Arriving in Australia
Heading from Fiji to Melbourne we landed late at night and came out of the airport to get a ride to our hostel surprised by the cold! July in Australia is in fact winter! It’s winter in Fiji as well, but that felt like a cool summer to us, actual winter was a shock to us wearing shorts and t-shirts! We were able to finally secure a maxi-taxi to get us on our way and unpacked our winter gear in earnest! In the morning we hopped the train up to our first international house sit! They welcomed us warmly with dinner and new friends!
We were pretty lucky in our timing to arrive in Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia right at the beginning of term (as they call it here, the beginning of school and all kinds of other classes for kids). We were able to jump right into things like soccer, circus class and ballet. We found a local Pioneer Scout Hall and promptly signed the kids up for the equivalent of Cub Scouts in Australia. We also attended church some at the local Mormon ward in Bendigo, where we more than doubled their primary attendance.
Most influential though was a local homeschool group that was kind enough to let us join them for a couple months! We made fast friends in the group meeting weekly and met up during the week for play dates. A highlight of our time in Castlemaine was the homeschool group theater production we were involved with. We put on an adaptation of the Chronicles of Narnia – Lion Witch and the Wardrobe – but Castlemaine style, dubbed Castle-Narnia.
The slow travel has paid off on this stop and we were very happy to be able to quickly integrate with the community. A great community it is too! Castlemaine is close enough to Melbourne that many commute, but it’s also far enough that it has its own character. It has a feel almost of a liberal college town and a small town at the same time (reminding us of Athens, GA) while also having some rich history with the gold rush. It also has ancient history with indigenous people in the area for something like 40K years.
There were even a couple community events we joined in. A game night, town lunches and soccer social kicks (adult tournaments). Combine all this with all the other activites and field trips we made, it’s amazing we did it all in 8 weeks!
The photo barrage: