Prairie Dogs, Gym Equipment and Lasagna

Well fellow humanoids (and any who identify with other species and still use technology to read this blog),

Welcome back again to our American Life! This week has been the first one where James has really been teaching American Army students as part of his new position, so we’ve been busy. Luckily, we haven’t been tooooo busy to have some adventures!

[Disclaimer: what normal people call ‘everyday living’, I tend to call adventures. I make no apologies for this fact, but I want to ensure I’m not practicing false advertising.]

James’s mum and brother we were with us over the weekend, leaving on Tuesday evening, so we wanted to make the most of their visit. After the gym on Saturday morning (where there was an adorable and very excitable puppy for me to coo over) we went out. Despite the encroaching inclement weather, our drive around the wildlife refuge was a lot of fun, featuring some great scenery and some new animal-spotting before a leisurely stroll through the visitors’ centre. They have excellent displays in there, including a skeleton exhibit which showcases a turtle skeleton (those are really, really cool), as well as a gift shop.

During our travels, we turned off the main drag towards The Holy City of The Wichitas, the site of the USA’s longest running Easter passion play, ‘The Prince of Peace’. They once had 225 000 visitors in 1939, which is an incredible amount when you consider the size of the place. It’s littered with stone buildings, some showing evidence of concrete reinforcement, some beginning to crumble at the edges and some housing displays.


It’s an impressive area, but perhaps even more importantly… We finally saw prairie dogs! As we turned into the road, there were hints of movement in the patches of dirt boarding the bitumen. Slowing down revealed a prairie dog community scurrying around and collecting what looked like bread, most likely thrown by a refuge visitor. Though most of them tried to reach safe distance from us as quickly as possible, there was one chubby little guy who was very determined to drag away a large piece of bread and was thus undeterred by our presence… Fair enough too. The piece of bread was a similar size to him, so it was a prize not to be lightly abandoned! We refuelled with Sonic after our adventures – I miss Nordburger back in Adelaide – and otherwise had a quiet weekend.

Having previously floored the cement in the garage using some very pungent horse stall mats, we were more than ready to finally get our gear into the gym and get set up. Monday afternoon brought the much-longed for delivery and following my assistance, the question of whether I’m… German? Apparently I’m too strong to be an American (not my words!), but also apparently I mustn’t sound at all Australian. Who knows how I’ll sound after not going home for over two years!

Tuesday evening saw James’s family head home; it’s always hard to say goodbye, but there’s the comfort of knowing that they’re going home to Australia to settle down there for the long term. Part of me finds that a very appealing prospect: no doubt we’ll be similarly keen to get back to our country and our people after almost three years! A significant portion of that desire is going to be fuelled by a hunger for Australian dairy. I don’t know what’s going on with American dairy, but it’s strange, and it’s weirding me out a little. That being said, I used a lot of American cheese to make my first ever lasagna this week and it turned out very tasty, so perhaps I’ll adjust.

We have some plans for this weekend that could result in some disasters (I like the possibility of great success or catastrophic failure, so this is right up my alley), so tune back in next Friday to find out how we went!

— Ana

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