Little Citizens of the World


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Third time’s the charm, right?

We are headed back to Ireland in April!  Our plan has always been to stay long term, but little glitches here and there have kept us from realizing our dream.  This time, however, I am hopeful that with a little extra paper work and several international phone calls we will be successful in our wild pursuit of Irish living.

We will be cruising, as always, but on a new line this time.  This time, we will be taking a Princess cruise.  As you may have read in my past posts, we absolutely LOVE Holland America Line, but they don’t get us close enough to the British Isles.  We have taken Queen Mary in the past and experienced the worst cruising possible, as you may also have read.  So although they are the most convenient to us, it’s not going to happen.

I am really excited to see what Princess cruising is like, but also apprehensive, as  I like to know what to expect ahead of time.  (Seriously, I Google Street Map my way through a new area before I go there, so I feel more familiar with it when I get there!)   I think I’m just a little wary due to our problems with Queen Mary II.

We’ll be staying in Cork City, our favourite place in the world, and we’re already planning all the places we’ll be visiting as soon as we get there.  The kids want to go to Fitzgerald Park and the city library, I can’t wait to go to the The Natural Foods Bakery (oh my gosh, their spelt hummous sandwiches!!) and Waterstones bookstore. And of course, we are desperate to see all of our friends again!

The previous two times we’ve been to Ireland, we’ve arrived in late summer/early autumn, and been back in the States by Christmas.  This time we get to spend spring and summer there!  I’m really looking forward to being there in different seasons, although the temperature in spring and summer is not much different than that of autumn!!

So we are planning and planning, I know it’s still 8 months away, but we have so much to do to get our house ready for rental season next summer.  Because we just bought our house, there are a lot of things we have to do immediately, rather than as needed, like we would do if we were staying in our home long term.  We’ve had to spend quite a bit at the garden center, so the yard will look nice come next spring.  I also have to consider having irrigation put in.  That’s not an expense I was anticipating.  Right now, we are going through a heat wave and everything is so dry.  Most of my neighbours have given up on watering their yards, which are now as brown and crunchy as overdone chocolate chip cookies.  Because I’ve got new plantings, I have to water everyday, early in the morning and after the sun goes down.  My sprinkler is on close to 8 hours a day.  I don’t want to know what my water bill is going to look like.

We have the last of our furniture being delivered early next week and, hopefully, that will be the end of big purchases for a while.  I’m hoping to spend most of September and October going through boxes in the basement, many of them have been packed up since before our Australia trip in 2012!

So that’s what’s happening in our lives right now, it’s all go as usual!

If any of you have taken a Princess cruise, I’d love to hear about it.  Leave a comment, or a link to your blog post!  In the meantime, enjoy some photos from the garden today!

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The Butterfly Weed for the Monarchs is forming tall seed pods.

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Bees are incredibly difficult to photograph, they’re all over the place.  Busy bees indeed!

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I love my wild roses

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One of three resident bunnies that have been feasting on our new plantings.

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The Holly berries are starting to turn!!!

 

 

 

 

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Leaving Home for Home

Leaving the Vineyard is always a bit sad.  The girls miss it so much, and even though we are just across the sound on the Cape, it’s a world away.  We had a great time at the fair, but it’s time to head back to our house, and continue to unpack and sift though all the boxes I have yet to open.  It’s strange to now live on the Cape instead of the island, but we’re making it work, and enjoying our new neighbourhood.

We took the freight boat back, and watched the Vineyard slowly drift away.

Until next time…

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House buying

So, as soon as I wrote the title, I thought I’d better change it to ‘Home buying’, because it not only sounds better, it’s what people actually say.  It sounds more natural, more personal.  I left it the way I wrote it originally because, for me, this is just a means to an end and, subconsciously, I don’t think I’m feeling the attachment.  Don’t get me wrong, I am VERY happy to be buying a house for my family, and feel truly grateful to be able to do that, but my greatest desire is to get back to Ireland as soon as financially possible.

We have had most of our life in storage since 2012, when we went to Australia, and it will be wonderful to see all of those goodies again.  I’m sure most of it will go to donations as there will be tons of clothes that are years too small and toys that will also be long outgrown.  But it will be lovely to see our things again.  I’m not a minimalist by any stretch of the imagination.  I want, as Maureen O’Hara says in the film The Quiet Man, “my own things about me”.  I can’t wait to get all of those boxes out of storage and go through them, finding places to put them, it will be fantastic.

However, the house we are putting an offer in, is small at 1300 sqft.  That may not be small to some, but it is for someone who has, about 11,000 sqft of stuff!  I can’t wait to get settled and just take a huge deep breath.  It won’t last long though, I want to get it ready to be rented out by summer of 2017, so we can get back to Ireland.  Why did I buy a house on Cape Cod just to leave it for Ireland?  Because although my heart belongs to Ireland, my family live on Martha’s Vineyard, and this will give us the security of knowing there will always be a place for us close to home, if we need it.

 

 

 


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The Big Wet Indeed!

So apparently the flooding that caused a great deal of damage to coastal Queensland and on in to New South Wales these last few days has been named “The Big Wet”.  It began as Tropical Cyclone Oswald but fell apart in far north Queensland before joining up with a monsoon low and making its way down the coastline.  Apparently, it did become a category 1 cyclone again but was never named as such and no one seems to know why, or care for that matter.  I care!  That was my first cyclone!  It was simply called “ex cyclone Oswald”  which sounds a bit inadequate to me in light of all the damage it did.

Picture by ABC News

Picture by ABC News

It began on Australia Day (Jan. 26) so all outdoor events were cancelled.  We went to the zoo and got soaked, but it was fun!  We love the zoo!  Here we are by the croc enclosure.  We’re actually on a walkway, it’s under all that rain somewhere.  The kids were a little nervous about walking through the water as it was all muddy and they couldn’t see their feet.  They weren’t completely sure I was telling the truth that there were no crocs in the puddle.  As it turned out, I was right and we continued on down the path.  (The zoo did close the following day due to the storm)

Happy Australia Day!

Happy Australia Day!

The next day we drove down into Brisbane…in more rain.  My brother had come out for a week and we thought we’d spend a couple of days in Brisbane before he went back.  It rained all day.  The wind howled all night, although I think that’s because we were up 11 floors and it was whistling around the buildings.

We spent the first rainy day at the Queensland Museum which was amazing.  The kids loved the dinosaur skeletons but not as much as I thought they would.  Sky and Sparrow LOVE dinosaurs, like love them and want to BE them kind of love.  I was ready with the ipad on video as we walked towards the giant skeleton of Muttaburrasaurus, ready for their squeals of delight.  Instead I got, “mommy, is that a cafe over there?” (you had to crane your head around the skeleton to see the cafe doors).  So not the reaction I was looking for but what can you do.  They did, of course, love the giant skulls and even let me take their picture in front of some of the displays (with coaxing).  Their favourite thing by far was the Explore-a-saurus room with several animatronic dinosaurs moving around inside their displays.  My favourite picture was when I had them stand with their backs to a T-Rex (which they were not keen to do) so I could get a nice picture.  Just as I took the photo he roared.  LOUD.  They both spun around terrified!  It was funny!  Ok, not funny (but a little funny).

There were so many great, touchable things for the kids to do it was really amazing.  There was a sand pit where they could dig for fossils like real paleontologists, orange reflector vests and everything!  There was an assortment of pvc tubing and a lever that blew air through it.  When the kids put the tubing together a certain way, they could hear what some dinosaurs sounded like.  They could also experiment making their own dinosaur noises.  They learned how much pressure it would take to open the jaws of a T-Rex (more than any of us can muster!)  They learned how the temperature of the sand decides whether or not sea turtle eggs are male or female.

Digging for fossils

Digging for fossils

In the same building is the Science Center.  I think I had just as much fun there as they did!  There was a giant table and chairs that simulated for adults what the world looks like to a 3-year-old child.  A bit scary actually!!  There were spinning chairs to learn about force (gross!).  There were pulleys and tornado machines, levitating magnetic plates and those crazy lightning globes that you touch and it draws the light to your hand.  Plasma globes!  That’s what they’re called, thank you Google.  So it was a great day of playing and learning for all, woohoo!

Plasma Globe

Plasma Globe

The next day we went to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.  It had been closed the previous day due to the high winds and when we arrived you could see all the downed trees that had been cleared off the road.  There were tonnes of leaves and branches all around but the crew were all over the place with rakes and wheelbarrows cleaning up.  We saw lots of koalas, kangaroos and all the usual suspects but one neat thing was the field you wandered around in, with the kangaroos, also had emus!  So we were in the field petting kangaroos and minding our business and this huge emu comes over to check us out!  Looking for food, I assume, since you can buy kangaroo food in the shops.  It was really beautiful and so exciting to see one so close up.  However, it is a bit intimidating as they pretty much are eye to eye with you!

Emu

Emu

The kids and I each got our picture taken holding a koala and it was amazing!  They are the sweetest little things you could ever imagine.  They really are as cuddly as they look.  The kids sat on a chair so they wouldn’t have to hold the whole weight of the koala and it was adorable.   I wish I could put up their pictures but I’m trying to be mindful of their privacy.  I will say that Sparrow was so completely giggly while they tried to get the first koala to sit with her that about 50 Chinese tourists snapped her picture.  She was just so cute!!  Koalas like to be up high to feel safe and the first one was just feeling a little too close to the ground, I’m afraid.  But no worries, a quick koala swap out and we were back in business!  What a fantastic place!  I highly recommend a visit!        www.koala.net

The next day (yesterday) we took the cleanest train I’ve ever seen to the airport, dropped off my brother and headed home.  Driving down my street it was obvious that the road had flooded.  There was beach sand everywhere but other than that, everything looked the same, though with a few more leaves than before.  It would have been nice to have stayed at home all bundled up with a cup of tea and some movies while the storm was blowing but we did have a great time in Brisbane.  Still, it’s nice to be back in our little cottage doing our thing again.  I like the quiet and I like my routine.

My brother’s just landed in Boston after 23 hours of travelling and yet it’s only 10 hours later there.  And they say there’s no such thing as time travel!  I beg to differ.