Thursday, January 31, 2008

Australia Apology to Aborigines

This international news headline makes me feel proud to be Australian. Good on-us all! I feel like it is something Australians have come together to make happen. Though there is of course opposition from some.
I think most Australians will be very happy to see it happen.

Nice One.

It was the "first, necessary step to move forward from the past", she said. (Jenny Macklin)

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced plans to apologise after his victory in last year's general elections.

The move is a highly symbolic one marking a definitive break from policies of previous administrations, correspondents say.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Aboriginal Archive Offers New Digital Rights Management

You can read this news story here. The amazing thing about it was that I read it in on the BBC international headlines!! This is wonderful! Not least because it is about the Warumungu people, NJ would be so pleased. I would like to know more about this software... anybody know? It seems like the kind of the thing the language centre would like to know about.


"Dr Kimberly Christian, who helped to develop the archive, told BBC World Service's Digital Planet programme that the need to create these profiles came from community traditions over what can and cannot be seen.

"It grew out of the Warumungu community people themselves, who were really interested in repatriating a lot of images and things that had been taken from the community," she said.

"You find this a lot in indigenous communities, not just in Australia but around the world... this really big push in these communities to get this information back and let people start looking at it and narrating it themselves."


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Home for the long weekend

Here's a few beautiful photos of our long weekend visiting family. It helps me understand better why I was so homesick in New Mexico- such a different world!

Flying Kites

I googled 'good news' just to shake off the blues... and it worked!

Check this out:
Monday, 28 January 2008
"The world's first cargo ship partially powered by a giant kite has set sail from Germany to Venezuela last week. "Beluga SkySails" is fitted with a giant computer-guided kite, which helps the engines to power the ship - thereby reducing fuel consumption and emissions"

And here is a link to a video about it. It reduces the fuel consumption by about 20 %, and they are hoping to have up to 1500 ships using them by 2009. Not to mention flying kites, especially huge ones, must be really exciting and fun. It adds a playful element to merchant shipping!

Pretty ace huh!

Visa updates

I am feeling frustrated this morning. After putting together our application, and then sending in some extra stuff about Eyal's health things are still not resolved. Last week we spoke with the Health people and they said the were currently looking at his application, and that it will be very soon finalised.

We were slightly excited because it is the last piece in the puzzle and the day it is happily done we will be granted the permanent resident visa. Today we called and they said it had been finalised, but would not tell us the result. So we called the immigration dept. and they said it 'looks like' it has been deferred (the health check result), and they may have to write to the manager of the department to find out the final result (??), thus it could be another 2-3 months before we hear of the result.

I just called the immigration dept again on a hunch and found that deferred actually means rejected. Our supportive Case Officer says not to panic, it just means she has to put together submission to her manager and then the Minister for Immigration. It will help if we included things like: a more recent oncologists report, proof of private health insurance: proof I could financially support him if he were sick.

She said she hasn't received confirmation that it has been deferred (rejected) but it says so on the screen: 'computer says naoo'.

So we have to wait for a letter they sent us that will tell us ( I hope) what on earth is going on, and what we need do next.

Just to keep things exciting Eyal's company have suggested today he fly to Israel to start work the day after tomorrow, and return in three weeks.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Hmmmm these are some choices

Saturday, January 19, 2008


So the plan for this year, roughly is: to get married, probably move to Sydney, and with God and my Hard Drive on my side finish (submit!) my PhD. I know this sounds busy, but compared to last year, it is relatively relaxed. Last year, I really think Eyal and I travelled at an average speed of about 250kms/day ( the worst part was four times across the Atlantic in as many weeks...).

This time last year I had just driven from Tucson, Arizona ( after arriving from Israel the week before), to San Diego California. I spent Christmas and New years there, went to a couple of conferences ( LSA AAAL) and then Eyal and I went on our merry way to Santa Barbara. We did pretty good at creating an illusion of living there for at least five months. But the truth was we went to Israel twice, Tucson once and then moved on to Palo Alto in July. Of course we were only there a month before returning to Australia, and then of course only in NSW for 6 weeks before hitching up our skirts and spending 6 weeks in Ngukurr. Since then, apart from going to Syndey a few times, and spending a few weeks with family over Christmas we have been here in Armidale- for at least umm two consecutive weeks now, nearly three.

Naturally our life in peaceful, rural suburbia is relative bliss (for a few weeks), I am becoming slightly too happy about spending all day washing clothes, folding them and putting them away... and I spend more time than ever in shops that sell just linen. Yes, and further to this, we are contemplating buying a couch. Not just like a '$40 I live with four other students" kind of couch. A real lovely couch, that only an adult who lived in a house would buy... we are also thinking of buying car. No not the $1500 dollar 'it will do' kind of car, but a clean, dustproof, 'babies fit in the back seat' car...

Well obviously (ahem) we are not into materialism, but there is something comforting and less intransient about spending money on a new couch. Quite irresistible.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The New Year

Last year we spent a considerable amount of time preparing Eyal's spousal visa application to become an Australian resident ( and eventually citizen). It was a long process of gathering evidence and sifting through it, writing statements, getting friends to write statements and photocopying and certifying a whole rainforest of paper. We felt a bit sad to hand it over- at least we had the satisfaction of an hour long interview to show it off ( table of contents, colour coded and all), before leaving it forever with the immigration department.
Such personal research I have never done. We both wrote about a six page statement of how we met, fell in love and the significant times dates and places in our relationships. We carefully labelled and printed 14 pages of photos of us and family, friends and work colleagues from all over the world.
We have a case worker assigned to us, she was pleased with our thoroughness and indicated that if the police checks and health checks were finalised ( we are waiting waiting ...) then she would have granted it on the spot :). A+.

We have to get two police checks, one from Israel and one from Australia, both from the Federal police, which seem like a distant unknown entity, hard to find, hard to contact- with long tunnels of answering machines and postal addresses; as well as a health check. Which we did, and despite Eyal's lack of infectious diseases they persist in wanting specialist check ups (he has been in remission from cancer for 18 months).
Though the entire process has been relatively smooth- I am a little frustrated with practices that suggest that even though they believe our relationship and future wedding to be genuine, if it looks likely that Eyal might cost Australia more in health care than he can earn- he can/will be refused the visa.

What the?? Somehow this puts a bleak outlook on my faith in Australians being relatively humanitarian. Instead it works to the policy of simply turning people's lives into economy. Even worse, it seems short sighted- if one needs to argue the point- hasn't the Australian government already invested a decent amount of money in my education? Wouldn't it be a bummer to lose all those years of education to another country because my husband cannot be granted citizenship??Luckily Eyal can work and is unlikely to need any further treatment, so it is more a technicality than a real concern.

Other than that, the sun is shining, bright birds are hopping about the trees, and we are eating divine rockmelon. Nectar of the gods. If I were a believe in Creationsim, I would figure that the sweet fruits of summer must be there to make up for the parasites of the wet season.