Surf it!


Couchsurfing is a world of fun!!

This, friends, is geography, social studies, LOTE and (ahem!) socialization all in one glorious, rich, natural learner package. And it’s free. No expensive curriculum required. But you do need a.. ah.. couch.

If hospitality is your thing, it’s easy to set up a profile at  There is space to describe skills you have to share and things you’d like to learn.  Someone in your house learning Spanish? Mention it in the skill share space, and you could find yourself with a native speaker to practice with. Have a passion for music? Mention it, and play with musicians from around the world.

After writing a profile, you can either sit back and wait for people to ask to stay with you, or you can browse people who have posted requests to stay in your area.

Here is Max. He spent a long, long time learning all about biology.  He came to stay with us for three days; three very fun days of sharing our culture with a first time visitor to Australia. Did you know Germans don’t eat banana and walnut sandwiches? Or how they feel about the world wars?  We know things now about Germany that you won’t read on Wiki.


Here we are at the Daisy Hill conservation centre: Max is meeting his first koala.





With Juls and Daniel, two German musicians with lots of personality!

juls and daniel



While there ARE baddies out there, there are also a lot of interesting, gifted, generous people in the world.  This is a wonderful way to meet them, and to share a little of the Australian way of life with an international visitor.


Go on.. be daring! 😀



couch surfing



I’ve Got Mail



Meet Flat Abigail!

Based on reading the book “Flat Stanley”, a student from Canada has posted herself to see the world.  Flat Abigail comes with a letter of introduction, which requests that we take a digital photo with her in it, doing something in our part of the world,  and email the photo to the teacher who is coordinating the project.

I can imagine how much fun it would be tracking the progress of your virtual self over the world, and having a photo record to view.  I am not sure yet where we will take Flat Abigail for the photo, perhaps the nearby nature reserve, as there is a variety of uniquely Australian animals there.  After photographing yourself with Flat Abigail, she is to be posted on to another family, to do a little more travelling.

And that’s not all…


When the doorbell rang and a peek through the window revealed a parcel post van, I was not excited.  I though it was the arrival of some  toothpaste I had ordered. (yeah, I know, toothpaste?  It’s a long story.)

But when my daughter entered the house carrying the parcel, even from upstairs, I could smell …..aniseed!  There is only one person in the world who would be sending me aniseed in the mail.  😀

It was my very generous,  thoughtful friend Andrea.

Some time ago we did a shoebox swap (enormous fun that everyone should try) with a German family.  The idea is to learn the kind of everyday things about another country in a way that makes the information real and memorable.  We swapped things that represented our respective countries.

One of the items Andrea sent which our family fell instantly in love with, was anijsblokjes.  We have absolutely nothing that comes close to being an equivalent here.  They are a little square block of aniseed flavoured powder, sweet, that can be taken in warm milk (it sounds terrible, but it is so good!) or they can be crushed and sprinkled on bread. They are remarkable!

Andrea, remembering how we enjoyed these, has  kindly sent another packet, and also included a box of Muisjes for us to try – adorable little pink and white, mildly aniseed flavoured, miniature sweeties, that you can eat on your bread.

So cute, so delicious, and so suitable for a house full of girls!

thank you sweet friend

Thank you Andrea, for allowing us to host Flat Abigail, and for sending such perfect surprises for us!

Anijsblokjes – not cigars!


Further chronicles of our shoe box adventures, where two families from different countries swap through the post, a box of things representing their home country;

I laughed with a sense of helpless bewilderment, wondering what Anitz was thinking, sending me cigars? But they’re not! Not even nearly. These little packets have blocks inside, and seriously, you could never smoke something that smelled so strongly of aniseed. LOL!

The instructions, thankfully translated for an English only girl, say to put 1-4 blocks into warm milk. All of my senses recoiled at the idea of such a strong aniseed flavour going into milk. That’s just wrong, I thought.

But curiosity overcame judgment, and being a literal kind of person, I opted to try 2, taking that as an average, blocks in warm milk. This is very good stuff. Not at all what I would normally expect from a hot, milk drink, but truly worth the leap of faith it took to try it! It was really a surprisingly pleasant taste.

Anitz, you good chooser of strange and exotic treats!