On Sunday we welcomed our Aussies and spent the beginning of the week getting to know them. Greg (with whom I am exchanging), Michelle, Chloe, Zack and Lexi embraced the snow and ice and took on the new adventure of skating at Bower Ponds with the rest of us! Before that adventure, however, there was the adventure of getting all the outdoor gear on - long underwear, layers of clothes, snow pants, jackets, mitts, toques, boots and then skates. Poor little Lexi (one year) responded as any little Canadian would - with tears of frustation once she had all her gear on - it was typical and hilarious - we could all empathize!
After a few whirlwind days, Greg and Michelle loaded up their van and have gone to Canmore while we look around the house seeing all that is left to do (which included finishing up all our marking while Brad writes a MASSIVE paper to complete a history course for his masters') and to negotiate all this... I still have to buy a suitcase (first thing tomorrow before the shops fill).
Today, we wrapped up goodbyes to students and colleagues (friends). I was lucky to have a steady stream of former students come by the by the school and pop by the Artroom to give updates and to have visits before I go. Today was also pretty special with lots of hugs and a few damp eyes with promises of "art next year" and emailing photos from grad. A basket o f Canadian style supplies to pack to take away (for when I am DYING for a maple cookie or some Kraft dinner - ha!ha!). Final hugs and well wishes by colleagues and then it was onto the kids' school to clear desks and lockers and to say final goodbyes and THANK YOUS to their teachers. With these obligations wrapped-up, the kids are off to friends for final sleepovers while we organize the house and do laundry...
Now, we are looking forward to clearing up the details so we can focus on family... and with the recent turn to VERY cold temperatures, we are even more excited to continue our adventure IN Australia. The kids today were saying it was okay to say goodbye because it means that we are actually almost on our way. The reality we have been looking forward to since April is something we will soon finally be living!