Friday, March 19, 2010

first day of Autumn

We are coming to the end of the first term of school for the chillins'. March 31st is the last day but the report cards were mailed yesterday. Apparently these reports reflect "industry and effort" and are progress reports; they don't actually count. The end of the semester is June 25 and those will be the grades that go down in the history books...

The educational system here is different.(duh) Some of you have been kind listeners as I have whined and groaned as it appeared from our perspective the first month or so to be review and quite light on the homework. In fact some of the curriculum is review-ancient history for example. As we progress along we are all learning about some philosophical differences that in the long run will be quite positive I think.

Between them, counting preschool and this school, they have been to nine schools so far! So here at number nine, in a nutshell the kids are responsible for more of there own learning. Small weekly, daily, 10 point or credit/no credit assignments are almost non-existent. Instead in the entire five month semester there are only a few large projects/papers/tests. Sounds like college...? More that one mum has told me this system of public education seems to correlate to students faring better at *Uni* than private school kids, who apparently get more hand-holding. So we anxiously await the post today to see how their teachers graded them so far for effort. Teachers do periodically check homework and progress on projects and the kids have both had a couple of tests so far. I am guessing their grades here will be quite similar to home.

Last weekend in Brizzy was heaps of fun, all enjoyed the stand-up comedian despite a few references to Aussie celebs and what not. Happily, it was not too raunchy for Melissa. We took a turn on a 200 foot Ferris wheel, rode the citycat ferry up and down the river, visited a koala sanctuary, and did a bus tour of the city. BK (before kids) my plan was to birth children who would be excited about visiting museums but our kids did not read the plan. So when I announced we were going to the modern art museum,they groaned BUT ended thinking it was very cool and a good time was had by all. Ditto with the science museum next door. More groaning when we sat down for Turkish food and here again they helped themselves to seconds and said hey this is good!

Melissa spotted a couple of kangaroos on the way to the bus stop the other day, so check that off the list for all of us. At the koala sanctuary there were dozens of 'roos hanging out looking quite bored with the humans wandering about. Another highlight of this place was the lorikeet feeding. At the appointed time the sky filled with them when the food was put out. Also on display were a couple of hundred Japanese tourists. They looked to be high school age kids, all decked out in uniforms, including exactly the same shoes! These kids were wearing uniforms to tour Australia!! We had heard there were lots of Japanese in oz but had not seen groups of them yet. We are headed to the Australia zoo in a few weeks so perhaps more large groups will be spotted. They tour here so much many of the high schools(including Coolum)offer Japanese language courses for those seeking work in the hospitality industry.

Weather note: Cyclone Ului is headed to the coast this weekend, but this is an enormous state and we are in the south eastern corner. Queensland is more than 4 times the size of California but has about one tenth of the population! The cyclone is slated to hit the area around the Great Barrier Reef, which is a good 10 hours north of here. So we won't have any first had experience with a cyclone this time around. We have had rain most every day for the last month, our hot summer days are over it seems. We've had about 24 inches so far this year, compared to only 14 this time last year. March 2nd was the wettest on record, 6 inches. 142mm sounds more impressive though. Eli still body boards every chance he gets, but a shorty wetsuit is now on his ever lengthening list of wants/needs.

Blessings and warm wishes to the Raymond family. LuAnn is now free from pain and suffering. although my heart breaks open daily with sadness of her passing, I am inspired to strengthen all my relationships because loving each other is what people are on this planet to do. I am so thankful for miraculous instantaneous electronic communication, which has enabled us to keep in touch with so many of you by phone, email, facebook, skype,and even the ol' snail mail occasionally! One quarter of our time here is over, which I have mixed feeling about. It has gone so fast(drats!) but then again it is only 10 months until we are home (yeah!)


  1. My dear Stephanie, it's a beautiful photo of Melissa, but do tell........ did you visit a noodle factory? are you experimenting taking photographs through a mop? is Melissa in the process of weaving a mosquito net? Enquiring minds......

  2. Hi Stephanie,

    I was just reading your blog. It all sound so interesting. What an adventure but I guess that is what life is all about.

  3. eeeeeeeuuuuuuuuuuuuu I was wondering when you were going to talk about
    the infamous SNAKES.........I heard Tom was in town! Was talking to
    the Lu's and they said Karen was going to a meeting with him.....I
    certainly didn't mean to have Tom and the word 'snakes' in the same
    paragraph. Sorry....... I read a good book years ago about the
    criminals from Europe ending up trying to survive in Austrailia
    ..............It was pretty good.............informative and true.
    So, your folks are visiting eh? Have fun and keep up the good work on
    your blog. Will you be back by next Nov.? Marijuana will be on
    the ballet and I believe it will finally be legal! Free Willy! Free
    Nelson Mandela Free Mary Jane! Free oh well, Iv'e done this my
    whole life so I always freak out and go over-board!