Monday, December 22, 2008

A Family Christmas...Down Under

I'm sorry that I haven't written anymore of my thrilling adventures (yawn) in the Land of Oz since...December 8th?! I've been, uh busy. Yeah, that's it...Busy! Getting prepared for the family's arrival on the 19th. You know the drill, converting a bachelor pad into a loving home, complete with doilies on the arms of the couch and sufficient rolls of toilet paper for a small, South American country.

They made it here just fine and after a quick shower and big seafood meal along the shores of the marina, the kids were off to Sydney with lots of my funny coloured money and my mobile phone (cell phone to us Yanks), not to be seen for 2 days. They did return for a day and spent last night in the big city again. They're supposed to return this morning (ha!) to join in the annual office tournament between the surveyors and the mappers. Each year the day before Christmas Eve, a different so-called sport is offered up so the surveyors can whip the collective butts of the mappers. The typical office vs. field workers, and you know who's in shape! This year it's lawn bowling.

We toured the office and when they saw my large, athletic kids immediately thought 'ringers!' One coworker did say divots in the lawn were frowned upon with me taking that to mean, divots in opponents were tolerated. It should be a fun time as Aussies are great to party with, just hard to keep up with. For example, we were invited to breakfast Sunday morning by Jan the lady at the front counter in charge of corporate travel and her husband who also works there. Another couple joined us, both from South Africa and both work at the company. Breakfast started at 9:00 and finally ended around 2:30 after some champagne and beer! Picture included.

As I can do for any of you who plan to visit, we thought surfing lessons for the kids would be a great idea. They really did like it and are planning on two more lessons before they leave, earning them some kind of certification, 5th class. Pictures are included as well. It is exhausting, even for my young and athletic kids so I'm glad that Holly and I simply laid in the sun and took pictures once in a while. Tough duty on the week before Christmas. If you visit, you too can learn to surf from a beautiful young instructor (Nick has already figured out her schedule), and I can provide you with a mobile phone and comfortable bed. No worries! I'll check into motorcycle rentals for the wilder ones I know, too.

Since the family is here, I hired (rented) a car. It's an Aussie Ford and has provided lots of opportunities for the family to laugh (and pray) while I'm learning to drive opposite of the rest of the civilized world (except England and Japan). It does take a lot of getting used to, especially driving on what we Yanks call, "The WRONG side of the road!" Another thing is the passenger side of the car seems to be too far over onto the side of the road...and often! (this is true for the Aussies and others who learn to drive on the RIGHT side of the road). For some reason, I just can't seem to keep the car near the centerline. But the gas, I'm sorry...petrol works and the brakes don't. Just another Island car to me.

Nick at least admitted that I was getting better, still crappy. Such encouragement from my children.

I will have more adventures soon. Have a great Christmas and New Year's! I'll try to have more interesting things more often as I continue my harrowing adventure into the land down under.

A near future expectation is watching the start of the Sydney-Hobart Yacht race from a waterfront, cliff side condo scored by the kids! An uncle of the the friends they've been visiting in Sydney has a big party every year to celebrate the event that is held on Boxing Day (the day January White Sales start to us, you know, the day after Christmas). More pictures of that for sure!

Hello from Holly - We've had such a great time seeing Craig and exploring his new environment. He made the 'flat' very inviting, including a decorated Christmas tree and lights in the window. His office workmates are a friendly bunch, and the office itself is very new and stylish. He also has very pleasant neighbors and we have shared drinks and stories with them. Haven't seen too much of the kids since they have Carly's host sis and friends in Sydney to play with, giving Craig & I plenty of catch up time. Last evening we drove down the coast to a nice little beach town for a delicious seafood meal. I ate 'bugs', which may seem unappetizing to you, but it turned out to be a creature that is somewhere between a prawn and a lobster, and was delicious. So, I highly recommend the accommodations here at Chez Berry, and have found the concierge to be most helpful. I suggest you book your stay soon.


Merry said...

What a tease - all that sunshine while we're having an artic blast. this is the worst storm since 1968. I think a few planes are getting out today, some peaple have been at the airport since last Friday.
Nice to see pictures of the family. I think their smiles are larger than normal.
Have a wonderful Christmas and New years.
I enjoyed the Christmas card Holly sent.

Julie said...

So glad you're having such a great time! Wish we were there with you. We had a lovely Christmas. Weather changed a lot of plans, which resulted in us having 17 here for dinner. Of course, Steve excelled at whipping up a feast. Love to all from the Wiley-Gepharts.