Published: September 10th 2006September 10th 2006
Marg finds a new best friend at the Australian Reptile Park.
It was great to have company from Mom and Dad this past week. They arrived on September 1st (the first day of spring down under) looking tremendous considering their 19-hour flight to Hong Kong and a further 9 hours to Sydney! They enjoyed their two days in Hong Kong and wish they had had more time, but were happy to land here and be settled in the same place for a few days.
After breakfast on Copacabana beach on Saturday, we had the chance to take Mom and Dad to see the school on the day of the Spring Fair. Lots of action and huge fundraising activities going on. We showed off Sarah's classroom and the many levels of the school before heading off to the Australian Reptile Park. Before they arrived, I asked Mom what she wanted to see... her only answer... ANIMALS! So - we did that! We took them the The Australian Reptile Park where they had a chance to feed kangaroos, pat koalas and check out all sorts of lizards and snakes - as well as Eric, the resident estuarine crocodile (at feeding time!)
On Sunday, we enjoyed a relaxing day touring the local beaches
Marg on Victoria Peak, Hong Kong
Marg and Ron spent 2 days in Kowloon on their way to Australia.
before heading back into Sydney. We managed to find their hotel in Sydney without getting lost, and then we walked around Darling Harbour - a beautiful area full of harbour-side shopping, dining and walking. Unfortunately, we had to leave them after dinner to get ourselves settled for our week of teaching at the independent schools' Gifted and Talented Camp.
Camp started on Monday morning with students checking in to Namaroo (a combination of a summer camp/meeting facility). Sarah was teaching maths to 16 really keen Year 5 and 6 students and Tom was responsible for 20 science geeks :) Although Monday's sessions went well, the main news around camp that day was the death of Steve Irwin (Crocodile Hunter) from a stingray attack. For us, this was big news - we toured his zoo on our last holiday and went diving quite close to where he was killed!
The core subject sessions at camp were mostly in the morning, which left the afternoons off for the two of us. We made it back downtown for dinner with Mom and Dad again on Wednesday night. Another dinner by the harbour and Mom repeatedly saying, "I can't believe I'm here!"
Possibly the 2nd most popular tourist photo in Australia. None the less, quite cute.
They were having a tremendous time and had taken a hop-on-hop-off tourist bus around the entire city on Tuesday. They had done some shopping and had the chance to see all the key sights - opera house, harbour bridge, botanical gardens etc. etc. etc. We left them to finish packing and prepare for their coach tour beginning Thursday morning.
We heard from Mom on Saturday night from Fraser Island. They have already had the chance to meet up with friends who stayed at the cottage several years ago and are enjoying their tour with only 18 people on the bus. They already have many stories to share, and are finding time for themselves away from the group as well.
The remainder of the week at the Gifted and Talented camp went really well for us. It was great to work with such small groups of students (our classes are usually all around 28 students) who are so keen about our subjects. Who thought that 5 hours of math or science each day would be totally fun and engaging for a full week - but it was! Sarah even had her class build two geodesic domes, never mind all
Ron & Marg at Darling Harbour, Sydney
We were able to visit Sarah's parents in Sydney on Wednesday evening. After an al fresco dinner, we enjoyed the sights of Darling Harbour.
the great "art" projects!
Sarah is heading off to camp with her class next week as Tom tries to get settled back into a regular school routine. After that, a 4-day trip to Canberra with the Year 6 classes to end the term.
Wow - has Term 3 ever passed quickly!
There are more photos below