Friday, May 14, 2010

Goodbye to the Outback!

It is hard to believe we have been living in the Outback for
more than twelve years. The time has come for us to move
back to the US to be closer to family and friends there. Still,
it has been quite difficult to say goodbye to those we've become
so close to here. We fly out tomorrow (May 15th).

We organized to go on a camel ride with some of our friends a
few weeks ago (pic above).  Since I was sick (and missed it) and
the kids had such a wonderful time, my friend and I went down
for a final ride today.  After so many weeks of hard work, packing
and cleaning it was fabulous to get out and just have fun!

Last Saturday we had a wonderful goodbye party/bonfire
beneath the crystal clear Outback skies.  You'll never see the
Milky Way and starry sky like you do here so far away from
any big city (1000km to the nearest major city!!)

It's hard to express in writing how much we'll miss everyone
here, the low key, traffic-free lifestyle and the amazing things
that make living in the Outback so unique and wonderful. I will
personally miss all the sports and music that have so enriched
my life.  I've gotten to play field hockey now as an adult for 10
years (how many women get to play hockey after college/university
in the US unless they're Olympians?  I'm certainly not that good!).
I've also loved playing soccer, mountain biking, running through
the gorgeous outback along red, sandy 4WD tracks, camping with
no one around for miles/kilometers!  And my music has been an
amazing blessing. I've made the most incredible bonds with the
others in my wind ensemble, the Alexandria Quartet (though we're
actually a quintet!!).  It was a privilege playing with all of you
(I play the oboe).

My love and hugs to all those incredible people I've gotten to know

There will be no new posts at the Homeschool Den for quite a
while. Perhaps as long as three or four months from now. We'll
be traveling to see family, sell a house, buy a house, and things
like that.  We  don't expect to get our household goods for at
least 10-12 weeks  (that is, if we've managed to find a place to buy
right away. Otherwise, it  will all go into storage for a  while.)

Anyway, thank you so much for reading our blog.  Farewell for now!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Another Flood Photo -- What's left of my sister's living room

Here's another picture sent by my sister. This is the livingroom/study and dining room -- looks out on the backyard. Yes, that's insulation hanging on the lamp chain. And on the right, that leg stick up near the far door, that's the piano. Again, this is one of the rooms on the first floor.  The water went at least 5-7 feet higher than this room.  This level of the house is about 15 feet (or more?) off the ground.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Flood Destroyed Den/Library

My sister sent this picture of their den/library/study. This area had their computers, a number of tall bookshelves and so forth. The ceiling used to be finished, but this room was fully submerged under the waters; you can see the collapsed ceiling over the top of the other stuff. (The flood waters reached the second story beds, another 5-7 feet above this room.)

My sister said they don't know yet whether they will gut the house and rebuild or whether they'll have to bulldoze the entire house and rebuild. But that is a decision that is made for them (by insurance I gather) depending on how sound the structure is after this flood.

 Meanwhile, the movers have been here boxing up our things. Today should be the final day and they load the crate with all the boxes, furniture, etc. and start sending it south to Adelaide and then by ship to the US. It has gone smoothly and we've been blessed with lots of help from friends.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Heart Goes Out to My Sister

My sister, her husband and three kids live and homeschool in Nashville, Tennessee.  They have just lost most everything they own when floods rose to above the beds in their second story.  The first floor (living room, kitchen, library, den, hobby room) was fully submerged when creek flood levels rose. (We've been there, and the water must have risen at least 50 feet to have gotten that high!)

Considering that a number of people lost their lives, my sister said they were feeling fortunate.  They saved the family pets and most of their chickens (they have a chicken farm), which took refuge on the roof of their house. My sister said they had enough warning to get a 4-5 day supply of emergency supplies, a few clothes and a few valuables buts lost most everything (computers, photos, books, all appliances and on and on). Her neighbor wasn't so fortunate, my sister said, and lost absolutely everything.  She said he doesn't even have a pair of matching shoes.   We feel so sad for them.

My sister is amazing, amidst all this loss she and her family is going through, they emailed and said they would still take care of our dog (which we were going to have shipped next week from Australia to Atlanta, Georgia where they would pick her up).  Amazing to be thinking of others at a time like this.  (Our dog will be flying to Colorado instead and we'll drive her across the country with us and our three kids... and just see how it goes til we can buy a house and all.)

Anyway, my heart, thoughts and prayers go out to my sister, wonderful brother-in-law (who just got back from a 9-month deployment to Iraq about 3 weeks ago or so) and their three amazing kids.