The past couple of weeks, Jenni's dad has been here for a visit. For his last day we went to the Darwin Show. Probably the equivalent to the Denver Stock show, perhaps on a smaller scale. There were, however, huge crowds as everyone had Friday off. Typically we would leave town, because it meant Litchfield or Kakadu were empty. Since this was our last chance, we thought we shouldn't miss it.
We got Cyrus outfitted in his best Darwin reg.
Safe for the whole family...
The infamous Australian Headless and Footless Table Pigeon.
It HAS been a while since we've updated our blog. A lot has happened and it is hard to keep up. In April we went back for a visit in the U.S., so our families got a chance to meet Cyrus. Everybody had a good time, and Cyrus even got to experience his first snow. Overall he did pretty well on the flight, the last leg was always the hardest (for all of us).
Everywhere we went there was something to do with Australia...
The cats were really happy to see us when we got back.
Once we returned from our trip, Cyrus decided that it was important to completely immerse himself in Aussie culture before heading back to the U.S. later this year. He started out by grabbing his eskie (cooler) full of XXXX gold ("beer") and heading out on a camping trip.
He literally wants to take a piece of Australia home with him.
Next up, Cyrus wanted to partake in local delicacies, so this required a switch to solid foods. One of his favourites is the banger, mash, and steamed veggies puree (real). He did not like David's experimental meat pie, pavlova blend (fake).
This could actually be the camping photo. They are easily mixed up.
After that, we couldn't let him go home without seeing a Darwin sunset at the mindil beach markets. It was only after we let him eat the sand that we learned the beach had been closed because of an E-Coli outbreak.
What could be more Australian than swimming? When 90% of your population lives along the coast, it is a pretty important step in a young Aussie's life. Cyrus was very excited to try it out, and loves it.
Keeping up with our tradition, we were sure to be here on Territory Day. We didn't get fire crackers this year, and had to cut out early because it was way past Cyrus's bed time. Cyrus actually didn't even seem to notice the large bangs and pretty lights. He was more interested in playing in the dirt.
Finally, Cyrus wanted to watch a little original Australian television. He has since become hooked on Master Chef, and counts Matt Preston, the ascot-wearing food critic/judge, as one of his heros.
He wasn't too happy when we took his ascot away.
On a side note. Look at the size of this f-BEEP spider!
Today Cyrus went to the pool for the first time. He was really looking forward to wearing his over sized swim nappies and uv protective bathers.
At the pool we met Megan and Cyrus's best friend, Jayden.
Cyrus and Jayden
Cyrus continues to tolerate his mother's whims rather well. He cried when we first hit the water (even in Darwin, in the wet season, the water is cold to a 10 week old), but then he settled quickly. Still, he looked at me a few times as if to say, ''Why the hell are we taking such a cold bath?" After 30 minutes, a few reluctant smiles and several strong leg kicks (I'm convinced this is demonstrative of his natural swimming ability), we both tired. The fun was over when Cyrus lost control of his neck muscles and did a face plant in the water.
While the novelty and political freedom of being stateless were compelling reasons not to apply for citizenship, we figured Cyrus would have enough challenges spelling his own name. So last weekend we flew to the US Consulate in Melbourne to make Cyrus a US Citizen. Here are answers to the questions we asked prior to buying airline tickets, making the appointment and having David's mom overnight our 2005 US tax documents.
1. No, Cyrus was not automatically conferred Australian citizenship for being born in Darwin. 2. No, there is not a US Consulate in Darwin. 3. No, the forms cannot be submitted online or by mail -- they must be submitted in person. 4. Yes, the child must be present.
5. Yes, the child must be present. 6. Yes, we must detail our physical presence in the United States. This includes documenting Jenni's spring break trips to Cozumel, Mexico in high school. 7. No, Jenni did not remember the exact dates of the above trips. 8. Yes, we had to bring our marriage certificate (to prove Cyrus was not born out of wedlock?)
Of course we had other questions, but the e-mail response from the US gov't said, "Please do not respond to this e-mail."
So we shelled out the money for plane tickets, reserved a room at a hotel across the street from the Consulate, made the appointment and completed the paperwork for Cyrus's citizenship, passport and social security card.
...a week before our appointment, the Consulate called to cancel. Apparently the "Secretary of State" (whoever that is) was going to be in Melbourne and this took precedence. But our anger won out and they agreed to keep the appointment after all. Turns out Hillary had to cancel her widely anticipated Australia-New Zealand tour because of the Haiti earthquake.
Cyrus was very excited for his first plane trip (even if it was operated by JetStar).
We promised to leave enough food for our cats, but this didn't pacify poor Hugh who wanted to come along. He even tried to disguise himself as Cyrus, but we weren't fooled.
We thought we were clever, packing everything the three of us needed into two carry-on suitcases -- but the flight attendant at the gate wasn't impressed. Apparently one of our carry-ons was too large. (If we'd cut off the wheels it would have fit in the strange metal cage that bears no physical relation to the overhead compartments.) So our bag was confiscated and put on the next flight to Melbourne and arrived at our hotel at 12pm the next day for our 3 day trip.
Cyrus slept through the whole flight to Melbourne. He was awake during most of the flight back to Darwin, but he didn't cry once. "He never does that at home."
Cyrus and Dad (who was less than happy about the confiscated luggage). Perhaps there will be a future blog solely about our hatred of JetStar airlines.
At the Melbourne airport, waiting for the shuttle bus.
The first thing Cyrus wanted to do was order room service.
Cyrus wore his favourite Darwin shirt to the US Consulate
Our cameras were confiscated by the first tier of security. Cyrus's bottle was taken at the second. I am surprised they didn't want to test my breast milk for nitroglycerin.
Continuing the tradition of going to the local Mexican restaurant. This one, called Fiesta, was actually surprisingly good, although poor David had to choke down the margarita.
Father and son at the art museum
It was so quiet in the museum, you could hear Cyrus sucking on his pacifier.
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