We've been here two days now. My sister and her husband have been so gracious. Their home is lovely. Heidi must have memorized the Martha Stewart chapter on how to welcome guests. She's done many many Good Things. There were thick robes and slippers and little samples of shampoos and lotions in our room when we got here. The whole house is so open and clean; lots of windows, lots of light.
They live down a country lane, one with large and lovely homes all around. It reminds me of New England, the suburbs around Boston where Kent's Aunt Caroline & Uncle Dave live. The view from her back yard suggests Italy...or at least pictures I've seen of Italy. They're surrounded by hills that roll down to the Yarra River, with stucco homes settled on their flanks. It's very much what I'd imagine Tuscany to look like, except for the gum trees and eucalyptus.
The yard itself is huge. Green grass flows down hill to a triangle point, lined with trees along both sides. Heidi has a vegie bed that's bigger than my front yard. They say they lost a number of trees and shrubs to last summer's drought, and she had to completely plow under the vegie bed because there was no water to spare for it. It's raining more regularly this year, and Kevin says their reservoir levels are up over 35%. The grassy areas along the highways are still brown, but their yard and the hills around them are generously green.
Last night we sat outside and had dinner by the pool. The cicadas were loud, which Heidi says means it's going to be a warm day today. They don't come out when it's cool. We've seen lorakeets and cockateils and kookaburras, and yesterday morning we hiked down toward the river to see the kangaroos. Even more unusual for us Northwesterners, in the afternoon we walked through downtown Melbourne to see AC-DC Lane and Batman Avenue. Go figure.
This morning we'll go to Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral. My nephew has a swim meet, so we'll go see him swim this afternoon. Apparently the meet's being held in a complex that has both indoor and outdoor pools, and there's a wave pool that we'll all be able to swim in when we're not actually cheering on the Surrey Park swimmers. This is where I wanted to paste in a couple paragraphs written by the kids describing their experiences so far. Funny, I can't get them to sit down and write anything. They've been too busy. Maybe later today.....