Feeling very much like Dorothy, I was no longer in the good ole U S of A. I was now in Oz.
I walked out of the airport, backpack hanging off of one shoulder, my hand tightly laced with the hand of the man to my side. The cold air rushed in and my thin yoga pants were not prepared for the chilling winter air, seeing as how it was summer when I got dressed on the other side of the world this morning…or maybe that was yesterday? The air was full of moisture. I could feel the tiny water vapors that clung to my skin and clothing. Our winters at home were dry, thin and crisp.
The air tasted differently. It wasn’t familiar. It wasn’t like walking into your home and smelling that “homey” smell. It was like walking into a foreign place, smelling and tasting the aroma that filled the air in an unventured home. My stomach wavered and knotted, trying to place my finger on exactly what it tasted like.
We were walking through the parking garage, talking about how my flights went, how we couldn’t believe I was actually there after such a long long wait. How we loved each other. How we were so happy.
When we finally made it to the car, he placed my large bag into the back and shut it. I, being the new person to this strange world, accidentally walked to the wrong side (our right side) of the car and laughed.
First lesson learned. It was definitely going to take a while to get used to this.
So we drove. Awkwardly. Yes we loved each other and knew each other like the back of our hands, but actually holding hands was a bit different. We sat silently, stealing glances at each other when we thought the other wasn’t looking. Our fingers were locked tightly together and at random times we would giggle and shake our heads, noticing how stupid we were being.
Americans mostly all drive automatic cars, so being in a car that was a stick, on the other side of the road, in a hilly environment, was definitely something to get used to. I found myself many times holding my breath and gripping the seat tightly, thinking we were about to crash. People drove crazy here. The roads were thinner, the cars were smaller, the signs on the sides of the road were more vast. My eyes could not hold attention on one object for long, I felt as though if I missed something I might never see it again. The buildings were older, the people walked the streets in large quantities even though it was an overcast and very dreary day.
Flying in, I remembered looking at the landscape in awe. Their winters were very moist, the rolling hills stayed a vibrant green and the cities stayed a slick black. We were close to the city now, buildings rising up over head and I was becoming anxious. I had never been to a city before.
We made a short stop at a friends house. A small, quaint house with an even smaller front yard. It was my first time to meet one of my boyfriends friends and my chance to take a shower.
The meeting went well, laughing and joking as I tried to keep up with their jokes and banter. I smiled contently as the world around me sunk into my skin and made home in my pores. The house was cold, as electricity was expensive. I burrowed into my jacket as I opened up my suitcase to find clothes to change into. I grabbed a pair of jeans and a shirt that I thought would keep me warm.
Stepping into the bathroom, I turned on the water and waited for it to turn hot. In previous conversations I had had with my boyfriend I knew that taking my usual 20 minute shower was out of the question and a little barbaric, so I settled with a five minute shower.
My choices with the water was either scorching hot or ice cold, and as much as I wanted a hot shower, I liked my skin, so I braved the cold.
After the shower I sat next to the space heater to try to regain feeling back into my fingers and toes. Then it was time to venture out into the city.
The sky was still the color of an oyster shell, white and silver all over with a hint of a pale sun sneaking up from behind. There were so many twists and turns, no straight road stayed straight for long and I found myself rocking back and fourth with each turn.
We parked in a parking spot that my boyfriend had used previous times going into the city. Apparently a well known secret.
My eyes were sparkling and gleamed as I peered up at the tall glass buildings. I turned in small circles to take it all in. People walked on all sides of me and my boyfriend laughed, taking my hand and pulling me along to see more.
You could pretty much say that it was love at first sight. The city had a type of energy around it that buzzed and tingled my skin. A permanent smile was formed onto my lips and I took in everything that I could.
We then decided that we were hungry.
What to eat as my first meal in Oz?
At this, my boyfriend was ecstatic. Yes there were things like Subway, McDonalds, Burger King (Hungry Jacks), etc etc. But no, this first meal had to be special.
He then walked into a bakery (there were a million of those in the city) and came out with two small bags.
One bag held two sausage rolls, and the other held two meat pies.
Being the American that I am, the only thought that came to mind was Sweeney Todd. You know, that movie with Johnny Depp? No? Oh, okay.
Anyways, I was skeptical. The only pies I knew of were apple and pecan. But I was willing to try!
So he gave me a packet of tomato sauce (since Australians don’t know what ketchup is) and I tried it.
And hey, it wasn’t that bad! Was it anything like the fruity pies I was used to? Well, no, but it was still pretty delicious!
(Notice me enjoying a lovely sausage roll in the city)
We checked the clock and saw that it was nearing noon. Time to go. We had a soccer game (I mean football, right?) to attend to and we couldn’t be late.
And after that, we were meeting with his parents.
No big deal, right?
Until Next Time!!!!