Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Journal Entry #5

Well Monday afternoon it hit me...that sickness you get when you are far, far from home and you miss everyone so much. By Tuesday I was a basket case and as I did my morning walk (did not feel like running) the tears continued to flow from underneath my sunglasses. I wondered if anyone noticed. Did they know that I was an American missing my family? It's a school holiday here - since the 17th of September until the 3rd of October, so the park was filled with families, children laughing, people talking and lots of grandparents with their grands. Tears flowed again and then the guilt came-what a beautiful place, what a wonderful opportunity, how could you be so homesick in such a place?

Norman picked up on it. He really hated to be leaving for the week but he did leave me his car. And my mom - she knew right away and said "I hate you are homesick but it won't last", and she was right. It didn't.

Word must have gotten out (although no one is admitting it) because I heard from 3 out of the 4 children (I know the other one was thinking about me too, but he was working hard to make some money so he can come see his Mama) plus the grands. I am better although the news from home today was not good - my dear Aunt Sarah has cancer in her spine. Please pray for her and my dad is having some test done, as well. My family has had quite a year but God has been faithful and He will see us through-every step of the way. Thank you, Jesus!!!

On a brighter note...I have a new best friend. His name is Tom. He is officially known as Tom Tom, but since the Aussie"s tend to shorten everything, we will just call him Tom. He travels with me in the car every where I go. He tells me when to turn right, when to turn left, where to go on the gazillion round a bouts and he even makes a trumpet sound when I exceed the speed limit. He speaks in a calm voice. He never tells me that I am scaring him to death when I tend to veer to much to the left and he never fusses at me for using the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal. I think I will keep him around while I am here.

I have taken some random pictures of our quint little Paradise Point. It is made up of two streets with one street facing the beautiful park I am always talking about. It has all kinds of places to eat, a post (short for post office), a fish and meat market, a chemist (drug store) a few doctor's offices, and a Golden Casket - it's like a convenience store. It even has a Baskin Robins but we have been going to the Gelato Store - less fat you know. The picture of the syringe deposal box was taken in the bathroom at the park-not sure why it is there but ...

The money is very neat - each denomination of paper money is a different color and a different length, with the fifty being the longest (that I have seen so far) The small gold coin is two dollars. The large gold coin is one dollar. The silver coins are from largest to smallest - 50 cents, 20 cents, 10 cents, 5 cents. Sorry, Ma, no quarters. They round up or down depending on the amount of your purchase because of the lack of a one cent coin. It has been easy to use but very costly!!!!!

Yesterday I bought some plants to replace the plastic ones on the patio. Today I potted them in the containers. They look very nice-now if they will just live. Not sure what the tall plant in our back garden is called but it grows like a sunflower, straight up. I took a picture of one that is just coming up so you can see the contrast in size.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Journal Entry #4

Well we only got to listen to about half of the game because of internet troubles-but I guess it's just as well. We enjoyed another good church service on Sunday with tea and visiting again afterwards. Jenny got to meet everyone there. After church we grabbed a quick bite to eat and then went on a whale watching excursion. We really got to see a lot of action-4 whales at one time, flapping tails and white belles, and even a dolphin that swam right along side the boat. The trip out and back was nice, too. The weather was perfect.

On Monday I took another stroll to Big W to get another smoothie machine (small blender) I had brought mine from home and tried to use it with just an adapter and not a converter-yep just like they warned us in our cultural class-if you plug in a 110 appliance to a 240 plug without a converter it will FRY!!!!! and so it did.

Monday night's menu was Butternut Pumpkin Squash Soup, Lentil Burgers on multi-grain buns and a salad. Let's just say it was not one of Norman's favorites. I was talking about how good I thought the Butternut Pumpkin Squash and Norman picked up his bowl and said, "Well here you can have my baby poop." Guess I will be studying the cookbook for some other recipes.

Tuesday we were up and off to the airport at 4am. Norman had his first trip and his flight was at 6:00. He drove to the airport and I drove back home - SOLO!!!! I was quite proud. I only had to circle the airport once due to a missed left out of the arrival/departure area. The GPS was a big help. Norman will be home on Thursday. I am trying to do some reading.

Today (Wednesday) I did venture out in the car to Helensvale where I found a Kmart, Target, Coles, and of course Woolys. I was able to purchase a coffee pot for $12 which I thought was pretty good considering the cheapest one at Big W's was $48. And beings that we will have to leave it here I did not want to invest to much.

I have decided to start posting my pics on FB due to the length of time it takes to upload pictures on the blog.


pick up/set down - drop off area at the airport
lay by - lay away
fly bys - coupons
give way - yield
car park - parking lot
trolley - grocery carts
take away - carry out

Friday, September 16, 2011

Journal Entry #3

Well I am an unofficial Aussie driver-meaning I have had two driving lessons and I still us the windshield wipers as the turn signal. I have driven once since my driving class with Norman to the market. He drove home.

On Wednesday I fixed the standard salad and baked potato with watermelon/grapes because we were pressed for time since we were meeting Jenny and Wayne from church to attend the Wednesday evening devo/prayer meeting. They meet in someone's home so we were going to follow them. It was at the home of another couple who also has 4 children, who by the way were just getting over the chicken-pox. Didn't get the heads up on that until we got there. They were very welcoming and I had a very nice conservation with Jenny. The guys met in one room and the ladies met in another. They seem to really love the Lord and the Bible.

Thursday Norman worked from home. We got up early and I took him on my route that I run everyday-we walked. We stopped to get Norman a cup of coffee and me a loaf of bread from the bakery. Did I say that I miss my multigrain thin sliced Italian bread from Publix? After our short stop we sat in the park and watched all the people out and around. It was nice.

Our shipment was suppose to arrive between 12:00-12: 30. They arrived around 3:00 in a tiny truck which delivered our 12 small boxes of stuff. WE OVER PACKED!!!! Not sure what I was thinking but I brought 6 regular size tubes of toothpaste, not to mention the 6 travel size, 5 large bottles of baby powder, 4 - 25oz bottles of shampoo, along with several trial size, 4 bottles of hair gel, 3 bottles hand soap, 6 extra toothbrushes and 16 bars of soap. So for those of you that plan to come, no need to bring these items. We were able to find a place for everything including the 20+shoes I brought-see picture of my shoes that go with the decor-I am thinking about becoming an interior designer.LOL After several hours we finally got everything put in its place-pics of frig, which by the way is non-magnetic!!! Special note to Kay and Harold-picture taken(see above) for proof of your position on the refrigerator. Most of my verses that I had reprinted on red paper are placed strategically about the apartment. Kimberly, my TOTY looks great on the entertainment center, Cheri, our picture with one of my favorite verses on it has a special place in the entryway and the photos you or Jim took at sunrise of Florida Park look great under the glass on top of the center piece in the living area. Brenda, I have my prayer angel in the entryway, too. Lynne, the prayer rock is on the nightstand by my bed. The red spatula I bought about 4 years ago after listening to the late Barbara Johnson's book, "Stick a Gerainm in Your Hat and Be Happy". It has been in my kitchen at home and fit right into my kitchen here. The three photo albums are books that I had made from different trips we have taken. Can you believe they match perfectly?? (red/black). The big book is a book that Norman's dad received when he was stationed here in Brisbane during WWII. It has a kangaroo on the front and is entitled Displaying Australia and New Guinea. It has lots of pictures of Brisbane as well as many other places throughout Australia. It has an full page picture of General Douglas MacArthur. Who would have ever thought we would be in the same place as his dad some over 65 years later?

With family photos scattered throughout it now feels more like home. Thanks everyone for helping me decorate the apartment. Now I can see you all in just a step or two.

After all that work on Thursday we had milk and cereal for supper!!! (Didn't take me long to recover from MBCS - "Miss Betty Crocker Syndrome"

It has been really neat how God has (as always) put Christian in our paths over these first few days, not just with visit to church but in out everyday activities. First we went to open an account at the bank on Thursday and the girl that was helping us was talking about working at the bank and how blessed she was to work there. My ears immediately perked up and about that time she said, "I was noticing your bracelet". It was the one you had given me, Cheri, with all the different crossing on it. I said yes it has all different kinds of crosses to which she replied, "Any particular reason you wear it?" And I said, "Well, because I love the Lord. She said, "Me too!" I said, "I thought you were a Christian." It was really neat because then she began to tell us about how she had become a Christian. Then Friday night we had two girls come over that work for John Deere-Kim, who lives here in Brisbane and Jenny, who is here from the states. Jenny is spending the weekend with us and she has been such a delight to have as our very first visitor. (See Luke-people do come for visits to Australia). We sat down for dinner and began to talk. They both mentioned the churches that they attend and how God had done this or that in their lives. It was really neat. Jenny and I went for a long run today. She and I had a good conversation about the Lord. What a blessing!! He is sooooo faithful.

For dinner on Friday night I think I would have made Sara and Ryan proud - see pics above of my prep dishes for scrimp scampi, broiled asparagus, corn on the cob, fresh French bread, salad and blond Texas sheet cake. For the appetizer I served a French baguette thinly sliced with basil pesto, tasty cheese and diced tomatoes. It was rather yummy if I do say so myself and actually I really enjoyed cooking. (Note to Norman children-see I can cook something other than hamburger helper and lean cuisines)

Today after our run, we just kicked back and relaxed, walked down to our favorite fish and chips place-a one man operating hole in the wall place. The man is very gruff and straight forward but his fish and calamari is delicious. We had the sweetlips-last week we had it battered and this week we tried the crumbed. After that Jenny went to the pool, Norman took a nap and I blogged. Then we loaded up the red and white lawn chairs drove down to Surfers Paradise with all the other spring breakers on the Gold Coast. The waves were big and the weather was perfect. We stayed about an hour, came back and had dinner at Paradise Point were they were having a Taste of the Gold Coast, complete with fire twirlers, belly dancers, a roadster car display, and a walking three-man band. The road was blocked and the tables were set up in the middle of the street with white tablecloths and candles. It was very festive. Of course, none of us had a camera.

Everyone has turned in and I must, too. Tennessee plays Florida in the morning @ 5:30 and I don't want to miss that!! Good luck to all you Gator Fans-Rocky Top you'll always be home sweet home to me!!!! Love you all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Journal Entry #2

Well since I last posted I have taken a driving class, walked to the market several times, done some cooking and I have run several miles.

I will begin with the driving class...I drove for exactly one hour(I hate to tell these folks but a one hour driving lesson is not going to erase 41 years of right-handed driving-this is a very old dog they are teaching here and I must say this is going to be quite a trick for me to learn) Anyway, we went through several turns and round a bouts and even some straight aways-I've got those down pretty good. Daddy, you would have loved the car. The passenger's side had its own accelerator and brake. And I know you are not going to believe this but he did not have to brake ONCE, however, he did have to accelerate and grab the steering wheel a few times. He says, "Alvays revember the traffic is on your RIGHT!"(He was from Germany) At the end of the lesson he asked when I wanted to schedule my next lesson. I told him I was not sure if JD would pay for another. He said, "Oh the company pays?" He made quick call and suggested that I have another session. Not sure if this was due to my driving or to the fact that JD would give him another $65. Either way, I am sure I could use a little more practice on those round a bouts. I have my next session today @ 1:00.

As I said before this place is convenient to everything. I have walked to the market several times. But I must remember that the trip back is always much longer with several bags of groceries!!! Building those arm muscles. On Saturday when Norman and I went to the grocery store (Coles) I felt a bit overwhelmed and missed my Publix. But when I went on Monday I found Wooly's (Woolworths) which seemed to have pretty much everything you would need. No worries, if they did not have something there was a bakery, a meat market and a fruit and veggie stand right next door. I felt much better. Don't get me wrong - it is NOT Publix. I was at the deli getting some lunch meat and the lady asked me how much I needed-I told her about half a pound but that I had no idea what that was in kilograms(I mean grams)-she had no idea either so she said I will cut and you tell me when. This worked out great. I got about 300 kg(oops I mean grams again-someone just informed me that would be about 660 lbs of meat) so now I know for next time. I cannot imagine living in a country where you do not speak the same language!!!! It is hard enough with the different terms, measurements and driving!!!!! But I am NOT complaining. I do love it here and I am learning so much.

Every morning I go for a long run through a very nice park. Lots of people out walking their dogs-every kind of dog imaginable. Throughout the park they have little exercising stations.(see pictures above) When I am finished with my run I do 100 reps on most of these-except the butterfly press-barely 10-as you push you are lifting yourself up, same for the chair where you can sit in one and push up and the other chair you sit and pull down-there again you are lifting your weight-I AM HEAVY!!!!!! Love the glider, the hip swinger, stair-stepper and the rowing machine.

So far I have managed to cook two meals: 1) The first was chicken kabobs w/onion, bell pepper, and pineapple, served with roasted veggies and a salad w/balsamic/oil dressing(see pics above). Notice the touch of orange slices on the glasses. This was suppose to be done on the barbie however, after many tries of turning the knobs and hearing the clicking noise, I realized their was no propane bottle. Thus, I reverted to the oven which was like trying to set the clock on a VCR!!! You turn one knob that has these choices-light, conventional, gentle bake, grill, rapid, fan plus, fan grill. The other knob says 0, 100, 150, 200, 250 and then a square with 3 flames(I figured out this must be broil) Don't they know I only cook on high or off??? 2) The next meal was guacamole pizza w/onions, tomatoes, pineapple, chicken, and feta. This was served with broccoli and a watermelon/feta/balsamic vinegar salad(see pic above). The other pics are of Norman's breakfast-rasin bread/oats/orange slices. I am becoming quite the housewife making him breakfast every morning and fixing him a sack lunch. LOL

The other pictures are of the beautiful full moon out our back door-picture does not do it justice but the reflection on the water was beautiful!!!

Oh and we have Skinny Milk-wonder if that has a guarantee with it. And of course the "tasty cheese"???? As opposed to "un" tasty cheese??

Anyway it is time for my driving class so I had better go. Don't want to miss a minutes instruction. Miss you all and can't wait to have our first visitors.