The Roths Down Under

A collection of daily events, activities, thoughts and reflections. Check back often as we will update our log every day or so. Don't forget to stay in touch by clicking on the comment link below each daily entry!

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Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States

A young family having many "adventures of a lifetime!" Ed, Karen, Eddie & Heather


Friday, April 15, 2005

The Mongoose

OK - so Eddie is loving riding "The Mongoose" to school every day. That's his bike obviously but he never refers to it as his bike, only the Mongoose. Great fun!

The Pig 'n Whistle

There is a potentially dangerous habit forming. I have been catching a 7p.m. bus from campus and connecting at Indooroopilly (the mall) where there is a bar called the Pin 'n Whistle. I usually have 20 minutes (or an hour and 20 minutes) to catch the next bus (or the bus after that one). So, I stop, have a beer or two, chat with the bartender and whoever else shows up, then catch the next bus - way too much fun.

Let's Go Batman!

O.K. - so there were no bats last night as I was coming home from work ... at least none that I could hear because I turned my iPod up all the way and did not dare look up! I didn't want to see or hear anything flitting above my head.

So, I didn't mention the stick in the street a few nights ago - the same night as the bat night. There was this stick that was very smooth, no bark, and was a bit curvy laying in the street. Well, of course I thought it was a snake and almost jumped out of my skin when I saw it. Now, the funny thing is, my friend David was out for a bike ride, and saw it also - twice - and both times avoided it thinking it was a snake. We mentioned it to each other and laughed that we both saw the same stick in the street and both thought it was a snake. So last night as I was walking home from the bus stop, I saw the stick half in the street and half in some relatively tall grass, so it looked like there was a snake coming out of the grass into the street. I was sure David put it there! When I mentioned it to him, he said he hadn't seen it - I know if he did, he definitely would of put it there knowing that I would see it on the way home and probably ran the entire way, following of course putting my pants and shoes back on as I jumped out of them from seeing the darn thing in the first place!

Will Smith

If you haven't heard the new Will Smith album, the WHOLE album, it is a MUST for anyone over 30 years old who has been listening to Big Willlie since we were teenagers. Lost and Found - great record!


So, Eminem just might be the biggest international pop/rap star over the last couple of years. When I was in Geneva a few years ago, the girl at the airport who was processing my ticket, saw that I was from Michigan, and when she asked me where in Michigan I was from, to make things easy, I just said I was from Detroit. She started to blush and breathe more heavily, and said, "Oh my God - do you know Eminem? He's my ...." and I couldn't make out the last word as it was in Swiss German but it I'm sure it was something a little more risque than "my honey buns".

Then today, on the bus, I was listening to one of his songs, and the girl sitting next to me could hear it through my headphones and she started in with the same type of comments the girl in Switzerland did - bizarre!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Kookaburras and Bats the Size of 747s

I bet growing up as a kid the U.S., you either: A. Had no idea what a kookaburra was, or B. Thought it was a cute little bird with a pretty song.

I hate them. They sit outside my window and have this REDICULOUSLY loud "laughing" sound and when more than one of them gets together ... forget about it man, these things are like having some nutcase outside the window laughing their heads off waiting for you to stick your head out the window!

O.K. Now get this. Last night I was leaving work at about 7p.m. Remember, Australia is in its Autumn season so it's completely dark by 7 o'clock. I'm walking to catch the bus and I see flash about 10 feet above and in front of me something that looks and sounds like a bat but is the size of a crow. And I hear more of that same sound up in the trees - I beat it - and a couple of people (Aussies I assume) just giggled a bit and kept walking. So I grab the bus, and switch at this place called Indooroopilly (Indra-pilly) there's a 20 minute wait for the next bus so I grab a beer, then catch the 7:33p.m. bus home. O.K. so now I get off the bus and start walking to David and Karyn's house (where I'm staying) and I couldn't help looking at the stars - huge sky - really spectacular. Well, while I'm looking up, I see the the leaves and branches toward the top of maybe a 20ft. high tree shaking and rustling and hear the same sounds I heard back on campus. Then this HUGE friggin' bat comes flying out of the tree and flashed in the street light so I caught a glimpse of him - clearly a bat - and clearly somewhat bigger than your standard crow. So, of course I said, out loud, holy shit, and quickened my pace. Then another, then another - there were three of things flying above the street to which I again shouted, out loud, holy shit! I bolted and sprinted the entire, maybe, 1/8 mile stretch home. I showed up to the house sweating and breathing heavy - they must think this American is out of his mind!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Another great day in paradise

The weather here has been perfect since I got here. A little bit of rain here and there, but almost all sunshine and temperatures around 80F.
I taught my second round of classes this week and so far, all seems to be going well. A few of my Australian colleagues mentioned that the students were "raving" about class. OF COURSE my response was, "they were raving what, lunatics?" The humor was somewhat lost on them as they were hoping the relaying of the students' responses would give me a boost, which it did, it's just uncomfortable to hear that type of thing. Anyway, finished teaching class today and went for a stroll around campus and took a few photos. If interested in seeing them, go to: and then click on the Australia album.

Man I miss Karen and the kids - sometimes so bad the only way to deal with it is to just not think about it. 57 days and counting.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Tick tock, tick tock

60 more days 'til Karen and the kids get here! I feel like I am on "pause" - like a DVD player - until they get here and we can press "play" again.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Settling In

Well, I've been at David and Karyn's now since Wednesday evening and am starting to settle in a bit. I took the bus from their house down to the Indooroopilly (pronounced Indra-pilly) mall, picked up a few things from Target and K-Mart (American corporations everywhere!) and grabbed a bite to eat before heading back. Now that I have a bit of an idea how the bus system works here, there's a bit more of a sense of independence - I don't have to rely on people to ship me around everywhere I want to go. Which, by the way, is not cheap - if you do the conversion from liters to gallons, gas (petrol) runs about $4.40/gallon!!! Can you believe that?!

I went to my first Australian rules football game on Saturday night - had a great time. The game in general, is relatively easy to understand although like any sport, there are nuances that I haven't quite picked up on yet. The one thing I was a bit surprised,no, really surprised about, was the Brisbane (home) team was winning by a relatively substantial amount with about 10 minutes left in the game, the Sydney team came back and with no time left on the clock, regulation time had run out, the Sydney team was given a free kick, which they made, for a walk-off game winning goal, and the crowd really didn't seem all that upset about it. How's that for a run-on sentence!

More later .....