Life here in Perth is pretty good. It's a quiet, laid back city and it reminds me a lot of Calgary. It's not busy, there aren't a lot of people, and you feel safe walking the streets alone. The people are friendly. Of course, in some ways it's a lot different from Calgary. For one thing, it's the middle of winter (a particularly cold winter according to everyone here) and it's a whopping 20 degrees. Also, there are more beaches than you can shake a stick at.
After spending a few weeks in countries where they drive on the wrong side of the road, I'm finally starting to get used to it. I have conditioned myself to look right and then left. Twice this week though when hitching a ride with someone, I went around to get into the drivers side, thinking I was getting into the passenger side. They thought it was pretty funny.
The city of Perth is to the rest of the world considered a medium sized city of 1.4 million. Here, the city of Perth is a few blocks big only. What I would call a neighborhood, they call a town. Our first day here, we were looking for a road map, and we asked everywhere. We could find maps of Perth (downtown) or Fremantle (another neighborhood), but not of all the neighborhoods. If you want to write us a letter, you will address it to Highgate WA, not Perth WA.
Like Gary said, we found a little flat near the city (aka downtown). We were anxious to get out of a hostel and unpack our bags, but we aren't sure if we'll stay too long. It's a tiny 2 bedroom appartment. Right now, the other bedroom is unoccupied, but a few couples have come to look at it, and anytime now someone is going to move in. Gary and I are already tripping over eachother because it's so small, I'm not sure how we'll handle two more people. Hopefully we get along. We met another couple that live one flat over in the same building. They just got here from NY, both on working visas, so they'll be here as long as we are. She is a RN also, and he is working construction. We have spent some time with them and they are super fun, so we're glad to have some friends.
There are a lot of the same tv shows here as at home, only these guys are way behind. There is advertising for the upcoming season finale of Desperate Housewives, for example. The movies are also behind North America. "Wedding Crashers" comes out next week, and "Perfect Catch" and "Kicking and Screaming" come out in September, although I watched both of those on the plane from Singapore to Perth. It's strange to be behind. On TV, we have been watching Aussie Big Brother, which is almost over, and the new season of Australian Idol has just started. Hopefully they get The OC here. Otherwise Randall and Lynda, you'll have to tape all the new episodes for me. Or not.
I started work for the agency on Saturday. I tell them what hours I want, and they tell me where to show up. I have chosen to work nights and weekends, because you make almost double the money and the shifts are longer. (10 hrs vs 6 hrs) I am making a lot more money than I thought I would be...a lot more than I made in Canada. I have been at 3 different hospitals so far. They have private and public here, so the setting varies quite a bit. I told them I would work med-surg, and all the units so far have been surgical. It's crazy because you just show up to work, having never been to that hospital before, and they need you to handle a full load just like any of the other staff. It always takes the first part of my shift to get acquainted with the layout and organization of the ward, and then it's pretty smooth sailing. I've met a lot of people and already had some crazy experiences, but I'm liking it so far.
At work on Sunday night, one of my patients told me that she loved my accent. This for some reason took me by surprise, and I quickly replied "it's you that has the accent!"
Only one person has said "G'day mate" to me so far. They usually say "How you going?" as a greeting. They all say "Ta" to mean thank you, even when writing notes. Everyone I work with says "Ta". I think it sounds silly, but I'll probably start saying it myself soon enough.
PS: Most of the toilets here seem to flush straight down. The only ones I've seen swirl, have swirled counterclockwise, but they are few and far between. I'll have to do more research on the subject.