Anne Marie's Australian Adventure

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Archive for September, 2008

Spring at last!!

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on September 24, 2008

                         If you click on the pictures you can get a better look.

It seems that spring has arrived over night. The days are beautifully warm, and mild breezes send the scent of flowers over the entire city. The tree out our living room window is a mass of white blossoms where only thin branches existed before. And the colors, bright yellow wattle bushes, pink vines, red camellias and green everywhere. It’s as if the whole of Canberra is participating in the annual flower show.

In Canberra there is a month long festival in the Commonwealth Park along Lake Burley Griffin called Floriade. They pick a different theme each year and then create flower beds which depict the theme. This year is “Films That Shaped Our Nation”. It’s a little like the Rose Parade but not on floats. I took some pictures last weekend but it is still a little early to get the full impact that all these flowers make.

They also have exhibits similar to a state fair expos sans the mid-way carnival. Vendor booths, food stands, demonstrations and entertainment venues are located along the pathways and flowers are abundant throughout. This is great time to visit Canberra. For more on Floriade.

I’ve included some of my attempts at capturing the beauty of early spring in the Aussie capital city.

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Books, books, books…

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on September 11, 2008

It’s hard to believe that it is September already. Some of that is because the flowers are starting to bloom and the days are getting longer and warmer. Finally I will get my long awaited summer. The other reason it is hard to believe it is that we have been here for five months. I have a routine of sorts; I drive around on the wrong side of the road without even thinking about it, I’m not afraid to drive at night, I can usually find my way to wherever I’m going, I know where to buy whatever I need, I know where the different neighbourhoods are and many of their major streets. I am becoming more comfortable everyday. Much of this has to do with Carole Polson taking me under her wing and introducing me to people and places. She introduced me to some wonderful foods like Pho a Vietnamese soup that is so delicious and full of veggies. When I went to Sydney and had a cold I ate that three times over the weekend. Carole also has become a friend. Fergus and I went to dinner with Carole and her husband Greg a few weeks back and we had a terrific time.  Greg is a diplomat for the Australian government and they have lived in the most incredible places like; Vietnam, Belgium, Portugal and I know they have at least visited India, Thailand, Burman and of course England, France and the USA.
Carole Polson invited me to join her book club several months ago and it really has been a great experience. I loved our book group in Emmett and I miss the fellowship that it provided. This group is different in many ways, the woman are a little older (but I suppose the Emmett group has aged too – is that possible?) The eats are a bit more posh, champagne, three or four cheeses and crackers, fruit,  during the discussion of the book then coffee and gourmet desserts following the discussion. But this company of women are just as interesting in many ways.
As with the Emmett group sometimes people don’t read the book and that always makes for an interesting discussion. Some have strong opinions about the plot, author or style while others either like it or don’t.  At this week’s meeting most of the ladies read the book (Sea of Poppies) and had the same reaction about the beginning hard to follow because of all the pidgin English and the ending stopping so abruptly. Next month we are reading “The Persian Pickle Club” – a book I recommended that takes place in rural Kansas during the Depression. Another similarity with the Emmett book group is that we always manage to talk about so much more than the book. 
There were two returning members of the reading group who had been overseas for a few years one in  Thailand and the other in Washington DC. It was fun to talk to the one who had been in the US – she loved it there and said she would have liked to stay if they didn’t have children. She traveled to quite a few states while they were there (the were there for four years). Being that her husband worked for the Australian embassy and she for Georgetown University, she is VERY knowledgeable about US politics and has some great insights into our wacky ways. I look forward to more discussion with her.
While I’m discussing books let me give you some info about books here – they are very expensive. A trade paperback book can cost anywhere from $22 to $36 AUS. (the same book in the US might be any where from $12 to 16). It’s hard to find them on sale. When Pat and Britt where here we traded books, fortunately they liked reading the same types of books that I like. Carole has also been a real find that way. She and I have traded books. In the book group we share books also, it kind of forces one to read with purpose so that you can pass the book along. Even with all this trading and sharing, our bookshelves here are starting to fill up. I’d mail them to anyone interested but the cost of postage makes that an insane idea. I will pass on any great titles I find so if you are interested email me.  One must always have a new book waiting on the night stand in case you finish one in the middle of the night.
Happy Autumn to all my Northern Hemisphere friends and family, if it gets too cold you can always come visit.

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