2012 has been a fabulous year for us! We got engaged, Fawna got a new job at the same place as me at the Geological Survey and got her permanent residency visa, we had some great trips including China and the Great Barrier Reef, we improved our surfing, my family came to visit for Christmas....and more.
The year started with a big move for Fawna from the uncertainties of academia to the government. She will be researching and mapping Western Australia in quite a location now, north of Shark Bay and south of the Pilbara region in the 'Gascoyne Province' on the Tropic of Capricorn.
I have had a non-standard year at work too with the hosting of the first batch of Chinese visitors while mapping in April, several seismic workshops (an exciting dataset in his mapping area), and the China trip. Mid year, after Fawna's first snaky and spidery field trip, she had to rush to submit her application for permanent residency before we both went to China in September for nearly 2 months (a close call). On our return we had the great news that the visa had been granted, so we don't have to leave now!
China was 'interesting'...'different'...difficult at times, but a very rewarding experience. We were able to see how an organisation with similar challenges to ours does their job in a very different way. We also were taken to see the Terracotta Warriers in Xi 'An, the ancient capital of China and the start of the silk road. The Mogao Grottos were also an amazing tourist site showcasing 1000 years of (sometimes overlapping) Buddhist artworks.
After a few weeks rest, Mum and Dad arrived and nestled into our place in Perth and we could really show them what our life together was like. Fawna and I then went off to watch the total solar eclipse in Port Douglas (tropical Queensland), which just so happened to have amazing snorkeling, sailing, crocodiles and rainforest to entertain as well. As the skies darkened in the morning looking east from the beach over the Pacific ocean we prepared for a wonderful event. Even though the clouds were taunting us, we got some amazing views of the whole passage of the transition. As the diamond ring appeared (as part of the sun is still showing through, but with the corona visible) I proposed and we became engaged before the light returned. We felt strongly that our paths are now aligned as if guided by this solar conjunction.
We celebrated over a thanksgiving feast with our friends Stu and Jo and Mark, Julie and their son Lewis. it was a great turkey banquet with pumpkin pie and a bit of Margaret River sparkling too.
Mum and Dad then went to Esperance for the rest of December and we concluded our work tasks for the year. A restocking was required, so we went on a surfing and wine-tasting trip to Margaret River with Mark, Julie and Lewis and actually found some fabulous waves to ride...we are in training for 2013 when we are looking forward to the Hawaiian version of waves if we can handle it.
Then, thankfully, Suz and Brendan could make it over and they arrived to a fabulous cobalt-skied, classically Perth day and swung in the hammock to get over their jet lag. We met, the six of us, in Esperance for five days of wonder at the fantastic scenery and beaches. Lovely food and a surf and turf barbecue on Christmas Day to seal it off. We spent the morning and afternoon at Cape Le Grand with the best beaches in Australia, the whitest sand and unbelievable turquoise beaches. In the lagoons there were rock parrots and king fishers to Brendan's delight.
As for paintings, I painted a few memorable scenes from Antarctica the year before and also a few Western Australian scenes.