So far I have been thoroughly enjoying our Australia exchange. The job is rewarding & challenging, the beaches are beautiful and there are plentiful supplies of Tim Tams, etc .... The only downside is The Commute. Yes, it gets it's own title as it is such a major part of my life now, one I'm not really used to & don't think I ever will be. I take a train from Gosford, on the lovely Central Coast in to downtown Sydney every day, five days a week. The train takes an hour and a half each way. I am basically sitting in one spot for 3 hours every day. For those who know how slothful I can be (for those who don't ... well, I am pretty lazy!), you might think this would be a wonderful, relaxing time ... not so!
You're packed in beside at least one person (I always try & get the 2-seater, but sometimes have to settle for the 3 seats in a row, which is one of Dante's levels of Hell if you're the person stuck in the middle) & if you're lucky your neighbour's not a giant, wearing too much perfume/cologne, or fallen asleep & snoring loudly. If you're not lucky they're all 3, on both sides!
I've actually taken up reading on the train, which is kind of awesome, as I haven't had this much time to read every day since I was a kid. I do still get a bit of motion-sickness though & have to set the book down at every station due to the braking/swaying thing.
One other part of my commute is also good & bad. I actually have to get to the Gosford train station from my house. I can pay $1.80 & take a 5 minute bus ride (not news to most people who know me, but ... I'm as cheap as I am lazy), of course that's too much money. So I walk to the station every day, which takes me anywhere from 25-30 minutes, depending how distracted I get on the way. This means I usually get up around 5:15 to be ready to leave the house by 6:15 to catch the 6:49 train, so I can be at work before 9. Yes, all of those times are in the a.m. It is actually worth taking the extra time for the walk though. It is quite peaceful & quiet & a nice breath of fresh air before the train ride. Below is a little picture journal of a trip to work ... I believe these pics were taken on a Friday in early September.
Here is our Australian home, i.e. the Berry residence. You may notice the curtains on the right indicate the boys great love of Star Wars, pretty cute. You may also notice behind the white curtains on the left, that if you listen very carefully you can hear the oh-so gentle snoring of Brian catching up on about 20 years of little to no sleep (oh, being able to hear Brian snoring is a joke, there is no audio attached, but trust me there IS snoring going on!).
Here is where I take a right turn & head down our street, Maliwa Road, kinda pretty actually.
At the corner of Maliwa & Showground Road there's a marker on the side of the road. We thought it was perhaps a helpful marker for growing children. It's actually there so you can measure how much trouble you are in when the road floods.
Here is the Narara Creek (I think), I walk over it on a bridge. It's really pretty when it's not all scary & floody, etc.
Here is Showground Road with really nice hills covered in trees in the background. They look so beautiful, but apparently are where all the snakes & spiders come from, so are actually quite evil really.
Further up Showground is a bit of an industrial area. I can't really say why I love "Dicker Motors Smash Repair", but I do. There is something much more endearing about the word smash, rather than crash, which seems dissonant to me.
Well, my goodness, who wouldn't want to live a 15 minute walk from a dog track!
Ok, here's the train station ...
My train is listed on the 3rd panel on the right, the one to Central. I get off at Wynyard station. If you look close though it also says my train is due out in 3 minutes ... oops, I better get through the turnstile & down the stairs ...
Yay ... there's my train ... plenty of time!
The train ride is the train ride ... as it is, as it ever was .... *sigh* ... no pictures, too sad ...
Here's the first sight as I get off at Wynyard station, a little known coffee shop, um, I think It's called Starbucks, if I remember correctly.
I walk up Hunter Street for a few blocks, between 10 & 15 minutes, depending on lights. Here's my library on the right.
There is a cafe attached to the State Library called Cafe Trim. Interesting name, I even had a little Beavis & Butthead giggle when I first heard it. But apparently everyone here knows that Trim was the name of Captain Cook's cat. There's even a little statue of Trim on the outside of the Mitchell Library next door. (Oops, it turns out that everyone but me knows that Trim the cat actually belonged to Matthew Flinders, who circumnavigated Australia with him.)Anyway, I go there a couple times a week when I need a green tea ... we get an employee discount!
Here is the front door. I just flash my security pass to the guard & I'm in.
Now entering the lobby. There's a very colourful tapestry hanging on the wall on the left, but I couldn't seem to get an unblurry picture of it ... maybe it's too vibrant ... teehee.
I take the stairs on the right past the desk down to the reading room & off to work I go ...