Sunday, March 22, 2015

Last few months in Australia

Where has the time gone?!  We have less than one week until we return to the United States.  We are excited and have been so blessed to have had this mission experience.
So, here is a look at the last two months.

We have waited to go down to Phillip Island until the days were cooler to go to the Penguin Center.  We began with a stop at the Grand Prix race track.  It was huge and we saw several drivers out driving the cars.  Inside the visitor’s center there was one of the cars which can be driven.  A lady said Marv could get in it for a picture.  Getting in was the easy part.  Getting out was much more difficult.

Next stop was the Koala Conservation Center.  You can walk on these metal sidewalks in the air to get close to the bears.  They live in the eucalyptus trees because the leaves are what they eat.  We also visited the farm, the town and the beach at the north end of town.  We decided to drive to the south part of the island and found this great beach with lots of surfing going on.  That was fun to watch.
At the Koala Center

As the evening began, we headed to the Penguin Center, but first went to view the Nobbies.  A storm was circling and we did get windblown and a little wet, but the views were wonderful.  At the Penguin Center, we found a seat on the bleachers at about 7pm and waited and waited.  Finally at 9pm, totally dark, we see these little white bodies coming up the beach.  They are fairy penguins, very little guys.  They have their burrows in the hill sides and so they cross the beach and climb the hills to get to their homes.  Observers have to stay on the raised walks, but the little guys walk right next to the walks so we were two feet away from them.  Quite an incredible experience.

Settling in to see the fairy penguins
Since the Chinese population in Melbourne is huge, so was Chinese New Year.  Although we didn’t get to Chinatown to see the festivities (about 4 days long), we did see the dragon which was set up at Queen Victoria Market.

A group of us went to Her Majesty’s Theatre and saw the Austrian musical Strictly Ballroom.  The song, Love Is In The Air, is from that musical.  It was so fun.  All of we women were up on our feet dancing by the end of the play.  Good thing there was no one behind us.

Ticking off the “bucket list”, we wanted to drive out of the city into the countryside.  There are beautiful vineyards and rolling hills and then into the bush (forests) and mountains.  These areas are so beautiful.  We stopped at a forest walk and grabbed a few photos.

Moomba, the biggest 4 day celebration that Melbourne puts on.  We took the train into the city on Saturday to see the wakeboarding championships on the Yarra River which runs through the city.  Wakeboarders came from all over the world to participate.  There were carnival rides all along both sides of the river.  Although we didn’t see the parade, we did see the Chinese dragon coming back into the city after the parade.

Our last train trip into the Bayswater station.  These Metro trains run from the suburbs into the city about every half hour.  It has been a great experience to learn how to commute on the trains and the trams in the city.

An evening with Pres. Maxwell was a wonderful experience.  Most of the senior missionaries met at the mission office for a pot luck dinner and then Pres. Maxwell talked about the life of his father, Elder Neil A. Maxwell.  We also celebrated the birthdays of Sisters Dillingham and Lettier.

We didn’t get any pictures of the next event, but we had the pleasure of having Elder Packer, the son of Pres. Packer, and several other Family Search dignitaries and their wives visit us at the archives.  We arranged an afternoon tea and had the opportunity to meet with them and discuss our work.  They were quite impressed with the work we have been doing and how much the archive staff enjoys our association.  And, mentioning work, here is a new project, inner-coastal shipping records.  This project has been given to us and the two sisters to work on. 

We got the opportunity to return to Tasmania for one week to do the metadata for the archives on the last bit of work we finished.  We stayed downtown so we were able to walk everywhere.  We were able to have dinner with Jan and Frank Robbins, our Tassie neighbors, Len and Cecily Watson, previous digitizers, and Dana and Richard Lang, the ward mission leader and his wife.  It was great to see our friends from church.  We had rain only twice during our trip.  Not bad for a Tassie autumn.
One of our favorite restaurant, The Fish Frenzie, at the warf.

No umbrella, so a plastic bag did the trick

Last Friday, we were treated to an afternoon tea at the archives, since we are leaving next week.  All of the important people at the archives were there and our Family Search group.  It was a very nice gathering.  Daniel Wilksch, our direct supervisor at the PROV, gave a little speech which told what we had done in Tasmania and here in Melbourne.  He is such a shy person, I was surprised that he would talk that long.  It was a lovely way to complete our work here.

Daniel giving his speech

Saturday a group of senior missionaries met at the Lynbrook Hotel for a wonderful buffet luncheon.  We saw that there were slot machines in a room and realized that they are called “Pokies”.  We had wondered about the meaning of that word.  They gave us two hours to eat as much as we wanted, but more than that, we enjoyed the companionship of these good brethren and sisters.  There is an amazing connection between senior couples/companions who dedicate their time to the Lord’s work.  What a blessing it has been in our lives.

1 comment:

  1. You two have done a great job as missionaries in Australia. We have also enjoyed following your blog. Have a safe trip home. Joseph and Suzanne