A Beach Holiday

We are home safely from our beach holiday but I have felt tired this week so have failed to have the motivation to write. We enjoyed going to the beach all but 2 days due to bad weather.  Overall we had more sunny days than rainy ones for which we are very thankful given the awful weather surrounding us.

Eva travelled in her car seat on the plane for both journeys.  As she is now 2 we had to buy her a seat but as she is only 10kg she is unsafe in a lap belt.  Jetstar were happy for us to use her car seat.  We are pleased to report that she sat wonderfully still in the seat both ways!

Eva loved the sand and the waves, it was magical to watch her explore and discover the beach. Putting her fingers in crab holes, collecting shells and pebbles and especially digging sand with Daddy.  We were just delighted to see Eva’s confidence with water include the waves.  Mostly she was happy to stand in the breaking waves on her own except the last few days when the waves were bigger and stronger than previously.  The beach was such amazing exercise for her which burnt up any food energy that we managed to get into her!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We lived in a relatively quiet beach house this year with the maximum during our stay being 16 adults and 5 children. We take turns to cook an evening meal which is just a lovely break from home routine for me. It’s amazing how much food the household can consume in a 24 hour period with daily shopping trips required.

Our friends Bridget and Ryan who were on holiday in Brisbane from Broken Hill, kindly drove down to visit us.  We didn’t get to the beach together due to the rain but we did manage a trip to Byron Bay and to the most Easterly point of mainland Australia during a break in the weather.  Eva wasn’t in the best of form that day with ear-piercing screaming when Mummy went out of sight (ie to the toilet) and multiple tantrums on the walk to enjoy the most Easterly point!  The joys of a 2-year-old.

Eva cut a new tooth making her set complete (until the 2 year molars).  She was a bit grumpy and kept Gran and Pop up and down at nights.  She only wanted Mummy during the day which put paid to my plan of having lots of quiet time!  The humidity made for lovely curls which were fun to run our hands through.

In our second week we watched the rolling news coverage of the floods that tore through Queensland and Northern New South Wales. And heard briefly about floods that killed over 600 in Brazil. This news did make us all reflect on just how lucky we are to be safe and well.  Nothing like listening to other’s stories to remind you of the fact that human life is just priceless and possessions are replaceable.  Our good friends Lauren, Scott, Ashlea, Sophie and Max had their house flooded in Toowoomba and are just beginning to piece their lives back together.  Please keep them in your prayers.

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Snow!

Last weekend Eva got to play in the snow for the first time.  She has seen snow from inside warm buildings before when she was very little.  Also it was the first time that Srijana and Lokraj had seen snow despite living in Nepal where there are lots of mountains with snow!

Although the snow was not very deep at this stage of the season it was good enough for some tobogganing.  Eva enjoyed the thrill of zooming down the hill which is no surprise seeing as she is a bit of an adrenaline junkie on the playground!  Lokraj and Andrew enjoyed going fast on their runs without Eva.  I had forgotten how much work goes into preparing and packing up snow clothes!  Eva looked just adorable in her snow suit toddling around.  Quite a contrast from her cuteness in the warmth recently.

We enjoyed the snow at Lake Mountain, near Marysville a town heavily affected by the Black Saturday Bushfires of February 2009.  Visiting Marysville and experiencing the shock of seeing so much destruction evident 19 months later was saddening.  I was amazed at how much rebuilding was going on through the town.  There are lots of new houses under construction, people brave enough to move back to the land and recreate their homes.  What is strange is that there are barely any trees anywhere with nothing but empty land between houses.  So many businesses were also burnt down with some now rebuilt and several operating from shipping containers.  There is a new modern community rebuilding project building which is totally different to the old buildings that were there.  We can’t imagine what it was like to live through the fires and through the rebuilding.  We are so pleased to have been able to support the community through our very short visit and encourage anyone to do the same.

We stayed in a cabin in the Caravan Park which Srijana thought was so amazing that she wanted it for her home in Melbourne.  Sadly they have just moved into a very old, rundown rental house which she just can’t get clean she says!  We had delicious takeaway from the only shop selling food in Marysville and watched the footy finals.

This was the first weekend that Steavenson Falls had been open for visitors.  The valley of the falls and river were destroyed by the heat of the fire and have begun to regenerate but have a long way to go.

Sorrento and The Great Ocean Road

We are just back from a weekend in Sorrento and touring part of the Great Ocean Road.  We took our friends Srijana and Lokraj (our host family in Nepal in 2007) away for the weekend.  When we were arranging the weekend via emails and announced our plan to them this was their reply:  “wow it will be great time for us thanks a lot for that.IN my whole life we  haven’t been such a long holiday .We are so happy thanks”. I shed tears when I read this.  That was definitely a great inspiration to have a great weekend away.

We headed down to Sorrento Friday night to stay at Andrew’s parents holiday home.  On the way down there were lots of questions about holiday homes and does everyone have one?  Then as we reached the seaside towns they wanted to know which houses were all the time homes and which were for a holiday!  It’s hard to explain our blessed Australian life sometimes.  Why would some houses sit empty at times, it really doesn’t make sense.  This was the longest holiday for them as they have only ever traveled to visit family to celebrate festivals in Nepal.  No such luxury as a break from life in the form of a holiday.

Early Saturday morning we drove onto the Sorrento -Queenscliff ferry for a 30 minute ride across Port Philip Bay.  This was the first time that Lokraj and Srijana had been on the sea.  From Queenscliff we drove towards the Great Ocean Road.

Map from Go Birding Tours

Our first stop on the winding road was Bells Beach to show Srijana and Lokraj surfing!  They thought that it was very strange that people would sit in the cold water and wait for waves to come past.  Back in the carpark we looked at a friendly surfer’s wetsuit to reassure Srijana that they were wearing something to keep them warm.

From here it was a windy drive along the coastline for some breathtaking views.  Nothing like travelling with “tourists” to make you look at the beauty of the Australian Coastline with fresh eyes.

We visited the Twelve Apostles, 8 limestone stacks created as the sea gradually eroded the soft limestone cliffs between Port Campbell and Princetown. I have seen many photos of these but they were still very impressive in person.  It was quite windy and cold but we had a good time exploring on the boardwalks.  Andrew had a fantastic time taking photos of course and you’ll see in Flickr there are quite a few with people in them!

Eva in the sling was quite the entertainment with some Asian tourists even taking a photo of her!  Eva certainly was the warmest and most comfortable of us all.

We headed back on the inland highway to avoid the windy road and Eva had a great sleep which was perfect.  Poor thing it really isn’t much fun being in the car all day even when there are people either side of you for entertainment.  I think that she ate her weight in snacks throughout the day although I did vacuum a fair amount of food out of her car seat upon our return.  We loved the iPod as it gave us a great variety of Children’s songs to choose from.  Srijana was able to sing along with some of them which was great fun.

Saturday evening was spent with Pizza and Tim Tams in front of the TV to show them some AFL.  Unfortunately we did have to watch Port lose to the Western Bulldogs.  They couldn’t believe that the game was being played in Darwin where it was 26°C at night!  Srijana was asking me for new recipes to try which I thought was hilarious seeing as she is a wonderful cook compared to me.

Sunday was relaxing with a walk along the Ocean Beach at Sorrento to begin with.  I had a great time with the camera, Andrew wore Eva and they looked adorable and Lokraj wrote names in the sand and got his shoes wet with a surprise wave!  Srijana and Lokraj felt the sea water for the first time.  They would like to come back in Summer to swim at the beach!  We had to explain tides to them, oh the joy of remembering science.

After this we did the Millionaires Walk on the cliff top over looking Sorrento passing some very divine homes with gorgeous sea views.  The weather turned very chilly and it started to rain so we headed back to the house to tidy up and drive back to Melbourne.

Srijana and Lokraj were just so delighted with weekend.  So pleased to spend time with us and see some new sights.  We planned some more weekend getaways around Victoria on our long drives.  Their reading and comprehension of English is very impressive after 2.5 years living in Melbourne.  They did enjoy the opportunity to ask lots of questions with lots of interesting discussions about the Australian lifestyle.  They are in the process of applying for a further temporary residency visa but with the rules continuing to change and the upcoming election they are not sure quite what their future holds.  They are happy with what they have achieved in the past 2.5 years so wont mind if they go home sooner than planned.  At least they will have the chance to see their daughter Shreetika (6 years) if they go home.

Thus it was a very enjoyable weekend to see them enjoy themselves to much but I still wasn’t able to relax very well.  The preparing and packing for just a weekend away when there is a small person to consider is quite significant.  So much to organise.  Also I was forever thinking about when Eva would sleep and eat which of course she didn’t want to do much of anyway!   I find parenting in another house somewhat challenging.  At our home Eva is free to roam and explore although this is becoming more challenging as she is quicker and more adventurous all the time.  In another house I am constantly wondering what cupboards and drawers she has opened and emptied and especially hoping that the stair gate withstands her constant pushing!

Regardless of these concerns on my behalf we had a great weekend and really enjoyed sharing a little piece of Australia with our Nepali family.