A Week in Alice

Today is our one week anniversary in Alice Springs!

So far we love it. It’s been a busy week, and honestly, I can’t believe it’s already gone by so fast.

Here’s what’s happened since we arrived:

1. On Thursday we were met at the airport by our sponsor and by the woman I am replacing. It was great to see friendly welcoming faces straight away. Our sponsor went grocery shopping before we arrived and he stocked our fridge with some essentials – fruit and snacks! We also went to the post office (APO) and waiting for us were the 10 boxes we sent ahead with a bunch of clothes. That was a nice surprise!

2. On Friday we went to work. We got our ID badges, met with new bosses and coworkers, and tried to settle in a little.

3. On Saturday we want to the Fourth of July and Territory Day (local holiday) celebration on base. Great fireworks!

Side note: Saturday was also a big day for Australia. There was a federal election. Elections here are a little more complicated than the ones in the US. The current prime minister is the one who called for the elections. A couple of months ago I posted that Tony Abbot, prime minister at the time, had been ousted by his own party, and Malcolm Turnbull was named the new prime minister. Well, Turnbull, upset that the senate had twice blocked a proposed bill, called for national elections in all parts of government. It’s called a double dissolution, and it hasn’t happened since 1987.

In this double election, all members of the house and senate are campaigning (this is rare – they have their own election terms and cycles). There are two main parties – the Liberal-National Party Coalition and the Australian Labor Party. The liberals are the conservatives and the labor party represents the liberals (as we understand it).

Campaign literature consisted of the Liberal-National Party Coalition telling people that if they don’t vote for them, that there wold be a hung parliament. They also declared themselves stronger on “border security”. And Labor told people that if they voted for them, they would legalize same sex marriage, and protect national health care. Then there were several other smaller parties that campaigned on various other platforms ranging from extreme xenophobia to anti-fracking.

Elections are mandatory, and if you don’t vote, you’re subject to a fine. So far, this election has been too close to call, and officials are stating that it may be an entire month before they can truly know who won. Figuring out the winner is another long story, so I won’t get into that. Really, to sum it all up, it’s crazy!

4. On Sunday we drove to Simpson’s Gap. It’s about 30 minutes from here and a beautiful place for a walk. Here are photos.

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5. On Monday, Bella arrived! She was a little frazzled when we let her out of her travel crate, but she’s been busy exploring ever since!

6. Since Tuesday we have been going to work. Heads are spinning trying to learn everything, but hopefully things will start to stick soon!

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