Loving These Gorgeous Days

Easter is this coming weekend, and schools are off for a two-week break, and since Aussies like to use the same word for everything, many people right now are taking a holiday, during the school holidays, to celebrate the holiday—yippee!   Well, we are enjoying a stay-cation (or should I say stay-iday?), but the weather is just perfect and there are a lot of fun things to do around here as we continue to explore our area. 

Last Thursday, I successfully handled one of the hardest outings with the boys that I have ever had.  I equate it to taking the bus to a downtown Denver hospital and then walking to a nearby convention centre to find an event that was hidden in a very remote corner.  I would have seriously balked at doing that in Denver, but we managed to do it in Brisbane—yay me!  The boys and I took a bus to a large hospital in Brisbane, and everyone told us the “Ekka” or large convention centre was ‘just over the road.’  I am learning that people say that very easily here and it does not mean at all just over the road.  I figured a place this big would be very clearly signed, but could not find a single one.  We got lost a few times as we walked, had to backtrack a few times, and finally found the area we were supposed to be and started seeing teeny tiny little signs directing us back to a playgroup event that was still about one kilometre back from the entrance.   Through all of this I pushed Zach in the stroller and cajoled Drew to keep walking—he was amazing.  The event itself was nothing too exciting (the highlight of the day for the boys was the bus), but it was fun meeting up with a friend from the ‘south side’ playgroup I had gone to and her family.  Bless their hearts; they were so supportive of the effort we undertook to meet them, doubly harder when you don’t recognize anything around you—yikes! 

And on Friday, Steve and I had a night out—woohoo!  We found a great babysitter, who works at Drew’s school, so he already knew her and liked her, and she is a college student (uni student here) nearby.  She was wonderful and for the first time since early September, Steve and I both had a break from putting those monkeys to bed—-aaahhh.  We took the train into the city and attended the Australian-American Association monthly happy hour at an Irish Pub, where we also had dinner.  We finally got to meet the wonderful doctor from Florida and his lovely wife that my friend from home had connected me to, and who has been so helpful to us all these months by phone and email.  It was great to meet them.  We also had fun chatting with a young Italian man who has recently moved here and also thinks it’s confusing that  Australians call the pound sign, the hash! 

We enjoyed our BBQ on Saturday with my American friend and her family, and their friends from the UK who have lived here many years.  Then on Sunday we hosted a little birthday party for our sweet Drew at a beach park.  Again, perfect, gorgeous weather all week, and that was a blast—getting together a few old friends and a few new and just enjoying the day.  I must say though that hosting a party makes me focus more on ‘stuff’ and all that we don’t have now that we used to have.  Most days I find that I now place much less importance on stuff seeing as we got rid of so much, and have so little now.  But on a day like that, I wish again for my old picnic blankets (rugs, here), my plastic serving platters and pitchers (jugs here), our picnic/camping chairs (still called chairs here, surprisingly enough!). 😉  But I think I’m the only one who worries about that silly stuff.  And this time, my homemade cake in the shape of a moon turned out great—another yay for me! 

I got to enjoy the last couple days at my new job, while Steve dealt with our crazy boys.  No easy feat for him, especially since Zach has not been sleeping well and has just been crabby in general, since starting childcare.  That’s the only thing I can relate it to—he seems healthy, but he is TOUGH on us right now.  I hope he gets back to his normally sweet, happy self soon!  I happily told Steve as I left on Tuesday that I was heading to a ‘poop-free zone’! 

Again, it’s always so interesting being new, in any circumstance.  My boss says ‘hence’ a lot, and ‘rightio’ and it is so hard for me not to giggle when he does that.  I hear ‘rightio’ a lot over here—it’s a fun word!  I also think saying ‘full stop’ instead of ‘period’ for the end of a sentence is just charming—makes me feel like I’m sending a telegram 60 years ago. 

Today we are all off and enjoyed biking around town to do our errands and playing at a park—-have I said often enough that I love this weather?!  We are about to colour Easter eggs, thanks to my wonderful brother and his family, who sent over a kit!  Only problem—no white eggs here!  (Actually, that’s a good thing, because eggs are not naturally white—makes you worry a bit more about American food, but it’s not as much fun when colouring them for Easter!)  Oh, well.  We’ll use the brown ones.

One other important event that I forgot to mention in my last entry was that Saturday, the 23rd of March  was Election Day for Queensland.  Now THAT was an experience—watching the democratic process in action in another country—wow!  Except—is it really a democratic process?  Voting is mandatory here (compulsory as they say), so is it really a free country when you are made to make your voice heard?   I definitely see both sides—they say that our elections are just a popularity contest, the man with the most money and friends wins, which may very well be true.  But I have heard the argument that when you are voting just to avoid a fine, can you just fill in boxes(tick them, as they all say) without even paying attention to what you’re doing?  I guess it goes to show that no system is perfect; there are always things we can learn from each other. 

 I did hear later that there is the option to vote early, but I think I heard that you may have to prove why you need to use that, or maybe that was to vote by mail; I’m not sure.  However, most people, whatever their options were, voted on the day, at a polling place.  Good luck getting Americans out to vote on a Saturday, but these places were packed.  And people could get a free sausage once they were done (the Aussie sausage sizzle!).  Another thing I found odd was that people were campaigning outside RIGHT AT the polling places, giving citizens cards on how best to vote, carrying signs in their faces, chanting. That was unbelievable!  If I understand it right, you vote more for a party here than an individual, so people were handing out how you should vote if you want to side mostly with their particular party.  You rank the candidates, if you want, or you can just check the box next to the one you want.  But if you rank them, certain rankings will benefit one party over another.    I hope I’m getting my facts right!   Anyway, it was interesting to watch it all unfold, and the most interesting part of all—the man who won started his job two days later, that next Monday! 

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