Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Off to Down Under

An atmospheric river is predicted for San Francisco tomorrow, but if I’m lucky, I’ll slip out just in time to board my 10:45 evening flight to Sydney, Australia. Back in the traveling teacher mode and this for an Australian National Orff Conference in Adelaide, followed by two short courses in Tasmania and New Zealand. And with my new— well, two and a half years already— status as retired from a school, I have the leeway and the good sense to arrive some four days early so that I won’t be teaching the whole Conference through the haze of jet lag.


Of course, if I paid for my hotels before and/or after the Conference, it would pretty much use up most of my clinician’s fee. So I had the clever idea to visit a friend who I haven’t seen forever in Sydney and accept her gracious invitation to stay at her house. Two birds with the proverbial stone and a chance to re-connect with other friends and acquaintances in Sydney who won’t be coming to the Conference.


I decided to bring a loaf of Tartinne bread as a unique San Francisco gift, but my host said that Australia has a very strict biosecurity policy and if I don’t declare any food, plants or animals brought in, I could be subject to a large fine. When I asked him about bread, he replied, “You know, Australia actually has plenty of bread and some of it quite good!” Ah, but he’s never tasted Tartinne’s. I clarified that it was a gift for my host and he advised me simply to report it and see what happens. If nothing else, the customs people should enjoy it.


So a day of steady packing to prepare and closing out what business I could and walking 7 miles to help offset the 15 seated hours that await me. Mostly excited to see folks, to get to teach some more, to enjoy Summer in January and to explore a bit of new territory in Tasmania and Christchurch, New Zealand. May the flight leave on time, may we arrive safely, may the in-flight movies be good and the sleep gods grant me some rest. 


If all happens to plan, I’ll say, “Jolly well done!”


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