"Where are you from?"
This was a daily if not hourly question posed to us for 25 years in the USA. It was not what we expected to hear when we returned to Australia. I guess we did pick up an American twang after all.
It is good to be back on Australia soil. The connection with your place of birth is strong for anyone no matter what nationality. For me, being by the ocean is replenishing my soul. For Mike it is the connection to the Australian bush.
One of the most striking elements upon returning has been how down to earth Australians really are. People have always described Australians in such a manor and we have really experienced that since our return. People have different roles, like anywhere, but they are still themselves within that role. The people we have encountered don't feel like they have to change their persona to fit the role they are fulfilling. They are just themselves. This is really refreshing.
The birdlife is one of the other highlights. The variety is amazing, but the amount of birds present is really incredible. As soon as the sun rises the chorus of birds begins. Cockatoos, galas, magpies and kookaburras to name just a few. "Sleeping in" is not an option as far as the birdlife is concerned.
And then there are the beaches!! I have referred to myself in the past as a beach snob. It has been reinforced why, since we have been back in Australia. The beaches have to be amongst the best in the world. They are pristine, with very few people, and in most parts there is bushland leading up to the coast. You cannot own coastline, it is all for public use.
Seeing Keira and Maddie playing on the beach and having so much fun has made us feel that at this stage, we have made the right decision. Keira loves the Ocean. Maddie has dug so many holes on the beach that she could have dug to China.
VICTORIA and FAMILY
The first few weeks we spent in Clifton Springs in Victoria with our family. As many of you know, we had not told them of our return. Surprising them was a lot of fun and they were surprised and very happy to have us back after so many years.
Keira was spoiled by her grandparents, Aunt, Uncle and cousin Lexie, and of course loved every minute of it. Maddie was beside herself with joy when we picked her up from Quarantine. She took a few weeks to settle down and needed a lot of reassurance that we were not going to leave her again. She is back to her happy self, wagging her tail and seeking out belly rubs.
I spent time recovering from my back problem, hindered by a cold and sneezing putting my back out again every time I did. Mike worked hard buying us a vehicle and getting it equipped for camping. "Wandajerri" (meaning wombat in an aboriginal language) or "Wanda" for short, is the name given to the car by the former owners. Wanda will never be Priscilla but we hope she will be the source of many more adventures.
THE JOURNEY NORTH
We took 4 days to travel from Victoria to Queensland, traveling 5-6 hours per day with many rest stops for back stretches and dog walks. We really enjoyed the trip (even with the pain I was experiencing). It was nice to be on the road and traveling as a family once more. We had intended to stay in campgrounds along the way, but our wild camping bug drew us to river and bush settings. It was so nice to be out in open spaces and to be surrounded by Australia fauna and flora. Camping in a roof top tent again, felt like home.
It was wonderful to be able to share things we love about Australia with Keira. She got to see kangaroos, emu's with babies, hundreds of cockatoos, galas and rosellas. And also large fruit bats!! She was very excited.
QUEENSLAND- OUR NEW HOME STATE
The Gold Coast in Queensland is a well known tourist destination. It is also home for many Aussies who relish the beach at their door step whilst still having all the commodities of a city.
We are currently staying with our Aussie adopted family, the Robinsons. Mike and I met Cleve and Kristi in when we were all living in Louisville Kentucky. We have been close friends and family to each other ever since. Cleve was the best man at our wedding many years ago.
It has been wonderful to rekindle our friendship and to get to know their 3 kiddos, Kaden, Rhys and Ava. Keira is loving having kid time. Ava and Keira are fast becoming good friends.
My brother Dale, his wife Marion and their two kids Jack and Charlotte also live on the Gold Coast. It has been wonderful to spend time with them also. We look forward to having many adventures together.
So our days have been spent organizing some essentials, and taking some much needed rest. Mike has already began working for his employers and clients in the USA. Walks along the beach, swimming in the pool or the ocean are becoming a part of our daily lives. No complaints here!!
We visited Rainbow Beach for a couple of days. It is about 4 hours drive further North. It was a bit of a shock driving into the town especially after the fast pace of the Gold Coast. It is very isolated and very quiet.
It was great visiting Keira's school. The Rainbow Beach State School has an enrollment of just 85 kids for the upcoming year!! The setting is great. Everyone n the community speaks so highly of the school and the kids that go there.
The region swells after Christmas with an influx of tourists. So it will be a bit of a contrast when we return there to live on January 6th.
So, so far so good. Everything is slowly falling into place.
Seeing Keira and Maddie playing on the beach makes all the craziness of moving all worthwhile.
CHRISTMAS AUSSIE STYLE:
Merry Christmas to everyone!! We will be having a warm weather Christmas this year!!
Below are a few pics from our Xmas morning, which we spent at the beach.
Just a place to keep our mates informed on where we are at, and what we are up to.