Monday, April 28, 2008

Stepping on Red, White and Blue soil soon

Well, it's official. I'll be leaving this beautiful country on May 9th to fly home to California. I have very mixed emotions about it. We really have had a great time here in Australia. This country is full of amazing people that I am really sad to leave behind. One comfort is that some will eventually come to visit us at some point in the near future.

Lora will be staying behind for a few months to finalize some data analysis. It's much simpler for her to deal with insects and plant material here than to try and get all the necessary permits for importing them to the states. We are both not looking forward to being apart for three or four months. With my work schedule here I have been able to turn down work to travel up to her field sites every few weeks. That has meant we haven't really spent more than two or three weeks apart the entire time we've been here. This one will be hard but doable.

If anyone would be willing to pick me up from the airport (SFO) at 10:15am on Friday the 9th of May I could really use a ride. I will have some luggage but will not be bringing a bike or kayak home so I should fit in a standard car... maybe. I'll be looking to get up to Sacramento or even better up to Weaverville where my car is currently being stored.

See you all really soon.

Lastly, I thought I'd tack on a few photos of just some of our good friends over here. I don't know... I'm feeling a tad sentimental.

Swarz. A great boater and a strong mtn biker. He's scarier looking than he really is.

Sammy, one of our friends that will be in California this summer. Hopefully you'll get a chance to meet her. A real sweetheart.

Nick, Scottie, and Steve. Just some of the closest of my friends. They were always up for an adventure of some sort.

A pic of Nick running one of our favorite rivers, the Leven.

Raulf and Mark. Some paragliding friends. Mark and I have spent a lot of time up in the air together.

Bugga. Another great person and a phenomenal c-boater. That means he sits on his knees and uses a canoe paddle with one blade.

Another of Nick and I on the Overland track.

Will, Thorpie, and Tom. Some Tassie boys we went boating with while in New Zealand.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Cuddling a wombat

Now that my months are numbered here in Australia, there is a small list of things I want to do before I leave. One of these was to hold a wombat. I don't usually get desires to hold animals, but I really have been wanting to hold one since we first arrived here in Australia. I finally got my chance when Craig and I drove between field sites (from Brisbane to Cairns).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A great visit from Shirley and Norman

Well I'm back in Hobart where I've just spent the day doing substitute P.E. teaching. Yes I said P.E. substituting! It was actually more work than I anticipated but it was really fun showing kids how to take their pulse and talking with them about exercising regularly. Of course we had a few relay races and i showed them a game or two as well.

For the past two weeks Lora's mom and step-father have been over visiting from the states. We had a great time hanging out and seeing the sites. The highlight for me was the three day visit to Bruny Island. It's a quick 30 minute drive from Hobart to the ferry and then a 20 minute ferry ride. We stayed in a great little vacation bungalow and visited some of the prettiest beaches I've seen in Tasmania. I even had a quick surf in the kayak at one of them. In the evening as the sun was setting Norman and I took advantage of the fantastic squidding to be had off of the local jetty. We SLAYED EM! We caught two the first evening and then the next night Norman caught four of the five we took home. The other one was given to us by a young boy whom I lent my squid jig to. Apparently he didn't like squid. These things were HUGE! Norman caught one that would have been close to two feet in length easily. We of course cooked them up and had a feast.

We then headed up to Brisbane where Lora was able to show them one of her favorite field sites. I was bummed because the leeches seemed to be away for the hike so they missed out on one of my favorite things about Lamington Natl Park... leeches raining from the sky.

Some how Lora found a plush beach apartment for us to stay in for the few days we were there. It was nice. Lora and myself introduced the game of Zombies to Shirley and to my surprise she really seemed to enjoy it. She was very close to beating the pro zombie slayers. For those who haven't heard Lora has really turned into a gaming geek. Ok maybe I'm a bit more of a geek than she is. Get ready for some fun boardgames when we get back home to Sactown everyone.

Speaking of that I should be purchasing a ticket home in the next few days. I'm still planning on returning mid May so I'll see you all really soon. Keep your ears open for a teaching job for me. Last I heard Sacramento was laying off teachers because of more budget cuts by Arnie! I can't understand how one of the largest economies in the world can't seem to fund education.

P.S. Sorry about not having any pictures for this post. Lora has the camera up in Sydney. I'll try to post some next week when she returns home.