We crossed the International Date Line and the equator, and so far have traveled nearly 40 hours by plane.
I'm still no fan of Vegemite (I tried Mighty Mite, which is supposed to be less strong), but the rest of Australia is incredible.
The cost of living is higher, but wages are higher. A posted price includes all taxes and charges - even in a restaurant, because waitresses do not expect tips.
Every time we thank someone, they tell us, "No worries."
And yes, they really do say "g'day" and "mate."
During our first stop in Kununurra in northern Australia, I showed a photo of my favorite food, catfish and hush puppies.
While they had no reference for deep fried bread, it turns out they were very familiar with catfish.
Catfish were considered a nuisance fish until recently, when they discovered they tasted great.
However, the name catfish didn't sell well in restaurants, so they actually changed the name to silver cobbler!
(They can't believe we have restaurants which only sell catfish.) It is likely to be served in a curry and certainly not deep fried.
The price has more than quadrupled since the name change.
Marketing really is everything. An employee of the Argyle diamond mine agreed, explaining how the mine named and marketed their colored diamonds in a way to make them now worth far more than other diamonds.
The mine even trained jewelers in India to promote a made up "tradition" of giving diamonds to many family members involved in a big wedding, which further boosted sales. In a land where Halloween isn't the major event it is back home, it makes you consider what other traditions retailers have invented.
We spent three nights in Kununurra, about 2000 miles from Perth. Imagine the surroundings as something from the movie Australia, because that's where the movie was filmed.
For comparison, Rotary District 6910 at home runs from the northern Georgia border down to just north of Atlanta in the west, and south of Newton County in the west.
Western Australia is the largest state in the world at about the size of the entire western third of the mainland US. District 9455 includes most of the state.
Kununurra is a very young city, developed after the development of the Ord River irrigation project tin 1960. The population of around 7,000 is largely aboriginal, and many other citizens work in the mining industry.
If you haven't seen Rabbit Proof Fences, read it for a little background on the civil rights issues present here.
Save the Children is a local organization working with aboriginal youth.
They operate play groups for children under school age with activities such as yoga and learning vocabulary from the native language, which has largely been lost.
School-aged children participate in a variety of activities, similar to 4-H, including primitive camping.
My favorite activity on the calendar, though, is toad busting.
The cane toad was imported from Hawaii to combat cane beetles in a different part of the country. Unfortunately, the toads didn't eat the beetles, but instead took off across the country eating small creatures and poisoning anything brave enough to eat it.
It is expected that many species of snakes and lizards will go extinct due to the cane toad. The government no longer subsidizes programs to physically round up and euthanize the toads, but people love to kill the toads.
The preferred method seems to be running over them (they're so large you can hear them being hit), but a large hammer
also serves the same purpose.
We also volunteered to grill snags on the barbie (beef sausages on the grill) at the community center in the aboriginal community.
Ryan Hawk and I worked with two Rotary exchange students from Taiwan and Switzerland to prepare the meal.
I did so many other things in Kununurra - swam with the crocodiles in Lake Argyle, flew over the Bungle Bungles, toured a grapefruit packing plant, and swapped stories and ideas with other youth development professionals.
If there's a lesson that Kununurra reminds me about youth work, it's that we must continue to meet youth where they are, not just physically but also emotionally, and that we must work to narrow that gap between the "us" and the "them."
From the youth centre to the chilling space, that's what's happening in Kununurra.
Terri Kimble is the Newton County 4-H Agent through UGA Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at (770) 784-2010 or email@example.com.