Archive for June, 2009

Days 7, 8, 9 – The Long Drive Down the Coast

Posted in PLN, Vacation on June 27, 2009 by Mister A

Darren's Big rig

After Fraser Island we began our long journey down the eastern coast of Australia.  We had several excursions along the way including a terrific trip inland into the green mountains via driver Darren Wallace, a retired executive turned entreprenuer who really knew how to spread jam and cream onto a scone.  If you ever go to Surfer’s Paradise, I would highly recommend his services as we were able to see parts of Australia that most don’t get to see.  He drove us through some switchbacks that made me really miss my bicycle and were reminexcent of roads of ridden on in Southern Montana.

My kids and friends Mariohn and Krista, Dancing on the top of the Green Mountains

My kids and friends Mariohn and Krista, Dancing on the top of the Green Mountains

Also along the way we held a koala, pet a kangaroo, looked for whales, visited a lighthouse, walked under a shark, and ate a very large hamburger.  The whole while, I was eager with anticipation to meet several of my new on-line Australian friends whom I have come to know as Jokaydians on the drive down the coast.  I was curious if we would hit it off as well as Dean’s family and mine did on Fraser Island.  I will write more about that in my next post…So if this stuff is interesting to you…Stay Tuned!

Day 6 – Finally getta meet Dean and his Family

Posted in Vacation on June 17, 2009 by Mister A
Henny Zimer

Henny Zimer

It was just over a year ago that Slammed Aabye (Dean Groom) friended Henny Zimer (me) immediately upon their introduction by Jokay Wollongong on the great island of Jokaydia.  I believe our relationship has come full circle in what seems to have been a very short year.  In that year, we have had some of the most terrific conversations in a variety of places…including skype, twitter, second life, our blogs, gtalk, and even playing world of warcraft.  Our conversations have included everything you could imagine two teachers/fathers/geeks/gamers could talk about who are 1000s of miles from one another.

Sue and Joanie

Sue and Joanie

The value I have for our friendship has greatly increased over the past couple of days as places we have had terrific conversation now include Lake Mckenzie, Eli Creeksome shipwreck I cannot remember the name of, and Kingfisher Bay Resort.  I have also had the privilege of meeting Dean’s wonderful family and watch our kids build sand castles, chase fish, and collect shells with each other.  Our wives also had the opportunity to compare notes about a variety of character defects Dean and I seem to share.

deans pocket stuff

dean's pocket stuff

I was not exactly sure what I would find when I met Dean.  Because the amount of knowledge he possessed was so great, in my own mind, I built him into something he is not.  I thought he would be some kind of a guru or something.  Thank God that is not the case.  He is just a man, like me, working his hardest to be a good father, husband, friend and teacher.  I am happy for technology…more than anything…because it has allowed me to meet Dean and his family.

On a personal note, I celebrated my eighteenth wedding anniversary on this day as well…I am the luckiest man in the world to be married to my wife, Joanie…She is my best friend.

Day 5 – Sunshine Coast…Nigel nearly starts on fire…

Posted in Vacation on June 17, 2009 by Mister A
IMG_0230

Adam Dancing on the Sunshine Coast

We arrived late yesterday so we could not really see where we were until we awoke on this day.  We were staying at a resort called the twin waters novotel and man was it ever fancy.  I think the only reason our tour could afford staying there was because it is currently the off season.  Our room was on a beautiful lake with a variety of noisemaking birds acting as our alarm clocks.  I was able to enjoy my morning coffee watching the sun come up on the sunshine coast of Australia.  I then was able to go for a very slow run up the beach from our resort.  It may have been one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen.  There was no nasty sea weed and I a small town called called Mooloolaba decorated this beaches South end.

Edin with babes on a boat

Edin with babes on a boat

When I arrived back at the hotel I let my family know how beautiful the beach was and we had to rush over there to get a little over an hour of beach time in before we took the bus ride up to Hervey Bay.  My kids enjoy playing in the surf and we had our first experience with an Australian lifeguard named chris who used his large microphone to call my two boys out of rip current and place them properly in front of the flags where people are supposed to swim.  the ocean and beaches are the coolest places to my kids as we do no have them in Montana.   We spent most of the afternoon on a bus (Thank God Nigel didn’t start on fire) to Hervey bay where we caught a catamaran to Fraser Island where we would first meet my friend Dean and his family…Face to Face for the very first time.

Day 4 – Jas

Posted in Educational on June 16, 2009 by Mister A

I met a man named Jas in Auckland.  He was extraordinarily friendly and we had some great conversation. He has his masters in Information Technologies and works the grave yard shift at the Esquire Coffee Shop in down town Auckland.  I found him when I was seeking out a cafe that possessed free wifi service.  We had the most interesting discussion with regards to IMG_0193education.  It is so satisfying to me to find others who possess the same types of beliefs I do with regards to education.  He has traveled extensively and has experiences that I could only imagine having and seem to have molded him into the kind person he seemed to me to be.  He talked about how much he loves to learn new things and meet new people and that very often people were not as friendly to him as I was being.  He spoke four different languages and hopes to someday help New Zealand with their country’s wireless infrastructure.  He seemed like just the man to do it as his expertise was in Networking.

He was educated and raised in the United Kingdom and he earned his masters degree from Preston.  I truly wish that some of the students I have had this man’s passion for learning.  He believed that the best teachers are also learners who write about their experiences often.  I tend to agree with him as it seems that my blog has had the effect of improving my experiences and their meaningfulness to my life.  He told me he loves to do random acts of kindness to people who are kind to him, so stop in and say hello to him.  I hope to meet him again someday in real life, but in the mean time…Facebook will have to be enough.

Day 3 – Aussie/NZ Adventure

Posted in Vacation on June 12, 2009 by Mister A

edin floatinOn day 3 of our adventure, we went to Agropark and Agroventures, where we learned about skydiving and sheepshagging.  My kids ate up the skydiving activity where a very big fan kept them airborne for about three minutes a piece…It also made their ears flap as you can see from the pictures.  A sheepshagger sprayed milk on me from a big ugly cow and showed us how to get wool off of a sheep.  He also showed us his incredibly well-trained dogs.  It made me miss Buster (our dog).  I think if Buster had someone to train him he could do the same types as things as the sheep dogs we saw.  He is a very smart dog.

tewhakarewarewatangaoteopetauaawahiaoStill, the things that are leaving the biggest impressions I am having with members of a different culture and place than me. This includes the time I spent in Tewhakare warewatanga oteopetaua awahio discussing spirituality, friendship, and family with a couple of Maori natives.  Powhiri and Jacob…AND the time I spent in an Auckland Coffee shop discussing education with an Indian man raised in Britain who has a masters in IT…

Powhiri – Day 2

Posted in Vacation on June 11, 2009 by Mister A

Powhiri is one of the most interesting people I have ever met. She lives in a Maori village in the middle of “Yellowstone like” geothermal activity. She was our guide through her village where they utilize that geothermal activity to complete a variety of every day tasks. In front of her church, she said one of the sweetest things I have ever heard…that her people believed in one supreme God that does not live inside a church, but inside each and every one of us. A laid back attitude about religion and spirituality is something that I truly appreciate.

In her village, there is a tattoo parlor, where she explained that it is customary for the Maori to tattoo symbols representing their family tree on their bodies. Her husband is the tattoo artist in te whakarewarewatangaoteopetauaawahio, the village we toured. After the tour concluded, I asked her if she had any tattoos and she showed me all of them (I think:))…Each of them had very special meaning which she explained in great detail. She has given birth to seven children, her last two, she explained, were gifted to two of her siblings who have been unable to bear children, a custom common among her people. Talk about a gift…WOW!!!

I wish I could have stayed and talked with Powhiri forever. She is one of those people that kindness, generosity, and serenity overflow from (a little bit like my wife). She even made me want to tattoo something on my body that represented my family…but there were 37 pissed off Floridian/Montanan tourists waiting for me on the bus…and a beautiful wife who had to explain to several people that she was not her husband’s keeper…

Aussie/NZ Adventure – Day 1

Posted in Humor, Vacation on June 11, 2009 by Mister A

This was one long day. We left Great Falls late Monday afternoon and arrived Wednesday morning in Auckland New Zealand. We met our guide, Anja, a kind German lady who lives in Sydney, at the gate and took off down the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand in a bus driven by a New Zealander named Max. We stopped at a place called Haven for some coffee and my families’ first meat pie. I discovered a new flavor of ice cream as well…Hoky Poky is flippin delicious.

We continued down to the Waitomo Caverns where we were introduced to glow worms and their hanging glow worm saliva. This cavern was very similar to our Lewis and Clark Caverns in Montana. I doubt the NZ glow worms could survive our colder and more rugged montana cavern. The caverns and glow worms were fantastic. I have never been in an underground river before. We stopped in Otarahanga for some lunch where I utilized the library’s wifi to have a brief chat with Dean Groom.

We ended the day at a traditional Maori dinner where we ate a variety of local dishes. We had the privilege of listening and watching a group of native maori people dance and sing in their native language. It was probably the coolest part of my trip this far as their music, even the crazy warrior chants, were very pleasant to listen to. My son Adam and I even got up and danced like crazy Maori Warriors…I have asked around and it seems there are some real similarities between the Maori and Montana’s native peoples with regards to adjusting to the introduction of new people to their land. I never realized how polynesian New Zealand is until vacationing here. Tomorrow, I get to go to a present day Maori village and learn more about their culture…perhaps I will get a family tree tatoo from a real Maori warrior named Jacob…