Sunday, March 11, 2012

Australia Part I: Gold Coast Retreat and Rainforest

We're in Australia! It felt mostly like we're in a surreal dreamworld thanks to jet lag the first couple days. But now we're really having fun. We've become accustomed to the accents and new words. Some favorites: candies = lollies (people have given us all this wonderful new Australian candy to try), worn out = flat out, whining = winsing (kids' whining is a topic of discussion at EVERY Retreat!), exit = way out, yield sign = give way. April and I have learned to drive on the left side of the road and have found that we're constantly turning on the windshield wipers when trying to turn on the turn signal (we have to concentrate really really hard and we're pleased to announce we've had no head-on collisions yet!!). It's so green and beautiful here and it feels like a wonderful combination of England (with the accents and the green) and Hawaii (with the beautiful jungle-like plants and heat and humidity). We've met wonderful people who've welcomed us with open arms and made the Gold Coast Retreat run beautifully and we're staying with a kind, fun family who took us into their home without even knowing us.

We've spent most of our time here so far preparing for and presenting the Gold Coast Retreat. We found out that Australian moms (or mums I should say - we're getting used to that) have the same loves, concerns, and needs as American moms. It's great to see that everything is so universal. They laugh at the same things. They have the same hard issues. They love and cherish the same things about motherhood. It's great seeing how universal motherhood is.

Here's a glimpse of the Gold Coast Retreat (SUCH a fabulous group of women!) but you can see most of it on April's blog HERE:

Then yesterday (Sunday), we enjoyed church presented with beautiful Australian accents and were treated to two talks by people we actually knew (our hostess, Sharon, and one of our new friends from the Retreat, Hannah). The topic was families and it was so great to hear beautiful talks that totally built on what we'd been discussing at the Retreat. I got a bunch more great ideas. The kids loved going to Sunday School with Australian kids and seeing what the youth program here is like - a lot like in the United States!

After church, we headed off on a gorgeous drive through the rainforest - tiny zig zagging one-laned road through amazing views and vines and ancient huge trees. We were pretty excited when we spotted this on the side of the road - our first kangaroo!

We ended the drive at O'Reilly's Rain Forest where we got to explore beautiful botanical gardens and go on a "tree top walk" through the canopy of the rain forest.

More photos coming soon (slow internet connection here and I just spent an hour trying to put up photos that didn't load - so more later!)


Vanessa Portors said...

Looks like you had a great time exploring! So glad you saw a kangaroo - they are so beautiful in the wild!

Thank you so much for coming to the retreat - you reminded me of so many things that I want to share with my family (sometimes it's easy to get lost in the day to day for me)

Keep in touch - we'd love to keep sharing the message of Power of Moms (and I've already emailed my friends to setup our Learning Circle - can't wait to start!) xx

Jonah and Aja said...

Great post Saren! You were made to travel. Glad the retreat went so well too.


Melissa said...

It was so nice to meet you Saren. It was such a great weekend. I loved so much of what both you and April shared with us.....especially the simple reminders
e.g: it only takes a few minutes to gather your family to watch a gorgeous sunset together....
I can see our extended family enjoying a game of reverse charades soon.
Enjoy Sydney
x Melissa

KateWallPhotography said...

Welcome to the land down under!! And its beautiful weather here at the moment! Hope you enjoy visiting the country!

kelly said...

:-) hi there I'm Kelly from Victoria in Australia nice to see you love it here.
Gold coast is gorgeous in fact my husband and my children (I have 5 children ) go every year for a holiday....
Enjoy the weather it's gorgeous this time of year.

Jonah and Aja said...

saren- we are so glad you are there. we need to get you hooked up with some kiwi mums next and get you to NZ. enjoy.


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