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Hello Australia!

We made it! Eric and I touched down in Tamworth Thursday morning. It’s been a bit of a foggy whirlwind, but with some fresh air and sleep aid, we are getting settled and adjusting well to the time change. Nothing too exciting yet to report, no deadly snake or spider sightings at this point. We’ve come right at the beginning of Australia’s spring, so the weather is beautiful, but they are short on rain and are currently at level 5 water restrictions (highest, emergency level). This means no lawn watering, no car washing, very short showers, etc. It was obvious looking down on the flight that the situation is worrisome, the countryside is very brown and dry, which does not help the wildfire situation. This area’s water reservoir is only at around 20% capacity, which is a huge change from the abundance of rain and flooding we were experiencing in Nebraska…..

For now, we haven’t made any other plans yet, just trying to spend some time catching up with Amanda and Scott. In the coming week we’ll start outlining where else we’ll go in our “big adventure”. Eric and I have struggled a little bit not having a solid plan. Traveling for a year is a vastly different experience than just planning a one or two week trip. So much time has me a little lost at where to start, so I’m thankful we have our friends to stay with to get us going.

Some random observations:
-I like watching the news here. The other day, there was a report of a drug bust where they also seized some “dangerous weapons” – batons and a tazer…..I laughed out loud at that, but really, it’s sadly funny when you think about the news at home.
-I don’t know if it was the fog of travel, but when we first arrived, I felt like I didn’t know English anymore. I guess it was mostly at the grocery store when the clerk kept asking me if I wanted my seedling boxes…..um, what?
-Everything appears to be wildly expensive here, which I didn’t totally remember from our previous trips. I keep forgetting a few things though: 1) The exchange rate is VERY in our favor right now, thank goodness.
2) Tax is included in the price tag/on the menu, no add-ons when things are rung up at the register, and
3) we don’t have to tip (per our friend) – the miniumum wage in Australia is $15 an hour, even for servers at restaurants. So in the end, most everything ends up being about equal. Fuel though, is over $4 per gallon, ouch.

From the scenic overlook of Tamworth
Scenic Hanging Rock overlook, southeast of Tamworth