We’ve been home for 2.5 weeks.  We are almost settled in the house, except for all the extra stuff that has moved back home along with the kids.  We are trying to sort and store as much as possible.  Clearly, we need a bigger house.

We started looking for a larger home sometime in November, online.  It was a fun thing to do on a quiet night or when I was trying to avoid my marking.  Even during the glamour of living in Australia, it was nice to think of home and what might lie ahead for us.  We were hoping to move to Europe if I got a job there.  But I finally heard last week that there will be no job offer coming.  Oh well… Time to settle in Ottawa and buy a bigger house where we can install a hot tub and continue some of the lifestyle we had in Langley, BC.

We’ve seen about a dozen homes in the past 10 days and may have found something we can all enjoy.  I always like decorating a home to my taste, adding a lick of paint or two, so it will be another fun adventure.

School has been about completing a semester for my exchange partner and getting ready for next semester, which starts in a week.  I’ll be teaching French Immersion, Geography and International Business this year.  An interesting combination which should be familiar yet challenging.  Sure I won’t be the “Canadian teacher”, but I will make the best of it.

In the spring, we need to get Leon’s car and trailer from BC, so that will involve flying to Vancouver and driving the vehicle back to Ontario.  I am not sure if I am joining Leon for this or whether his son might be interested in taking the trip.  For now, we are just busy trying to adjust to our new schedule, with Leon going to university full-time (one of 3 students in my house) and working as much as he can, the kids working through another semester (what is actually Earl’s last semester in his program) and me trying to keep my accounting straight as my exchange partner and I continue to receive our last bills and find a way to pay them without incurring large bank fees.  As she says, “the exchange is over, but the costs keep coming.”  Her husband had to get an Ontario driver’s licence to get a favourable insurance rate while in Orleans. His Australian licence was only 2 yrs into a 10 yr term.  When he returned to Australia, he had to pay for another 10 yr licence – about $150! Ouch!!

Jet lag is under control and I can say that I’ve had a full week of proper sleep – if you don’t count the hot flashes and the wakeful periods while I try to sort all this activity in my busy brain.  It will take a while to process the year we’ve just had.  People at work usually ask me how I enjoyed my trip.  I am not sure if I should reply on my trip to Vietnam or my year working in Australia or even any number of trips we took while in Australia.  They all think the winter weather is bothering me, but I can’t say I’ve noticed it much even though we’ve already had 2 snow days since I returned.  People think we lived in hot, tropical weather for the past year.  I am quick to correct them, telling them we had seasons in Bendigo and when you look at the map, Melbourne is awfully close to Antartica.  The water in the ocean is cold there, nothing like the Caribbean.