Kangaroos! Kangaroos! Look on the left side. They are hard to catch!
Today was another long day on the bus. Our first stop was our government council visit in the city of Ayr. The man that presented was the worst public speaker I have ever seen. He read something in monotone off a piece of paper that he covered his face with. I don’t even know what he said. Then he showed two videos about the Birkeden Shire. A shire is like a county. Then he asked the kids if they had any questions. There was an awkward silence for a while then finally some of our kids came up with a few questions for the guy. He presented me with a bag full of certificates for the kids, a sweet tractor pin, and a bookmark. Then he asked me if I wanted to say a few words. Ahhh! I just said thank you and we got the hell out of there. I was less than impressed.
The best part of stopping in Ayr was that I had a moment to call home.
It was perfect timing 11am July 5th Australia time, 9pm July 4th EST. My parents and a bunch of their friends were all sitting on the deck in Fairhaven watching the fireworks. They past the phone around and let me say hello to everyone. Then they held up the phone so I could hear the fireworks.
Our next stop was the town of Charters Towers where nothing is open on Saturdays. As we drove inland the terrain seemed to change to what I had thought Australia would look like. It was a lot more dry and outbackish.
Is that a word?
Our farm stay cottage
From the hopping town of Charters Towers we had a 45 ride to our farm stay. This was a rough ride. It was a dirt road that was very bumpy. Every once in a while we had to stop because there were cows in the road. Also every few minutes we would all scream because we saw kangaroos or wallabies out the windows.
We finally arrived at the Trafalgar Station for our farm stay. The family greeted us and showed us around. The leaders plus Dion and John all stayed in this small cottage.
I had to share a room, well not so much a room but a space, with Adam. The first funny thing that happened was when I went to the bathroom. I flushed the toilet and all of a sudden I saw a frog in the toilet swimming against the current trying not to get flushed down. He survived and lived in there for the duration of our stay along with another frog, perhaps his wife. So from that moment on anytime we had to go to the bathroom we said that we had to go visit the frogs. At 6pm the family told us that we had a “meeting”. They took us out of sight of the kids and gave us a drink. Roger, the father was very funny. There, I also met his wife Jenny and his daughters, Maddy, Jane, Laura and Kate. Kate’s boyfriend David was there as well. We learned that they had a son but he was away doing an apprenticeship. The set up of the farm was great. It has been in their family since 1913. They owned 80,000 acres of land. They had been hosting People to People groups for the past 17 years and you could tell. The students all slept in bunk beds in a big shed.
The boys were on the left and the girls were on the right. They shared one light switch which made bed checks quite annoying. They had an outside porch and kitchen all set up for meal times with a separate area for the adults. They had a sink for the students to clean their dishes. Near the student’s bunks was a volleyball court and basketball court. They had a bucket of all sorts of balls and sporting equipment which kept the students very entertained. For dinner they fed us beef from their own cattle. After dinner they taught us some Australian bush dances. All the students participated and had a great time. Then one of our students went to get his IPod to show the family some American dances. They showed them the Cha Cha Slide, Casper Slide and the Soldier Boy (ugg). It was fine until all the kids started fighting over what song to play. We ended up listening to 10 seconds of each song before they changed it. Bed time was rough for me. We were on a drafty porch in sleeping bags. Once again I slept in my sweatshirt and hat. Not only was a cold but Dion was snoring so loud it was shaking the whole house. At first Adam and I were laughing about it but then Dion started to make some really weird noises. It was not okay. I dug my Ipod out of my backpack and tried to find my happy place. Worst night of sleep ever!