Saturday, July 11, 2009

Being "UP OVER" vs. "Down Under"...the process of re-entry

It takes 24 hours to fly to and from Australia. Twenty-four looonnnggg hours. Going to Australia, you loose a day. On return, you gain a day or you get to do a day over. For example, we left Sydney on July 1, flew 24 hours, and arrived home on July 1. It was a "do over" day. For us, though, we were too tired to "do over."

Someone asked this question....if you are no longer "Down under" does that mean you are now "Up Over"???

The answer is a resounding YES....after you have traveled like that, you are definitely "UP OVER" something. Or at least it feels that way.

But back to the topic at We have now been home for 10 days. The first few days were hard. We were tired and sleepy and just in an overall fog for most of the time. I wouldn't tell you that our days and nights were mixed up from flying; but I would tell you because you were so tired, you wanted to nap during the day which would mess up your sleeping at night. So, you had to fight to stay awake until bedtime. OR, if you didn't, you stayed awake at night. Don't ask how we (well, Craig) know that, just trust us (him).

Re-entry has more issues than just sleep. You have to re-enter back into the world you left behind. Things like your children, extended family, the telephone, the cell phone, the US news, the mail and household managment issues, the dog, yardwork, etc. All those things that you had laid aside to go on vacation. Now, we would have enjoyed having our children with us on this trip. We actually like them and enjoy traveling with them.

But all the other things on the list come down to one thing....responsibilities. And when you are on vacation (or holiday as they say in New Zealand and Australia), you get to ignore or postpone dealing with your responsibilities. Not to mention that someone else is cooking for you, cleaning for you, and providing for you. All you have to do is eat, sleep, and enjoy!

So, I have reassessed our re-entry issues and come to this conclusion:

We did not suffer from jet-lag.

We suffered from being UP OVER....

up over REALITY
--we were not the rich and famous nor
had we been born into royalty, sooo
we had to return
I am not sure which is better......being down under or being up over.....

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Invited Guests ?

Wow! We were treated to a very interesting experience our last night in Sydney.

It all began with a small reception where all the winners and guests had been segregated by their respective division groups throughout the hotel and had been given VERY explicit instructions to not leave the reception area until our escorts arrived. After about 45 minutes, we heard this very loud,low tone and this is what appeared in our doorway....

We then were invited to follow them to the Grand Ballroom as they played and chanted/sang. It looked something like this....

A closer view.......

Then they were joined by the rest of the group and shared with us their cultural heritage in dance and song. It was fabulous!

"Climb every mountain......or Bridge!"

While in Sydney, there is a tourist attraction called the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. You can read about it here Craig thought that this would be something fun to do and he was right!

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the largest single span arch bridge in the world and at its peak, it is 134 meters high (I can't even convert anymore - my brain won't let me-it has rebelled). Here are some pictures of us at various points during the climb......

Friday, July 3, 2009

Pickies from Sydney and the Blue Mountains

This picture is from the Blue Mountains and is a picture of the famous formation called the "Three Sisters". For those of you who are geography buffs, now you know where the Three Sisters are located :).

This is looking out over the Blue Mountains from an area called the King's Tableland. The vastness of this range could not be captured by photography.

This is Craig - atop the highest peak area on King's Tableland! I guess you could say he was "King of the Mountain" that day!!

On our way up to the mountains, we stopped at a national park area and this is what was playing in the open pastureland - Roos ! Kangaroos, that is. This one has a joey peeking out of its pouch.

This was our first view of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Looks small in this photo but when you see later pictures of our climb up to the top of that bridge, you will appreciate just how tall it is!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Random? I think not.......

We are now home but we must finish posting about our trip. So, here is the next turn after meeting Peter and George.

On Sunday afternoon, we were assigned to go sailing in the Sydney Harbour. Again, this was a "random" assignment of groups of 10. We were put with a group of 8 people that we didn't know. Craig had chosen that day to wear his Jeremy Camp shirt (for those of you who don't know - Jeremy Camp is a Christian singer). Anyway, as the day progressed, it warmed up and he took off his jacket, revealing his shirt. I was talking with a lady from Georgia (Janet) about some of the interesting things we had learned about Australia from our tour guide the previous day. One of those things was that Australians do NOT have the right to bear arms. Yes, you read that correctly. They surrendered that right years ago after a major killing spree where 37 people were killed. Of course, people illegally own guns but the average citizen does not. Just remember this fact for later in the story.

As Janet and I were talking, she said "Don't you think it is going to get worse for us Christians? I assume you are believers since your husband is wearing a Jeremy Camp shirt." Immediately, the conversation shifted and we began to share about our beliefs and churches, etc. As we disembarked, I made the comment about homeschooling. She and her husband replied simultaneously, "we homeschool and have graduated two!" So, the conversation shifted yet again to homeschooling through high school (they still have one in high school) and preparing them for life, etc. We talked about college, dating vs. courtship, etc. As we boarded buses to return to the hotel, I had to smile. Was this a random meeting ? I think not. It was orchestrated and designed by God.

But the story doesn't end there.

During the course of our conversations, the topic of Hillsong Church came up. Hillsong is based in Sydney and is where a lot of praise and worship music comes from. Both of us had made the comment that we had wanted to attend a service but didn't know how to work it in with all that the company had us scheduled to do. When we returned to the hotel, we discovered that our big Gala night had been canceled due to a small fire in the grand ballroom and we were free. So, we loaded up on a major adventure of trains, buses, and taxis to get to the church (it was about 45 minutes away).

In route to the church, we had to take a taxi part of the way. The taxi driver was a nice man, originally from Lebanon. He had a different view, much different, re: the right to bear arms. The part of town that he picked us up from he said is called "little Texas" at night due to the number of guns that come out at nighttime. I commented that Australians didn't have the right to bear arms and he chuckled. He said "yes, but they do". He asked us "would you have a gun to protect yourselves ?" To which I replied, "yes, and I do and I don't want the government to tell me I can't."

Now, the significance of that conversation has hit home as we returned to the States and discovered that there is current legislation that would affect our 2nd Amendment rights. It is known as H.R. 45, the Blair Holt Firearm Licensing and Record of Sales Act of 2009. Look it up. I think you might be amazed about it. Craig has said when the people fear the government, it is tyranny. When the government fears the people, it is liberty. Ponder that for a few moments and think about what is happening in the US. Whenever we have traveled outside of our country, it increases our awareness of what is happening inside our country. Don't get us wrong, there is no better place in the world to live then here. We just begin to realize how much we don't want to be like the other countries we have visited.

Stay tuned...............we hope to get some pics posted today........that is, I have to find the camera first !