Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My first Sunday in Rainbow

First of all - don't you just love the name Rainbow!  I do.  And I sure did then!

I woke up in my little room on that first Sunday and really just looked around in a confused manner.  I had slept with my bedroom door open because it was already claustrophobic enough inside that little room!  Out in the backdoor entry into our house, which could be viewed from my bed, all was quiet.  I had discovered later the night before that we did have a plumbed toilet (something I had been a bit concerned about!) - but it was located in its own little house at the right of the back door entrance.  It was perfectly fine,--just--outside! 

After we had eaten our wonderful lamb casserole, (Thank you Mother's Club!), I went exploring into the rest of the small house.  The front of the house, through the kitchen door, had a sitting room with 2 windows and a brick fronted fireplace. It looked like it was a working fireplace, so that would be good this Winter, I thought. 

Ruth's bedroom was the front room to the left off the main living area.  It was fairly large, and also had a fireplace, but it had been somewhat boarded up--wondered why, but put that thought in my drawer of "Don't ask too many stupid questions yet, Jan!"

Next to Ruth's room was the bathroom - also tiled on the walls with shiny (or should have been) tiles.  The main colours in my memory of that dank, musty smelling room were black, cream and yellow.....a bit of a bleak room - but at least it was inside the house!  I had started to worry a little!

Maaike's room was another largish room next to the bathroom.  I looked around the room with its one big window somewhat enviously, but then just decided - first come first serve---so got over myself!!

I had toasted bread and water for breakfast.  After watching Ruth, I discovered that to turn the hot plate on, I had to turn the knob under a burner and after lighting a match, ignite the burner to a whoosh of flame!  To toast the bread, I cut a big hunk from the solid loaf wrapped in white paper which sat on the bench top, and then placed it on a fly screen-like covered metal frame, which then rested on the hotplate burner.  After one side was brown enough, I just flipped the bread--and hey, presto!  Toast!  It was nice with some butter, and crunchy crusts.  I decided that Australia definitely had the secret to good bread!

Throwing on some clothes after my shower, I started my adventure into town.  We lived just on the 'other side of the tracks' to the township - but then --so did the small, wooden Catholic church that was located on our side street about 3 blocks up.  So at least we were in good company!

The town was very quiet. Very quiet. But I discovered on Sundays that everything was shut.  Everything.  I walked up the main street--about 4 blocks long, and discovered a chemist shop, a furniture store, the famous to me now Butcher shop, and then crossing the side lane there was a 'Milk Bar' - a sort of cafe which sold fruit, and hamburgers--(my takeaway shop!) and of course milk etc..

On the same side of this street there were also some pubs--the lower pub, the middle and what should have been the top--but I think it burned down- my memory fades a bit!

On the other side of the street were some business areas for the grain and sheep industry, a hair studio run from the home of a local woman, a Holden car dealership, a post office (which became my confidant), an electrical store run by the parents of my future twin students, and a brick fronted cinema of sorts - also served as a meeting hall etc.

Nothing was open except for the Milk Bar, so I wondered inside.  There were strange fruits, and vegetables, including large round pumpkins of various colours.  The owner's name was George.  (I was to find out later that most of the Milk Bar owners were Greek and usually named George)--but he was friendly and curious enough to talk with me.

"So, do ya want anything?"

"Not sure.  What can I have?  I mean, I just have some money with me, and don't know what it will buy!"....I laid it out on the counter, and we decided that I could have a milkshake--

"You just new?"

"Yep--I mean, yes.  I am going to teach at the high school!'

"Oh!  You the new Yank teacher?", he said smiling.

Grinning, I said, "Yes.  I suppose I am.  I think I am the only Yank here, is that right?"

"Yeah the only one now.  Used to have a bloke here, but he left--not a bad guy--just talked a lot.." He grinned at me when he said that.

"Yeah, I think I must talk a lot too! But how am I going to learn anything if I don't ask questions?  I am thinking you weren't born here --how long have you been in Rainbow?"

"About 3 years.  Not a bad place.  Some people just keep to themselves - but it is good here for my wife and family.  So will stay for a while.  You'll stay do you think?"

"For a while.  Only have a contract for a year, and anyone can do anything for a year! But so far, I think I am going to like it here!"

"That's a good thing.  Here's your milk shake."

I took it in its tall metal cup, and noticed that is was very milky and not thick like I had expected it to be.  George, stood and looked at me.  "What!  Don't you like it?"

"Well, it's not very thick, it tastes nice, just thought it would be more milk shaky, you know?"

"Oh!  You wanted a thick shake --makes a difference.  Give it back and I'll put some ice cream in it for you!"

I handed it back to George, feeling sort of like a nuisance, but he whistled while he deftly threw some scoops of ice cream into the metal cup, put it back on the milk shake stirrer, and I soon had a yummy thick shake in front of me!

George watched as I tried to sip it threw the straw, and laughed as I struggled.  "That is a thick shake!" he laughed.

"It's yummy, and definitely will just be my lunch.  It really is filling!  George, I think I like it in here.  I'll be back a lot I think..." 

"Good!  I like the Yanks....you talk a lot."  He grinned at me again, poured my drink into a tall paper cup, and I thanked him as I left to walk back home and get ready for my first day of school the next day......

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