SEPTEMBER 25, 2012
Spring is certainly coming to Melbourne, as evidenced by blossoms popping, the smell of freshly mowed grass, trees leafing out, and the appearance of more ants in our flat. We are quite comfortable sharing our accommodations with them, but draw the line when they choose to climb on our table. Then we squish them with our finger, brush them on the floor, and continue eating.
The saga of the electricity in our flat continues, as one of the 60 watt bulbs burned out, and we can’t get another to work in its place. We had a very nice old electrician come a couple of weeks ago, but instead of replacing the fixtures, he messed with some wires and managed to get them working for a short time. Now we have a total of 40 watts lighting our living room. It gives us a good excuse to not study much.
We think we are finally getting a clearer picture of what our role is here. We were called to a “member/leader support” mission, and that is what we are doing. We make lots of food, wash lots of dishes, mop the kitchen floor, empty the garbage, vacuum the carpets, and assist the missionaries and members in any way they ask. I’ve done some clothing repair for the missionaries, and it seem as the word spreads that I can work a needle, more of them bring pants to be hemmed and seams to be repaired. They in turn love to help us with any computer/Ipad issue we might have, help us eat leftovers and treats, give us rides places if they have a car, tell us where the good places to eat out are, ask us to help with teaching, and are very solicitous and kind. Their energy, and enthusiasm is contagious and they are certainly forces for good.
We attended the Melbourne temple last week with the missionaries in our zone, and that was a good experience. Gone are the days when we can leave home, do a temple session, and be home again in two hours. We left on the tram before 7:00 am, returning home at 1:30 pm. Pretty much all we did was a temple session, and walk, ride, or wait for a tram or bus. I love seeing the countryside, looking at all the shops along the streets, and following where we are on the IPad. Have I said before how thankful I am to have an IPad. And, I have an IPad tutor, a kid from Thailand I think, who keeps me up to date and always has something new to show me. He likes to hang around with the senior couples, and since we are the only couple here, he has become our shadow. Last Saturday we decided to ditch the Branch for a while and go to the Royal Melbourne Botanical Gardens. Johnny decided he wanted to come, so he was our guide until he had to leave to catch a plane to go home for a couple of weeks. The gardens were huge, and consisted of plants brought in from all over the world. It was fun to see families having picnics, kids running around, ducks in the ponds, and lots of beautiful flowers. We liked seeing a black swan taking her 5 little babies to the pond for a swim. Unlike botanical gardens most places, it was free, so I'm sure we'll return there often.
Life is good, and we are looking forward to a senior couples retreat this week. The missionaries kind of look at us funny when we tell them we won’t be around for a couple of days, since they never get a day off. Even PDay has lots of string attached, for them as well as for us, as we come back to the Branch for Family Home Evening. This week I taught them "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree" and the missionaries liked teaching the actions. They laughed and giggled and had a great time singing and playing Fruit Basket, even though in all the excitement of trying to find a chair, the new missionary twisted his ankle pretty badly. Guess we'll have to come up with games that are a bit more tame.
Saturday is Australia's equivalent to the Super Bowl. It's fun to ride the tram and talk to some of the Aussies and get their perspectives. It seems like a really big deal, and there will be lots of beer consumed, I'm sure. There are lots of liquor stores in our neighborhood; in fact one takes up pretty much the entire block. We live close to the stadium where the game will be played but won't be attending the game. Hopefully we'll take in some of the Australian Open in February.
I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I'll never get over being homesick and missing home, friends and family. This morning we were walking to the grocery store, and a baby in a stroller was crying. I started to tear up thinking about Zada and Jack. Max just tolerates my unstable emotions, and I’m sure shakes his head in unbelief. Such is life. We spent $190 and "topped off" all our prepaid phone, internet, and 3G data, for the next six months or so, so I guess that means I need to stop looking for plane fares back home. However, we sure hope to have some visitors. Love to you all, Sharla