31 July 2003

The journey begins

This is the first edition of Bruggie Tales. Many of our friends and family have asked us to keep them updated, so here is the beginning of a series.

Our trip started on the Monday, leaving Country Australia after another 0 degrees (celsius) night leaving all the house and outdoors covered in a white frost. Our friends transported us and our luggage to a Sydney hotel and we had our last Australian dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Sydney, followed by a nighttime tour of the city in the Smith Tour Bus.
We left the hotel on time at 8 am and arrived at the Airport ready for the trip. Well, not quite. We had left one of our bags in the hotel room! Luckily we had plenty of time to spare and the hotel was able to send the bag on the next shuttle bus.
At the Check-in counter they were very strict on bag weights and we had to reshuffle the luggage in all of our bags to ensure the bags did not weigh more than 32kg and onboard not more than 7kg. This only took about 30 minutes! The lady at the check-in estimated I lifted about 250kg on and off the scales.
We then went through to the international departure area, where I remembered I still had the keys to my little blue car in my pocket, which I had just sold through Robert Smith. A quick placing of keys into the envelope and then popping in the post and we finally got on board.
The first leg was about 10 hours to Osaka Kansai airport. This plane had a common movie screen. When the movies came on we had to stop the children watching either film, as neither was suitable! The staff on this JAL flight were very good, especially helping Ariel who had a bit of a headache, probably from the excitement and not enough water.

Peter checking plane safety instructions.
As the picture above shows, Peter was quite calm about the flight.
The Hotel was very comfortable and once we realized that going anywhere was going to be way too much hassle, we ended up back in our rooms. Lana had a sleep and we watched a Western on Japanese TV. The flight to LA was relatively easy with the children able to watch Jungle Book 2 and Bambi or play some games on their personal video screens.
Three hours of customs/immigration awaited us in Los Angeles and and then a transfer to the next flight and we flew 4 hours to Atlanta. So, finally at 10:30pm we stopped flying, met our US friends, and drove for 3 hours (via Wal-Mart), culminating in a humid night in a hotel in North East Georgia, over 9,000 miles away from home, under different stars.

Butterfly Question

What is this butterfly? It's pretty big.

Living in America

The wildlife is different:
  • It is quiet during the day and noisy at night. At home, we are used to magpies, cockatoos, Gallahs and kookaburras sharing their “songs” with us. Here it is quiet until dusk when all the “Katydids” – grasshopper type insects (Look in A Beka Science 4) starting their mating rituals.
  • Also at dusk the fireflies come out. (called lightning bugs locally) These are pretty interesting, giving flashes of light throughout the woods. (A Beka Science 4)
  • Daddy long legs here are Grand daddy long legs – they are bigger than what we are used to but basically the same type of spider.
  • White Faced Hornets are mongrel things. One stung Peter on the first day they explored our new house and so they all retreated back into the house. Just as well, too! There was a huge nest of the things. That night, Ward Ogburn used a common wasp and hornet spray that jets a stream of poison up to 22 feet to kill them. Whilst destroying the nest and killing all its occupants, he was stung too.
  • Yellow jacket wasps are not pleasant either. One stung Lana in the first week when she accidentally brushed it off her arm. The mark is still there and occasionally is irritating.
  • Ticks are in the untamed areas of ground and latch on to the legs. Lana got one so we know about them now.
  • Squirrels are cute. There are lots around the house.
  • Bears are apparently in the area, but we haven’t seen any yet.
  • There are lots of Deer around.
  • The birds actually sound OK (when they actually sing) rather than variations of squawks most of the Australian birds are known for. We also saw some “Red Cardinal” birds – pretty little bright red birds.
  • Chiggers are the worst. They hang around in unkept areas of gardens or bushland and are about 0.1 mm in size. They leap on to anything warm-blooded passing and crawl as high as they can until they get to a soft bit of skin, then start sucking. After about 3 hours a little lump comes up and they are very itchy. So, everyone avoids areas chiggers are reputed to be, once they get inside all clothes are washed and everyone jumps in the bath. The funny thing is, chiggers are not meant to feast on humans – they die from our bodies. Dogs and birds don’t get the irritations, as they are the correct host. See here for more information.

Placing our stake in a new land

Interesting Links July 2003

We now have DSL – even though I can’t get mobile/cell coverage. Here are some finds from some surfing.

The new GE 4D Ultrasound – a great vision of the baby using enhanced ultrasound imaging. Well worth downloading.

Mel Gibson’s new film “The Passion”. This is a very interesting look at his new film about the last hours of Our Lord up to his Crucifixion. This is NOT for the little ones (under 12), but it will give you an idea of the movie that is sparking much controversy

Recipe: Berry Cobbler

A Blackberry and Raspberry Cobbler.

½ cup melted butter
2 cups SR Flour
2 Cups Milk
2 Cups Sugar
3½ Cups Berries


Pour melted butter into lamington tray (9in x 13 in).
Mix sugar, flour and milk together – it may be lumpy but it doesn’t matter.
Pour this on top of the melted butter.
Put berries on top of that.
Cook in moderate oven for about 45 minutes to an hour until golden brown on top.

Yummo. Especially with vanilla ice cream.