Sunday, November 13, 2016

Family Reunion in Australia - Days 2-3

Time with cousin Michelle

Mary, Michelle, Eileen

I was awakened by a LOUD choir of birds. This was even before the light of morning dawn as it was still dark outside. After about 30 minutes of listening to this glorious sound, I grabbed my camera to record the music. At breakfast, Barb described the singers to me.  The butcher bird starts calling around 3AM to 5AM. It goes house to house chirping all of the other birds awake. The other birds join in including the magpie and the noisy minor bird. I will discuss more about these birds as I have closer encounters with them later on my trip. 

My first cousin once removed, Michelle, came around to visit at noon. She was in tears when she saw us. Her grandfather, John Austin COOPER, was my uncle. I remember meeting Michelle for the first time when she was a baby. Picture to the left is of me, my mother holding baby Michelle, Michelle's mother, Bonnie with her father, Jack, my first cousin. Michelle and I met later as adults back in 1993 for a cousin’s wedding and again in 1999. Michelle and husband, Jeff Previti, decided to emigrate to Australia in 2004 and fell in love with the people and the country. I later introduced Michelle to our BOYD cousins when she was so homesick for family. I understand the tears. Michelle lives in Perigean Beach about 45 minutes north of Caloundra.  

The four of us, ladies, drove out to Bullcock Beach to meet Marg for lunch. We ordered fish and chips at the Sandbar Kiosk and ate outside at a eating bench next to the shore overlooking Bribe North Island. We had a nice chat catching up with one another. We then walked down the boardwalk together to the fishing area.

After hugging Marg goodbye, we drove back to Barb's where Eileen and I packed up to spend the next two nights with Michelle in Jeff in Perigean Beach. We hugged Barb and Ross goodbye for now as Eileen and I would see them again on Sunday at the family reunion.

I presented Michelle with a quilted table runner I made a few years back with scraps from another quilt. It was fun and challenging as I followed no pattern. It was so colorful that I used a floral pattern to quilt it.

We rushed home to pick up Liam (Michelle's son) as he and his friends were waiting to go to his school's annual fair that evening. We quickly unloaded and off to the fair we went. I was so impressed with the organization covering the rides, foods, games, sales and other events, including the fireworks.

Pig Race Winners
We walked around the concession stands selling a wide variety of foods, many different from the United States. I decided on a popular Oz sandwich called Snags on the Barbie, a sausage wrapped in grilled onions and a white piece of bread (like our Wonder bread) sold by Liam’s teacher. Yum!

Image result for Snags on the Barbie

The fair was very successful and more people came later in the evening. The fireworks were a delight. We got home that evening exhausted for another great nights sleep. We got to meet the family dogs, Kaipo and Biscuit.

Saturday morning, I was also awaked with the wonderful song birds. We got to chat at breakfast. Liam introduced us to yummy Vegemite, a popular Aussie spread that is a nutritious start of your day rich in B vitamins. Its source is brewer’s yeast. I tried it on toast. I admit that it takes a bit more to get used to it. I found a great video on Youtube with Hugh Jackman showing Jimmy Fallon on how to really eat Vegemite.

Click here.

We drove out to Eumundi Markets, a wonderful weekly outdoor market with artisans and farmers selling their goods. I found great local items to take home to family.

We also drove up to the Noosa National Park where you could see kangaroos and koala bears in the wild. We walked up the coastal trail with no animal sightings. (I found out that there were koala sights in this park just a few days ago after I returned to the states.) We found these man-made stone towers along the rocky coast that people had placed there. We drove  to the Noosa Heads Surf Club for lunch. This was a small north side beach with winds so hard we had to put something on our napkins to hold them down while waiting for our lunches. Great food!

When we came back home, Jeff started on preparing dinner. Michelle is very crafty sharing with me her projects made with glass, tile, and stones. Lovely!

We even had a visitor. They have a magpie that comes on a regular basis that they call Maggie. Biscuit looks on.

We also went for a walk on the beautiful beach not far from their home before dinner. I loved the shady tree walkway to the ocean. The shore was empty of crowds of people. Peaceful!

When we returned, Jeff had dinner ready for us. He is a good cook. After dinner, we had a visitor on the patio. I also helped Jeff with his family tree. Within an hour he was excited to find out more about his side of the family. 

Tomorrow is the BOYD family reunion, the “pièce de résistance” for the whole trip to Oz for me.

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