Thursday, April 12, 2012

School life

School Life
I know you've seen pictures of my room and my block where my class is, but I thought you'd like to see & learn more about the school.  Holy Cross is a private Catholic school with 467 students from Primary to year 7.  There are about 2 of each grade, with similar numbers to classes back home, some high, some low.  I had 27 year 3 students by the end of the year.  I started with 24, exactly half boys & half girls, a first for me.

Some of the things that stand out at this Catholic school, is the fact that everyone meditates after second break for 15 minutes using a CD with music, scripture and silence.  We have mass at the church as a whole school and also two grade levels will hold their own mass with Father twice a year.  When a teacher or adult says good morning to the students, they all respond with "good morning Mrs./Mr...... and God Bless You".  A first for Scott being speechless with this one when I introduced him to my class!

One of the playgrounds & block C (after a big rain!)

New assembly area and court

Holy Cross church right across the parking lot

Tuck shop and eating area for P-year 2

Court area

The school year is divided into 2 semesters, with a total of 4 terms.  Report cards are given out twice a year, at the end of each semester.  Oral interviews are also held twice a year, at the end of term 1 and 3 and organized by the individual teachers.  The curriculum is fairly similar to Alberta's, but with a few twists.  The big difference is when I taught the life cycle of an animal it is for a platypus or kangaroo, where back home it would be a bear or beaver.  I taught the history of Australia and the aboriginals and how they lived off the land.  In Airdrie I would have taught about the First Nations and how they lived off the land and used the buffalo.  I did a little learning myself in this area before hand.  School starts at 8:25 a.m. with 2 half hour breaks during the day, then ending at 2:50 p.m.  Breaks for the students are 10 minutes to eat and 20 minutes to play, all outside.

Year 4 to 7 each go to camp during the school year for 3 days at a variety of locations. 
Year 7 camp

Each class from year 2-7 take swim lessons at least once a year, some twice.  We walked to the nearby outdoor pool for our lessons.  Year 7 holds a mass and graduation which Brody was able to participate in.  Many classes go on excursions/field trips throughout the year.  Darby went to Tjapukai and Brody went paint balling.

Hailey at swim carnival- "I won!"

Grad procession with candles in church

Presentations from the principal
They had a few school sport teams which included netball, rugby and a cross country team.  Darby made the net ball team and Brody was on the cross country team.
Holy Cross netball team
The tuck shop is like a concession for students & staff to order food from for either break.  They have wraps, spaghetti, icy poles, chicken burgers, frozen yogurt, sushi, pizza and grilled cheese & ham sandwiches.  The best part was they had gluten free products for sale!!

We had school assemblies every Monday and Friday morning.  On Friday mornings we sang the national anthem, Australian Fair, celebrated the birthdays for the week as well as Student of the Week certificates were given out.  One class presented a prayer or poem at the start of the assembly each week.
3 Student of the Week awards!

Brody's class presentation
Holy Cross was a great school.   The staff, parents and students were very helpful and welcomed us to their school.  I will miss everyone at Holy Cross very much!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Scott's work

Scott's work

Scott worked for a company called Dawson's and did fly in, fly out shut downs.  Back in Canada he is called a millwright, but here in Australia he is a fitter.  Either way, it's the same thing.  Scott got to see a little more of Oz with his work.  He spent most of his time on Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpenteria, Northern Territory.
fly in - fly out with Alliance Airlines

Coast line flying into Cairns

Palm Cove beach & jetty
Cannington Mines - lead, zinc & copper

"Drum scrubber", self explanatory I'm told!

Morning in the outback after a night shift
Some of the accommodations were quite small when he first started.  As he became more of a regular he got to stay in slightly bigger rooms.
Dongers (sleeping accommodation)

Pod (area of accommodation trailers)
Small rooms

Air con unit was always on, even in the winter.
One night he even had a guest visitor waiting outside his bedroom door!
Carpet Python against the wall, outside his bedroom door.

Process area
He worked at different mines including Cannington, Century and GEMCO.  These were manganese, silver, copper, lead, and zinc mines.
Beautiful sunset in the outback

Process plant

Conveyor belts

He was fortunate to be able to work, as he got to see more of Australia then the rest of us.  He enjoyed the experience, the people he met, and the slightly warmer weather in the outback than in Canada.  A high of plus 40 degrees Celsius, to a low of zero.  He picked up new work lingo to try back home.  Done & dusted, means jobs finished; Smoko, means coffee break; Chocker block, means full; Crib, means lunch room; Shifter, means adjustable wrench; Stillson, means pipe wrench; Podgey bar, means pry bar.  Some of the wildlife he encountered included native long haired rats, emus, red back spiders, dingoes, kangaroos and snakes.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Over the year there were many occasions for us girls to dress up.  I sure was missing Mom's tickle trunk, but friends were very gracious in helping us out and sharing.

Holy Cross had a cultural day, obviously I chose Canada to do in my room.  My class put on a skit of a hockey game at the school assembly.  The students had fun dressing up in scarves and beanies (toques), and mitts I rounded up for the skit.  The best was locating a puck, we eventually used an ice pack shaped like a puck!
pink puck near the green stick

Moose vs Grizzly
School had a dance for the students on a Friday night to raise money.  Students were asked to dress up for the theme 'Enchanted Forest'.
Your guess is as good as ours!
Jason from across the street turned 40 in October so they had a party.  The theme was the 60's & 70's.  Scott was out of town working, but that didn't stop us from venturing across the road for the party.
nice shades!

Ready for the 70's party across the street
Brody's field hockey break up party was a tropical theme.  So the girls got into the theme and dressed up for the day.

The Year 3's based a unit on pirates, thus we had to have a pirate day.  We dressed as pirates and plundered the Principal's office for pieces of eight.
Ready to kill, I mean teach!

During book week at school we all dressed up as our favourite book character.
Lilo from Lilo & Stitch

Good Witch or Bad?!?

Crazy Canadian!!

Nov. 1 was the Melbourne Cup, so at school we had a sweep for $2 or $5 bets (a pool).  We ordered in pizza for lunch and the Dunaden's Cup horse race was at 2:00.  The Americana came in first and Juke Box came in second.  The staff wore fascinators (hair thingy) for the day, but we didn't get all dressed up in frocks (fancy dresses).  Melbourne actually gets the day off for the race!
My fascinator for the Melbourne Cup
Of course we had to dress for Halloween, though it's not as big here as it is back home.  We still went out to trick or treat in our neighbourhood.  I can honestly say this was the first time I was sweating while trick or treating!  Scott & Brody stayed home and had just over 30 trick or treaters come to our door.
Indian (Hailey) and 2 witches(Darby & Meagan)

Creative pumpkin
Christmas time even had us wearing unusual outfits!

Swimsuit calendar
A year to remember.

Heading Home

Heading Home Dec. 26, 2011
A crazy morning with last minute packing, cleaning and exchanging Hailey's Christmas Uggs for a bigger size.  Even had to leave some towels on the clothes line as they weren't dry yet.  Was able to squeeze in a quick skype to Mom as it was Christmas day in Canada and she didn't know we were coming home so soon.  Last minute check revealed 6 boxes of Tim Tams and 3 boxes of Australian chocolates in the freezer.  Quickly threw them in a grocery bag for Brody & I to divide into our carryon luggage later at the airport.  We weren't leaving without them!

Friends came to take us to the airport and 4 cars later we were at the international airport. Jason's ute took all of our 10 suitcases totally 500 pounds, we doubled the weight we took to Australia. Shawn & his family followed us so he could drive his other car back they had loaned us, after we got to the airport. Hailey's friend Kit and her mother Liz came as well and gave Hailey a ride to the airport.  They went to the domestic airport and we were at the international airport.  A little scary thinking she might not make the flight! They made it and all was good.  Teary goodbyes with the neighbours and friends!
Cairns International Airport

That's just Darby's luggage!
Checked in and got rid of our suitcases until Vancouver, what a great feeling.  Went through customs and security without any problems, then had 2 hours till our flight left.  Waited around the airport playing games, shopping and watching the airplanes.
Playing snakes & ladders!

Is that our plane?
Ready for our 11 hour flight to Hong Kong.
Which movie to watch first?

Are we there yet?

Nice beanie
More waiting and trying to get a comfortable sleep at the Hong Kong airport.  We had 4 hours to wait till our next flight to Vancouver.
Staying entertained

Found this comfy chair in our last 15 minutes!
Our next stop was Vancouver, but since it was our first port of entry into Canada we had to get our luggage and go through customs.
3 very full carts

Last flight!! Enjoy those clothes while you can!
After landing in Calgary, Tina, Kim, Darrell, Cary & Tom met us at the airport with our expedition.  Good thing, as we needed all the room in the back for our luggage!
Welcome Home sign

Good to be home!

4 FULL carts

Shorts & coats!
In our own comfy bed by 3:00 am and slept till noon.
Started unpacking and gathering all our souvenirs and gifts. I guess there really was a lot we had bought when we put it all together in one place.

Books, must be a teacher in the family.

Jewelery ,must be girls in the family.

Christmas ornaments
Good to be home!  Memories that will last a lifetime!