can so relate to this having moved from sunny Adelaide to snowy Sweden. I've been here a few years and am still waiting for some hot weather. When it gets to 28C, the locals all cry "heatwave". I also miss the beaches. I live in a coastal town here, but there is no sand, only rocks.

The other thing that is really hard about being away is missing family and friends as well as feeling that the life of an ex-pat is a transitory thing, with people coming into and going out of your life on a fairly regular basis. I've had to learn not to get too attached to other ex-pats here, because I know we'll be going our separate ways. I'd love to have one constant friend who stays put!

Wendy A said...[Reply]

Kerri- I grew up in Souther California. I too was a beach girl. We enjoyed 10 months of swimsuit weather and two months of jumper weather. When we moved to Canada in 1991 I had to learn all about cold, snowy winters. It took about 8 years. I finally learned to embrace winter by skiing, ice skateing and dressing properly. I really know how depressing the snow can be until you learn to embrace it. Ironically I miss the snow now.