Welcome to the forums!
The first thing you should accept is that a BlackBerry is not Windows Mobile (I'm sure you know that already....). So there will be differences and you'll either have to accept them or not.
As for the applications, there are a LOT of applications for the Blackbery. Here is a great start: 3rd Party Application List - BlackBerryFAQ
. You can also search 'Mini Version Tracker' here for a thread that also includes a list.
I am not sure about the free BES....we use full-blown definately-not-free BES. But that does sound familiar. Someone else will have to validate.
For the browser, search for Opera Mini - that's a browser alternative that a lot of people here use (but not me).