Anne Marie's Australian Adventure

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

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The World Gets Smaller Every Day

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on May 20, 2011

Through our Airedale connections I have met a woman from South Africa. Her husband and kids will be moving to Canberra in July. I’ve been emailing her about places in Canberra that were our favorites, places to look for housing etc. This is so exciting. They wanted to move to Adelaide but for now have to go to Canberra. Just discussing with her about things to do there made me very “homesick” for the place – odd isn’t it?

We’ve gotten some very sweet emails from our friends in Australia. It is the first time that we’ve moved that I have felt like we were going towards something rather than leaving something behind. I will miss people and things in Kansas (not tornadoes that’s for sure) but I am not leaving with dread in my heart and the sinking feeling in my stomach like I had when leaving Idaho.

So every day I pack a little, toss out a lot, separate Goodwill donations, library donations and pile up things to give to friends. Sorting my life one room at a time. And as the stuff my life slowly gets smaller my world is rapidly getting bigger.

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31 days and counting

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on May 16, 2011

In approximately 31 days we will be arriving in Australia (I say approximately because of losing a day when we cross the International dateline). Thanks for all the well wishes I have gotten since my last post. I am so relieved that it is finally happening but the reality of the task at hand is beginning to sink in. There are boxes EVERYWHERE. Every day I am throwing out bags of trash – how did we accumulate so much stuff in just two years. The movers came last week to write up an estimate and we should have the results of that soon. The kids’ flights are booked, they leave on Sunday June 5.

I am taking some time to visit friends here. Sharon and I are taking a quick quilt class this week. We are trying to get together with Fergus’ friend Rod from medical school and his wife Marina before we leave.

Fergus has a few days off this week and then is working pretty solid until the first of June. In the meantime he is working on selling the big items like our cars and the exercise equipment. We met with Ryan and Rhonda the nice young couple who will be buying the house and all the papers have been signed. They are as anxious to get into the house as we are to leave.

The “kids” are really unsure what is happening around here, lots of strangers visiting, boxes everywhere and worst of all,  SUITCASES!!! They know what that means. Only this time they won’t be going to the kennel (they don’t know that yet.)

So that’s what’s happening here.

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Where has the time gone?

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on March 19, 2011

I was going to add more pictures and info about our Belgium trip but haven’t gotten around to it. Then I realized I hadn’t even finished posting a draft I started in February. In the meantime we took a long weekend and went to Washington, DC, one of the few cities in the US I still wanted to see before we head over to Australia…oh by the way it looks like we will be leaving in May. But before I get ahead of myself I need to catch you up on Belgium, Washington, DC and our upcoming trip to Puerto Rico.

I am still waiting for pictures from Fergus’ camera of Belgium and Paris & DC so don’t give up on me.  I will get around to it soon.

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Belgium Memories #2 – Beautiful Baby

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on March 19, 2011

We wanted to get to meet Paco before he grew up and it was love at first sight. He is four months old now and is a happy, smiley, easy baby. He laughs and is curious, always looking around and noticing sights and sounds. Now I don’t have much experience with babies but he is just perfect.

Papa, Paco, and Granny.

Leslie and Manu have a darling house in Ways near Waterloo. They have done some remodeling and have wonderful plans for converting the attic into a master bed and bath.  I forgot to take pictures, it was cold outside and although we did many day trips to chateaus, abbeys, the university and shopping, once we got home we just wanted to get inside and get warm. Many of these places were in the central area of Belgium. The area is beautiful. It is green and I can imagine what it would look like with the flowers in the spring. Next trip for sure.

We spent one day in Brussels with Manu and Paco. We walked around the quaint streets and visited the plaza with these fantastic ornate architecture. We also had to visit the famous fountain, Mannikin Pis – the peeing little boy. Everywhere you go they have souvenirs of this little guy and when I finally saw it I had to laugh – Much Ado About Nothing – the fountain is so small if there weren’t crowds all around it I would have walked right by it – LOL.

This is it.

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Belgium Memories #1 – First Class all the way!

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on February 19, 2011

We had enough United Frequent Flyer miles to fly First Class. Wow!!!! I am hooked. It was so wonderful to be able to stretch out, get champagne before we even took off, a down blanket and real pillows, TV and movies on demand, gourmet meals and more. How in the world will we ever be able to travel in steerage again.

Lots of room.

What a way to go.


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Belgium Memories

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on February 19, 2011

We have been back from our trip for almost two weeks.  When we got home I was very jet-lagged and then came down with a terrible cold.  I wasn’t able to access my blog when we were in Europe so I’m going to give you many of the highlights of our trip in the next few entries.  I will try to get them all posted in the next couple of days. Thank you for your patience.

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Au Revoir

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on January 26, 2011

We are heading off to Belgium this afternoon. Mainly we want to see Leslie, Manu and the baby, Paco but while there we plan to visit Paris, too. I will try to take time to write what I have been up to these past couple of weeks. Maybe while we are at the airport in Chicago – if they have free WiFi.

It’s been sunny and cold here but a couple of weeks ago it was very snowy. Here’s a picture of the front yard.

View from the front porch.

Stay tune for more pictures and highlights of our latest adventure.

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So here’s what’s new.

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on October 30, 2010

I promised I’d get this need blog out before the end of October and here it is already October 29!!!! Where does the time go?

Leslie and Manu’s baby, Paco was born about a month early on October 3. He was in the neonatal unit for a while but he is home now and is doing really well. We can’t wait to visit them in Belgium. We don’t know when that will be but it has to be soon. Here are some pictures. He had to have some surgery on his forehead but he is fine.


Paco with Daddy.

Mommy and baby.


We love getting pictures.  We see the changes in him every week.

I went to Montgomery, Pennsylvania for the dog shows where the Airedale Rescue quilts were raffled.  After working on the “Airedales Downunder” I couldn’t bear to just mail it off into the world without being there through the entire process – concept to handover. If you didn’t have a chance to see the quilt that Jenny, Sue and I made look back a few blog entries for Airedales Downunder it will link you to the YouTube video I made.

I hung out with Marianne, a friend of Sue’s.  She picked me up at the airport, drove us everywhere. We sold tickets all weekend at the different dog show venues. It was a long tiring weekend but well worth the trip.  Here are some pics of the weekend.

Me and our wall hanging.

The main quilt -A is for Airedale-very cute.

Parading the quilts before the drawing.

I was so excited because I sold the tickets to the woman who won our wall hanging. It made the entire trip worth it because even though she wasn’t there the final day to take it home, I met her and helped her fill out her tickets and liked her and I know that “Airedales Downunder ” went to a nice lady.


The contract from Adelaide arrived and we are in the process of gathering all the paper work they require. That’s only for the hospital we haven’t even gotten immigration papers yet. We are plodding along and haven’t given up that this might really happen.


We have a couple of people interested in the house. One young couple who may have to rent-to-own since the land that they need to sell for a down payment isn’t selling for the amount they are asking. Another couple looked at it yesterday – their second visit – and seem to be serious.


Since making the wall hanging, and two baby quilts one for Dax and one for Paco, I have gotten the quilting bug. I know, I know, Fergus says quilting is for old ladies but I am loving it. I took a class at my local quilt shop and made a sampler quilt, at the same time I worked on a quilt using Australian Aboriginal inspired fabrics and I took a second class on how to make a quilt with circles. I had that one – which I call “Sun-Kissed Garden” professionally quilted. The other two I will attempt to quilt my self – a bit scary. Here are pictures of  the finished quilt , the Aussie quilt and the class “Sampler” quilt tops.

Completed "Sun-Kissed Garden" and matching pillow cases.

Class sampler - too ig to get into one picture.

Close up of the applique border of morning glories.











The center blocks of the Australian quilt which I am calling "Dreamtime".

These two quilts are for a king size bed so I can’t get the entire quilt in the picture but you get the idea. These tops still need to be quilted. I was doing a lot of quilting but now that the weather is cooling down and it has been tolerable to work in the yard.  Time to get prepared for winter.

So there you have it. See you November.

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AUSTRALIA here we come!!

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on July 18, 2010

Fergus was offered and accepted the job in Adelaide, yea!!!! So the adventure begins again. We will find out what we have to do next. Probably lots of paper work, take the English test, sell the house, pack what’s left to pack, etc.etc. We don’t know what the time frame will be yet. Immigration will probably be the longest part of the process.

Keep posted. Know anyone who wants to buy a house?

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Why I Hate To Travel

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on July 7, 2010

Don’t get me wrong, I love going to new places, it’s the “getting” there that I hate.

Forget the usual annoyances, i.e. taking your shoes off going through security, not being able to bring a bottle of water on the plane, cramped seats, crying babies etc. I’m talking about the DENVER airport!

It didn’t start off to well. The plane in Wichita was delayed because of  a “mechanical” problem so we had to sit on the plane for an hour and 1/2 before we could take off…”no problems” said the, in his, by now, irritating overly cheerful voice, “he would make up the time in flight.” Not quite possible since it is only an hour flight.

True to his word he went fast but only to have to circle over the Denver Airport because of thunderstorms they weren’t letting any planes land or depart. So we did this for a FEW hours more until he started to run out of fuel.

So we flew a little further west to Grand Junction to refuel and sit on the tarmac until we got word from Denver that we could come on back. They were so nice they showed us a movie while we waited, everyone on the plane had a chance to use the toilet, all the crying babies had their diapers changed, we got FREE water, juice or soda – no wine since we were on the ground.

Now it is about 9 pm Denver time – we should have arrived at 4:30pm. Oh that’s okay Grand Junction is only a half hour flight to Denver – going east – the opposite way we want to go.

By the time we arrive in Denver at 9:30 there are on more flights to LA, the customer “dis”service  has a line that circles the Denver concourse so long it looked like a line for tickets for a Rolling Stones concert. The ticket desks just kept telling us to call the United 800 number since they didn’t have any information about flights. HUH?

To make this long story short- we missed our connection to Qantas in LA, we had to stand in line for hours, literally, to get a hotel for the night, we were on two cells phones with United and Qantas to make alternate arrangements, we had to wait for what seemed like FOREVER for the shuttle to take us to the hotel which was probably 1/2 away.

We were in bed by 2am. And only one hour flying time from Wichita.

So this morning we are up and at it again!  “Australia or Bust”! as they say. Today the weather here in Denver looks good, we have tickets for LA and new itinerary for Australia – LA to Brisbane then to Adelaide. We will be a day late and a bit more travel-worn but they can’t keep us down.

This is the second time I have been stranded in Dever due to weather – in the winter it’s the snowstorms in the summer it is thunderstorms. Why would anyone build an airport in a place so unsuitable for airplanes?

We are getting ready to board our flight to LA. I’ll write more later.

Next installment I hope I can bring you more positive news.

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