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We hope you enjoy our first attempts at blogging! This is to prevent you from receiving long boring messages that arrive on your screen when you're not ready to sit back, relax and read about our life. This way, you can come into our blog on your time, when you want and check up on us.

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Gail and Rick

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Goodbye from Kadina

On December 26th we depart for Canada from Sydney. Our one year adventure of working and vacationing in Australia will have come to an end. We left Kadina on December 11th and plan on spending our last few days in Perth and Bali before heading home. So this will be our last blog entry. We hope you have enjoyed reading about our experiences while living in Australia and have learned something about this most beautiful country.

We left Kadina with mixed emotions. On the one hand we are anxious to get home to see family and friends. For example, we haven’t seen our daughter Fran’s engagement ring; let alone Fran! On the other hand, Kadina has been our home for one year and we have left new life-long friends who we know we will see again sometime in the future. If our paths do not cross in Canada, they will cross again in Australia; or perhaps at another destination equal distance between the two.

It is hard to express in words what this year has meant to us. Consequently, we elected to put together a collection of miscellaneous photos to help capture this most incredible year. Remember a picture is worth a thousand words.

Skippy, Rick and Gail sharing a moment. Of course no trip to Australia is complete without seeing a Kangaroo.

A year of wine, wine, and more wine. Before we came to South Australia, our understanding of wine was that there are “Reds” and “Whites”. Never before had we bought wine by the case! Now we know a little more about the subject and won’t hesitate to purchase the occasional bottle.

We experienced our warmest day at the Cricket match. Temperatures reached 44oC. Within a three month period, between living in Canada and Australia, we had experienced temperatures from minus 40 to plus 40. For those Australians reading this blog is minus 40 cold enough for you? Your freezer is outside. For those Canadians, is plus 40 hot enough? You can fry an egg on the hood of your car.

One day a week Rick worked with Leon and Doug at Desi’s, the local butcher shop. In Kadina, no one was familiar with Kolbassa, so Gail contacted Stawnitchy’s in Mundare to get the scoop on making this Alberta famous meat. Stawnitchy’s would not provide their secret recipe, but they did provide the process. After a couple of trials, Desi came up with “Ricky Boy’s Furster Wurster”. The sausage is a hit, is gaining in popularity and is now a regular on the shelf. The Three Amigos below look happy as the recipe for the Furster Wurster has been finalized.

We enjoyed many outdoor get togethers. For example, we had the “Burger OFF” at Jane and Andrew’s place for Andrew’s birthday. The South African burger vs. the Australian Burger vs. the Canadian Burger. What better way to compare international cuisine! After considerable schmoozing with the birthday boy AKA Judge…it was no contest. We had him at Hello! Then again who would want to eat an Aussie burger complete with a soft egg and a slice of beet and pineapple? The South African burger was meat, meat and more meat. Sooooo plain! So when the Judge bit into tomato, lettuce, cheese, mustard all on a sesame seed bun….it was no contest.

Every Thursday was “Movie Night” at Leon’s. We had rules – the movie had to be either made in Australia, have Australian actors (Mel Gibson still counts!) or be directed/written/produced by an Australian. We are not movie goers so movie night was a real change for us. We learned a lot of Australian colloquialisms, and a lot about the country’s culture. Leon – those nights are going “Straight to the Pool Room”. We enjoyed movie night so much that we look forward to keeping up the new practice when we return to Canada…..Are you reading this Bill?

Doug and Dawn took us in as part of their family. Attending their granddaugther’s baptism was a special moment and we were thrilled to be invited. Gail was so pathetic and wept through the whole thing.

In late November – December the purple flowers on the Jackeranda tree blossom and are spectacular. We will miss the Australian flora as it is all so uniquely different and often so stunningly beautiful.

We first met Jill and her son Micheal while they were on exchange in Edmonton in 2003. Jill became our exchange buddy and took us under her wing to show us the ropes. She recognized that when people first arrive in a new country they can easily become lost, overwhelmed and confused over simple things like grocery shopping, and coping with day to day living. Jill and others like Leon helped to explainto us many of Australia’s customs and traditions.

This picture depicts the number of teachers on exchange in South Australia in 2010. They came from Canada, Great Britain, United States, New Caledonia, Germany, and France. There will be almost the same number of participants for the 2011 school term. In 2010 South Australia celebrated its 90th year of exchange while Alberta celebrated its 30th. It was cool to be part of that!

Here’s the usual Aussie barbecue and fare of snags and chooks (sausages and chicken) for a large outdoor event like the teacher’s opening school picnic.

Galahs are a type of parrot. We learned to love listening to their cheerful squawk as we felt it to be uniquely Australian. They fly in such unusual and unpredictable patterns that the Australians have an expression about people’s behaviour being like a “silly galah”.

Uluru was spectacular at sunrise. It was truly a moving moment to be at this iconic spot during day break. We also enjoyed our evening cuisine experience titled “Dinner Under the Stars”. It was an open air dining experience we will never forget. Our table was full of guests from around the world. What a night of conversation!

The War Memorial has been described by some Australians as being the “Soul of Australia”. We found it to be an interesting description and wondered what we would consider to be the soul of Canada?

Meet our good friends Jan and Hanlie. They are either wincing from their sore butts or they are genuinely happy to be bike riding the Clare Wine Valley. See the dormant grape vines in the background? It was stunning countryside. Along with Doug and Dawn, we rented 3 beautiful one bedroom cottages and ate and drank the night away before we realized how sore our bum bones really got!

Fiji; a tropical paradise. If you ever go, go on an all inclusive.

It’s not unusual to have miles of empty coastline. Australia is famous for its beautiful soft beaches.

No, there is nothing wrong with this beach. This is our 6’5” friend Jan looking very tiny on this gorgeous EMPTY beach. It was a heavenly day to have the whole beach to ourselves as we exfoliated our feet walking the dunes and beach.

Randy fishing. We love the bit where his shoes sit waiting for him on shore.

We loved the casual way we paid for our green fees at local golf courses. The course located in the background was well worth the whole fee.

In Australia drinking in a vehicle is permitted, even for the driver. The only proviso is that the driver must be under 0.05. Cousin Randy is taking advantage of this legal activity so that he can show his friends back home in Vancouver.

Remarkable Rocks on Kangaroo Island. This was the beginning of Gail’s year as a professional poser. Are you tired of seeing her yet?

Malaysia - Our friends Gay and Greig were just in front of us in the elephant train. They have pictures of us on their camera and we hope we get them soon.

Petronas Tower in Kuala Lampur. We took this shot from inside a bar on the 32nd floor of our hotel. This is a world iconic building and we were thrilled that the photo of this majestic building turned out so well.

Our Ozzie friends couldn’t get over the amount of water in Cooper’s Creek. We just had to take the free punt AKA ferry to share in their excitement. The last time this punt was operational was 1974 when the creek last had water in it!

The Australians are famous for this 5000+ km dingo proof fence. Our Ozzie friends couldn’t believe we wanted our photo with this barren background. As you can see, there are no dingos in the background. The fence is obviously working.

The Outback is really out there! As per this sign, there’s nothing else out there other than it is stunningly beautiful!

Doug and Dawn have become such dear friends and we have had many adventures with them. They’ve already purchased their flight to Edmonton for July 2011. We can’t wait to have more adventures with them but this time it will be on our soil. Here we are at another wine tasting session and we’re barking at Rick to let us get to stop with the photo shoot and get on with the business of sampling wine.

We had fun doing our walking tour of each city we visited. There were no agendas, no hopes; just walking around checking out sites and stopping for coffee to watch the city go by. Gail is in her posing position.

This is it - The Melbourne Cricket Club! This is Australia’s answer to the Maple Leaf Gardens of Canadian Hockey. It is the mecca for Australian Rules Football; 67000 rabid fans cheering for their team. It was very cool; even if we paid $9.00 per beer.

Who knew the Great Barrier Reef was an hour’s boat ride away? It was truly magnificent!

Sheep and Australia are synonymous. Sheep aren’t white! They take on the color of their environment from the dust getting into their absorbent wool. We came to Australia with a preconceived idea that there would be a huge lamb skin leather industry and were so what surprised to discover that there isn’t one. The hides are shipped to Asia for treatment.

What a fitting photo to say “Farewell” Leon said we are not to say Good Bye – only Farewell as we will meet our Aussie friends again soon, either in Canada or back in the land down under.


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