Friday, March 13, 2009

The end is near!

We are now at the conference in New Castle. We have been here since Thursday. Friday we went to the Hunter Valley and spent the day tasting wine's and cheeses, rough afternoon! I have tasted more wine on this trip than I have in my whole life, and I still have not had a bad one.

Tomorrow we will speak at the conference in front of about 900 people. We will be front and center for about 30 minutes. We have put a lot into this and hope it turns out well.

Sunday afternoon we will leave New Castle and head back to Sydney to finalize the trip.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Now at host families

Last night was the first time the team slept under a separate roof. My host family has been great. I got to meet them throughout the trip because Tony is the district governor for 9680 and his better half Sandra it not a Rotarian, but is involved 24/7. They have a beautiful home in North Avoca. It overlooks the beach and is just breathtaking.

I got to see a kookaburra bird this morning. He was sitting on the fence singing for food. Sandra tryed to feed him out of her hand like she usually does, but he couldn't figure out if my wheelchair was a friendly thing or not.

I spent the day with the NSW Police Department in Gosford today. It is amazing how many divisions they have and how they operate. I have not yet spoken to the rest of the team to see how it is on their end. I hope it has been as good as mine.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Our day & more on Aussie English

Today we had a fantastic day with the outbound Australian team to Germany. We went to the Featherdale Wildlife Park, and FINALLY saw some kangaroos, wallabees, koalas, dingos and other Australian wildlife. The kangaroos and wallabees were very interested in sniffing all of our chairs. Maybe scents of our canine kids interested them...who knows. We really had a wondeful day. Tomorrow we're looking forward to a behind the scenes tour of the famous Sydney Opera House, lunch at The Rocks, and a dinner presentation.

I promised more lessons on Australian expressions. Here are a few more that we have learned...

Give it a burl... Give it a try
Ute - type of car they have here that looks like an El Camino
Eskie...Cooler or icechest
Mad as a cut snake...self explanatory
She'll be right or She'll be apples...everything will work out
Woop Woop...way out

Here are some more...see if you can figure out what they mean:
Bikkie, Hoon, Like a shag on a rock, gone troppo, ridgy didge, rellies, fair dinkum, skippy chrissie, chuck a wobbly...

More to come...stay tuned!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

G'Day Mates!

We'll we are in the middle if a fun, but not so restful weekend here in Australia. Having time and internet access to blog is still a challenge. Yesterday we went up to the Blue Mountains, which look blue because the eucalyptus trees give off a blue haze. We went up the mountain and then took a cable car down into the rain forest. Who knew they had rainforest??? Everyone lives on the coasts of Australia, and its very moist and GREEN. After travelling back to the Sydney area, we went to a Rugby game, AND celebrated Robb's Birthday. The rugby game was awesome, but we learned afterward that cabbies dont want to deal with took a while to find someone willing to bring us back.

So, as we've previously mentioned...the language here is a bit different...but fun! Everyone does use "G'Day"and "mate". "No worries" is very common also. They are always heckling each other which is funny to see. The shuttle drivers taught us the meaning of "wanker", which can be sort of a term of endearment or an insult, depending on who you're directing it at. Men are bloaks. I have a new name...My name is Jennie now... Alot of words are shortened and -ie added to the end. A cold beer is a "coldie", etc. "right-o" is used like we use OK or alright. Those are some of the more common ones. There are tons more, which I will write about later.

G'Day Mates!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Long Days!

It has been a slam packed few days here down under in Oz!
Monday through Wednesday we have logged back to back presentations at Rotary clubs. Most of these clubs are well rooted, 75-100 years old, in the surrounding communities of Sydney and are hosted by golf or “bowling” clubs. Australian bowling is on well manicured lawns and you must wear flat, club certified shoes. To bad our wheels are round! We have well received, though a bit challenged with the language barrier. We thought we would have it easy in an English speaking country and what we have found is they speak Australian, we speak American and we only understand each other half the time! Great thing Mike has become the official note taker of Australian – American translations.
We also had two days of vocational visits were partnerships have been made for some future wheelchair sports opportunities. Robb Martin had a very interesting experience with the New South Wales Supreme Court were he sat in the courtroom during a murder trial then had tea with the presiding judge during a recess! Photos coming soon! Darol

Monday, February 23, 2009

Two presentations and 1 vocational day under our belts...

G'Day Mates!

Well, we've had "spot of trouble" getting internet access here in our hotel without losing an arm or a leg in the process... but one of our hosts was kind enough to lend us her laptop with the internet card. Otherwise we would be hoofin' it to the mall half a mile away in the heat & humidity:)

Well, we've done two presentations so far. Yesterday was at a lunch club. It was a very informal and fun meeting. We had met most of the members on Sunday at Bill's house, and they were all so warm and welcoming! Last night's meeting was a bit more formal. That presentation also went well!

Today was our first vocational day. I met some amazing people at a program called NETS - which is a mobile intensive care unit for babies and kids. I also met a bunch of awesome nurses who work in the community.

The health care system is very different here. They have a public system, which everyone has access to at no cost. Other than the condition of the buildings, the system seems to work well for most people. If you want to have an elective procedure, private seems to be the way to go, unless you're not in any hurry. You could wait a year and a half for an elective surgery. Well, I hope that's as interesting to some of you as it is to me!

Well, gotta run. We're getting ready for our 3rd club meeting and presentation.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lunch at Bill's

Hello All!

We made it safely to the beautiful city of Sydney! The 14 hr flight went over very well and quickly. I, personally, caught up on some movies I have wanted to see and am adjusting to the time change very easily. When we arrived we were greeted by our Australian hosts, who took us to our hotel, fed us lunch, and then dinner later that evening where we all enjoyed the catch of the day.

Right now we are at Bill's home, enjoying our new friend's company, food, a bit of tennis, and internet access to catch up with family and friends! Thank you Bill!

Tomorrow we will give our AZ presentation for the first time at our first Australian Rotary meeting. I was a little bit nervous about this but everyone is so warm and personable that I already feel very comfortable and it should go off without a hitch! Tuesday, I will enjoy my first vocational visit with Bob, taking tours of colleges, high schools, and primary schools. I am really looking forward to comparing Australia's educational system with our own in Arizona.

There seems to be an interesting stick-horse race going on outside that I am missing out on... So thank you all for watching and I will catch up with you later...