Wednesday, October 17, 2007

One Hundredth Post

Well folks, I've reached the milestone of my one hundredth post! To mark the occasion I thought I'd take a stroll down memory lane and reflect on some of the highlights of my time here.

Arriving in Australia in February 2006 (a year and a half after finding out I was selected as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar) we found Canberra to be a delightful place to live. Not at all like the stuffy and boring place it's made out to be. Okay, maybe a little boring but we spend most of our free time these days at home in our garden anyway! Canberra is beach deficient and you can't blame a sea loving people for holding that against the place, but otherwise I'm convinced that people who live here perpetuate the myth in order to keep away the masses. A pretty dull place to visit, but a great place to live!

As a Rotary scholar I visited clubs around the district speaking about myself, where I'd come from, what I was studying and why I chose Australia. I have been truly honored to represent this organization and have seen that Rotarians do their best to make their communities better places.

If you've been following my blog since last year you'll have seen LOTS of animal photos. At one point I think that there might have been more birds, kangaroos, bats and possums appearing on my blog than yours truly, but my fascination with the wildlife is never ending! I just found this photo of my niece Teagan from when the family was visiting in September 2006. It must be one of the cutest things ever and I have to include it here...

Lest you should think that one can let a two year old go 'round schmoozing with wild animals, I should mention that this photo was taken in a petting zoo...

Studying at the ANU for my masters was a great experience because I shared it with interesting people from all around the world. Graduating earlier this year was really the culmination of waiting to come to Australia and all of the effort put in last year. Brian and I both felt on some level that we were ready to leave Australia once I was finished but alas, I am sensible enough to not pass up good opportunities that come my way. I'm still at the ANU working as a research fellow in sustainability education and really enjoy my job. I do have flickering visions of a PhD (and my supervisors toss in a "Dr McMillin" for good measure every now and then) but I'm happy where I'm at so I don't see any need to pursue a doctorate at the moment.

So, in summary, it has been an amazing experience to live and study abroad for an extended period of time. Australia is great; uncrowded, full of wide open spaces, awesome beaches, kangaroos and koalas, Asian food and fairly environmentally conscious folks. The politics though aren't all that much better than those back home. It's bloody hot in the summer and words like "bloody" have crept into my vocabulary. Sometimes I feel like I fit in but once I open my mouth they know I'm not from these parts.

Speaking of vocabulary, see if you can translate this:

This arvo I felt a bit crook and chucked a sickie, fair dinkum, eh? Chucked me esky and me swag in the ute and went walkabout with me mates out in woop woop. We'd just put some snags on the barbie and cracked a stubbie when we noticed a bloody pom hooning about in his budgie smugglers and whinging that his chook carked it. Reckon he had a kangaroo loose in the top paddock. Struth!

Crack the code and win big!

Now memory lane wouldn't be any fun without photos so I've sifted through about six thousand photos(!) to bring you the last year and a half in pictures (not an easy selection process I might add). I've made a slideshow and posted it on a Picasa web album.

The highlights of the photos include my time at the ANU and in Canberra, friends and family, the best of the Australian animals, visits to Rotary clubs, our Tasmania cycle trip, McMillin holidays around Australia (and Fiji) and some of the national parks we've been trekking in.

If you want to see the slideshow full screen and be able to vary the speed, click on the following link:

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Weekend

I think I mentioned our new garden in a previous post and I thought I’d put up a few photos to show what we’ve been doing lately. Brian has been diligently tending to two experimental compost piles since we moved into our new place in January and they have been a huge success! This is the garden bed we built using his compost…

And here are some of the tomato seedlings that were started in egg cartons. They have since been moved to larger pots and trays so that their roots have more room. The egg cartons worked out all right but the seedlings were probably a bit crowded from the start. We will definitely have to give some of these away as we didn’t expect one hundred of the seeds to actually sprout!

And a nice photo of the wisteria in our driveway...

Saturday was spent at the markets and in the garden and Sunday was off to the Tinderry Nature Reserve for a walk with Matt and Sarah. Here’s the crew enjoying a picnic on a grassy knoll with a nice view…

And on the way out of the park we saw two echidnas (the only monotremes – mammals that lay eggs - other than the platypus). This one is curled up in protective mode.

Weekends are never long enough!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


This morning I went out to sit in the sun on the front steps to trim my fingernails before going off to work. I had just sat down and from around the corner appeared my kitty friend, Bullseye (named by me for the distinctive circular pattern on her side). I’m sure that someone feeds and loves this cat but it is always wandering around near our house and is rather affectionate. Today Bullseye came right up and rubbed all over me as kitties do, leaving a swath of hair on my clothes. But that’s okay with me as I have moments where I desperately want a cat :) She then pushed the door open and walked right in the house, making herself at home and looking for food. Here she is looking like she owns the place...

...and here she is looking a bit unhappy with me for kicking her out so I could go off to work...

Monday, October 01, 2007


As today was a public holiday (Labour Day) we had a three day weekend. There were no grand adventures unless you count planting herbs and veggies in our new garden, catching up on laundry or baking lasagna. Today was mini-adventure I suppose, at Floriade, Canberra’s month long festival of the bulbs. The best of the photos follow:

And what festival of flowers and gardens would be complete without a display of garden gnomes, hand painted by local schoolchildren?