Going For Broke

Don't worry, it's a town. A couple hours north of Sydney, there is beautiful wine country - the Hunter Valley. It has a lot of small batch wineries. We decided we needed to get out of town for a little bit, see some cows, some grass and have some peace and quiet. The city has been sensory overload for us. I'm accepting the fact that I am Country Mouse.

And of course, it just so happened we stumbled right into a BBQ competition in Broke. - Smoke in Broke. (Its like our American compass pointed us to the closest BBQ.) It was pretty similar to an American BBQ competition in format, however, there were only two trucks serving food we could actually buy. Both lines were at least 100 people deep (see photo). Wow. We gave up after 15 minutes and only moving 2 feet. The competitors had some hilarious names like Lambshank Redemption and Grillas in the Mist.

I think the kids' favorite part of the whole trip was going to the Reptile Zoo on our way home. We got to pet koalas, giant turtles and kangaroos. I was so excited about petting the koalas TW thought I was going to explode! One of them fell out of the tree and landed in a creek. We were so shocked. The zookeeper said, "oh, they just do that sometimes." The kangaroos were all over the place - laying around and trying to get everyone's food. They seem to be keen on french fries. The crocodile feeding was awesome. The kids went nuts. Tessa said, "This is so fun, but also scary, but also fun."

TW's learning from the weekend was that they do their fences differently from us. There are a lot more European cattle breeds than he thought there would be. The dairyman across the valley looked like he needed some extra help gathering his cows. And he had no idea his wife might explode upon petting a koala.

Now we're back to reality. Our house has at least 25 leaks in the roof and a bunch of other things that aren't being fixed. The owners are not going to replace the roof and no roofer will repair it. They've offered to drop our rent, but it is still an unsafe place for the kids every time it rains. Not sure what we're going to do, it seems difficult to get out of a lease here.

Australia has taught me to be thankful for a lot of things in America. Mostly small things, but a couple pretty big ones. I really think US healthcare is better. I know its hard to believe. It took me two hours and 3 phone calls to the insurance company just to get our ID numbers because they keep sending our cards to Steamboat. And that's just the beginning. I won't bore you with the details. Let's just say we need to think really hard about anymore socialization of healthcare.

But, there's so much to be thankful for in Australia. It really is beautiful. They are such warm and nice people (except when behind the wheel.) The beaches are amazing. They are environmentally conscious. When you get outside the city, there are kangaroos everywhere. And in general are fun-loving people. And our roof might be caving in, but we can always go outside, sit on the deck and see this:

Aussie Speak of the Week:

Chooks = Chickens (my favorite by far)

Whipper Snipper = Weed Eater

Fob = Trying to cheat someone (as in, "I don't want to fob you.")

Chalk and Cheese = Night and Day (as in, "as different as chalk & cheese)