Travelling in the time of COVID-19

Finally it was time to return home after 3 weeks with my family after my Dad passed away. There were issues where I could not get a flight back. Eventually I got through to Qantas and booked for the first flight out of Queensland after days of no flights. I must say the time I had with my Mum was lovely and I enjoyed the time out at the beach with evening walks at sunset. The weather was just divine – so hot in Autumn, no wonder it is called the sunshine state!

I eventually moved in with my Mum to the house I grew up in and spent my morning exercising by huge golden orb weaver spiders like this lady! They were amazing to watch and I eventually got used to seeing these spiders around the place. The only guy I was not keen to see was the huge grasshopper we nicknamed Jimeny. The birds sang in the morning with squarky the crow notifying his pals of any leftovers out on the grass, we even saw a bush turkey come into the yard one day! I loved listening to the sounds of all the creatures around the place.

While I was gone I was face timing my hubby and kiddos every night and I even got to chat to my little kitties as I missed them so much. It was so good to see them again. I got home from the airport and ran up to the shower and tossed my plane clothes in the wash so I could go and hug my family again minus any outside germs.

The time came when I got a ride to the airport and left the beautiful sunshine and my family to go back to my super cold home! It was so strange going to the airport with no one there and I waited for 2 hours at the airport before I got on that plane back. There was around 60 or more people catching the same 737 plane. We were all separated by the centre seat but I was so relieved when we landed at long last and I could take my face mask off and breathe some cold fresh air.

Isolation in the time of COVID-19

Rainbows have been making me happy and here is our rainbow created for the rainbow trail, where kids around our neighbourhood spot rainbows on their walk with their parents. Miss H added a cat to ours as sometimes you may spy a cat or two on our balcony. Life inside last week was pretty challenging as I was studying in our bedroom as my study space by the fridge is a popular area, so now my study zone is in the lounge and our lounge is a shared space out the back with the kitchen and dining area which works really well! It has been so hard to focus on study as there is so much going on with the kids now on holidays and everything else out in the world has been full on. We are staying in and only going out for food and today I went out for an acupuncture appointment to help with the anxiety of the situation.

No one can escape a pandemic and my time on social media has limited as I love to see what my friends have been doing but there is also a dark side that you can get sucked into with so much false news articles out there. So I have made a decision to minimise my news by checking with reliable sources such as The Conversation or The Guardian to see what is going on. Of course the relevant state and federal health government websites and the World Health Organisation What’sApp have been super helpful navigating through the plethora of information. Plus minimising my time to a max of 30 minutes and then making a cup of tea to help digest it all!

There has also been a couple of sewing projects as the children finished school last Tuesday, a week early before their easter break. So the kids created their own schedules of what they wanted to do during the day such as bass practice, game design, drawing, calligraphy, sewing projects and of course game breaks! Miss H made an eye mask and we made bias binding with the help of a YouTube video. And as it was Miss H’s birthday I found some super cute Pusheen fabric for a circle skirt made with the help of a fabulous tutorial.

I also had some outside time in the sunshine up on the hill 😀

We have had a lot of active time in the kitchen with plenty of home cooked meals with the kids helping me in the kitchen in the evenings with chopping up veggies, making a salad and basic food prep. From the top we had a freekeh salad to mix up some new grains, black refried bean tacos on la tortilleria tortillas – so good!, looking forward to trying the warm earth bread, vegan ramen and Miss H made a delicious vanilla vegan cake for her birthday.

The bonus staying at home all the time is the time with our cats!! And as I have an empty calendar I can sit around with a cat on my lap and watch some Vimeo videos. They have been superstars as there is always an excuse to take pictures of our cats. In the evening for family time the latest time together has been playing Mario party on the Nintendo Switch. It is such a great collaborative game and each day I am learning new gaming skills or picking up some tips from the kiddos – it is the best family time.

Overall this is a time in our life that we have to stay at home to stay well, it does have its positives of family time and learning to live together in harmony. This all means creating flexible schedules to form a framework for the day and have the bonus of having family game time later in the day. For me, my Uni time has been relegated to the side but with only one subject I am trying to get in blocks of time to stay on top of my readings and assignment preparation – I am thankful the subject is Arts Education. I need to have things that bring me joy in this situation and stay atop the anxiety that is in the air. There is plenty to do at home and the important thing is to be flexible with my time and schedule in daily exercise.

Working mum/teacher life and cat rewards

Finally taking some time out to write what I have been up to for the last couple of weeks! This is the first time in ages that I have posted intermittently here but life is a little bit busy at the moment. I am nearly half way through my first teaching practicum in Australia and I am just loving it. It is exhausting but the kids are so engaged and enthusiastic about everything, whats not to love! For my lesson with the kids I created a table with books, insects and magnifying glasses for the 5 year old class I am working with. It is called Insect Detective and since introducing it to them on Monday they were engaged in finding insects in the yard. We watched a video (the technology requirement for the AITSL teaching standards) and we were off into the yard with our clipboard, identification sheet and pencil to go out and count the insects in the yard. I have to say it was an astounding success as all the kids participated one way or another and it will create a connection to the natural world that makes you appreciate it that little bit more.

The rest of the time in my prac I have been observing the children, recoding conversations and making christmas crafts. I especially like this craft my mento teacher found where the kids went outside to collect sticks from the playground and then had to sort them in order from smallest to biggest. I love how it has a maths element to it and the kids were really enjoying it too, especially the last part where they get to decorate the tree with sequins and glitter. I have been coming home covered in glue, glitter, paint and dye and I cannot believe that you can be paid to hang out with kids and create! The cool thing is that this experience in early childhood is showing me how important early childhood educators can be for a little human, they are little sponges and the good behaviour that you model as a good citizen these children can replicate and this is where the magic happens. Humanity needs more places that are welcoming and diverse like the kinder I am working at and I am realising the profound impact an educator can have on children in their early years.

I am supposed to be writing an essay at the moment but I wanted a break from the grind and the opportunity to look at my life. Sunday I went to the Cat Lovers Show with the family. I was so excited to see the cats from Catmantoo and there was so much stuff to buy for cats as well. We found a great cat cafe near us in Preston, where we will get out next fur baby. It was a super day out with lots of cats but no pats! Well we could go to the adoption centre and pat some cats but that was a bit dangerous as we would love to adopt more kitties!

The wonderful world of Oz

It has been only 4 days since we flew into Melbourne and separated our little Peach family as my hubby is taking care of business back in Cali so he can join us in April 2019. He will visit us in February and enjoy the time when the kids start their new schools and we will be in our rental house for the next 12 months. My mission for the first couple of weeks this year is to find a place to live that is close to the schools and the shops.

Bye bye baby girl Bella, this sweet kitty is enjoying all my woollen pieces while I was getting myself organised to head on back to Australia – she will join us in April 2019 when she is free to come here after all her rabies meds have taken effect and she has followed the whole procedure to get back to Australia. She will spend 10 days in quarantine and she will be back home with us, I have tried to FaceTime her but she is a bit confused 😦

So many goodbyes to San Francisco even to our lovely little (chicken) ladies protesting for Goji Berries. We had a relaxing 15-hour flight from SFO with Qantas with the sweetest crew as a wonderful intro to our time home.

After a couple of days of feeling out of it we finally got round to New Years Eve with our family and enjoyed a delicious feast of smoked salmon, prawns, salads and pavlova for dessert. We are loving all the animals here with the dogs, cats and the chickens. It is so good to be back and feel grounded back home with my sister in law.

For new years day we all hiked at Mount Macedon and just to be in the bush and smell the trees and air made me feel so good. I realised I was home in nature and am looking forward to so much more exploring this beautiful country. Funny we had not experienced it before as our life was about hanging in the city, drinking at bars and going to the movies. Now with kids life is so different and we are ready for adventures and to replicate the camping and exploring we have experienced in California.

These beauties live on the farm where my sister in laws horses live. I see the unicorn horse, the beautiful pony and the cool horse with the fly mask. We are all looking forward to 2019 with so much excitement in our new lives back in Australia.