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News from Down under

Greetings from Darwin! We are experiencing a very wet season with a monsoon trough over the north of Australia. Last Saturday saw 202mm of rain, and today it has been raining non-stop for hours. Apparently February is the wettest month of the season.

After unpacking all our belongings (and all my teapots in one piece!), we had a very relaxing and quiet Christmas and new year, just what we needed that after all the activity over the past few months. Whilst Victor started back at work early January, Daniel and I enjoyed a few lazy weeks of school holiday. Since schools break up close to Christmas, the new school year only starts late January. We visited a few local spots, like the war museum (Darwin was heavily bombed in the Second World War), the wildlife park, the Museum of Art and Natural History, and a few local nature spots. I spent my time catching up on lost sleep, watching movies, reading, having long chats with friends and family in South Africa, taking walks by the seaside and getting up to date with my photos, which I have paid very little attention to since leaving South Africa. I scanned in all my photos from negatives from the days before digital (close to 3000 photos spanning 1988-2003!), and I sorted close to 18,000 digital photos from the last 13 years.

Not long after I wrote to you in December, I was offered a full time teaching position for senior Maths at one of the best schools in Darwin. It was an absolute answer to prayer and I am happy to report that I have absolutely loved my first few weeks. I teach primarily at the senior college of the school, which is based at Charles Darwin University, away from the main school campus about 4kms away. I however have one class at the middle school, so I commute 4 out of 5 days between the two campuses. I don't really mind as it gives me the opportunity to familiarise myself with the working of both campuses, and getting to know staff in both sections of the school. The first few days of teacher orientation was a very positive experience. There are 4 other staff members from South Africa, and the teacher whom I replaced was also a South African! Students are generally well behaved and keen to learn, and all of my students except one very vulnerable boy handed in their first homework.

After much deliberation over the holidays, we decided that Daniel would join the same school, so he had to start again from scratch.... Poor thing! But he seems to be OK and slowly starting to make friends. He catches the bus to school and back as I leave early and stay late, but he is enjoying the independence.

We have settled down at the local Baptist Church and Daniel has also started attending Youth. The congregation is very welcoming and we have enjoyed attending services on Sundays.

Unfortunately, I have been suffering from a stabbing pain in the bottom of my left foot (called "plantar fasciitis") for a few months and it has been getting progressively worse. My home treatment wasn't working and I am now on a mixture of physiotherapy, orthopaedic socks and orthopaedic shoes, and stretching exercises.

We've settled down in our little weekly routines of work, shopping, weekend barbecues, church and a dinner or two now and then with colleagues in laid-back Darwin.

Greetings from Down Under....... until we speak again, mate!

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