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Passions

An American Family in Oz: Joy of being a Daddy

By Christopher J. Robbins

Greetings from sunny Oz.  It’s been a fortnight since my last missive describing life in Oz.  In keeping with my theme of faith, family and friends: I’d like to express the importance of being a Daddy to the health and welfare of families and society writ-large.  I have the great fortune and am blessed to be a Daddy to my 35 month old son, John Louis.

It’s been a challenge for me to take on an unfamiliar role: I am living in a foreign country and have assumed the family role of chief cook and bottle-washer.  This stands in stark contrast to being the family bread winner with a demanding engineering job that served as the center of my life for most of my adulthood.  Being a stay-at-home Daddy is difficult but rewarding. John Louis inspires and confounds me everyday. I have had to swallow my pride and have now realized that the best way I can serve my family here in Oz is to look after John and the household.  Maria works full time and brings home the bacon for the family… and that is OK.  We are blessed beyond belief and enjoy a beautiful life together down-under.

Being a Daddy makes me reflect back on my childhood and my perspective of my Dad, Paul Leon Robbins, may he RIP. My Dad was a good man.  A patriot who served his country during World War II in China and India in the then, Army Air Corps which was the predecessor to the Air Force.  Dad taught me and my 10 older siblings the value of hard work; he taught us how to plant a garden; fish; cut wood for winter; and take care of farm animals.  He got up early every morning and never missed a day of work to my recollection. He worked hard and rarely, if ever, had a bad word to say about anyone. I never heard him complain about anything.  I miss my Dad everyday.  He had a cheerful, quiet outlook and, though not a lot formal education, he possessed wisdom stacked like cordwood.  Something that is in serious short-supply today.

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Now that I am a Dad to my son, John Louis, I have an even greater appreciation for how my Dad handled being the father to 11 children.  It finally dawned on my why he spent a ton of time out in the barn sitting an inverted 5 gallon bucket drinking a beer or sharpening his chain saw.  Dad just needed some peace-and-quiet and a chance to enjoy some privacy. Our farmhouse, as one could imagine, was often a hive of activity and a rather noisy place.

I enjoyed a terrific childhood and I want to reciprocate and provide for an awesome childhood for John Louis.  I have been reading Jean Piaget and Marvin Minsky…and watching instructional videos (gotta love Youtube) to get a better understanding of early childhood development.  John is coming up on 3 years old so the emphasis is on play time and imagination growth.  We have John enrolled in a very cool pre-school called “Senses” where he attends 2 days per week and he is exposed to lots of artwork, music, sand play and water play.  Maria and I make it a point to get him outside and to the many parks and beaches around Sydney so John can explore and get his hands and feet dirty.

Life is good and getting better by the day.  So lucky and blessed to be a Daddy to John Louis and a husband to my beautiful wife, Maria.

That’s all for now:  Catch you around in a fortnight!

Aussie Travel Financial Factoids

Currency Exchange Rate:   $1 US buys $1.41 AUD, Source Bloomberg

Roundtrip Airfare Detroit-Sydney : $1,320 Delta Airlines 1 stop in LA, Source Expedia

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Christopher J Robbins was born in 1968, the last of eleven children of Paul and Jean Robbins of Saint Clair Michigan. He grew up on Belle River Road…. affectionately referred to as Dog Patch (Courtesy of Uncle Joe McKay RIP). He was raised by Jean E. Robbins and Paul L. Robbins and 10 older siblings. Baptized, 1st Communion, 1st Confession and confirmation at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church. Graduated St. Clair High School in 1986. Played football (OG and LB) for Benny where we had < 5 pass plays in O; Quiz Bowl Team, National Honor Society, School Play (Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Mr. Harrington). Attended Eastern Michigan University 1986-1988. Transferred to University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in Fall of 1988 to pursue Chemical Engineering degree. Graduated UM in May 1991 B.S. Chemical Engineering. Received job offers from: General Electric, NCR, Chevron (El Segundo California); Chevron, Richmond, CA. Exxon Chemical: Linden, NJ. Dow Chemical, Freeport TX. Exxon Company USA, Baton Rouge, LA, Exxon Chemical, Baton Rouge, LA. Accepted offer from Exxon Company USA, Baton Rouge, LA. Worked for Exxon Company USA, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 1991-1993. Unit Engineer in Wax and Lube Refinery Unit. Survivor of multiple Mardi Gras’. Many Scuba Excursions: Florida Panhandle. Lots of Crawfish Boils. Acquired 1979 Porsche 911 Carrera, Copper Brown Metallic, Cork Leather Interior. Drove it coast-to-coast. Worked for Elf Atochem North America in Philadelphia, PA 1993-1996 as Technical Service Applications Engineer. Specialized in organic chemicals…specifically nitrogen-based Amine chemistry. Supplied technical assistance to customers and sales forces throughout the world. Boiler Water Corrosion Control, Runaway Polymerization Reaction Control etc. Brew Master: Quay Street Brewing Company, Port Huron, MI. 1996-1998. Developed recipes for several beers including Robbins Red Ale, Port Huron-Style Kolsch and Pilsner, Ginger Beer and many others. Substitute Teacher in East China School District: 1998-1999. Surveyor and Civil Engineer (Emphasis on Construction Engineering) with Spalding DeDecker Associates, Rochester Hills, MI: 1999-2014 Self-Taught Civil Engineer. Became a Licensed Professional Engineer in State of Michigan, 2003. Met my Australian wife, Maria, at family wedding on Maui in May 2009. Married Maria in August 2010 at friend’s house on the St. Clair River in East China Twp. (Best Decision I’ve ever made). Judge Cynthia Platzer officiated. Witnesses: Bill and Cris Nesbitt, Gerry & Patti Mason. Ringbearer: John Deaver-Chang Mason. Worked for Fleis & Vandenbrink, Engineering Company. Karegnondi Water Pipe Line. 2014-2015. Moved to Oz in October 2015. John Louis Robbins born at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney: Nov 2015. Stay at Home Dad in Oz: Nov 2015 to Present. Writer for Blue Water Healthy Living: Beginning July 4, 2018. Ending: TBD Christian, Husband, Father, Engineer, Thinker. Lover of Life. Faith. Family. Friends. American Football.
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