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Well it’s been quite the sporting week here in little Yeppoon, with some successful performances by the new Canadian transplants! Hugh started the week off well on Monday placing 2nd in a field of 100 in a golf comp! (Aussie translation reminder: comp = tourney) Hugh was very pleased with the result, especially as he really hasn’t felt like he’s had his golf game since arriving here. Only playing 1-3 times per year for the past 10 years may have had an impact, and constantly getting distracted by kangaroos and cockatoos on the golf course may also be a contributing factor :). But this past Monday, Hugh reported that he’s starting to get his swing back, still needs some work, but he sees the light!

This week also saw the grand opening of the first ever Yeppoon Pickleball Festival. The club here is UNBELIEVABLE. It is run by a group of highly skilled volunteers and honestly, it is a miracle what they have pulled off. They are masters at writing grant applications and getting sponsors and then spending the money very wisely. We have the largest and highest calibre pickleball facility in all of Australia – 14 dedicated, custom-built courts (so not old beat-up tennis courts with lines taped on :)). The last 6 courts were just added in the last few weeks and Hugh helped out here and there with the installation. Friday night was the official opening of those new courts and the kickoff to a 10-day long pickleball festival. There was a ribbon-cutting on the Championship Court and the Deputy Mayor even came by to say a few words:

Hugh and I were introduced to Adam (deputy mayor; guy on the right in the 2nd photo above) and he has the same awesome Aussie sense of humour that we’re enjoying with all our friends here! And he even kept his address to the group short – remarkable for a politician :).

Just as the opening ceremonies were winding up, I looked behind me and couldn’t believe the beautiful view – a vibrant pink sunset in contrast with the blue courts:

This first weekend of the Yeppoon Pickleball Festival was the Seniors Comp. On Saturday, Hugh played in the men’s doubles with Glenn and they won silver!

Glenn just started playing 7 weeks ago and WOW is he ever good!

Our friend Rob brought all his camera gear and he snapped some action photos (he pretty much became the official photographer for the event, and he captured so many great action shots from all the players, I know everyone appreciated it!):

Rob also sent me this headline from somewhere:

For all our pickleball friends back in Canada – you totally get this, the addiction is unstoppable :).

Today Hugh and I played in the Senior Mixed comp and we won bronze!

Once again, Rob got some great action photos:

Now this photo deserves some additional attention:

Those of you with a trained pickleball eye may notice that Hugh is WAY into MY side of the court. I am very glad that Rob captured this moment on film to represent the not just one but two occasions when Hugh ran and stretched way into my side of the court to claim “his” ball – and then missed the shot. No bitterness here, just stating a fact. Hugh and I will be discussing this further later.

Fellow club members Robyn and Glenn (same Glenn as played with Hugh in men’s doubles) won gold in the mixed event today. They are heaps of fun and we look forward to playing with them again! Coincidentally, Robyn owns Ten Commandments and that’s where our new kitchen bench (counter) is being made! What a great name for a granite/stone store :).

Here is a photo of our friends Geoff and Sharyn:

Geoff and Sharon were actually the very first people I played pickleball with here and they have rapidly become lifelong friends! They certainly keep us laughing, more great Aussie humour. Geoff, if you’re reading this and would like to know a bit more about our bronze medals, please just ask, we’ll be happy to describe in infinite detail for you :).

Tonight about 70 players from the Seniors comp this weekend all went out for dinner at the Capricorn Tavern. One of the players wrote a song about pickleball! Here’s the chorus:


Now, if you’re thinking back to the title of this post, you’re counting on your fingers and noticing that I’ve covered Silver, Silver, and Bronze – but no mention of Gold. Well, I am giving myself a Gold medal for my stellar performance on Tue and Wed this week – when I drove to work all by myself!! That’s right ladies and gentleman, I successfully controlled a car from the right hand side while skillfully navigating driving on the left, all without Hugh in the passenger seat to remind me of anything. I am very impressed with my skill :).

Last night, our friend Leigh invited us out to Yepp Brewery to see comedian Kel Balnaves:

We didn’t stop laughing all night! I love this style of comedy – just commenting on the things you see and experience in daily life, no need to denigrate anyone, and all with that fabulous Aussie sarcasm! We needed Leigh to translate some Aussie vocab for us from time to time and we definitely need to do some googling about “blowing a thong” (no, not what you’re thinking and be careful what you type into your search engine :)).

In the “not funny” category is our shipping container, which has been sitting in Brisbane for over 3 weeks now. On Monday, the customs/quarantine folks alerted our moving agent that some of our patio furniture has been “flagged.” This usually means that there’s dirt on it somewhere, but they so far haven’t responded to our agent’s team to explain what dirt and on what items. We simply can’t believe there is any dirt on it – we were well advised before our movers packed anything for us of the extreme need for diligence in ensuring there isn’t a speck of dirt on anything. In fact, we left behind a lot of items we really loved because we weren’t sure the Aussies would look kindly on them entering their country (like an old wooden frame with stained glass – who knows what dirt could be deep inside its fissures – my collection of large beach shells, and our 200 million year old petrified wood, which is actually dense stone, not wood, but having wood in the name we thought would be asking for trouble). Our patio furniture was made in Stratford out of recycled water bottles and was only 2 years old, had never been on dirt (only on our concrete patio), and had been thoroughly power-washed before the packers wrapped it up. So I’m finding the dirt story hard to believe, but we are at their mercy. Our moving agent is trying to get their operations team in to see for themselves but in the meantime, we remain without 90% of our belongings. I absolutely respect Australia’s desire to keep foreign bugs out of their country, but when the people who inspect aren’t very transparent about their inspection and they’re the same people who levy massive fees to either destroy or clean the flagged items, it’s a little frustrating. Will see what comes this week. Meanwhile, Hugh has been keeping VERY busy chipping away at painting every inch of wall and trim in our house so it’s done before the furniture arrives.

On a happier note, I was able to snap 2 photos this week that I’ve been wanting to get for a couple weeks now. First, the beautiful but elusive Pied Butcherbird (the one whose song sounds like a flute playing) arrived on one of our Foxtail Palms today and I got this photo of him in mid-song:

And then there’s a roundy (another classic Aussie short form) that we take from the main road up to our house and it has a beautiful lighted sign of our suburb name:

Some weeds had grown tall and were obscuring some of the letters, but late this week they were cut back and I finally got the photo! To pronounce this word, put the accent on the second syllable – tarANGanba.

Finally, I’ll wrap up this week’s post with an update on my fabulous job. July 10 was the beginning of Term 2 here (equivalent of Jan-Apr in Canada) so I got to meet my new students. The program is very small – I just have 7 students in one course and 9 in another. But they were great! Very engaged, interactive, and inquisitive. Being accustomed to McMaster’s problem-based learning format, I was worried that a non-PBL program might be full of passive learners – thankfully, not at all! Hats off to the small but mighty faculty here because they have done a tremendous job in instilling excellent clinical reasoning skills in their students. They have developed a really neat model here, and I’m quite enjoying it:

  • We video record any lecture material that just needs to be learned/memorized and post it at least a week before class for students to watch on their own schedule.
  • We create online, interactive activities based on the recorded lecture material that students must complete before they come to class.
  • We use the 2-hour weekly classes to quickly review the recorded/online materials and then put all that knowledge into hands-on practice activities to ensure they consolidate the clinical skills.

Kudos to our innovative Head of Course Dr. Barbra Zupan (formerly of Brock University in St. Catharines) for developing this concept – it’s amazing! And right up my alley. I’ve been tasked with re-developing 2 courses this term and 2 more in our summer here and while it’s a lot of work, it’s really rewarding. One of the courses I’m re-developing is anatomy and I’m team-teaching this with an exercise physiologist – we are having a blast making it so much more practical than it’s ever been, and I am constantly learning at the same time. Still not a fan of being around body parts in the anatomy lab, but fortunately Ros looks after most of that and I get to do all the fun clinical application stuff :). I have a much narrower range of responsibilities than I did at Mac, so I’m enjoying having the breathing room to a) pour additional innovation into my teaching and b) develop interests outside of work.

Life is good.

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