So I made it to Scarborough in Western Australia. Have no idea why but the flight seemed to take FOREVER. I was up at 5am, at the airport by 7am and flew 8.20am-ish. I arrived about 40 minutes a head of schedule at 11.20am local time and therefore my flight was only 6 hours but still… Got to watch “The Joneses” and “Robin Hood“. Gotta say, Robin Hood confused me.
Anyways the driver taking me to Bethia’s was a bit confused as to where he was going and so I got a bit of a tour of Scarborough. That was actually pretty cool! It was 30 degrees here and blue blue blue skies but I was too tired to even consider walking down to the beach. Instead I sat outside for an hour reading and then came indoors to try and snooze. Suddenly I couldn’t sleep. Grrr. Bethia came home from work at 8pm and it was soooo cool to see her!! So weird seeing her in her home land and off the ship!
I didn’t feel too tired last night but I nodded off pretty quickly. This morning I went for a walk along the beach. I’m pretty excited to find out there’s a walk and bike route that’s 40 kilometers long! I might be ambitious and walk to Fremantle one morning. This morning I walked from Scarborough Beach to North Beach and back. I love walking just where the water meets the sand. It feels so nice on your toes! Haha! I got to speak to the family also before they flew this afternoon which was also pretty awesome.
Okies… Bethia’s home now. Will write more soon!
My final blog for Brisbane!! Yes I know I have much to update you on. But I think it’s going to be simple to say it’s been a blast… but I’m not going to have time to write everything.
We’ve spent a fair amount of time with family and friends… in fact. I have not had a single day to myself in months now. It’s been incredible. I’m sure when I get home I’ll have more time to go back and fill the gaps on this holiday. God has been so kind to me.
Our last Sunday at church we were given a painting of Mike and we were each prophesied over. Needless to say it was intense and very emotional.
Tomorrow morning I fly five and a half hours to Perth where I shall be spending just under three weeks there. I found out I’m a club member and can take 33kg!! Haha… my suitcase is so full at 23kg I have no idea what else I could possible put in there! Anyways, I’ll be reunited with Bethia and Fitzy during my time in Perth, along with other family friends, friends, and friends of friends. I’m really excited. The weather here is Brisbane has been sooooo disappointing and I’m praying for epic weather over there!
I must go, I need to get to bed! But I’ll write as and when I can!
Laura and I have been uploading videos from MTO this years and we’ve had a right laugh doing so. For sure this year’s theme song was “Forever” by Chris Brown. Not sure why… was just catchy. I knew this song from years ago… but tonight as I was watching the videos and listening to the song… I couldn’t help but focus on one line.
“What a beautiful lady, no ifs, ands, or maybes. I’m releasing my heart and it’s feeling amazing. There’s no one else that matters. You love me, and I wont let you fall girl…”
I know I’m not alone when I write this but sometimes it occurs to me that I have a deep longing in my heart to find this statement in my own life. A real man that will never let me fall. It frustrates me that I never focus my attention long enough on God to witness this completely as I know for sure he can offer me exactly this. A deep longing accompanied by a pain that I’m too lazy, ignorant and shallow to follow through whole heartedly into a passionate affair with the ultimate guy around. Considering he’s sitting by my side at all times… it makes it worse. It’s so easy to think of God as so far away. Ready to strike the next wrong thing I do. Planning the next challenge for me to experience. Why can I not cement it in my mind and heart that he is everything I am looking for. Would it be easier if he was here in person? Maybe. But then again, maybe not. I just know I feel like I’m wasting my time here on Earth and missing out on so much that I would never know about. What will it take for that to change?
Where am I? Well… I’m in Toowoomba, hanging out at my Auntie’s for the day and I decided to blog. It’s been a while since I have regarding my thoughts on something! So I’m gonna tell you all about me getting married!
Am I getting married… no. Haha. Not yet. Am I engaged. Not yet. Do I even have a guy… nope. So why am I talking about getting married? Well… it seems like everyone is at the moment. When I finished my degree one person asked me what’s next and so I answered “Get married and become a baby making machine“. I was joking. I’m pro-marriage. For sure. But I am so not in a hurry to get married. I’ve never been one to say “Oh I long for the day to get married and have a husband and have a house and have kids!!” In fact, I come off as a “strong independent woman” according to some! Yeah right! If you really know me you will know that I’m not! But marriage at the moment just doesn’t have a massive wow factor to me. Why? Ah… now you’ve asked the million dollar question.
Amongst my friendships with guys and girls I have noticed that no one take be taken for face value. In fact, I have been friends with some for months if not years and then when something happens that forces them to show their character I see things that are just not that great. I know we’re human. But I find it amazing how so many people jump so quickly into a relationship with a guy or lady without actually checking out their character in massively in-depth ways. I know that’s hard to do… no one walks around with the things we need to know tattooed on the foreheads. But that’s my reason for not jumping on the bandwagon of marriage, or exclusive relationships.
Character comes with experience and experience often comes with time. Forever we are working on our values, personalities and beliefs. I have come to the conclusion that what I look for in a guy is simply:
A. Does he’s value system aim to live fully sold out for God.
B. Does this guy demonstrate to me that he would support me in every area of my life and empower me to fulfil my dreams/calling.
C. Are we compatible in our likes, dislikes, life goals, ambitions, values, beliefs…
D. Can I trust him with decisions, do they reflect wisdom and godly principles.
E. Does he love me for who I am and who I am becoming.
…Actually… that’s not a very simple list. What I’ve written takes time to work out with a guy… hence the reason for not jumping into a relationship just because he likes me, has a good personality, or is flippin HOT! It actually annoys me a little when people say to me “Oh don’t worry I’m sure someone will come along.” It makes me sound like there’s something wrong with me or the situation. There’s nothing wrong! I’m just waiting for an awesome guy because I refuse to settle for less in life. Plus… I’m a ten cow woman thank you very much!! So there you go… some thoughts on me and marriage! 😀
The Story of the Five Cow Woman
Once a upon a time, somewhere in Africa, there was a father who had two daughters. In his culture when a woman gets married the family receives cows in value of the daughter’s worth. The more cows received the more valuable and worthy the daughter is. One of his daughters, the oldest, was incredibly beautiful and the villages raved about how she was worth the ultimate number of cows. Five. However the other daughter, the youngest, paled in the shadow of her sister and was only worth very little. One day, a man proposed to the younger daughter and the father, when asked how much the man had to pay for her, the father only asked for one cow. So one cow he received and off the youngest daughter went to the city with her new husband. Several years passed and the youngest daughter went home to visit her family. Her father could not believe how beautiful, intelligent and skilful she became during that time. He just didn’t understand how or why she changed so much until his youngest daughter explained to him, “Father, he has always treated me as a five cow woman, and so I have become a five cow woman.”
As I write this I can see the little red square with a digit in the centre increasing slowly but surely as people comment or “like” my Facebook status. For lo and behold it reads, “… I have passed, I have a degree.”
Less than 40 minutes I go I checked my emails to discover I have finally passed everything for university. What a LONG journey it has been. Painful, disappointing, sweat, and tears are definitely words that come to mind. But for certain God’s grace, faithfulness, love, and strength without a doubt has written the past four years and carried me through.
I am so excited to finally receive this news… which is a pleasant surprise in itself as I thought I would just be quietly pleased. So to be excited is a greater feeling than just “Oh I managed to get there eventually” and I’m so happy to be feeling excited! Through God I can say I did it well and feel JOY and HAPPINESS over it all! What a privilege and isn’t God so good!
I really must go to bed. But I just wanted to blog a massive thank you to God and to you all who have walked this journey with me in every way.
So Tuesday we chilled during the morning. I can’t actually remember what we did but in the afternoon dad and I went back to Sea World where we enjoyed one of the rides a number of times. Once the park was closed dad and I went to a spit near by and took photos of the sunset over the water. Tuesday evening mum and dad went out and left me and Laura on our own. We watched Over Her Body and the Mummy which was a right laugh. I had a good evening!
Wednesday we hung out with Royree and her husband in the morning, checked out Movie World in the afternoon, and headed into Surfer’s for the evening. Thursday dad and I went for a walk along the beach in the morning and then we all chilled out by the pool before heading to the shopping mall to walk around in the late afternoon. I got an epic suntan… after being burnt first. The sun was pretty deceptive that day. Thursday we went to Wet and Wild which was immense! I loved it! I think my favorite ride ever is there and it was certainly a work out going up the stairs all day for the slides. Friday we had a bit of a chill day and Auntie Sue came over for a BBQ with her man.
It was a good week of fun, alone time, family time, and sun tanning. It was a bit weird not having internet and I didn’t have anything to do, not even a book to read. So whilst Laura was doing school work and mum/dad working on emails I was a bit lost haha.
Dad and I had a good talk on our beach walk about the future. I think what’s becoming more clear to me is I’ll be taking a bit of a gap year these coming 12 months, maybe even next two years. I have a couple projects I want to work on during that time i.e. complete the computer course for university, get my driver’s license, sort out an MTO reunion, work on the Michael Knight Trust, and write my story. Along with some other things.
Working isn’t a priority the next two months as I have to concentrate on my computer course which will take at least that long. So whilst I’m doing that I’m going to limit myself to a weekend job at most. Also, I’m considering going against society’s attitude that I must go into full time employment otherwise I’m being lazy. Why? Because I really feel it’s important for me to have a period of time where things are less hectic than what it has been. It’s been a long four years and space is exactly what I need. Also I may not ever get another opportunity where I can enjoy life with no commitments for a bit.
During this so called gap year and for the longer term I have some ideas also. One includes going to India and Cambodia for a couple months to explore the creation of social support and economic structures. Looking at the social work model in the context of these countries, how to train up citizens to support others around them and what resources are needed to do this. Also, what role could OM play in this. I guess it’d be a mini project and whilst I’ve written a clue of what I may do over there… it’s really unclear. We would really need to think this through and work on the line up for it. But that’s one thought.
Another thought is to go to Moody in Chicago to get my masters in counseling. Whilst both of these ideas are exciting I already know I will be challenged in so many areas of my life, so it’s a bit daunting at the same time. These are just ideas for now; but I’m really excited about the possibilities God could give me and where He will lead me. Who knows where He will lead me haha. Anyways… we shall see.
Monday the 30th started off at 4am. After a sleepy shower, Laura and I tried to work out what of the summer clothes we brought would keep us warm at 4000 feet. We decided on wearing three tops, two coats and a long pair of jeans. At about 4.20am we all drove back to Canungra which only took about 35 minutes. Canungra is the smallest place I have ever come across ever yet somehow we found a bakery that opened at 4.30am every day of the week! So in we went for coffee and freshly made donuts.
Nanna, Auntie Lorna and Uncle Bill meet us at the tourist information point where the bus picked us all up at 5.20am. Being a group of eight people we were the largest group on the 20 seat bus. Our guide, Pete, was cracking jokes with dad as he explained the morning’s events and put on the induction video on how to fly in a hot air balloon. The other eight people on the bus were fairly moody. I guess they weren’t morning people. But you’d think they would be having a good old crack with one another as you don’t fly in a hot air balloon often!
Anyways we drove out to another smaller town that mainly consisted of farm land. When we arrived at the hot air balloon I think the first thing we noticed was how loud the fire was! It was really funny actually because we all had to climb into the basket on our own without any help for safety reasons; which was fine for most of us apart from Nanna. It must have been about 4 feet high and poor Nanna had to kind of be shoved in when the pilot wasn’t looking.
Once we were in the basket we discovered the heat from the fire was so hot it felt like our head were being burned. Laura and I ended up not needing the final two layers of coats. It was the perfect morning for a hot air balloon ride. As we set off the sun was coming up and the visual clarity was amazing! It was a little scary for some of our group because we reached 4400 feet at our highest. I thought it was amazing because it didn’t look like we were that far off the ground. You could still see a lot. Our balloon was one of two of the biggest balloons in Australia. But also it was pretty cool to discover the different air channels. At 4400 feet we weren’t moving, just hovering, but at 3000 feet we were speeding along by the wind. I think it was extra special for Nanna and I’m glad she was able to join us. Our landing was sooooo smooth!! We couldn’t believe it!
After our ride we had to help pack up which was a lot of fun and after that we hitched a ride on the trailer to the bus. I felt like a right Aussie farmer haha. The bus then took us onto O’Reilly’s Vineyard where we enjoyed a cold and cooked breakfast with champagne. At one point Dad was bought a birthday cake on the house which I thought was hysterical as his birthday was a week ago by this point! After breakfast dad and I did a little wine tasting, bought two bottles of wine, and got back on the bus. When we hit Carungra at 9.55am I had to smile at how much we did before 10am in the morning.
Soon it was just the immediate family and auntie Sue so whilst we were close to Mount Tambourine we decided to show auntie Sue where mum went over the cliff at 19 and survived. From Mount Tambourine the immediate family went back to Magic Mountain.
The rest of the day was spent with me and Laura attempting to chill by the pool but it quickly became overcast so instead we went off to Sea World to put our new passes to use. Sea World changed a lot since we were last there eight years ago. More animals, new rides, and old rides gone. There was one ride that was actually a water slide which has a great Mikey memory to it however it wasn’t there any more. Mum found it really sad but I was happy as we couldn’t write new memories over the old memories so to speak.
After chips for dinner and attempting to watch X Factor we all went to bed pretty early.
Sunday the 29th we went to the River of Life church in Springwood for the morning service. River of Life has been mum’s home church since she was 19 and I think is my favorite church ever. It was really cool because my mum’s mum, sister, brother, and sister in law all came with us to listen to dad preach. Along with a small group of family friends from waaaaaayyyyy back. There were lots of hugs and kisses from our friends when we arrived and guess what, I discovered I’m definitely an introvert when it comes to meeting people for the first time!
Church had a mad worship session to start off with but when they played “I am Free” by Newboys I felt a little sad and missed Mike as it was song that has great memories for our family. However my sadness didn’t last too long. When Dad was introduce as the speaker for the morning he was invited upstage and given a massive birthday cake. I’m not joking when I tell you its size wasn’t far off the size of a single bed mattress! When Royree, the pastor, and her husband came to England to support us through Mike’s death and funeral she was well familiar with our family joke regarding the amount of cake we were given. So as a bit of a joke she asked for this massive cake to be made for dad.
After singing Happy Birthday, popping Party Poppers, and laughing at dad for getting his shirt in the cake icing when he leaned over to blow the candles out… dad gave the morning’s message. As always he was honest and I thought his message was pretty good! Once the service was over we all went out to the back of the building and had a BBQ. IT was a great opportunity or us all to catch up with a bunch of people from last time we were here.
Towards the end of the BBQ mum rounded up the immediate and extended family in the car park and gave us a little speech on how she has a gift for us all. One by one her went around the circle and told the person why she was giving the gift. Once she finished talking we all opened up the individual envelopes she gave us and inside was a leaflet for each of us to go up in a hot air balloon. Dad, Laura and I got an additional leaflet for a VIP pass to three theme parks.
So here was the plan. Us eight would go down the Gold Coast for the night. Uncle Bill, Auntie Lorna and Nanna would stay at a Bed and Breakfast in Carungra where we would all get picked up in the morning for the ride; and Auntie Sue with the immediate family would go to Magic Mountain where mum, dad, Laura and I would be staying for the week.
The drive down to Carungra was a blast with just me, Laura and Auntie Sue in the car; and at the Bed and Breakfast we enjoyed a “high tea” as we called it whilst waiting for mum and dad. After another BBQ together for dinner we headed back to Magic Mountain. I didn’t think I’d sleep so early in the evening but surprisingly Laura and I were out of it very quickly.
We arrived into Brisbane around 6pm on Friday 29th. We’ve been in Australia now, for three and a half days by that point. The flight up from Adelaide was fairly quick, about 2 hours, and we watched the most amazing sunset. It totally reminded me of the voyage to the Caribbean. Walking out the airport I thought the air temperature was so warm!! Well, compared to Adelaide anyways. We staying with family friends for the weekend and so we were taken to their house. I was pretty tried so after some dinner Laura and I went to bed.
Saturday morning was spent organising things for Dad’s surprise 50th later that night. Rob took dad out on a bike ride to get him out the house as mum, Laura and I sorted what we needed to do. Needless to say we were all stressed. Around midday I went to get my hair done by the local hairdresser and it was pretty funny because dad and Rob stayed for the majority of the time just chatting away to the two hairdressers and drinking lattes. I was so excited about my hair once it was done as it was almost white and I’ve never been that blonde before.
Once we got back to the house I had 20 minutes to get dressed before we had to start driving to the surprise party. Mum told dad that her sister, brother, sister in law and mum wanted to throw dad a little party and that he needed to be blind folded once we got close to the forest where we were having it. That was the only way she could explain things without giving away the real story. Dad started to get dressed only he couldn’t find the outfit he wanted to wear and threw a bit of a tantrum. Mum had hidden the outfit as part of the whole surprise party. I was having a bit of a laugh to myself in the bathroom as I was pleased it wasn’t just me that gets stressed when my clothes go missing. Eventually we got in the car and were about 20 minutes late. After 10 minutes of driving, our car broke down. So we had to call Rob (who went on ahead to the party) to come back and help us. To cut a long story short of driving the car with the jump start connected, changing cars, and all the rest of it, we arrived to the party an hour and 20 minutes late.
When we got near we blind folded dad and drove the rest of the way with him not knowing where he was going. Where were we going? Good question. We have friends of the family who live in this beautiful house in the forest. We positioned dad on the balcony at the top of the house and took off his blind fold. He was so surprised as there were tables laid out beautifully everywhere, a marquee kind of tent set up, and bbq’s ready to be used. Then we called everyone out from the floor below and about 50 people walked out onto the grass. He was so surprised. I thought that was pretty funny that he never clicked on to what was really going on! It was so cool because there were a number of family and old family friends to catch up with!
It was a good evening of eating, socialising and a little programme. We even had a bonfire going and set one of the closest trees on fire. It was actually pretty funny because everyone’s laughter was quickly followed with a more serious “we gotta put this out!” So before we started a bush fire… the bonfire was hosed down a little. Anyways… we were all pretty tired and I wasn’t feeling good so it was actually a fairly early night. Dad loved it though!
Tomorrow we got to Church and then onto Surfer’s Paradise down the Gold Coast.
I didn’t have internet for a week so I’ve written my adventures as they happened and am now posting them!
Following on from my previous post, when we arrived into Adelaide Mike and Ann Hey (Esther’s parents) were there to pick us up. Ann took one look at me as we were collecting our luggage and asked if I wanted her coat. Me thinking I’ll brave this so called Australia winter, which is allegedly warmer than British Summers, I turned her down; until I reached the entrance of the airport. It was SO cold! Just to give you an idea of how cold it was… Laura wouldn’t take off the clothes she had been wearing for three days straight to get in the shower! Poor kid only bought one pair of long trousers and neither she nor I bought a jumper!
The rest of our first day in Adelaide was spent at a shopping mall… anything to keep us awake! Michelle (Esther’s sister) came over with Dan in the afternoon. I was so excited to see her as it’d been six years and I’d never met her now husband before! I made it to 5pm and then went to bed. Thankfully I slept until 6am. Yey for beating jetlag!! The sad thing was I missed out on the moment of when Laura got her GCSE results!
The next day, Wednesday, was pretty relaxing. I got up at 6am and tracked down Laura’s results. Was so proud of her!! All A*, As and Bs. We had a BBQ breakfast, then took a trip to the beach… it was still freezing! By now Laura was coming down with a cold. It totally didn’t feel like we were in Australia. After the beach we stopped by a café in the marina. It was actually pretty funny to see us all rugged up drinking hot chocolates and coffees. We went back to the Hey’s to meet up with Michelle and then Laura, Michelle, and I picked up Esther from school. Ann cooked up an amazing Indian meal which we drank pink champagne to celebrate Laura’s results and then played Rook. I managed to stay awake until 10pm-ish and slept again until 7am-ish.
Thursday was an epic day. After getting Esther out of bed and eating pancakes for breakfast dad, Laura, Michelle, Mike, and I did a little sight seeing. After failing to find a winery to do a little wine tasting we went to the Whispering Wall. A water dam where one person stands on one side and the another person on the other and if you talk the other person can hear it; something to do with how the wall is curved. Anyways, it’s known for couples proposing to each other and dad did it for a joke but one of the builders asked us girls if we said yes and Michelle was like, “They’re our parents?!?!”.
After our Wall adventures we went to the world’s largest Rocking Horse. Once we had a hot chocolate, or a wine for the men, we checked out the shop which was filled with wooden toys. Dad had a bitter sweet moment thinking of how much Mike (our brother) would like them.
On site was an animal farm also. So Michelle took us in to feed the animals. It was the funniest adventure I had in Adelaide for sure! The goats and chickens were ridiculously friendly and were very demanding in regards to being fed. Next thing a giant kangaroo and a peacock came after the food. They were all gathered around whoever had the food and we were all getting a little freaked out and kept throwing the bag of food to one another. We managed to video dad screaming and trying to hide behind a tree and Mike very seriously telling the animals, “Down. Down.” Next thing two llamas came running down the hill towards us and we all took off… they managed to catch up. It was just brilliant and I think it was especially nice for dad as he was sad one moment and then smiling the next.
Thursday evening was complete with going to a drive in movie to see Salt. Laura had never been to one before so that was pretty fun. Before the movie Michelle let off a big scream to freak out Laura and Esther who got a massive fright. So we were a little rattled and then this old guy came up to the car window and tapped on it… did I tell you we were one of like three cars in this drive in? I was like “Michelle don’t you dare open the door!” So Michelle opened the window and the guy was trying to tell us we had our lights on. Later I said to the girls would that have been hilarious if we drove off screaming and this guy was just left standing there like “What is up with those girls?!”
Friday morning we packed up, after another BBQ breakfast, and headed off to a Christian bookshop to check it out. Question… they were selling Owl City albums? Then we went off to the airport.
What did I learn about Adelaide… one, the cost of living is freakin expensive in Australia (!!!); two, Adelaide does not count as Australia; and three, anywhere below Brisbane is freezing! On that note… Hello Sunshine State!