School Down Under: Uniforms and Bicycles

Trip Start Dec 18, 2011
Trip End Sep 15, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Tuesday, August 28, 2012

We documented our ride to school so you could see our gorgeous route! We live 2.5 kilometers from school, and the area is not flat. We first have to go up our steep little street, and then we have a long, gradual uphill through our neighborhood to the start of the forest ride. We go gently downhill on the forest path and then plunge down a ravine and immediately back up. Then it's a slow uphill through some areas of broken glass, sandy soil, and finally, out of the forest and onto a busy street. We join the street at the top of a hill, so we ride down and finally, back up again to the school gates.
The boys have become much stronger riders in the weeks since we've had our bikes. At first, the hills seemed daunting, but now the boys just pedal along. Andy has always loved going fast on his bike, just as he does on his skis, but Liam had to learn to trust his bike and himself. Now, he tucks his head and flies down any hill--no braking for him!
The school uniforms seemed strange to the boys at first, but now they're used to them. The final photo with this blog was taken in June, when the boys started school (just think, all you lucky Colorado kids: Andy and Liam have been going to school for seven weeks already!). It was rainy and chilly in June, so the long pants and the sweatshirts (called sloppy joes) were nice, but it's since been drier, so the boys mostly wear their summer uniforms now.
At school, if the kids want to play in the open areas at recess, they must wear their hats. Otherwise, if they've lost or forgotten their hats, they must stay under the shade shelters. Andy lost his wide-brim hat, and we looked for a while, but then we gave up and bought him a bucket hat. It doesn't do as good a job at blocking the sun, but it's easier to play sports with. Because Andy's been biking to and from school every day, he's gotten so strong that he plays soccer with his friends at recess most days.
Winter officially ends at the end of this week, and friends tell me that it's really pleasant here for the next three months--a long spring of slowly warming days where every outside activity feels wonderful. Then, it's several months of intense heat and misery. We're moving to Tasmania for the summer! Or at least to the beach!
Australia doesn't use the movement of the sun to declare the start of the seasons as we do in the USA. Instead of tying the beginning of the season to the solstice or to the equinox, they choose the first day of the month to begin the season. So, winter is all of June, July, and August. Spring  begins September 1 and runs through the end of November. It's interesting to think of the boys' birthdays--Liam was always a summer birthday, but now his birthday comes in the middle of the winter. Andy was always a late fall birthday (which he hated--not enough snow to ski for his birthday, and too cold/wet/yukky to have an outside party). Now his birthday falls in late spring! We'll probably celebrate it at the beach!
The seasons and the sun are the hardest things for me to get used to. The north side of the house is the hot side in the summer, and having a patio on the south side means we can enjoy it all summer long--because it's on the cool side of the house. Chris's employer sent out the invitations to the company Christmas party last week, and I began thinking of chilly, dark nights and a warm dress I could wear--until I realized it would be a hot summer night! This is going to take some getting used to!

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Cami on

Absolutely adorable post! I LOVE the uniforms! Mine was a "lifesaver" - none of the kids knew what a dork I looked like, in my "real" clothes" The bike ride to school looks awesome. You must be loving it. Summer sounds yucky.I never like it when the word "sun" & the word "intense" are in the same sentence. Stay well, & full of joy, Love, Cami

graice on

hey liam happy birth day

graice on

hey andy and liam what are you researching i am researching sun bears

Aunt Jen on

Liam uses no brakes on hills? I wonder were he got that gene, sis?

Love the school related post-the last photo,in uniforms is so cute!

Karen Probert on

Great stories, Melinda! Thank you for taking the time to write these.

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