Sunday, 12 June 2011

The Status Quo: June 2011

While there hasn't been anything major of note happening of late there are plenty of day-to-day events that make up our lives and I thought a post about some of them might be informative.

The children have largely resumed their activities, some as before and others trying new things. Joshua is still working on his creative side, making videos, learning guitar and writing jokes. Elijah is playing another season of rugby with his former club and Mara is, surprisingly, dancing ballet again. Ariana has taken up learning tennis on Saturday mornings and Bryna has continued on with her ballet lessons as well. And Micah, well, he is just enjoying himself and hanging out with his siblings who, needless to say, adore him.

We've slowly been reconnecting with old (I won't say former!) friends in Canberra. It's good to see them again and, in some cases, see how much they have grown in the time we have been away. Some, in the case of the children's friends, have grown up and some, in the case of Fenton's friends, have grown out. All of Gaynor's friends remain as fabulous as the day she met them. Since we now have a place and with our belongings having returned from their own adventures we are gradually inviting friends over to reacquaint them with Gaynor's cooking. And because she's picked up all sorts of new recipes and ideas from her travels, the meals are more superb than ever.

You'd think that a move back to your native country would mean that something like a driver's licence would be a simpler process, right? However, if you are Joshua, and have your licence from California, you are generally back in the Awkward Basket for a bureaucrat. So, despite having passed his California's driving test and driving there for a number of months with a few restrictions -- essentially equivalent to a Provisional Licence in Australia -- the Powers That Be decreed firstly, that he would need to start with a Learner's Permit but could count his start date from his Californian licence. Then after we organised that, with it's attendant classes and exams, they said he'd have to be on it for the full six months before he could take his driving test. We wrote a letter pointing out our case -- we were fine for him to do a driving exam since it is the other side of the road and he'd mostly driven automatic transmission equipped cars in the US -- but they stuck by their second assessment. (Why couldn't it have been the first one that we were happy with?) Of course, his case wasn't helped by the fact that the Californian DMV failed to issue anything other than a paper, temporary licence before we left the US. It did, after all, take them 18 months to renew Gaynor's. :\ Anyway, he's eligible to take the test in October.

Finally, as previously mentioned, housing prices in Canberra are even higher than other major cities in Australia. Despite this, Gaynor and I believe now is as good a time as any to take the plunge into home ownership. Mostly this means we would prefer to put our money into our own home and not someone else's pocket and this is the first opportunity that we've realistically been able to do that. We'll be looking for a house we can fit into -- though it may be a bit of a squeeze -- that will require some renovation work. A single income in Canberra doesn't make this an easy proposition but, then again, we've never really been big fans of 'easy' :) So even though we may end up with a dump, at least it will be our dump.