Tuesday, 22 January 2013

21 Years Later

When I was 17 I was lucky enough to be asked by my Uncle Kim and Auntie Deidre if I would like to travel with them and their family to the USA to be their nanny. I was so excited as it was always my dream to go to the USA.  After spending three months as their nanny I ended up staying for another ten months and went to 'college' there (or what we would consider to be University). It was one of the best years of my life and I have so many great memories from my time in the USA.

While I was with Kim and Deidre and their kids, we travelled around the USA looking for treatment for my cousin Corom, who is autistic.  We ended up in Portand, Oregon where we needed to stay for a few months so that Corom could have a certain treatment there.
After looking for a place to rent, a lovely guy Bryce showed them through a house that he was renting out.  They told him why we were in the USA and why we only needed to rent the house for three months and he told them that no one would rent a home to someone for that long.  He then thought about it really quickly and then said that we were welcome to come and live at their house for three months! He hadn't even asked his wife Barbara (mobile phones weren't even around then!) and raced home to tell her before we arrived ten minutes later! Can you imagine what she thought!

They had four kids who were quickly told that a strange Australian family was moving in with them for three months and the kids who slept upstairs gave up their rooms for us.  I still remember a lot about our time with the Winkels.  It was crazy having two families in the one house, but lots of fun.  Their older kids were around my age and their two boys Bryan and Richard used to pick on my Aussie accent flat out.  I remember being fascinated with everything American and remember how cool I thought it was that they were going to their Prom. 

Just after we first arrived at their house they asked us if we were hungry and wanting anything to eat.  My Uncle said to them that we weren't as we had a 'late lunch'.  At the time they couldn't really understand some words because of our accent and thought he had said that we had a 'light lunch' and couldn't work out why we weren't hungry if we had only had a light lunch!  

'Back in the day' it took over a week to send Mum and Dad a letter in the mail and then it would take another couple of weeks to get a reply back.  Twenty one years later it's awesome to have the wonders of the Internet, Facebook and blogs. It's so great to have contact with them now and to see how everyone has changed.  It's fun seeing the 'kids' from their family all grown up and married with kids. 

Recently Bryce emailed me to tell me that he and Barbara were flying to Sydney and were then going to be going on a cruise, which would have a stop over in Hobart, Tasmania! We were so excited to hear that they were coming here, even if it was just for a day and Kim and Deidre and I arranged to meet up with them.

On our last day at Swansea we got up early and drove down to Hobart to meet them just after they got off their cruise ship for the day.  
It was so exciting to see them and they were just as I remembered them.  Jay was so excited to hear their accents, and I kept having to remind Bryce that he was now the one with the accent when he would imitate mine. 
The plan was to go to Port Arthur with them, but with the recent bush fires the roads were all closed.  We decided to take them to the Tahune Airwalk. I had never been before so I was looking forward to going as I had heard it was amazing. 
We had a lovely few hours with them just walking around, talking and catching up on the last 21 years. Bryce spent some time driving with me and it was so nice to just talk.  I wished that they had been able to meet Aaron and Noah, but it was nice to talk to him about them and let him know how I was doing. 
It was fun to talk about all the things we remembered about our three months of living together and we had a laugh about the 'late lunch' story.

The forest was beautiful but it wasn't a very nice day at all.  It was quite cold and even started raining. You wouldn't think it was the middle of summer! Fortunately they are used to rain in Portland so a few spits didn't worry them.
The boys loved the wishing tree where people had dropped money on top of the tree trunk and had made a wish.
I loved being up above the trees but as I got further out to the end, it made me a little nervous!

We had a lovely lunch at the cafe before taking them back to Hobart so they could board their ship to head to Melbourne and then New Zealand. We had lots of fun telling them lots of Australian slang words and told them to go home and tell their sons that they were bogans! Jay thought that was hilarious.
We had a lovely day with them and wished that they could've stayed longer so we could show them more of the state. Hopefully it won't be long before they come back for a longer visit. 


  1. what an amazing couple to have you guys in their home like that. Brought tears to my eyes. And SO SO SO special for them to have visited xx

  2. That air walk made me feel dizzy just looking at the pictures! What a beautiful day spent together!

  3. I agree with Chelsea. Amazing people. Truly!

    I'm so glad you got a chance to catch up with them. Awesome!

  4. How wonderful you were able to catch up with this couple. Unbelievable how he welcomed you all into his home as he did! They must be an amazingly generous family.


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