As it turns out, I lied in my previous blog post. Rachel DID NOT travel with me to Australia. I went alone! This had to do with a huge hold up in her visa. Turns out that one parent traveling with a child without the other parent is kind of a big deal. We had to get her birth certificate notarized, as well as other forms that documented my husband giving the approval for her to leave with me. We didn’t receive her visa in time, and as of today we STILL have yet to receive her visa! It was costly and very frustrating to say the least! We talked and prayed about it and decided that we had already invested too much into the trip and that I should just go anyhow. My hubby steeled himself for a week alone with the kids and we just figured that God had a reason for things turning out the way they did.
So when my suitcase (borrowed from my parents) busted at the Brisbane airport and I was stuck carrying it (40+ pounds – with the handle also jammed in the “up” position), I was pretty glad I wasn’t also carrying Rachel in the front pack as well as all of her milk/diapers/sippy cups, etc. And when we took ferries and buses and walked for miles and miles and toured several museums while in Brisbane – I was also glad we weren’t having to scale it way back to allow for naps and early bedtimes. And when my flight got delayed in Vancouver for 4 hours after NOT SLEEPING at all on the long 13 hour flight home, and the trip home from the airport was really long (3 hours) due to horrible traffic, I was also VERY GLAD she wasn’t stuck in the airport and car with me. As much as I was really sad to leave her home, I was glad in the end that it worked out the way it had. Perhaps it was due to utter exhaustion on my part by the end of the trip!
Some highlights from the trip:
-Getting to hang out with my nephews. Love these kiddos so much.
-Getting to spend lots of time with my sis. I sure do value time with that girl, and boy do I ever learn heaps about godly parenting from her! Here we are at the botanical gardens (free and BEAUTIFUL!).
-Banyan Fig tree at the botanical gardens. Super massive and cool.
-Getting to ride the free ferry just about everywhere we wanted to go. The weather was very comfortable so it was almost never chilly. We always sat on the top!
-Incredible sunset while waiting for the ferry one day. I wished I had brought my nice camera more than once!
-Visiting the MacArthur Museum. A piece of history I knew very little about.
-My sister had a medical appointment so I took the kids to the Science Centre. It was a little young for the kids but they still had a lot of fun.
-Visiting a Maritime Museum. They had an old warship that they let us explore on every deck and room. The kids really loved it.
-We took a couple of buses to get to the Koala Sanctuary. WOW! So many incredible animals there!
-It never crossed my mind that I’d be petting kangaroos… and it wasn’t like there was a zookeeper breathing down my neck, either. There was an entire field full of kangaroos and people could come and go and pet the kangaroos as they pleased! (And no, we didn’t have to sign waivers, either.)
-Seeing the mama with her joey was really fun. Marsupials are very interesting!
-We took the free ferry at night (it runs until midnight) through all of its stops and just enjoyed the boat ride, the city lights, and all the bridges we went under. It was rainy and a little chilly, but really fun.
And when I finally got home, exhausted and jet lagged, I arrived to happy kids and a husband who had flowers waiting for me. Talk about spoiled! I missed them all so much.
As a wife and mom of two young children, I find it pretty odd that I went to Australia for a week all by myself– it was definitely against the grain for me to do something like that. In fact, I cried when I learned that Rachel’s visa wouldn’t be coming in time! But after a week of learning about completely new things and gaining new perspectives in parenting, and having more quiet time to pray and really think– I came home very refreshed, and I can’t say that it wasn’t a good thing for any of us. Once again, I am reminded that the Lord knows what we need before we do!