No more Mondays at the beach

I suppose I can say this: I started a new full-time job last week Wednesday.

I waited to apply for jobs until we knew we had permanent residency, and this job was the first job I applied for. It took a couple months for the process to start, but when it did it went fast. I was contacted for an interview on a Tuesday, interviewed on a Thursday, was offered the job the following Wednesday, and started a week later. So last Wednesday, I was up at 6am, at the train by 7:20, and getting a cup of coffee at the cafe next door to my new building by 8:30. It’s been a blur of orientations, accessing new systems, getting id, learning names, and taking in new information. I alternate between knowing exactly what people are talking about and having absolutely no clue. It’s interesting and challenging work. And it doesn’t involve teaching my own classes, which is strange. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a job that didn’t involve grading and prepping. I’d tell you more about the job, but the details are too overwhelming for me to talk about even now.

Perhaps the strangest thing I’m acclimating to is the commute. I’ve always liked public transport; I have fond memories of riding the bus with my friends and colleagues at MSU or exploring the city using the NYC subways and buses, but it wasn’t something I did in Iowa. There I drove to work every day. I hated those early mornings in the winter battling snow and ice and fog to get to school – especially when I was driving out to Dunkerton on county roads.

My current winter commute is nothing like that. I may stand on the chilly platform early in the morning wearing a fleece jacket, but when my train arrives I get to find a seat and open a book or take out some grading to do for my online classes or get out my phone to text Kayla or FBChat with Trudy. I ride the train to Roma Street, walk from platform 10 to platform 2, and catch my bus to UQ. When I get to UQ, I walk by two small lakes, past gardens filled with native grasses and trees, watch out for bush turkeys, and make my way to my building.

One of the mannerisms that I find both fascinating and completely adorable is the way people exiting the bus call a “thank you” to the bus driver. It’s not something I recall happening when I took the bus to MSU for all those years, but here it’s normal and expected. I’ll admit that I haven’t done it yet (partly because I exit at the middle of a really long bus), but one of these days I’m going to shout my own thank you to the driver for getting me to work on time.

Last night as I was packing my lunch and getting my clothes and bag organised for the morning, I realised that normally I would have been thinking about which beach we would be visiting the next day. While I’m definitely going to miss the freedom I had for the past year, I’m happy that 364 days after I arrived in a brand new country, I was able to start a job that is letting me explore a whole new part of my home down under.

-C

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In Summary

I’ve been MIA for the past month or two from here. I suppose I have been busy – finishing up the semester, welcoming my mom here for a 3 week visit, and just going about my regular routine.

Here are some of the things I’ve been doing to keep myself entertained.

1. Visiting tourist spots with mom

We took mom to some of our favourite locations including the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. I love that place. If you visit me, we are going there, no question about it.

Giant koala!!!

Giant koala!!!

2. Shopping

My mom likes projects, and one of them involved a trip to Ikea. We picked out a nice chair to compliment the rest of the lounge room. Thanks, mom!

New chair

New chair

3.  Exploring

On one of mom’s last days, I took her out to Bribie Island to walk on the beach. On the way home, I stopped just after the bridge to the island so we could walk across and take some pictures. I’ve driven over the bridge many times, but that was the first time I’d noticed the Glass House Mountains in the background.

Bridge to Bribie

Bridge to Bribie

4.  Cooking

I love a good recipe, but I also love an easy recipe. This pannenkoeken was perfection. Who doesn’t love a puffy pancake?

Pannenkoeken!

Pannenkoeken!

5. Origami

Well, I haven’t been doing origami, but the little girls at church are really into it.

Origami turtle

Origami turtle

6.  Missing friends

A package arrived, and it was perfect.

Fun packages from friends

Fun packages from friends

7. Keeping my head down

My walks back from the grocery or the gym are ALWAYS interesting. I didn’t flip this over to see if it was good news for the test taker because gross.

Litter

Litter

8.

9. Beaching it

I’m not complaining about the weather right now. It’s unseasonably warm for the end of fall/beginning of winter.

10. Reading

With summer school starting, I’m relishing the time I can take to read. This week I’m reread some Harry Potter at Mudjimba Beach.

Rereading Harry Potter

Rereading Harry Potter

-C

SOLSC Day Three – Baby Sea Turtles

sliceoflifeiconToday is Monday, so, of course, we went to the beach. We tried Kawana first, but the beach was closed to swimming because of rip tides. So we headed a bit further south to Dicky Beach. We frequent this beach because it has good surf, and we can always get parking in the shade.

We put down our beach blanket, and I proceeded to open a book while Dan got in the water. The clouds were big and shaded me from the sun a bit, which was nice because at times it could be a little uncomfortable.

I tried reading for a while, but the book I had with me today just wasn’t capturing my interest. I looked up from the book and noticed that the couple that had been on the blanket about 20 yards away had now joined two women and a man near the shoreline. They had a clear, plastic bucket and cameras. Something was going on.

I got up from the blanket to investigate, and what I found were 4 baby sea turtles that were being released into the ocean. They were small, black, and paddled awkwardly once they reached the water. I watched one swirl around and travel about 4 feet back up the beach as the tide moved in. But then the turtle found his way and disappeared into the surf.

I talked to one of the women for a while. She worked for the Sunshine Coast Council and had been called to the beach because the man in the group had discovered the sea turtles trapped in the creek that flows into the ocean. She told me that last night there had been over a hundred baby turtles hatching and making their way down to the water. These 4 had gotten lost on their way. She noted that it was important to put them in the ocean as soon as possible; the gulls were gathering, and she didn’t want them taken. She also mentioned that there were another hundred eggs set to hatch any day now.

Every time I go to the beach, I’m amazed not only that I live in a place like this but at what I find there. Today it was turtles. Next week, who knows?

-C

IMG_3731

Dicky Beach

 

Catching Up

Obviously, I’ve been avoiding posting here for the past couple weeks, but not because I didn’t have anything to say. We’ve been busy with the holiday and a wedding.

Therefore: 4 photos to sum up the past two weeks.

  • I’ve spent the past couple weeks getting ready for the new semester – writing syllabi, completely revising my courses (as usual), creating a visual syllabus, planning the first week
  • On New Year’s Eve we went to a church member’s home for festivities. These festivities involved sparklers. Two days later, we bought a couple dozen sparklers because, seriously, sparklers are awesome. We’re instituting Sparkler Tuesday, which will involve me and Dan in the backyard with a box of sparklers. I plan to dance around while waving the sparklers in the air.
  • We still continue to visit the beach on Mondays. For the past couple Mondays we’ve been at Kawana because no one ever goes there. I don’t know why. It could be because there’s a sign that says, “Beware of Snakes.”
  • This Monday (yesterday), we went to Dicky Beach – the beach with the shipwreck on it – it was warm, there were lots of people there but not too many, and the waves were big. Dan loved it.
  • We’ve been barbecuing quite a bit lately. I doctor up some chicken with sweet chili sauce, Dan works the barbecue, and then we enjoy our dinner while watching old episodes of Star Trek: Next Generation. I feel a bit nerdy admitting to the whole STNG thing, but, hey, whatever.
  • Light boxes – every single signal box is painted in Brisbane and the suburbs. I need to take pictures of every one I see. You can read about the project here.

-C

Monday Trip to Kawana Beach

Almost empty beach

Almost empty beach

I fully expected a crowded beach now that summer holidays have started in Queensland, but we were rewarded with a nearly empty beach, excellent waves, temperatures around 26 or 27, and a light breeze. It was a perfect day for swimming and finishing a good book on a blanket in the sand.

-C

Monday trip to Rainbow Beach and Tin Can Bay

On Monday, we ventured further north to Rainbow Beach and Tin Can Bay. We were celebrating Dan’s birthday by doing what Dan loves the most: swimming in the ocean. On the way, however, we stopped in the town of Gympie so Dan could make a visit for work. While he was working, I sat at a park, walked around some ponds, avoided the thousands of birds that were nesting in the trees, and tried grading a paper or two. When Dan picked me up, we headed up through the Great Sandy National Park to the beach.

Rainbow Beach gets its name from the sand dunes that collect multicoloured sand just east of the town. And these dunes are huge. We could see them from the beach. We spent a couple hours swimming and sunning, as usual. Then we headed back through the national park for Tin Can Bay. This town is small, quaint, and pretty quiet. We had a lunch of fish and chips, and then we headed back to Brisbane.

We were talking on the way home (in between listening to This American Life and Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me podcasts) and I mentioned that we both now had spring and summer birthdays instead of fall and winter birthdays. Odd.

Things I learned on this trip:

  1. Start looking for petrol before you see that it’s close to E
  2. Always get ice cream at the petrol station – you won’t regret it
  3. Bring cash when heading out for lunch in a small town
  4. Bring a book to the beach even when you think you won’t want to read
  5. Always wear a large sun hat on the beach so you can read if you want to
  6. Beware of wild horses (and kangaroos, of course,) when driving down the road

-C

The first week of December

Will it help if I tell you that this is only the beginning of summer here, and temperatures will most definitely climb into the upper 30s?

If converting from Celsius to Fahrenheit isn’t your thing, I’ll tell you that 29 degrees C = 84 degrees F. This means that upper 30s = upper 90s and 38 C = 100 F. So I’m going to enjoy these temperatures while they last.

-C