My big question today is: How do I change a light bulb. They call them globes here. They don’t twist out.

I’ll go grocery shopping this afternoon. All of the grocery stores are within a mall and don’t have an entrance directly to the outside. The grocery cart is called a trolley and all 4 wheels swivel making it a challenge to change direction. I find that strange.

I have 2 loads of laundry on the line today, which is typical of my schedule. Most people either don’t even have a dryer or only use it rarely. We were loaned a washer to use for now, but no dryer. Yesterday wasn’t sunny enough in the afternoon, so that load went out on the line again today as it was still damp. It gets dark by 5:30 or 6PM, so the daylight hours are precious.

We went to the beach every other day after arriving, because the boys were not able to be in school yet. Now, they have been in for 2 weeks and we haven’t been to the beach all week. Peter has met some nice boys in his class and was invited to a sleepover at Tynam’s house June 1st. After speaking to his mother, I feel like he may have found a great friend. Thank you, God for providing! All of the other 3 boys that will be at the sleepover will be part of the circus production the year 9s will put on later in the year. Peter will have to fill you in.
Our shipping containerExactly 5 months after seeing it off on 5th January, our shipping container finally arrived at our house this week.  Amazingly, most everything remained intact throughout its journey via truck, train, boat, and truck.  No major damage to report.  Lanette managed the unloading and unpacking by the shippers, and all went rather smoothly.

The kids were keen to quickly find their Legos, baseball gloves, footballs, bikes, stuffed animals, and their own bed sheets and blankets.  Lanette dug into the kitchen and bedding boxes straight away.

We've quickly arranged and unboxed the basics, but there will probably be many boxes left to unpack for quite awhile.

Five videos from our day visit to Serpentine Falls National Park to see kangaroos... (scroll down for more)

Kangaroos closeup
(that obnoxious "whining" sound is some annoying local bird that we hear all the time here)

Kangaroos with Dane

Kangaroos hopping

Kangaroos with Karl and Dane

Serpentine Falls in Western Australia

It's Friday, so we hustled home after school.  After a quick change of clothes, we headed off to the beach to play and watch the sunset.  The sun sets here at about 5:20 pm.  We played catch with a frisbee and a football (American "gridiron" variety), ran the beach, played in the sand, and took some photos of the sun setting over Penguin Island.

The photos in the video below are all from tonight.  Click the button below the video for the best viewing experience. The music is from Chris Rice (make sure to listen to the lyrics).  The quality isn't so great in the video, but I posted the same set of photos in the Photo Galleries for better viewing. (You need to log in to view the Photo Galleries.)

Karl's Year 5 class held their "dancesport" performance in the chapel at Living Waters.  At the end of the evening, the parents were invited to join the kids (see Lanette in the second video below).

Read more about this here.

Headline from West AustralianWe thought we left this type of weather back in Minnesota.  The headline at right reads, "Massive storm rips through Rockingham."

A tornado hit our city at about 7:30am this morning.  Lanette had just dropped me off at school.  I wasn't walking because it had been raining all night.  Very strong winds and a heavy downpour were all I noticed at school.  But less than 3 miles north of our house, they determined it was a tornado that had caused damage to 190 homes.  15 homes actually lost their roofs.  No serious injuries reported.

About 45 minutes later, Peter was out in the school "oval" (playing field) playing soccer with some mates when he and others thought they saw a funnel cloud up in the sky.

Apparently they don't have any neighborhood tornado sirens here.  There was no warnings issued specifically for tornadoes.  We did nothing in response to the weather at school, although it was about a half hour before kids usually arrive.  I didn't even hear that there was a tornado until I was walking home after school reading the news on my mobile phone.

Locals have claimed that tornadoes are rare here, although the weather experts suggest that Australians just haven't been good at recognizing them or counting them.  According to this website, the Rockingham-to-Mandurah region has actually seen 18 tornadoes in the last 33 years. 

The tornado got some big news coverage in Perth.  Here's some links:
Since we have moved, we have met people that bring us back home in our thoughts.

Yesterday, Lori Pierce Sexton came to our house for morning tea. Lori is from my home town, Rochelle, IL, and graduated from the same high school 4 years before I did. She was in 4-H as I was and went on to live in 4-H House Sorority at University of Illinois as I did 4 years later. When growing up, I would spend several hours every summer at her nana's rural swimming pool for swimming lessons. During the later years, I remember that she would help out at the pool.

She married an Aussie right after college and has been here for 25 years. She lives only 40 minutes away from us and her 3 daughters play sports in our city. We had a lovely chat.

Here's another one: Our pastor, Mike Fulwood, here at Rockingham Lutheran Church, spent one year in the United States at Fort Wayne Seminary, back in the early 80's. He remembers a friend from seminary, Bill Tucker, who was the vicar at my home church. Our family knew him well.

One more: Lisa, a friendly young mother at the church here, invited me for a walk soon after we arrived. She and her husband lived in Watertown, MN for several years before moving to Australia 3 years ago. We were chatting about our medical background, and I mentioned that I worked for Capernaum Pediatric Therapy. Her infant daughter received PT from a familiar therapist through Capernaum. Tim's relative, Dwayne Schumacher, went to the same church in Watertown. They also lived within a block of Cherie Whisler, an OT who worked with me at District 112 in Chaska.

I know we are on the other side of the world, but at times, it sure doesn't seem like it.

Not that we're ready to come home already... but as Lanette and I were talking about the high price of food and fuel in Western Australia compared to what we were paying in Minnesota, I remarked that we have to be careful about the comparisons we make.  We're trying to compare June 2008 prices here in WA to April 2008 prices in Minnesota.  The longer we stay here, the less relevant any comparison will be to the prices we knew before we left.  (BTW, in terms of US dollars and gallons, I think the price we're paying for petrol these days would be about US$5.90 while it sounds like it's just over US$4.00 back home now.)

We may be half a world away from home, but it's not too hard to keep tabs on the news back in the US... and it seems already to be a different place back home than we knew.  A recent Associated Press news story was headlined, "Everything Seemingly Is Spinning Out of Control."  I'd quote the article but can't because of the AP's new policy that charges bloggers US$12.50 for quoting 5 to 25 words from their stories (I hope quoting headlines doesn't count!).  But in short, the story offers a very pessimistic view on the trends on several fronts in the US from the economy to energy to politics.

In a blog from a guy I don't know, Todd Kuiper gets it right - and unlike the AP story, I can quote him here:
"I firmly believe that God has everything under control, but if you just watched the news and had no faith in God and no context in which to view the world, you would be scared to death I would think."
Interestingly, Todd's wife's blog quotes her life verse - a very appropriate counter to the AP story:
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

I think the Australian-Lutheran translation of that Jeremiah verse would be:  "No worries, mate.  She'll be right."

(Dane's been writing and writing on his notepad, and Dad is now catching up with the typing.  This posting by Dane begins with our landing at Auckland, New Zealand, on the way to Perth on 28 April 2008.)

On the flight to New Zealand, there was a TV on the back of the seat.  These entertainment centers let you watch movies and play games.  We landed.  It was really fogy and it was before the sunrise.  Then we met a tour guide.  Then he drove us to see the Tasman Sea and we walked on a path there where we could see really big waves, cliffs, and a beautiful beach.

Then we drove back to the city and saw a big volcano.  It was up very high and it was still fogy.  We could hardly see a house.  There was a cow in the volcano.  Oh, by the way I forgot to tell you that the volcano doesn't exit anymore.  Then we went to a bakery and I bought a cinnamon donut.  Then we went back to the volcano and it wasn't fogy anymore.  It was a clear sky and from there we could see the whole city.

Then he droped us off at the airport.  Then we ate at McDonald's and I had a cheeseburger and fries.  Then we had to hurry really fast.  We had to go through customs and security.  Then we had to fast walk to our flight.  After we sat down on the plane and had super we had chicken, beans, pop, and apple pie sort of thing.  They handed out wine and my Dad and Mom had some.  By the way they had a radio with head phones.  Then we slept for awhile.

The two-week winter holiday begins on the 5th of July, and we've been slow to figure out what we're doing.  It seems like everyone here takes the holiday seriously and make plans to get away.  They tend to go north in winter with the preferred destination being between Carnarvon-Coral-Bay-Exmouth (800 miles; 16 hours of driving) where they dive on the Ningaloo Reef.

We're not ready to take on 16 hours of outback driving, so we've been looking for other options that might give us some of the flavour of the outback.  And... I think we're going to get a serious taste of outback with what we've arranged.

We're booking two nights on an outback sheep station, staying in "shearer's quarters".  Wogarno Station is a family-run 152,000 acre working sheep station.  For comparison, that would be three-fifths the size of Carver County in Minnesota, or about 400 times larger than the Gruben farm in Rochelle.  There are some terrific rock formations and Aboriginal cave paintings that we'll be able to hike to while there.

Wogarno is about 40 km south of Mt. Magnet, an historic gold mining town.  The directions to Wogarno Station from the south as we'll be approaching it say to reset your car's tripmeter at the town of Payne's Find and then when it says "105 km", turn left. (There's nothing in between for that 105 km!)

Click on the map at right to interact with it in Google Maps.  Or download this file and open it in Google Earth.

(Continuing Dane's epic story of our trip to Australia, starting up again with the flight from New Zealand to Perth on 28th April 2008.)

When we had scones I was asleep and my Dad was tring to wake me up and ask me what I wanted to eat.  My Dad was asking and asking but I never woke up.

Then we landed (in Perth) and someone picked us up and brought us in a school bus and on the school bus I slept.  And when we woke up in the morning we were in a hotel and my Dad said I slept onthe bus but I thought that I didn't.

The hotel room had 3 bed rooms, and 6 people could sleep in it.  There was one double bed and the rest were single beds.  Karl and I were sleeping together.  There was one TV, a kitchen, dinning room, and a livingrom.  In the morning we went to a bakery and we had Quiche and I really liked it.  We had chocolate milk and it didn't taste different.

Dane's glassesIn the middle of may I went to my Immigration medical exam in down town Perth.  When we were there I got my eyes checked and I failed.  So I went to a eye doctor on June 18.  After I got my eyes checked the man told us that I had to get glasses.  I got redish brown glasses only for long distance.  I have been wearing them a lot.  I'm even wearing them now.

On a Saturday in June we went to Serpentine falls which is a place with lots of kangaroos that are nice unlike kangaroos at a golf course.  It took 30 min to get there.

When we got there we went straight to see the kangaroos.  At first I was scard but then I got calmer and got one to two feet away from a kangaroo.  The we went to the falls which is a water fall that doesn't drop.  It just is at a slant and people can swim in the river.

Then we went back to the place that we came from and walked across a brige and went up a really big hill and went higher then the water fall.  Then we went down the hill and went back where the kangaroos were and had lunch.  Then we played catch with an American football.