Shipping Across the Ocean

It’s arrived!  Our shipment that was packed away into a truck in December back in Santa Barbara (To Ship or Not to Ship?) has made it safely to our apartment in Perth.  The picture at left was taken the day we shipped everything and the picture at the right was taken this morning as I started to go through the boxes.  Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 3.20.08 PMThe movers did a great job getting everything up to the 18th floor!  But now it is our job to unpack, sort and find places for everything in our adequate yet small space.  It feels almost like Christmas as we’re unwrapping things but as much effort as we put into choosing what to send and what to get rid of, I’m sure at the end of the day we’ll be scratching our heads with some of our choices.Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 3.26.46 PMThis beautiful view is a wonderfully helpful distraction as our living room has been taken over!  Hopefully it won’t be too long before we can get things sorted and settle in a little more.  But, as for today, we’re abundantly thankful.  So far nothing seems to be broken and these boxes are filled to the brim with memories from people we love.

Reasons #78-#81 Why I Love My Husband

Just because I haven’t posted an update to this list since November (Reasons #75-#77 Why I Love My Husband) doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped loving this guy.  But I’ve recently been reflecting on how amazing Ryan is especially when, during a Social Work class, we’re given a list of ways that true love typically manifests itself and Ryan hits all 4 main points.  So this post is dedicated to us falling more in love with each other, falling in love with Perth city and being thankful that I see signs of a healthy functioning relationship.  Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 10.07.50 AM#78- Ryan cares for me and for himself practically.  I’m thankful for a husband who loves me not just with words but with tangible, practical, visible actions.Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 10.04.46 AM#79- Ryan sees the good in me.  I’m always blown away when I catch Ryan looking at me and I see something in his eyes that I don’t deserve in the best way possible.  He sees what I bring to our relationship, he sees my potential, he sees my beauty and he doesn’t question it.Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 10.50.09 AM.png#80- He forgives my errors.  I don’t remember the last time we had a perfect day with no arguments, disagreements or harshly exchanged words.  We aren’t by any means proud of this but it’s our reality.  We’re working through it intentionally but forgiveness is crucial every step of the way.Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 10.03.52 AM#81- He’s good at maintaining intimacy.  Intimacy is way more than just sex, intimacy is all the little signals, touches, smiles and exchanges throughout the day.  It can be a challenge to maintain this but Ryan is great at reaching out and doing the small things which keep us going strong.Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 10.08.26 AMI am so thankful for my husband and all the reasons he gives me to love him each and every day.

*All the pictures in this post were taken outside the Royal Perth Hospital at Kirkman House which is a spot we regularly pass on the bus ride home.  These cage swings hang from a tree known as the “Kissing Tree” because it’s where nurses would say goodbye to sweethearts before returning to Kirkman House where they were living as they worked at the hospital.  In order to commemorate this spot someone hung these two people-sized birdcages complete with a heart and birds kissing on top which you can see in the second picture of Ryan by himself.  Anyone can stop, swing and hang out in these cages which are especially lovely in the afternoon shade.

Getting to Know Perth: Australia Post

Think the Post Office is just for mailing things?  Think again.  In the US we can do some passport things at the post office and also buy a few post related items like greeting cards or packing materials.  But in general a US Post Office is simply for the mail.  Ryan and I were expecting the same from Australia Post but we’ve been pleasantly surprised.  Australia Post is so much more than just mail.  Our neighborhood post office is amazingly useful and the staff are also very helpful.screen-shot-2017-03-06-at-6-25-38-pmExample 1: Since we now live in an apartment where packages can’t easily be delivered, we went to the post office to see what they offered.  We were expecting some sort of paid PO Box service but instead they have a free service where we are assigned a number and our packages can be mailed directly to the post office, we get an email that they’ve arrived and then we can pick them up when it’s convenient for us.  This even works for things that have to be signed for.  Easy!

Example 2: Ryan went to the post office to buy envelopes in order to mail the transfer of ownership paperwork for the car we just bought.  When he got to the counter, the man noticed the paper and told him that he could process it right there.  Ryan saved a stamp and a trip to the Department of Transport (the Aussie DMV).  The post office here not only does passport services but they process other paperwork too.  Super convenient!

Example 3: The post office here also sells all sorts of things.  They have the typical mail related things but they also have books, gifts, Christmas lights, shredders and other general office supplies.  They even have a flyer that comes out with their latest offerings and sales.  Practical!

Getting to know Australia means getting to know the basic services we need and the post office has been a wonderfully pleasant surprise.

A Day Off: Nature Spa and Beach

One of the best perks of having a real weekly schedule is the ability to plan for and actually take a day off each week.  It has been over a year since Ryan and I have had a rhythm to our week that actually allows for the space to rest on a consistent basis.  Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had lots of amazing adventures and travels over the past year and there has been some rest within that but there is something really special and life-giving about having a weekly day of rest.  You might be saying, what about Sunday!?  Well, Sundays are lovely and we are getting a bit of a break being in a wonderful church community but Sundays are simply not rest days in our line of work.  So for the foreseeable future we have dedicated Fridays as our day of rest and fun exploration.  And this week we kicked off the adventure with a drive south along the coast to an area known as the Nature Spa.Screen Shot 2017-03-04 at 12.12.49 PM.pngOh that’s right, I said drive because this week we bought a car.  Just like the provision of so many things along the way for us, this is another amazing testament to God’s ability to provide for us in ways above and beyond.  But that story is for another time because just look at that spectacular coastline.  This is a seriously beautiful place to live.screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-12-12-15-pmThe wind was picking up by early afternoon when we arrived but we decided to first go up on the rocks for a look around.  We spent a good amount of time all afternoon talking about all the people we know who would love this place.  If you come and visit, we can bring you here:-)  Rocks to climb up, places to explore, white sandy beaches, beautiful crashing waves and the Nature Spa.screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-12-44-59-pmThe Nature Spa is a natural area in between these rock walls where salt water pools and collects.  Despite the wind of the day, this area was very protected.  The ocean seeps through the opening you can see here but also splashes through other little ravines at the side.  If you look on the left side of the pool, the white water is caused by a mini waterfall that happens because of the waves.  The water in the pool gets warm because it’s shallow and calm but the water splashing over is cold, right from the ocean. screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-12-55-34-pmWe staked claim to a large flat rock in the sun and enjoyed the warmth of the day hearing the ocean waves and watching people come and go enjoying this beautiful place.  We were never alone and I’m sure the Nature Spa can get pretty crowded on weekends and holidays but we would definitely come back again.Screen Shot 2017-03-04 at 2.01.23 PM.pngAfter we finished hanging out at the Nature Spa, we climbed back up the rocks.  It would be easy to twist an ankle here but we made it out injury free.  Before we left for our drive home, we wanted to check out the beach along the other side.  And I’m so glad we did!
screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-12-10-49-pmThis beach has beautifully deep soft sand and we had it all to ourselves for a little while.  The waves were powerful and bubbling and perfect for just standing in and enjoying.  I’m sure the current coupled with the waves along here would make it dangerous to swim but it was perfect for an afternoon frolic.  These pictures don’t do this amazing coastline justice.screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-12-13-56-pmOur day ended with an uneventful drive home and a lovely sunset.  We’re looking forward to more days off when we can go on adventures, get to know Perth and other parts of Western Australia!

Americans Eating in Perth: Part 1.5

I made enchiladas!  The experiment was a success and we all ate well last night.  They even had a garnish of fresh cilantro from our one practical houseplant.  However, I had some hurdles to overcome in order to complete this recipe, the most basic being chili powder.  You should understand that chili powder in Australia is not the same as chili powder in the US.  It’s a good thing I was told this a few weeks ago because otherwise last night would not have been tasty, it would have been painful.  As far as I know, chili powder in Australia is the equivalent of cayenne pepper in the US.  And US chili powder is actually a mix of spices including cayenne pepper, paprika and cumin.  Still spicy but not fire level hot.  screen-shot-2017-03-02-at-1-57-32-pmCan you tell the difference between the 3 red spices now in my cupboard?  Maybe I should start labeling things, but anyway the first thing I had to do in order to make my red enchilada sauce was actually make the chili powder.  You can buy it here under the name Mexican chili powder but I was unable to find it earlier this week.  And speaking of things I couldn’t find, green chilis in a can were also unavailable at the grocery store.  I believe I have seen these here but since I couldn’t find them on demand, they will now be on my list of “if I see it, buy it”.  Because there will definitely be a next time making this deliciousness.Screen Shot 2017-03-02 at 1.06.12 PM.pngI normally make two kinds of enchiladas at the same time, red and green.  This is because we like them both, so why not just have both.  But I think in order to make the green I am going to have to either learn how to make green salsa or find green salsa at another store.  But that’s an adventure for another day.  Although I wouldn’t mind hearing if anyone has any green salsa recipes or maybe ideas for green enchiladas sans green salsa if that’s possible.  For now, the red enchiladas were a winner and I can add this to the list of things I’ve successfully accomplished making in Perth.

Americans Eating in Perth: Part 1

Two words.  Mexican food.  We miss our burritos.  We miss endless baskets of tortilla chips and inexpensive salsa.  And then there’s the cheese but that’s a whole other blog post.  We’re making it work and there are many more options than I’m used to having after living in places like Germany or Papua New Guinea so I won’t complain.  Old El Paso is, after all, quite the staple in most grocery stores.  Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 8.49.43 PM.pngBut this interesting bounty doesn’t change that we are missing some of our trusted staples and learning to eat creatively when we want to indulge our Mexican cravings.  Some of this has to do more with my frugalness than actually not being able to find things.  For example, there is an American store in town, two in fact.  See my previous blog post: The American Store.  But you’re not only going to pay a marked up price, you’re going to pay for their gift of importing these goodies to you too.  So that jar of salsa is now $8.  But sometimes you get lucky and they are on sale so you stock up and also offer them to your friends because you know they’ll appreciate the new lower $3 price too:-)  screen-shot-2017-02-27-at-8-54-38-pmThis means that we are now unapologetic about the shelf in our pantry that looks like this but when this salsa is gone we might just start making our own.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a couple places in town that make a decent Mexican meal but it’s just not the same.  So I will continue to use my Trader Joe’s taco seasoning sparingily and keep rationing out the large bottle of Cholula that we brought in our suitcases.  I will enjoy making our favorite chicken tortilla soup once the weather cools down again.  But this week, I think I need to scrap my meal plan and see if I can gather enough ingredients to make my homemade enchiladas.  If I can pull this off relatively inexpensively, it will be quite the Mexican food achievement.


All Scripture is Useful

Sometimes I want to cherry pick the Bible, claim and use the parts that best suit my ideals and motivations while leaving out the unsavory, hard to swallow verses.  After all, sometimes I think it would be a lot easier to live out or even defend Christianity if I could distance myself from the more confusing or eyebrow raising bits of scripture.  But getting out a sharpie and crossing out verses is really not the answer.  After all 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  So to be thoroughly equipped, I can’t run and hide from any of God’s word.  Instead, I must dig into the Bible, seeking to learn, understand and apply scripture properly.Screen Shot 2017-02-26 at 3.34.57 PM.pngAlthough I don’t think pastors need to always preach through books of the Bible, I do think that this practice forces pastors, as well as congregations, to face scriptures that would otherwise not be preached on because of their seemingly difficult or perhaps obscure content.  I’m thankful to have sat and learned under many pastors who do not shy away from the deep, rich challenges of scripture.  Today was no exception because we heard a sermon on Deuteronomy 22:1-12.  Feel free to read these verses yourself but my point here is not to critique or even expound on the sermon.  Instead I wish to say that I walked away from church this morning, not only encouraged but emboldened in my faith.  Today I was challenged to be set apart and different because I am a Christian.  And I was also pointed towards Jesus in how I view people as well as God’s creation.  Learning about the cultural context is important, however, scripture is still alive so we can’t forget to see God’s word as relevant and applicable to our current lives.

This is a good reminder for me as I continue to read the Bible and sometimes am tempted to skip reading or dismiss certain scriptures.  All scripture is useful.  All scripture is God-breathed.  And these are the words that can fully equip me for whatever task is ahead.