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Friday, August 28, 2009

The Opera House

In Sydney, Austrailia my family and I went to the Opera House and saw the Opera Aida! The Opera was really nice but late so I fell asleep for about 15 minutes! A day before we went to the Opera we walked the Harbor Bridge in Sydney (somtimes called the "coat hanger") and got a very good veiw of the Opera House!
When we got in the Opera House it was HUGE!!!! It was very busy inside and full of people with food and drinks. When we got into the room were the Opera would be going on it was noisy and starting to fill up with people. We had kind of high seats but they were still good because I could still see everything fine! The Opera was about 3 hours long and had 3 breaks. On stage it was very nice because there was real water up there, only shalow but it was still there!
The auditorium we were in had only cement walls. It was all quite plane around us. The people on stage didn't have to sing very loudly and still their voices would ecco around the room loud and clearl!
Going to the Opera was a lot of fun and was a once in a life time experience so I'm glad we went even though I fell asleep in the end!

-No Worries Elena!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Scuba at the Great Barrier Reef

On our trip to Australia we went to the Great Barrier Reef. We stayed on a live on board boat for three days. Previously in New Zealand I had gotten my diving license, but diving in new Zealand and diving in Australia are two different things (meaning Australia is better). Here are a few things I thought were amazing about scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef.

1. You can be under 20 feet and think its only 5-10 feet to the surface.
2. Fish are swimming everywhere!
3. Fish will get really close to you!
4. The Reef is so big, I don't think anyone could ever explore the whole thing.
5. You're always finding new things you didn't see before. (so you will never get bored)
6. There are thousands of different fish, coral, sharks, squid, turtles........ etc.

I only did one dive a day, but my dad did about 13 throughout the whole trip. I saw two sharks. It was really exciting to be swimming with sharks in open water instead of in a pool at Disney where the sharks don't actually have any teeth "for your own safety". Over all I thought scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef was a lot of fun and a great experience.

- Damon

The Zoos we went to in Australia

In Australia we went to two zoos. Both zoos had only animals native to Australia. The first one was in Sydney, the second in Cairns.
We got to see kangaroos eat and pet a kangaroo. They are really soft, they seemed kind of lazy. The kangaroos didn't hop a lot. They used their tale by standing on their back legs and then lifting themselves up with their tales.
We also got to see some koalas and some had joeys on their backs. We pet a koala and it had really thick fur, they were also soft. They were cute and looked cuddly!
We got to feed a cassowary. A cassowary is a bird in the ostrich family. They had blue and green necks and black long fur on their body. They had a horn thing on their head. They had large eggs that were a light green color. The cassowary is an endangered species.
We also saw quoles and they were like a cat and a tasmanian devil together. We got to see them be fed and they were brown and had long tails. They are also endangered.
We got to pet a 1 1/2 year old crocodile, it was smooth with bumps. We also got to go on a boat on a river and watch big crocodiles get fed. They jumped out of the water to get the raw chicken. When they snapped their jaws shut it made a loud biting noise. It was lots of fun.

- Maddie

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Saying Goodbye

Wairoa has been a wonderful little town to spend the last 14 months of our lives in. As we look back we see that what we have experienced here is intricately intertwined with the people we have met. There is a tradition here in New Zealand, a public “Thank you” for someone for what they have shared with you. In sharing our experiences we would like to take this opportunity to thank the many people who have made our year exceptional.

Ruth, Russell & Suzelle you have introduced us to the wilds of New Zealand, taking us tramping at Lake Waikeremoana being sure there was a shorter way back to the car if we went past these trees, through this field and into this river! You introduced us to Moko whom we visited over and over never tiring of the thrill of swimming with and touching a live, wild dolphin. You took us up in the helicopter experiencing the spectacular scenery from above. A New Year’s morning will never pass in which I will not remember sitting on the beach sharing a beautiful sunrise with you. You shared your family with us and have become ours. You mean the world to us.

Ian & Theresa, sharing communion with you met needs beyond imagination. Sitting and talking while drinking your fabulous mocacinos provided rest and intimate conversation.

Thank you Jill & Adrian for the opportunity to discover in the Yacht Club that sailing a boat is not as easy as it looks, and that being out there in a P Class boat faced with the challenge but also the freedom to move forward is rewarding.

Our fist bottle of wine was shared by Raffi after struggling to find a way to get the cork out of the bottle without a corkscrew! The year of working with you has been a blessing to Chad. He has enjoyed the camaraderie in and outside of work. Thank you for inspiring a group to take a tour of Hawke’s Bay cellars as well!

We discovered the art of raising two little lambs as Paul and Jossie walked us through each step of the way from bottles to recipes! Every time I sew I will have fond memories of the machine you gave us to borrow. Little did you know that it was something I had specifically prayed about before coming, as I wasn’t able to bring my own.

And speaking of sheep, thank you to Wendy and the spinning club who gave us the opportunity to sit in the evenings by the fire spinning our own yarn, then learning how to knit it into a hat.

The peacefulness of taking a jog around town, and getting motivated to do a “full body workout” at the Community Centre was much more enjoyable when joined by a friend. Thank you Stephanine. I am so glad we had the time to take our friendship beyond a jog to hanging out, going to Napier and lunch dates.

Brian and Christine, little do you know how a dream was fulfilled for me when you invited us to dance class. You happily shared your dance moves with us and every time we Cha, Cha Cha, we will remember you!

Gail, your love for rugby and the All Blacks spilled over into our experience of New Zealand. We so enjoyed getting to know you. Traveling to Wellington to see a live All Blacks game was the topping on the cake to finish the year.

Ron, Sue & Megan, thank you for sharing your batch in Mahia with us. Our first walk on the reef with you as you explained a wealth of knowledge on all the little critters left us exploring each time we returned. Chad loved the new adventure of diving for crayfish (lobster) and we all enjoyed eating it.

I could not believe after traveling so far from home that I was being invited to a Tupperware party, yet Val that bit of home was a reassurance I needed. I missed you when you passed on even though I only knew you for such a short time. Stew, despite Val’s illness and passing, you were a friend in addition to a neighbor. Thank you for sharing your pool with us. You taught me so much beyond gardening, but in serving as well.

Garafield and Rachel, our first exposure to you was hearing you preach in your little church. Your love for God was evident. I enjoyed tea with you Rachel and sharing promises of God. Garfield, I will never forget you and my Dad going back and forth between our houses as you shared yard tips with him! In such a short visit, a very meaningful bond was made. I was sorry to see you pass away shortly before we left. Rachel, you are in our prayers.

Lawrence and Marie I so enjoyed walking Joe to school. I watched Elena grow in compassion as she helped him each day. Your love for your Grandson is very beautiful.

We are better people because you have shared your lives with us and for that we thank you.