It was stunning. The rolling hills of emerald green spackled with gum trees and other botanical formations unknown to the people of America. Livestock, and foreign birds sang in foreign tongues. Golden light poured over the landscape like a warm blanket. And in the distance, the Tasman Sea, lapped wildly against cliffs unseen.
T’was my turn to drive but my heart and mind were laid waste by what I had just witnessed. I pulled back onto the winding road and drove…and drove…and drove, occasionally staring into the eyes of my beloved spouse…the one whose hard work and adventurous spirit led us to this distant land…this….
“Hey honey, look at that truck. What an idiot. He’s in my….lane…..”
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” I screamed and swerved frantically into the left lane, the correct lane, without regard for other motorists. I was too stunned by my own failure. How could I do such a thing? I’m no tourist. I am an Australian Resident for crying out loud. I know who Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull are. I drink tea and throw trash in the rubbish bin. I like beetroot on hamburgers and I am no longer confused when people say “Ta” instead of thank you. I have no right to make mistakes of such magnitude.
But hey, my passenger, Captain America, didn’t exactly steer me in the right direction either.
Word of the Day: trucky – A driver of trucks. A blokey type.
Poll: Have you had a run in with a trucky?
Trivia: Kevin Rudd is the Prime Minister of Australia and Malcom Turnbull is the leader of the opposition party. This position was at one time held by Brenden Nelson.
The story above is a small snippet of our Great Ocean Road Adventure which included an RV, much driving, staggering scenery, bird sized moths, wild koalas and kangaroos,bush rats, Jedi navigating, late nights, early mornings, coffee with Baileys, excited kids and much fun. We journeyed from Sydney to Melbourne to Port Fairy and back again. I love my family.
We’ve come a long way, Mike and I. Six months ago, we were navigating the Sydney suburbs with little more than a stroller and an atlas. Three months ago, we purchased a vehicle and drove sparingly; gripping the wheel at 10 and 2 like petrified high school students on the first day of Drivers Ed. Today, we both are capable of eating a burger, talking on the phone, grabbing an unruly child by the ankle and steering simultaneously. How is that for progress?
But progress brings with it challenges of it’s own. An increase in confidence has led to more driving excursions, and it doesn’t take many of these to discover that Sydney is cruel.
Would you like to take a right, Heather? Shut up. You will turn right when I say you can and that won’t be for another 10 kilometers!!!!
Oh, did you make a mistake? Would you like to turn around? NO! Now turn off your blinker before I force you onto the freeway.
Oh…you didn’t want to get on the toll infested freeway? Too Bad. Pay up Beeyotch!!!! And when you figure out how to turn around and head back the other way you will pay again…..mmoooohahahahaha moooooohahahaha!
Oh you need to turn left? You want to be in the left hand lane? Oh you do?Okay…..PARKED CAR!!!
Mike finds the random parked cars that pepper the left lane particularly irritating. Legendary tirades have ensued after near misses with said cars.
And then there is the issue of navigation. I am convinced that google maps is against me and my family. Not sure what we did to anger Mr. Google and his map making minions, but they seem to want us to be permanently lost. It has gotten so ridiculous that Mike and I have decided to always find our selected destination a day ahead of time.
“Hey honey, let’s go to the drive-in”.
“Okay, we’ll drive there tonight and go tomorrow”.
Today, I took the girls to Bi-Centennial Park in West Pymble. There are about four Bi-Centennial Parks in Sydney. Just like there are 18 Macquarie Streets, 12 Warratah Roads and 32 Victoria Avenues. Fortunately, I did my homework and found the park I was looking for on (dun dun dun) google maps.
Google thinks it funny to say things like, “Exit toward Ryde”. No street name. No Exit number. Just a suggestion. If I knew where Ryde was, I would go toward it. It reminds me of how my mom gives directions
“What? I have not a compass! Left or right woman…left or right!”
The rest of the directions were less vague but completely wrong. I relied soley on my Gregory Guide (cousin of Thomas) to get me there. And you know how conveient ancient map navigation is while driving. Greg and I worked together and got us there though. Good on ya Greg.
TAKE THAT GOOGLE MAN!
Kenna Quote: Context-When I could not find the play area at the park we spent a half an hour trying to find. “Mom, it’s okay. Strawberry Shortcake says that hill is more than just a hill it’s a possibility. You add skill and love and that’s how a garden grows.”
She has been throwing out a lot of gems lately. Yesterday she said she loved me because I make her feel like she has glitter and bows in her heart. She also told me I was pretty like the “Queen of Israel”. (stunned silence) That’s awesome.
Chaylee quote of the day: Momma. Momma. Mommy. Mom. Momma. Momma. Mommy. wasssisiss ticka was he he dada ha.
Shout out to my man: Mike was named Foreign Driver of the Year when he took on a two lane round about at night during rush hour without breaking a sweat. Cool as ice, that man. Cool as ice!
Word of the Day: Fair suck of the sav! : exclamation of wonder, awe, disbelief.
Fair suck of the sav, I am where the streets have no name!
Trivia: It is World Youth Day here in Sydney. The Pope is here presiding over the largest Mass in Australian History this morning at Darling Harbour. I had no idea the Pope was such a Rock Star. The youth were beside themselves. It was a lovely spectacle.
People thank God for the strangest things. We thank Him for helping us find our keys. We thank him for nice weather on special days and snow on Christmas. We thank him when we are happy and when we get stuff we always wanted. But today I want to publically express gratitude to God Almighty for something I have never found cause to thank Him for. My left thumb.
All of my life I have had a double jointed left thumb. I can bend it in impossible directions and it even appears a bit shorter than it’s twin on the right. It is an oddity I have never given much thought to unless I am performing party tricks or frightening small children with the removeable thumb illusion. But today something amazing happened.
I was driving to the drycleaner through heavy traffic. I was experiencing the usual light headedness, shortness of breath, and heart palpatations when something miraculous happened…
I begin to notice that every time I took a right turn into the left lane I was involuntarily bending my freakish thumb back. It was as if my ridiculous thumb was a beacon of safety guiding me into the correct lane. With each turn confidence swelled within me. With my trusty thumb at the wheel my family as well as Australian motorists and pedestrians will be safe.
Cougar may have turned in his wings, but I am no Cougar….
The codename is Thumbelina baby. And this soldier can roll in any hemisphere.
Thank you dear readers for your support and thank you Lord for my thumb. It was a comfort to me as a child and is a comfort to me now.
It was dark, very dark. The enormous, silver, diesel, she-beast sat in the carport waiting for me. Naked…no plates. But that didn’t matter because it was dark, very dark.
I strapped my trusty sidekicks into our new silver bullet and then attempted to enter the vehicle confidently, but on the wrong side. My second attempt was more successful but equally disconcerting. Everything felt wrong. Windshield wipers where the turn signal should be; my left hand suddenly responsible for all the most important tasks, i.e. shifting, stereo manipulation, air conditioning… With very little experience and no “rego” I was an outsider and an outlaw.
I rolled out slow on the creep tip with track nine settin the tone in the background T-Town style.
“They see me rollin, they’re hatin, patrollin, tryin to catch me ridin dirty…try to catch me ridin dirty, try to catch me ridin dirty, tryin to catch me ridin dirty”
Paranoia raged within me like a stoned teenager. The soundtrack somehow helped though. And when I saw my man approaching I rolled down my window so he could hear our rebel anthem. He nodded. I nodded back. _______
My next excursion did not go as well.
In order to register a vehicle, one must get a green slip (insurance) a blue slip (auto inspection) and a pink slip (from the DMV which is called the RTA). A gal from down the street was nice enough to let me follow her to Castle Cove so I could obtain said Blue Slip. The drop off was without incident, but picking up the car proved dangerous.
I packed Chaylee and a carseat in the pram and picked up Kenna from Kindie and walked 1km to the mechanic. This time I would have to take the car into rush hour on my own. I took a wrong turn within 5 blocks.
I found a landmark I was familiar with and got back on track.
Jane, a friend from down the street happened to pull up behind me as I drove (still dirty) carefully down the crowded street. Her presence brought minimal comfort and a great deal of pressure. I must perform. I must let her know that her children are still safe to walk about in the neighborhood with me on the road, I thought.
Nearly home, I sat patiently on Penshurst waiting to take a right (which is akin to taking a left at home). The cars kept coming and coming. The sun was piercing and distracting. Panic begin to seize me…
Jane is waiting. They all think I am a terrible driver. I have not plates. Is that a cop? Grow some balls Hev. Come on! Just turn right. There’s a gap…go, go, go….
And go did I. Straight into the right lane…the wrong lane.
There I sat frozen, staring into the young man’s eyes whom I nearly struck head on. I pleaded with him like a deranged mime begging him to back up so that I could get off Penshurst and experience my shame and total loss of confidence in the quiet of my own culdesac. He obliged, stunned and curious. I rolled down my window and shouted in my most apologetic voice…
“I’m sorry. I’m American!” Once again representing my nation with dignity and grace.
Jane consoled me from her automobile and I pretended to be fine. I wasn’t. As she headed on her way I started to cry. Kenna caught on quickly and attempted to reassure me.
“Don’t worry Mom. We all have accidents. Sometimes I pee.”
I laughed briefly and then proceeded to cry some more. The crying continued off and on throughout the evening. Peaking when I picked up Mr. Pasley from the train station. My wingman Michael “Maverick” Pasley offered to drive home and I suggested I turn in my wings.
Click on this link for dramatization:
Pray for me dear ones. I am homesick and longing for the peace of mind that comes with knowing how to friggin drive.
Poll: Would you rather:
a. walk through your neighborhood virtually naked in a storm
b. reveal your buttocks whilst at the park
c. humiliate yourself on the open road by driving on the wrong side of the street in traffic.
Trivia: In the early years of English colonization of North America, English driving customs were followed and the colonies drove on the left. After gaining independence from England, however, they were anxious to cast off all remaining links with their British colonial past and gradually changed to right-hand driving. The first law requiring drivers to keep right was passed in Pennsylvania in 1792, and similar laws were passed in New York in 1804 and New Jersey in 1813. Only 1/3 of the world drives on the left. (Wikipedia) America, a truly independent nation!
Words of the day:
Figjam : “F*ck I’m good; just ask me”. Nickname for people who have a high opinion of themselves.
Seppo: An American
Cockroach: Someone from NSW
I use to think I was a Figjam Seppo, but now all the Cockroaches know this drongo doesn’t know how to drive worth a darn.
Family Fact: Chaylee loves vegamite. Kenna does not. Chaylee walks, sort of.
Love to all. Pray for safe travels with me behind the wheel…if I can bring myself to ever drive again.