It's been awhile since I have written......my thoughts have been with my dear friend LuAnn who has been battling a very nasty cancer for the last year. Early this morning, in the presence of her caring family, she passed away. She was truly held in a cradle of love and compassion. She was a graceful, courageous woman, an incredible mom, and a considerate friend. I am blessed to have been a part of her life.
To be living so far away as she lived her last few months was difficult. But this was a decision I made with my family, as challenging as it was. For our family this was the right time to take advantage of this opportunity. I wish I could have been there but we don't get everything we want.... losing someone is sad but a reminder to enjoy all the time we have on this planet, as it is finite.
We are looking forward to having our good friends the Bradshaws come over to visit us in late June, when our kids have a two week break. The Bradshaws are bringing Melissa's good friend Jaycee with them, Mark and LuAnn's daughter. We are planning a trip up the coast of Queensland up near the Great Barrier Reef, to do some snorkeling and diving and perhaps some sailing(that will be with a hired captain....none of us are capable helmsmen!)
We also have other visitors scheduled; in two weeks my parents and niece are arriving and we are taking a trip to the Hunter Valley, a wine growing region near Sydney.
Tom will be just arriving back in Oz when they get here, after his planned trip home to do our taxes,(thank you!) check in on that jewelry business, and play a few scrabble games with Scott. He has been limited to online games here(ongoing, continuous, and never ending). Did I mention he plays a lot?
Tom's Swiss friend Rob and his son Fabian(Tom met Rob sailing in the South Pacific 33 years ago!) were here earlier this week. They are avid kite boarders but unfortunately there was no wind the days of their visit to the Sunshine Coast. So we did some body boarding and touring around.
Joan and Steve are coming in early May and have rented a contraption called a "Hippie Camper" complete with these words emblazoned on the side, accompanied by with some very pretty flower-power daisies. Also, our good friends Sean and Dianne are coming in September (they are temporarily on job assignment down in Los Angeles). We have a guest room and plenty of space so if you find yourself itching to check out life Down Under, heed the call!
Here in Oz-land, our most recent unusual experience came packaged as Back To School night for Year 8 parents. It started typically enough, with the principal introducing himself and saying this year's kids are a particularly good group of students. (I am sure this line in repeated at the beginning of every year in every school in the world). This was followed by two events that are not your typical American fare: after the "barbie" was fired up and we were served "sausages" (exactly like a hot dog) placed diagonal in a slice of square white sandwich bread, folded. The big choice for condiments were: BBQ sauce or tomato sauce(ketchup). As an added bonus, we were permitted help ourselves to a cup of tea or instant coffee. This was the entire menu. No soy burgers or salad here.....
After going to some classrooms and meeting teachers, all the attendees (parents and students) were brought to the multi-purpose room. It isn't really a room, but a concrete slab with a roof. The P.E. Teacher then instructed us all in the steps to two different folk dances!!. We worked up quite a sweat in this humidity. I would have rather spent this time meeting a few more teachers instead, but nobody asked my opinion....
This weekend we are off to *Brizzy* for some stand-up comedy, sight seeing, kayaking on the Brisbane river (if it is not too rainy), and some big city excitement.
Any and all comments are welcome, and if you are curious about a particular aspect of Ozzie life, let us know. I am learning and loving life, missing my amazing friends, and REALLY wishing these gale force winds would stop!!