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Road trip to Nashville, Tennessee

imageNashville – there’s something about them country boots that calls to me.

We left Stephanie’s in Delaware for one of our biggest drives of the trip, through the widths of the states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and arriving in the far reaches of Tennessee. We started at 4am armed with rollups and sandwiches and water and fruit and biscuits. The only stops being for petrol and drinks!
We were to arrive at a Nashville house of a SERVAS couple Trine and Jerry. In all its beauty SERVAS has been an experience of trust and hospitality. Trine and Gerry rent the top floor of a house fairly close to downtown. One bedroom, small but homely space. These guys had responded to Christos’ SERVAS request with a ‘good news and bad news’ reply… The bad news was they wouldn’t be home, the good news was it meant there would be space for us all.
imageSo we rocked up in their driveway and were greeted by such a lovely couple; so gentle, loving, adventurous and outdoorsy. These two had met while working at REI a great big outdoor adventure store in America. Independently they had both completed the Appalachan Mountain Way walk, one of them had taken 5 months, the other 7 months. No small undertaking. If we had more time and slightly older kids these guys would have blown our minds with their stories and knowledge on how to access various outdoor adventures; rock climbing, rivers, hiking. But as we are, and our time constraint goes, it was not to be.
Trine was incredible and I was so moved by the comfort I felt in her kitchen. They had come to greet us and hand over keys before returning to house and animal sitting duties while Jerry’s sister was overseas. Within half an hour I had her pasta and freshly made sauce on the stove as she showed me the meringue cookies she had made, the snacks for the kids on offer and all the bedding possibilities. I fed the kids as we chatted, amazed as I say, the warmth and generosity was palpable.
All this time everywhere we looked were inspiring photos of their ice hiking adventures, wilderness photography and words of love and appreciation. It truly was a nurturing space to settle for two nights.
And as I am wishing I had more time to be with Trine (she was off rock climbing the next day) then back to work as a nurse, Toby and Christos had tapped into the incredible knowledge of Jerry on the GoPro. This is a camera device that can be strapped on your head, made waterproof etc. Christos had bought one before we left Melbourne much to my raised eyebrows. It had been under-utilised to say the least especially given all we have done this past 18 months… Toby had recently taken it on as his thing to remember to bring it with us, or charge it as necessary, but a distinct lack of confidence still prevailed when it came to ‘how to use it’ . Within minutes Jerry had the Toby inspired, understanding and experimenting with our GoPro. Awesome.
imageSo, we are in Nashville, home of country music. My sister Pam and partner Craig come to mind, not in the traditional country sense, but in the modern Nu Country cool sense that I really like but don’t really have or play as often as I would like.
Ideally we would have got some country music running in the car, Memphis was a drive by and would have benefited from some Elvis exploration… But you can’t do everything.


We spent the afternoon in Nashville Downtown looking for Nicole Kidman to have a shrimp on the BBQ with as we were sure her email invite got lost in spam… But alas we settled for a wander, a cruise of boot stores, a little shopping by Christos for Father’s Day from the Boot Barn (sadly no boots), a replacing of quality rain jackets lost by Iceland Air in Emilio’s lost backpack with cheapo slickers that will get us by in Peru, and a beer watching fledgling country singers in a corner bar singing for tips. I truly thought of my big sister lots, texted and wished we had a few days shopping together with a night cruising upcoming stars on stage. I’ll have to pursue that with her at the Oakleigh Bowls Club when I get home.
Sandy

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Steph’s amazing place in Delaware

imageThe hustle and bustle of NYC is mega exciting but also draining so it was perfect that our next stop was rural Delaware. Oh what a gorgeous place – so incredibly green and pretty – with rolling hills, horses in paddocks and quaint country roads. It was reminiscent of English countryside. Our week at Steph’s place was just what we needed – time to stop, reflect and meet some fabulous people. Steph is such a hospitable and inspiring woman who we have met back in Australia, as she part owns a farm near us that good friends manage, in the Rose Valley. The kids were so so excited that they actually all got their own rooms and beds to sleep in.

imageSome of the big kids lay in bed reading in the mornings which they haven’t been able to do for ages without being interrupted or stood on or rudely woken up.
It was warm in Delaware and

 

Steph lives in a close knit well resourced community. Just 5 mins drive away there is VicMead Hunt Club, an old Fox hunting venue turned pool, gym, tennis courts and restaurant.

We went almost every day for hours in the pool, as did all the locals and Steph’s relatives… The kids made friends with nieces, nephews and grandchildren – they’ve exchanged emails to keep the instant connection growing. We often ate at this incredible venue, Steph’s generosity once again unstoppable.

Hugh McDonald and his lovely mum Janet also came to visit from Australia - it was a very musical time

Hugh McDonald and his lovely mum Janet also came to visit from Australia – it was a very musical time

Steph has got so many wonderful family and friends and most evenings there would be at least four others sharing dinner with us. She is an incredible cook and it wasn’t really a drama cooking for even twelve others that were invited for dinner. Always very interesting company and good laughs.
The first night we arrived late (driving from New Jersey through all the turnpikes and endless toll roads) and arrived during the end of a dinner where we met Steph’s good friend Billy. Billy is an amazing man who knew a good mechanic and arranged a service for our car. Incredibly he also refused to let us pay for it. His generosity was incredible. We met his daughter and partner up from Florida and he took Sandy and the kids to the amazing Long wood gardens in Pennsylvania.


We all felt so relaxed at Steph’s house and so very rejuvenated to continue our road trip across the States. We were meant to leave a day earlier than we did so as not to rush to Houston but we simply couldn’t miss Regis 40th party which was amazing. We met Regis and Tenley who are neighbours and they were so kind to invite us to the party – a great way to finish our Delaware week before we got up at 4am for our 13hr drive to Nashville.

This is all of us on the couch with Janet as well who came from Australia.

This is all of us on the couch with Janet as well who came from Australia.

Thank you so so much Steph and all your family and friends for your amazing generous hospitality and friendship. You’re amazing!
By Christos and Sandy

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At the moment we are staying at our friend Steph’s house. We know her because she stays at my friend Charlotte’s house every year. When I go over to Charlotte’s house I see Steph there. She lives in America so we came to visit her. It was been so fun staying with her – she has three dogs which are German shepherds. I love helping Steph with the cooking. I loved making the burgers. She has some friends over for dinner pretty much every night. We went to visit her uncle who is 95 yrs old. He has an organ which is like a double or triple piano and is a whole room.

The stuff that makes the sound is in a whole entire basement. It plays really awesome music – we got to press some buttons and make some really awesome sounds.

Billy took us to some gardens which were really really cool with tree houses and lots of gardens. I better go cause I have a party to go to. It’s Regis – the next door neighbours 40th. There will be loads of kids and there’ll be even four babysitters to look after everyone.
By Kiki

Steph has beautiful dogs. There are three dogs called Breaker, Duke and Storm. She has such a beautiful house and amazing curtains. She has very good friends and is a good card player – she taught me to play Spit. You don’t have to really spit but it’s a game called Spit.

I loved visiting the horses and I loved the bunny rabbits at her niece’s house.

imageSteph took us to a pool and I had to do a test to see if I could go off the diving board and go in the big water. For my test I had to swim all the way to the other end and then I had to do water treading for 1 minute then I was allowed to go to the deep water and dive off the jumping board. I loved Steph and I loved playing Spit with her and I loved going out with her and I loved having dinner with her. She’s a very good cook.
By Zoi

imageWe had lots of dinners with Steph and her friends and relatives. Everyone has been very nice. She has a big green property with lots of trees and gardens and three German shepherds. We also went to a community pool with Steph four times and it’s been really good – we’ve met lots of her grand kids and played lots of water games. Like sharks and fishes, but in the water.

imageOne of Steph’s good friends Billy, his daughter Meredith and her boyfriend Martin took us to a gardens with cubby houses, rivers and fountains. It was so pretty.
By YASI

 

 

 

imageAt Steph’s place I liked the dogs – Duke, Storm and Breaker. The one who is Storm likes storms but not thunderstorms. I like playing cards with Steph – she has Spit and we bought a packet of cards so we can play. Spit is a kind of card game – you have to spit the cards but it has some different rules not like real spitting. I love the pool nearby. I love this place because it has fun stuff and there’s a bunch of toys and kids to play with. Good bye
Love from Moochie

imageSteph has been amazing to us and we have done lots and seen lots of stuff in Delaware. Most days we go to VicMead which has a pool and and basketball court and really great food. Steph introduced us to lots of people and now we have lots of friends around this area. There are lots of young kids around and I liked talking to lots of her friends. There’s a party tonight for her neighbour’s 40th birthday party and we are all invited. There will be over 80 kids so I’m really excited.
By Toby

After the Party…….

The day before we left Steph’s place in Delaware, we were invited to Steph’s neighbours Regis 40th birthday party. It was amazing. There was about 200 people at the party!!! Including 89 kids!!! There were so many things to do like get tattoos, play with water guns and play all the three carnival games they had on offer.

Dinner was very very good, there were lobsters, potatoes, pasta and salads. After everyone was playing together well they set off fire works and man I haven’t seen fire works in two years, but this was the biggest and best fire works I’ve ever seen!!! They set off so many and they still had another full box!!! We danced and danced – it was great fun.
See ya – from Tobes

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Amish country, pretzels, chocolate and lovely Joani & Ty…….

imageWe have just met some awesome people name Ty and Joani. Ty and Joani live in Pennsylvania and are Bob’s (Ron’s) cousins from Chicago. My baba met them for the first time in 1993.

 

imageOn Friday, Ty and Joani took us out of lunch and the food was very yummy. It was foods from other countries like India and South Africa. Ty and Joani took us to Hershey’s. If you don’t already know it is a Chocolate factory and we went on are train that showed us were they make the chocolate. It was awesome and at the end of the train ride we brought some of the chocolate and Joani gave us some money to spend at the gift shop. I brought a bracelet – it was very pretty. Ty and Joani were so very very very nice.
Then they took us to a hotel to get an ice cream because it was a very hot day.
Then it was time to go back to Stephanie’s house in Delaware. We have been staying at her house for a while. It has been very nice at Stephanie’s home and she is so very nice.
By Yasmina

The first time we met Joani and Ty we went to an American diner for breakfast and we had eggs, bacon, sausages and home fries which is like a hash brown or a potato pancake – and there was even pancakes. I loved the breakfast – I made a sandwich because there was also some toast. I liked speaking with them cause it was just fun.

imageAfter breakfast we went to an Amish village. They don’t believe in electricity and they travel in horse carts and their stove is a box made of something that won’t burn and they put wood inside – that’s how they cook. They even hand wash.

imageThey do all their farming by hand ploughs and also use horses. We saw a few famers ploughing. It was such a really really fun day.

 

imageWe went to the oldest pretzel factory in America and also the first hard pretzel factory in the world. We learnt how to make pretzels and even learnt how to shape them. Pretzels were treats for the children when they had learnt their prayers in the olden days. The kids crossed their arms when praying and that’s why the pretzel is shaped that way. The soft pretzels that they had were delicious. The man who first made hard pretzels accidentally left them in the oven overnight and he tasted them. He thought they were very good and told his boss but he wouldn’t listen so after 10 yrs of working for him he opened his own pretzel factory and he lived upstairs with his wife and their 14 children who all helped making pretzels. The pretzel ovens were shaped like pizza ovens.


imageAfter that Joani was so nice to want to buy us all a present and I bought a little note book and a key ring making kit. They are so sweet and we said that they are like our American grandparents from Pennsylvania. I really want them to visit us in Australia.
By Kiki

imageJoani and Ty are some amazing people who took us to a Restraunt run by a person who employed refugees. There was a lot of foods from India and Africa and it was great. I liked the Iraqi lemonade but it was a bit strong. After the Restraunt they took us to the Hershey’s chocolate factory. imageThere Joani and Ty bought us some chocolates and a souvenir – my souvenirs was Hershey’s and Reese’s soccer ball. After that we went to a hotel run by Hershey’s and it had some amazing ice cream – it was just so good.

imageThey were very kind people and it’s more than likely they will visit us in Australia. I’d like to take them to Somers to meet my grandma and pa and play on the beach. A few days before we went to a diner with them.
By Toby

imageWe saw Joani and Ty (Joani is Bob’s cousin from Chicago) two times while we were staying with Steph. We went out one day and saw Joani and Ty and Joani let us choose something to buy for us – it was so kind. She even let us have an ice cream at the Hershey hotel.

imageThe hotel was so big. We didn’t stay in the hotel just visited it. We had a tour of the chocolate factory and then we could buy some chocolate up to $3. Us girls shared our money. Joani and Ty are going to come and visit us in Australia and might have a picnic with them in front of our house.
By Zoi

imageJoani and Ty gave us money to buy something at the chocolate store and I got a Hershey’s Lego car. and she brought us to this cafe and got us the most delicious ice-cream ever.
By Emilio

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Washington DC and Black American History

In August, in Jacksonville in the city of St. Louis, a young black man was killed by police on his way to his grandmothers. This act lead to riots, city curfews and enormous media attention for several weeks. The Canadian and American media attention was round the clock, noimaget only on this particular killing but also on the nature of black white race relations, police rights, media responsibilities etc. I do not recall the details of the event, our exposure to media has been sporadic and superficial. I was not sure how to respond to this ‘elephant in the room’, our exposure to a large diversity of cultures within America has been limited to say the least…
I was therefore so grateful to receive a forwarded email from my friend Jaqueline calling white politically aware friends to action, to stand up for justice in a public way. It questioned why black friends’ facebook posts at the time were full of the varied ramifications, emotions and frustrations of the brutal police killing for black and I’m sure other diverse communities, yet all her white friends Facebook posts continued to be about ‘holidays, cute photos and inspiring quotes’. This ‘call to action’ also importantly acknowledged that for some this came from not knowing how to best support the black community in this sensitive time and gave a range of ideas and things white supporters of respect and diversity for all races and religions could do. It was awesome to be called out on my inaction.
So translating that to my world, I was challenged to think about how I respond as a traveller in this country and home in Australia, but it also reinvigorated our homeschooling agenda.
Jaqueline is involved in education and when we met doing my course in Canada she told me about organising a black history unit of study at elementary level in which she focused on the politics of black hair…. I want to do that course! She explained to me the different responses black women get to having their natural Afro, as opposed to straightened hair… I was gobsmacked. Then one day prior to this conversation she wore a wig of straight hair to the course. I felt like I didn’t know her, I felt physically relieved when she returned to her Afro the next day! I have noticed and wondered about hair and they way cultures express or change from a different perspective ever since.
Anyway, long and the short of it is, I felt a strong need to expose our kids to black history in America (and plan to move to aboriginal history as we near home). Within a day or two of driving Toby started to notice the number of MLKing streets in big cities, the perfect ‘in’. From Delaware we discussed a day-visit to Washington. I was only prepared to do this big trip with a new focus… Black history. Below is Toby’s take on what he learnt as we drove to Washington that day and I read aloud about three pivotal black Americans. Visiting Bill Clinton’s museum in Arkansas added to this understanding and I am excited and proud to say that an awareness of the differing perspectives of race, colour, sexuality, and religion is continuing to grow our kids into global citizens.
Sandy

Three African American leaders who fought for the African American Rights
(1875 – 1968)

The three names of some African Americans leaders who fought for the African Americans were Mary McLeod Bethune (1875 – 1955, 80 years old), Malcolm X (1923 – 1963, 39 years old) and finally Martin Luther King Jr (1929 – 1968, 39 years old).
Both Malcolm X & Martin Luther King junior spent time in jail. Malcolm X was jailed in 1946 for a burglary and was meant to spend 10 years in jail, but was let out after 7 years for good behaviour. Martin Luther the King was jail twice for less than a year. He was first jailed when he refused to leave a store ( in those days blacks weren’t allowed to go into a store to buy some things) & his second arrest was when he did some thing wrong on the road and had a traffic fine. On Martin Luther King’s second arrest John F. Kennedy heard about it and phoned Martin’s wife about it, John F. Kennedy later phoned the police and threatened them until the police soon released Martin.

These are my thoughts on being successful, assertive and powerful and why I think these three wonderfully amazing leaders were successful, assertive and powerful.
imageI think that Mary McLeod Bethune was the most successful, most powerful leader and my favourite leader because of the things she did! Her parents were former slaves and she was one of 17 children. It was very hard to get into school in the late 1800’s, but to be a leader like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Mary McLeod Bethune you have to be a A+ student. So Mary was the only one of 17 children to go to school. I found it interesting how it said that in 1907 she was one of the first people to get divorced (she also had 4 kids when she divorced). In 19 she founded a school in Florida for black people she started with just 5 students and in 2 or 3 years she had 250 students. She was the principal of the school which also became a school for men who never went to school. I was quite impressed when I heard that she also became the adviser of Franklin Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor Roosevelt!

imageMalcolm X and Martin Luther the King are very interesting stories, Malcolm X was the youngest of eight children, his father was killed when he was 6 by white people, one of his family’s houses was burned to the ground by white people. His mother was so sad about Malcolm’s dad’s death that she gave up her eight children to orphanages. Malcolm X was born with the name Malcolm Little, but when he was older he changed it to Malcolm X because he was famous and didn’t want to be called Malcolm Little.

imageMartin Luther King Jnr had one brother and one sister. He was born with the name Michael King Jr but when his father Michael King Sr adopted the name Martin Luther King Sr, Martin Luther King Jr adopted the same name later on. When Martin Luther King Jnr was 12 he was watching a parade against his family’s wishes when his great aunt died by a heart attack, he was so upset that he tried to suicide! And guess what he did to try to kill himself?! He jumped out of a two story house window!!!
Both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King took long processes and did lots of speeches and rallies, when Mary McLeod Bethune just made it happen without any rallies or speeches! But what she wanted to do was much easier than what Malcolm X and Martin Luther King were doing.

You can find the biographies of these three amazing black people on Google.

By Tobes

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New York And the City that never sleeps

New York City

imageOn the way from Canada to New York City we stayed in Utica for one night with, some friends who we met through Pete and Suz. They are called Lindi and Jeff and their kids are Tyler and Eva.

imageUs kids played so well together right from the beginning and it was a shame we only had one night together. Jeff is someone who loves hunting! Jeff offered to teach me some shooting and I got to shoot my first gun! It was amazing! I used a 22 rifle and we leaned on a lawn mower for stability. I had four shots and I got two of the targets and my other shots were just above the targets.

Jeff said that I’m a natural hunter and I should keep practising. I would love to have a gun or even a toy gun to practise with but I don’t think I’ll be allowed to have one ( I’m don’t sure what mum and dad will do if I got given one!) We had such a great time with Jeff and Lindi and Tyler and Eva. Then it was off to New York City……..

New York City is amazing!!! I think the dancers and singers in Central Park were astounding. There was an entertainment stage and the kids singing on stage were the best kids I have ever seen sing. imageThe dancers were wonderful, one of then did a back flip over a boy who was about 1m high!!! There is such a lot to do, I think you’ll have to spend 6 months to see all of New York City!!! I highly recommend it. imageNew York City has the biggest Lego shop in the world, it has the biggest M&M’s shop in the world, it also has a very big Hershey’s shop. There are about 100 to 200 theatres and Cinemas in New York City. Chicago style pizza and New York style pizza are the best pizzas in the world!!!
By Tobes

I’ve always wanted to go to NYC ever since I was 5 yrs old and I’m 11 now. It is so pretty and I really wanted to see the monuments like the Statue of Liberty.

imageI really enjoyed Times Square where there were screens on all the buildings with commercials and little films on them. There were so many screens. We also went to see Cinderella the musical which was very cool. Baba stood in line for a very long time to get 1/2 price tickets and we met him later.

We also went to Central Park and I really really liked that. There was so much singing and magic shows and dancing and busking – which is a way to get money.

imageIn NYC we stayed with some Servas host people who were very nice – actually they lived in New Jersey but it was only 1/2 hour by bus to NYC. The lady’s name is Isa and she’s from Germany and the man’s name is Paul – he makes shapes and features out of balloons. They had such nice food and we ate on the back verandah. I really liked her boiled eggs cause they were perfect and not overcooked.
By Yasi

imageMy favourite thing about NYC was the pretzels and pizza – so so delicious.
By Kiki

At the M&M shop my colour mood was yellow

At the M&M shop my colour mood was yellow

 This is me when we went to see Cinderella - it was excellent.


This is me when we went to see Cinderella – it was excellent.

I made about a thousand balloon things at Paul and Isa’s house. It was so cool.

imageAt the LEGO shop you could see on the screen what the LEGO would look like – it was so cool.
By Moochie

I loved the place of New York. We stayed with Paul and Isa and I loved it cause they were so fun and very kind. They let us have ice cream and we had a balloon party with Paul, making balloons and sculptures. There was even rocket balloons. I saw the Statue of liberty from on a boat. I loved Cinderella the show. It was so funny cause I’ve never seen this type of Cinderella before. The prince was very very kind to Cinderella and the Cinderella was also very kind to the prince.

imageI loved the Lego shop cause Lego is fun and I had $15 pocket money to spend. Kalika and I shared a Lego but we still had a bit more money left. I was very excited about Christmas because I took some photos of the Lego that I want and I’m going to send it to Santa to ask if I can maybe get it for Christmas. I didn’t have enough money to buy the jungle Lego set so Santa maybe might be able to build it or the elves might.
By Zoi

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Canadian adventures in Ontario

When Sandy had her second week of her course in Toronto I was so so glad that we had bought a car cause it meant that we could come to Canada with her – drop her off in Mississauga for her course and have an explore for a week. I had been to Toronto many times before to see my beautiful cousins and relatives though I hadn’t explored much beyond Toronto…… And as you all know Canada is such a big, big place. Anyway, so what I wanted from our week in Ontario, Canada was to explore and experience some of it’s beauty.

We contacted some Servas hosts in Peterborough area and was overwhelmed by the response. People were just so friendly and in the end I had to say no to a few. The kids go into some detail below about our stay with these amazing people so I’ll leave them to tell the story but I just wanted to say how lucky we felt to meet such fabuous people who are really like kindred spirits and I hope that we stay in contact with and see again and again in Australia and back in Canada.

I was really humbled by the fact that these amazing Canadians opened up their homes, shared their lives and embraced the children also. The children loved talking to them and finding out about their lives and they especially enjoy doing things like horse riding, go kart racing, catching frogs in ponds, walking out so far in shallow lakes and even going to a local library was a highlight. Jan who visited on lake Simcoe thought that would be a great idea since it was raining and it was actually really cool – they devoured a whole book in a day which was so much nicer to actually hold a book rather than their kindles.

Our first stop on our full week of meandering was with Marg, Doimageug, Katie and her son Carter (who played with Emilioimage like they were brothers who knew each other forever) and their groovy friend Mary who is an incredible cook. One night when we visited Mary for dinner she even had a friend pop in for a cup of tea by plane – how many people have a landing strip on their property. So awesome. Also always a treat to see my fabulous cousins and aunts and uncles again. It is brilliant to see the children’s World Wide Web of family and friends growing. They often complain when we leave cause they just want to hang out and play longer. When we visited cousins Denny and Pete at their lake house – even though I hadn’t seen them for 21 years it felt like it was yesterday – I love that feeling. We did lots of driving and visited lots of people but it was all so worth it – here are some of the kids’ stories:

From Kiki…….

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First thing we did when we got to Canada is go to Mary’s house who is a friend of Doug’s and Marg’s. I liked being with them because it was fun because she had a grandchild named Emerald who was 4 years old. She was so fun to play with. She was fun to play on the trampoline and swings with. I also love the food Mary cooked. It was yum. I especially loved the quinoa pasta and the dessert was freezie juices and brownies. They even had watermelon which is my favourite. Emerald kept wanting to play with me outside. When we were going karting I held Emerald to keep her safe.

imageWe had delicious ice-cream with Jan – you could have choc or caramel syrup and whipped cream – it was so good.

imageWe could walk out so far in Jan’s lake and the water still wasn’t over our head. We went to the library and I got a rainbow magic book called – ‘Tia the tulip fairy’ and I read it in one night, baba let me stay up till I finished it because I loved it. I wanted to read more and more. The next day baba got me ‘Gemma the gymnastics fairy’ on my kindle and I fished it in the car. I couldn’t stop reading even though I had to do my maths.

 

 

imageI liked swimming in uncle Denny’s lake. We went to this waterfall but it wasn’t running because it was blocked by a beavers dam but Alex, our cousin, took the dam apart and the waterfall ran again. imageWe went under the water fall and it was so fun. I went in with my clothes and was soaked. I loved the corn at dinner – it was delicious. I kept getting seconds and thirds and fourths.

imageI loved the dessert which I’m sure someone else told you about. The biggest s’mores ever ever seen.
By Kiki

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0027Tete Souli and Uncle Jim are Cyndi’ parents and we went to their house which was really cool. There was lots of dress ups and Emilio dressed up in a really weird version of Cinderella.

 

 

It didn’t look like her but he said he was supposed to be her. We watched the movie ‘Tangled’ and also ‘Sophia the 1st’ and we even watched ‘Tangled’ with 3d glasses. For dinner we had a delicious meal – hamburgers, salad, chips and pita. It was absolutely yummy. We stayed overnight at their house and then we played for the whole morning. I put a wig on baba which was very funny. We made some things with beads that Tete Souli had to iron – I can’t remember what they are called but it was very cool. I made a love heart for myself and a Greek flag for baba to remind him of Greece. It was so nice meeting them. Now we will know who baba means when he talks about them. It was such a lovely day.
By Kikibelle

From Moochie…….

Carter was very fun to play with and catch frogs with and also fun to play pools with. His grandfather Doug took us on a 6 wheeler motorbike called an Argo and it’s what they call it in French because Canada is French as well.

We drove the Argo to their neighbours and the cows there were milking. There was lots and lots of cows. They were bigger than an adult. I loved everything about staying with them.

imageI had too much fun with Alex and George. They gave us giant marshmallows and we made some s’mores with them. They were the biggest s’mores over ever had. They are crackers, chocolates and burnt Marshmallow. It’s always better burnt. They pushed me in the lake and we had a lot of fun. I went into the boat to dry off because I was so wet. By Moochie

From Zoi…….

imageJan had a dog called Mitzi. She licked me so much.
imageShe even had lots of Lego.

 

 

 

imageLia had so many toys to play with and a pool and even a hot tub. Lia is four years old and I could even lift her up. I loved playing with her dolls. She always wanted me to go on the trampoline with her. I had a lot of fun at her house.

imageI had lots of cuddles with my Tete Souli. By Zoi

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageUncle Peter was playing with me lots and tipping me upside down – it was crazy but fun.

 

 

 

 

 

From Yasi…….

imageYesterday we went to our relatives Mary’s house – they have such a cool house with a pool. Her sister Helen was also there as well as Aunty Fany and Uncle Apostoli. All together they had 5 kids and we are 5 kids, so it was lots of fun. We played in the pool and the hot tub and also a bit of soccer. We had a poolside picnic lunch which was very delicious. Faith, the oldest girl and Stephanie her cousin both had been to a One Direction concert as well so we looked at lots of One Direction posters and books they had. It was so nice to spend more time with them. They were very fun.

imageWe had one night with a lady called Jan and it was a bit rainy so she had a good idea to go to the local library and we all got to choose a book to borrow each. I chose a really good book that I managed to finish it in one night. We also swam in her lake which was so shallow for even about 500 metres out.
By Yasi

 

 

From Toby…….

imageJoseph is Aunty Mary’s son and he is awesome and polite. He’s a bit older than me and likes playing games with other people and is really kind. We played soccer, played some games in the pool, had a go in the hot tub, played in his room, and just hung out together.

imageWe had a picnic lunch by the pool. I really wished I could’ve stayed there for lots of days. Nick is aunty Helen’s oldest boy and he’s also older than me but it was so good playing with them. I’m definitely going to keep in touch and write to them.

Such amazing sundaes

Such amazing sundaes

Jan really knows how to win kids over. She definitely won us over by having really yummy lunch and dinner. Most importantly for dinner she got us ice cream, but not just plain ice cream. This time we were allowed to put on sprinkles, toppings and even whipped cream. She cooked us a real Canadian dinner. It was home made hamburgers, corn and hash browns and veggies. We all gobbled it up – yum.
imageHer place is amazing – right next to a Lake that you can walk almost half a kilometre without getting your head underwater. I loved just lying on the hammock and reading. Very relaxing.

 

George and Alex are our cousins who we visited at their lake house. Their mum and dad are called Uncle Denny and Aunty Lori. George tried to teach us how to whistle. Alex played with us in the water and let us dive over him.

We had a turkey dinner with loads of different vegetables. It was so awesome. It was like a Christmas dinner. George and Alex took me with them to buy 8 litres of ice cream and the biggest marshmallows I’ve ever had. We built a fire and stayed up really late with them. It’s the first time I’ve met them but I hope it’s not the last. They’re cool.
By Tobes

imageYesterday we met some amazing Indian people. Their names are Rama, Anand, Guru & Riya. They are like our extend Indian family – Rama is Sujatha’s sister, she’s is our Indian aunty from St. Louis. Sujatha’s husband Kumar is like my mum’s Indian brother. Indian extended families are big like Greek extended family’s. We had dinner there, which was great, we had rice, Dahl, potato curry, Indian yoghurt & Ghee. We got on so well with their kids Riya & Guru. We started by playing soccer to get to know them. I find soccer a real ice breaker. I’ve even played soccer with kids with hardly any English & become great friends, My Baba spent a lot of time talking to Anand & Rama about health & even gave them a Bowen treatment. We stayed the night & were having so much fun that we stayed up late.
By Toby

Our friends in Mississauga were amazing and we had lots of fun. Yasi

imageWhen we were driving to meet Tete Souli and uncle Jim I was a bit upset that Cyndi wasn’t going to be there cause she was cool. But Tete Souli and uncle Jim were also loads of fun. They had so many toys and let us do lots of things. Uncle Jim set us up with a 3D movie with amazing sound all over the room and we even had 3D glasses. They looked after us while baba picked up mummy from her course. One of our favourites was ‘Sophia the first’. Uncle Jim and Tete Souli are so good with kids cause Tete Souli does day care at their house and they look after about 10 kids sometimes.
Tete Souli is an amazing cook – she cooked us pita, hot dogs, burgers, corn on the cob, and salads. We even had a really yummy lemon cake for dessert. Tete Souli is my Yiayia’s first cousin and we had never met her before but we had heard a lot about her and it was so nice to meet her. We stayed overnight in Cyndi and Gabriel’s rooms (that’s their kids) because Gabriel had moved out and Cyndi is in Greece on holidays. Then in the morning after a wonderful brekky we just played and played and uncle Jim was working but he came back for a cuppa with delicious donuts. Thanks Tete Souli and Uncle Jim.
By Tobes

image imageBefore we dropped off baba to do his Bowen course and left Toronto we visited Yiayia Mary and Papou Vangeli again and our aunts Susie took us to Dairy Queen which is such good Canadian ice cream. It was so so yum and a great way to finish our week in  Canada. Thanks Aunty Susie

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Yasi’s fun time in Chicago

We had two weeks in Chicago. One of my favourite places in Chicago was going on Kirk’s boat – that was really fun and Kirk goes so fast on his boat. Kirk is my baba’s friend and he has a really nice boat and it’s big. We went on his boat twice. Tina is Kirk’s girl friend and Wyatt is Tina’s son
Tina and Wyatt were very nice also. Wyatt was around Emlilo and Zoi age – he came with Tina on the boat with us. When we

were at the dock the second time I made a hut with sticks leaves and some flowers, I though that it was very nice. At the dock I got to do lots of paddle boarding and kayaking.

I also liked going to Devon place in Chicago. He’s another friend of my baba’s and his wife’s name is Yvonne. Their kids’ names are Cormac, Aiefe, Ciren and Nimph. They live in a very big house with a pool at the back and really nice gardens – we had fun.
We stayed the night in the guest house. In the morning we went for a swim, played a game where we see who can jump the highest over some one and we also played Limbo. I played all these games with Aiefe.
Aiefe, Ciren and Nimph come with us to the beach where there was an ‘Air and Water Show’ – we went to the dock where Kirk leaves his boat. Kirk took us all for a ride. Devon and Yvonne come with us on the boat but they didn’t come with us to the beach.

 

Kathleen even visited us at the dock. It was like a party. This was our second time going on the boat. We loved it.
By Yasi