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Day 14 “Birthday Girl” (Wednesday 20th March 2013)

Today Mick woke me up and then left for work around at about 8:30am but realised I should have Skype’d home at this time so I decided to leave straight away. Saying good bye and a brief happy birthday to Hannah (It was her birthday today but we were planning on going out later so I didn’t feel to bad rushing off) I drove the automatic car for only my second properly and again found myself trying to use an imaginary clutch!

When I finally got home and onto Skype I was too late to speak to Mum who had gone to bed but Dad still chatted to me, he explained that Mum and Dad had been looking forward it all day. (The UK is currently 11 hours behind and by the time I got online it was 10:45pm in England) Dad and I had a nice conversion but I felt so bad about making them wait all day for no reason. In future we have decided to pencil in times rather than expect them and also made me be the one to call as more time was wasted today as we were both waiting for each other. (To make matters worse my phone and tablet was playing up so text weren’t sent and Skype wouldn’t show me or others as online)

As I had been here a while, I wanted to reply to more of my friend so had another social day. The support I received when I left England was overwhelming and because I’ve been busy settling in and had certain plans too, I still haven’t replied to everyone. I didn’t want them to think I was ignoring them so I proceed to reply to the texts, Facebooks, emails and whatsapps I had received. I also tried to get my phone working by changing all of the numbers in my phone to +44 because not everyone’s texts were getting to me and vice versa. With my phone giving me mysterious charges and the text problems I’d been having, I decided to ring Aldi phone support, the supermarket chain I had got my sim card through.

When I got through the prerecorded messages I found that the waiting time was going to be a while but luckily they offered a ring back service so I decided to accept that. While waiting for Aldi to call back, I decided to write some more diary because I’m still miles behind and want to get level on that making it easier to just do one entry a day. After a while I got a call from Aldi who basically said my phone should work and that I had make texts to various numbers hence the charges. When I hung up, I check out the numbers and 1 of them wasn’t in my phone book or even a number I recognised. Also I knew my messages won’t working and wanted to fully understand why, so I decided to ring back but as the wait time was still too long, so I accepted their ring back service again.

Time was getting on now and I knew I was going to Mick’s at some point tonight before going out for Hannah’s birthday but I continued to sort out my Facebook and diary rather than get ready as I was waiting for Mick to confirm the details. (Last I heard we were having a meal then going to a pub quiz… Not that my Australia knowledge of in fact general knowledge is that good!) My phone rings again but its not Mick its Aldi trying to get to the bottom of my phone troubles, unfortunately the second person just said the same as the first. I did manage to get a full bill break down this time but they couldn’t wipe the charges the number I didn’t recognise. Also she said my sim card is working fine for international services according to their system (Also she said a couple of my messages had gone through so couldn’t understand why other hadn’t- she said make sure all the numbers are +44, which I had done this morning anyway) and confirmed that I could ring the UK cheaper than ringing a national in Oz. (I’m on pay as you go and call charges are less to UK numbers than Australian ones, despite it being an Aussy sim!) To be honest I got no where over the two calls but I’ll just have to keep tabs on my messages sending (when I next Skype home I’ll tell them the messages I’ve sent and they can find out if the people received them)

Back into the world of writing some diary but soon Mick rang to say come round when I’m ready… I explained I needed more notice because I was still waiting to hear about the plan but he just said get round when I can. To be fair the time can easily escape you when you’re on a computer and I should have been ready knowing we were going out tonight. Anyway I had a quick shower, got ready to go to Mick’s and using the sat nav again I drove round. My journey and driving weren’t to bad, I am getting used to the automatic now but I have to say I still prefer a manual. Once outside Mick’s, he came to the car and said the girls had already gone, so with out even leaving the car I offered to drive and Mick got in.

I drove us to a pub called ‘”Ye Ol’ English” (what a great name to remind me of back home) where Hannah, Alex (Mick’s female house mate) and Jess (Alex’s work friend) where already drinking plus they said they had ordered food. It was a nice pub, but before we even got inside I had to do my first piece of automatic reverse parking, it wasn’t the best reversing I’d ever done and slightly (very) wonky I left the car in the bay. The girls were sitting out on this first story outside balcony (the bar was up some stairs anyway- kinda built on a hill) so Mick and I went to join then. We also then got a drink and ordered some food inside at the bar… I had ordered a chicken Cesar salad which I’d only started to eat and find out I liked ever since I started my diet back in December 2012. The 5 of us had a good chin wag in the mild evening weather before tucking in to some very nice food. We chatted about various things including some of the things Jess and Alex see at work. (they are both ambulance drivers or Ambos which is the nickname used here) We also spoke about party tricks so I had to lick my elbow and then put my legs behind my head as proof, I discovered Jess was double joined so could bend her fingers the wrong way! Both Alex and Jess who I’d never met seemed nice and after another drink (I had water as I was driving) we headed back to Alex and Mick’s place.

It then dawned on me that we were meant to be entering a pub quiz tonight but Mick had failed to tell me earlier that there has been a change of plans. Instead of the quiz we were going to have some drinks round Mick and Alex’s while playing a board games. Alex had Trivial Pursuit (a new version) so we played that to make up for the void of the pub quiz. As we set up the game Alex brought out a warm brownie and ice cream for everyone and we sang Happy Birthday to Hannah. The brownie was really soft and chew, I loved it and Hannah enjoyed us singing at her too! Mick and I decided to join forces for the board game while everyone else played alone. It took us a while to realise the game was America because some of the questions confused us like, “In football why would a ref wave his hands up?” I thought English football at first then maybe Australian then realised it was American… It caused a bit of a debate, its urs, no it’s your football, etc. As the night progressed and the alcohol flowed the game just kept on going and people knowledge made worse by drinking. (The american questions were quite hard as well though) In the end the magic of Mick and my knowledge prevailed and no one could believed it but put it down to the fact there was 2 of us. (maybe some of it was down to the odd knowledge we had between us but really the power of the dice roll helped- when we needed a high number I would hold Mick’s head and roll and we got at least 3 six’s doing that which was pretty funny) It was a good game (after we tweeked the rules a bit to ignore the new buying/ betting on pie rules) and I had enjoyed the evening but we were all pretty tired after it finished so we all called it a night… I would be sleeping round Mick and Alex’s again… Its becoming my second home! Jess also crashed here and was happy sleeping on the sofa, I did offer her the bed but being allergic to cats and the fact Alex had a pet cat; Tigger (who’s a fat cat but is now on a diet) that lays on the bed in the spare room quite a lot, she decided.

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