It’s a quiet Saturday in Bendigo.  The semester is done and I am on vacation for the next 2 weeks.  I got up late, spent part of the day cleaning the fridge, making soup with the leftovers and baking a few cupcakes to use up some ingredients.  Leon got busy doing laundry and Earl cleaned his bathroom and packed his bag for the holidays.  We leave early tomorrow morning for our flight to Brisbane.  We’ll pick up a luxury campervan, a couple of young adults (one of which is related to me) and head North for a beachy family holiday.  It will be nice to get some sun, hear all about Ariane and Nick’s excellent adventure in the Outback, and just generally relax after a very busy term.  Let me recap…

Leon finally returned from Canada only to leave again to meet our friend, Rob from Canada, in Sydney.  They spent a few days there, touring the city, and catching the Canucks in the 7th Stanley Cup playoff game.  That was  such a disappointment, I won’t waste any words on it.  From there they travelled to Canberra to visit Australia’s capital.  Leon said it was worth a visit.  Lovely city!  By now I was getting impatient to have him back, so they hurried to Bendigo to spend a few days visiting this area, namely the Deborah gold mine and Pukapunyal, the Australian Forces base about an hour away.  Rob was kind enough to take us out for dinner at the Rifle Brigade.  We drank some good Bendigo reds before leaving the house and during the meal (I was still a little dozy in the morning and I went to bed hours before the others did).  Rob teased Earl mercilessly about getting a Marine style haircut so he could get all the girls he wanted.  You see, Rob seems to have a knack for attracting the lovely ladies when he is on holiday.  I figure he just looks like a Marine, so they flock to him.  At any rate, a great time was had by all.  The next day, Rob, Earl and Leon helped our friend Milton to put up a retaining wall.  You can imagine the heap of sore muscles that passed for 3 grown men walking around the next day.  At the end of the week, Rob went back to Sydney (to meet a lady friend) after a day spent walking around Melbourne with Leon.

Rob waiting for the Canuks game to begin

On that Friday,  I took the train with Earl to Melbourne after work and met Leon for dinner at a nice pub.  We stayed with Matt from Colorado for the night as we were all going to the footy the next day, along with a group of exchange teachers.  Matt and I had a whole evening to rant about the dreaded report cards and how the bathrooms and bedrooms are just not heated.  I was glad to see Matt all wrapped up in his sweats, slippers on and a blanket to keep him extra warm.  Personally, I think his house is much warmer than mine, but then we live in the country somewhat.

Rob in Puka
Rob made a few friends

You’d think that all that ranting would have allowed me to relax and get on with enjoying the weekend, but it didn’t.  I still have 2 classes of report cards to do when I got home on Sunday.  Saturday, we took the citylink train to downtown Melbourne and walked leisurely over to the Melbourne Cricket Grounds to watch the Richmond Tigers play against the Melbourne Demons.  I barrack for the Tigers as they are the same team as we have at St. Matt’s, my Orleans school.  Unfortunately, they lost, badly.  Earl enjoyed the food, but was pretty bored for most of the day.  We all walked down to Chinatown for a great Chinese dinner.  After that, we made our way back to the train station for our ride home.  It was sure nice to see all the other exchange teachers and hear about their plans for the holidays.  It made me think we hardly travel at all, if you can imagine that.

During dinner, we had a quiz about Australian Rules Football and I won a prize, based on how silly my answers were.  They did have prizes for humour.  I got to meet Steven, another former exchange teacher, who lived in Belleville only 2 years ago.  And Cheryl, who exchanged to Thompson, Manitoba – brave soul!

Meanwhile, school was still busy as I struggled to get report cards edited and rewritten.  I had never imagined doing this much paperwork.  I figure my exchange partner must think our Ontario report cards are a joke by comparison.  She has happily completed her school year and can now relax for the next 9 weeks while I go back for 2 more terms.  I’ve had a change in my teaching load, once again.  This term, I will be teaching grade 7 English in addition to the French and Humanities I taught last term.  I told them I was not an English teacher, but they seemed to think it will all be fine.  I am a little apprehensive at having yet another 29 students added to my teaching load.  I’ve never taught over 200 students in one semester before.  I am not sure how I’ll ever keep their names straight, but I’ll give it my best try.  So if the blog posts are less frequent, you’ll know I am just a little swamped.  But that’s not for another 2 weeks.  Bring on the holidays…

Footy on June 25
China Town dinner with the ITFs