Part Three of the series from our guest blogger, Liz Bethell on her decision to live in Australia. This week, she talks about summer down under.
January had passed and then we were into February, which is the hottest month. It seemed so strange to have seasons at the opposite ends of the year! I started at my new school and the first week passed quite quickly. I have 22 children in my class and they are certainly a lively bunch! They gave me a good trying out in the beginning but as the weeks went on, I found I was loving them more and more. They have such characters and personalities and the staff are lovely and so friendly. It is a lot more relaxed teaching in Australia than England, in terms of planning and work load, so far anyway, and the curriculum is totally different which takes a bit of getting your head around, but such a fantastic place to be.
After school we have kept up swimming 20 laps, 4 times a week at the Olympic Pool in Alstonville and then on Friday we went for a meal at our local, The Pioneer Tavern, Wollongbar, with Janette and Shane, two lovely friends we have made. On Sunday we had been invited to the welcome party BBQ for the new exchange teachers up at
Brunswick Heads, about 40mins up the coast from us. We all met by the Australian Flag at the Torcini River at noon and then spent the afternoon meeting other teachers who have exchanged from the UK or Canada and also Australian teachers coming back from the UK.
We spent a day up at Sea World too – Fantastic Day. We saw whales, dolphins and sting rays as well as many more sea creatures. What an amazing day! Jack and Shane really enjoyed soaking people in the boat ride and we all ended up pretty wet! Absolutely gorgeous day too! Soo much to do out here, a lifetime is not long enough!
Then in February I had to go to Sydney for the Exchangees Conference. We listened to talks on living in Australia for the year and the police came in and explained that we shouldn’t speed unless we wanted a $280 fine – about 200GBP!! Then went for a meal in a pub where you buy the raw steak and then cook it yourself on a barbi! Following that, we walked around Sydney Harbour – absolutely amazing by night and then equally beautiful this morning. Opera house was impressive as ever. The Aussie’s seem to use planes like we use trains and buses in the UK, just hop on one and get about!!! Did The Rocks market this morning too, was lovely! Sydney is an amazing place and we will head down there for a couple of days before going home. One thing we plan on doing is the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb- up and over the top!
When I got on the plane, as I walked through to board one of the ground crew asked me if I was prepared to assist them in the event of an emergency! Thought I must have looked ultra efficient until I got on the plane and realised I was on the front row next to the emergency exit, which basically means you have to open it if things go wrong……. Wonder if they knew what they were doing giving me that kind of responsibility…….
February was pretty hot although there had been a lot of rain. It seemed to stick around 30 degrees. Then there would probably be a storm later to break it up and go a bit cooler. We often think about how lucky we are to be living here. We walk Boomer to the magnificent scenery of hills and stunning rainforest trees around Wollongbar and then I drive to work through beautiful surroundings of rolling hills and lush green scenery. So beautiful, no stress, everything is totally chilled. Australia is certainly the lucky country.
We went and spent a weekend in Yamba, further down the coast. Yamba is supposed to be the most beautiful place in Australia apparently so should be good to see. Although it rained a lot we still had a good time and met some friends. In March we went to the Channon Market at Lismore. The markets are a big thing in the country life
with stalls set out in a very pictoresque fashion. There are clothes stalls, jewellery, massage cubicles, live bands playing, foods from all over the world and so on. So cool. Met a strange man who was dressed in a white wedding dress. Apparently he usually dresses up as a fairy or a baby. He told us he’s the most normal one there and there are some strange ones!! We had a nice coffee and mooch about with friends, Kathleen, Mark and Terese. The market was really lovely.
My birthday approached and we all descended on Fish Heads Restaurant at Byron Bay. Awesome seafood! I had bugs, mussels, prawns and spaghetti. The seafood is really good out here. Janette and Shane said we had to watch a movie called Castle which apparently is almost an initiation to Australia! It was very funny!
The next morning we were off to Lennox Head for breakfast with more friends- Deb and her
husband Thomas. The clock went back in the morning but nobody told the kookaburras, who sing beautifully and very distinctively so instead of waking up at 6am I woke up at 5am! Don’t mind though as the mornings are beautiful.
Read more from Liz Bethell on her personal Blog.