Thursday, March 13, 2008

Plans for China

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After my conference I'll stay with my friend Xiao Jun (I call her Christine for short) and her family for two weeks!!


We met as exchange students in Belgium last year and really hit it off. We had such a great time together on group trips to Paris and all around Belgium. I can't wait to see you Christine!!

eensy weensy bit of Culture Shock

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Thanks for all your responses to my last email,
I absolutely love hearing from everybody-- how you're doing back home as well as the experiences you may have had that are similar to mine while traveling. I've finally been able to get some pictures up, so I thought I'd take a minute to share.

The first week being in a new country is always the most fascinating-- it's all those small things that catch your attention and constantly remind you how far you are from home.
Here are (at least 2) of my favorite "aussie-isms" :)

Believe it or not, but the first picture is actually a DRIVE-THRU LIQUOR SHOP. It seems we do most everything we can back in the States to prevent drinking and driving: the legal ages for these privileges are staggered, etc. The Australian govt. seems to be looking for trouble in this respect! Come your 18th birthday, you're dubbed old enough to both drink and drive simultaneously...and then they provide Drive-thru pubs!! Talk about easy access!! Here you can see Geoffbuying a few cases of beer for the restaurant stock- pop 'em in the back seat and away we go!



The next picture may be a bit less incredulous, but fascinating nonetheless. This is a view of the cloud-cover from the back porch.It was still about 89 degrees out, but in the late afternoon we had some beautiful clouds.




In #3 you'll see an interesting sort of drink holder.
I just thought that was kind of funny how they're hanging from the caps!!! Common sense (and the laws of gravity) scream at me to un-hang them....and maybe put them in a cooler, but the aussie's seem content to drinkwarm soda that may fall off the rack and explode at any second. Fascinating....




And the last picture is my cousin Lachlan (Loki for short, pronounced Lockey), who is an apprentice to an aeronautical engineer. I caught him right in the middle of drawing up some plans. One of things I like most about being around the restaurant is the family aspect of it. Geoff and Lisa have rented the 2-story cottage that goes with the restaurant (which was a house renovated into arestaurant). Geoff has his own business "Gallda" and designs/develops helicopter parts, so he often works out of the office in the cottage, and Loki's always around, so I get to spend a lot of time with them.

First Impressions

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G'day Mates!

I landed in Sydney, Australia this morning….after a loooonnng 15 hour flight from San Francisco. I must say I have a new understanding of the watery expanse we call the Pacific Ocean. The flight left 10:20pm on Saturday night, and we arrived in AU at 7:50am Monday morning. Needless to say….Sunday disappeared somewhere in there!

It wasn't until after I had gotten off the plane in Sydney that I was told I needed to claim my baggage, go through customs, and navigate the jam-packed international terminal to get to a shuttle that would take me 6 miles to the domestic transfer airport. This slightly conflicted with the emphatic reassurance from the ticketing agent at SFO who told me not to worry at all about my baggage and that they would be pushed through to my final destination. So I ended up frantically at the end of a HUGE line of people who found themselves in the same situation as I had, and I was the second to last person to board the plane. But, I got here!

It's 98 degrees Fahrenheit and I already have a sunburn! But I love it so far; the whole atmosphere is different. People aren't in a hurry to get anywhere, and it kind of feels like everyone's on vacation-- even though it's Monday!

My aunt Lisa was there to meet me at the airport, and we made a first stop at IKEA (right outside the airport) before heading to the restaurant. It was so cute, as we were walking out a little 2 or 3-year old boy suddenly popped up beside me. I hadn't heard anybody near us, so when I noticed him walking out with us I stopped and looked down, "Oh! You must have lost your parents!" His eyes got really big and he got this wide, mystified grin on his face and couldn't stop staring at me, but wouldn't say anything. The more I talked, the bigger his grin! I could tell there was laughter in his eyes; he was just so in awe that he couldn't manage to do anything. It turns out his mum was right behind us and said, "Oh, he thinks you're so funny."

Then at the restaurant I met the chef, Andrew, and he said my accent was very strong, stronger than Lisa's. So it must be. I guess I better just get ready to be laughed at for the next three months!

Geoff and Lisa's boys Jozey and Lachlan were waiting at the restaurant when we got there, about 1:30pm. Apparently they were very excited to see me, and Jozey, who's 14, found a way to take a half-day off school for it. J I thought that was so cute. Lachlan's just a few months younger than me and this is my first time to meet him because I was in Belgium when they all came and visited in Oregon. They're really fun kids, I know we're going to have a lot of fun!

I have a few pictures that I was going to attach, but because of some internet problems I'll have to send them hopefully tomorrow.
Cheers!

Testing 123

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