It is time to catch up since almost a month has passed since I last blogged. We have been very busy and then not busy at all and then just trying to catch our breath. There have been quarterly training meetings for our Stake Self-Reliance Committees for which we have decided to provide food. By 'we' I mean us and our counterparts in the South mission. We provide the same menu for back to back meetings on a Tuesday and a Wednesday. It is a little more work but when these good people come directly from their work it is nice for them to have something to eat. And we have also noticed that there is a better camaraderie and more visiting so it is a 'win-win' for us.
Lots of days we work from home without ever going into the office. We have regular Stake Self-Reliance meetings. Sometimes we have certificates to print and distribute. And always we try to love and encourage those with whom we work. Every week we try to attend a different ward to see lots of people. Our main job is to train and support the Stake Self Reliance committees. If we do our job well enough they should be just fine without us when we leave :) Not to mention the monthly reports which must be filed about self-reliance statistics, car 'mileage' and financial statements.
There are still English classes on Wednesday but we have cancelled a couple of classes recently when I was not feeling feel. We love working with our missionaries and getting their hugs and handshakes. And we hope we are helping them learn more English. Some of them already speak 2 other languages so they are pretty incredible and I believe English is a hard language to learn. However if they get it they will not only be more effective as they teach the Gospel they will gain skills that will help them the rest of their lives.
Recently we have been going with our counterparts in the South mission to give a seminar for the departing missionaries to help them understand some of the things they will need to know about getting a job or applying for schooling after they get home. Since it is an all day affair we also provide food for them.
And of course we are still giving the Michigan and OPIc tests. A score of 75 is required to pass the Michigan test. It is heartbreaking for us when we have to tell a missionary that they only got a 72 or 73 and did not pass. Sometimes it is too late for them to try again before they go home. For some that means their dream of attending BYUH is over. But some of them can go home and try another way of proving English proficiency.
And then the missionaries finish their missions and go home. We miss them! But I have recently been able to 'friend' some of them on Facebook. It is nice to see them continue to grow after they return home. And of course we hope that we can see them again some day. But the distance is so great it may never happen.
Many of our Senior Missionaries have also returned home and we miss our association with them. It is crazy to realize that we have been in Australia for 14 months now. We are set to be released in January which gets closer and closer. So, we are beginning to make long range plans for a family history research trip and relocating to be closer to our children. There are just so many details to be worked out.
As we have experienced a few health issues our goal is to become more fit. After all we can't be very productive if we are in poor health. I am very proud of us because for 4 weeks now we have been walking about 5 days a week around the soccer field close to our flat. There is a nice little "Great Outdoor Gym" at the edge of the field which we use to our advantage along with many others in the neighborhood. There is a group that does Tai Chi. there a couple of ladies who do an Oriental dance routine., There are runners, there are walkers, others are those who walk their dogs. Everyone seems to stagger their times so there is plenty of room for us all. Except on the weekend. We made the mistake of walking later on Saturday and discovered the field was full of soccer players so we walked about the neighborhood instead. We learned that we must be out there by 6:30 or 7 to do what we wish to do.
|Kind of nice to have our personal gym. We don't use each of the 8 available stations |
but enough to help us along.
And it is paying off along with visits to our physio. However we have also discovered the benefits of a short nap during the day time, especially when we have evening meetings.
Fall is here and the leaves are changing but the weather is lovely. Most of the time the skies are blue without rain.
Twice this month we took the Riverboat to the Quay. We went the first time with our friends the Botts to the Rocks Market to try to find some things I wanted to buy to bring home. Sadly one of the items I wanted from the silver smith was not available but she said she would make me one later. It was a lovely day on Paramatta River. We enjoyed the Rocks and then had lunch. Elder Jenkins decided that was the day he would try a kangaroo burger. How could we be in Australia for almost 2 years and not try one?
|It was a truly lovely day!|
It takes about 1and 45 minutes to go to Sydney on the Rivercat. You can sit outside and enjoy sun and water or you can sit inside and just look out windows. Here we are just approaching Sydney.
|This is what the guys do while the girls go shopping ;)|
|Well there you have it! the Roo Burger!|
|A good looking burger served with blueberry sauce to compliment the kangaroo. The meat was on the dry side and did not have a lot of flavor. I expected a wild taste which was not present.|
Then we went with several Senior Missionaries on another day down the river to the Quay and caught another ferry to Neutral Bay where we walked to Nutcote. Nutcote is the home of author May Gibbs who is famous for her delightful children's books featuring 'Snugglepot and Cuddlepie' who along with their friends are drawn with inspiration of the Australian foliage. It was an interesting tour and I could not resist buying one of her books for our grandchildren to read.
|It was trying to be a stormy day but the sun won out!|
|Waiting for the ferry to Neutral Bay.|
|Taking a break walking to Nutcote.|
|The placard explaining the history of Nutcote.|
|A whimsical caterpillar at Nutcote.|
|As we toured the house my eye was caught with this interesting oven door.|
|Couldn't resist this photo. Not sure if I am supposed to Snugglepot or Cuddlepie.|
|This is a 'Dutchman's Pipe'. I had never seen one before. There were several hanging from the lattice frame.|
|Two of May Gibbs' characters in her garden.|
|The very best chicken salad sandwich I have ever eaten, and probably the best thing I have eaten in Australia.|
The skies continue to inspire me. I am not taking quite as many pictures but I still enjoy the sunsets almost every evening. Fall or not there are still beautiful flowers to see. We enjoy attending temple almost weekly.
|A particularly lovely sunrise.|
|I believe this was the same day for the sunrise but this is taken a little later from the soccer field facing east.|
|I think these are morning glory. They are actually such a vibrant almost florescent purple which the camera did not catch.|
|Sadly these morning glory are a 'weed' and take over if they re not controlled but I think they are beautiful!|
|Another sunset on another cloudy day!|
We are grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. Our friend, Allen Jensen, recently passed which makes us again ponder our own mortality. What a comfort it is to know that through the Atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ and His Gospel that we can be together with our loved ones again. We are grateful for this opportunity to serve the Savior in Australia. We love the wonderful people we meet and enjoy learning abut this great country.
Last night for Senior Family Home Evening we were treated with songs about Australia and we could sing along since we had word sheets. And then we were each given a CD with the songs. One of the songs is: 'Don't Call me a Koala BEAR' since of course it is a marsupial not a bear. It was just fun.
So here we are in May. I hope you will enjoy the photos! Have great day!
|This gentleman walked out onto the edge of the soccer field and played his violin to his hearts content. Sadly we were too far away to hear his concert.|
|Loved this fence on our walk to Nutcote.|
|A View from Nutcote.|
|Fall is here and the leaves are beginning to turn.|
|Another view of the Sydney Bridge.|
|Another view of the Opera House.|
|Walking towards the Rocks. In season there is usually a cruise ship docked near by. And there are ALWAYS buskers on the sidewalks singing, doing magic, playing instruments, etc I love the vibe.|
|It was overcast all day and then a stream of light!|
|This is the moon setting as we are out walking about 6:30 AM. It was so beautiful but the camera could not capture the orangey golden color.|
|The branch is blocking a full view but this lorikeet is one of many who come to feed on the eucalyptus trees every morning. I love their songs and they are so beautiful!|
|I think this is a magpie or a crow. They have the most beautiful warble that I love to hear.|
|A beautiful rose.|
|I see this lovely purple flowered tree all over. I do not know what it is called but it blooms almost all of the time.|
|This is one of the loveliest and best groomed yards in our neighborhood seen from a distance. I can't even imagine how any hours they must spend to keep it a beautiful as it is.|