SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24: We went to Cottesloe beach today!! It was REALLY windy! I learned that Perth is the 2nd windiest city (Chicago is the 1st) J We ate at a Fish and Chips joint for lunch and found the restaurant where Heath Ledger had his funeral (because it was his favorite place to eat-he is from this area)-our plan is to go to that restaurant the next time we go to Cottesloe. On the train ride back into the city 4 guys got on and they were all dressed in khaki shorts, a white button up shirt, red suspenders, red and white striped knee socks, and a artsy lookin’ hat…they were on their way to Octoberfest in Northbridge…we thought about going but you had to pay $65 to get in and it was basically like a big block party…but we decided to have a more relaxing day instead-which is more my cup of tea J
MONDAY, OCTOBER 25: At school today I learned that a “fete” (you say it like fate) is like a charitable fair that schools or churches put on to make money. I also learned that I have been saying Warwick (the train station I use) and Perth the wrong way. If you are Australian you say “Warick” and “Puhth” instead of Perth (they don’t really pronounce their “r’s”. Denyer was telling us some more about the school system and their way of grading. Apparently every department (in high school) has a different grading scale and that 85 and higher is considered an A. However, if when you grade the test too many people got A’s or E’s (E is the new F here apparently, so it doesn’t make the kids feel as bad…they also can’t use red ink to grade for the same reason) then the teacher curves the grade to make sure no more than a handful of students get A’s, etc. Also, at the end of year 12 students get 2 weeks off to study for exams (university entry exams) each test area takes like 2 hours to test for and you can test for up to a certain number of areas (like 5 I think). This could be English, physics, chemistry, etc. And some of the harder subjects are weighted higher than others and you have to test for some subjects in order to get into certain universities. I also asked her about some good Australian authors and her suggestions of some book reads. She said Morris Gleitzman and Tim Winton are good authors and she gave me one of each of their books to read while I am here and she gave us an Australian phrase book to look through. Also people here don’t really say Australia like we do…they say “Aurstralia.” Some people say “ankle-biter” when talking about a child (I guess because they are small and low to the ground???). Saying that you are going to hang out with your “mates” instead of your friends. They say “Mum” not “Mom.” And you don’t “try” something…you “give it a go.” Oh and I don’t wear a “jacket”…I wear a “jumper” when it is cold.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26: Today I taught the students a little bit about the aboriginal culture. Some facts that stuck out as most interesting to me: each clan has a sacred animal and they are not allowed to hunt that animal, they don’t write using words-they use symbols and they believe that spirits came and created the earth and everything in it and these spirits come back during dreamtime…so they tell dreamtime stories a lot. Mrs. Harvey is really interested in the aboriginal people and she was telling me about some tours she went on…on one of them she ate part of a honey ant…apparently these ants take some honey from the beehives and march it back to their ant hills by eating it and you can see their behinds all full of honey as they go back to their hill. She said on the tour the guide puts some of the ants in the refrigerator (the ants that are already full of honey) and after talking about the ants he brings them out and asks if anyone wants a taste!! She said she reluctantly tried one…you hold the head pinchers tight between your fingers and then you put the rear end of the ant in your mouth and push down with your tongue and out pops the honey into your mouth! Unfortunately the ant dies but she said she figured it would die any way since it had been refrigerated…She told this story to the students and they just LOVED it! She also brought in some rhythm sticks that they use during celebrations and a didgeridoo…which I learned is only supposed to be played by a male-in aboriginal culture it is disrespectful/dishonorable for a female to play the instrument. Also, I saw some of the brightest, most beautiful parrots (like 7 of them) in a tree outside of the school this afternoon! I am going to miss seeing all of these exotic birds just out and about! Oh and I have started to notice that things are not all spelled the same here…it is “centre” not “center” and “colour” not “color” and “flavour” not “flavor,” etc….
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 27: This next part might be gross…but oh well J A girl in my class said that every time she flies it makes her “spew” (kids share EVERYTHING J), but her saying that reminded me that they don’t really say “throw up” or “vomit” here, they say “spew” instead…I finally now kind of know what the game cricket is…people told me that this was the big sport this time of year and in my head I guess I was thinking croquet was cricket and I was confused at why soooo many people packed the stands to see it J But we were watching the news tonight and I saw a clip of cricket being played and just started laughing because I have thought it was something different the whole timeJ We went for a run in the rain today!! It felt like we were really in the Fall season back home and it made me smile and my soul sing!!! And the rain smells the same here as it does back home so it was really fun to run in!!! New favorite show…Big Bang Theory!! I know they have it back home but I had never seen it before…it is HILARIOUS!!! J Oh and today when one of the students’ parents came to pick them up from school they told Ms. Seal that the first night I taught their child came home and said that he has a new teacher who is really fun and has really nice, shiny white teeth…kids notice the most interesting things J
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28: We bought a pumpkin after school today! (They were $26 a piece so we split the cost)…our pumpkin patch was more of a bin of pumpkins in the grocery store…but it was still fun and we went home and got our hands all slimy fishing for the pumpkin seeds inside and cleaning out the goop and then we baked the seeds with garlic salt and carved a face on our pumpkin…It was nice to keep the tradition from back home alive J
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29: Got the planning done for 3 weeks from now and am setting up when I will get evaluated next week (my coordinator here-John-will come and observe/grade me). We went to dinner with John and Hazel and met their daughter Renee and some family friends of theirs who were really nice and apparently go to Bali a lot and Amanda and I mentioned that we would love to go because we keep hearing about it (pretty much everyone here has been to Bali because it is only a 3 hour flight and it is cheaper to fly there for holiday than anywhere else in Australia-because Perth is so isolated from the rest of the country). SATURDAY, OCTOBER 30: So, John picked us up to give us a ride to Hillary’s Boat Harbour (that is how they spell harbor here) for our whale watching tour! On the car ride we talked with him about the tense home environment and how Denyer is just having a really rough time in her life right now (with the marriage not working out, etc.). He agreed that this was not a good environment to be living in because he said we are far away from home and our families and we need to live in a happy home with people who genuinely want us there…so he said he would talk to some contacts he had today and see if he could find us a new living accommodation where we could still live in the same house. Then we arrived at the harbour and I finally found a pair of sunglasses that are polarized and do not fall off of my face all the time!!! Oh and we went to this cute little chocolate café thing and ordered some churros (not sure how to spell that…) with some white chocolate and milk chocolate sauces, and ice cream to dip them in…it tasted DIVINE!! Our boat tour vessel arrived at 12:30 on the dock and we set off into the Indian Ocean (not really that far off shore) to see some humpback whales! The skipper on the boat said that these whales travel from the Antarctic region and come into this area to rest before setting off on more of their journey. Some of the whales came up really close to the boat and we got to see quite a few!!! I have never experienced this before so it was REALLY exciting! I had my camera out and ready the whole time so I could snap photos when they came up to the surface! When we were heading back into the city on the train we got a text message from John saying that he had found us a new living accommodation with a couple who are friends of theirs and they live REALLY close to the beach! We were ELATED to say the least and I felt as if 100 lbs. had been lifted off of my shoulders and I was TRULY happy for the first time in awhile!!! We then went to King’s Park in the city for a few hours…it is BREATHTAKING and we are FOR SURE going back again (if not many times more!! J). It has beautiful lookout views over the city and the Swan River and the atmosphere is so calming and grandeur!!! When we got back to the train station John picked us up and drove us by our new home (which we are moving into tomorrow J!!!!) and it is big and BEAUTIFUL and is in a really nice area!! We were so excited to see that the windows don’t have bars over them and that there is a park right across the street and we are really close to the beach, a nice shopping centre, and a bus stop!!! We are SOOO happy to be moving and John said that the couple is elated to have us!