We've been traveling pretty hot and heavy for the past week, and have another 5 days to go. We spent the first part of the week in Melbourne, a few more days in Sydney, and we board an early train for Canberra (pron. can-brah) in the morning.
Recent highlights include a visit to Phillip Island, South of Melbourne, where we got to see real live penguins in the wild. Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne was also enjoyable with extensive shops. We bought multiple souvenirs at prices much lower than any of the shops we've been to. I picked up a didgeridoo, Heath got a nice pair of Ugg boots.
We enjoyed the Sydney Aquarium and Wildlife exhibit far more than we'd expected to as well. Maybe in part to the fact that we all finally got to see a real live platypus! And, be sure to ask Amarra and Heath about their close encounter with the Frilled Lizard!
While in Melbourne, then again here in Sydney, I walked to the local APRHA offices for an unscheduled visit. APRHA is the second of 2 bodies that your must run the gauntlets of to get your license to practice medicine in Oz. The first visit seemed fruitful and may yield the results I need, but the second was frustrating. Lacking an original copy of my Med school diploma and residency diploma here in Oz may result in my not being able to get licensed here...we'll see. I'm pulling all strings I can.
On the positive side of things, everything for the New Zealand job seems to be falling into place nicely. I've had my application accepted by the MCNZ (medical council of New Zealand) and should know within the next week if I'm officially licensed--there should be no obstruction. I still need to get my NZ work visa and pass an MRSA screening, but that should not be a problem. I'm not sure of a start date yet...if I can start by Oct. 4th, we'll go by then. If I can't start that early, we won't go until about Oct. 19th b/c we have a planned trip to Uluru the week before the 19th that we really can't change.
School work for the kids is going well. We bought some books of course material a grade level above what the kids are in b/c the material for their grade was just too easy. I don't think they'll lose any ground despite our irregular study habits.
The kids have adapted to our lifestyle with alacrity. They know their way around the hostels, can help with packing and travel on the trains. They have adjusted to our odd travel diets and really don't complain. They have great behavior and enjoy the family time--it's great to take time for playing cards, scrabble, and Yahtzee!
Be sure to look at and enjoy the photos on flickr (link in first paragraph). Not sure when the next update will be, but possibly from New Zealand.