The last week has been busy and so much fun. I can't remember exactly what I did each day, but I will give you some highlights..
Today in Hyde Park (where I go running) I saw two black swans! The 4 year old was probably thinking what a weirdo I am because I was pretty excited over it. The mom told me to take her to this cute cafe that was called gelateria or something like that and they didn't even sell gelato! How weird! They had a million Italian pastries, so the little girl got 2 little frosted dough thingies. She is a sweet fiend! She absolutely HAS to have at least an ice cream and an "icy pole" (popsicle) per day. Her punishments when she is 'naughty' include no ice cream and no tutus. Since she slept through the night last night, her ice cream and tutus have been reinstated. She was allowed to watch "sad girls" (America's Next Top Model) as well. When she was little, she always saw the contestant at the end crying when she was eliminated from the show, so she called it sad girls and it stuck.
Last week in King's Park (which is enormous and gorgeous and overlooks the Swan River) I saw the Australian Prime Minister (Julia Gillard) and the old Australian Prime Minister (Kevin Rudd)! We were walking along and we see 2 police officers and 2 cameramen pointing up to the fancy restaurant at the top of the park. I made a joke about who it could be and then realized who it was. Pretty exciting! King's Park also recently created a boardwalk that takes you through all the different ecosystem types of Australia. They had huge boab trees, gum trees, etc. I obviously loved it.
They took me to Cottesloe Beach which is GORGEOUS. I'm pretty sure that was the color of the water. They don't develop right on the beaches like they do in Florida, so you get much more of a pristine feel. While we were swimming in the Indian Ocean, a man was pulled out of the water by several lifeguards. When he was able to stand he made a beeline right for the water and face planted into it. They pulled him out again and realized he was "off his face" (as they say here for really, really drunk). He was putting up a fight and so the police came to arrest him. Soon there was an ambulance, 6 police men, 10 lifeguards and an entire beachful of people watching this spectacle. In the U.S. I think they would have handcuffed him as soon as the police arrived, but here, they waited a good 45 minutes to put them on.
Shabbat here was great. The family gets together with the mom's two sisters and families, their mom and her boyfriend, and a family that they have known forever. I felt like I was at home and they thought it was so great that even though I am from 11,000 miles away, Shabbat is still Shabbat. The Challah here was ridiculously delicious. SO light and fluffy. The granny made kugel for me as a surprise (she had asked me the week before what my favorite Jewish food that my mom cooks is). It was really good, but different from Mommy's amazing kugel (send me some please!). I told them I would cook my mom's recipe soon.
A few nights later the mom's dad (Zay Zay) had all of us over for bagels. The bagels here are also much lighter and really delicious. Apparently South Africans eat a lot of dried meat, which is considered a delicacy. The whole family wants to convert me into a meat eater, because they say Australian meat (and South African meat) are particularly good. The mom used to be a vegetarian, so they have been very accomodating to me, and always just cook the meat on the side instead of in the dish. I am very lucky!
The parents pretend that I am their daughter and they just waited 18 years to have other children. They are only 10 years older than me though, so they like to take me out for drinks. I have tried so many craft beers here. Beez Neez and Little Creatures Brewery are probably my two favorites. The Little Creatures Brewery is in Fremantle (30 minutes south of me), so they have planned a day trip for us to go. There are also some really good wineries in the region that they are excited to take me to. I tried a cheese from one of the wineries and it was amazing. I can't wait until we go down there!
I also got a job at this italian restaurant called Monte Fiore. The owners are straight from Italy and the food looks so good. I haven't tried it yet, but I will soon. They pay $20 an hour for servers! I work a few hours a week for extra cash, which is always nice. The other servers are mostly the daughters of the owners-16, 18, and 19 year olds. Boo. I'm going to apply to other places with people more my age.
The mom's sister has a 10 month old baby and he is such a nugget. Michelin Man legs and arms-love it!! Anyway, apparently he hates being separated from his mom, so they never really have had anyone watch him that wasn't family. I babysat him on Monday and he was great. The mom was shocked and thrilled and now she loves me.
Anyway, the rest of my days are spent swimming with the girls, crafting, playing with dolls, playing at the parks and watching Australian kids television. The shows are hysterically bad but the girls love them. I now know the words to all the theme songs.
I've pretty much given up on the accent-Perth accents aren't as stereotypical and thick like Sydney. I fact, I think the children sound British. Whenever I imitate the kids, the dad calls me Kate Winslet because I sound British. Oops! I am compiling a list of the funny phrases and words that they use, and the dad is very excited. They all pick on me for what I say and I laugh at all of them for what they say. I'l do a post soon on that.
I love that I feel so comfortable with the family. The other day I heard Zay Zay and the aunt say something along the lines of: if they love Dana so much already and she's only been here for a week, what will they do after 8 months? It made me feel really good. When I flew here, I had no idea how it would go, and it is absolutely better than I could have imagined.
Alright, now that I have written a full-on novel, I will go. Tonight I am going to a "meet up" for young 20s in Perth. I hope its not lame; it would be nice to make friends that aren't related to the family!
Love you all heaps and heaps (which is what they say instead of lots and lots!),