10 October 2001
We are missing the beautiful Spring display in Toowoomba, but are certainly not totally deprived. We are being treated instead to the spectacular display of fall colours. Each day more trees take on a different shade of red, purple, pink, orange, yellow or brown. It is something that Queenslanders do not really see certainly not on this scale. This show should continue for another couple of weeks before the fall starts in earnest, and the trees drop their millions of leaves. The crop of soy beans at our back door has been harvested over the past few days, so we have also been watching that with much interest.
are very enthusiastic decorators, festooning and adorning their gardens and
houses for all occasions. American flags are still very evident everywhere following
the hijacks, but here around the university, they are now being overtaken with
Purdue Boilermaker (the football team) flags and bunting. (For those who are
interested, the Boilermakers have won all four of their games so far. We now
have managed to get tickets for a match at the end of this month. We couldnt
miss the cultural experience.) However, apart from stars and stripes and Purdue
Pete and trains, elaborate Halloween decorations are also competing for space
on cars and houses and apparel. There are ghosts and pumpkins, black cats and
witches at every turn. The supermarkets have huge stocks of pumpkins - large
ones for making Jack o'Lanterns and smaller ones for pumpkin pies. We drove
home late the other night and were dazzled by all the ghost and pumpkin lights
on many houses and in spectacular garden displays. Some have combined the themes
with harvest and thanksgiving as well. The result is still more pumpkins and
lots of corn. I have a decoration consisting of three ears of coloured Indian
corn, so am feeling quite festive. I dont have any Halloween decorations,
but I have stocked up on chocolate bars in case we are visited by trick-or-treaters.
There are not many children in the apartment complex, but maybe some of the
neighbourhood kids will visit. If not, Peter and I will just have to eat the
Things are really unchanged here since military action in Afghanistan commenced
on Sunday (we heard just after we got home from Mass where we were praying for
peace). According to media reports, the action has 90-95% support from the American
public, but I know that many people share my disappointment and dismay that
such retaliatory action was always seen as inevitable. I am pleased at least
that some weeks have passed since the WTC attacks, which has allowed some of
the emotion to be guided by reason. I am also pleased that the American leaders
understand the need to attempt to restore even a small portion of the humanitarian
aid which has been halted over the past weeks. That intervening time has also
enabled more stringent security measures to be put into place here, which will
hopefully reduce the impact of any further attacks which may be directed on
targets here in America. Its pretty much wait and see, but the level of
concern here in Lafayette appears to be low. Topics of discussion are football
and other upcoming events, not the war or terrorist threats. However,
the media are filled with it some discussion informative, other stories
We are continuing to get out and about as much as possible. The weekend before
last we were pleased to meet up with friends who now live in Champaign, Illinois,
only about 2 hours from us. Cathy and Harry Gunn were living in Flagstaff, Arizona,
when we stayed with them on our last visit in 1998. Peter had met Cathy at a
conference and had arranged to visit her and her colleagues at the University
of Arizona. Cathy and Harry were extraordinarily friendly and hospitable on
that visit, and invited us to spend a weekend with them so they could show us
around the Grand Canyon. We thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated their hospitality
and were delighted that we would be able to catch up with them again. We met
for lunch at a restaurant half way between Champaign and Lafayette, but they
are planning to come across and spend a weekend with us in the next few weeks.
We are also hoping to see you both, Genny and Murray, as soon as you catch your
breath from your South American spree. I look forward to getting your reports.
We have only a week or so left of Spanish classes. Peter has really enjoyed it and has learned all the computer jargon words in Spanish so now I really have no idea what hes talking about most of the time. We have met a very nice couple at the classes. He is a high school teacher (and uses Apple computers and has heard of Cliff Richard what a completely delightful nerd!!!) and she works for a womens community service agency. They are a lot better at Spanish than us, and enjoy laughing at our Austro-Spanglish attempts at pronunciation. Peter is such a champion, though! Last week, Kimber arranged a bingo competition. We all had to write down words that we knew on a bingo sheet and she called out words until someone got a line. Peter won, and now we have two movie tickets to see Chocolat in Spanish! Im glad that Ive seen it in English so I will at least have some idea what its all about. From memory, I dont think theres much discussion in the movie of operating systems and email servers, so Peter may have a hard time picking up much of the vocab.
Last Saturday there was a home football game and we had some difficulty negotiating police road blocks to get out of our street but we tried an alternate route so that we could drive back up to the north of the state for an Amish festival at Middlebury. It was great, and we enjoyed wandering through the various craft displays and sampling some of the foods. We bought a basket (you know how short of those I am, Fay), a little wooden carving, and a gift for Judith (I hope you like it, Judith). After visiting the Amish festival we decided we would drive the short distance into South Bend (a city in the north of Indiana) and visit their famous university, Notre Dame. As we got closer to the university, we realised that they also had a home game that afternoon, so we soon found ourselves in slow moving traffic which was headed for various parking lots. We got out of that as soon as we could and decided to try again some other day. On Sunday afternoon we drove down to Indianapolis. We have had our first sub-freezing temperatures so decided it was time to go and get some warm gear for Peter. We bought a fantastic jacket that he should be able to use on his next polar expedition, and some gloves and a beanie. Indy is quite a beautiful city and we enjoyed wandering its streets for a while.
Monday was Columbus Day and today is also part of the students fall break.
Peter had no classes but went in uni to catch up on some work. I also went in
to get some books from the library. Its certainly a quieter place when
there are no students there.
An interesting (but incomplete) fact about Purdue: Did you know that the first
and last men to walk on the moon were graduates of Purdue? I know Neil Armstrong
was the first, but I dont have any idea who the last guy was, and the
Purdue brochure where I found this little gem didnt include that piece
of information. If anyone knows who he was, I would be pleased to hear from
Hope all is well with you and your loved ones.
Lots of love
|Last updated: March 30, 2002|