Wednesday, August 22, 2007

days in london


we have been here in london for a week and we thought it might be time to jot down some notes about the last seven days.

  • jet lag wasn't too taxing...four or five days of very early mornings (two, three, and four a.m.).  now we are on greenwich mean time.
  • as we adjusted we stayed local and wandered around the parks and streets of hackney...victoria park was a highlight with isaac.
  • saturday - we all took the train to kew for a day at the botanical gardens.  it was a stunning place to witness the majesty and variety of creation.
  • sunday - this was my (geoff's) birthday and we spent the day walking around the city (Shakespeare's globe theatre, the south bank of the thames, and the tate modern)  we enjoyed a picnic at the tate and a birthday dinner at home with rachel's famous chocolate cake.
  • monday -  another local day...parks and grocery shopping.
  • tuesday - in the morning we went with rach and the kids to the thames barrier park and then isaac, sherry, and i went into the city for a leisurely stroll up and down charing cross road and the alley-ways of soho.  later in the afternoon we met up with andy and before catching a double decker bus home, we visited a fantastic waterstones book-store on gower st (a new favorite).
  • now it's wednesday and we are packing for greenbelt.  clinton and lisa (dear friends from lexington) arrive tomorrow morning and sometime after lunch we will drive to cheltenham.

here are some pics..more to see at our flickr page (click on the images or the link down there on the right).




Thursday, August 16, 2007

in the garden

here are two fast friends - eve and isaac - enjoying the turner's backyard (with fruit trees, a eucalyptus tree, two rabbits, and a tree house made from reclaimed materials).


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

we made it...


thanks for your prayers.  it was a great flight with a brief stop in muggy singapore.  all our baggage (emotional and other) was checked and delivered at heathrow.  we are thrilled to be with the wonderful turners of east london.


Monday, August 13, 2007

on our way

in several hours, we'll board a plane bound for london.  during the flight, we'll stop in singapore and our total time en route will be about 24 hours.  for anyone who's traveled, you know the funny feeling of waking in one place only to anticipate resting your head in a place far away, another continent.  we'll cross time zones, hemispheres and seasons.  from winter we will join the end of summer and the blazing heat of august.  strange.

a summary of our months in australia is difficult.  certainly this chapter of our lives exceeded our hopes and imagination.  during the last week, at random times, memories have flooded my mind as i must be subconsciously filing away our experiences here and preparing to move on.

i leave with gratitude - great appreciation for the love and hospitality of geoff's parents, for the opportunities and friendship extended to us from forge, the welcome of the local footscray church, the vulnerability and belonging to relationships with old and new friends, the many experiences in the beautiful city of melbourne.

i leave with a divided heart - throughout the period of our living here, we have missed home and yet fully loved being here.  coexisting emotions.  with painful goodbyes, we leave immediate family and accept that a lot of time will pass before we see one another again.  a desire to arrive home, the place we belong, to family and friends, is as strong  and we feel great anticipation for the weeks to come.

i leave with greater understanding - when i arrived in january, it was my personal hope to better understand my husband and for a short time look at the world through australian eyes.  after being married for seven years, in the recent months i've made significant leaps in comprehending what has shaped geoff, what makes him laugh, what operates deeply in his world view.  i look at this culture (one that i often idealized from afar) with much more balance.  i see weaknesses and shortfalls.  i can admit that here too there are problems and bad habits.  despite that, however, i love this place and these people and i could never have achieved a shade of this newfound, rich understanding without our extended time here.  and i've only just scratched the surface.

Friday, August 10, 2007

date night

last night we had a lovely evening in the city with sandy and narelle.  in the morning the four of us traveled across to the far east to bcv (bible college of victoria) for us to speak at a global update mission seminar.  sandy and narelle had lunch with close friends.  geoff and i returned to the city via the train for the afternoon so he could meet up with an old friend and mentor, dave fuller.  while they spent time together, i shopped around melbourne central and read a book at handsome cafe at the state library called mr tulk.


we went down to south bank for a beer (our very favorite being little creatures, a brew out of perth) and a meal at the blue train.  we sat on the balcony and looked out over the yarra river as the city lit up and changed from day to night.  melbourne has a stunning skyline.  after an hour in traffic, sandy and narelle joined us for dinner.  the food was very good (geoff was glad to be eating again).  we finished up quickly and enjoyed the walk to the mcg to see the pies play richmond.  the pies lost and so they should have.  they played an embarrassing round of footy.  being at the match was worth it because rel and i got to talk for a few hours about everything from papua new guinea's government to raising kids.

the evening is a treasured memory for the four of us who, over seven years, haven't had much time together.  and, it was a final night of enjoying this outstanding city we love.

the gift of fruit

grandma and georgie arrived in melbourne from country victoria laden with citrus fruit from the garden. they carried kilos of lemons, lemonades (cross between lemon and orange), tangerines and oranges, all grown in their backyard. straight away, i ate a tangerine and the concentrated smell and taste of just-picked citrus fruit overwhelmed my senses. i had no idea how good one could taste. it's been a long time since i've had anything as local, as close to the tree and as good.


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

the last of

we're saying goodbye to people, places and routines of our life here in oz.  it is a strange thing to go through this is "the last time..." when we've been here only temporarily, yet long enough to belong to a place and a set of relationships.  yesterday, we were racing around taking care of things - last book drop to the library, last petrol fill-up of the beloved jellybean, last shop at my favorite little fruit & veg market.  last night, as a family we watched a very funny aussie show called "thank god you're here."  i said to kath, "we won't be here for this next week."  sad and eager - opposite emotions dwelling together in us.  friday night geoff and i are excited to go to our last pies game at the g.  over the weekend we'll cherish our last moments with family.  tuesday we leave.  five more sleeps.


last wattle

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

more from isaac


lately, isaac is saying more, asking more questions, and pronouncing things with greater clarity.  last week, before we were all sick, we were out on a walk (when all the good conversation seems to happen) and isaac asked me:

"how are babies made?"

after a long pause i said, "when a mommy and dad love each other, god gives the mommy a little seed and after nine months a baby comes out."

isaac thought about that time span for a minute and said, "when i'm a daddy, i'm going to have a baby in 10 minutes."

"isaac, only mommies have the babies" i said.

"then when i grow up i'm going to be a lady."


two days ago, i thought we'd reached a much-longed for milestone when isaac said "i don't like superman anymore."  instantly i thought great, let's move on.  so the next day i was a bit disappointed when he requested his superman pajamas.  i said to him, "but you don't like superman anymore and anyway, those pajamas are so daggy" to which isaac pleaded, "but i like daggy pajamas."


tonight, as i was putting isaac to bed (after doses of panadol, antibiotic and a vicks rub) he was coughing and coughing.  earlier in the evening i had given him a cough lolly (cough drop).  i said "i think you need another cough lolly."  isaac said, "yes, two cough lollies in one day...lucky me."

Monday, August 6, 2007

the holy word

several weeks ago at st martin's (while billy was with us) we  heard the most tender and joyful reading of scripture.  a small woman in her 50s came up to the front and opened her tattered bible - i noticed it was full of bits of paper and missing its front cover.  i also noticed that she was rugged up for winter but nothing she wore was new or matched.  her eyes were filled with light and she smiled like a girl.  her face was glorious.  it turns out she was of egyptian descent. 

she started in the book of kings.  her voice undulated with joy through a long and dry passage.  at one point she stumbled on her words and said "i'm sorry, it's just that i'm so happy" (i've never heard that said from a reading of an old testament passage).  she went on to read verses out of galatians.  someone in the congregation sneezed and she paused from her reading to say "bless you" very gently.  finally, she ended with a gospel reading from luke and as she read the parable from jesus, tears streamed down her face.  when she finished, the room was completely still.  truly we were present to a profound holiness in her and a childlike love of god that held us captive.

Sunday, August 5, 2007


for the last several days, the three of us have been sick with colds and housebound.  in addition, the wilson family has been weathering particularly rotten jetlag - 10 hour time difference that has them up all hours of the night.  so together, we've been relaxing, catching up, reading, watching tv, playing games, knitting and a bit bored, which leads us to do this kind of thing to our child

Aug 07 001

we've finished most of our packing, consolidating, and organizing for london and our final trip home.  we've already said most of our good-byes.  today geoff's grandparents pass through town for a day on their way to perth.  certainly they will enjoy the chance to see grand- and great-grandchildren together.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

the black swan


here's a curious australian creature.  there are many black swans making their homes near my parent's home.  we have enjoyed occasionally taking some stale bread to feed them.

Friday, August 3, 2007

a movement of locavores

yard 009

some folks in our community in lexington are reading barbara kingsolver's recent release, "animal, vegetable, miracle" together to talk about what it would mean to commit to eating locally (some know it as the 100 mile diet).  on our way to perth, i had a chance to catch up on some newspaper reading and the age featured an article on kingsolver and her book.  in the interview, she explained the process and experience of eating locally for a year.  it is especially telling to hear of these things not from the perspective of an accomplished author, but a mother -

"'We did it for our heads and our tastebuds, says Kingsolver.  'It's not just bad manners, it's plain stupid to keep treating the planet the way we are.  Using 100 calories of fossil fuel to deliver one calorie of food is its own commentary.  We are running out of fossil fuels.  We need to stop denying this and embrace the shift.  My kids' generation will have to figure out a different way to eat, otherwise they won't eat.'"

"'Eating is political.  It is an agricultural act. [see Wendell Berry]  It's the one conscious choice we have to make every single day.  It's the only one.  It's the point of intersection with the economy we are required to make daily.  So it's a political choice to decide which part of the economy we are going to intersect with.'"

"'We need to eat mindfully, using that knowledge and money to invest in our local food economy.  When we buy food locally we are keeping our money in the local neighborhood, keeping those spaces around our towns green, improving food security and we are doing what's best for our bodies and our palates.'"

we think it is not only wise, but a great privilege to begin thinking and living toward this before we no longer have a choice.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

some quotes from jackie

during the UNOH weekend we had the disturbing pleasure to hear jackie pullinger speak multiple times.  this woman is something else.  her message, which comes out of 40 years in hong kong working in some of the toughest conditions of mission, is often polarizing - either it rivets people to respond or repulses people to anger.  all i know is that she has a remarkable perspective.  here are a few choice statements she made:

"self-pity is an extremely unattractive quality in missionaries."

"the devil wants to convince you that dying is the worst thing."

"it is very much easier to do what god made you for than not."

in reference to her life-long commitment to hong kong she said, "i really liked being there.  this is not brave me.  i gained everything by leaving (the UK for hong kong).

"we are impatient because we expect to see fruit from our labors.  if we try to justify our journey then we are lost."

"the opposite of patience is not impatience, but unbelief."

time with family


yesterday the wilson family landed in melbourne after a long trip from africa.  they've spent the last month in south africa and lesotho visiting family and supporters during a time of furlough.  we are thrilled to spend our final 10 days in australia with them.  after one month in australia, they will return to papua new guinea to resume their mission work there.  isaac adores his cousins, rachel and meggy, and the rest of us love watching them play together.  these next days will serve as stored up treasure for the future and the extended gaps between being together.