Hosting a True Blue Aussie Barbie

Saturday last week we hosted our first true blue Aussie bbq in our own living space!  I can’t believe we pulled it off, with the week we had leading up to it.  Thursday last week was a blur of being home sick all day, but on Friday we did make it out to the boys’ swimming lessons and they had a ball.  I was worried about going, but ended up being really glad I got them out of the house for a bit. 

We also went back to the doctor, this time to check Zach to see how he was progressing, which resulted in him starting asthma medication puffs at home.  He just couldn’t kick that wheezing sound and they are not sure it is asthma, but now are watching for it.  I hope he doesn’t have it!  Poor little guy deserves a break. 

We also had Drew’s 4-year-old physical and shots.  It’s odd—they called me the day before to confirm and said it was for Drew’s 4-year-old “needle.”  What an awful way to describe a child’s physical, just because it includes vaccines!  Yikes!  Luckily, he didn’t hear that description.  I am not quite sure yet, but I think it is not typical to go to the doctor every year as a kid for a physical and check up.  Apparently, they do it at age four, because kids start school within the next year, so they check them out and give them vaccines then.  They definitely did not check him out like I had been accustomed to in the U.S.; most of the visit was quite opposite actually.  They did a lot of developmental checks and asked him questions, but we spent most of our time with the nurse for that instead of the doctor.  The doctor did more of the same, and then when it came time for the shots, they both came at him at the same time to deliver one in each arm!  Holy cow!  He was sitting in my lap, holding my hands, and I was so terrorized by the approach that I started crying! (Yeah, I know, what else is new, Kath?)  My little trooper was so brave, he didn’t even flinch or cry at all; I couldn’t believe it.  They also had to give him a third shot, apparently Australia does one that the U.S. does not do—meningococcal, so they have to catch both boys up on that one.  And, of course, as a reward for being brave, here it is candy instead of stickers.

Well all week we were wondering if we should cancel our housewarming shindig, and kept thinking we were getting better and would be ok, and then we wake up Saturday morning and Drew has diarrhea—doh!  He ate a fantastic breakfast, had no fever and acted healthy and cheerful, so we checked online and found that it could be a side effect of one of his vaccines.  We texted everyone to let them know, so they could make their own choice, but decided to go ahead with the party. (A side note to my U.S. friends whose jaws just dropped at the idea of me texting:  Yes, I have become a texter!  Calls are much more expensive here, texts relatively cheap, and there you go, party invitations, full conversations, you name it, I now do it by text.  Sorry!  I’ll text you all often on our visits there I promise. J  It is just one more thing about me that has changed.)

We only scared away one family and we ended up having the most lovely evening!  Of course I have a couple funny stories to tell about my first hosting of an Aussie bbq.  To begin with, we made the starting time at 3:00 Saturday afternoon.  Well, Aussies show up on time to parties.  People were texting me to apologize for running late and they were arriving before 4:00; it was amazing.  Also, it wrapped up completely at 8:30.  I think Aussie parties last longer and I like it——people are not rushed or overbooked and plan to spend their day with you.  It was fun.  The funniest thing was—I was so worried about the amount of meat and alcohol.  I have seen at bbq’s over here, where people take at least one serving of EVERY type of meat offered, so I was freaked out about running out.   We didn’t thankfully—I usually overdo, and that rang true again which was a relief.  BUT, as people started arriving at 3:00, everyone started asking me for tea or coffee—what?!!  I don’t even know how to make instant coffee, but suddenly was rushing around getting out teacups, instant coffee (what most people seem to drink here, or else espresso coffee I think?? Not the coffee makers we have—those are made fun of and I can’t give the details on why—I’ll have to let Steve do a guest blog entry one day to explain all that I don’t know. J), and firing up our electric kettle.  Yes, we are the proud owners of an electric tea kettle—frankly, I don’t think you are allowed to live here without one.  And of course, some people (not many) needed a sweet treat to go with their drink and that made me realize that 3:00 was just time for afternoon tea—how silly of me not to be prepared for that!  Then, everyone moved on to alcohol.

All in all, the evening was a very heart warming experience.  Long-time mates of Steve’s were there, friends we had made while living on the ‘Southside’, and our first ‘Northside’ friends.  Our sweet 80-year-old neighbour came by and the young couple from the other side stayed the whole time.  Even the doctor friend/contact’s wife came by, on her own, and brought a homemade pumpkin pie so there would be American food—so sweet!  It was truly an uplifting night, and so great to be able to host people we care about in our own space, with things that represent us and photos of loved ones all around.  And, best of all, Drew was fine.

On Sunday, Steve had to present at the church that provides the space for his teaching program.  He spoke about the kids he teaches and the purpose of their program in order to educate the church members about the partnership.  He did a great job.

Monday was yet another public holiday—Labour Day.  Keeping in mind my U.S. experience of holidays, I looked forward to using that day as a catch up day—planned to buy groceries and run errands that had been piling up with everyone sick.  Hello, I live in Australia now and EVERYTHING is closed on holidays!  I couldn’t get hardly anything done.  I thought more stores were closed than were on the last two holidays in the last month, and Steve thinks that’s because Labour Day is meant to honour labourers.  I was disappointed I could not catch up on errands, but have to admit that is a great idea.  On U.S. Labour Day, it’s most of the labourers that are still working and I guess that kind of defeats the purpose of the holiday.  So, instead, we took the boys out to practice on their bikes, play at a park and enjoy a picnic—a better idea anyway, right?

On Tuesday, while we are not 100% healthy (some of us have intestinal issues, some of us are congested, but we are all much better and ready to get out and about), we all made it to school and work and had a nice day.  Today the boys and I were able to catch up on a couple of those errands as well as enjoy story time at the library, a more leisurely morning, and a gorgeous outing at the park.

The weather is pretty amazing right now.  When the sun goes down it gets cold, and the mornings take awhile to warm up.  It gets down into the 40s overnight, which is pretty cold, especially in a house built primarily of windows and no heater. Brrr! But from 9-5, it is absolutely gorgeous, sunny, and warm enough for shorts.  We are enjoying it.  So far I have noticed that while the dramatic change of seasons I am used to is lacking, I can notice changes in other, subtler ways.  Different flowers bloom, days lengthen/shorten, humidity changes, night temperatures change.  It is nice right now while it is all new, but I wonder if I will begin to miss the dramatic seasons at some point.  I want us and the boys to keep experiencing snow and all the fun you can have in it, so we will work on that. 

I will end with a final interesting ‘Australian’ observation:  The garbage trucks (or, here, rubbish trucks or Garbos—even in the news!), run on holidays.  Isn’t that ironic?

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