Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Down under again

We arrived in Melbourne again, with the same eight bags and three backpacks we've been hauling around the world since the end of July. This time there were no flight delays or baggage issues, which meant we had to haul all eight of them from the airport.

A wall of luggage belonging to us.

We didn't really have many problems with the hauling until we took the taxi from the train station. The driver got creative on how to fit them all into the small car along with the three of us.

The weather was gorgeous, sunny and a pleasant 25 degrees celsius. I once confided to an English Sunday school class that I was sure that in heaven, the temperature would hover around 25 degrees celsius. That's 77 degrees fahrenheit, by the way.

We checked into our house. We will be living here for the next two months, until we find more permanent rental. It is located just on the edge of the university, and is university owned. That kind of explains the decor. But it seems nice. Actually, Jonathan was a little upset with us for choosing the cheaper university option instead of the AirB&B house we stayed in during August. He was whining right up until he started exploring the place. As I let him out to explore the back garden, he said, "Wow! This place is like a mansion!"

"Like a mansion?" asked Tim, in his skeptical voice.

"Well, at least compared to our last place," Jonathan replied.

Like a mansion, friends. Because it has three large bedrooms, living room, laundry, and a huge back yard.

House tour photos:
Front entrance.
Living room.
Bathroom. Toilet is in its own separate room.
Oh, the shower in the bathroom is awesome, by the way. After many months of low flow, dribbly shower taps, the shower head in this apartment is heaven. It's like a mansion.
Laundry. Separate from the bathroom.
Kind of weird that the dryer is hanging upside-down from the ceiling, with nothing under it. But hey, it has a dryer! That will be nice for cleaning the towels. Also, this isn't really relevant to the current photo, but included in our rental cost is a bi-weekly cleaning service. Super awesome, right? Carrying on:
Kitchen. With dishwasher, but buy your own detergent. (Put that on the list.)
The three bedrooms are on one end of the house, the kitchen, living room, bathroom, and laundry are on the other end.
Bedroom 2. This one won't be used much unless we have guests, then Jonathan gets it.
Bedroom 3. Jonathan chose the one with two beds for everyday living.
Bedroom 1, for Tim and me.
Another view of bedroom 1, with the largest workspace.
Because the largest desk area is in Bedroom 1, Tim will probably work there during the day. And then sleep there at night. Luckily it's just for a couple of months at the most, or Tim would probably get very tired of that room....
Spacious back garden and separate garage.
There you go. Like a mansion.

There is no air conditioning in our mansion. That is not a problem when the temperature is a heavenly 25 degrees. We left all the windows open overnight (there are screens). Fresh summer air drifted in and out and around our jet-lagged mostly-sleeping forms all night long. And then early in the morning, we were serenaded by a pair of Australian magpies, which warble and trill and whistle several notes at once. (They do not squawk like North American magpies. Ask google about it.) What a lovely way to begin our first full day in Australia!

The high today is supposed to be 27 degrees celsius. Tomorrow, however, it is predicted to be 36, and then Thursday it will be 39. Those convert to 80, 97, and 103 degrees Fahrenheit. By Friday it should be back in the 80s again, but with no air conditioning, we'd better be away on Thursday. Thursday is New Year's Eve. I think we'll go hang out at the beach. And then fireworks in the park! So happy to be here.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

A few updates

I'm behind on writing Life Events. And the other random things I think about writing make less sense without the Life Events in the background, so I guess we'd better get caught up.

First, we moved away from New Jersey, possibly forever. The state gave us a very lovely send-off, though. The weather was truly lovely up until the day we departed, with highs in the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit. That's quite warm, and very unusual for that part of the world.

I took these pictures the day before we departed, after dropping Jonathan off at the bus stop for the last time. The leaves were all gone from the woods, but the fog made it pretty.

Will Jonathan miss school in New Jersey? Maybe. But he wasn't too disappointed to leave school a week before everyone else, missing several tests scheduled for Friday. Now he's heading into the summer holidays for a month.

From New Jersey, we headed to Utah, for Fabulous Family Time! (And a weekend work conference for me.)

Our first day in Utah, we ran errands, like dentist and haircuts. Jonathan lost 2 inches of hair. I chopped off 4. And Tim chopped off 12 inches! Here is the before picture:

And I haven't yet taken an after picture. But it looks different. Trust me.

And since then, we have filled the days mostly with dear people. On Thursday, we went to lunch with my dear friend Norma, and dinner with my dear aunt Janice and her two granddaughters. On Friday we visited Tim's grandfather, and went to lunch with his mother and dinner with his papa Don. Saturday was my conference, followed by dinner with my in-laws and cousin, and then a family party with aunts and uncles. And Sunday we saw Tim's cousin and family, and my sister and her family.

Kind of becoming a blur of people, isn't it?

Monday we went sledding and built a snowman in the school yard just behind my parents' house.

That evening, I scored a free ticket to Star Wars from my brother-in-law, who had extras from his work party. My sisters and sisters-in-law all ditched their children and saw the movie together.

Tuesday morning we went ice skating with cousins, at a nearly empty rink (aside from the gazillion-of-us cousins). After another full day of cousins, we drove to eat dinner and play games with dear friends further south. And then Wednesday we visited my high school friend Alison, who was also our friend in grad school, followed by basketball at the neighborhood church, and then a family photo with 36 people! For Jonathan, Tim, and I, it was our first family photo for years. I will post a copy as soon as I own one legally. And then dinner and games with my cousins further south, visiting my aunt near the house we just sold.

Are we done yet?


Thursday at Tim's parents' house, seeing his cousin and grandfather and aunt and uncle one more time, sharing dinner, opening presents. Friday at my parents' house, seeing my brothers and sisters and their children one more time, opening presents.

White Christmas! My dad had to shovel the walk. I don't have to shovel snow anymore. Maybe ever.

Ok. Now I think we are caught up. Tomorrow we fly to Australia to start life all over again.

I guess there is one more question that has to be asked.

Will we miss it? Will we miss all this?

Well, this type of crazy week only happens every few years after careful planning. We will make sure that we don't miss it the next time all our family and friends conspire to be in the same place over Christmas.

Will we miss the snow?

No. Summertime for New Year's Eve! We're looking forward to it!

Thursday, December 10, 2015


Less than a week until we move from New Jersey.

Jonathan has been carrying around a form for each of his teachers to sign, and to report his current grades so far. Those grades won't matter. They won't transfer. He won't transfer. He gets six weeks of summer holidays followed by beginning a completely new school year in February.

I have a checklist in my office of things I need to do. In addition to updating addresses, and checking out of the apartment, I need to write a final report, describing the work I have done while here. I need to give copies of papers I have written to the staff. I have worked on several papers, but none have been written, start to finish. Two are very close. Maybe I'll send them along at the beginning of January.

And Tim is spending some of his last days on the east coast visiting his company's office in Boston. With less than a week before we move, he is away for business. Of course, last weekend I was also away. I went back to G.O.D. University for my student's dissertation defense. He passed, by the way. I feel so proud. My very first student. *Sniff*

It will be a while before we are settled again. We'll spend ten hectic days with family in winter, followed by a flight to Australia. We then need to go house hunting as soon as possible -- our temporary housing has no air conditioning, in the middle of the summer, and it is expected to be a hot summer.

A big change leads to many big questions. Where will we live? Will we need a car? How long will it take to commute to school and work? And, what will Jonathan do the entire month of January?