Friday, August 28, 2009

One More Sleep

It's hard to believe, but my time in Melbourne, Australia is finished. Tomorrow morning we begin our long journey back home to Canada. We've been here nearly two months, and the time has flown by so quickly.

Last week was my last week at the school, with Friday being my last day. Actually, we were there only half a day since we left for Sydney after lunch. Two of the teacher's from Sarah's school took us, and we stayed at the apartment of one of the teacher's brother. That last day of school was sad - I'll definitely miss those kids, as well as my host teacher and the other teacher in the room.

On Wednesday of that week, they had a little Australian party for me. They had the kids bring in some different foods that Aussies eat (and they were allowed to bring in food from other cultures if that is what they eat as well). There were lots of different things to eat, and the kids enjoyed it (I did too). There were several different types of cookies (or biscuits as they call them), some sandwiches, sweets/desserts, and one of the teachers brought in a little BBQ and cooked sausages on it. One of the "sandwiches" that were brought in tasted great - I loved it! It's called Fairy Bread and all you do is butter a piece of bread and put cake sprinkles on it. Sounds gross, but it's not.

I also had my first taste of Vegemite. That was totally disgusting! My host teacher, C, captured the moment on video. I thought she was only going to take a picture, but she taped the experience. She then showed it to some of the teachers, and then on my last day she showed the kids. Everyone thought it was quite funny (so did I). I really don't know how they can eat that stuff! I suppose, though, that if it's something you are brought up on you get used to it and grow a fondness for it.

Back to my last day...the two classes I helped in got me an Aussie kids book and they all signed it and put a picture of the classes in it, as well as a picture of me tasting the Vegemite. It was quite sweet (the book, not the Vegemite). C also got me an Australian kids book as well. The principal gave me a school mug and several different chocolate bars (one or two we have back home, but the others we don't have). When it was time for me to go, the kids all came over and hugged me, and one little boy says to me, "Ms. S, Tom's crying." One of the little boys had tears in his eyes, but just walked away after hugging me. I don't know if he was sad I was leaving, or if it was for some other reason, but I like to think he was sad that I was leaving.

That afternoon we flew to Sydney. We were there until Sunday night, and had a great time seeing the sights. The main reason we wanted to head to Sydney was to see the Opera House. We got to see that, the Sydney Harbour bridge, and several other places.

Early Monday morning we headed for the last leg of our vacation (the internship part wasn't vacation) and flew up to the Gold Coast. We stayed in a cute little town called Coolengata. Our hotel was a two minute walk from the beach. It was a beautiful place, and there was gorgeous weather. Unfortunately, Tuesday morning I wrenched my back and couldn't do much of anything the rest of the day and most of the next day. The girls went to a chemist (the Australian version of a drug store) and got me some meds after talking to the chemist/pharmacist. Those seemed to help as they had codeine in them. Thursday I walked around and took some pictures. I didn't go swimming because I didn't have a bathing suite, and my back was still sore. I was actually trying on a bathing suite when I wrenched my back...go figure.

Thursday evening I went to an after hours clinic to see a doctor for my back. He agreed with me that it was a muscle problem and wrote down two different types of pills to get (over the counter kind) as well as a prescription for an anti-inflammatory and Valium. He said the Valium was for the plane trip (it's a long flight) and that both the prescribed meds would make me drowsy. I have been taking all but the Valium and it's helping. I plan on only using the Valium on the plane ride.

All in all, I had a great time here in Australia. If you ever get the chance to visit this country, you should go - lots to see and do! I don't know if I'll ever have the opportunity to come back here, but if I do, I'll head this way again; I'd like to see the teachers/friends I've made on this trip again.

But for now, I need to get some rest (the pain pills I took a little while ago are kicking in and I'm feeling tired), and then do my packing. I'd like to take my host family out for supper tonight to show them my appreciation for all they have done for me while I was here. They are great people, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to meet and stay with them.

The next time I write, I'll be back home in Canada. See you soon!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Oi!

I am still going strong here in outskirts of Melbourne. This coming week will be my last in the classroom, the following week I'll be travelling to the Gold Coast, and the weekend after that I head back home.

School has been going well. I've done quite a bit of teaching, mostly maths (here they put an 's' on the end of math) and reading. I've also been doing the roll call and going over the daily time table with the kids. For maths, I had to teach both of the classes in the room, but for reading I only had the one class belonging to the teacher I have been assigned to.

At the end of my last post I had mentioned that we were going to the zoo. It was, in fact, the Melbourne Zoo and it was really great! The zoo is quite big and took us nearly four hours to go through it all (including a stop for something to eat for lunch on zoo grounds, which was terribly expensive). We didn't see many kangaroos, and only one koala bear but that might be because Australians wouldn't want to see them in the zoo when they could see them in the wild, etc. It was a great zoo to visit, though. They even have a butterfly exhibit where you can go in with the butterflies. I got some great close up shots of different butterflies.

The following week we went to the Werribee zoo with Sarah's host teacher. This zoo was an open range zoo. We got on a bus and the tour guide/driver drove us around and told us about all the animals we saw. It was great too, but not nearly as many animals.

We also travelled down the Great Ocean Road. That was amazing. I think we ended up driving something like 700 km (we left around 9:00 am and got back home a little after 10:30 pm). The road is twisty, turny and runs along the ocean (which could be how it got its name). There is such beautiful scenery here and we even saw a couple of whales in two different locations! There were some surfers early in the trip, but the further along we got, the stronger the waves were, and in some locations they had signs up to not go in the water.

The Great Ocean Road is where you'll find the Twelve Apostles. There are only about seven of them left now, with one falling down a couple of months ago I think. These are rock formations that, once upon a time, had been part of the cliffs; erosion from wind, rain, and the water/waves have separated them. These reminds me of the Hopewell Rocks back home. It's definitely worth taking this trip around the coast, even though it takes awhile.

Today was the first Saturday since the first weekend we got here, that I didn't have any excursion planned. It's OK though because it was nice to have some time to myself - especially since I felt a little down today. It's getting closer to the one year anniversary (Aug. 19) of my dad's death. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. Sarah and I are going to a place called Science Works tomorrow, and I think we might be meeting a couple of the others there as well. Sarah's hostess (where she's staying) is supposed to take us and drop us off while she goes to visit her grandmother (who lives a few streets over), and then we'll call her when we are ready to go home.

Next weekend we'll be heading to Sydney from Friday until Sunday. The following morning we'll head to the Gold Coast (Monday to Friday). That Saturday we'll probably go to the Victoria Market one last time and then we fly out Sunday to head back home.

It's getting quite windy out now. They are calling for gale force winds tonight I guess, and warning people not to park under trees and to fasten down any outdoor furniture, etc. Hopefully it won't be too bad and there will be little to no damage.

Going to head off for now since this post has gotten quite long. God bless, and have a Christ-filled day!