Saturday, April 30, 2011


I have a couple of plaques that sit on my desk which symbolize love and what love means to me.

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When I look at them I think of how much I feel various feelings of love.  Love for my husband, my family, my friends - and love for me---that is sometimes the most difficult love to remember.

I have always been my worst criticiser of self - I expect so much of me - maybe that is because I have a lot of myself to give and get frustrated at times when it isn't as easy I imagined it would be.  But lately my friends and family have been returning so many positive signs of love to me. 

So today, I wish you love.  I wish you a happy day, dear reader.  May you feel blessed in everything you do, and may the world reach out and touch you, and make you feel that you are important to people, and to yourself.

Rejoice in how special you are!  Because, you know...You Are Special!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Not happy, Jan!

Yesterday I did not feel well.  I think I have been suffering from what I supposed hayfever or sinus, or the deadly flu or some rare disease to be---but yesterday, I felt miserable.  I just wanted to be left alone and looked after at the same time!  I had trouble breathing, my head felt very full and headachy, I had trouble breathing, and I just wanted to sleep!!

This of course had nothing to do with the fact that yesterday I was supposed to start sanding some rough spots on my kitchen cupboards, so that I could re-stain them and get them looking 'spot on'!  It had nothing to do with that!

The fact that the kitchen is my last task in this house re-make--and I have been putting it off forever--none of that had anything to do with how I felt....because I really did feel pretty awful - but my poor scratched and man-handled kitchen knobs and their surrounds looked almost worse than I felt yesterday!!---OK!  I'll do it!! It will get done!  OK?!  ...... 

....maybe today.....

But--I have felt better you know! 
A Girl Sick the Night of a Dance - Royalty Free Clipart Picture

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter to one and all......

This has been the strangest Easter weekend celebration that Chris and I have ever shared together.  We knew that we would be starting new traditions in our now smaller little family of two -- guess we weren't so prepared for how it all turned out....but it has been fun, and hard work at times, yet relaxing with lots of laughter....I think the hard work was when we actually had to stop relaxing and do some real work around here!

Refer to my previous blog on the Easter Bunny, to understand the traditions that we were trying now to replace:

What made it funny was that before Good Friday, the traditional day when everyone should just eat fish out of respect, I had made a special trip to our specialty fish shop, lined up in the fish smelling shop, and purchased large fillets of barramundi, a beautiful white fish.  I had planned to serve this fish with mornay sauce, honeyed carrots, parsley potatoes, and lightly steamed green beans, etc -- but by the time Friday night came around, due to all the work Chris and I had done around the house, once again trying to finalise all cleaning and renovating, (in order to have it ready for market in early May), we both just looked at each other and decided the elaborate barramundi meal wasn't worth it.  Chris ate a meal of frozen fish pieces and I went vegetarian with crackers and tomato!  We're were exhausted that night!!

Saturday was more work and then secretly we planned our scavenger hunt for each other for Sunday morning.  Instead of searching for hidden Easter Eggs, we decided this year to buy little gifts for each other, and leave clues as to where they were hidden.. It was lots of fun, and we've decided it is probably a good idea for birthdays in the future--the gift was a treat --but the fun was the planning of the special gifts, the writing of the special clues and the final finding of the treasure!!

Tonight my world travelled professional soccer playing nephew and his partner stopped in for the night on their way to Melbourne - ( He would love it that I described him that way!)  We had a great time talking and reminiscing about family stories and 'secrets'.  It was so good to see him again, after so many years, and to meet his lovely Scottish partner---I loved listening to her accent, when I shut up enough to let her talk!  They have a great, exciting adventure ahead of them as they head to Melbourne and their future....but they will do it all, and succeed - because they are that sort of couple, with lots of fun and intelligence combined.  Had a great night with them!

I hope that however you celebrated this Easter holiday season, if you celebrated it at all, that is was fun, and included family and good friends.  I also hope that you are all sleeping with contented smiles on your faces, and the knowledge that you mattered to someone and made someone happy. 

God Bless!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bubba D

Just a baby - Janana loved holding you
  Happy Birthday Dylan -

I love you and miss you --you are probably such a big boy by now--4 years old!  Wow!!!

Number 1 birthday - we paracticed blowing out candles together beforehand

Who's a Bubba D??

Easter time!

Best behaviour - cheeky little boy!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Easter Bunny

My beautiful step daughter called me tonight to thank me for the parcel that I had sent to them previously, which had included Easter goodies and a 'Special Letter' from the Easter Bunny, or Rabbit as he is known to his friends. However, she asked me if I could contact the Easter Bunny and ask him to send a Thank you note to our grandson.   The Rabbit had given me a special letter to Isaac and also his baby sister, Emily, to put into the parcel that I had sent!   As it turned out, our grandson, who was now so excited about Easter, asked his Mum to help him make a special card for the Big Rabbit and they had mailed it to him! Flip asked if I could contact the Rabbit and ask him to send a Thank you note to Isaac for all of his effort that he had put into his card, as Isaac was now very excited about Easter. I smiled a big smile and said I would get onto to it straight away - which is what I have done.  Big Rabbit has assured me that it is ready to be sent via courier....

This all started because I sent our Easter parcel to Flip and her loving husband and our two granchildren, aged almost 3 and 1.  The Rabbit had asked me at the time if I would please include a  letter from him which he had given me.  The Easter Bunny is a good buddy of mine, and in the letter he asked me to include, he said that he wanted to take this opportunity to wish our grandson and granddaughter a wonderful Easter.  There were lots of goodies in the package, and apparently the letter from the Rabbit was the main attraction---as it should be - he is the happiness giver at this time of year!

This little communication between families and the Rabbit made me think about holidays and celebrations and how special magic is when we are young!  Because it is you know....

When my girls all lived at home we had a 3 day Easter celebration...

Good Friday meant all sorts of fish specialties, sometimes baked fish, sometimes fried fish served with sauces and a prawn cocktail for Bron without prawns!

Saturday was egg boiling and egg dyeing day --we would spend several hours in the afternoon dyeing our eggs in special concoctions of food colouring and boiling water, and mugs and spoons and laughter and designs and excitement about how the Easter Bunny would hide them for us later that night!

The next morning we would wake up, often very early, depending upon the patience of the girls, and the whole family would go searching for the hidden Easter Eggs that we had dyed the day before.  The Rabbit was very clever, and sometimes had to leave a roadmap for me to help us find that last unfindable egg!  But it was fun and always worth the challenge!

Then we would spy our Easter baskets, all decked out in the pastel rattan colours and filled with sweets and sometimes presents.  There was always excitement, and lots of family fun.

As the day progressed we would look forward to our roast pork or roast lamb meal and thank God for giving us such happiness.

These girls have all grown up and one has passed on, one is remote from us now and not approachable, and one is away at university.  So, this is a new Easter for us now.  Chris and I will start new traditions filled with love and God and the Rabbit!

I wish for you all a very happy Easter season.  May you be blessed.  (And may the Rabbit smile at you and leave you a few treasures!)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

They're back! Thank Goodness!

Yesterday morning I was up early again, as usual, and this is what I saw from my kitchen window....I had to grab my camera for this .....

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 This was a Mother and her joey and obviously a sibling or a teenage off-spring--they tend to be family dwellers.....

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As I attempted to quietly take some photos, they heard me, and knew that as I was out on the deck, I was possibly posing a threat to them...they were just acting cautiously.  I repected their privacy and went back into the kitchen, and watched them through the window....

After a while they became more relaxed and the joey began to peak out and get more active and inquisitive....the joey, as you tell from the pouch is becoming a fairly mature size!
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As time passed, they began to feel that it was time to move on, and while they seemed relaxed, and safe, I respected their privacy even more, and only took these photos from my window.....


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I'm a teacher now

I don't remember my first days in Rainbow, standing in front of a classroom, and actually teaching--probably too involved with worry about doing the right thing.  Then, after time, I learned to relax, enjoy what I was doing and have fun -- there are so many stories I could write --but I think this one is important - especially for anyone out there who may be interested in becoming a teacher....It's kinda funny! 

When I first arrived I was given Form 8 (Year 8) as my form room (home room) and I was responsible for their schooling and attitude, to the best of my ability.  This class of students was a total mixture of very bright students, some naughty ones, and some who were a bit lost and needed help.  They had, as a group, all been passed on together all through primary school, and now, me, a Yank was supposed to guide them.  A Foreigner in a foreign land....(I was sure that this decision was done on purpose by those in the school 's administration - just to see if I could handle them!)

Before each class, the students were made to line up neatly in two rows, and upon the teacher's entrance into the classroom, they could then discreetly enter and take their seats.  I had a problem with this.  In the Winter in Rainbow it could be very cold, and classrooms were only entered at the sound of the bell, so some of these kids could be standing around waiting for some time....I couldn't see a problem with letting them just go into the classroom--I trusted them.  But both I and the students were disciplined several times because I didn't follow policy.  So...once in the classroom, I would get the students to grab their jackets or scarves and we would run to the back oval and do 2 laps of the oval just to warm up, especially first thing in the morning, it was very cold!  The only way I could get their brains to work in the classrooms was to wake up their bodies and make them warm--we had some good class sessions after those runs...but the powers that would be were watching me!

I also made it a rule in my classroom that I was not going to raise my voice.  If the students could not hear me talking, then they would have to be quiet, or make sure that whoever was making the noise would be quiet.  It turned out to be a fairly successful exercise, and I was happy with how the class was beginning to pull itself together.  I was getting some good reports from some of the other subject teachers, about my Form, and I was beginning to think that progress was being made. 

Then I would have a set-back.  I used to say to my Form when it was my turn to teach them, (English and Drama) that they would eventually 'Drive me crazy' if they didn't just learn to be quiet and try to listen and learn.  Sometimes they would really listen and we'd communicate, and sometimes it just wasn't going to happen.  I think I might have said to them that they would drive me crazy one day, and maybe said it a few times!  One especially bad day was about 3 months into my teaching year, and I was scheduled to teach in one of the science classrooms.  I didn't like this room--It had a stage area and a podium for the teacher, with a revolving blackboard, and the students sat at a distance in the lower level of the classroom--not conducive at all to my style of teaching.  Well this is what happened:

"If you don't stop talking and interrupting each other, I am going to have to raise my voice and you know that I don't like to do that!"

"Ian, What did I just say?!"
"Don't know, Miss."
"Why would that be, Ian"
"Couldn't hear ya , Miss."
"Trevor!  Stop that--alright everyone take five--I've just about had it today!"

The underlying naughtiness in the room that day was obvious.  I knew I wasn't going to win.  The naughty group was leading the class and I was having a fair job trying to control them.  I stood at this distance on this stupid podium stage area, and saw what was going on.....I was becoming angry and suddenly....I yelled!

"Alright! Stop it! Stop it now!  You are driving me crazy!  I have tried and tried with you kids, and you just don't care! I am now going crazy!!  I hope you are happy!"

I stood there looking at myself yelling at the class and started to laugh.  I could see me standing in the front of the classroom on this stupid podium stage yelling and losing it, and meanwhile the me in the back of the classroom watching me just cracked up--she started laughing at me so much that I started laughing as me on the podium stage..get it?

The room went quiet.  Really quiet. 

I know I had lost them.  I thought to myself, 'Oh great! Now you've done it--you'll never be in control again--you've really blown it!'

I stepped down from the podium stage, and ordered the classroom to be quiet, and quickly headed to the teacher's lounge for counselling or some help and understanding, but arrived to an empty lounge so stood at the sink and drank 2 full glasses of water, and started the long walk back to my classroom.  I figured I had really lost it all, and that my days with this Form were numbered.  They had finally broken me, just like they had with all their previous teachers.  I felt humiliated and defeated. 

I entered the classroom to silence.  Complete silence.  Total silence.  The bell rang, signalling the students to go to their next class.  They just sat there looking at me.  I looked at them, obviously not with a happy face now.  I excused them and they started to pack their books and leave.  In the back of the classroom there were 2 girls who still sat at their desks.  One was crying and the other was close to tears. 

"Now what is wrong with you girls?" I asked, somewhat still a bit hurt and upset in my attitude.
"We are all so sorry Miss!  We really didn't want to make you crazy!  We really didn't!"

I smiled, and patted their heads and said that probably I would recover, and urged them onto their next class....

Time passed...and with time my Form became one of the best and most productive Forms there.  They and I had learned a lesson -- a people lesson....and after "Miss' crazy day" all of us learned how to listen and work together...there were some great achievers in that class!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Blond lady on the loose!

Remember when I told you about our zoo visit (blog: 'And I feel fine!'). Well we left there and then headed off to do errands, the stuff no-one really wants to do.  I said to Chris, "But hey! We're out!  Why not do it all!  See the chimps! Check!  Do the stuff! Check!" So we did.

We parked the jeep in the underground parking lot of the shopping centre and planned our attack...which way to go first! We shopped together for a bit to pick up bits of things we needed, and then discovered, that as time was playing against us, that separating for tasks was a better option. 

Chris went to the jewellers to have a new battery put into his watch, and I agreed to meet him back at the jewellers---

I went in pursuit of a frittata pan and found heaps of friends instead!  Don't you just love that!  I forgot about shopping and just had so much fun catching up with an old friend, eventually deciding that I didn't want to go to the shop where I originally was headed!  How fortunate!

I headed back to the jeweller's to meet up with Chris, when 'Hey! Presto!' A friend from my past suddenly appeared straight in front of me, and not far from the jewellers or even Chris!  We all met up!  And talk! You Betcha!

It was great to see her. And her daughter!  I knew then that this was my afternoon, what was left of it---so I kept making meeting points with Chris and quickly did my errands, and had great conversations everywhere I went - I was having so much fun--I almost forgot to shop!

But I did!  You'd be proud!  I accomplished everything.  It was a fun day, and a good break from work!  Needs to happen more often!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

And I feel fine!

Yesterday I had an off day --you know the ones--can't really put your finger on why, but just a yucky day.  I told Chris about it, and thought it might be because all we do is work around this place trying to do the final things for presentation for sale.  It is becoming a task now. 

I decided we needed a break.  So today we downed our tools, had a bit of a sleep in, had a leisurely breakfast, and went to see my chimps and do some fun things in town for a change.  We just don't do that enough!

The local zoo feeds my favourite two chimps at 3:00 pm in the afternoon everyday, and the carer gives a nice informative talk about their care and training.  We missed the beginning of the feeding session by about 10 minutes, but Ockie was there to greet his visitors and receive his afternoon juice popper and fruit snacks served on a plastic plate with a plastic spoon.  (He is so clever--I am a very proud Ockie lover!)  Cassie is a bit more shy and while he will greet the crowd and receive his treats, he prefers his privacy - don't blame him really--But, Ockie is the showman!!  Doesn't let down the team! 

After we left Ockie and Cassie, I decided to check out the large open air domed aviary that is located near the chimps.  (I worry about transporting Squirt by air to Cairns, and need to check out any possible second choices for a good home for her. This of course is a very sad thing for me to do....).

Upon entering the aviary I was impressed once again by its cleanliness, and the natural surroundings and water features that are supplied for these lovely creatures, but I didn't notice any other lorrikeets flying about, and of course started to worry about any future companionships she may lack.  I did notice however a pair of beautiful parrots--not sure exactly what 'family' of bird they were, but they were curious as most parrots are, and flew close by for me to photograph..parrots love having their photos taken  --sometimes they will fly close enough for me to try to show them the results--but that usually always takes a much longer interaction than I had that day..

After leaving the zoo, I felt much better, and more cheerful than I had for a while.  The peacefulness of animals do that to me....their innocence, and curiosity and trust.  It is just so simple.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My first Sunday in Rainbow

First of all - don't you just love the name Rainbow!  I do.  And I sure did then!

I woke up in my little room on that first Sunday and really just looked around in a confused manner.  I had slept with my bedroom door open because it was already claustrophobic enough inside that little room!  Out in the backdoor entry into our house, which could be viewed from my bed, all was quiet.  I had discovered later the night before that we did have a plumbed toilet (something I had been a bit concerned about!) - but it was located in its own little house at the right of the back door entrance.  It was perfectly fine,--just--outside! 

After we had eaten our wonderful lamb casserole, (Thank you Mother's Club!), I went exploring into the rest of the small house.  The front of the house, through the kitchen door, had a sitting room with 2 windows and a brick fronted fireplace. It looked like it was a working fireplace, so that would be good this Winter, I thought. 

Ruth's bedroom was the front room to the left off the main living area.  It was fairly large, and also had a fireplace, but it had been somewhat boarded up--wondered why, but put that thought in my drawer of "Don't ask too many stupid questions yet, Jan!"

Next to Ruth's room was the bathroom - also tiled on the walls with shiny (or should have been) tiles.  The main colours in my memory of that dank, musty smelling room were black, cream and yellow.....a bit of a bleak room - but at least it was inside the house!  I had started to worry a little!

Maaike's room was another largish room next to the bathroom.  I looked around the room with its one big window somewhat enviously, but then just decided - first come first serve---so got over myself!!

I had toasted bread and water for breakfast.  After watching Ruth, I discovered that to turn the hot plate on, I had to turn the knob under a burner and after lighting a match, ignite the burner to a whoosh of flame!  To toast the bread, I cut a big hunk from the solid loaf wrapped in white paper which sat on the bench top, and then placed it on a fly screen-like covered metal frame, which then rested on the hotplate burner.  After one side was brown enough, I just flipped the bread--and hey, presto!  Toast!  It was nice with some butter, and crunchy crusts.  I decided that Australia definitely had the secret to good bread!

Throwing on some clothes after my shower, I started my adventure into town.  We lived just on the 'other side of the tracks' to the township - but then --so did the small, wooden Catholic church that was located on our side street about 3 blocks up.  So at least we were in good company!

The town was very quiet. Very quiet. But I discovered on Sundays that everything was shut.  Everything.  I walked up the main street--about 4 blocks long, and discovered a chemist shop, a furniture store, the famous to me now Butcher shop, and then crossing the side lane there was a 'Milk Bar' - a sort of cafe which sold fruit, and hamburgers--(my takeaway shop!) and of course milk etc..

On the same side of this street there were also some pubs--the lower pub, the middle and what should have been the top--but I think it burned down- my memory fades a bit!

On the other side of the street were some business areas for the grain and sheep industry, a hair studio run from the home of a local woman, a Holden car dealership, a post office (which became my confidant), an electrical store run by the parents of my future twin students, and a brick fronted cinema of sorts - also served as a meeting hall etc.

Nothing was open except for the Milk Bar, so I wondered inside.  There were strange fruits, and vegetables, including large round pumpkins of various colours.  The owner's name was George.  (I was to find out later that most of the Milk Bar owners were Greek and usually named George)--but he was friendly and curious enough to talk with me.

"So, do ya want anything?"

"Not sure.  What can I have?  I mean, I just have some money with me, and don't know what it will buy!"....I laid it out on the counter, and we decided that I could have a milkshake--

"You just new?"

"Yep--I mean, yes.  I am going to teach at the high school!'

"Oh!  You the new Yank teacher?", he said smiling.

Grinning, I said, "Yes.  I suppose I am.  I think I am the only Yank here, is that right?"

"Yeah the only one now.  Used to have a bloke here, but he left--not a bad guy--just talked a lot.." He grinned at me when he said that.

"Yeah, I think I must talk a lot too! But how am I going to learn anything if I don't ask questions?  I am thinking you weren't born here --how long have you been in Rainbow?"

"About 3 years.  Not a bad place.  Some people just keep to themselves - but it is good here for my wife and family.  So will stay for a while.  You'll stay do you think?"

"For a while.  Only have a contract for a year, and anyone can do anything for a year! But so far, I think I am going to like it here!"

"That's a good thing.  Here's your milk shake."

I took it in its tall metal cup, and noticed that is was very milky and not thick like I had expected it to be.  George, stood and looked at me.  "What!  Don't you like it?"

"Well, it's not very thick, it tastes nice, just thought it would be more milk shaky, you know?"

"Oh!  You wanted a thick shake --makes a difference.  Give it back and I'll put some ice cream in it for you!"

I handed it back to George, feeling sort of like a nuisance, but he whistled while he deftly threw some scoops of ice cream into the metal cup, put it back on the milk shake stirrer, and I soon had a yummy thick shake in front of me!

George watched as I tried to sip it threw the straw, and laughed as I struggled.  "That is a thick shake!" he laughed.

"It's yummy, and definitely will just be my lunch.  It really is filling!  George, I think I like it in here.  I'll be back a lot I think..." 

"Good!  I like the talk a lot."  He grinned at me again, poured my drink into a tall paper cup, and I thanked him as I left to walk back home and get ready for my first day of school the next day......

Monday, April 4, 2011

Home, (sweet ?) home.....

After our little tour of Rainbow, my Headmaster pulled up in front of a small unpainted cement sheeting clad cottage, which boasted a dry overgrown front yard, and a fence that protected little, as it was mostly tilted or half attached to its railings, but it was home.  And my home at that!

As we entered the house through the back door, my two new housemates were there to meet me.  Maaike was an Australian from Geelong, and had Dutch heritage, and Ruth (or Strewth Ruth, as I would dob her soon), was a quiet Australian girl from inner city Melbourne.  Maaike would be teaching Geography and associated subjects, and Ruth would be teaching German, which I found funny because I would be teaching English!  After Ruth confused the students with one subject, I could continue the confusion with another one!

My bags were brought in, and dumped in my small bedroom (an after-thought really) which at one stage would have been the kitchen's pantry.  The room had a bed, a window and a long narrow wall which housed a built in desk, and two narrow built in cupboards which were to serve as wardrobes, one on each side of the desk, which was attached to the wall under the one window.

There really was just enough room for me in that room at one time, so the others waited out in the walkway from the back door which also held a cement based water trough for holding laundry room water, although there wasn't a washing machine or any other laundry based equipment.  After a few steps  we then turned and entered the kitchen where my two housemates were busy making cups of tea and pouring a glass of water for me.  As my headmaster chatted with Maaike and Ruth, and they all busied themselves in the kitchen I paused and looked around.  The walls were clad in red glazed tiles, and there were overhead cupboards on the wall which ran between the kitchen and my bedroom.  The bench tops were red Formica type tops, with black and white colours covering the rest of the kitchen.  There was a wood-burning stove, which had been lit, even though it was February, and still warm outside, even though it was about 6:30 at night.  I vaguely remember the wood burning stove was red also----there was a gas hotplate which sat on the bench top next to the wood burning stove, (similar to what I supposed a camp-site would have), and it was attached to a gas bottle.  That would be my main source of cooking survival, as I knew nothing about wood burning stoves!

After a few minutes I gathered my bearings, and exclaimed:

"Well!  We made it!  What  stretch of countryside we drove through, didn't we, Mr Barr!"

He smiled, and finishing his cup of tea, stated:, "Well, girls.  I'll leave you now.  Jan, the Mother's Club have prepared a casserole dinner for you for your first night.  I think that is what I smell in the oven.  Hope you girls have a good night, and enjoy yourselves, and we will see you three on Monday!" 

It was Saturday night, and I smiled, thinking that I would have at least one day to get settled before starting on this adventure at the high school. 

I replied, "It will be good to get settled, and to have a chance to look around before then.  Thanks, Mr Barr for going to all the effort to pick me up and bring me here.  It's like a good Omen isn't it?  Like everything is for a purpose!"

Mr Barr smiled at me again, and Maaike sort of grunted and shook Mr Barr's hand, while Ruth quietly started to get some plates from the overhead cupboards in the kitchen.  My new headmaster then left, and Maaike went to the oven and opened it, revealing the heat and steam which exploded into the kitchen.

Ruth was setting the plates on the little red topped table which was a permanent attachment to the kitchen bench under the overhead cupboards.  The table was attached at a right angle to the cupboard, and jutted out into the kitchen just across from the stove.  There were four red vinyl covered chairs on metal frames, which sat two on each side of this small table.  Maaike put the casserole on the table, and poured cold water from the fridge, for us all. Ruth quietly sat down with her back to the window, and Maaike sat next to her.  I sat across the table, facing the threadbare white lace curtains, and smiled. 

The Mother's Club had also been responsible for picking a bouquet of flowers from one of their gardens and had put them in a vase on the desk in my new bedroom.  I was home.  My home.  With the possibility of already having two new friends. 

"This tastes great!  What kind of meat is this?

"Lamb, probably forequarter", Maaike replied, as she went back to her plate. 

"Well, this is the first time I've ever had lamb, so what a treat!  I also like the gravy and the vegetables--really nice---I have so many adventures to tell you about some of the food I had in Melbourne!  I loved it!"

Ruth paused eating and smiled at me, and Maaike sort of grunted again, while Ruth said quietly, "I'd like to hear them. I miss Melbourne, Rainbow is very small...." 

""Well, we're here", Maaike replied.  "For the next year--we'll get used to it."

I looked at the stove, and at the gas hot plate and wondered if there were any takeaway food stores in Rainbow, I didn't remember seeing any...I guess I would find out tomorrow as I began to discover my surroundings.  I thought of Dorothy and Toto, as they landed in OZ, and I replied " Ruth, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore!"

Both Ruth and Maaike stopped eating, looked at me briefly, and probably made a mental note to selves--yep--a whole year of her!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Escaping the wet

I walked by one of the glass doors leading out onto the front deck and this is what I saw:

Sound aleep!  Click on photos to enlarge..
I know!  I thought it was so cute!  He/She was very sound asleep.  I used my telephoto lens to get a close up, and then eventually just quietly walked out to the table and took a photo.  I came back occasionally to have a look, such a deep sleeper-really unusual here during the day for them. 

About an hour later I walked by that area again, and our deep sleeper had woken up--just like all of us do sometimes: 

Where Am I?

It's alright Dude!  We're here!

A bit ruffled, still dopey, wondering what time it is, and why am I here.....there were friends nearby to help....

Alright...I think I can do this.....

but this little beauty eventually flew away, to find something else now to do with its time.....

Friday, April 1, 2011

I'm introduced to Rainbow

Most of my fellow USA teachers who had been given posts in Melbourne and the surrounding suburbs were off trying to find accommodation and transport during the day, while I was off discovering the City.  For some reason I just knew that I would be OK. 

I was told by the Minster of Education that my Headmaster of my new high school in Rainbow was driving down personally to pick me up, and take me to my new home.  I thanked the Minister, and asked him to pass on my thanks to my new Headmaster .  I told the Minister that I liked the title - Headmaster - it sounded so British!  He often just looked at me, smiled and shook his head.

On the big day, those of us left in the hostel were saying our good-byes to the friends we had shared this experience with, as they left to begin their journey.  I nervously waited for my Headmaster to arrive, and then - he suddenly was there. 

He was a sturdy looking man, with a bit of  'pepper coloured hair', I think that is the polite way of saying he was beginning to have some gray areas.....he was a bit gruff, but as friendly to a total stranger that he could be!  I was just happy to have contact, and know that I was on my way to my next adventure!  We put my things in his car, and because the Australian Consulate back in the States told me that I needed to be prepared for anything, due to my pale complexion and fair hair, I perhaps over-packed a bit---but I was moving to another country!  I also carried my trusty Smith-Corona typewriter with me, in her black coloured hard metal case - a present from my parents for my 16th birthday, and my trusty companion.  We had written a lot of stuff together!

It was going to be about a 4 hour trip to get to Rainbow, maybe longer if traffic was any indication.  To tell you the truth, other than Chicago and LA, I had never seen a City as large as Melbourne, and they all drove on a crazy side of the road here--I kept trying to dodge on-coming traffic as we made our way through the city to the major highway North that would take us to my new home.  I was excited!  And what do I do when I'm excited?  You got me!  I talk!

"Oh, Mr Barr!  This is really great!  I can't believe how you just drove through all of that traffic and you didn't even flinch--I had my eyes closed quite a lot of the time!"

"Yes, well, one gets used to it."

"Really?  Don't think I ever will.  I don't think I will have to worry about it in Rainbow will, I?  Not as big a city?"

Mr Barr, looking at me, briefly taking his eyes from the road, sort of chuckled and then responded: " No. Not as big a city.  More like a town, a village, a small area, but full of people who have been waiting for your arrival."

"Really?  They know about me already?"

"Well, as a small school, on a minimal budget we only get allocated so many staff, and you plus 2 other first year teachers will be joining us this year.  In fact, we have arranged a house in Rainbow for all of you to live in, as you settle in".

"Really?  I'm a bit surprised, but happy that you have done this.  I was a bit worried about how I would live.  But a house--that's a good thing, right?"

"Uh, yes. Right."

I felt happy.  I sat quietly for a while only asking the occasional question, as I watched the ever changing scenery pass by my side car window.  I wanted to see Koalas hanging from trees as we drove, but convinced myself that they weren't  monkeys after all, and the Kangaroos must just be shy, because I hadn't seen even one yet!

After a quick nap-(car riding does that to me), we started to drive through more bush covered areas with less and less traffic.  The road became more narrow, and eventually we arrived in Rainbow.   As we entered the outskirts of the town, I noticed the vast fields of land (paddocks as they are called), they had just been harvested of their wheat crop.  In other 'paddocks' , there were scattered white, creamy coloured flocks of sheep grazing on what ever green or growth they could find.  I knew I had a lot to learn.  I had never seen sheep before.  (I would eventually learn to know every crook and cranny of those strange, woolie animals!)

We then suddenly arrived in Rainbow!

Federal Hotel, Rainbow, Victoria.
I discovered after a while, that every town and City in Australia has a War Memorial, often dedicated to the ANZAC'S (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps).  As we drove down the main street of Rainbow, past the only town's butcher shop with painted windows of sheep and cows, and a genuine tree stump on top of a sawdust floor, which served as a cutting board for butchering the meat to one's desire, I also noticed that not only were there no traffic lights, but there weren't even any stop signs.  " I guess everyone here just knows when  to stop and when to go again", I sort of mumbled out loud.  Mr Barr, smiled to himself, and said that he would take me to my new home in a few moments.  We continued driving along the main street so that I could look around.
The Rainbow Caravan Park - Rainbow Victoria: Main street of Rainbow (large)
It sure was different from what I had expected--but in a way--sort of charming--comfortable like.  I was beginning to relax a bit -- the butcher shop had made me smile.  There was just such a difference from where I had just come from to where I was now....not a bad difference - just a difference.
The Rainbow Caravan Park - Rainbow Victoria: Rainbow Shopping CentreI had arrived!  I would be meeting my new housemates soon, and see where I would be living.  It was all in front of me!  No time for tired exhaustion now, I had a lot to see yet.....