In the last blog I ended with making our way up to Gero (It's what the locals call Geraldton :D).
After the four hour drive we arrived at our home. For the first time we were able to share with my parents OUR home since we've been married. LIke I've mentioned before we share the house with four other people and it may not always seem to be exclusively mine and Ryan's place, but we were still so proud to show it off; not only our house, but our little town as well. We are proud because God has placed us here and this is where He wants us. He has given us abundantly more than we could ask for. We may not have the luxuries that we sometimes wish for, but we get reminded daily of God's faithfulness and providence in our lives. I look forward to the day we can share these same things with Ryan's parents when they come to visit in the middle of July.
The third week we spent most of our time in Gero. While Ryan and I spent a few days of the week working my parents went off to explore the streets and towns surrounding Geraldton. They were able to spend time on the beach, become amused at the museums and sip a cuppa at DOME (Our new coffee shop in town; much like a Starbucks). I really enjoyed the time my mom and I were able to cook dinners together. There is something about being a new wife and wanting your first home-cooked meal in your own house to be perfect for your guests, especially if its your own family. You want them to know that you really do know how to cook and your not starving your husband at home:) (Some of you may understand what I am talking about).....unfortunately, mine didn't turn out that way. I burnt the meat. To a crisp. Nevertheless, we started over and it turned out the second time around. I must say regardless of the burnt meat we had some pretty good meals otherwise, with the help of my mom of course. Our most delicious meal was Surf 'N' Turf; steak, potatoes and yummy little prawns.
That Saturday we attended the event of the week, Ryan's basketball game. This is an event I look forward to EVERY week. I love watching Ryan play and the stress of close games is such a rush! This game happened to be one of those games, at least towards the beginning. The Buccs played the Mandurah Magic. The Magic were up only by a few points for the majority of the game but the Buccs came back to win with a lead of about 10-15 points. Ryan ended the game with about 36 points. My parents and I were given Box Seats for the game which made the experience much more thrilling. Each Box receives a platter of wings, veggies, crackers and dip. They also receive a large esky (Americans call these "coolers") full of ice cold drinks.
The following day my parents, Ryan and I set off heading north for a 4-day trip to MONKEY MIA and EXMOUTH. There isn't much along the way but we made a few stops, one of which was BILLABONG. Most likely the place that the surf brand "Billabong" is named after. We continued our journey upward through the outback to DENHAM. Here we spent the night. The place we stayed at was a like a little dutch village. The owner came from the Netherlands and started his business here. Once we found this out the Dutch Bingo began with my parents, but no winner this time. After we booked our stay we walked along the pier searching the water to see if we could find any fish. To our amazement, we spotted a large sting ray gliding along the ocean floor. I have only seen sting rays in exhibits such as SeaWorld, but this creature was even more beautiful in the wild as it was calmly skimming the bottom of the ocean.
Bright and early the next morning we drove to see the dolphins at Monkey Mia. Besides its beautiful beaches, Monkey Mia doesn't have much going for it. But there is one attraction that can bring hundreds of people and that is to see the wild dolphins. Each morning there are wild dolphins that come the the shores of the Monkey Mia Resort. All four of us were able to stand in the water and have the dolphins swim right up to us. It was quite an experience.
After Monkey Mia we drove several more hours north to a town called Exmouth. The land here was much drier than I had anticipated, but the beaches were a brilliant blue. The next day in Exmouth we went snorkling in the middle of a coral reef. The tour bus picked us up from our hotel, gave us a few tour stops along the way before we reached our glass bottom boat. That day was a bit windy and both Ryan and I were not excited about having our feet dangling in the middle of the cold ocean. We boated out to sea spotting many fish through the bottom of our boat. Moments later we parked our boat right over the coral reef. Shivering already from the wind and the splashes of water from the waves made it less enticing to drop down into the ocean, especially after the tour guide told us to not get too close to the 40 ft.- long tiger sharks if we see any. But seeing my dad hop effortlessly into the water made both Ryan and I realize we are not coming all the way to Australia and miss out on this chance to snorkle. Suctioning our goggles to our faces, we SLOWLY made our way into the water. Boy, am I glad we did it! I saw the most colorful fish I've seen in my life and the most unique looking coral. I could hardly breath (besides continuously getting water in my snorkle) with the adrenaline of being in the middle of the ocean and seeing such beauty under the water, a world we hardly ever experience.
Before we finished our trip back home to Geraldton we stopped at Kalbarri, the place Ryan and I spent our 23rd Bdays, to show my parents the beautiful sights of coastline and deep gorges.
The last weekend that my parent were in Australia we made another short trip in the opposite direction down to Margaret River; a 6-7 hour drive from Geraldton (Ryan wasn't able to come along because of his bball practices). We stopped at several different points along the Southwest coast, but Margaret River was my favorite. It was filled with green pastures and exquisite wineries. The downtown was quaint with little shops. While we were there the town was hosting a "Cow Parade." There were hundreds of cows painted in different themes or dressed up as different characters. As we toured the town and the surrounding towns we tried spotting as many cows as we could and took pictures of them. We continued driving south towards Cape Leeuwen. This Cape was unique because on one side stood the Southern Ocean and on the other side stood the Indian Ocean.
We tried to cram in as much as we could see that weekend before Ryan's triple-header and before my parent's flight home. So we headed back up to Perth, to stay about 3 more days. We cheered on Ryan in each of his games and again he played great. The team came away with 2 victories out of the 3 games.
The time came to say goodbye to my parents. It was very tough for both Ryan and I. We admit it felt like we were left alone on a strange island again like it did the first time we arrived. But we were both very thankful for the time we could spend and the places we could experience together. We are once again reminded of how thankful we are for our families. Now we look forward to the few weeks we can spend with Ryan's parents when they come in July!
I hope you enjoyed reading what we experienced! It sure was a blast!!