Our return from New Zealand saw the end of the third school holiday break. But thankfully our time with the Boszormeny family didn’t have to end when we left the South Island! George, Julie, Amber and Abby were able to spend a week exploring Sydney and the Blue Mountains with us.
Arriving hot on their heels to the land down under were Matt’s brother Ben and his wife Aidan, who had just spent a week in Bali, Indonesia at a friends wedding. Ben arrived with what appeared to be an infection on the top of his foot, and what was originally going to be a brief 3-day visit with us, turned into a trip to the Lithgow Hospital for antibiotics, the cancellation of plans to travel up the coast, and a 6-day stay with us in the Blue Mountains! And although we felt bad that Ben had to deal with an injury, we were certainly thankful for the extended visit!
The day the Boszormeny family arrived to Blackheath, was also the day that Matt had been invited by his friend Julian to the Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panarama. The boys arrived home from the race and the celebrations continued while the final laps were watched from the comfort of our lounge room!
During our time together in the Blue Mountains, we explored the Jamison Valley and took both families on a cable car ride down into the rainforest, had lunch at the base, and then rode the steep railway back up to the top. We enjoyed a Thanksgiving dinner, and delighted in a bonfire and children’s talent show, complete with headlamps!
Ben was well enough to travel down the coast to Callala Beach with Caroline and Aidan mid-week, so while they were off skinny dipping in the ocean, the Boszormeny family went on a big hike down to Bridal Veil Falls at Govetts Leap where they were shocked to find a snake coiled up beside the hiking trail and Amber was dive-bombed by a nesting magpie! They were completely mesmerized by the views.
Amber and Abby were fortunate enough to experience a day in the life of an Aussie student and attended Blackheath Public with Leina and Cohen during their week with us. Amber was in a year 5 class for the day, while Abby shadowed Leina in her year 1/2 class. The students were treated to maple sugar candies brought especially to Australia by the Boszormeny girls! Some of the students at the school still rave about those treats!
While the kids were at school, the adults, and Elijah, hiked at Wentworth Falls and had lunch out at a unique spot, The Garage, in Leura, one of our favourite towns. Although the service was mediocre, the meal was quite good. We arrived to pick up the kids at the end of the school day and they had many wonderful stories to share about their time in an Australian school.
Our last night with the Boszormeny’s was a real treat! We hired a babysitter for the evening, and delighted in dinner out at Thai Silk in Blackheath, and a night-cap at the local pub, the Ivanhoe. Upon leaving the pub, the temperature outside had dropped considerably, and so it wasn’t surprising that the following morning we awoke to snow! And it snowed. And snowed. And snowed! Matt and the kids never made it to school that day. Matt tried to drive to work, but quickly realized that the icy roads, mountainous terrain, rear-wheel drive car, and lack of winter tires, were the wrong combination! In fact the roads were so bad that they closed them until 4 in the afternoon. Branches were creaking and breaking off and we lost power from about 9AM. Needless to say, the Boszormeny family didn’t make it to Sydney until late that night. Thankfully their flight home to Canada wasn’t until the following day! By the time the snow had turned to rain at about 1PM, we had received 14 cm in 7 hours and we had played 15 rounds of euchre by the woodstove! And although Sydney families were flocking to the Blue Mountains to experience the snow, we were one of few families who kept their kids indoors all day! The reasoning behind this was the combination of branches breaking and improper clothing and footwear! Poor excuse for Canadians, eh?! We never imagined having an authentic ‘Snow Day’ while living in Australia!
Once the roads opened, we said farewell to the Boszormeny family and then headed down to Glenbrook to Caroline and Collin’s place for a visit and to leave our kids for a sleepover with them while we partied it up in Sydney for the night with Ben and Aidan, Amy and Alex, and good family friend Chris Walker, who had come from Melbourne by bus for the weekend.
Our night was slightly overshadowed by news of Matt’s dads very serious fall and head trauma and surgery, but we still managed to leave a dent in some of Sydney’s iconic pubs and hotels thanks to our fearless leader Chris. Our favourite by far was the ‘Hollywood Hotel’ where the beer flowed freely, the music was ace, and the urinals epic! After experiencing the atmosphere and cocktails on the patio at ‘The Beresford’, we ate the most amazing food at a spot that Aidan found on the internet – a Loation/Burmese restaurant on Oxford Street called the Pink Peppercorn, and we continued the party at a couple more pubs before grabbing another bite and crashing at the hotel at 3AM. It was a memorable night for many reasons.
So, once again we were fortunate to host some very special visitors from Canada. Our afternoons were enjoyed sitting on the back deck in the sunshine, and dinners were always lively. Everyone pitched in. In fact, I think Julie was in the kitchen more than I was! And she spoiled Leina by styling her hair every day! Ben was on bath duty with the kids in the evenings, and Aidan and George were dynamic story tellers at bedtime! We went for long walks, and we wowed them with the size of the Aussie spiders, the colorful birds, and the awesome views from the lookouts.
George summed it up best by expressing that their visit was an opportunity of a lifetime and we couldn’t agree more! We are once again blessed with memories made with some wonderful friends and family members – George, Julie, Amber, Abby, and Ben and Aidan – our lives are richer and our year down under made memorable because you came to visit!