Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Three Cities, Three States, One Unique Country

While traveling in Australia the past few weeks, we’ve caught ourselves saying, “Melbourne reminds me of Vancouver” or “Phillip Island reminds me of Texel, Holland” or “We saw flowers like that in Nicaragua.” There were lots of familiar things, and yet Australia remains something so very special and unique.

We spent two weeks with our friends Maree and Andrew in and around Melbourne. Pam and Maree first met 25 years ago when they were exchange students in the Philippines. Maree and Andrew came to our wedding, and we’ve seen them a couple times since then when they’ve visited North America, but there was a lot of catching up to do.

We had a few emails from friends at home asking if we were okay because we hadn’t posted anything after leaving Nicaragua. It was a different pace and many more late nights than we’d been used to in the previous two months.

Maree prepared a quiz/competition for the kids to work on during our stay with her, and this was a great incentive to pay attention during our travels and learn about Australia. Who discovered Australia? (there are in fact several different answers to this question!); 10 points for seeing a kangaroo in the wild; What are two Aussie slang words? And 2 points if you see someone picking their nose (which we never saw)!

Pam was feeling a little under the weather and the weather itself was a bit grey for the few days that we were in Sydney. Visiting The Rocks and cruising around the harbour to Manly and the Olympic Park were some of the highlights.

In Brisbane we stayed with new friends David and Jennifer. This was arranged through SERVAS, a peace-building organization that connects travelers with local hosts. They were extremely hospitable. They are involved with orienteering and brought us out one evening to experience Street O (urban orienteering).

Swimming at the “city” beach (in November when the snow started to fly back in Canada) and having the opportunity to cuddle a koala will be parting memories of Brisbane and Australia that will stay with us into our next adventure.


  1. Thanks for sharing your journey with us! What an amazing way to keep up with what is going on in your lives, at least a little bit. Do you find you are homesick for familiar places and people at all?

  2. Australia is still one of my favourite places on earth. The Great Ocean Road is a big part of that. Its great to read about your travels. I really miss that part - and you realize how simple it is once you try it. People are just people all around the earth. Thanks! and continue to enjoy your trip. It will be over before you know it and you will be back in regular routines. ICS looks forward to your return!

  3. All these Australian names and places sound so familiar! Hope you enjoy it there as much as we did. Isn't Australia a beautiful place?!

  4. Pam, John, Simon and Danielle:
    We enjoy following your blog. Your experiences in Australia bring back fond memories. We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers at this special time of the year.
    Wishing you a blessed Christmas, and a safe and happy journey home in 2009.
    Kevin and Jeannette