Saturday, October 3, 2015

Winter in Canberra

4 October 2015
Kristen says...

It never ceases to amaze me how the weather can differ in different parts of the world.

In Honduras, it was hot almost all of the year, getting down into the 50s in winter (which felt pretty cold when you were used to 80s most of the time, but was clearly NOTHING compared to Russia.) In Russia we had maybe a month of the 80s, then long stretches of comfortable 60s-70s, and 6, long, hard, FREEZING months of winter.

And then there's Australia, where everything is on it's ear and winter at home is summer while I was talking to my family in their tank tops and shorts, we were "braving" the chilly (we're talking 20-40 degrees F here) Canberra winter throughout June, July and August.

But never fear, we kept busy with some winter activities.

First of all, we painted. These type of painting parties seem to be popular everywhere (according to Facebook) but I'm pretty sure they're not painting many kangaroos in Iowa!

Artists we are not... :)

Speaking of Kangaroos, we continue to see them, which is pretty awesome.
We went to a cultural/tourism event one night and had all kinds of fun with this one. :)

We also brought home a Koala.

And saw some sheep...which reminds me of a story I'll tell you very soon:

I also had my FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! Yes, I'm back to teaching, which is REALLY awesome and I love it! Of course, even the school year is sideways here--I started work in July which was actually the middle of the school year. We're on our term break right now (2 weeks off!) then back for 9 more weeks before the 6-week summer holidays start in December. Weird.

And, to prove it really was winter here, we even got a bit of snow in the capital:
I was at school when it snowed, and we actually let the kids out to run around for a few minutes--yes, snow is so rare here that school disbands for a bit so everyone can get out and enjoy it.
I was told it usually only snows for about 5 minutes, but this kept up for at least 20. It didn't stick, but it definitely happened!

We also participated in a fun winter-time event here: truffle hunting (the mushroom, not chocolate)!
The pigs are the traditional truffle hunters, but since they love truffles so much that they don't stop to let the people get the truffle once they've found it...a problem for people who are trying to sell the truffles.

So now they've trained truffle sniffing dogs!

We were out on the last day of the truffle season, but we still managed to find quite a few, including one that Chris dug out of the ground worth about $50:

Mine which was worth maybe $75-100

And this massive one worth at least $300!
By the way, did I mention we paid for the privilege to tag along and watch the dog find truffles for someone else to sell and make money on. These Aussies, they know what they're doing! :)
At any rate, we had a lot of fun and learned more than I think either of us wanted to know about truffles.

More on that sheep story soon...



  1. You are learning interesting things! Apparently truffles are now being grown in South Africa too, though the industry is in its early stages.

    1. It is very interesting! It seems that Australia is really cornering the truffle market. I feel so happy to be a small part of if ;)


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