Friday, November 4, 2011

Journal Entry #8

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View of Tweed River from our tent

The "Sweepers"

All the pretty hats

Marg, Tony and Dale

Jenny and Mimi @ the Melbourne Cup Day Luncheon

Sorry it has been so long since last I blogged but I have been a bit busy seeing the sites of the Gold Coast. Yes, I now have wheels! Two that is and granted it is not my red Camry, it is a ride other than the bus and I love it. It gets great gas mileage, has a basket and is called a pushbike in Australia. My pushbike and I have already traveled several miles.

After an interview with the Red Cross I have been cleared to do volunteer work here on the Gold Coast. I have chosen to help with the delivery of Meals on Wheels and Sailability.

For Meals on Wheels I ride with Anne, a 69-year-old retired nurse who works part time at a nursing home 4 nights a week to supplement her income. She wears a wig because 9 months ago she decided to shave her head for the Leukemia drive. It was on her “bucket list” she said. We deliver to 7 or 8 elderly people who pay $8 for a box meal, a soup and a dessert. The other morning we were delivering to Mr. Martin. We rang the doorbell, knocked on the door, called out “Meals on Wheels” but no one answered. We began to walk away when we heard him tapping on the window and telling us he was coming. A few minutes later a white-haired ninety-year old grumpy little man answered the door in his speedo underwear and a t-shirt. I thought he would be scrambling for a housecoat but no he stood there talking to us as if he were fully clothed. Another lady we visited tried to sell me a delivery movie service and another was thrilled when we arrived so she could have her dessert with her morning tea. You just never know.

The Sailability is a program just down the rode at the local marina where people with disabilities come and get the chance to sail. Depending on their disability they can sail on their own or with some one. There are two hoists for those that are not able to get in and out of the boats without help. It is organized chaos that serves some fifty people with various levels of disabilities. The smiles on their faces while sailing up and down the bay is simply priceless. I love this activity and I am learning a lot about sailing. I can now tie a sailboat to the dock. Who knows what I will learn next week.

We have been meeting lots of nice people. Last weekend we were invited to go camping with 11 other John Deere couples and their children-lots of children. One of the guys let us borrow a tent, two bag chairs, a tarp and a cooler and off we went. The “caravan” - campground
was only about 45 mins south of where we live in the Australian state of New South Wales. We stayed right on the Tweed River, which was only about 5 minutes from the ocean. Norman was able to catch a flat head and one of the guys cooked it for him. We saw lots of river lizards, whales, a huge school of dolphins, a lighthouse, and some beautiful water. The weather was perfect and the people were very welcoming. We played our first game of cricket. Norman caught a pop fly in his hat. It was a great weekend and I am marking that as one of the spots to see for all visitors.

On Tuesday, November 1st I celebrated my first Melbourne Cup Day. It is a huge day not just in Melbourne but also throughout all of Australia. Many businesses close, restaurants have special luncheons, and work stops everywhere (even at John Deere) to watch this famous horse race. It is much like the Kentucky Derby, with all the women making a fashion statement with new frocks and pretty hats. Every group that gathers has a “Sweep”. In a Sweep you pay $1, $2 or $5 dollars to draw the name of a horse. If your horse wins or places then you win a small amount of money. My horse led at the very beginning but did not even place at the end. Our complex had a very nice potluck luncheon. I met many new people and tasted the dessert of Australia, Pavalova. It was delicious. The lady in the pretty hat in the pictures above was a nurse in Dallas, Texas back in 1963. She worked at the hospital where they took President Kennedy when he was shot.

Exercising is going well. I am still enjoying my running/workout in the park and I have also started water aerobics two days a week. It is so much fun and a good workout, too.

The birds and pelicans are just a short ride on my bike to Charis’s Seafood. They congregate there every day for a 1:30 feeding. See FB for video.

Church is good and we are growing to love our little congregation of Christians here in Australia.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Journal Entry #7

This week has been very interesting. On Thursday I attended a Ladies Bible study with the ladies from the church where we have been attending. The day before I mapped out the bus route that I should take. The Bible study was @ 10:30. In order to get there on time I had to leave the house @ 8:20. I had arranged for Jenny (the wife of the preacher-preacher’s wives prefer to be referred by their own names than merely “the preacher’s wife” , right, Kay??) to pick me up from the Varsity Lakes bus stop. The first part of the trip went as planned, arriving at my transfer station ahead of schedule. From there I simply walked across the street to catch my connection-which was suppose to be the 754 to Varsity Lakes. I waited a few minutes, boarded the 754 and I was on my way again. After an hour's drive and seeing several signs for Varsity Lakes, I asked the bus driver if we would be stopping at Varsity Lakes station. He informed me that the bus I was on did not stop at Varsity Lakes. I asked him how I could get there and he told me where I should get off and what bus I should take from there. Once I was off the bus I gave Jenny a call to tell her where I was and that I would be a little late getting to Varsity Lakes. She told me she was not far from where I was, to stay put and she would be there in 5 minutes. We were only a few minutes late, which really didn't matter. Australians are going to be having tea before and after any occasion.

The Bible study was at a young woman’s home. There were 10 women who attended and several little ones. The lesson was about fear. She had really prepared for the lesson, including making copies of the lesson for each of us. Many women shared what they feared the most. The lady next to me was from Russia and had a Russian Bible. She asked me whether the scripture was in the Old or New Testament. Her name was Olga. She was afraid of snakes. Another woman was afraid of the dark-she was two small children and another due any time. Miandrea was afraid of sharks-she lives on the ocean. Jenny was afraid of spiders. Hana was afraid of being alone - her mother had left she and her sister alone many times when they were very young. She was so opened and honest with her struggles. She is another home schooler and friend of Jenny’s through a home school group. She and her family escaped from Prague when the communism rule fell in Czech Republic back in the early nineties. All of these ladies are so precious and even though our backgrounds are very different we all struggle with many of the same issues. While talking with Hana I found out she lived about 10 mins. from Hollywell in the community of Helensvale. She offered to take me to the bus station in Helensvale, to which I gladly accepted. On our ride back Hana also told me of a small group mid-week Bible study in Helensvale, which would be a lot closer than Merrimac. I plan on checking it out this Wed. evening.

While I was waiting on my bus to arrive I walked over to the local fair (mall) where I walked up to the McKy counter and asked, “Do you have Happy Meals?” She said. “Yes.” I said, “I would like a Happy Meal and a diet Coke, please.” Then I enjoyed the most delicious hamburger (fresh bun, a thin patty, lots of ketchup and a pickle) and hot French fries with lots of salt. YumYum.

Thanks to all of you who have been praying for me. This week has brought many new friends and Christian fellowship, both of which I was really longing to have.

On Friday, I attended my first High Tea. It was very much like a luncheon with finger sandwiches, tiered serving trays at each table with a variety of sweets, champagne, and of course tea. There was water available for those non-drinkers-which included me and Mimi, the lady that had graciously invited me to walk over with her and to sit at her table since I did not know any one. About 90 women attended this fund raiser for the Leukemia Foundations. There was a lady singer (she was at least 70), a fashion show, a raffle that included many nice prizes (Mimi-won a bottle of champagne-she is probably 75) and lots of fellowship. It began at 11 and finished around 2:30. Each of us received a goodie bag with lots of catalogs, a note pad, a pen, a diary and a nice heart-shaped compact mirror. I have included some random pictures of this event, including some of the models for the fashion show. I also wanted to show you what I wore-thus the picture of me in the mirror. Lots of white and black outfits but mine was rather colorful and I did receive many compliments.

I have done some baking this week. I made tea cakes for Norman's office, white chocolate covered oreos and puffed pastry sticks dipped in white chocolate-I took these to the High Tea. They were a success!

As I have told you before this apartment is very well equipped, however, there are a few missing items. I have been trying to use what we have rather than buying these items. I have found a plastic glass works well as a rolling pin and a wine glass turned upside down is perfect for cutting cookies. Paper clips make great chip clips. When we visited Luke in Grenada I learned that you never throw away any containers-they are very useful-empty oatmeal holds my flour, an empty tomato sauce jar holds my ground coffee and an empty yogurt containers with lids are great for storing leftovers. Thanks, Luke for the helpful tip.

Well you all should be good and sleepy by now. Hope all is well with you. Love to all.