G’day mates!!! I know it has been a minute (or two!) since I’ve posted, but as you may know, quite a lot has been going on….

Let’s start back in Ayutthaya. Cooper had some bug that left him sick and weak for a few days. Then, just as he was getting better, I caught it or got food poisoning or SOMETHING terrible that left me bed ridden for the better part of 2 days. Extra grateful for Coop during this episode… he was a fantastic, thoughtful, much-needed caretaker. By some amazing miracle (or a ton of water, rest, and some nibbles of white rice) I woke up on the 17th feeling nearly 100% and ready to make the trek Down Unda! So we left the world’s weirdest hotel (Nasa Vegas — looked like it was made in 1990 and then never touched again), made our way to the Bangkok airport to say goodbye to Southeast Asia (for the foreseeable future), and boarded our plane to Singapore! We had dinner in the airport (I had a salad grainbowl situation and I still don’t know if it was really one of the best airport dinners ever ever or if I just hadn’t eaten for 36 hours AND hadn’t had non-Asian food in months…) ANYWAY it was delish, and with food in our bellies we hopped on our budget plane (Scoot) and headed to Oz! [Let me tell y’all something, though: this was a BUDGET PLANE. They charged for EVERYTHING including water and they only had the minimini bottles.]

So we land in Gold Coast and I am all kinds of shook. Everyone’s white and speaking ENGLISH, but I am still tempted to use the 3 Thai words I know… We take an Uber from the airport to the bus station, grab burgers!!! (so Western! and yes, of course, mine was veggie) nearby and board our first of two buses. After 8 hours, a handful of podcasts, and one awesome sunset, we are picked up by our host, Kira, and her oldest daughter, Ava, in Gympie, QLD! At this point we had been traveling for nearly 30 hours and your girl over here found it hard to be charming, but lucky for us Kira is a chatty cathy and did most of the heavy conversation lifting (thank you, Kira).

The Herlaars have hosted their fair share of WorkAwayers and have the whole thing down to a science. In fact, since they started hosting nearly 3 years ago, they say the longest they’ve gone without volunteers is 2 weeks! I think that’s why the kids are so affable. We have a separate house that we share with the other backpacker, Conor, who’ll be here until the end of the month. As for the family, we’ve got Kira and Dan (mom and dad), Brayden (9), Ava (8), and the twins, Addie and Caidie, who will turn 2 on March 1. I am still astounded at how many more kids 4 is than 2… you’d think it’s just 2, but you’d actually be wrong. It’s approximately 67 more children. And bonus points for 2 year old twins. They’re exciting and exhausting at the same time. Best smiles, too! Kira likes to joke that people leave their house wanting fewer kids than they thought they did when they came… verdict still out on that.

Today (January 21) we woke up at 6:30AM and got to work picking limes! Spent the whole morning loading up our joey bags (they’re what you think they’d be — front pouch sacks) and Kira and I will do deliveries to their customers on Wednesday. Picking was actually so relaxing. Got to listen to pods and stroll around the hundreds of lime trees. All tings good here! We’re getting back into a schedule. Its really great. We might even start working out soon. Not that we didn’t work up a SWEAT picking. Its like 90 degrees here and ~strolling~ becomes a bit strenuous when you have like 12 kilos of limes strapped to your chest.

FINALLY, another shout-out to my friends and family reading this!! Including my girl @Coax who just started her MASTERS IN MILAN, ITALY (so that’s cool and difficult!!!) and @Jenny who just finished a particularly trying transition time at work. Much like the women they sell clothes to, Hatch is expanding! (ha ha!) @Jenna has moved in to her new place and fully chic-ed it up! Alsoooo cheers to my sister, @Jamie, who got into a summer program in Cape Town AND is taking spring term in DC. Gram and Pop made it safe n sound to Florida!! AND!! It’s Aunt Laurie’s birthday (depending on where you are) so a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to her!!

I still have one final SEA post on my phone so maybe next post we’ll go a little ~back in time~

Signing off! Lots of love πŸ™‚

View whilst bedridden. Well this, Fox News, and the Australian Open. We had a brief flirtation with Sumo Wrestling πŸ€Όβ€β™‚οΈ and I did try to watch a French movie I found while clicking through… Bangkok, Thailand πŸ‡ΉπŸ‡­

My $4 water on Scoot. Only fly if you’re penny pinching.
View from bus station #1 in Gold Coast!
Final bus stop near Gympie. Look at that sunset! Australia πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ί πŸ™‚
More sunset. Same bus stop.
More sunset. Still same bus stop. But do you see that massive Kangaroo?! I mean, it’s hard to miss, but how funny!! As massive kangaroo at a random bus stop…

Coop in front of waterfront and awesome sunset situation πŸ™‚ (same truck stop)
More Coop! Same bus stop.
Same sunset but see those birds?? They were SO LOUD. Cool to see them with the sunset though going into the trees. Kind of like the egret tree in DeB, but these birds are smaller and louder.
Coop and the oldest, Brayden. Here on the farm!
Right hand after first day of work. No more rings after today my fingers are quite swollen.

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