It was over a month ago that we arrived. Time passes very quickly when we spend weekends away and February- March we spent three away In a row. Two weeks ago we spent in Perth at Chook and Phil's, our home away from home away from home. Greeting us with warm hugs and a delicious homemade lasagne dinner. Chook and Phil's hospitality knows no bounds. We have luckily been g ranted keys to their home to stop in whenever we are in the big city. How kind! This trip was both Kees's birthday and my orientation meeting on Feb. 17th. The day of meetings was interminable and numbing for me, as a full 8 hours of listening to speakers is way too much information at once. Seeing many exchange teachers and having some time to chat was the best part of the day. Kees and Gina enjoyed their time at the zoo in Perth, then picked me up after my meetings. I had really enjoyed the company of Diane Lawler, an exchange teacher from Ontario, so I was happy to follow her home and enjoy a glass of wine before we all headed to Heathcote that evening for a BBQ. Kees and Diane's husband Jim hit it off well and Gina seemed content for a while, despite the absence of anyone within decades of her age. she would dearly love friends around, but we have not yet managed to find any teens on this trip. Bummer for her.
Saturday was spent hanging out with Chook and Phil. We had a fine evening out at an Indian restaurant, where we met with Bec's parents as well as an old friend of my mom's. Ray Morgan and his wife Jane fit in well with our irreverent group. Good food, good wine and many laughs were had by all. Well, Gina had tea. We finished the evening at Gail and Greg's for coffees. Everyone is so impressed with her ability to join in with such an ancient crowd as ours. We are proud of her, but would dearly love to help her find friends her age!!!!!
After a bit of shopping for groceries on Sunday at the Wanneroo Markets, we headed home to Williams. It was back to work for me!
Last weekend was our trip through Bunbury to Australind, where Beth and Len Deeley opened their home to about 30 exchange teachers for a BBQ and afternoon of story swapping. We found it all an enjoyable time, but again found no teens for Gina, although one American exchange family was there with 4 daughters 13 and younger. We were invited to stay overnight at Len and Beth's as it was a 2 hour drive back to Williams. We were happy to stay, as their tales of world travels and two former teacher exchanges kept us well entertained. As they live on a golf. course, we took the opportunity to walk out with them for both morning and evening strolls,when we finally saw kangaroos in the wild. We saw bird life As well, such as kookaburras and emus. On our way back to Williams on Sunday we stopped in atWellington Dam near Collie.Matt's mom, Marion had incited us to help celebrate a family birthday picnic. Matt's sisters, Laura and Trinity and their partners were there, as well as Laura's 2 children. Two year old Flynn sure liked Gina and I quite enjoyed holding a sweet 5 week old Bridie. Wellington Dam was not very picturesque, but it felt good to be out exploring the area and meeting new people in our new van. We shall have to return that way one day and go visit with dolphins in the shallows near Bunbury. That would be very cool!
This long weekend began with a hunt for a ball gown for Gina. We had seen a racy red vintage dress in an antique store in Narrogin, but it would need several hours of tailoring to make it fit, so we began our hunt in Fremantle. Unfortunately, after a 1.5 hour drive there, we found there is no late shopping Fridays, so we drove another hour to Perth. We found Jim and Diane at home and decided to accept their hospitality for the night. A dinner of vietnamese takeaway from around the corner was very tasty! In the morning we checked out 3 op shops nearby for dresses, but no luck. Six shops in Subiaco, a suburb of Perth were also unlucky. We found one possibility at a vintage shop in Northbridge, just a few km from downtown Perth, but after some thought, Gina and I decided that the red sizzler in Narrogin might work out best. With some clever stitching, her first choice will be a knockout.
Whew! Hot weather chased us into an air conditioned mall in Joonalup where
we had a bite of Thai food and an unsuccessful hunt for new school
shoes. (Gina had chosen a pair 5 weeks earlier that had already fallen apart.) onwards: grab groceries for a curried chicken meal and head to
We finally arrived by 4 pm and were delighted to find Phil and Chook, Gail and Greg and chilled champagne! Their huge sun deck and beautiful seaside home was more than we could have hoped for. A sumptuous mixed grill BBQ, evening walk and stunning sunset seemed to round off the day very nicely. As we were enjoying a stunning starry sky and yet another glass of wine, who should pull up our front but Diane and Jim! We had asked earlier if they'd like to join us, but they had plans for camping further north of Seabird. They had enjoyed the day, but had no luck finding any available campsites. With typical generosity, our new friends were given a warm welcome and joined us for the rest of the weekend. Seabird is one of two holiday homes that the Melvins rent, which sleep 12 and 14 people. We had room to spare, plenty of food and drink, a turquoise ocean rimmed with silky white sand not 300 meters away and perfect hot weather. Even Gina seemed to find it an entertaining weekend of rejuvenation and fine cameraderie. Kees spent his time visiting and working on building videos for online ads for Seabird, which thrilled our hosts. I enjoyed exercise by walking the roads and beaches. Jim loved taking off on a whim to go surf
fishing, impressing us with a few small filets of reef fish to take home. Kees, Phil and Gina joined me swimming in the refreshing ocean a few times. Four dogs were also fine company AND I got to cook up a fine big cauldron of chicken curry for dinner Sunday eve. It sure turned into a splendid weekend.
One just never knows what happy adventures might happen next!