Anne Marie's Australian Adventure

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

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The New Adventures of Old Anne Marie

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on May 11, 2011

FINALLY, we have news. I haven’t posted because I got tired of not having anything new to say about our Australian move. We did do some cool things since my last post. I never finished loading the pictures from Belgium. We had a quick short trip to Washington DC which was fantastic. And then we went to Puerto Rico for about six days and met up there with Danny, Chris and Curtis. It was all lovely and the weather was fantastic.

But the main thing on our minds and in our plans was getting everything for Australia. The visas have finally been approved, flights have been booked and we will be on our way….. JUNE 14, 2011. A little over two years since we arrived home.

So far I am all smiles. The serious packing begins.

We have a couple who are going to “lease-to-own” the house. The dogs have their “permits” to be allowed into Australia. We are still working on flights for them. They are booked into the quarantine station in Melbourne. Fergus starts work on June 20 and I will begin searching for a house to rent.   I plan to have a guest room for ALL the visitors we will be having so start booking early.

We will be the Bay Area for a few days before we fly out on the 14th. I was hoping to get out to visit all my girlfriends in Washington (Carole & Marsha), Oregon (Janet & Britt), Idaho (Kelly & Anna)  & California (Polly, Peggy, Linda & Justina)  before we left but now that the Visas have come through there is still so much that has to be done before I can leave Kansas.

I will have a chance to see Judy because she lives near Fergus’ parents – so Judy let’s make a date, okay?

We will be able to go to Curtis’ high school graduation, visit with Fergus’ parents and Scott before we leave. It will be a whirlwind weekend.

Thanks everyone for hanging in there with us. I’ll keep posting to the blog as the adventure begins to unfold.

Love, Anne Marie

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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.

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Whirlwind Trip

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on July 17, 2010

I can’t believe we are back in Kansas again, already. It was a fast trip even though the delays and snafus made some days seem longer.

We finally got to Adelaide and I loved it. It is pretty city with lots of parks and trees. There are lovely hills all around it and the beach is not too far from the city center. There was so many “touristy” things I wanted to see and do. I am hoping that we will be coming back to Adelaide in the future and I can still do all that.

Fergus had several interviews at the various hospitals interested in hiring him. We were taken on a three hour drive around the city with a tour guide who pointed out places of interest and possible neighborhoods and areas we might like to live.

There was one area that reminded us of the Orinda/Lafayette/Oakland Hills area of California. Hills with houses and eucalyptus trees everywhere. There are views of the ocean and valleys that are so peaceful looking.

My friends, Jenny and Sue in Melbourne, got me connected with Sally and Rob who live in Adelaide. They are another Airedale family – two ‘dales and three daughters. We had dinner with them and had a great time. Rob is a GP so he and Fergus were able to discuss important issues around the medical system and particulars in South Australia (that’s the state that Adelaide is the capital of). Their girls are delightful and their ‘dales are so cute and visa-versa. It was nice to be able to just sit and relax in a house after the hassles of travel and hotel rooms.

We had one day  to ourselves and we drove to the beach and walked along the sand, had brunch at a seaside cafe and then drove to two local wineries. The weather was good, not too cold for mid-winter and just a bit of rain the days we were there. Fergus is concerned that it will be too hot in the summer but I liked the idea of no snow in the winter.

I have my fingers crossed that he will accept the job and we can start the process of immigration which will be another hurdle for us to jump. One of the things we need to do is prove we speak English. To do that we have to take a test both written and oral. I finally found out where and how we do that. We have to go to a test center in the US – for us the closest is in Texas. It’s a long test four parts, each with a speaking component where you have to meet with an evaluator. I’ll tell you more once I know the details.

So we are back. I didn’t take one picture while we were gone.

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The Adventure Begins Again!!

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on July 5, 2010

Tomorrow we are off to Adelaide Australia. Fergus has an interview with the organization that staffs several hospitals in the city. It will be a quick trip, we will be there a week.  We are hopeful that the job is a match for him.

Our friend’s in Melbourne got me connected with a couple they know who live in Adelaide, Sally and Rob, and we are going to get together with them while we are there. Rob is a GP in the area so he knows the hospitals and the medical community and can hopefully give us some insights. They also happen to be Airedale people, three Airedales , two of them rescue ‘dales.

I know I hinted about my “project” but I can’t reveal it just yet so you will have to keep tuning in.

I have an update on Leslie, however, we finally got a pictures of her “baby bump”. I see a visit to Belgium in the not too far future.

Leslie and baby in Mallorca

We will wait to go until after  the baby is born but go before Leslie has to return to work.  I’m hoping we will be settled in Australia by then. If not we will go anyway because we haven’t seen their new house and we’ve been wanting to go for a long time now.

The happy couple

I will try to write more during our trip if I can get internet access. Cross your fingers that all goes well.

I mentioned Justina had her baby. I also received a photo of the happy family.

My great, great newphew. Isn't he just GREAT?

My great, great newphew. Isn't he just GREAT?

Before we move to Australia I will definitely have to make a trip to California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho to see friends and family. I’m going to start making a list of places to stop so make sure you email and let me know if you have room for me and I will put you on the itinerary.

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New Baby & Boston

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on May 31, 2010

Justina had her baby. I don’t have all the details yet but I’m sure I will hear soon.

We are in Boston now. The weather is perfect and today we will see Nathan, help him move some stuff from his dorm to his new living quarters for the summer. Later on we will do some sightseeing.

I’ll try to add some pictures along the way.

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Gonna be a Grandma- sort of…

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on May 28, 2010

Leslie and Manu, our surrogate daughter and her partner are expecting a baby boy in November. We have know for awhile but she wanted us to keep it a secret until they were sure all was well with mother and child. I am so excited for them. We had such a wonderful visit with them when they came to visit us in Australia and we suspected that it wouldn’t be long before they started their family. They had just purchased a house before their visit and it was the natural next step.

I see a trip to Belgium in the near future.

Speaking of babies, Justina’s baby is due next week. I hope to have pictures to post, hint, hint.

We are going to Boston next week for Nathan’s graduation from MIT. WOW, it’s hard to believe it has been four years already. He will continue there for his Master’s degree. I am so proud of him. Of course I had nothing to do with it, Danny and Chris have done a wonderful job parenting Nathan and Curtis, who just became an Eagle Scout and will be starting his senior year in high school in the fall.

The trip will be a bit of a family reunion. Now with our family growing larger and farther away I need to take every opportunity to see them.

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Quick Note from Downunder

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on October 2, 2009

We arrived safely on Wednesday morning but feeling a bit out of sorts after 26 + hours of traveling. Eric and Helen picked us up at the airport and had us back to their place in no time where the kids were there waiting for us. It was a wonderful reunion – they hadn’t forgotten who we were.

Yesterday we hung around their house, took a walk with the kids, took a drive to one of the wonderful local wineries and just relaxed. We have few plans other than visiting Bill and Sue in Dixon’s Creek, Jenny and Gary towards the end of next week and Fergus’ interview on Tuesday. We want to do a little sightseeing of some places in Victoria that we didn’t get around when we were here before.

We saw an echidna in the wild yesterday when we were driving around. I will post his picture in another entry.

The weather has been good, a bit colder than Kansas and today it is a little misty but we are well and happy to be back. I have limited access to a computer and the internet so I will try to keep you posted if we have any exciting news.

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Flower Beds and Fences

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on September 24, 2009

I continued to work on the flower beds I created from the torn down chicken shed. I fenced it in and planted some spring bulbs and fall pansies. Two of the beds on the right are vacant and I will plant some shade flowers in the spring. The dark spots without mulch still need some tall growing bulbs.

The old chicken shed/new flower bed.

The old chicken shed/new flower bed.

Pansies for fall - bulbs for the spring.

Pansies for fall - bulbs for the spring.

We are going to Australia next week for Fergus’ interview with the Australian College of Emergency Physicians. They told him that it could be as long as three months before they can tell him their decision. We decided to bring the dogs back to Kansas since it might be three months and no telling how long the immigration process may take. It is too much to ask BS and Cooper’s foster families to care for them any longer and we miss them too much to go for possibly another 6 months without them.

So I decided we need to fence the yard. They have lived in a fenced yard for over a year and 1/2. I worry about Cooper chasing cars down the driveway like he use to and getting hurt now that he is older and not as likely to recover from any injuries. I also worry with potential buyers coming to look at the house that he will be too aggressive towards strangers.

We put up a nice decorative fence at the driveway and an almost invisible wire fence around a large area of the back yard. I hope this will stop them from roaming too far from home once they return. No “walkabouts” allowed in Kansas.

Rod Iron fence near the driveway

Rod Iron fence near the driveway

The fence is almost invisible from the house.
The fence is almost invisible from the house.

The wire fence is attached to the five trees in a row in the background. I hope it will keep them safe. Of course they like to dig so we will have to make sure they don’t go under like in The Great Escape.

Posted in dogs, housing, travel | 3 Comments »

Fostering the Fur-dales

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on May 4, 2009

Our last day in Canberra was Monday. After packing the SUV and doing the final cleaning of the house we hit the road. We loaded the kennels and boxes on the roof of the car, the back was filled to the ceiling with suitcases and there was enough room for the kids and their beds. We drove to the small town just over half way to Helen & Eric’s town and spent the night. It was a truckers motel, a bit shabby but it allowed two dogs and the owner was really very nice.

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

 

The next morning we headed towards Woodend – northwest of Melbourne – where Helen and Eric live. They have two Airedales, Teddy and Emma. They have a lovely house in the hills with a view of Macedon Mountain area. They have chickens and ducks and alpacas as well as many wild Aussie animals. Bean Sidhe got on well with her new foster brother and sister. Emma is two and a bundle of energy – she will be a good playmate to keep BS young – Teddy will keep her in her place.

Bean Sidhe's foster family

Bean Sidhe's foster family

 

Helen and Eric have an In-law unit attached to their house where we spent the night so we had our last night together as a family. We kept Cooper away from Teddy since Teddy doesn’t like other male dogs on his property. The next morning we drove to Lilydale which is east of Melbourne with Cooper and all his bedding and supplies.

Bean Sidhe loves to play with Emma & Teddy but Helen & Eric feed her.

Bean Sidhe loves to play with Emma & Teddy but Helen & Eric feed her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jenny, Gary, Trent, Adam and Lorna are a wonderful blended family who have a perfect house in a new housing development. It has a small yard but that’s great for Copper since he isn’t much for spending time outside. They have lots of loving hands to pet and massage Cooper. They all get down on the floor and give him the time and attention he needs to help him feel safe and secure. Adam is working on getting Cooper to sleep with him and I don’t think it will take too long before that happens. Cooper will thrive with this family.

Lilydale family -Trent, Lorna, Cooper, Daisy (the fuzzy non-dale), Fergus (yes that's his name), Gary, Jenny and Adam in the back.

Lilydale family -Trent, Lorna, Cooper, Daisy (the fuzzy non-dale), Fergus (yes that's his name), Gary, Jenny and Adam in the back.

 

We couldn’t have found better families!!! Sue Forrester’s Airedale Rescue contacts have truely been a wonderful help for us. After we left Cooper on Thursday morning we went back to Dixons Creek, Wombat Bend to see Sue, Bill and the four ‘dales. It was so good to see them again. So much has changed in the four weeks since we were last there. The silt from the billabong was spread over the property, the billabong was filled, the grass is still growing. It was colder than last visit because winter is coming.

Wombat Bend billabong now

Wombat Bend billabong now

 

 We enjoyed our visit with Bill and Sue. We couldn’t have done this without their support and help. On our last visit we didn’t get a picture of the entire gang so here they are.

The Wombat Bend Family

The Wombat Bend Family

 

We only spent one night and then it was back to Lilydale to see Cooper for about an hour, then to Melbourne for the day. We had dinner at the Blue Fire – a Brazilian BBQ – for our 16th wedding anniversary – we almost forgot with all the activities. Then we drove back to Woodend and spend two more nights at Helen and Eric’s. We were able to visit with Bean Sidhe. She is coping really well with her new surroundings. Helen gives us frequent reports on her – BS sleeps thru the night and gets plenty of exercise during the day.

Today, Sunday May 3, 2009 is our last full day in Australia – for awhile. We said our final farewell to Bean Sidhe and the Woodend family, drove to Lilydale to say bye to Coop – and his foster family. Sue met us there so we were able to say good-bye to her. I had a nice good-bye call from Carole Polson.

The next stop will be the San Francisco Bay area to see Fergus’ parents, and my brother Danny and his family for a few days. We fly back to Wichita, Kansas on May 7. I will continue the blog with our trials and tribulations as we go through the process of making a permanent move to Australia. In upcoming blog entries I will keep you posted about Fergus’ dealings with the Australian Medical Council, selling the Benton house and trying to get ourselves back to the “kids”.

Thanks to all of you who have traveled with us on this amazing Aussie Adventure. I loved getting your emails, reading your comments posted to the blog, and having connected with friends and family during our time Downunder.

Love, Anne Marie

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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 »