Monday, 31 January 2011

Speaking of earthquakes...

Chile is renowned for earthquakes (terremoto).  In February last year they suffered from an 8.8 magnitude quake and earlier this year there was a terremoto measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale.  Earthquakes are a fact of life in Chile.  We have to expect at least one tremor within the next twelve months.
How do you broach the subject of earthquakes with two children who have never experienced any form of natural disasters?  My preferred method for new topics is to sit down with colouring pencils and paper.
One of Indiana and Truce's favourite books is The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton.  Slightly dated but still a delightful tale of three children who climb a magical tree and visit the wondrous worlds at the top of the tree.
"What are you drawing daddy?" asks Indiana.
"Y'know that chapter in The Faraway Tree when they go to the Roundabout land and all the ground shakes and rolls?"
She nods - we've read the book to her four times.
I continue, "That's what I'm drawing."  This is where I start my planned, spontaneous talk about how we might feel the ground move when we are in Chile.
"Have you ever heard of earthquakes?" I ask.
Truce is happily drawing her version of Roundabout land.  Seven year old Indiana answers.  "It's when the plates under the ground move quickly and they shake the ground." 
Silence from me.
I didn't expect her answer to be so accurate.  I must send a thankyou note to her grade one teacher.
I continue my casual speech, "What do you think you do in an earthquake?"
"Nanna said when she lived in New Zealand as a girl her mum would put her in the bath tub and cover her with a mattress."
By this point my talk on Tectonic Plates and their relationship to the earth's crust as well as emergency procedures for earthquakes seemed unnecessary.  But like most parents I had to finish the conversation.  "You could also hide under a table, tables are good.  It's what the kids in Japan do."
I colour in the flowers on my paper knowing that our kids will be fine.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Buy shares in pharmaceuticals.

We knew some time back that we wanted to go to somewhere in South America and scoured through the Lonely Planet books comparing notes in the Dangers and Annoyances sections.
While some countries offered beautiful scenery and amazing cultural experiences they also had their quota of unpronounceable diseases that could be caught from swimming, drinking or even being near water, buying food from street vendors with a free ticket to the nearest hospital.
Chile offered a good balance of scenery, safety for our two daughters, healthy lifestyle and minimal creepy crawlies that climbed into your nose while you slept and laid their eggs in your brain.
However, our frail Australian bodies need some pharmaceutical assistance while we are on the other side of the globe.
Talluah visited the travel doctor and left with a stack of prescriptions to help us self medicate if the need should arise. Our collection of medicines came with very clear instructions: These ones are for infections and problems above the neck and these ones are for problems from the neck down.
The helpful pharmacist asked us various questions about our travel needs and with each question another lotion, tablet or powder was placed on the counter.  Our credit card came out of its hiding place and although suffering from third degree friction burns performed its duty once more.

The four of us went to the doctors to have our $630 injections to protect us from nasties.  The doctor pulled out a hypodermic smaller than my little finger.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“It’s the typhoid vaccine.”
“It’s very small,” I replied mentally dividing two injections for four people into $630.  “You’d think you’d get a bit more for your money.”
The doctor gave me some chocolate to chew.
“What’s this for?”
“To trick the brain.  It concentrates on the sugar in the chocolate instead of the needle prick.”
I put the chocolate down.  “I paid $75 for this needle. I may as well experience the whole thing.”

Thursday, 27 January 2011

We should only need 15 boxes.

There is no scientific term for standing in the middle of your house and visualising how many boxes you need to pack your life into.  The average guppy can squeeze its life into a matchbox assuming it doesn’t own the tank, filter and sunken pirate’s ship.  We pride ourselves on being higher in the food chain than a guppy.

Flashback to 2002: We moved to London for a year of adventure.  At the time we were still living with our respective parents and it was a case of packing our backpacks, closing the bedroom door and hopping on a plane.  Upon our return we bought a house and with the five items of donated furniture had moved house before lunchtime.  Almost eight years later we realised that we had a lot of stuff and had never packed a house before.  We needed to store it all somewhere so we could rent the house out.

Present day: Standing in the centre of our abode we held a cardboard moving box in our hands and using our advanced powers of spatial reasoning, which later became known as special reasoning, we came up with the figure of fifteen boxes to pack up seven and a half years of suburban living.

We were only out by fifteen boxes or 100% for the statisticians out there.  The next day a conversation with my parents transpired.  It began with the fateful line, “Mum, you remember my old room?”

Thirty boxes were moved at a speed equal to that of Pangaea.  Let the record show that I did want to by a station wagon instead of a sedan.  After refurbishing my old bedroom with a mountain of boxes we returned to our almost empty house.  Our garage was not included in the equation.

“Dad, you know that space in your shed?”   

Monday, 3 January 2011

Preparing to leave...

With less than a month to go we are frantically getting everything in order.  Our first official blog will be in February - until then: Watch This Space.