Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chinese/Vietnamese New Year's and family

the cousins playing in yard after dinner

On the beach with Jill's Family

Went to a celebration last evening for Chinese/Vietnamese New Year's, which is quite large here due to the large Vietnamese community (I believe there are about 70,000 here). We had a great dinner, which was organized by 3 staff members who are Vietnamese. Besides them, it was myself, my principal Meredith (who I keep calling Marilyn for some strange reason...very embarrassing) and the wife of one of the teachers. We had an amazing dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant that is near the school and which had won an award last year for having some of the best V. dishes in the city(I had been lounging in Ann and Jeff's pool earlier in the day).
The dish was a combination of 7 different preparations of beef. We cooked the majority of it on a flame which had a metal surface on it. I use the "we" lightly as all of the beef cooking was done by those who knew what they were doing, and that did not include me!! Not being Vietnamese, we weren't allowed to pay for our meals and we had to be "full"at the end of the meal to ensure a year ahead that would be prosperous and one in which we would not go hungry! It was an extremely enjoyable and educational experience for me!
After the amazing meal, we went to the ceremonies in a nearby parkland, where all the politicians were around for photo ops, as the election is kicking off here in four weeks time. It was quite something. We also watched a Vietnamese fashion show, which was an eye-opener and something not to be missed if you ever get the chance. The only thing I can tell you, really, is that "world peace" never came up as an issue that any of them were worried about when asked!!!! Quite entertaining....very beautiful women/girls as well, but as we all know, beauty is only skin-deep, and that came out clearly in the answers!! One girl, when asked how she would give back to the Vietnamese community if she won, answered with " I would volunteer to help the girls in next years show, by showing them how to apply makeup and do their nails, hair, and so on, so that they can feel good about themselves!!!!" She actually made it into the top 5 of the evening, out of close to 20!! I was ready to write a letter to the editor if she won!!
Tonight I had Jill's family for a BBQ at "my house". Elly-anne and Neil's daughters have the most amazingly beautiful red hair! They really stand out in a crowd being so fair and red-headed.
We started at the beach and ended here with the children (5 of them all together) playing on the trampoline and playing a game outside while we sipped on wine and chatted. It was a lovely, warm evening and we ate outdoors. I even got the lawn cut for me by Neil, Jill's brother, and Jeff, Jill's brother in law did the BBQ ing and the meat was perfect!! A very enjoyable evening. Jill has a lovely family and I feel very fortunate that they have taken me on as an extension!!

Well, that is all for now. I have some marking and planning to do, so must log off. I know you all think all I do is socialize, but I actually do a fair amount of work to make up for my off days, believe it or not!!

Cheers mates,
Kelly the Canuck

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

good time photos!

the "shack"
another great meal of local fish caught by Mark, cooked by Corina
shrimp on the barbie!
Kelly waterskiing with beautiful sand cliffs in background
Kelly and Sonia on tube....I'm getting too old for this!!

good company, good food, good fun

Kelly, Corina and Megan
Tracey and Corina
The "shack" on the Murray River
outdoor dining
could I be any more relaxed??

Was invited out Corina and Mark's "shack" (that's a camp for you back home) on the Murray River for the weekend. Had a great time and met some wonderful people. Good times, food and fun were had by all. We headed out Friday after work and drove for 2 hours through lovely horse and farm country. You could see by the "jetties" (docks for you back home) which ended in shrubs and grasslands how much the river has fallen over the last 3 years. Much of the water is being diverted for agricultural reasons before it reaches Adelaide and the surrounding areas, so the farmers in this area are really getting a raw deal at the moment. Many places up for sale which used to be on the "banks of the river" 3 short years ago, and now they are 300 metres from the river's edge. Very sad and frustrating.
After arriving at the shack we had a wonderful salad which Corina and Megan are famous for and relaxed over some nice SA wine. A very relaxing weekend was awaiting me which reminded me of Loon Lake. Friends and relative popped over during the weekend to water ski, hang out, eat with us, and basically just socialize. Everyone was very friendly and made me feel right at home...I really did feel as if I were just down the beach at someone's camp. We actually cooked "shrimp on the barbie" along with many other wonderful things. The BBQ's are different here...see photo in next blog (more like a flat grill with no spaces). I
Some friend's dropped by with a sea-doo, so I got to go for a ride on that to start with. The next activity was similar to tubing, but no hole in the middle. I think Mark thought I was 13 (the same age as my companion on the disk) as he tried very hard to get me off the disk by whipping us over the wake at break neck speeds (or perhaps that's just my age speaking...Sonia didn't seem nearly as concerned as me!) My bathing suit bottoms were luckily caught just above my ankles on 2 occasions!! For the next activity (water skiing) everyone thought it best if I wore wet suit bottoms, so as to not traumatize anyone and never be invited back again!
I had a great time and definitely paid for it with a few aches and pains on Monday and Tuesday! Everyone has been very welcoming and open to inviting me places even though they don't know me. Very much appreciated by me. I am going to celebrate Chinese/Vietamese New Years this weekend with a woman from staff who is vietnamese, and just found out today that the principal will be joining us. Should be a nice evening. I have also been invited to a staff members house for dinner tomorrow night....she has a friend who went to Canada. Finally, the Adelaide Fringe Festival starts this weekend and goes on for a month, along with many music events, and other festivals (it is the festival city after all). I may try to go to the opening parade on Friday night. Lots to keep me busy, though I do miss family and friends!
A heat wave (the 3rd this year for SA) is predicted to start this Thursday with temperatures predicted to be above 35c for a week or more. That is too hot, even for me!

Stay tuned for more photos from the weekend....I can only add 5 at a time.
Cheers mates!

Monday, February 8, 2010

more photos!!!

fun in the sun

just adding photos now, as I can't figure out how to add properly to posts!!

Ohhhh the heat!

Today is a balmy 38 C with hight than average humidity, so it feels pretty oppressive. Even the students are complaining. I am sitting in my school office, where the air conditioning has been off since last Thursday as work is being done goodness it is HOT!
Since I last blogged I have been up to a few things. I went to a "girl's night" get together Friday evening with friends of Jills, which was at a lovely restaurant in the Adelaide hills. There were about 8 of us and I had a really nice time meeting everyone, though it was hard to chat with all of them as we were at a fairly long table. I am hoping to host an evening in the future so I can get to know them a bit better!
Saturday was spent at a BBQ with all of the new exchange teachers to South Australia, along with returning Australian teachers. That was really nice, especially hearing all of the wonderful stories of the returning teachers. There are quite a few of us that are here on our own, so we have put together a "singles" list, and plan on doing a few things together. The woman who got it going is a retired teacher who just bought a house in the Barossa Valley and was keen on getting us out there for an evening or two! Sounds good to me! I have already booked a March 6th long weekend trip with exchange teachers to Kangaroo Island...they seem like a really great bunch of people.
Sunday, I was up bright and early to meet a sailboat skippered by a fellow teacher. He had invited around 15 of us on board (including children) to take part in a Floatilla for Camp Quality, which raises money for kids who have cancer. It was a great day with about 100 boats taking part (I was on a 40 ft. catamaran) and many spectators. Many of the boats had themes going (Grease, pirates, etc.) and got right into the fun of it. It was a hot day so hanging on the boat from 9am - 6pm was appreciated, although a bit exhausting (the sun, the sun, it burns, it burns) I did use lots of sunscreen and didn't burn, but went through much water and was still dehydrated at the end of it all. After disembarking , I had dinner with the captain and his wife at a riverside restaurant, and literally fell into bed when I got home at 10 pm!! I was exhausted yesterday....this socializing is getting in the way of my sleep, work, health, etc.!!
Yesterday and today, the temperature has climbed above 36 C which means the kiddies go home 45 minutes early, as it is just too hot in the school, even with AC on. I am writing this with sweat trickling down my back at the moment! WE however are staying for a meeting and do not get the same treatment!!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

G'day mates,

I have decided I like crocodile better than kangaroo....kind of like chicken, if you must know (the crocodile, that is). I will definitely be buying it again. I had my boring chicken legs on the "barbie" tonight after a run on the beach...a lovely evening with a little more humidity than normal for here. Many people were out enjoying the sand and surf, walking and swimming at the beach.
They actually had predicted rain today, but it never did happen (hopefully tonight). There is a severe water shortage here, though everyone says it's not too bad at the moment. We are allowed to water outside for up to 5 hours/week (because it is not as bad as usual) between certain hours. Everyone has buckets in their showers to save water to use on their gardens....that's what I do. Lucky for me, Jill and Ian are not big gardeners, so I am in charge of watering a few herbs and plants, and a lemon tree out back. Plus, you have to pay for water usage here, and it is not like Thunder Bay ($$). There is a desalinization plant here (as in every major city in Australia) to deal with the shortages.
I still have to get used to drinking much more during the days. I have to get used to carrying a water bottle with me as I move around all day to different classrooms (sorry Ian, but I have already misplaced one water bottle). There are air conditioning units in all the classes, but not all of them work (some are pretty old).
Am finding work to be good...friendly and helpful staff and students that are always keeping me entertained. Tomorrow is a training day for myself and 2 others who are heading up a research project that all senior students have to undertake according to the new curriculum. I will be much more comfortable with that class after tomorrow, as I feel a little like the blind leading the blind with that class at the moment!!
Well, that's all for now....perhaps I will buy some ostrich or something to entertain you with soon!