Our first family vacation Down Under was a success. It has been great for all of us to enjoy some down time while Steve has been off. Drew got much better, and, of course, did give his cold to Zach. Therefore, we had one horrible day and scary night with the bad cough up at our little condo, but once we got past that, we all really enjoyed ourselves. We ended up in the Noosa ER, but by accident. Zach couldn’t stop coughing that day and we asked our resort where he could see a doctor. The lady said the hospital had an outpatient’s clinic, but she was wrong, so we were seen in the ER. The doctor there told us it was a horrible cough, but there was nothing we could do and that we’d likely have a rough night and to come back in again if it got scary. We got close to doing that—-poor little guy puked up the entire contents of his stomach and then started getting delirious because he was so exhausted and couldn’t get any rest because he couldn’t stop coughing. But, we did get him to sleep on our own and then the rest of the trip went really well. And everyone is healthy now!
Last Thursday, on the way up, we stopped at Underwater World, an aquarium. That was great fun. The next day we went to the Big Pineapple, which was shockingly bad (that’s where Zach couldn’t stop coughing, so we also received lots of dirty looks!). The informative display on how pineapples in the area are grown and canned and distributed must have been set up in the 1970s and has not been updated (or likely even cleaned) since that time. The cans of pineapple looked disgusting and there were cobwebs! The boys still enjoyed the little train ride and petting zoo, though. The place fit the term “bogan” to a T. Bogan is the Aussie equivalent of white trash/redneck/ghetto, although sometimes even none of those options will be as appropriate, as was the case here.
On Saturday, some friends of ours from here came up for the weekend, too and Steve and the Dad got to fish. Steve caught one fish big enough to BBQ with them for dinner that night. When they got back, the Mom and I got to sneak out for a couple hours and went to the famous Eumundi Markets. I’d been hearing a lot about them and had been quite curious. They were incredible. It was like a giant outdoor craft show and farmers’ market combined and we had a great time. I will definitely go back to those! After our BBQ that night, my three boys got ice cream and I got a hot chocolate—too cold for ice cream! The days were lovely but the evenings were chilly—-overall mostly very good weather.
I enjoyed a gorgeous jog (my first attempt since the 10k took everything out of me!) along the Noosa River heading out towards where it opens to the ocean on Sunday morning, on an overcast, cooler day. So lovely! Then we all hit the nearby beach which was great, too. It is funny—whether he has a cold or is completely healthy, Zach is no dummy when it comes to cold water. He will get nowhere near it! He is happy to dig in the sand all day long. Drew on the other hand, cannot ignore the lure of the water and will turn blue and shivering before he can be coaxed out. He also got to fish with Steve and our friends later that afternoon and caught his first fish—a Moses Perch! He was so proud of himself!
Steve’s big day—the footy grand final (basically, national championship) was on that evening and then we all went out to dinner. I find it a bit odd—so many things are called the Grand Final here. The season finales of shows are called the “series final”, and any sporting event ends with the ‘finals’ and then the ‘grand final’, instead of the use of the words playoffs and championships. Everyone down here finds it entirely amusing that we call it the World Series when it’s only the U.S. and a few Canadian teams—they’re right—that is odd! And that we call the Super Bowl winners the World Champions. J
Monday, the day we headed back, was our only rainy, quite chilly day. We were still able to stop at a pick your own strawberry farm, which was fun. Zach likes picking them but won’t eat them! Although, Steve finally convinced him to suck on one and he did agree that it tasted good. We also stopped and toured a ginger production factory which was quite interesting. We also saw into a macadamia nut factory across the street, but neither factory was in use, because Monday was yet another public holiday. We celebrated the Queen’s birthday twice this year! Apparently, they are changing the holiday, so they put it on both dates this year, and then it will go to the new date next year—clever country, aren’t they? 😉
We were so impressed again with how well our boys do travelling. But it is fun also to see how much they enjoy coming home. Drew said, “I love my bed so much; I don’t ever want to leave it again!”
The next day, I went back to work and had signed up to donate blood. I was nervous anyway, but ended up almost fainting when I was finished and was told I should not donate again. It was so embarrassing! Several people from work went over a span of a few days, and here I was with these three big guys, and I end up surrounded by nurses taking my blood pressure and putting me in a wheelchair to take me to a recovery room and wait for my color to return and my blood pressure to return to normal. It was actually pretty scary. I felt so dizzy and my body got very tingly and then wouldn’t stop shaking for quite a while. Steve and the boys ended up having to come pick me up from work, because I just couldn’t keep going. That night at dinner, the boys had been asking what had been wrong with me and I tried to explain what giving blood meant. Drew has talked often recently about something he’s seen in a book about helping people when they’re sick, so I explained that it’s a way of doing that. I said that unfortunately, it didn’t work out too well for me, so I will have to help sick people another way in the future. Drew thought a minute and then said “You could give them flowers.” “Or bake something.” We all had a good laugh at how true that is! He then decided we should make a list of all the ways I can help people that don’t involve blood. We made one and afterwards, he said “See, this long list. All ways to help people. And no blood!” What a smart little cookie!
Here are a few more funny/interesting comparisons to end the week:
-I was really impressed by the coverage of the Paralympics here. I don’t remember ever seeing coverage of it before and it was very thoroughly covered here, which I think is great.
-The monthly calendars here all show the weeks as Monday through Sunday, rather than Sunday through Saturday. That has been a major source of confusion for me!
-Medicines here are all bubble packed—no pills (tablets, here) in bottles, all boxes of bubble packed sheets. I remember working in assisted living that meds had to be delivered that way for patients, so I imagine it results in fewer dosing errors. However, I do think the packaging is much easier for children to get into.
-“Scratchies” are lottery tickets, not a disgusting itching problem as I might think!
-“Chockie” another word for chocolate; “chockers” is when a place is very crowded, short for “chock a block”—of course, right?!
-At Drew’s school, they call the area where they do arts and crafts (or here, arts and craft), the “making” area. Parents say, ‘Oh little Sophie loves making.’ Teachers say,’ Kids finish up your making and come gather on the mat.’ VERY odd.
-One day when I had been thrown off while driving (a regular occurrence) and expressed my frustration, Drew said, “Mommy, you don’t like driving in this country, do you?” I told him he was right (he’s heard me say it often enough!) and he said “Let’s go back to Colorado and get a house there so you don’t have to drive over here anymore.” Bless his heart!
-They seem to call most outdoor paved areas here the verandah, whether it’s elevated or ground level. One day at Drew’s school, he said to me “Mommy do you want to go this way on the verandah or this way through the grass?” I said, just out of habit, “I’ll use the patio.” He said, “Mommy, in Australia you say verandah, not patio. We’re in Australia, so you should really say it how they say it in Australia.” I said, “I know, Honey. It’s just hard to remember sometimes.” He said, “I know it is.” Again, bless his heart!