Anne Marie's Australian Adventure

Follow the Adventures of Anne Marie, Fergus, Cooper and Bean Sidhe in Australia!!

Archive for the ‘Info’ Category

First Snow of 2011

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on January 11, 2011

Actually this is the  first snow of the winter for us. These are pictures from the front porch at around 8 am. It is very cold – about 10 degrees but it sure looks pretty.

The Australian update is that the Australia medical board needs ANOTHER copy of Fergus’ high school transcripts – they misplaced the original one we sent.  This apparently will be the “proof” they need that he speaks English. I guess they don’t know that they don’t teach “spoken English” in the English classes.

He has already requested the FBI report they want but that can take several weeks. The Adelaide hospital says they have everything they need and he can start work immediately, it’s the medical board approval they are waiting for.

We are figuring nothing is going to happen for a couple of more months. We decided to use our Frequent Flyer Miles and visit Leslie,  Manu,  and Paco in Belgium. Leslie has arranged for the five of us to go to Paris for a few days while we are there. So at the end of this month we will be going to Belgium. I hope to have lots of pictures to post.

Posted in Info, People, photos, travel | 1 Comment »

“Airedales Downunder”

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on August 10, 2010

The project has been officially released. Check it out at –

This is what I have been working on since returning from our October trip to Australia. The story is included on the website so I won’t repeat it all here. Make sure that when you watch the “Airedales Downunder” video link on YouTube that you turn on the sound. Here is the direct link to the video, “Airedales Downunder”.

The quilts will be “awarded” in October in Montgomery, PA and I might try to be there to see who wins – maybe it will be someone out of all my friends and family- so be sure to “donate” for your chance at all the quilts and wall hangings.

If you like this one, Sue, Jenny and I are already thinking about our next project for 2012 – we will need to skip next year since I will be busy packing and moving.

Posted in dogs, Info, People, photos | 3 Comments »

Jesse and Luisa’s Wedding

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on August 9, 2010

Jesse and Luisa Sullivan

My  great nephew Jesse Sullivan, my sister Margie’s grandson, got married this past weekend. It was a great weekend with an opportunity to see some of my nieces, two new great-grand nephews, a great grand niece and my siblings.

We had a terrific time just hanging out, reminiscing and laughing. We spent much of time trying to get facts straight about the past, trips we took as kids, people our parents knew and who there were, when we lived and where at different times. It was funny. Since I was the youngest most of their memories were way before I was even born.

Dallas, Texas is pretty hot this time of year but is wasn’t as bad for me coming from Kansas since it has been pretty hot there too. My niece, Janet and her husband Mark came from Oregon. It was the first time I got to meet Mark and he was a trooper to put up with the likes of us. He fit right in giving it right back to us jab for jab.

Alora and Uncle Mark

Justina, her husband Bihn, and their new baby Dax where there. I have pictures of Justina and her family after Dax was born but here is one of them at the wedding.

Dax, Justina and Bihn

I also meet Kara who I hadn’t seen since she was a baby. She lives in Texas was there with her little girl Alora and her new son, Xavier and her husband, Tony. We were relaxing by the pool the morning of the wedding.

Kara, Xavier and Janet

Jesse is my sister’s oldest son John’s youngest child. John died quite a few years ago and his kids have been living in Texas for a long time so we didn’t really see them much when they were growing up. It is nice to see what a nice young man he is and how much he looks like my nephew John, his dad.

Marge and her great grandson, Xavier

The bride, Luisa was a bit shy with all of the Serrano’s around but I think Jesse was pleased to have some family from his Dad’s side there.

Bob, John and Danny

It might be a long time before my brothers and sister and I all see each other all together. We are planning it already – 2013 for my sister’s 80th birthday. In the meantime we had a terrific time just hanging out, reminiscing, and laughing.

Posted in Info, People, photos | 5 Comments »

Computer Skills & Junk

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on June 11, 2009

I have been venturing into new areas in the past couple of weeks. I have listed the house on a website called Info Tube. It’s a For Sale by Owner site. I had to enter info about the house etc. I only have one picture on it  so far but once I get everything looking the way I want to show it I will get the next updated package that allows more photos.

I am also trying to sell some things on Ebay. That’s a bit more work than I thought. So far NO ONE has bid on the items – not a good sign. The garage sale is still going strong. I am getting rid of lots of “stuff” things we haven’t used or seen in years. But it is getting old hanging out in the hot garage all weekend long, people moaning about something being a dollar, people rummaging through boxes and leaving a mess. I am ready to call the Junk Boys and have them haul it all away. This week is the city wide yard sale hopefully business will pick up when they compare my junk with other people’s junk.


This week however wasn’t all work, I had lunch with Misty on Monday. I have seen her a couple of times since we have been back. She has come to my garage sale and bought some items for her theatre and she brought Storme, her sister by one day and she went book shopping in the basement.

My only other excursions have been to the grocery store and the hardware store – my personal favorite. Have a good week and thanks for keeping in touch. My stats showed that one day over 28 people viewed my blog – I can’t imagine who all is following the continuing saga so drop me a note when you get a chance.

Posted in housing, Info, People, shopping, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Good News!

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on May 27, 2009

Today we got a letter from the Australian Medical Council saying that they have reviewed Fergus’ credentials and will be forwarding them to the Australian College of Emergency Medicine for their review – once he sends them a check for their “processing”. I guess they figured out that he can speak English afterall.

The next big step is the college. They decide what kind of ER doctor he can be – consultant, specialist or ????,  needs to take a test, probation, or more  training at a entry level status. This will determine if we go back or stay in the USA.

I am still optimistic and Fergus is pessimistic (what a surprise). Tomorrow the moving company is coming out to give us an estimate on moving all our stuff to Australia. It will be an expensive endeavor – ANYONE INTERESTED IN COMING TO A GARAGE SALE THIS WEEKEND?

Posted in Info | 1 Comment »

The Aussie Medical Council

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on May 19, 2009

We haven’t hear anything lately from the Australian Medical Council so we are hoping that no news is good news. Meaning that they have all the paperwork they need and have now passed it on to the powers that be who have to approve Fergus’ application for admitance to the College of Emergency Medicine. Once they get the info then they decide what level of entry he can come in and practice in Australia.

Before we left, The Canberra Times wrote an article about Fergus’ dealing with the council on at least one issue – does he speak English. I didn’t post it at the time because of all the packing etc.

I am having some difficulty downloading the article so if you are interested send me an email and I will forward it to you.

Posted in Info | Leave a Comment »

Click Your Heels Together…

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on April 16, 2009

If  it was only that easy. We have been agonizing about what to do regarding returing to the US. We love it here. For the first time since I’ve known him, Fergus is happy to go to work. He loves teaching medical students, the hours are reasonable (no 24 hour shifts or over nights), he gives lectures, has PAID time to prepare his lectures, PAID time off for vacations, holidays off when everyone else is off, reasonable patients, no worries about paying malpractice insurance. He goes to work early and comes home not so crabby.

I love it here because I can teach drama to students who want to learn drama and not have to deal with grades or discipline problems. I can work part-time, I can work with young adults on productions without having to worry about how to fund it. I could get involved with all types of theatre groups here – just haven’t because of all the travelling we have done.

We like Canberra because it is a big city but feels like a small one. Lots of parks, shops, theatre and things to do. We have met some pretty amazing people and have done some amazing things while we have been here. The weather is a lot like Kansas but no snow. And there is still so much we want to see throughout Australia.

Several months ago Fergus decided to see what it would take for us to stay. We thought once we find out then we can decide if it is worth staying or just go home to the US. Well, the medical board has had his paper work for fours months now and it seems every week they want something new – silly things like proof that he speaks English. We were hoping the hospital would extend his contract but because of the finacial situation they don’t have money to extend the contract but if he got the approval of the medical board and then the College of Emergency Medicine (the board the governs the standards of Emergency physicans) then they could hire him. Well, we are still waiting for the medical council to forward his paperwork to the college. His contract was up at the end of March. We are living on his paid vaction leave money. Once we knew this decision was not going to be made before the end of April we realized how much we really did want to stay.

In the meantime, reports back on the house in Kansas are not good. The renters were having problems with the sewer system, leaking pipes and aging water heater. Either way I was going to have to go home and get those things taken care of. And then there is the issue of the dogs. We know that if we fly them back to the states – at great expense and major trauma for them in a kennel for 20 + hours, we would never bring them back here again. It seemed that we had to resign ourselves that we were going back to the states.

Our friend Sue said that if we needed to go home and are sure we want to come back to Australia that maybe she could find someone from the Airedale Rescue group who could foster care them for a few months. Then Fergus and I could return to Kansas, he could work, I could get the house fixed and put up for sale and we could come back once the paper work here in Australia gets sorted out. That’s it in a nutshell.

Well, last night we got the final word that we have found two families willing to take one dog each – they already have dogs so the two of them would be a problem, one family has a male dog who wouldn’t be happy with another male around and the other family has a small dog which we would be concerned that Bean Sidhe would see as a snack. The two families are willing to make sure they visit each other and with Sue there as a guardian we think this will be a reasonable solution. It won’t be great leaving them but our hope is that it’s only for a few months.

So everyone we are coming home in May. We will stop in the Bay Area to see our families and then head back to Wichita. If all goes well with selling the house and with the paperwork here in Australia we will be coming back. I know this might be a shock to some of you who had no idea we were thinking about staying but I didn’t want to publish anything until we decided for sure. We have flights back on May 4, 2009. I will have time to write another update. We will be driving to Melbourne with the kids and spend a few days there to make sure they are settled in.

So the Australian Adventure will continue with reports from Cooper and Bean Sidhe signing in for me. I hope to see many of you when we return to the states. There will be a major yard sale going on if you’d like to visit Kansas for some shopping.  Look at it this way – if you didn’t get a chance to visit us while we were here this year now you’ll get another chance.

Posted in dogs, housing, Info, shopping, travel | 5 Comments »

A Visit to Wombat Bend

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on April 5, 2009

We finally got to Victoria and visited Bill and Sue and their four Airedales at Wombat Bend in Yarra Glen Valley east of Melbourne. It was a fantastic time. We spent three nights with them and were able to hear all about their battles with the fires. 



Their B&B is so cute. It’s a one bedroom and bath but it has a large living room and kitchen – the place is bigger than our house in Canberra if you exclude the extra two bedrooms. It was so peaceful and quiet. One early morning I heard and saw the hot air balloon go by –  it was magical. We were surrounded with Airedales, birds I hadn’t seen before and the billabong was full of ducks. In these pictures you can see their round house and the B&B with it’s surrounding veranda.








They are still doing a lot of cleaning up and also having their billabong dredged since the water is so low due to the drought. The silt that they are digging out of the billabong will be spread out over the property and the grass will eventually grow.



With the help of a neighbor they were able to save all their buildings, their cars and many trees but manyof their fence posts were gone. When we were there it was seven weeks after the fires and a soft covering of grass was visible in many of the burned out fields we saw. In these pictures you can see how close the fires came to their house and the B&B. The fences are their property line.

This isn't Fall color - it's burned leaves.

This isn't Fall color - it's burned leaves.












wombatbend13 These pictures are just a sample of the area around Sue and Bill’s house. We took a ride throughout other areas where entire hills and houses were burned to the ground – it was very sad. For those of you who where in the Bay Area during the Oakland Hills fires you will remember the look of the devastation – multiply that by acres and acres and that is how this area looks.

I was so relieved to see Sue, Bill and the dogs safe. It is scary to see how close they came to losing everything. It wasn’t luck however, they have been prepared to fight the fires for years because they knew it wasn’t a matter of if there would be a fire but when. Years of drought and a history of bush fires has made them even more vigilant. This is Australia after all.

Seven weeks after the fires the eucalyptus trees have already begun to sprout new branches from their charred trunks. More about our trip in upcoming blog entries.


Posted in dogs, housing, Info, People, photos, travel | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on March 6, 2009

After two days in Townsville we headed south to Airlie Beach our jumping-off spot for the Great Barrier Reef. Airlie Beach is a cute beach town catering to the young beach bums and bunnies. Shop after shop sells beach clothes and souvenirs. The restaurants have sidewalk or balcony outdoor seating since the weather is so good.

Leslie and Manu stayed in a backpackers inn right on the main road through the town, Fergus and I picked a cute B&B with ocean views in a quiet neighborhood. We spent most of the afternoon deciding which reef/island cruises we wanted to take. We finally settled on a FantaSea Reef Sleep cruise.

So early Thursday morning a bus picked us up at our B&B and took us to the harbour where the boat launched. It was a bit of a bumpy ride  out to the reef which was about two hours out to sea. It was a windy and rainy day but since we were going to be snorkeling and scuba diving it didn’t really matter. Just as a precaution I took some seas sickness pills but they didn’t work for me. By the time we got to the reef I was feeling very green.

The boat took us out to an anchored pontoon barge equipped with sleeping cabins, all the snorkel and diving suits and equipment needed for lots of people, a kitchen, dressing rooms, picnic tables, and a sun deck with deck chairs. Unfortunately it was raining most people where trying to stay under the awning or on the boat. I was still not feeling great so I tried to stay dry while Leslie, Manu and Fergus went snorkeling.

In the afternoon we got our scuba equipment and had a lesson for what is called a resort dive. I did this twenty years ago and remembered it being one of the most amazing activities I had ever done. I was going to pass on it this trip but decided to try it again and I’m glad.

At first I felt a little claustrophobic. The instructor reminded us that it is important to keep breathing. It seems like a stupid thing to be reminded but it is easy to hold your breath especially when you see awesome giant clams or the colorful fish among the coral. The time passed too quickly. This has to be high on the list of 100 things to do before you die.

Around 2 pm the “day trippers” had to get back on the boat back to the mainland. That was about the time the weather improved. We got to stay on the pontoon with another couple from Germany. Marcus and Julia are about Leslie and Manu’s age and the six of us had a great sunset dinner cooked and served by the crew. It was wonderful being surrounded by the sea, no TV, no COMPUTER, just good food, nice wine and great company. I slept the best I have in months. The gentle rocking of the barge put me out of the entire night.

The next morning it was rise and shine by 8am for breakfast before the “day trippers” of the new day arrived. Leslie, Manu and Fergus did another dive but I hung out on the sundeck and read my book because the weather was so good and I wanted to get a deck chair before the boat arrived. All in all it was a great trip.

We spent Friday night back at the B&B and Leslie and Manu at the backpacker inn. We had a flight back to Canberra the next morning while Leslie and Manu will continue to explore the Queensland Coast before coming to Canberra before going back to Belgium. We had a wonderful time with them. Here are some picture of our reef trip.

Posted in Info, People, photos, travel | Leave a Comment »

Tropical Queensland

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on March 5, 2009

You really start to realize how big Australia is when you fly from one state to another. As I’ve mentioned before, Sydney is much like San Francisco in feel and climate. We flew to Townsville on Monday morning and even though it isn’t the northermost city in Queensland – it felt like we landed in Hawaii. It was warm and humid, there were palm trees and fanigipangi trees everywhere. And it was very green. They have been having extreme rain and flooding for weeks and we were concerned that this might not be a good time to visit but the only visable signs to us was extensive street erosion which they were working on repairing and areas of standing woater along sides of the roads.

Our first day in Townsvill we took the ferry over to Magnetic Island. There wasn’t much to do but hike the nature trails but once we got there it started raining. Fergus and I sat in a pub to weather the storm while Leslie and Manu attempted to brave the storm. They were soon back because they found out it took 1/2 hour to get to the trailhead from where we were and then the trail walk takes two hours. We had to catch the ferry back to Townsville  in less than an hour so they decided to postpone the hike.

Seeking shelter from the storm.

Seeking shelter from the storm.

Good thing they did because we decided to come back the next day and I’m glad we did. It turned out to be a beautiful clear day, not too hot and no rain. We had the best time. The nature walk on Magnetic Island goes up to the ruins of an old WWII ammunitions lookout. The trees were a combinations of tropical and eucalyptus trees. The best part was that we finally saw koalas in the wild for the first time. Now they don’t look much different but there is just something so great seeing them resting on a tree branch within arms reach. We saw many three or four just along the path. You have to keep you eye out for them because they don’t move much and their grey coloring really makes them blend into the tree trunks.









It is a myth that koalas are drunk on eucalyptus leaves – the truth is that there are very little nutrients in the leaves of the eucalyptus and so the koalas have to sleep to reserve their energy. They are nocturnal so you rarely see them moving around during the day the best time to see them moving about is early morning or late evening. This little fellow moved his head a bit and his arms just a little the entire time we were watching him. He wasn’t frightened by our voices nor when we got close to take pictures.

The three bears

The three bears

The great koala scouts have another sighting.

The great koala scouts have another sighting.

It was a trulyexciting adventure being this close to these unusual animals. We didn’t see an wild kangaroos for Leslie even though the bus driver said there were plenty on the island. Well Leslie and Manu have three weeks to see one. Next stop The Great Barrier Reef – not many ‘roos there but lots of other amazing things to see and do once we get there.

Posted in Info, interesting facts, photos, travel | 1 Comment »