Little Citizens of the World


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I’m obviously a little technically challenged…

Hmmmm, what’s happened to my photos?

I’m new to blogging and uploading and all that jazz but I’m pretty sure my photos were all there the last time I checked.  I apologize to anyone out there reading this blog and seeing plain white boxes where awesome photos used to be.

Or better yet, you may be seeing:  404 — File not found.

Fantastic!

I have left a message on the wordpress forum and hope to hear back soon on how to fix this new and interesting turn of events.  Until then, please feel free to use your imagination!


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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

So today is Thanksgiving day back in The States.  Actually, it’s still yesterday there but you get the idea.  Here, it’s just another day, which is kind of sad.  I know Thanksgiving has the whole pilgrims, Plimoth Rock, yay America as it’s basis but it’s one of those holidays that everyone should celebrate.  It’s the one holiday that doesn’t have any commercial hangups, unless you count the large amounts of food people buy.   It’s a day for getting together with your family, eating until you’re as stuffed as the turkey and watching either football or Christmas movies.  I choose the Christmas movies!

In our family, it’s also the day we always put up the Christmas tree!  I love that, the turkey in the oven making the windows fog up and smelling so yummy, all the boxes pulled down from the attic filled with sparkly goodness and the kids fighting over whose ornament is whose.  Then crying because one sister already put ‘her’ ornament onto the tree and even if you take it off, it doesn’t help because there are no do overs with Christmas decorations.  Ahhh, the holidays!

Well, I may have already mentioned this, (I don’t know and I’m not going back to check) that I don’t have an oven.  So today, it’s more or less like any other day.  We put the tree up two weeks ago because I was feeling sad and needed some holiday mood building.  It made the kids happy too.  They don’t care when they decorate the tree, as long as they know Santa’s coming soon.  It does look really nice though, and I like to sit with just the tree lights on at night while I watch tv.  I can pretend I’m in the northern hemisphere because it’s too dark out to see the palm trees and all the parrots have stopped squawking until at least 4am.

Today, we watched some cartoons on the couch before breakfast.  Then they played with plastic dinosaurs and playdoh while I looked up online stores so I can get some Christmas shopping done, as I won’t be able to do it with them with me like I did when they were little and oblivious to what was in the cart.  The good ole days!  They wanted almond butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, just like everyday, and I had my third cup of tea.  I was going to cut up the whole chicken I bought and put it in the saute pan but I got too down about it.  The kids just go with the flow but I’ve had years of tradition.  This is the first Thanksgiving, I haven’t been home.  Not that I want to be home, dear god no!  But it would have been nice, for our first Thanksgiving, as our own little family in a foreign country, to have a bloody OVEN!!!

So here I sit, at the computer, eating chocolate because chocolate heals all.  I offered to put on a new Christmas movie that I bought for the girls and they said no they wanted “this one!”,  Scooby Doo Zombie Island.  Excellent holiday choice girls, that ought to put everyone in the spirit.

Well, wherever you are in the world, Happy Thanksgiving!


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Booking A Return Already…?

I’ve only been here for 4 weeks and I’ve already had to begin the business of booking my return trip.  If I don’t do it now, there won’t be any rooms left so, unfortunately, I have to do it now.  I am putting down a deposit today on the 23 day passage from Sydney to Seattle.  Most of the stops are the same as the west bound crossing but there are some new ones.  There’s an additional tender stop in Fiji (tender is lifeboats to shore, no cruise terminal),  Apia, Samoa and instead of Hilo, we are stopping in Kauai.

I am also using a travel agent this time.  I hadn’t planned on it due to the bad experience I’d had with the original trip.  Besides, it was so easy to do it myself and I like to know exactly whats happening each step of the way.  Leaving something to someone else and not knowing if they’re doing anything is stressful.  So anyway, I stopped at an agency purely because I was having trouble booking my room on Amtrak online.  I couldn’t call them from here without paying huge international rates on my cell phone so I figured I’d have the agency do it.  I could always change my mind.  I gave them all the information, since I’d already done it all online, and left it to them.  The agent was very nice and got back to me the same day with a total!  And…it was les than I had priced it out for.  So using an agent can definitely save you money, even if you know exactly what you want.  They have discounts available to them that self bookers wouldn’t have access to.

There are also a few things I learned on the first trip that I want to make sure I implement this time around.

First and foremost, make sure the room has a bunk!  On the way across, you may remember, I slept on the fold out couch while the kids slept on the two twin beds. This lasted two weeks at which point my back was killing me!  I spent the final week taking turns sharing with the girls in their tiny little beds.  On our short trip from Sydney to Brisbane, we had a room with a third bunk that came down from the ceiling, it was perfect!  I got one bed and the girls each had their own.   I made sure this was the first thing I requested from the travel agent.

Second, make sure there’s a kids club.  It was just a stroke of luck that we took Holland America and they had a fantastic kids area called Club HAL.  The kids spent everyday up there, playing computer games, doing crafts, beading, you name it.  I really loved how clean and organized everything was.  There was a daily program of activities and the girls running it were amazing.  If you’re thinking of cruising with kids, make sure there’s a program like this.

Third, you don’t have to cover every possible area on a port day.  Find something you’d like to do and go do it.  Enjoy it and don’t think about all of the other things you’re missing out on.  You simply can’t visit every historical building, every souvenir shop, every beach at every port.

Because we are returning to Seattle instead of LA, we will be on a different route back to Boston.  This is very exciting for me, I’m sure it will be extremely dull to the kids.  I’m not sure of the stops yet but that’s for a later time anyway.

Instead, I want to enjoy the time I am spending here in gorgeous Australia.  Can you believe it?!  I’m in Australia!  How many people get to say that?  Well, 22.6 million Australians do I guess, but visiting Australia is pretty much on every bucket list of every person on the planet (except for Australians) so I’d better make the most of it.

I am desperate to see Uluru, but I think it may be a little too expensive for my budget.  I know, I’m so close, but I have to think about the kids.  If it were just myself, I could wing it on an overnight train.  I don’t need three meals a day plus snacks, I don’t require room to run around every few hours to expel energy.  Travelling with children requires a lot more planning and money.  We’ll see how it pans out but for now, I can dream…


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K’gari

The Buchulla aborigines tell the story of a spirit, Yindingi, and his helper, K’gari, who’s job it was to make the land and sea.  After working for a while, Yindingi suggested K’gari lay down and rest.  When she awoke, she saw the landscape that Yindingi had created and she begged to be allowed to stay forever.  Yindingi agreed, but K’gari could not remain a spirit.  She was turned into an island.  Yindingi covered her with flowers, forests, rivers, animals and people so K’gari would never be lonely.  K’gari is the aboriginal name for Fraser Island in Queensland.  It is a word that has come to mean paradise.


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Home Sweat Home

Hot!!  It is hot here!

So here we are, living in Queensland and so far it’s been….well, an adjustment.  I don’t know why I thought we’d just jump into it and be fine.  It is really, really nice here it’s just the weather.  Getting use to summer in November is not as easy as it sounds. Especially if you’re someone who loves autumn.  It’s my favorite time of year!  I don’t like being cold, I don’t like having to go out in freezing rain, I don’t like all the mud, but for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s supposed to be cold!  You can keep the February freeze and the March mud, but I want to crunch in the leaves while trick or treating, I want my windows to fog up while the turkey is cooking, I want Santa to not get overheated in his big red suit!

Ok, enough complaning.  Who comes to Australia and complains?  I knew it would be a summertime Chrismas going into this thing so I just have to suck it up.  Come on, breathe!

Everyone is incredibly nice, we’ve even been invited to Christmas by the check out lady at the local Kmart!  Not a bad deal!  Really though, people are very kind and I know once we get more comfortable in our surroundings, things are going to be great!


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G’day Sydney!

Sydney Opera House

We arrived in Sydney bright and early this morning.  And by bright and early, I mean 6am!  I had visions of myself standing out on the deck taking in the sights as we glided quietly into Sydney Harbour.  It was not to be.  Instead, I peeked out our stateroom window as we came along side Harbour Bridge to dock at Circular Quay (pronounced key).  The kids slept until after 7 and we had ordered breakfast in our rooms the previous night so at 7:30am it arrived and we had a leisurely breakfast in our rooms.  No rushing to find an open seat in the dinning room or having to get up 5 and 6 times because I forgot something.  It was perfect.  Besides, what could I have taken pictures of in the dark anyway!

We spent a lovely morning in Sydney, walking around the Quay to the Opera House for the token tourist photo.  Then into town just a little to some of the shops.

Not a great shot but there they are together!

It was sad getting back on board for the trip up to Brisbane as all of our friends had disembarked in Sydney to continue their travels elsewhere.  We were staying onboard for two more days to Brisbane, which was actually part of a larger cruise that circumnavigated Australia.  Now that would have been neat.  But we had a house to get to and needed to get settled after such a long voyage.

If only we had left just five minutes later, we would have had the most beautiful sunset over the bridge and opera house.

Sunset over Sydney

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