Location: Canberra, Australia
Timeline: Week 2 in Australia
We are finally getting into the swing of things now that we have been here for a bit. After sending the last email we visited the Canberra Botanical Gardens. They were lovely except that large lizards kept darting across our path and surprising us. Also there were signs to watch out for brown snakes, which appear during the warmer months and are quite venomous. Good thing we both wore sandals. The birds out here are beautiful. They have these large grey and pink parrot-looking birds (called Galahs) that fly around as common as pigeons.
We have decided to be brave and attempt to cook in our kitchen again. The Australian grocery store has some notable differences to our stores in the USA. For one thing, all of the food that we’ve found is grown in Australia. Pretty much every product is actually from Australia. I guess it is so isolated geographically that it probably isn’t very feasible to ship in lots of foods, thus everything is grown locally. The eggs we purchased had a feather in the carton! Also, there is a section of kangaroo meat! The kangaroo sausages are called “Kanga Bangas”. Chris keeps trying to talk me into buying some. He can eat it if he wants, but for me, kangaroos are way too cute to eat. Luckily chickens are ugly….and delicious.
Monday was my first day at my YMCA class called Mum Fit. It’s basically an exercise class where moms…excuse me….mums can bring their babies and get a little fitness for the day. Lizzy struggled in the new environment and I ended up doing sit-ups while holding her to keep her from crying, but I met some great mums.
I returned to the YMCA on Tuesday for a class called Baby Play. It is for babies aged 6 months – 1 year so it is perfect for Lizzy. Ten babies and their mums spent the hour climbing on all sorts of play equipment and having a good time. Lizzy really enjoyed it and even crawled headfirst into the ball pit 3 times! She loved it! Oh yes, she is officially a crawler!
On Wednesday Chris was able to come home from work a little early due to rain. When he arrived I was already taking Lizzy to the Old Parliament House so we all went! Now I know you’re thinking that children just love visiting places like Parliament Houses, but wait, it gets better! This Parliament House had an entire indoor play area for children. There were three educational rooms full of toys. Lizzy didn’t exactly get the educational part, but she enjoyed the different rooms and toys. Australians seem very eager to incorporate their children into all aspects of life. We often see babies in high chairs at fancy restaurants with cloth tablecloths and wine glasses. Anyway, we let her play and we were able to explore a little bit ourselves. Here we learned that it is compulsory for all Australian citizens to vote. Failure to vote results in a fine!
Being a glutton for punishment I went on TWO bushwalks on Thursday. A “bushwalk” just means a hike. First I walked with the ladies from the Ainslie Church of Christ and again I say, these ladies can walk! I ditched the stroller and wore Lizzy in a carrier, so they felt that this time we didn’t need to “take it easy.” They dragged me up and down muddy hills using phrases like, “We’re almost done!” and then we continued to walk for another half hour. Later in the day I went on a walk specifically for mothers with strollers. I thought that criteria would mean that this would be a simpler walk, but I was mistaken. I’ve pushed our stroller though so much gravel I will probably have to buy a new one when I get home. Despite the exhaustion, these walks are a lot of fun. The stroller group also does a walk specifically for toddlers called Toddlers Toddlin’. The hike leader said, “We can guarantee that all of the toddlers will be put down to walk together, but we can’t guarantee that they will all go in the same direction.”
Also this week we came to the conclusion that Australian crosswalks are just a suggestion. This is great when you are a pedestrian, but not so great when you are a motorist; particularly a motorist that is never confident they are on the right side of the road. Even as pedestrians, Chris and I can never remember which direction the cars will be coming from so we stand on the street corner and look back and forth over and over like nervous squirrels before we dart across the road with our arms flailing in the air.
Friday I took Lizzy to Giggle and Wiggle at the library again, only this time, I got lost on the way. I tried turning on our sketchy GPS, but I spent the entire time yelling at it, “I don’t know how far a kilometer is! How long is 500 meters?!” We eventually made it. We learned a variation of the classic song “Row, row, row your boat.” It goes like this: “Row, row row your boat, gently down the stream. If you see a crocodile, don’t forget to scream! Ahhhh!” I like that version. For dinner we went out with Chris’ Australian coworkers. One of his coworkers has a 3 year-old daughter, Bebe, who just loves Lizzy. Her mother was constantly pulling Bebe away from Lizzy with Bebe saying, “I’m just cuddling her Mummy.” At one point in the evening I needed to nurse Lizzy so I put on my nursing cover. Bebe hung around and was very concerned that she couldn’t see Lizzy. She didn’t understand how Lizzy was eating (probably because they don’t use the term “nurse” like we do). I finally said, “I’m breastfeeding her.” Bebe got this sly grin on her face and said, “You mean hers eating from her boobies?” And I said, “Well, from my boobies.” Then Bebe lifted up the cover so she could see.
This morning (Saturday) we were finally able to visit the Canberra Zoo. It wasn’t a huge zoo, but it had a lot of fun animals to see. Among other things we saw Tasmanian devils, a koala, a wombat, and tons of monkeys. We were also able to pet kangaroos, wallabies, and emus! Even Lizzy got to pet a wallaby and was so excited. We purchased annual passes so we can go back many times.
We miss you all! Hope everyone is having adventures in the USA!