The start date for Zach to begin his graduate studies at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra is slated for February 22nd.

He was able to procure housing on campus in the graduate studies residence complex.  Given the reputation of the University it attracts a lot of International Students so it will be interesting to see where his fellow grads are coming from.

A recent change in the Australian immigration rules has allowed for those international students who are enrolled to begin to return to Australia to continue their studies in person.

It’s been two years and so I’m sure it’s been quite an inconvenience in their studies.

For Zach he’s had the last seven months off since graduating from McGill and he’s super excited, both about starting his grad studies, but also living in Canberra and following his dream of becoming a University Professor.

Clearly, he still has a long road ahead but he’s more than prepared for it.

When we talked about his move to Canberra initially, we were going to do a road trip, but after careful consideration we’ve decided to fly.

I know it’s only a 14-hour drive (each way) but for me to do the drive to literally drop him at the front door at his residence didn’t seem to make a lot of sense…

Okay, we need to do a quick stock take of what he needs to move into his residence when we get there, and then go buy whenever supplies he needs, but realistically it won’t take that long especially as it’s a furnished dorm room with kitchenette.

So, flying is the smarter way to go. 🙌🏼

Fortunately, there are four direct flights to and from Canberra and Brisbane on a daily basis, and a further 28 via Sydney so lots of options.

This works out well, not only for Zach to come home on a weekend if he wants, but also for me to go visit.  Super convenient especially when I live only 20 minutes from the Brissy airport.

In fact, the flight that we’ve booked departs Brisbane at 6:00 am and arrives in Canberra at 8:35 am.  Sounds like the perfect time to go find a breakfast place before the day begins.

We’ve got all the usual things to buy – new bedding, grocery run, a few accoutrements for the apartment and of course some school supplies.   Yeah, Zach is old school that way…

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in that respect. ❤️

We were reminiscing about when I dropped him off to his undergrad residence in Montréal for the first time way back in 2017.

It feels like a million years ago as so much has happened in our collective lives since the days of pre-Covid but in other respects feels like yesterday.

Fortunately, like much of Australia the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has done a good job of vaccinations and managing the virus with the population 98.6% double dosed and 41% with a booster.

Zach was able to get his booster prior to leaving Queensland so feels well protected.

Not sure what he’s most excited about? 🤨

The new school and his studies or the social aspect and finally being able to reconnect in person with people his own age without the feeling of dread and worry hanging over his head…

Prior to this upcoming trip I’ve only ever visited Canberra once, and that was with my daughter Sam on our trip to Australia for Christmas in 2019.

As with the majority of our family trips, we spent some time with my sister and family in Victoria before getting on a plane to explore a new part of Australia that we hadn’t seen before.

During that trip we spent time in Sydney, ostensibly so we could climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, before flying onto Mackay in North Queensland to explore where mum and dad first met, and spending time at Airlie Beach and the Great Barrier Reef.

The final couple of days were spent visiting Canberra and all the museums (free by the way – much like Washington DC) as well as the Parliament buildings.  A cool experience to be able to go sit in the gallery of the House of Representatives and Senate.

The campus for ANU is in the heart of the city and surrounds with Zach’s residence being on the western side of the campus.

The best part of this is that he’s only a block from the Canberra Botanical Gardens so his morning walks will in this beautiful setting.

Since arriving in Australia he’s really focused on his health and well-being, so working out and walking daily. ❤️

This coupled with a strong diet has helped him put on weight and fill out, which has good and bad side effects.

I was laughing when he said he needed new pants and shirts and the ones he has for school no longer fit him in the waist or chest…

A good problem to have clearly!

I will miss having him here with me but know that he’s not that far away.  Most of all I’m excited for him to begin this next chapter of life and all that comes with it.

Until next week!