Wednesday, November 6, 2013

NOVEMBER 5, 2013

     We've been derelict updating the blog since we left Tasmania, because our internet service is sporadic, expensive, and slow in Wagga, and for some reason, our laptop wouldn't connect with the internet at the church.  We finally solicited  help from President Hughes, the Branch President, and were able to download pictures.  So, it's time to catch up, at least through September. 
     The morning we left Tasmania, our two favorite Tasmanian Missionaries, Elders Sargeant and Hosman sacrificed precious sleep time and "K's,"  got up before 6:00 am on P Day, and drove from Launceston to Deloraine to help us pack.  It was hard to tell them good-bye, but after hand shakes, hugs, and a few tears from me, we sent them back to Launceston.  We went on a last "Driving Miss Daisy" type run and walk around Deloraine, packed the car, cleaned what is reputed to be the nicest flat in the mission, and headed towards Devonport to catch the "Spirit of Tasmania" ferry that would take us to the mainland.  We had extra time, so drove on side roads so we could see some tourist sites we hadn't seen. 
     The ferry was impressive; we enjoyed a yummy roast beef buffet meal, explored the ship, stood on the stern and watched Tasmania disappear into the night, and settled in our cozy cabin for the night.  Then, the waves started to roll the ship around, causing my stomach to lurch with every roll. As Max snored away, I wondered how I would survive 8 hours before we docked in Melbourne.  But, at some point, the Bass Strait calmed and I slept.  I was thankful to wake up in the morning feeling great again! 

How we love these missionaries!  They were both transferred to the mainland the transfer after we left, and Elder Sargeant ended up in the "District" serving in the Wangaratta Zone with us.  Unfortunately, his area is over 150 miles away from ours, but we do still see him occasionally. 

On the way to Devonport, we drove through Railton, a town that features dozens of topiaries.   It was still a bit early in the spring for them to be totally leafed out, but these elephants certainly attracted our attention.

Most towns in Tasmania have a tourist draw, and Sheffield is know as "The Town of Murals."  Spectacular permanent murals are painted on the outside walls of many of the buildings, and each summer, the town hosts a competition in the city park for artists to create original pieces of art.  

 This mural honors one of the many rescue workers who help stranded hikers on Cradle Mountain.  

The "Spirit of Tasmania" nearing Melbourne at 6:00 am.  It seemed to us both like we were coming home! 

We joined the other senior couples from the mission for a two day retreat.  The first day we explored  the "Great Ocean Road."  Because the mission is so huge, we seldom have an opportunity to meet new couples and catch up with old friends, so this was a great mini-vacation.

Seeing koalas in the wild is always a treat.  This mom and baby were perched in a tree near the road on the way to the Otway Lighthouse.  

The "Twelve Apostles" is breathtaking regardless of how many times one sees them. 

President and Sister Maxwell have big shoes to fill, but we know they will more than measure up to the challenge.  We are thankful for them and their willingness to lead, guide, and serve in the Australia Melbourne Mission.

Poor Elder Lacy not only got caught in this picture with the girls, but also had to smile with a missing front tooth!   

Sister Lin, Laycocks, Maxwells, Elder Lin, Wardles, Lacys, and Fillmores.  It was not a warm day, as evidenced by the coats.

Since we were familiar with most of the sites in Melbourne, while the rest of the group toured the city, Max and I shopped for items needed to furnish our soon-to-be flat in Wagga Wagga.  This picture was taken from the top of the State Library in Melbourne.

Looking up at the dome in the State Library.

We joined the group for a cruise on the Yarra River and saw the city of Melbourne from a different perspective.  How I LOVE this beautiful city!

 Dinner at the Mission Home.  Sister Horne, Woffindens, Wardels, Curtis',  Fillmore, and Sister Taveti.  

It appears that President and Sister Maxwell are strategizing with Elders Bellon and Bennallack, the AP's.  These two missionaries had a huge responsibility orienting a new Mission President to the AMM.  

After attending a session at the Melbourne Temple, we borrowed the "Big Blue Van," stuffed it with our belongings, including a queen sized mattress, boxes of IKEA furniture needing to be assembled, and kitchen furnishings for the new flat, and set off on our 6 hour journey to Wagga Wagga.

Obviously, there was no wiggle room in this van!

 Sisters Tui, Fameitau, Cook, and Ricks, welcomed us to Wagga Wagga with hugs, hand shakes, and a warm meal.  They had cleaned up dead bugs in our empty flat, wiped out the cupboards, and arranged for Brother McNamara and his children from the Wagga Wagga Branch to come and help unload the van.  We were very thankful for their help and love!

The Sisters made us feel loved and wanted, and no, the chocolate didn't last long!  Max is a real chocoholic!

When we get home, I'm going to get a job at IKEA putting together sample furniture.  It's like building big Legos!

Max is right at home in our new kitchen.  

Another trail, only this time dirt, and another muddy river.  People say the silt floats on top, covering the clean water beneath the surface, but we don't believe it, and we aren't about to get in the water to find out! We don't know how people dare swim in this water.  For sure it must be teeming with poisonous snakes that make Australia famous.

Good luck pronouncing the name of this river, named by the indigenous tribes who have lived in this area for many centuries.  

This spectacular wisteria "bush" is smack dab in the middle of the 8th fairway on the Wagga Country Club Course.  For my birthday, we golfed 18 holes, then hosted the 4 sister missionaries to birthday dinner.  I love having a September birthday, because it doesn't matter if we are living in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere; the weather is generally perfect for golf. 

I even made myself a German Chocolate Cake, and we ate every crumb!  
That pretty much wraps up September 2013. 
More to come.

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