Just 4 sleeps left till we leave Western Australia. All the expected lines apply – “Seems like we just arrived”, “Time flies when you’re having fun”, “Where did the year go?”, “A penny saved is a penny earned”. Okay, not that last one. Just checking to see if you’re paying attention 🙂
I’ll do one last post after this from WA with our travel plans. But todays focus is all the incredible memories and things we’ll miss from this corner of the world. Just as back in Canada, our list is topped by family and friends, the list here is headed by the wonderful people we have met. It may be ‘a small world’, but distances are still very great when you would like to just sit and have a coffee (or glass of Aussie wine 🙂 with a friend.
We’ve made friends through many channels. Both Mike & Kyle have new mates from school as expected, but there’s also my fitness friends (they even took me out for morning tea to say goodbye), yoga buddies, Kyle’s friends through his gaming club – not to mention his girlfriend whom he met through those friends, and the Canadian and Aussie friends we now have acquired through the exchange teachers group. Canadians are supposed to be known for their generosity, but the Aussie folks we’ve met have done their country proud. They have made this an absolutely memorable (in only good ways) year.
And then there’s the other stuff. Being nature buffs, both Mike and I have been especially taken with the variety of birds and trees down here. I’ll miss the 29’s (coloured parrots – family lives in the tree behind us), the magpies, the pink and grey gallahs (Kyle’s fav), the cockatoos (my favourite) who wrestle each other off the branches of trees for entertainment (theirs and mine), the ravens with their loud laughter and cries which make you think there’s a baby out there, the wagtails – especially the one who danced on our window ledge at his own reflection, the wattle bird who picks off all the spiders around the house and the pelicans who waddle around the waterside.
The trees are fascinating to me in how distinct they are from our trees. Almost all trees flower in colour – spring is wonderful. The bottlebrush have colourful ‘brush’ type flowers along their branch, the grevillea with their wonderful constant flowers, the wattle with their masses of tiny pompom flowers, the banskia with their unique cones and large cylindrical brush flowers, the eucalyptus in all their many varietes with wonderful bark and aromas, the desert oak (not an oak at all) so soft and whispy, the tree ferns which florish after fires. Some trees lose their bark, not their leaves. Some can survive fires which appear to have decimated them. Then there’s the giant fig trees which are massive in their width, and the karri and the tingle and the tuart – all giants in their height. And when you do see a North American tree such as an oak, it is suffering to survive in the dry heat of summer and missing it’s long winter nap.
And of course, there’s the food and drink!!! We will definitely miss the Aussie wine. We’ve been spoiled for the entire time with quality wine for a reasonable price. And although that has not helped the waistline any, it’s been good for the palate. Besides a glass or two of red wine is good for you – right? Also on the list are macadamia nuts, mangos, bananas, Milo (kind of a chocolate milk drink mix – Kyle is addicted and will likely suffer from withdrawl), TimTams (chocolate biscuits), pavlova, prawns, and perhaps most of all – meat pies (especially from Miami bake shop!)
The landscape is another of my favourite aussie memories – beaches and coral reefs, ancient rocks and giant bolders, and canyons and ravines and waterfalls. You’ve seen the photos and know that I can’t even begin to put them into words.
Finally – though certainly not least – the weather. Although it seemed to rain endlessly in the winter, it was NOT SNOW. Apart from the occasional day when rain kept me in, I rode the bike all year round – not something I can say back home. And even though it gets very hot in the day at times, the nights almost always cool down with a wonderful sea breeze. If I have to complain, it would probably be the wind – it rarely stops and often causes painful sand blasting on any exposed skin. Not being especially keen winter sport fanatics, both Mike and I can’t really say that we’ve missed the Canadian winter. But I must admit – it’s just not right having Christmas around the corner and 35 degree weather. And TV commercials with shrimp on the barbie for Christmas dinner just seem weird – sorry folks. Regardless – I will really miss the weather….sigh.
I’m starting to think I should have done this post first, and then followed up with the Canadian things we’ve missed while here. Right now I’m struggling with why we’re leaving (just joking Mum 🙂