Friday, 27 March 2015

The Assimilation Game: starring Katira and Grady...and Benedict Cumberbatch

Wet n' Wild for Nat's bday!
It has been a fair bit since the last time I made a post, but I wanted to make sure I had enough material for a solid entry. As the title of this one suggests, the theme of Katira's and my last several weeks has been assimilation (unfortunately without Benedict Cumberbatch). We are now feeling substantially integrated into Canberran culture, and while that does feel like solid progress, it hasn't included huge things that are particularly exciting to share in a blog format. However, after six weeks of taking root, we have some stuff.

Probably the most significant way that we have become Canberrans is through the Kingsford Smith School, a K-10 school where Katira has been working almost full time for six weeks. As she noted in the last blog entry, signing up for anything in Australia is quite the process, but after the extensive application reviewing, Katira is a certified relief (substitute, for those who don't speak Australian) teacher, and I have worked a few days as a teacher's aide. We were having fun with our responsibility-free Netflix binging and touring of the city, but having a professional outlet has allowed us some financial flexibility in our touring options (we get paid more for relief work over here than we do full time teaching in the U.S.!). Furthermore, having a job makes us feel like we really deserve a Property Brothers Netflix binge at the end of the day. And by 'us', I really mean Katira; she has worked all but two days in the last six weeks, and I have worked...4...I WANT to work more, those are just the only calls I have gotten, I promise! Hopefully, now that we have made a lasting connection at that school, I can get some more work in the weeks to come.

 The Castles' first day of work. Note Gina the Barina in the background, our faithful steed.

What have I been doing while Katira goes off to work you ask? Well, we joined a golf course called Gold Creek (MUCH more affordable than becoming a member most places in the States), and I have been practicing there daily. Most of you know that golf is more than something I do just for fun, and working at my game is a fairly significant pursuit in my life. Being a member at Gold Creek is a cool opportunity for me to do that...unfortunately it hasn't paid off in my golf scores yet. But I'm still working at it.

Practicing with the kangaroos. That one closest to me
is a 7 handicap right now, but I've seen him improve his lie...

How do we get to work and the golf course you ask? Well, thanks to Dave and Holly, we have a fun car! Her name is Gina, and she's a '95  Holden Barina. And thanks to Josh for helping keep all of the Davis/Castle cars functioning for the price of beer.

Also, we've worked pretty hard at building a yard--much harder than is probably required, at least for me, but when you're learning how to landscape, sometimes you have to backtrack a little before you move forward.
Yard and fence I helped Ben put up to earn my keep. Many others
have helped too, most them way more efficient help than mine.

The cutest part of our life in Australia is our new roommate: Beans Bravis. A sweet little guy who is a great couch dog, he also hasn't really learned another form of playing that doesn't involve using his adorable little teeth to chomp down on things like toys, grass, knees, feet, hands, noses...but he's getting better :)

Beans the Dalmatian

To round things off, we've also done some fun stuff in downtown Canberra, taken a trip to Wet n' Wild for Nat's birthday, enjoyed community at Sunday night dinners with Jackie and Malcolm and Monday night dinners with Matt and Amy, and we recently took a trip to a Davis family hallowed ground, the lovely beach town of Kiama--that will be the subject of the next post by Katira, including the balloon spectacular that we saw on the way, coming soon!

Australian WOD: sweet as (adj) - really great--so great you don't even have to compare it to anything, as in the U.S. phrase sweet as pie; "Those Robertson meat pies are sweet as!" (Will also be useful in New Zealand, where we will be next week! "Those hobbits are sweet as, bro!")