Summer Days

Summer (and winter, spring and fall) are indescribably beautiful down here. 

It’s just nice ALL the time. And when we do get the very occasional rain or cloudy day, it’s such a novelty, that that’s nice too. 

It’s stereotypical resort weather. We’ve had a few scorchers, temperatures well into the 100 teens, and some of those temperatures have lasted for a few days in a row. 

We’ve kind of forgotten what it’s like to feel cold. 85 or 90 is just a comfortable, every day temperature anymore, perhaps even a touch cool.

Ok, we’ll shut up now.

Anyway, we’ve been enjoying a lot of water activities of late. The girls, now certified in scuba, went diving recently at the Abrohlos Islands, offshore from here by about 40km, and had a great day. 

   
    
 
I think they sort of got over their fear of the shark that day, when they saw many plain old regular eating fish,almost their size. There’s a lot of large life in the Indian Ocean. 

And it’s also incredibly beautiful.

  
Scott’s uncle Danny is also visiting currently and has enjoyed the water the last couple of days. Today we went out on the replica longboat. It was a boat like this that took crew from the shipwreck of the Batavia all the way up to Jakarta in Indonesia, for help. They had 40 some people on this little boat. However, as someone said today, they would have happily been pulled behind the longboat with a rope than endure the horror that took place on the islands they left behind. See our earlier blog on the Abrohlos for the details.

But today’s boat trip was relaxing and enjoyable and a couple of Bostons became dab hands at being shipmates.

   
    
    
  
    
      
   

Here’s Danny just sitting back after tying up the mainsail. 

 
And here’s Will, working the rudder.

And some days we just have great days on the beach. Mostly afternoon or weekends now that school is in session. 

   
     

   
 
Addie’s wearing zinc cream on her nose. When I was a kid, you could only get it in white, now it’s available in all colors. It’s just a sun block, and an Australian icon.

The little clam type creatures in the following video can be found just under the sand on some local beaches. If you dig them up, they stick a little foot out and dig right back down again.

Excuse the sibling rivalry:

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Surf Groms

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surfing

A grommet (grom) is a young participant in extreme sports. Originally, a grommet was a surfer under the age of 16. In recent years, this has expanded to include other extreme sports, most notably skateboarding and snowboarding.
Tim Winton, Australian author, in his children’s story Lockie Leonard, Legend, stated:

“Things are never as simple as they seem, not even for grommets”.
We were only familiar with the word for its description of a metal reinforcement. And thankfully, we didn’t have to use the word in the little-kid-ear-tube connotation (yay, breastfeeding!).

But now we know this particular use of the word in it’s most fun and sunny sense. 

Will joined Surf Groms recently and they meet on Back Beach (the surfers beach) every Saturday morning. Keith and Kelly are the coaches and in the nicest possible way, are about as stereotypical surfer dudes and dudettes as you can imagine, right down to the huge hoop and holler they give every kid when they ride one in. They start off with a safety lesson, teaching the kids wind direction,  rip, tide, wave height, scary critters and sun savvy behavior.

Back Beach, around the corner from the lighthouse, has a God-given perfect collection of waves of all heights, and so they all head out after a few practices on land, jumping from the cobra position up onto the board. Keith and Kelly go back and forth through the waves, watching and helping each kid. In a group of 10 kids, they’ve all stood up. And it’s only the second week!

Will loves it. At this age, they don’t all have much core strength to go straight from flat belly on the board, to standing, in one jump and this is the goal right now.

Planks, planks, planks! 

They tried the back-hand turn this week. No idea what this does yet, but I’m sure the story will unfold. 

Hang ten, friends.

   
   

 

 
Love this one….

   
 One of the Groms, Benji, brings his little dog Marvin, each week. Marvin loves to watch Benji ride in. Benji is a mini-legend in his own right. 

 Marvin and Scott, vying over Marvins special stick…  

Take It With You

The kids started school here in Australia today. The new school year begins in February, which seasonally of course, is the same as our August. 

We’ve finished our homeschooling for the year, and we hope they are ready to return in the American fall, prepared for their next year. It’s gone well, we’ve loved teaching them and have enjoyed the flexibility that homeschool offers but we also want them to experience Australian school.

I attended school in Adelaide, Australia, for six years as a kid, 4th through 10th grade. I have endless happy memories of a way of being taught that always felt like it was part of the big outdoors. PE classes were often at the beach, and there were frequent school camps that were focused on science and history. We would go away for a week, to dorms or cabins, located in various wild places, and mess around collecting starfish or seaweed, or learning about Ned Kelly.

So Will is heading into 6th grade in Australia, Frankie into 8th and Addie into 10th, or sophomore year. 6 months ahead of schedule, but it’ll all come out in the wash, we’re sure. 

We hope they’ve learned enough about Australia these last six months to settle in and make good friends, maybe some will last forever! 

Here’s some fun things we’ve all learned that they will take with them to school:

1) Australians are not impressed with one-upmanship. If you absolutely have to prove you are right, you must always follow it with some extremely self-deprecating remark. You will be teased mercilessly if you don’t do this! 

 This humility is the whole basis of mate-ism. You’re my friend because you believe we are equals. So, be a mate. Admit your faults willingly. Aussies are great at this and it makes them easy to be around. 

2) Things ARE different. And that’s perfectly ok. You’ve done just fine not having ice in your drinks the last 6 months. For the cold beverages, it’s probably just overkill anyway. And let’s face it, it might be actually be a little weird that bread stays fresh out of the fridge for as long as it does back home….

There will be yet more differences at school – enjoy them!

And if you want to argue about it, look at no. 1) again.

3) There will be LOADS of sport and outdoor activity. You will always sweat whilst doing this, especially when it’s 115F in February.  This is an incredibly active part of the world. Enjoy it just like you’ve been doing. When else are you going to surf during PE?!

4)  Teachers are teachers everywhere (even when they are mom). They have your best interests at heart. Respect this and them. 

5) Remember in PE: you can’t throw the Aussie Rules football in the same way as the American football. It just doesn’t work. Handball it.

6) Mrs. Obama is nowhere to be seen and therefore there won’t be any jicama, beets or quinoa in the school canteen! Phew! It’s yummy meat pies and sausage rolls. It’ll get more than burned off by the extra activity previously mentioned. You might still be able to get jammy donuts at school too 😀.

7) Don’t be a whinging Pom, American or any other nationality. Complainers aren’t appreciated anywhere. 

8) Your church family is cheering you on the whole way today. You’re going to be just fine. God’s got you covered. Look for Him when you feel lost.

9) Uniforms are great! Elementary kids apparently sunburn their heads easier…

  
 10) Yes, you can ride your bike to the beach on the way home after school. We will meet you there.

Go get ’em, little mates.