Slip, Slop, Slap!

Over and over again, people cautioned us about the sun in Australia. Frank’s doctors strongly advised him to wear sunscreen and to avoid the sun as much as possible. So what’s the deal with Australia and the sun?

We discovered that Australia experiences some of the world’s highest levels of UV radiation and one of the world’s highest rates of skin cancer. Why? 1. Proximity to the equator; 2. Abundance of clear days; and 3. The southern hemisphere gets closer to the sun in their summer than the northern hemisphere does.

So what’s a careful Aussie to do? Slip, Slop, Slap! Slip on a shirt. Slop on sunscreen. Slap on a hat. This campaign by their Cancer Council has been very effective, changing Australians attitudes and behaviors over the past two decades. High SPF sunscreen is affordable and available everywhere. And knowing that skin damage begins in childhood, schools issue hats as part of their uniform and kids are required to wear them.

Back to school – music to our ears

We are relaxing in the apartment when we hear random bursts of rock music. Is it those party-animal old fogies lawn bowling across the street? Nope. School is back in session. The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” calls the kids inside instead of a high pitched bell!

When we arrived in Melbourne, the kids were just beginning their spring break (yes, we are in the southern hemisphere!). Of course, kids were everywhere – on the trams, in the museums, etc. Now, they’re back in school. The school year runs from late January until mid-December. Schools are closed for public holidays (including the upcoming Melbourne Cup Horse Race!). 35% of the students go to private, rather than government run schools, but regardless of where they go, the schools require uniforms.

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