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Australian Journal - April-May 2003

March 31 - April 6, 2003 - Life as usual: Another typical week. Monday morning, Sandy went to a morning tea with some of the other Year 1 moms. Then Wednesday morning, it was time for a Year 4 morning tea. Tuesday was also April 1 meaning the Wilderness teachers were welcomed with April Fool's jokes from the girls all day long - which they endured with patience and good humour. Thursday was another quilt group day, and Sandy was pleased to be able to take her quilted Christmas Tree Skirt to group to show, and to work on the last phase - just hand-sewing the binding around the outer and inner edges.

Friday night, the girls had another baby sitter to play Uno and Monopoly with, and Tim and Sandy went downtown to do some shopping and to eat out at Ottoman's, a Turkish cafe in Rundle Street, in the heart (or one of the hearts) of Adelaide's street cafe district. After we came home, we watched part of the daily press briefing by Gen. Brooks - and were quite surprised to see Dave Ross, from KIRO radio in Seattle, stand up and ask a question. This reminded us of how long it had been since we'd heard his voice, as one of Seattle's best talk show hosts.

Saturday was more work around the house plus homework and music practice. Clara has another big project due next Friday, the last day of Term 1 - this one is where she is supposed to pretend she is a tour guide, and prepare a tour around South Australia's various regions, telling visitors about interesting things in each area. She has visited many of the regions, and in some cases chose places she has seen on our trips (such as the Parndana Wildlife Park on Kangaroo Island and the Umoona Opal Mine in Coober Pedy). In other cases, she's been digging through our tour books and guides, and has found things we might not have realized were as interesting to her - such as a Lavender farm (with 80 varieties of Lavender) in the Coorong region. This then led to a further search of books and the web to ascertain just what colors lavender comes in. The answer turns out to be a lot - white, pink, blue, purple and all the shades in-between.

Sunday morning was Clara's orchestral workshop that she has been practicing towards for the last couple of weeks. This is a workshop for younger string players, culminating in a concert for family and friends. Clara, along with friends Katarina, Kimberly, and Rebecca from Wilderness, took part in the "Albinoni Orchestra", which was the group for children who had been playing less than three years. There were two other "orchestras" for more advanced students. The girls did quite well, and made it through all three songs successfully. It was held at St. Peter's Girls School, which is just up the road from us towards the hills. It is a beautiful campus, and one which made the decision to send the girls to Wilderness very hard - but in the end, we decided Wilderness had the edge in quality of education, regardless of the physical setting. One of Clara's best friends, Katarina, was also in the workshop, so in the afternoon, she came over to play and to work on their class projects.

April 7-13, 2003 - School Holidays: Hard to believe Term One is over - but it is, and while the girls hate to ever miss school, they are looking forward to some time off. Friday was the last day, and the girls got to dress in "casual clothes". Friday night, we celebrated by getting pizza delivered and watching the second Harry Potter movie - we made it the whole way through, but the girls were nodding (in between the exciting bits) towards the end. Saturday, Lucy was off to another birthday party, this one at a movie theatre in Norwood, where they (25 Year 1 girls!) watched a movie ("The Wild Thornberry's Movie"), then had ice cream cake. Meanwhile, Clara and Tim were off on errands, including the acquisition of a birthday cake for Sandy.

In the evening, we went off to the Hog's Breath Cafe in Glenelg (Sandy's request, believe it or not!) where the girls entertained themselves while waiting for dinner by checking out all the American license plates on the wall - they found ones from Kansas, Iowa, Texas, Washington, and many others - but no New Hampshire. The girl's noticed another restaurant two doors down named "Lamb Spit" and hypothesized about a possible pattern - and were wondering what might be next. After dinner, we celebrated with cake and Sandy opened her presents.

April 14-May 31, 2003 - American Interlude: This journal hasn't been updated for awhile, since we've been off on another of our journeys. However, instead of exploring Australia, this time we were off to the US for our "Home Leave" - a chance to visit our family and friends, and get reacquainted with the American way of life once again. We've been preparing for this trip for months, making reservations, scheduling visits to doctors, and trying to coordinate our trip with our families in the States. Going back to the US after an absence of 19 months was eye-opening.

We had an uneventful trip to Kansas City via Los Angeles, where we spent the night in a hotel (enjoying a Midwest-style dinner and breakfast at a Cracker Barrel restaurant) before driving on to Manhattan, Kansas, to visit Sandy's family. We had a good 10 days in Kansas, visiting family and celebrating Easter. The girls also helped Sandy's dad plant parts of the vegetable garden, learned how to macrame from cousins, Lya and Patti, and discovered a new game - foosball. Fred, Tim and Clara also visited the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, where the Liberty Bell (Gus Grissom's Gemini capsule) and the Apollo 13 were on display, among a huge variety of other displays and hands-on activities. While visiting with with Sandy's aunt and uncle about Australia, we learned that in Oklahoma, a house like our Australian place (narrow and 96 feet deep) would be called a "Shotgun House", since you could stand in the front door and fire a shotgun through it and out the back without hitting anything!

Then it was off to New Hampshire to visit Tim's family. The flight went well until the start of the descent, when both Sandy and Clara had ear trouble, with Clara getting a tremendous headache, too. However, all our luggage made it through, we eventually managed to get a rental van, and found our hotel without too much trouble, and were in bed by 12:30 am. The next morning we stopped in Union to pick up Tim's mom and see his Aunt Ginny and Uncle George and then headed north to Colebrook. Along the way, we stopped to observe and photograph a yearling moose by the roadside. Other members of the family were already there, so we had quite a reunion. The next day, the girls scurried to make use of the fast-dwindling snow, making tiny snowmen and snowdogs. Clara was just moving slower and slower, and sleeping alot, so we took her to the doctor, where we found she had sinus and ear infections. In spite of the illness, we had another good visit with everyone, capped by a last evening out on the deck, with the girls wrapped up in sleeping bags, watching shooting stars and satellites passing over.

Then it was time to head to Seattle. After another uneventful trip, we spent the week visiting doctors, dentists, etc., and catching up with friends in-between. While we would have liked more time in all the places we visited and wished we could have seen more people, we were glad to return to our own beds back in Australia. The return trip also went well, and we arrived back about 5 weeks after leaving.

Back in Adelaide, Tim went to work the next morning, but the rest of us had a long weekend to get unpacked and settled in. In fact the weekend was even longer than Sandy had expected because she had forgotten that Monday was the Adelaide Cup horse race--and thus a public holiday! Clara and Lucy had missed three weeks of school, but slipped back into the routine with no problems. They've both been busy since our return - and we would have documented our time better, but we've been having computer problems over the last week. One interesting event did occur today, when Tim, Clara and Lucy were visiting the library - a man came up to them, said he was coming from Victoria, and wanted to know how to get to Western Australia! Tim was a bit taken aback, but it turns out the fellow was actually trying to get to Darwin (about 2500 kilometers due north!) by driving, and someone else had told him he needed to go to Western Australia first. So, Tim pointed him in the direction of Main North Road (the main road out of Adelaide, which goes through Alice Springs and eventually reaches Darwin), and off he apparently went!

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