Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Air Walk

On a rare sunny Saturday, we drove south to the Huan Valley.  I think it might look a bit like Ireland, as it is green rolling hills and pastures, small communities along the river, and sailboats moored in the little bays.  It is a beautiful place.  Our destination was the Tahune Airwalk which is on the edge of the National Forest. 
Unlike our forests which have pine trees, here, most of the trees are eucalyptus.  This was like a rain forest with lots of different plants, trees, ferns, and a river running through it.  It is one of the homes of the Huan Pine which is now protected from logging because it is so rare.  Woodworkers can only use salvaged Huan Pine which has been washed down by floods.  We had a lovely guided walk through the forest and then up onto the metal airwalk which is like a catwalk that winds through the tops of the trees.

After lunch, we walked around the other side of the path and crossed the swinging bridges.  Marvin was not too happy after he crossed the first one to notice that there was an “s” on the end of “bridges”.  He does not like heights and hanging high above the rushing river was not fun for him. I thought it was great.

Sunday was church meetings and choir practice.  We are practicing for two performances, one for the community and one for the stake.  Of course the director wants the music memorized, so Marvin has been working on getting it on his computer so we can practice it more and be ready for Dec. 14 and 15. 
Nothing outstanding occurred during the week, just work, but here is a picture of some of  the volumes of books that we have been digitizing.  The first books we did were about  500 images.  Now, they are closer to 900 per book.  Each book is one year’s burial records for a large cemetery in Hobart.  We are about 1/3 of the way through this project.
Yesterday we had a baptism after church of a 19 year old girl, Bronte.  There are so few young single adults in the ward, but they are strong.  Afterwards we went for “tea” at the Stake Relief Society Presidents/High Priest Group Leader’s home.  It was wonderful to get a chance to socialize and become better acquainted.

Getting ready for Thanksgiving has been a bit of an eye-opener!!  We were looking for turkeys (ham is the Australian meat for holidays) and finally found this one, a 16 pounder for $70.00!!!  We didn’t buy it.  We found a turkey roll with dressing in the center.  It will have to do.  Also, no canned pumpkin for pumpkin pie.  The people are huge pumpkin eaters and you see lots of different pumpkins in the grocery stores, but they all cringe when we talk about pumpkin pie.
  I will be making pies from scratch this year and will probably have to make extra to take to people who can’t even dream of making pumpkin into pie.
(The Australian dollar is about the same as the US dollar, so, yes, that is the correct price we would have to pay).

Word of the Week: “panel beater” =  a car repair business (which we hope we never have to visit).

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Australian Observations

Observations of Tasmania

I think living in Tasmania is like living in Oregon.  It rains and rains and rains.  We are told that it will get hot ---really? I’m looking forward to it.  Then I’ll believe it.  We took only a few pictures this week, so I’m writing about my observations of differences in living.
Women:  Women, middle age and older, don’t wear makeup and don’t wear hair styles other than ponytails or straight hair.  I have yet to see anyone with a hair style that I could ask where they get their hair cut.  Now we have seen some very interesting hair COLORS!  Pink, bright red, florescent green!!!!!!!  And most wear dark colored clothing, usually all black.
Girls:  No matter how cold it may be, the girls will wear shorts or short skirts and puffy black parkas.  I guess they don’t mind having their legs cold as long as their bodies are warm.
The bus:  We are now riding the bus to work each day.  It is pretty cheap:  $1.52 each way for seniors.  There is a car park next to the archive where we park when we do drive in to the city.  If you park there all day, it is $22.00 a day.  If you get there before 9:00 am and there are still early bird parking spaces left, you pay $11.00 a day.  Or you could do what we do – the car shuffle.  The first 1 ½ hours is free. So we set the alarm at 1hour 20 minutes and drive the car around the block and then back into the car park.  It’s a pain, but cheap – FREE!  
Roses:  While riding the bus we are able to see the beautiful roses around town.  They grow very well here and are gorgeous.
Swans:  We have driven to Bridgewater, about 15 minutes north of our home, to help with the Family History lessons taught by one of the men in our ward.  As we pass over the river, there are huge numbers of black swans that must live there.  We were invited to Family Home Evening at this man’s home and his home looks over another river which flows into the Derwent River.  Again, there were numbers of black swans.  He told us you only see black swans in the southern hemispheres and white swans in the northern hemispheres.  I didn’t know that.  He had never seen a white swan until he traveled to America.
Travel:   You cannot believe how many people here have traveled to America.  Almost every person we have talked to has been there.  But there seems to be a reason.  The minimum wage here in Australia is $15.00 an hour!  And their vacations are for 1-3 months long after working 1 year.  But looking at homes, you would never think anyone had any money.
Teeth:  There must be a poor dental program here as we see so many men and women who have missing teeth or very crooked teeth.  Colored hair but no teeth!!!
Welcoming:  We have been very impressed with how polite and welcoming everyone seems to be.  Even when we run into a homeless (or so he seemed) as we are walking in town, he stops and says “Have a good day.”  The children who ride the bus to school always allow the older riders to get on the bus first.  I have tried to allow them to go first, but they refuse.  Their parents must have taught them respect.
Food:  Well, this could be a blog by itself.  Marv was so firm that we bring peanut butter with us because Australia doesn’t have peanut butter—but Tasmania does.  So, with the extra money we spent on over weight baggage, we figure we had $30 peanut butter.  They don’t have shortening, canned pie filling, or pancake mix.  Hot dogs are actually sausages with a tough skin and there are no green peppers for Mexican food.   We have found some cereals which we like and Marv is grateful for that.  Australian oranges are really good and juicy.  There seems to be an abundance of fresh vegetables. So I think I am going to have to learn to cook like my mother did back in the 50s.  Most of the recipes I brought call for packaged goods of some kind, so I guess I’ll learn to cook from scratch.  Fun! Not!  For those who have been to Europe and eaten eggs, this won’t be unusual, but, like England, the yolks are orange, not yellow.  (Actually, this picture makes them look fairly normal - they really are orange.)

Word of the Week:  Ta =thanks.  

This is our abode (flat)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 5

We are getting into a routine, kind-of.  We come to the archives Monday thru Friday, just as if we were employed here.  We are working 7-8 hours on most days. Our “P” day is Saturday and of course Sunday is Church and rest.  There were a few different happenings this past week.  On Monday, MJ Dowe (we can’t remember her given name, it’s a Maori name although she is not Maori) came to the archive and invited us to dinner and Family Home Evening.  We arrived at the family home and met an two of her brothers and a sister.  Their parents were working, so the youngest, a teenager, was making dinner.  She had also invited a young man, Sean, who had been baptized only 4 weeks ago.  We had dinner and then MJ gave a wonderful lesson on the Restoration.  I was so impressed by the knowledge and respect that the family had for one another and the lesson.  Sean gave the closing prayer, and, again, I was amazed at how sincere and personal he was saying the prayer.  We have been impressed by these Tasmanian people.  They are very knowledgeable and have such wonderful testimonies.
The mission had asked us to buy a clothes dryer, so Tuesday we purchased one and it was delivered to our flat on Wednesday morning.  There is no room in the laundry area for it, so it sits in our dining area. 
In Australia, the dryers do not have to be vented to the outside.  So, it blows moist hot air into your room.  But, then the windows fog up and mold grows.  So we bought a plastic venting pipe kit which allows us to run it to the sliding glass window and out the door.   It has been really nice to wear clothes dried in the dryer instead of stiff ones which were hung outside.

Thursday was Halloween, and true to our tradition, we stayed away from our home.  Next door to the Archives is “The Playhouse”, so we stayed in town, had dinner at the Fish Frenzy restaurant on the wharf, and attended the play, “The Hollow” an Agatha Christy murder mystery.  The Playhouse sat about 200 seats and it’s an old building.  The people attending were interesting to watch.  Most were in their senior years and seemed to know each other.  Before the play began and during the intermission, many bought wine, beer, and other drinks in stemmed glassware.  So there was lots of glass tinkling as they returned their glasses.

Saturday surprised us by being warm and sunny.  We went to the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.  The spring flowers were beautiful.  We found a lovely spot to sit and rest (and nap) before the breeze got too cool.  On our way home, we stopped at a hardware store and bought a weed whacker, so we could cut our lawn in the backyard, two tomato plants, and weather stripping to go around the front and back doors. 
Australian Lawnmower
It’s amazing how poorly they build the homes.  As we have been in other homes, they are all cold.  Everyone wears sweaters and coats inside. 
I used to think Utah weather was changeable.  Here it is even more so.  The clouds are really low and the wind blows a lot.  So you can watch the clouds moving very quickly.  The winds are usually from the west which blows up and across from Antarctica, carrying rain often.  So, during a typical day, it can be sunny, then rain, then sunny, wind blowing, and rain again.  I don’t think we will have to water our lawn and tomato plants at all.
View from our Dining Room

 Word of the Week:  sachet=small packets of food (hot chocholate, instant oatmeal, etc.)