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Down and Under

Rhona Lewis

Of course, I was really, really excited. I mean, how many kids from Lakewood get to go Down Under? But there was another reason, too

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

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I t’s me… Yissi from Down Under. And for those of you who don’t know what Down Under is, it’s what Australians (Aussies) call Australia. You see, Australia is at the bottom of the southern hemisphere, which is below many other countries on the globe. Now you’re probably wondering how a good boy from Lakewood ended up here. Well, it’s thanks to mono. And if you also don’t know what mono is be very, very thankful. Okay, I’ll tell you. Mono is short for mononucleosis and it’s an illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Thanks to mono, I just spent four weeks lying in bed feeling as tired as the Yidden in Mitzrayim after a full day’s work. So when Uncle Danny, my mother’s brother, offered to fly my mother and one of the kids to Australia for his daughter’s wedding, guess who got to go?

Of course, I was really, really excited. I mean, how many kids from Lakewood get to go Down Under? But there was another reason, too. I’m an explorer and that means I’m always busy discovering new places and new things. My dad calls it an inner drive for trouble. I didn’t realize how right he was until…

Two days in Melbourne and all I’d seen were the malls. Apparently, there’s a lot of shopping you have to do to get ready for a wedding. And my mom hadn’t done all of it back home. So there I was, dying to explore. To race into the outback (the never-ending interior of the country). To snap shots of the kangaroos, dingoes, brumbies, and emus. (You’re gonna have to go to the glossary I’ve put at the end of this story to find out what those are.) But it didn’t look like I was going anywhere at all. Until Uncle Max came to rescue me.

Uncle Max ambled over to me at the barbie (that’s Aussie for barbecue). “Young man,” he said, “I hear you’re bored. How about I take you to Phillip Island?”

Now I’d read a lot lying in bed with mono (that’s how I could put together a glossary for you), but I hadn’t read a thing about a man named Phillip Island. And I wasn’t particularly interested in meeting one of Uncle Max’s friends. But Uncle Max looked like a lonely fellow, so I thought I’d do him a favor and go with him so he could catch up with his mate (Aussie for friend).

The next day, we set out bright and early because we had over an hour’s drive ahead of us. “We need to get you to the Barrier Reef,” Uncle Max said, not long after we began. “Get you snorkeling or even scuba diving. Like I used to do at your age.”

 

 (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 672)

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