Monday, August 4, 2008

Goodbye Sydney

It's been over a month since we left Sydney so I guess it is past time to put some closure on the blog. I've been avoiding it as we only have a dial up internet connection (I had 100 errors when loading)!

Sydney feels like a dream now. It was amazing to me how quickly and easily we slid back into our old roles. It was a bit surreal to come back and have nothing change (although Emma did say that while we were gone Orbit came out with a new flavor of gum). Some things are nice to be home to. Such as a breakfast of farm fresh eggs, using a real coffee maker instead of the plunger type and listening to NPR every morning. It's nice to hear the birds instead of the sirens (last week there was a Pileated Woodpecker in the back yard). I love the smell of the hay field after it's been freshly cut, and the scent of the woods after it rains. It's wonderful to be back to the scents and sounds of nature and it seems I don't even mind the heat as much as long as I have a shade tree to sit (or work) under.

On days that I just need to get out I miss the hustle and bustle of the big city. I miss being able to walk two blocks to the grocery store and I even miss public transportation. It was nice to walk two blocks, get on a train and have it take you anywhere within Sydney (don't miss the cost though). We really miss the rocky shores and sandy beaches and the amazing animals (even if they were in a zoo). I miss DSL and even the Telly. It was really nice to view the news from a different country's perspective. It seemed that Australians think much more globally than Americans. I get the impression that Americans are a bit self absorbed and "my way or the highway" thinkers. I miss walking down the street in Sydney and seeing the United Nations on parade. I'm afraid we don't get a very diverse culture in small town Missouri. I learned to appreciate the Asian culture a bit more. We were so close to Chinatown that most days I could forget I was in Australia and think I was somewhere in Asia. I remember when we went to Featherdale Wildlife park I saw a mother and daughter that were obviously tourists. The daughter was wearing a traditional bush hat and the mom was wearing a t-shirt that said, "I love culture". I want one of those shirts. That's what I hope that we have gained from our trip to Australia is a love of other cultures. A more diverse and global perspective. We hope to go back to Australia some day for a real family vacation when Ray doesn't have to work all the time. Maybe we can rent an RV and see more of the bush. A trip to the Great Barrier Reef and Tasmania is a must.

Australia, we'll be back! And hopefully, next time we'll behave like real tourists and have lots of money to burn! I would like to thank Karen, Mary Alice and Gayle for keeping me going on the blogging by your continual feedback. If it wasn't for you I probably would have quit long ago.

If anybody would like to continue reading my rants and raves I'll try to keep blogging at my farm, library and homeschool (in the works) blogs.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


We heard the Greenpeace ship was going to be in the harbour this weekend so we had to go. Unfortunately, we didn't figure out exactly where we needed to go before we left so we ended up in the wrong place. Where it should have taken us about 20 minutes to get there, it took us over an hour. Sheesh, we're so bad at this city living. :-) It was really neat touring the ship, talking to the workers and hearing stories of their efforts to stop the Japanese whaling.

Happy Birthday, Marra!

We have celebrated 3 birthday's since we have been here. Marra did not want to turn 3 (interestingly, Hanna is the only other one of our children that cried when she turned another year older). So I was surprised on Sunday to hear Marra talking excitedly about turning 3. She insisted on wearing her pink princess dress. We took her shopping (Tessa had to take a picture of her favorite building on the way to the store) and much to her sisters' dismay, she picked out a cake with sprinkles and m&m's on top and some ice cream/popsicles. She asked for her birthday bag (Hanna got her presents in a gift bag) but promptly forgot about it after eating her cake and ice cream. I forgot about her presents too until we got home Sunday night and she had already fallen asleep. I'm going to wait and give them to her on the airplane so she has something new and exciting to do.

Blue Mountains

Wow, I wish we had more time to spend there. It was absolutely stunning. I have always loved the mountains and these were even better than driving up Mount Washington in New Hampshire ;-). The only down side was that it was very touristy. It was the first place I have seen that so obviously catered to tourists that I wish we would have just rented a van and driven around on our own to see the parts of Australia that are off the beaten path. We have been saying that we are very poor tourists because we don't spend a whole lot of money (although the Australian economy has boomed since we have been here). We had to pay over $100 to ride one of those tourist double deckers just to get to the 3 Sisters which was less than 5 miles away from the train station where we got off. The girls had a wonderful time riding the cable car across the mountains and we walked around the rainforest floor before heading up to the 3 sisters where we had stunning views for miles around. A definite highlight of our trip.

Apple and Queen Victoria Building

It's really nice to live in an area where you don't feel like the odd man out. Ray has been an Apple fan for years and we always seem to be in the minority and can never convince others that Apple is THE superior product. Apple is the in thing here, even on television. Apple just opened a store in Sydney last week so we had to go! Very cool store! The girls were having fun and had a hard time leaving. We have been trying to pack as much as we can into the last few days which really doesn't work well with 4 kids. I had been feeling like I hadn't done enough since we have been here but I think in hindsight, it worked very well. It would have been too stressful to be running all the time and I now feel really good about all that we have seen and done. Anyway, we "planned a lot more for that day but only made it to the Apple store and then attempted to do some shopping with a very tired toddler but just had to give up. We went to the famous Queen Victoria Building because I had heard so much about the great shopping. Every once in awhile we will tell people where we are staying and they will say how lucky we are to be so close to great shopping (David Jones??). It's really too bad that it's wasted on me. I'm not really into shopping unless it's gift shops, thrift stores or shops like Australian Geographic.