So 11.5 years ago, I came to Brisbane to do an internship at the end of college. Little did I know, I was adding to my family. I stayed with the Schaers who took me in as one of their own. The girls of the family have all come to the states to see us but it’s been 10 years (since our wedding day) that I last saw Sharon, my Aussie mom.
Needless to say, I was quite anxious to get to Brisbane to see everyone. Our first night in town, we took the City Cat, which is the water taxi on the Brisbane River, to Southbank to meet Sharon for dinner. The last time I rode the City Cat was with my momma and daddy! We got to Southbank before Sharon so I was watching to spot her. I was looking in the wrong direction when Cory said “there she is; she’s running!” We were both quite excited to see each other that I’m pretty sure I stepped on her toes as I ran to meet her. I don’t think she minded. 😉 It was a wonderful evening and Bea and Teddy took straight to her! On our City Cat ride back to our hotel, Bea said “it was really fun to meet Sharon!”
Our first full day in town, Sharon coordinated for us to see Joan (her mom), Kelsey, Shane (her partner), Harlow (their new 2 week young) and Hans (Kelsey’s dad). It was a beautiful day of catching up, enjoying the spring weather and just taking it all in. Bea and Teddy jumped right in again with our Aussie family and I couldn’t be happier for my family to meet everyone! Sharon made dinner at her home for us this evening. It is just so surreal to be back but feels so normal!
After a day of ‘being a local’, we decided to go tourist again and explore the Australia Zoo. This is the zoo Steve Irwin started and I didn’t get there on my first visit to Australia. Sharon and Hans enjoyed the zoo with us and we didn’t miss an animal! We saw koalas, dingo pups, a tiger, rhinos, zebras giraffes and even got to feed kangaroos, goats and pigs. They also had water dragons (not in cages) walking all around the zoo; they quite intrigued Teddy as he liked to watch how fast they could move. Bea said no thanks and would walk wide to avoid them. ha Of course we didn’t leave out the crocodiles. Yes, we saw crocs of all kinds (including some American alligators) and ages. They had a croc who had been born in 1933! Who knew crocodiles lived that long! They put on a big show of reptiles, birds and crocs that was amazing! The birds were actually quite intriguing and birds don’t usually excite me that much. However, they had these birds (macaws, condors, cockatoos, etc) trained so to fly all around and then back to their enclosure. Then came the trainers and a crocodile; they are brave souls as they truly let the croc get so close to them to show us different movements that crocs made. However, when they agitated the croc and finally fed him, they were completely out of breath from being so focused. Fun side note is that while we ate lunch, we looked up and saw a koala sitting in a tree beside us just snoozing away. It doesn’t get old to see them! Some nights are meant for relaxation and movies so that’s just what we did tonight. After a very early supper and baths, we snuggled up on our double bed (all four of us…while Teddy lasted) and watched Tinkerbell. Bea has gotten really into fairies lately. 😉
Sharon had arranged such a fun week of seeing friends and family so we took the next morning to meet a friend that I worked with at Driza-bone and her two boys (ages 2 and 4). Bea had a big time playing with them as I’m sure she misses playing with kids her age regularly at play school. She has however made sure to practice her ballet skills at every balance beam (or make shift one) she has come across so she won’t be behind in ballet class when we return. 😉
We ended our day with a lovely dinner at Mt. Coot-tha Lookout (beautiful, vast view of Brisbane and we got to see the view before the sun went down too) and Summit restaurant with Sharon and Joan. The kids were in rare form this night so as you can imagine this type of behavior typically comes with injuries. Throughout the trip, Bea has skinned her knee and smashed fingers and toes; Teddy has bonked his head and bloodied his mouth more than once. I thought I had brought enough bandaids for the trip. As it turns out, I’ve already bought the second box as bandaids as they seem to really help any situation especially for Bea. As I had seen back home, I’m constantly reminded of how different boys and girls are. Bea needs a bandaid every time she barely hits something. Teddy needs a hug only when he’s bleeding or has a pump knot; otherwise, he just keeps on going.
We’ve really enjoyed a balance of touring the city and just relaxing. Wednesday we did a little of both! Sharon joined us for breakfast at the hotel before heading out on a City Cat ride down the Brisbane River to an area called New Farm. It has lovely grassy areas, beautiful jacarandas (purple budded trees that Bea loves) and an awesome playground. As usual Bea hit the playground running to try out all the new things and today, so did Teddy. He said I can get to things this time too as he walked all around! When I get home and Cory goes back to work, I think I have my work cut out for me to keep up with them both! This afternoon Cory and I both took some time for ourselves; we traded staying with the kids while they napped. I emptied my backpack before running a couple errands so I’d have room for the items I was purchasing. It felt so strange to walk out the door without a stroller or diapers. ha We rounded out our evening by going to see Kelsey, Shane and baby Harlow. Sharon read Bea and Teddy an Aussie book called Possum Magic; it’s a precious book!
So when you’ve been away from home for a month, you tend to need some downtime. We took some the next morning by not leaving the hotel until 5pm! We had a jammie morning (as we like to call it) and just relaxed. We had breakfast in the restaurant downstairs outside soaking in the sunshine. The sun is definitely more intense here so you don’t stay outside very long without putting 30+spf sunscreen on at all times. Thank goodness Bea and Teddy don’t mind be lathered up.
Tonight we were scheduled to have a family BBQ at Southbank but the rain took us to Sharon’s sister, Melinda’s house instead. We got to see Melinda, her husband and 2 girls; their daughters were 3 and 5 years the last time I saw them. 😉 Needless to say they have grown up and were so sweet playing with Bea and Teddy. Sharon, Joan and Cory did all the cooking and it was delicious!
On Friday of this week, Cory trained down to Surfer’s Paradise in the Gold Coast to see the beaches and enjoy Aussie V8 Supercar races. He had so much fun seeing their beautiful beaches as well as watching their V8s….the race cars are the same car Cory drives daily at home! With only a couple more days in Brisbane, we wanted to visit with our Aussie family as much as possible so that’s just what we did. We hung out at Sharon’s house as well as hitting a playground with a zip line! Cory and I acted like big kids then said our goodbyes to Joan, Hans, Kelsey, Shane and baby Harlow. It was so much fun but saying good bye this time was even harder. It has been amazing to watch my family meet and fall in love with my Aussie family like I did. I’m not sure they realize what a God-send they were when they said “sure we’ll host this American girl at our house.” I’m so incredibly thankful they did!
Cory, Millie, Bea & Teddy