Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Parliament House Tour

17 June 2015
Kristen says...

A few weeks ago Chris and I decided to educate ourselves on the Australian governmental system with a trip to Parliament House.

Not surprisingly we learned QUITE a bit, which wasn't too hard because we knew basically nothing going in.

Here are a few fun tidbits I learned.

-The Parliament of Australia was created by including elements of the governments of the UK, US and Sweden.

-They have a bicameral (two-sided) legislature comprised of a House of Representatives and a Senate.

-The House and Senate are represented by colors. The green of the House is based on the color of the Eucalyptus leaves, and the red/maroon of the Senate represents Uluru/the color of the soil here.

-Every afternoon the House and Senate hold "Question Time" which is open to the public (free tickets available upon request) and televised on free TV. The press sits in the seats behind the large wooden chairs, reportedly because a leader of the past "didn't want to see them".

It was a really interesting tour and I really enjoyed it! We even got to see an original copy of the Magna Carta, complete with official seal!

Yay learning!!


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Around Town

11 June 2015
Kristen says...

Don't let anyone tell you Canberra is boring. It's not.

We've been having lots of fun doing lots of little things around town over the past few weeks.

One of our favorite Friday night activities is visiting the Deakin Football (Soccer) Club. We don't go for the soccer, since neither of us enjoy that sport, or for the slots, even though Chris was a big winner a few weeks ago

Nope, we go for the meat raffle!

Yes, you read right, meat raffle. It's exactly what it sounds like--you buy raffle tickets, and if you number is called, you win some meat!
Case in point:


We also went a few weeks ago to cheer on some friends running in the Canberra Marathon.

 I admit I haven't watched many marathons (or competed in ANY, thank goodness) but something that really stuck out about this one was the people running along with flags saying "5 hour pace" so you knew how fast you were running. Pretty interesting.

One weekend we participated in a Murder Mystery Cruise with a 1920s theme--I was Carrie Crooner, 19-year old songstress (haha) and Chris was my bodyguard Al Capone. It was a little weird to be on the boat, but we did have a good time trying to figure out who was the murderer.

We also visited the Mount Ainslee Lookout for some amazing views of the city, including the original view drawn by the Chicago architects who designed the city.

We walked to the very top of the hill
and inspected the beacon, one of many which was built in the 1920s.
It was very beautiful!

 Oh! And on the homefront, Chris finally had "shrimp on the barbie"
Which is hilarious, because here they're called prawns. No shrimp.

They do call it the barbie, though, sometimes.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Expanding the Circle

2 June 2015
Kristen says...

A friend in Honduras said something to us shortly after we arrived in Teguc lo these many years ago which has stuck with me ever since. When you arrive in a new place, you naturally begin to "expand your circle", something Chris and I have been working on lately.

I love the mental picture that "Expanding the Circle" draws--if you imagine home as the dot in the middle, every time you venture out--to the grocery store, drive around town or head out to the countryside, you "expand your circle" a little more.

This past weekend we "expanded our circle" to include Goulburn, a town about an hour away (and one you may have heard of, since it was "raining spiders" there a few weeks ago.

Thankfully we saw no spiders, but did take in a few other interesting sights...

 Like olives! Well ok, officially the olives were in Collector, a few miles down the road from Goulburn, but still, we saw them.

 And this view of the olive's amazing to me that it's fall and harvest time down here. My mom and sisters are just finishing the school year and getting ready for summer at home, but here it's getting colder and the leaves are falling from the trees. So weird.

Once we got to Goulburn we visited the:

Yes, Australia's oldest brewery. Very interesting. We didn't have time to take the tour, but we did walk around the outside of the building and stopped in for a couple of "stubbies"

 Or in Chris' case, an entire growler
 Don't worry, the growler is still full. :)
On our way out of town we stopped by to see another of Goulburn's attractions...
Why yes, that is a giant Merino Ram's backside, and yes, that is my husband laughing his backside off at the bottom.
We are so very mature. :)

The giant Merino has it's own gift shop AND you can actually go up inside to get the Ram's-Eye View of the city...

Fun times!