My life is not my own, for I belong to Christ.
Some Fabulous Posts
Some Fabulous Places
Some Fabulous People
Monday, February 27, 2006
This is post #801 on my blog! I guess I've had my blog for about 2 1/2 years, but still. That is a lot of posts! Before I forget, check out our lovely list on Maria's blog.
Anyway... I just wanted to update my blog. I don't really have anything in particular to say right now. To all who I know and love: I miss you! Seriously. We've officially been here one month. Only 19 more months to go! *sigh* I know I shouldn't be thinking like that, but I get so sad sometimes.
On to bigger and brighter subjects... I turn 16 two weeks from tomorrow! That's kind of exciting. It's also Tamara's 13th birthday. We'll probably have people here or maybe go to the Pluke's and have some sort of party with the church.
Saturday we went with Sarah and Eleni McEwen, Meg and Jolene Fisher, and Mrs. McEwen and some of her other granddaughters to the International Festival in Geelong. That was kind of fun. We walked around and bought some earrings, ate some ice cream, and Benji got his face painted. Hopefully we can get some pictures up here soon. Oh and we looked at a van. We really need to buy some kind of vehicle soon.
Well, I need to go do some chores. Good thing I got such an exciting post in first! (sarcasm)
Song of the post ~ "Ghost of a Good Thing" by Dashboard Confessional
Charity | 3:54 pmComments-[ comments.]
Monday, February 20, 2006
That's what our computer did on Wednesday. Or maybe it was Tuesday. Anyway, it died. We may have lost all our pictures and documents on there. :-( That is REALLY sad! I'm on my dad's laptop right now. I just thought I'd inform the world (or at least the very small part of it that reads my blog) of that saddening fact. While I'm on here, I'll do a "real" post...
On Saturday, the McKeemans took my siblings, mom, and me to the ocean. On the way there, we drove up this huge, steep hill. When we got to the top, Mr. McKeeman paid for us to go on a 'chair lift' down the hill. It was like a ski lift, except no skis. And no snow. It was an amazing view. Maria got some great pictures. (She would put them on our picture blog, except for the fact which I mentioned above...) I, of course, was terrified for about 1/4 of the ride (even though it was going about 2 mph). Okay, that thing was HIGH! Plus, I had flip-flops on and was scared that they would fall off and I'd never see them again! But once I relaxed, I really enjoyed myself. We looked and looked, but couldn't spot any koholas or kangaroos. They say we have to go further out into the country to find them.
Anyway, after that we got to the beach. The waves were HUGE and we had a blast, despite the gallons of sand and salt water we swollowed. I had to wash my hair 4 times to get the sand and salt out of my hair when I got home. We didn't seen anything worth mentioning in the water...unless strange looking seaweed counts. My mom tried getting in the water once and, well...the best description we heard was when Mr. McKeeman said that she 'looked like she was in a giant washing machine' going round and round and getting tossed and turned. We kids tried to help her up, but the waves kept coming and we were laughing too hard. The lifeguard eventually came and asked if she was okay. By then we had managed to pull her out. He said, "Ma'am, I advise you to come up a little further out of the waves..." We about died laughing.
After our lovely 'swim' (if that's what you could call it), the McKeemans took us to a park and bought us "fish 'n' chips" (aka fish and french fries). It was really good and we stuffed ourselves. I almost fell asleep on the hour ride home, but the amazing views of the country kept my eyes open, staring out the window. Australia is gorgeous. That's all I have to say about that.
Our other "first" was a sleepover at the Pluke's. I won't say much about that because...well because sleepovers can't really be explained. You have to just be there. I will say that we girls slept in the camper and that night I dreamed that I woke up to Matthew saying, "Haha, everyone left you!" When I did wake up, it was to Matthew shaking the camper. I looked around and all the girls WERE gone! I thought that was kind of funny...
We've had many "firsts" here. I meant to write more of them in here, but I spent too long describing our trip to the beach. I'll try to get them on here later.
Charity | 4:50 pmComments-[ comments.]
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Note: This is my version of the book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day". (Hannah Ray bought the book for us before we moved because in the story, the little boy always says "I think I'll move to Australia" or something like that. In then end, his mom tells him that everyone has bad days sometimes...even in Australia.) These things all did happen, but not all in one day. It was over the course of a week or so... Also, my family and I will find them more funny than any of you because we were all there when they happened. If you want any explanation for any of the things, ask me and I'll be happy to expand. :-)
When we got to Australia, I smelled just awful.
My room was too hot, my shower was too cold.
I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
There were raisins in my cereal, and I hate raisins!
There was cricket on T.V. and I hate cricket!
There was fruitcake in our kitchen and I hate fruitcake.
The ice cream tasted like pudding, the parmasean cheese tasted like soap,
the coffee tasted like water, and the juice was thicker than shampoo!
I think I will move back to America.
We bought a new T.V., but when I opened the trunk to take it out,
it fell out and broke into smitherines!
"I am having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day," I said.
I sneezed my head off from holding a cat, I spilled garlic all over the floor,
my brother scared me to death, and my sister jumped on me while I was in bed.
Then, someone called and woke me up at one o'clock in the morning!
I think they were from America.
My family all went to the beath, but I was stuck at home.
Then they saw a parrot in our backyard, but I couldn't see it 'cause I didn't have my glasses on!
When we were moving our beds, a huge board fell and konked me on the head
and my family laughed at me!
This has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
But my family keeps reminding me that everyone has bad days sometimes...
Even in America.
Song of the post ~ "Such Great Heights" by Iron and Wine
Charity | 10:00 pmComments-[ comments.]
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Go here to see pictures Maria and I have taken recently.
And don't forget to read my story about our trip if you haven't!!!
Charity | 9:41 pmComments-[ comments.]
Thursday, February 09, 2006
I know most of you probably read this on Maria's *new* blog, but I want to write my rendition of the story anyway. So here goes... Oh and it will be long, I guarentee. So bear with me (or just skim).
We made it through goodbye. The going away party at our church was very nice. There were so many people there! When we got home, we went right to bed. On the floor. (our beds had already been sold.)
My dad said we were going to get up bright and early. The whole day was spent last-minute packing and cleaning. Oh yeah, and we had ice cream for breakfast. ;-) My mom told us all day that we weren't going to get to Lafayette until midnight. We were all convinced that we'd get there in plenty of time to visit the Saunders' and relax a bit. Of course, my mom ended up being right. We left our home at about 10:30 and had to stop at the Nelsons' to drop off our piano. There was a line of four Blackwood vehicles as we pulled out of our driveway. As we were getting ready to leave, I got in the car and just started crying. By the time Allen got in to drive, I was sobbing. It was just so hard to realize that we were actually leaving everything and everyone behind. Allen was very sweet and tried to comfort me by putting his arm around me and telling me that God was going to work it for the best. Of course, I knew this...but it was so difficult to leave.
We unloaded our 32 suitcases that night, but didn't really mess with them until morning. We were only supposed to have 30 suitcases, so we had 2 too many. When my dad went to bed, he realized that he'd left our visas in Indy. He was too tired to drive right then, so he got up at 4:00 and got them then. He got back around 7:00 a.m. and left with Allen and Benjamin around 8 or 9 in the big rental truck. They had to go early to Chicago and drop off our shipping crate.I woke up the next morning with swollen eyes - from lack of sleep and crying, I'm sure. I helped my family pack, re-pack, weigh, and re-weigh suitcases all morning. We finally left at about 10:45 for Chicago. We had 31 suitcases (we couldn't manage to fit all the stuff into only 30 and still keep the 50 pound per suitcase rule), 4 personal bags (which were humongous), and 5 people. It was a bit cramped.
Dad, Allen, and Benjamin were waiting for us to pick them up at a car garage. We then realized that we had more stuff in the big truck for the Saunders' that we had forgotten to take out in Lafayette (including a couple boxes of dishes, some blankets, stuffed animals, and a student desk). Sadly, we had to throw the desk in a big dumpster because there was just no way of fitting it in the van. We barely managed to squeeze 31 suitcases, 6 personal bags, the Saunders' other stuff, and 8 people into our van. To say the least, it wasn't a very comfortable ride.
Thankfully, the train station was only 10 or so minutes away. We arrived and some 'red cap' men helped us bring all our suitcases inside. We then put labels and luggage straps on each suitcase and checked them. Finally, we could take a little breath of relief.
It was past time for lunch, so we ate at the food court there. (We had everything from pizza to hotdogs to fried rice and eggrolls.) At one point, when the boys were away from the table, I sighed and said, "Mom... I can't believe we're going to leave the boys." She simply said, "I don't want to talk about it."
We went down to the waiting area, took some pictures, said a few words (very few words), and cried. I hugged Zachary with tears in my eyes and eventually he said, "Charity, you're shaking." I smiled through my tears and said, "I knooow." There were lots more tears and "I love you's" as we walked to the gate. The boys weren't allowed to go beyond the gate since they weren't boarding the train with us, so that was our last goodbye. The lady there kept saying, "You're going to miss it! You're going to miss your train!" I felt like yelling, "CAN'T YOU SEE WE'RE HAVING A HEART-BREAKING FAREWELL HERE!?" But instead, I just let go and started walking away. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done. But I know I'll see them in a few months (Lord willing).
After boarding the train, Maria and I sat in our little "room" and started reading our letters from people. We actually read them all before the train even left the station (it was a bit delayed). They made me smile and laugh a lot (thanks guys!). :-) I started getting kind of nervous, but also a bit excited. I had an ache inside me though, and I wondered if it would ever go away.
The train was really nice - very relaxing. All we had to do was sit and read (or if you were Maria and me, listen to Odysseys and write people letters) and eat. (I'm sure we all gained weight. Hehe.) The food was good, the scenery was gorgeous, and the workers were pleasant. We only got off the train a couple times - once for only a few minutes, and the next time for about an hour in New Mexico. I was tired and cold and a bit grumpy. We walked to a little ice cream shop and had a little ice cream to share. I suddenly felt like crying again. Maybe it was seeing the unfamiliar sights of New Mexico and realizing again that we weren't going back to familiar places again. Or maybe it was the fact that the ice cream parlor was playing music that I recognized that made me think of friends and family. It was probably both. When we got back to the train, I was altogether just sad. My dad asked me why I was sad and I wanted to say, "You mean besides the reason that we're leaving - have left - everything and everyone we've ever known and loved?" He reminded me, "We're going where God wants us, remember?"
We got to L.A. at around 8:30 a.m. and our plane wasn't scheduled to leave until 8:30 p.m. We took the metra downtown (to the library where we got internet access for a little while!) and then took it to Chinatown for lunch. Then we decided to waste more time just taking the metra all the way up the track and all the way back down. We got off at the stop called "Allen" (so we could take a picture) and found that it was nothing but a platform in the middle of a highway with SIX lanes on each side! The noise was incredible. In fact, a man from Australia called my dad and told us later that he'd never heard traffic so loud! (Which, of course, gave him the impression that America has a TON of cars and HUGE highways! ;-))
A man picked us up from the train station in a van to take us to the airport. When he got there, I thought "There is absolute NO WAY we can fit all our suitcases into that van along with 7 people... No way." My dad said that when he called to reserve the van, he specifically told them that we had 30 suitcases. The driver kept saying that he didn't expect 6 people to have that much luggage! But he assured us that there was nothing to worry about; he had been in the Boy Scouts and knew how to pack. Those Boy Scouts must've taught him well because by some mirable, we jammed all of them in there. We had suitcases beside us, under us, and on our laps. It was a 45 minute drive to the airport. I was exhausted and fell asleep. When we got to the airport, we unloaded all our suitcases and set them outside on the sidewalk. It was kind of a funny sight and many people chuckled as they passed. We squeezed and jammed and arranged and re-arranged and FINALLY managed to fit all our stuff into 30 suitcases. Our carry-ons could only weigh 15 pounds on the plane (they weighed 30 pounds on the train), but our big suitcases could weigh 70 pounds on the plane. So it wasn't as miraculous as you might think. But we were sure happy. (Or at least we would have been happy had we the time to enjoy the moment.)
The luggage carts cost $3 apiece and my dad was running out of American money so we attempted to carry them in ourselves. I must've looked utterly pathetic trying to carry two suitcases which weighed 60+ pounds because one of the security guys came up to me and asked if I needed help. I replied with a grateful, "Yes!" and he then said I could have as many luggage carts as I needed. We ended up having seven carts. My dad was totally stressed out as we tried to get organized and check all the suitcases. He breathed a little easier when we had them all handed in and stopped to have dinner with the Fishers and Elders.
After we ate, we got in line for security. Thankfully, we didn't have any illegial drugs or knives or anything like that in our luggage and passed through. The plane was very cramped. I sat inbetween Maria and Tamara, and as I was about to fall asleep, they came and served us dinner. Again! I decided to stay awake long enough to eat (see, we definitely got fat!) and then drifted to sleep. It didn't seem like a slept very long, but it must've been several hours. I couldn't tell though because I was so completely confused on what time it was ANYWHERE. We landed in New Zealand just as the sun was rising. They had breakfast before we got there, and after we took off from there. I tried to sleep a little more and when I woke up, I turned to Maria and said, "Okay. We have to pretend like our day just started." She replied, "I guess we better have breakfast again!" :-P I wrote in my journal, "I'm not actually sure of the date or the time. It's so weird because I feel tired and awake at the same time. I can't wait to get un-confused....but I bet that won't happen for a long while."
Finally, we landed in Australia, went through customs, got our luggage on to 6 carts - or trolleys as the Aussies would say - (which were FREE in Aussie, by the way!). We made a few enemies (or at least I did) making our way through the final line with our luggage. Everyone either got mad at us because of our luggage (those stupid, annoying Americans!) or just straight out laughed at us (those crazy Americans!). We were welcomed warmly by the church. I was caught in hugs and kisses from people I didn't know (or barely knew). I think Josh McEwen was the most excited about our arrival. He just kept laughing and hugging us and saying, "I can't believe you're really here!"
So... no we're here. We're home. I don't like calling it that all the time, and I definitely still feel that Indiana is my home, but I'm coming around. It's kind of hard to be depressed when I'm surrounded by such wonderful people. I really don't feel homesick when I'm with my new church family here. But there's usually still that little ache inside most of the other times. God is awesome and gracious. And He is God both in Indiana and here. That is something I can take comfort in. I know this is rediculesly long, and I apologize. But I want to end with this one verse that I read our first day on the train:
"As for God, His way is perfect. The word of the LORD is proven; He is a sheild to all who trust in Him. For who is God except the LORD? And who is a rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength , and makes my way perfect... The LORD lives and blessed be my rock. And may the God of my salvation be exalted."
E D I T:
Song of the post ~ "Days Go By" by Keith Urban
This one's for you, Nathan. ;-) It was Jordan's and Maria's idea... plus I love this song! So there. :-P
Charity | 8:29 pmComments-[ comments.]
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
...Go here. Or at least go for a good laugh or two. :-) Oh and our new address is:
100 Foot Street
Frankston South, VIC 3199
So send us mail!!! :-D I'll update good and long on the next one...when my dad finally sets up our computers!!!!!!! Just look at the pictures while you're waiting. There are plenty to keep you occupied!
Charity | 5:02 pmComments-[ comments.]
Thursday, February 02, 2006
G'day everyone!!! I hope you all are having a wonderful evening while we're having a lovely morning here! We got our internet set up yesterday and our internet phone hooked up today. I'm on my dad's laptop because our computers aren't hooked up yet. But you can call us on our phone because it's the same old home number we had. :-D I'm so excited! I know I promised this would be a long post, but I really can't write much right now... I promise to give a detailed overview of our entire trip and time so far here as soon as I can! Thanks everyone for the letters (we've recieved 3 so far!) and emails and prayers. It's overwhelming to have so many people who love us there AND here! Seriously, these people loved us so much before they even met us. It's almost unbelieveable. But no worries, mates, we could never forget any of YOU! ;-) I love you all and miss you a lot. It almost seems like we've been here forever - in a good sort of way.
Stay tuned for more updates to come!
THANK YOU FOR ALL THE COMMENTS!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh and I'll change the song soon. I'm sure you're all getting tired of this one... hehe. :-)
Charity | 11:27 amComments-[ comments.]