Category Archives: Travels

South Korea…

Yesterday I arrived in South Korea and it has been nonstop ever since!  The bus from the airport is about two hours so I jumped on that and made it to the neighborhood I am staying in right in the dark of night.  I was graciously offered a couch surfers apartment to myself for the next few days while she is busy between her girlfriends place and work, so excitedly I took Kate (my host) up on the offer.  For some reason, between exhaustion, a new country and not having a bloody clue where I was, I found myself lost wondering the back roads of Seoul.  Sometimes, there is no better feeling than being lost in a country you don’t know and trying to ask for directions from someone who does not understand a word you are saying but sometimes that feeling is a traveler’s worst enemy.  Last night, I was not a fan.  Thankfully though, I found my way thanks to the help of an older gentleman who let me use his phone in exchange for me to listen to the five English words he knows again and again and again.

Today was a perfect combination of a ton of fun and a complete bust.  I only had one full day in Seoul to sightsee since tomorrow I take a day trip to the North Korean boarder (hooray) so I had everything all planned out with what I wanted to do.  I found a hop-on hop-off bus that takes you to all the major sites in the city for only ten dollars which you really cant beat since it includes an English audio guide of all the buildings we drove past and the ability to avoid learning yet another public transportation system!  I was really excited to see the Traditional Korean Village and Gyeongbokgung Palace but just my luck they are both closed on Tuesday’s.  My next mission was to see the Deoksugung Palace changing of the guards, but nooo, we got caught in traffic and I missed it by minutes.  Then, I ran out of money, headed to the ATM and accidently used my visa instead of my bank card which means I will get charged way more than a penny pincher is comfortable with.  Ah well, tis life.  At least I was able to shop around both Dongdaemun Market and Namdaemun Market.  Plus, while waiting for a bus after one of these frustrating moments, a man came up to me and asked for my name, I told him what it was, he wrote it down and said he picks new people to pray for every day and today he was going to pray for me – what an encouragement.

It was really nice to drive around the city today and see so much.  It is Fall here right now and the leaves are a perfect combination of colors.  I was having a bit of a moment on the bus, thankful I got not one but two Fall seasons back to back this year and sad that all these beautiful leaves make me think of my Dad’s passing.  Gratitude and sadness seem to coexist so much in my heart since losing my Dad.  Anyway, as I sat there staring out the window contemplating which feeling outweighed the other, loving the Fall, or having it remind me of one of my greatest loses, I saw a man delicately gathering the leaves and turning them into shapes of hearts all over the sidewalk.  It really was an amazing moment, as if my inner contemplations were acknowledged and answered within seconds of thinking them.  Peace, love, beauty, this season still resembles all these things.  I am not alone, not in these thoughts, not in these moments, regardless of where I am in this world or with whom, I am not alone.

Tomorrow I technically go to North Korea.  How amazing is that?!?  I must try to get some sleep now but the only problem is I am like a kid ready to go to Disney and I just may not be able to fall asleep with this much anticipation.  I’ll write again tomorrow, XO!

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Tokyo madness…

Well, it’s official, I am having a blast in Tokyo!  I have been able to see quite a few things since getting here and I am quite sure by the time I get home my feet may just very well fall off from walking so much!  It is wonderful!

I am missing my hubby like crazy yet enjoying this time as a couple where we both get to do our own thing.  One part that was difficult with me leaving was Halloween.  I love holidays and I love “first’s” and this Halloween would have been mine and Quinn’s first Halloween in our new house to hand out candy.  I was sad I had to miss that with him but glad I was able to do some Halloween celebrations over here.  Candice’s girls had a Halloween party/concert at their school so I went shopping around town, found myself a big fluffy giraffe costume and headed to the party.  It was great fun with my cousin to hit up the train and do a little goofing around.  As a foreigner you get enough looks as is when you are walking down the street, but a foreigner dressed as a giraffe, it’s a whole new ball game!  Candice and I laughed and laughed that afternoon…most definitely some of my favorite Japan moments!

Before my Aunt Cheryl went back to Canada we spent an afternoon and headed to the East Gardens of the Emperors Palace.  It is amazing to me how green Tokyo is compared to what I envisioned.  They have what is called a sun law here which means buildings can only be X amount of stories high depending on the area and also, depending on what direction your building faces a certain angle is required on the roof to allow as much sun as possible.  This means Tokyo is actually quite sunny and not filled with sky scrapers, a lovely surprise from what I envisioned.  The gardens were beautiful and a nice way to escape the busy streets.

Speaking of busy streets, I also went to the Shibuya crossing which was insane!  At that intersection, every time the light turns green an average of 5000 people cross the street!  It is the busiest intersection in the world and was really amazing to see.  Close to Shibuya is an area called Shinjuku and that was a lot of fun to walk around as well.  The shopping is amazing although the prices don’t quite work on a back packers budget but it was still fun to walk around and see.  That train station is also the busiest station in the world and it was insane to find my way around.  I think I walked for almost an hour just looking for the gate I needed to get back home.  In 2007 that station had 3.67 million people go through it every day, I cant even imagine what those numbers would be today.  In this area this is also a lot of Cat Cafes.  They are literally cafés where you can get coffee, tea and cake and sit in a room with dozens of cats that you pet, talk too, and play with.  I did not go into one because it is quite expensive, but I did go check one out to take a few pictures.  It was amazing to me to see so many couples just having their afternoon getaway together with a bunch of cats.  Crazy concept to me but that is what I am loving about this city…a million crazy concepts all rolled into one place!

Two nights ago the Potters all loaded up and brought me over to city hall which takes you up 55 stories for a panoramic view of the city.  It was incredible to see a view like that!  I immediately felt like a speck of sand in the city.  It was an amazing view of literally endless lights.  I have not been able to see the view during the day, but on a clear day you are able to see Mt. Fuji from there.  Last night was Candice’s monthly book club and since I had already read the book I tagged along to meet a few new ladies and enjoy an Arabic meal.  It was so great to have an evening of conversation and a bonus of belly dancers and so many smiles my cheeks hurt at the end of the night.  I am just having a blast here!

Tonight I ate a Japanese traditional meal, raw horse.  One of the things I make sure to do in each country is try to eat a food common to the country but much different from anything I can find at home, as far as I know, raw horse is most definitely in that category.   One of the first things I asked Doug to do (Candice’s husband) when I got here was take me to eat a strange traditional meal from Japan and raw horse is what he came up with.  It was a really great restaurant too where we were in our own private room which had a children’s play area inside of and a divider to separate the kids from the adults…it was brilliant.  Loading up four kids to take me anywhere, especially in a restaurant is a pretty big feat so I very much appreciate all the things the Potters have done with me because I know it must not be easy.  It has been so, so wonderful staying with them!  Anyway, back to the horse, the meat itself didn’t taste like it would be so bad, but the texture of eating it raw made me gag.  It was such a disgusting feeling having raw horse in my tummy too.  I only had once piece and it was definitely enough!  Here, horse races are very common and when certain horses are no good and lose too many times in a row the owners cannot afford to keep them but still need to make a profit off of them so they sell the meat to restaurants which is how this delicacy came to be.  I also ate raw pickled squid and octopus, which weren’t too bad.  I do however think my taste buds are ready for a little break…possibly a grilled cheese sandwich!

Tomorrow I fly to Korea and I am getting so very excited for this part of my trip.  I will make sure to update along the way.  Missing everyone from home and hoping you are all doing well!  XO

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Japan 2012

Well my first couple days in Tokyo have been quite a blast!  I arrived into the city on November 25th at three in the afternoon.  I took a two hour bus ride to my cousin Candice’s area of the city and she came to pick me up from there.  It was quite interesting watching Candice drive back to her place in a city of millions of drivers….it’s pretty intense driving around here.  My Aunt Cheryl is visiting here right now as well so when we returned Candice, Doug, their three kids and my Aunt had a super, walked around the neighborhood a bit and spent the evening talking.  I even managed to stay up late enough to hopefully switch myself to the time change on the first night (always an impressive feet).

The next day, my first full day in the city, we all went to Disney Sea (similar to Orlando where there is Disneyland or Disney California).  It was such a fun time!  In a sea of Japanese people we definitely stood out like a sore thumb and I had a few people ask to take my picture (thankfully it was nothing like Candice’s girls though because they ended up getting their photo taken dozens of times).  All of the rides were in Japanese which was quite an experience.  It was neat getting on the Tower of Terror or Indiana Jones and having all the story line spoken in another language, I felt so out of the loop with rides I was so familiar with.  There were quite a few rides in this park that I had never been on and the ones that I had been on the story lines were different.  Needless to say it was such a good time and something I am so glad I had the opportunity to do.

Ive been pretty spoiled in the last few days, ive been able to get out and explore a ton of the city.  I visited the Harajuku area which has so many unique shops and tons of people dressed in cosplay.  This area has so far definitely been my favorite.  In a great little consequence, a friend from Barcelona was in Tokyo at the same time so we were able to meet up, do some walking around, go for an amazing Korean supper and head to Kabukicho for some discovering.  Kabukicho is the main sex area in Toyko, and as someone who reads up on sex trades in different countries frequently, volunteers a lot in the area and has worked for men and women in the sex trade for years, discovering areas like this is very fascinating to me.  It was interesting to see that although the neighborhood was packed with tons of “activities” it was so anonymous and I never saw one working girl or guy.  I was able to go into one of the famous Tokyo love hotels which was also quite interesting.  Many of the homes here are no larger than 300 sq ft, for an entire family and often times extended family is living in the home as well.  Because of this, sex in the home is a little difficult so they have love hotels set up all around the city where parents, grandparents, newlyweds, and of course others, can visit for hourly rates, get a themed hotel room of their choosing and have a little privacy for a couple hours.  I have always found the concept quite interesting so it was neat to be able to visit inside these hotels.  Needless to say the night was very interesting.

Unfortunately I am getting sick and fighting against a pretty ugly throat cold which has made my ability and desire to go out quite low.  I spent a whole day in bed and im hoping that will be the last because there is so much that I want to see!  Today is the girls Halloween party at school so I am excited to go and celebrate with them and then hopefully take off for a bit of shopping time.

A few fun facts that I am loving about Japan….almost every toilet seat is heated.  For someone who is always cold, I am in love with this idea!  And if anyone is looking for a Christmas gift idea, a heated toilet seat is officially on the top of my list.  Also, the fridges here are absolutely brilliant!  The door can open from either side….what more could you ask for?!?  There are a ton of rules here and nobody breaks them, for example, if you want to walk up the escalator you walk to the right, to stand still, you stand on the left.  You would NEVER see someone stand a little in the middle or god forbid on the right, even if the escalator is packed, with a line up a mile long (literally) of people to wait to go up, no one would squish in and cross that invisible line of walkers and stand-stillers.  Also, everyone is quiet on the train, once, before knowing this rule, I laughed out loud and the whole train gave me the hairy eye, even a five year old for goodness sakes.  In change rooms at the mall, your shoes have to be taken off at the door.  When you pay for an item you never hand your money to the tiller, instead you put it on a tray and she takes it from there.  Before you eat your meal in a restaurant you clean your face and hands with a cold cloth they give you as you sit down.  If you are crossing a street and there isn’t a car in sight for miles, you cannot cross until the light is green.  It is rule upon rule that everyone follows and it is definitely for good reason.  In a city with this many people it truly does run so much smoother because everyone follows these rules.

I am so madly in love with this city!  The lights, the people, the shopping, the sites…it is all amazing and I cannot wait to see what else I discover while I am here!

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And sleep became my friend…

There are moments in your life where the weight of sorrow on your heart feels like it is completely suffocating and consuming.  Like if you thought one more thought, or you allowed one more pain into your heart, you would actually combust.  Sometimes my heart aches so bad I think it will actually just explode, or crumble, or just simply melt away until I stop breathing.  It is amazing the pain tolerance that the muscle of the mind and heart can handle; it blows me away every day.

Before surgery the nurses let me call home collect.  I sat on the phone with my sister and my mom and we talked and cried and laughed.  I laughed a hearty laugh, a laugh I have not had in a very long time.  The sound itself startled me; it made me realize how foreign it is to my world lately and how I need to make decisions for myself in order to make that laughter not so unfamiliar.

Yesterday I had to have surgery and the moment I met my surgeon I liked her.   Her personality invited me to pretend to be as strong as I would like but her eyes invited me to show my fears.   People die or things go dramatically wrong all the time from the simplest of procedures and I was nervous, especially given my situation and given the fact I am doing a fairly big surgery without being at home with my family.  I played the tough card until we were about to roll into the surgical room and then I simply let go.

Right before surgery the nurse asked me to take off my jewelry and instantly my heart broke.  I cried and cried and cried.  Everyone stood around my bedside stunned not knowing what happened.  The only piece of jewelry I was wearing was my airplane necklace, this simple object around my neck seems to comfort me at the touch alone and I wasn’t prepared to take it off.  Eventually, broken heart and all they wheeled me into the surgical room and moved me onto a different bed.  I had hidden a picture of my Dad under my back and when I moved beds it fell out, the nurse once again told me she would need to take it away and I lost all control.  I haven’t done that yet, I have not cried the way I cried at that very moment.  I screamed and I wailed and I could find no words of expression to come from my mouth.  I didn’t care what they thought, my body told me it was time to release.  I looked around the room and I was furious, why could my dad have not at least made it to a hospital, at least had a fighting chance?  I wept, for what seemed like hours and nobody moved.  My heart shattered on that table and I cried in pain, in fear, in lose, and frustration.  I cried because I didn’t know if I would be more disappointed if I didn’t wake up from surgery or if I did.  I cried because it was the only thing left in me to do; breathing, speaking, venting, none of it is working anymore.  And suddenly my surgeon walked over to me, tucked my picture under my sheets and just over my heart, looked me kindly in the eye, and with a broken heart herself she whispered, “Jenelle, I am going to put you to sleep now”.  And she did, and it was perfect.  It was magic actually, to carry all that pain, to release it and then just calmly fall asleep.  It was the best gift I have received during my time in Australia and an outreach I will forever appreciate. 

Home is on the horizon and I couldn’t be happier.

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Welcome baby Gertrude…

Sometimes all you can do is chalk it up to a bust…Australia has been one large bust!  A car accident, a lost computer, being sick for much of the time, not to mention terribly lonely, and now….drum roll please….a live parasite roaming around under my skin!  Yes folks you heard me right!  Australia’s rarest parasite with only a handful of cases recorded has indeed implanted itself into me.  Typically this parasite is ingested so you don’t really notice it, but on me, I am the rare and only case recorded here where it has burrowed itself into the top layer of my skin….on my bikini line!!!  After our car accident we were stuck on the road for a few hours where I proceeded to pee in the ditch, I thought I felt a bite during my little urinating session and quickly pulled up my pants with the heebie-jeebies and a half full bladder; I soon discovered that bite was about the time when my new friend decided to hitch a ride. 

So  I can now feel this parasite crawling around under my skin, I sit down and I am getting in the way of my new little friend (and she makes quite a scene), I go to bed and try to fall asleep and the only thing I can think of is the alive creature disturbing (and infecting) my body.  This means I am a complete mental nut-job right now.

After two days in the hospital I finally drove to another town who I heard had better suited doctors for a more immediate solution.  They indeed did and were able to book me in for a surgery right away.  So this evening was spent in surgery under anesthetic where they “hopefully” removed it.  If they did not get it all I am on a parasite medication that will kill poor Gertrude (we felt she deserved a name) within 21 days.  Until then my new friend may be sticking around, but for my sanity please cross your fingers that isn’t the case.

Seriously though, ive been sat on by an elephant, my sister had the youngest baby in the world to be born with cancer oozing from her every orifice and my Dad fell out of the sky…literally!  Why wouldn’t I get Australia’s rarest parasite?  And why wouldn’t I get it on the most awkward place possible?  Australia was supposed to be the easy country, the fall back country to an effortless travel experience, but of course with my luck nothing can be that simple.  Tonight before surgery the anesthesiologist asked if I was aware that death is possible when put under, she also made it very clear “it is very unusual”.  I was talking with my mom and my sister on the phone as she said this and the three of us burst into a nervous laughter – “unusual” is pretty much the understatement of our lives, in fact it may have turned into our life motto. 

So on that note I am itching (hahaha) to get home.  I am going crazy and it is possible I have already lost my mind.  This is too much, wayyy too much!  Wish me luck that I can find an earlier flight home and until then pray that me and Gertrude learn to co-exist in a much more productive manner…or at least be nice to one another.

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When you wish upon a star…


Be careful what you wish for, that’s what they say isn’t it?  For years I have wished I had a healthier balance with fear.  From the time I was a young child I was more of a dare devil, honestly that is my Dad in me and it’s a quality I loved and so did he.  I was proud to accept his challenges, to be brave, to “not let fear control me”.  But just as my father did at times, just as many people do, I too took a lack of fear too far sometimes.  This however has changed dramatically since my Dads passing as I now seem afraid of everything.  I do not want to get hurt, I do not want to put me (or my family indirectly) in a compromising position.   
The other day we went driving off-road to a private beach with a couple host couples we were staying with.  I could tell by the conversations this was going to be a rough ride with a bit of a dare devil himself driving.  I was really clear with everyone that I wanted to take it easy and because of my Dad I am really nervous to get hurt.  I know what it’s like though to not have fear and to want to show people a bit of a crazier side of life so the driver decided to do just that and unfortunately after a fairly scary drive we got into a car accident.  Thankfully everyone was alright.  I got whiplash and my neck and back have been killing me ever since but comparatively in life right now it’s really not much to complain about.
The part that is scary is the thoughts that this accident brought into my mind.  It made me realize how much my life is out of my control.  I could get into any vehicle and be killed or paralyzed from someone else’s actions, nothing I can control unless I chose to never drive with people again.  I could walk across the street and get hit by a bus, I could get bit by a venomous snake, I could chock on a cherry seed.   Life is delicate and I cannot shake that thought from my mind.
This is not a good time to get into an accident.  Its not a good time to see a vehicle coming towards us, to know we are going to crash and to understand it could get messy.  Almost instantly I was thinking about my Dad and seemingly absorbing the seconds it took to crash, quietly thinking to myself “is this what it was like”?  These thoughts aren’t fair and they are not what I want.  I want a refreshed mind, a mind innocent to what it would be like for a loved one to die a horrible death.  I want to be off-roading in Australia, get into a little fender bender and get out of the car shaking it off and writing it up as another crazy experience.  Unfortunately this is no longer how my mind works.  A once requested prayer for a healthy amount of fear in my world has backfired and im left scrambling in a world consumed of fear which is completely foreign and new to me.  Balance people, I need balance!

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Australia week one…

Week one in Australia has been a rollercoaster of emotion.  I am so glad my first few days of settling in are over as I think the adjustment more than anything was proving to be really tricky.  I am happy to report things have been better for me these past two days.  My last blog post had a few people worried and I want you to know you shouldn’t be, it is just my way of purging.  I knew coming over here would be hard, and it was/is but I also knew/know that I am strong and able to make it through this.  The fact of the matter is I am going through a really difficult time and I don’t know when hearing truths or speaking them became so difficult for some people but it is my reality and I choose to be realistic about it.  Sometimes I have happy things to report back about, sometimes I have sad things, I believe it is part of the process and I don’t believe it is helpful to anyone to have things candy coated.  It’s like asking a person how their day is going and expecting to hear a “good” in response when both of you know that’s not the case, it’s pointless. 

This week has been quite an adventure.  We have spent most of our time in Sydney and although it was a great city to visit I am excited to be out exploring more of the country.  During our stay in Sydney we were hosted by a wonderful couchsurfer Charl who was wonderfully helpful and great company.  Throughout our week in Sydney we saw some of the highlights of the city; we ate Kangaroo, experienced some fun markets, and spent a couple fun days on the beaches.  Sydney tried its best to take me in and spoil me; it offered me some patience then gently nudged me on to a different direction. 

So the other day we rented a car and threw an add up on gumtree for a ride share.  The day was quite interesting with a newbie in the backseat and Quinn learning to drive on the wrong side of the road; both interesting experiences.  Giggles were in order much of the day and it was a well needed few hours of downtime and laughing.  On our drive we stopped at a place called Seal Rocks and it was a simply beautiful beach where we laid out for a while and took a break from driving.  The guys went climbing rocks and I sat in the sand, coffee in one hand and a book on grieving in the other.  This was the first time where I was able to stop myself and think “you know Jenelle, this could be an alright way to grieve…you might want to give it a better try”.

A few hours later we arrived in Port Macquarie where we were greeted by another CS host who was so lovely and within minutes we were making plans to stay an extra day longer with him.  He made us the most wonderful Indian supper and we spent the night eating much too much and talking until late in the evening.  The following day was spent with our host spoiling us by driving us around to all the prime spots and showing us straight Australian magic.  Within one afternoon we had seen a family of Wallabies, a handful of wild Koalas, dozens of dolphins, local lizards and birds, and some of the finest private beaches I have ever seen.  It was so thrilling to see all of these amazing things…there is a rush I get from newness and today I felt high all day, it was simply wonderful.

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Australia…oh joy!

Oh how I wish I could report back happy news on my first Australia blog.  I wish I could tell you I am having the time of my life and enjoying myself to the utmost, or that I am finding a mysterious healing magic power that is unavailable in Canada, this however is not the case.  So far this trip has been very very hard, actually much harder than I thought it would be and right now the only thing I want is to be home.  I have learnt from this experience that there is no one who knows me better than me.  So many people encouraged me to go on this trip and told me how healing it would be.  I knew in my heart it was too early to be going so far away for such a long period of time and I am already regretting I did not stick to my instincts. 
 
Now don’t get me wrong, I am trying to enjoy myself but right now I seem stuck.  Yesterday I went to the Sydney Opera House, this is a dream place to visit for many people and as I stood in front of that magnificent building the only thing I could think was “humph isn’t that just a lovely place, now how many days is it until I get home”???  Today I took a ferry around Sydney, I cried and my heart broke into a million pieces when I realized half way through the trip that I just took away yet another “last” with my Dad.  The last time I was on a boat was with my father in one of my most favorite places on earth, and I took that away from myself today, my last boat ride will never again be with my Dad.  I am staying in one of the most beautiful flats Sydney has to offer, as I look out on the balcony I look past the harbour bridge, past darling harbour, and I see grass and pavement.  I wonder what the grass and pavement is made out of here and I know the one person who would know (or find out for me) was my dad, we had countless conversations over grass and pavement, I didn’t even realize how much I asked about these things until now.  I want to know what this pavement is made from and why they choose those materials; I want to know so fiercely it gives me anxiety when I think about it. 
 
This morning I went to Manly Beach, a world famous beach that I have seen in pictures a million times.  Quinn went for a walk and I found myself alone in a puddle of tears.  Looking around all I could see was black seaweed and charcoal from late night fires in the sand…mixed together they looked awfully similar to the remanence of a burnt plane.  And this is my reality, sitting on a beach in one of the most beautiful places on earth and all I can think about is the absolutely horrific way my Dad had to die.  I am sad and I am angry and I feel alone.
 
I do not feel safe here thinking about my Dad.  I do not feel comfortable grieving him the way I think I should.  The moment I think of him my world seems to crumble and its not exactly convenient to become a mess of tears when your standing in the middle of the botanical gardens with hundreds of people surrounding you.  I want to lay on the ground and kick and scream in anger when those feelings arise, I cant do that stuck on a boat in a crowd of people.  I want to fall asleep with my mom and sister, I want to have games nights with my aunts and cousins, I want to receive text messages from my uncles, I want my mom to hug me when I am sad, I want to see pictures of my Dad hung up in every room…these are the things that make me feel better and these are the things I cannot have in Australia.
 
So to sum it up, I suck right now, I suck really bad at enjoying Australia.  Not exactly the update everyone expected to hear I’m sure, but none-the-less it is my reality and now more than ever I want to go home.
 
Image Source:  weheartit.com

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He and I, me and him

He and I, me and him…

One more sleep and Quinn and I will be boarding a plane to the other side of the world.  In less than 48 hours we will be discovering Australia, amazed by its beauty, and eating up the newness of yet another beautiful land.

I wish I could say I was more excited for this trip, its crazy to think that im not.  I am blessed to be able to travel the world and see all of these magnificant places and yet this time it feels too soon, too unsettled to be going anywhere.  I have never been scared to go somewhere before in fact I have never experienced fear like this in my life, but indeed I am am wrapped up in worry and unable to clear these feelings from my mind.  I know I will be alright and I know I am strong enough to do this, I hope however that I am strong enough to want to do this.

Please keep Quinn and I in your prayers while we are away.  Ask we are able to soak up this beautiful blessing and leave behind the anxiety and stress.  Ask  that I dont have a straight panic attack on our 24 hour flight, and ask that we enjoy ourselves and live in the moment rather than remain focused on everything else going on our worlds.  Please pray a million prayers for us and never underestimate what a gift it is to me when you are bringing us to God.

Oh and the beautiful picture above was taken by the lovely Tiffany Matson.  She spoiled us with her photography-love as a going away gift and I couldnt be more thrilled with the way they turned out – ill be sure to post more soon!  Be sure to check out her website to see the whole collection of our photos and many more.

The picture below is of the last flight I/we have taken.  I suppose maybe that has been another reason I have been aprehensive about this trip.   The last time I was in an airplane my father was the pilot.  I dont want that “last” to go away.  I want to forever think that the last time I was above ground looking at all the beauty of this world it was with my Dad.  I am scared to replace my “lasts” with my Dad, and I know tomorrow as I board that plane my last flight will never ever again be with my father – this is terribly sad for me.

But alas we are leaving, we are getting on that plane.  We are opening our hearts to new challenges and we are well aware there will be many blessings coming our way.  Wish us luck!

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Australia or bust?

Hindsight is always 20/20, whoever said this first was a mighty smart person.  As I think about my dooming Australia trip this quote seems so true.  Not long ago my sister grieved her greatest loss in the arms of Australia after her daughter passed away.  How could I think of booking a trip to the place that takes us Matson girls in and gives us a home while we tend to our open wounds and weeping spirits?  How silly of me to think I could flippantly wander around the country without the luggage of a broken heart.  Nieve and ignorant, thats what I feel tonight.

In ten days I am supposed to be boarding a plane to the other side of the world.  A once overly anticipated trip seems to linger on my mind in the form of a big black cloud now.  I do not want to go.  I have had one simple month to gather my thoughts after my fathers passing.  I haven’t caught up on bills, on thank-you’s, on friends, on me.  When was I supposed to fit in planning a trip?  Time since Dad’s death has this strange warping ability.  It feels like I just found out of his passing three days ago and I have yet to peel my broken body from off the floor, yet the gut-wrenching thoughts playing over in my mind seem to be familiar voices for what feels like years.  Time, she’s a tricky one.  I cant keep up, I cant escape it, I have not moved forward one inch.  I dont know how to leave home; literally I am just learning to shower again, to get ready for the day, to leave the house, to be away from my mom.  Life has been too busy to sit down and grieve for longer than a simple moment at a time, so packing my bag and flying to the other side of the world seems all too impossible right now.

BUT (there is always a but), it is hard not to go.  I never planned much this past year so my Dad was always up in the air as to what I would do next.  This is the one thing he knew I would be doing in the future.  The ONE thing.  All those big life events (or even the mundane ones) Dads get to know about their daughters, my father didn’t get to find out about me before he passed.  He didn’t know what my next job will be, when I would get married, how many kids I will have, or anything about the rest of my life.  The only definitive thing my father knew about my future was that on November 9th I would be packing my bags and heading to Australia with Quinn.  I suppose I want to go because this trip is the last thing my Dad knew about where my life would bring me next, some of my very last moments with my Dad were spent talking about my plans to Australia.

So what do I do, stay or go?  Today I believe I will go, yesterday it was out of the question.  I dont know what would be best for me right now.  Australia has the potential to break my already volatile spirit into a million more pieces but it also has the potential to give me time to breathe and heal in a unique and new way.  This folks is a tough one and once again I cannot make up my mind!

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