I Now Know What “The Ekka” Is!

Well you just can’t help but love a country that gives everyone a day off of work and school, just to make sure they have time to go to the carnival that’s in town….because everyone may not have time to go on the two weekends that it’s in town.  Seriously….amazing!  I just learned what the famous “Ekka” is.  It’s a term I’ve heard for 10 years now and never had any idea what people were talking about.  Well, it’s in town right now, and as I said, there was a public holiday yesterday for it.  We haven’t gone; hardly anyone here seems to actually want to go (even though I would like to), and many of them talk about all the germs that will be there amongst the crowds.  Definitely true, but I’ve never hear that mentioned before as a concern when planning to go to a carnival.  And that’s what it sounds like is basically what this is, a big state fair—-rides, booths, contests, games, shows, all known as the “Ekka”, which is Aussie for Exhibition (yes, I’m serious).  They all talk about going ‘to the show.’  Apparently, it’s very expensive, and very crowded, especially on Ekka Day.  So, that’s the Ekka—one more mystery solved—at least partially (I can’t know for sure until I actually go one year.).

So, I’m tired again, or maybe it’s still tired, who knows.  Steve is still sick and the boys got 99.9% better and got sick again the next day; Zach has the worst of it right now.  So, we are home and mellow again.  A few times last night I wondered why I was even bothering to lay down again in between trips to the boys’ rooms.  And my biggest frustrations with it all (other than not being able to magically make them all healthy)?  It’s that I am too tired to exercise.  Seriously?  I wish I could get as obsessed with being a good parent as I am lately with being in good physical shape.  I have my priorities messed up for sure. 

Our past weekend and week have been pretty quiet.  It is starting to warm up—the nights are not as cold, although the early mornings still are, and the days are getting warmer.  It’s great, except that the ants and mosquitos are returning—-yuck.

Out of curiosity, on Saturday we looked at a house near us that was for sale.  Housing prices here are more than double what they are in the Boulder area, which means more than triple much of the U.S.  Our 3 bedroom, 2 bath house in Lafayette cost $220,000.  To get something that had those amenities and that amount of space in this area would cost close to $500,000 and would likely be more than 30 years old, which was about how old our former house was.  Also, interest rates I think are typically around 8 or 9%.  Yikes!  Currently, we pay about $1725/month in rent for what I consider to be pretty much a dump.  If we were to own this house, a typical mortgage, after a significant down payment would be close to double that amount.  Again, yikes! 

The fact that we have very little furniture of value, need to upgrade at least one car in the next year and need to find a better house to live in makes me seriously wonder how we can do any overseas travel in my lifetime.  I think we can do without furniture…..

I also want to purchase private health insurance for the family, which, according to my early research, should cost $2-$300/month.  On the bright side, without the aforementioned upgrades, we are currently able to save money, a decent amount each month!  That was NOT the case in Lafayette.  That will help us with the aforementioned purchases and ideas.  And we definitely will forgo most furniture for travel.  We can definitely still travel and have important life experiences, which is our priority.  My worry is because I WANT to take the overseas trips on a regular basis, so therein lies the rub.

The wrap up for the Olympics made me want to share a few more interesting observations:

-The Aussies give team names to all their Olympic teams—for real.  The volleyball team is the Volleyroos, the field hockey team is the Hockeyroos, the basketball team is the Boomers; a few other teams are the Kookaburras and the Opals.  I thought that was very cute. 

-Also, yesterday, we saw the Olympians arrive home to a huge welcoming party and TV reception.  We had better coverage of that than we did the closing ceremonies.  I thought it was a wonderful way to recognize the country’s athletes.  It definitely seems to be a benefit of such a small population—-the country really gets behind these athletes and demonstrates huge pride in them.  Regular people also know many of them; our little local paper kept featuring athletes that attend local schools, play for local teen teams, etc. 

-I have mentioned before that they use the word ‘dummy’ for a baby’s pacifier, which I don’t like and can’t say myself.  However, they also use it as a way to refer to tantrums or meltdowns, and not just for little kids.  They call it a ‘dummy spit’, or say that a person who flipped out ‘spit the dummy.’  Now to say that about little kids I again think sounds insensitive and wrong, but to describe an adult acting inappropriately, I think is just hilarious.  In the country’s main newspaper the Sydney Courier Mail, they had an actual article featuring the ‘biggest dummy spit’ of the Olympics, which described an athlete freaking out about a poor performance.  Now that is funny! 

-There are no commercials on TV here for food.  I find that extremely interesting.  None at all.  Can you imagine American TV without food commercials?  Wonder if that attributes to the obesity rate at all?   Hmmmm….

Finally, and completely random and unrelated to the Olympics, the center seeds of olives here are not called pits, but rather ‘pips’.  On food packaging even!  Too funny.

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