Good citizens

I was jamming it last week with writing my 2nd essay for Indigenous Education and Perspectives with this essay focussing onThe Stolen Generations and bringing light to its relevance in education. I researched The Stolen Generations and its relationship to the Sorry speech by Kevin Rudd the PM in 2008, what a speech that was and so long overdue! It was an intense essay looking at racism and discrimination and I had a so much to draw upon with the connection to the Dumpo era here in the U S of A.

So with all that writing, I needed to focus and needed to eat well and drink matcha tea and made this delicious coconut milk matcha tea in the Vitamix after leaving it on for a while – beautiful, frothy and warm! And with my lack of time dinner has been super easy with taco Tuesday and tonight’s cool soba noodle salad topped with a fresh bantam egg.

Over the weekend we went to Open House for Missys week-long science camp coming up soon and we checked out the nature lab to touch this Trans-Pecos Rat Snake – it was so friendly. As as the kids have toyed with the idea of owning a reptile I found this info sign to share with them, it will remain here on the blog for reference if they have serious thoughts of snake keeping in the future. It is quite an expensive outlay and lucky for them there is an aquarium near our place in Melbourne and they can go an visit the reptiles there or maybe volunteer to give food to the snakes.

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I found this in a binder from my daughter’s 1st-grade class – if only this was the mantra of all humans! This is why I love being with kids they know where it is at and how to behave.

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As I have been cleaning out so much stuff and getting rid of boxes of everything from fabric to books to clothes and kids stuff, I found this lovely little scrapbook that Ash made when he was in Kindergarten – it is super cute. Our friends are in the pics but I have blurred their faces as they may not want to appear here 😀 respect! The kids are so cute and so young and he has captured some good times from the redwoods to the snow even with our green car!

 

What am I going to miss?

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These kiddos really enjoy our friendship with our friends who are have been our family over here. We have known each other since Ashwin was a baby and the kids met at a local music class – so we have known each other for over 11 years, which is most of the time we have been here. Coming here and not knowing anyone, it was so good to find my peeps, friends who understand you with so many things in common.

We have been having fun times together even when our friends moved to the East Bay, so every month or so we meet at Half Moon Bay and today we hung out at the beach and enjoyed Japanese for lunch. I will miss our good times together catching up and I felt so sad when I shared the news of us leaving today with our friends. Over the years we have had some epic camp trips together, all over California with so many excellent memories.

Our chickens are so sweet and we are going to have to give these ladies up for adoption at the 4H ranch come January. They just make me so happy with their little personalities. Hopefully, we can get some of our own when our house is done in Melbourne.

It really is a bittersweet decision to go back home and there are some friends that I will really miss so I will have the hope that our friends can come and visit us down under. We have met some beautiful people here and the feeling of this part of our life coming to an end is upsetting but it is opening up the next chapter of our lives back home in Australia. We have been very lucky to live here and create so many beautiful memories with some very special peeps! x

Oh and I feel this is what we should all watch, this Prince Ea is amazing – it really makes you think about all you are.

Am I ready to repatriate?

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Many people ask me why am I leaving? The answer is simple really I want to be back home near my family. Initially, my move was instigated by the November election a couple of years ago saying I gotta get the heck outta dodge ASAP. Now as I am coming down to the reality that it is really happening and it is quite a nerve-wracking experience. Even though I am going home, things still will be the same but I will be starting all over again in our community. I have been living here in California – yep just here in Mountain View for the last 12 years and somehow you get caught in a rhythm of life especially when you have children. The biggest sadness I will feel is leaving our amazing school community, they have been the reason I have wanted to stay here so long. I realigned our plans so long ago when I realised what an incredible foundation it is for our children. What came about being a part of a parent participation community and being involved in our children’s education was that I wanted to be a part of this incredible experience, being with children and teaching them.

Through serendipitous events, I enrolled to do my degree in Education and the experience so far has been eye-opening and with each unit I do I appreciate all the hard work a teacher does in the classroom. To be the teacher is an experience I truly enjoy and I am so happy to work with children with their boundless energy and creativity. The funny thing is that when I am teaching the kids art they are so engaged in the experience and so happy to begin their projects – this is what I love about teaching! The sheer joy kids get from creating and making. I see this in the classroom where my daughter goes to school, the community I have volunteered in for 9 years – something so close to my heart that it has made me become someone who shares their love of making and creating with the world to teach. The knowledge I gain from my classwork and the research I am doing in regards to 21st-century learning and teaching in the classroom is something the kids deserve more than anything. Kids do not need to be in a structured industrial age model of learning anymore, they need to be allowed to experiment, be creative, use their minds to critically think and most of all collaborate. Going back to the Australian education system is where my children will receive this and that is another good reason to go home. Project Based Learning is for everyone and if resources and funding allow yes it should be a huge part of the learning experience for kids. This way they will grow up to be an active member of society and have the ability to think on their feet no matter what is thrown at them. That is what I love about teaching sharing the joy of learning so kids can also be active in their learning and create lifelong memories.

Anyway, I have been writing two essays this week – one on 21st-century learning and teaching and the other on The Stolen Generation, White Australia’s atrocities to the traditional owners of Australia. Nothing much has been happening and I think I will just have to update my blog with musings on what is going on with the move, because I am constantly thinking I need to do something every day to make this move happen! Next step getting some plane tickets – now that will make it real!!

Some good food and back to Skool

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The last week of the school was pretty low key and I managed to clean out some frozen vegetable scraps to make a delicious stock for a ramen. This was inspired by a vegan ramen recipe, though I have added egg for protein.

And it finally came to the class posting at our school! Over the summer builders were frantically working away to make the deadline for our new school campus. Over the years our school has been in portable classrooms but with the popularity of our school and funds put aside for the project, our million dollar district has built a new school building – in our schools 22nd year of operation. We enjoyed a dedication by the Superintendent of the school before taking a wander around the campus to visit the teeny tiny playground where the kids really wanted to play on the digger 😀

Over the weekend we enjoyed some kitten sitting with RJ! Our next door neighbours friends kitten. She was only 10 weeks old and very independent. I have to say kittens are the best – she was the biggest distraction away from my studies. We all had such a special time with her!

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The kids went back to school and the day finally happened after 11 weeks of holidays – yep nearly 3 months off school!! Crazy town after we came back from Australia as we had another 3 weeks to entertain ourselves. So with my study schedule, it was a bit difficult so by the end the kids were saying they were bored but boy did they get a lot of screen time on their latest obsession Roblox.

Whatever, it is back to school and I am so happy to get my time to myself again!! Now I am writing another essay on Education in the 21st century which I am really enjoying. What really helps having experienced Progressive Education at our school for the last 8 years. It is so inspiring that I get to write about PBL – Project Based Learning. This makes me so happy to get back into the Australian Education system. Oh, I just discovered that you now have to pass a test that looks at your personal attributes to become an educator, very interesting and so very important!

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For our first day back at school, it was a minimum day – whoo hoo! Yep after 11 weeks of holidaze, we went back for half a day, ridiculous – tell me why? So that free time allowed me 1 hour of reading for Uni. So for the rest of the day, we cleaned out a chicken coop and later when we came home I was cleaning out stuff to give away into the garage.

In the evening I made a Rainbow Kale Salad, here’s the recipe…

1 bunch of dino kale (massaged with olive oil and lemon and left for a couple of hours under a tea towel to marinate)
3 x grated carrots
1 x small zucchini
2 x grated raw beets
cherry tomatoes
mint leaves
hemp seeds
avocado

  1. Grab a big bowl and leave the kale to marinate.
  2. Grate all your veggies in a food processor, cut tomatoes and break off mint leaves and add to the bowl.
  3. Cover with hemp seeds.
  4. Slice up your avocado on top.
  5. Fill a smaller bowl with this salad, top with roasted potatoes and Beyond Meat Sausages and vegan mayo – delish!

 

 

Sunny days and study days

It was back to routine and hanging with the ladies at the farm – this is Ruby and Luna.

Tuesday was an exciting night for my son as he went to his first concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre, just in our backyard – 10 minutes away. We went out as a family to see the Pixies, it was so fun! Ash and I found it a bit loud so we left early and Daddy was left to rock on to Weezer with his friend.

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Kushi and I spent a lot of time together last week where I went to his house (our neighbour) and gave him food and pats while I did my studies. Friday night Missy came with me and we all hung out with Kush and watched Grand Designs Australia together.

The weekend my schedule is rocking with a yoga class with Mark, riding my bike to the studio and back is a great warm up. The weather is perfect bike weather! Sunday I did a long bike ride and saw some egrets doing their Sunday morning training, along with a lone pelican.

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My son drew this cool picture on the whiteboard after his big night out with his friends for a sleepover on Saturday night. I do not know what it is, but I like it!

Minimalist living

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OK, nothing much happened last week as I was writing an essay and drinking lots of tea to complete it. The essay was about Indigenous Australians and their contributions to society which was fascinating as I focussed on Stephen Page the Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre. While I was writing Bangarra had just premiered their new show which a friend of mine got to see in Canberra and she loved it! I miss those days of watching the arts freely and seeing Bangarra and spending time with arts at the theatre. Which leads me to some very exciting news!

We are leaving the USA in January 2019! We discussed the move with our family in Australia, between each other and decided it is time for the kids and myself to go back. The idea being the kids can start the Australian school year in our local school where our house is. And my hubby will live in two countries by travelling every 3 months. So there is a lot to do and organise in between studies. I understand my daughter will not graduate from our beloved elementary school which is sad but there are sacrifices we need to make to actually reach our goal of being back in Melbourne.

I was looking at the trip very reflectively when we were back in Australia and I just have to follow my heart. I felt when I was back home it was so grounding to be with family and friends who are like family and it made me feel so happy. Coming back to California was hard this time as I know this has been home for 12 years but it is time to go back to our roots and have the children experience life from a different perspective. The Bay Area is a place that will always hold terrific memories for me but now the time has come to say farewell.

Next job is to clean out the garage and get rid of stuff and then its back in the house to move along stuff that is ready to go as it is time to live a minimalist lifestyle. To be honest our house in Melbourne will not be housing the huge amount of stuff we have here, simply because we will not have a garage. Step 1 – Love it and let it go, time to go minimalist.

See you in 2019 Australia!

Our last week in Queensland was fun filled with a highlight of our trip a 5-hour whale watch adventure with my Dad and the kids out to the ocean right next to Moreton Island. It was such a beautiful day with the sun shining and the temperature was around 23 degrees – just perfect! I made a video using my new Nikon camera as I couldn’t capture the whale action as it was too slow and I am still a newbie with the settings. The video worked a treat as the lens can zoom in and out effortlessly.

The whale watch high-speed luxury catamaran was a dream on the water and the added bonus is getting a lovely lunch of salad and fresh prawns with fruit for dessert. We paid for coffee at $5 and water for $4 but I had a stash of snacks for the kids which was a good idea as they were hungry within seconds when they got on the boat. The views were just stunning and to see Moreton Island again in all its sandy glory bought back so many memories of camping over there and the big one spending Schoolies over there with my year 12 schoolmates.

I was on a mission to photograph the flying foxes for a friend of mine here in the States, she absolutely loves them on her Instagram feed and shows me the most beautiful pics of the little rescue foxes. This camp of foxes is found at the Redcliffe Botanic Gardens right across the road from my school friends house. I was in awe of how many there were and how active they are during the day – apparently, the males are super frisky all the time and harassing the females when they are trying to rest! I was pretty excited to get some cute pics too of these little fellas who are a keystone protected species in Australia as they are pollinators of the native flora.

Plus the lunar eclipse was happening the morning we were leaving so we did not get up to see it, my camera caught some close-ups of the moon before the cloud came in. The backyard had the grevilleas in bloom and the honeyeaters and lorikeets visited every day. Each week we kept our Taco Tuesday tradition going until we left the country Saturday morning.

And my friend M came to visit, we spent a lot of time together in our 20s and had a blast at all the clubs dancing away. Now we just catch up and drink fancy lattes. I enjoyed a matcha latte and M enjoyed the beet latte. The lunch I had at Soul Harvest Wholefoods was divine with 3 salads and a vegan pumpkin coconut pattie with a mango chutney – such a wholesome feast for lunch.

Soon came time for our last walk along the beach, we cherished our time together taking in the sights and feeling the fresh air and watching the water gently roll onto the sand. I did not realise how lucky I was to grow up with such a beautiful environment close by.

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Then as we flew off on a 27-degree day it was time to go back on the 13-hour journey back to San Francisco. We nearly missed the plane due to logistics with the Sydney airport bus transfer and then security finding some water in my daughter’s backpack so I had to stand there and drink it. Mind you by now I was busting to go to the toilet! Anyway, we finally got through the drama and made it to the flight QF73 and there we were on the plane about to have lunch. The time passed quickly as I caught up on my readings for University and watched a couple of films and my husband’s recommendation Search Party which was fine to pass the time. Secretly I was wanting to miss the plane and stay in Australia, I was not ready to come back to California. Now I am back it is OK as I have a lot of studies to catch up on to keep me busy and out of pining for Melbourne and to be back with my family. Until we move back – know that we love you and miss you. The countdown begins with around 10 months to go!!

Family frolics

Back with my family in Redcliffe on Sunday as we took the train from the Sunshine Coast to the new train station at Kippa-Ring, it was very exciting and so picturesque with the pineapple fields and sugar cane. Very different from the slow Caltrain back in the valley. I have been eating a lot of fish and chips and my good food diet has gone out the window but hey I only visit here once a year and this food is so good!! The walk to the beach from the Air Bnb is only 15 minutes through the back streets leading to a beautiful boardwalk along the entire beachfront.

What I enjoy is visiting with my family when I am here – here is my aunty outside her place with us and the kids with their great aunt. Every time I go to my aunty’s place I check out her collection of retro housewares and she is happy to give them away, this time the glitter seahorse caught my eye!

The kids have been wanting to go for a swim at the lagoon by the beach so why not on a beautiful Queensland sunny winters day we took them out and enjoyed more chips and a delicious fava bean burger from the Suttons Beach Pavillion.  The playground was a lot of fun with a giant pink cage and the gran and grandad enjoyed spending time outdoors with the kids where they could see them in their element.

The weekend was a lot of fun starting with a big night Friday of big Australian wines, a Shiraz or two and a delicious dinner at home with the kids. Saturday we met some friends at a local handmade market and came back for a cuppa and biscuits at our Air BnB. The market was super cool with some wonderful local designers that I loved especially a woodworker who made these stools that fold and can sit together they were so functional and beautiful in design. I am on the lookout for furniture for our house in Melbourne but I will not know what we need until we build, my hubby and I are starting a Pinterest board of ideas for when the time comes. Oh and the added bonus of this market was the food trucks and they were both vegan, so I had a vegan sausage roll which was delicious – oh the food memories I am making on this trip. My sister’s man made a beautiful farewell lunch of potato rosti with poached egg and smoked salmon, sour cream and dill that I truly enjoyed! Until next time my friends.

And to wrap up our weekend we celebrated Christmas in July with the family which was so much fun and of course, I did not eat the roast but scored the grilled barramundi, chips and salad – oh those chips again! At least I know when I go back to California I will not be eating them as I do not like fries. I drank a couple of glasses of NZ Sauvignon Blanc and felt very happy but it was a sad afternoon as I said farewell to my sister, nephew and her cat Millie, until we meet again we love you all!

 

Travels up North

Continuing our adventures in Melbourne for the rest of the week I caught up with my friends for playdates with the kids and of course. In St Kilda we had lunch at Dr Jekyll – my friend and I had the perfectly poached eggs with sumac and other delicacies. The kids scoffed down a lamb sausage roll. I caught up with other friends for fish and chips on Sunday and a dinner at their place on Thursday evening.

We enjoyed a TacoTuesday celebration with our good friends after a lovely chilly winter stroll to the beach to view the amazing sunset. Our dinner was enhanced with the New Zealand speciality pavlova with lemon curd and blueberries.

Later in the week, we met another friend for lunch at Supernormal – an upscale Asian restaurant in Flinders Lane. The boys enjoyed ramen and I enjoyed a super tasty lobster roll and raw kingfish and citrus sashimi and I drank the Fake Bews which was almond, pineapple and bitters which was very refreshing, I actually do miss having bitters as a drink option so I grab the opportunity when I am back home in Oz.

Oh and here is the Totoro crochet I made for my nephew! This guy took longer than I planned and was made in Adelaide, Melbourne and completed in Brisbane!! I do love the way it turned out in the end as I was a bit concerned as I ran out of grey yarn so he has black gloves on plus the grey tones change with the tail and the ears as the acrylic I was using throughout only made it to the bottom of his body.

The trip to the sunshine coast to meet the many animals Millie, the dogs Sailor and Leo and the koala. The kids had a blast together playing hide and seek in my sister’s house.

Our beach time at the Sunshine Coast is super special as the day we planned to go to Noosa – which I do not recommend even though it is so beautiful, it is packed with people and parking is hard to find. After the plan, I read that you can park at Sunrise beach and then walk to Noosa through the National Park and catch the bus back, such a cool idea for a day trip. The kids love the water so they were in for a swim, it was too cold for me!! I love the many vistas of just being at the beach and it makes me so happy to be there.

After the rain the day was spectacular and we went for lunch at the Chenrezig Institute in Eudlo, which is the hinterland up in the mountainous region of the Sunshine Coast. The energy there was just mellow after wrangling the children the time we had up there was chilled out and the lunch of a vegan shepherds pie, steamed seasonal vegetables and salad was so warming. Their temple for meditation space would have been perfect if the kids would have joined in though it looked like there was a workshop happening for the day. I would happily go back again and volunteer in the future.

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My sister and I have had such a special time together and it was wonderful to be hanging out at her pad in Buderim with a super cold pool which would be amazing in the summertime. I know the time we spend together I have to cherish but as I will be coming home next year, I can make it up over the winter to escape the Melbourne chill and enjoy the time together with my nephew.

Thursday was a big day out to Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World – these pictures captured the fun we had with our aviary tour and the parrots hanging out with us. The gardens were fun to wander around and provided many picture opportunities of the three cousins! The views of the Glasshouse mountains from the gardens was just the best. Oh, the female red-tail black cockatoo was a highlight for me and she just enjoyed her perch way up high observing everyone!

In the evening we went to Mooloolaba to Elixiba a plant-based restaurant and dining experience for a friends birthday. I was so excited to see a sparkler on her raw cheesecake with berries that we all tried. I had this cool colour changing cocktail called the using house-made chameleon lemonade. The food was fresh and tasty and the coco-mari a rif on calimari using coconut shreds was so moreish.

Our last day up the coast was to visit the farmers market and to enjoy a potato rosti I had only heard about and was hanging out to try. This was the spanner crab omelette with the crab caught off Fraser Island served with Asian herbs and chilli, absolutely divine and disappeared in seconds! And then it was time to say goodbye to Aunty where we took the train back to our place in Redcliffe to be with my family and enjoy some chilled out time at an Air Bnb with a highlight of Christmas in July coming up on Sunday.