And so we’re done with another year; I would like to repeat the speed-of-time-related complaints from last year, but luckily it’s also been a very eventful year (luckily because the events have mostly been positive).
January evenings are often spent on the beach; the relatively cool water (it never gets above +22C or so) is great on a hot day. These colourful “bathing boxes” – which are actually one of the hottest pieces of real estate in the area, selling at around cool $200k each in the rare occasion they’re on the market – are a defining feature of our favourite local beach. While the bay beaches are perfect for kids to play in, it is a bit of a shame that ocean beaches (and hence, proper surfing conditions) are an hour’s drive away.
There is always something new happening at Federation Square in the city; in February, Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests were there – along with a mini-version for the kids to push around. Aside from some special events, I don’t usually even bother to look up ahead of time what’s going on at the Fed Square – there’s enough things happening all year.
In March I managed to tag a short stop-over in Finland on my work trip to Brussels – and they had snow. Heaps of snow. The short 24hr get-together with my siblings was excellent and having gone back to Finland twice now, it’s about time for some of them to haul their butts over here, I think..
Before impending family changes later in the year, we took a last road trip in April to Adelaide, via Grampians and Great Ocean Road. I love the backroads in Australia; they’re simply beautiful. They are two-way roads with roughly one lane of pavement, meaning it’s off to the shoulder and lots of dust if a car happens to come the other way – but that rarely happens.
Not specific to May, possums are one of our resident wild animals you can see practically every day; often considered a nuisance (but protected by law), we haven’t had any issues with them since they got blocked from our roof space. And they’re cute.
June, even though technically just about mid-winter, is the month that mostly resembles fall here – the trees that change colour, change colour, and in select locations you would think you’re somewhere very different than Australia. June also marks the end of autumn, meaning < +20C daytime temps and a shift from the usually consistently beautiful autumn to more rainy and windy winter. And, this year, a shockingly bad winter with the whole household taking turns being sick. Not much good to remember of that period, except...
.. the birth of another family member in July, which was a wonderful experience at a hospital’s birth centre. So July, and also ..
.. August went partly getting used to the fact that there are five of us now, and partly trying to get everyone healthy. I don’t remember – nor care to remember – much of August, but looking back at the pictures it seems some signs of spring were already there.
By September we began to be mostly alive again, which was good timing because Royal Melbourne Show was in town again. Beyond the usual plethora of animals to pet, hug and catch, this year the (older) kids got to milk a cow, which was pretty cool.
In October, I participated in on Aussie tradition – a sausage sizzle fundraising for one of our kids’ kindergarten. We had a good location in front of a local Bunnings on a beautiful weekend day, and I was really surprised how well the things sold. A nice experience overall, but I’m still not a fan of sausages
In November, I had the opportunity to help organize the Global Sustainability Jam Melbourne, which was another great positive experience. This picture, however, is from Fitzroy Gardens which is a great lunch-walk destination right next to the office – a refreshing change of scenery.
December was special in that I had five weeks of leave, the longest stretch in many years (see the previous post for more about that). Much of the time was spent focusing on the most important things, like the kids doing what kids should be doing; exploring, getting dirty and wet. There simply is no better place for that than summer in Australia.
Towards the end of the month we also welcomed some relatives from Finland – for some strange reason it proved to be impossible to show them all the interesting stuff we’ve uncovered over the past 3+ years in three weeks. We managed lots, though, which probably left both parties exhausted – but hopefully happy and many experiences richer, too. All in all, a perfect ending for an eventful year.
2013, on the other hand, has kicked off with some record-breaking heat-waves showing what climate change means for Australia. Personally it’s likely to be another interesting year, but how exactly that will unfold remains to be seen.. Some self-imposed deadlines are looming but there are options that haven’t been decided on yet.