This weekend I had an opportunity to enjoy quality time with Zach and Kathryn who were visiting from Canberra.  We’d been planning this visit since before the Christmas break.

The last time we’d been able to spend time together was in October during our visit to Canberra.

Clearly, it doesn’t take much to skip three months… especially with work, school and distance thrown into the mix.   That is why it’s so important to spend quality time whenever you have the opportunity.

Over Christmas Zach was in Sarasota, Florida with Sam, spending time with his mum and grandparents which was fabulous for everyone concerned.

Personally, this is the biggest challenge with living in another country permanently is being situated away from your kids.  I realize it was my choice, but it’s very difficult even if we’re all able to travel.

So, it’s doubly important to take each moment of quality time and cherish it.

We had a lovely weekend.

Kathryn’s father and wife live near Noosa and so they had flown up on Thursday night to spend time with them, before they drove them down to our place on Friday night.

They stayed for dinner, and we have an awesome time getting to know one another over a BBQ and drinks.

Saturday, the four of us went into Brisbane for a walk through the city, some shopping and later at lunch at Felon’s on the Brisbane River.

Then a lazy afternoon at home before us cooking together for dinner.

Pure quality time!

Sunday we were up early and out the door to visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

However, it’s far more than just koalas.

Situated about 20 minutes west of Brisbane it is an idyllic spot set amongst a beautiful rainforest and the vast majority of Australian animals – mostly roaming free for you to interact with.

This is true except for a handful of animals… the dangerous ones!

Clearly, the koalas aren’t roaming free, plus they’re cute and cuddly, they must have more than 100 koalas in the park.

Second are the Dingos or wild Australian dogs which are far too unpredictable to let roam free.

Next is the Cassowary.  This modern-day dinosaur is resplendent with its bright head dress and large central killing claw so definitely not able to roam free and finally the large Saltwater crocodile skulking in his pool.

Other than these four there are tons of animals wandering about and easy to interact with.

Zach has always loved the Australian animals and often the first place he’d want to visit as a kid when on a trip to Australia.  Times haven’t changed much as both he and Kathryn loved the experience.

Afterwards we decided on lunch at Gusto Da Gianni at Portside Wharf in Hamilton.

Absolutely delicious!

During one of our many conversations we discussed what’s next after they complete grad school later this year.

Kathryn is looking to begin her career in Health Policy, initially here in Australia but willing to relocate if Zach gets into one of the Ph.D. programs he’s applying for in the United States.

Zach, even if accepted will not begin his program until the following September so he’s planning to work in Australia where ever Kathryn finds work until then.

He’s currently applying to Ivy league schools in the North Eastern United States – Harvard, Yale, Princeton et al.

Who knows what will happen, however given his accomplishments and grades he’ll likely have a better than even money chance of getting in.

The Ph.D. history program is an incredibly long with at least six more years of research and writing ahead of him…

Oi vey!

One thing I will say for him is that has been singularly focused since High School on becoming a university professor teaching history.

With all of this ahead of him it’s important to get as much quality time as possible over this coming year.

We discussed meeting them next in Sydney for a weekend early in the year for starters which will be great.

Judy and I will also get an opportunity to meet Kathryn’s mum and partner as well.

Last night we drove them back up to the Sunshine Coast airport (Maroochydore) for their flight back to Sydney. It was a much cheaper option than flying into Brisbane and an easy hour-long drive for us.

We had such a great weekend.

It’s a shame Sam wasn’t here to enjoy it with us, although we did have a facetime call with her from the Sanctuary to say hi and have a quick catch up, but it wasn’t the same as being here with us.

I’ll be heading to the USA for business in early February and hoping that she’ll be able to come visit me in Los Angeles for a long weekend.

Again, with the intent of spending some quality time with her and catching up on life.

Fingers crossed!

Until next week