Thursday, September 29, 2005

2 days to go...

Hello cherubs, well we survived the big push to get out of the house! The removal men scared me a little bit when they arrived by asking me if I had any boxes and packaging that they could borrow.....hmmmm!

Anyway, it's all gone and Krista assures me there are lots of punky little angels in leather jackets looking after my boxes so that's the main thing.

So the order of the remaining days is to socialise our socks off.

Last night we had a lovely dinner with Alyn & AJ....depsite the fact that the high maintenance twins (Alyn and Adele) kept making requests to have their food changed. Ok, well Alyn's was cold so that was quite a good reason, me...I just didn't like mine much! Alyn made my Contemplator happy by asking lots of profound questions like "What is the most powerful experience you've had since being here?" "Which person has affected your life the most?" "Which was the most impactful teaching?"

Anyway, my next social engagement started 15 minutes ago (when I was still asleep) so I should stop and go out to be semi-comatose with more people that I love.

Speaking of which, the lovely Dalleys treated us to a pancake party the other night. David D's pancakes are one of the wonders of the modern world....and the secret is all in the special ingredient.

But if I tell you what it is, then I'll have to kill you!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Moving Day

The moment is upon us!

Today the movers come and take our remaining possessions. Hopefully they will then put them on a ship heading in the right direction for their cruise Down Under.

As I was labelling up the boxes yesterday, it was beginning to sink in that we are going to be living in New Zealand. It seems so unutterably sad that we only have 2 more days left after this with our lovely friends in TO.

Still, I am so glad this phase of preparation is reaching its end...we are pretty much done in.

From now on we can lift our gaze from the sale of the frying pan in front of us...and up to the mountains.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

In the battle of Adele & the boxes...


Monday, September 26, 2005

5 days to go in the big T.O.

Well dearly beloveds, the end is nigh, the fat lady is about to sing and the curtain is about to fall.

We've had our farewell party (thanks to Sarah - general enthuser and wave coordinator, Lynley - glamorous hostess despite snot, Stuart - equally glamorous host and cameraman, Cathy - purveyor of fine mango salsa, Gordon - chauffeur of luxury vehicle, David, Faith and Jenni - surprise guests from Old Blighty, Pete Lazar - wild card and NZ jokes coordinator int.)

And we've even been 'prayed out' at TACF this morning, so we really are holy enough to leave now.

Robbie has taken his lemon leather couches and the TV.

We only have the iron for 3 more days before it goes to its new home (Dave is upstairs ironing and not watching TV)

So, much weeping and gnashing of teeth is happening in our hearts and sometimes leaks out into our hankies.

We'll keep you posted with a painful, heart-rending, blow by blow that should be something to look forward to then!

(Any association with any real person is coincidental and not intended by the author, all fat ladies are purely fictional and should be taken as such. This blog is not intended to incite any bun-loving operatics to a diet of Ryvita and Oats.)

Friday, September 23, 2005

A tribute to my Nan

Today was the funeral of my nan, who died last week, aged 91.

While I couldn't be there with my family in England, I wanted to commemorate the occasion with some memories of Nan.

So thanks, Nan, for the way you used to crack up laughing at the dinner table till your eyes watered, for buying us the best presents from your travels around the world (I still remember the Niagara Falls kaleidoscope), for always feeding our sweet tooths with sneaky mars bars, for cooking us chops when we visited you in Liverpool, for having the school photos of your grandchildren all over your front room (even the ones we really cringed at).

I'll remember your good humour, the way you always had your nose in a good book and the undemanding way you just fitted in whether at home or on holiday with us.

Thank you for my mum....and for my life...without you, I wouldn't be here.

I am grateful and looking forward to seeing you again one day,


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

On packing...

That's it. I've had it.

I'm never buying anything else ever again.


(p.s don't tell Dave I said that)

Monday, September 19, 2005

News on our NZ Immigration!


We've just received an email from our Immigration Officer in London....she says that our application has been 'approved in principle' and the letter is in the mail!!

I guess that means all we have to do now is take our passports to London to receive our Migrant Workers Visas.

I'm a migrant.


I guess I'm turning from a Canuck into a Kiwi.

(hope it doesn't hurt)

Chelsea FC

An unlikely title for sure. It's true, I am not the most ardent football fan in the world (FC stands for Football Club by the way...I know that much). However I do occasionally deign to grace the sports world with my presence and turn up to watch a football match. Mostly this has been to Dave's footie matches back when we were dating and I thought standing in the rain on a cold Saturday morning was the most romantic thing ever.

But I have also seen 2 professional matches...a few years ago I saw Barcelona play in Nou Camp stadium...and 2 weeks ago in Old Blighty I had the unforgettable experience of watching Chelsea play at, er, the Chelsea Stadium, I forget what it is called. Let's call it 'Bob'.

So Dave and I turn up to Bob Stadium less than 24 hours after getting off a plane from Russia, and decide to celebrate jet lag by thronging the streets with about a million people dressed identically - in Blue Chelsea Shirts. You know in "Willy Wonka" that girl turns blue and spherical after eating the chewing gum with the Blueberry Pie dessert?....yep, a bit like that, multipled by a lot.

It was an alien landscape for a girl whose team sporting activities consisted of swinging a net attached to a pole, and propelling rock hard balls at other girls (aka Lacrosse). Everyone seemed very jolly of course and there was lots of sponaneous chanting and guffawing...and I felt some bonhomie for my fellow fans. Until I was stopped from entering Bob Stadium from an official in a day-glo orange bib. He eyed me suspiciously and insisted that I remove.... the cap from my water bottle.

Apparently I looked like the kind of sinister lout that would mindlessly throw the bottle cap at players on the pitch, thereby potentially causing one of them a small scratch just about the eyebrow. Strangely perceptive of him I thought. Sadly this event was to have more ramifications than I suspected....dah, dah, dah...

So we lined up like caged beasts (with Dave's sister Christine and nephew Matthew who had come up from Bournemouth to join us)...and waited with the bustling blue crowd till we could get into the stadium. Tension was running high as the clock kept on ticking....5 minutes till kick-off and we were still lined up....3 minutes to kick-off.....oh no, we were going to miss the beginning of the match! 'Now we'll never figure out, whodunnit' I thought to myself.

Eventually we got in and ran up 3 flights of stairs to the nose-bleed section of the East End stand, squeezed past everyone else who was already seated and sank exhausted into our seats. I leaned back to recover and discovered I was entangled with the man behind me. I tried hunching over in my seat instead, clasping all my belongings to me in my alloted square foot of space. The pitch was blazing bright and there was a sea of blue shirts filling the 30,000 seater was very impressive. I could even tell which team was which (they were playing Sunderland)...but was perplexed for a while trying to work out which way they were trying to go.

Then the fateful moment arrived. A harrassed man arriving late suddenly plunged at our row and started barging his way past, I hardly had time to grab my things and stand up before he was there, pushing past me....then the men in front of me leapt up, shouting and grabbing at their was a blur of confusion..what was going on? Why were they suddenly angry? Where were the oompa loompas when you needed them?

In that instant, the sound of running water caught my attention, I glanced down and saw in my own hand my water bottle tipped upside down - lidless - and dousing the men in front of me. I was pouring a lot of water down the back of their shirts.
I could have pleaded jet lag...I could have pleaded my gender....I could have cried....I could have got punched, more to the point. But I did what all good cockneys would at that moment, I dropped me aitches...."Sorry mate, sorry about vat lads, forgot about me water bottle being lidless, bless yer 'arts gents, sorry mates, my mistake"

So that was my eventful footie match with Chelsea.
(Oh and they scored twice by the way)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

From Russia With Love

Well we've just got back from Far East Russia. And that's not a phrase I ever expected to say. It was actually a bit embarrassing because we told everyone we were going to Siberia, we named the school "Siberian Leaders School" and we announced to the 100 Russian pastors that we were delighted to be in Siberia.

Cue looks of incomprehension and muttering in Russian (which sounded a little bit like this...zhschooyahschrrra...nyet...sczhschzhhhrrrrszhhhrzzzhyahna.....schzidiots.....
schrrrrnayagobacktoTorontolosersanya). Turns out we weren't in Siberia after all....nope, we were even more remote than that! Excellent. Thought that the 14 hour time difference was a little extreme for somewhere as local as Siberia!

Dave and I were leading the school with David & Faith Dalley from Bath City Church - they just happen to be the parents of my lovely friend in TO, Sarah. We first met on a Leaders School in Nigeria where I accidentally scarred David for life by pouring boiling water on his hand in a dimly lit corridor in Aba. And that's enough about that.

I've always wanted to go to Russia, partly because my mum speaks fluent Russian, but also because I've long loved their melancholy, soulful literature and their melancholy, soulful history. (It's ok, I'm not going to claim to be Anastasia the Tsar's long lost daughter...but only cos that would make me about 100 years old!).

Fortunately the pastors that we were with weren't melancholy in the least despite having spent about 48hours on a train to get from their obscure Russian villages to the location of the school. In fact they were pretty much the only people in Russia that we saw smile.

We couldn't believe it when on the first evening of the school, after David D. did a brief introduction to the Father Heart of God, these big Russian men were just weeping. One of the main local pastors, Eugeny, had an amazing encounter with God - a real Ed Piorek Central Event - while my Dave was giving him a "Father Heart" hug. He was completely overwhelmed by the love of God and pretty much drunk in the Holy Spirit for the next 2 weeks!!! We have never met a people group like the Russians - they were so hungry for God and so incredibly receptive, we were blown away. We had sessions from 9am till 11pm at night...when the team would stagger off to bed, exhausted. Meanwhile, the Russians would stay up and worship for another 3 hours! Many of them live in obscure villages where they are the only Christian (they call themselves Missionaries as they are going to places unreached by the gospel)...and the chance to meet up with fellow christians was very exciting!

You can still tell that Russia is not long free from Communist control - you still have to register with the government in every place that you go to so they know at all times exactly where you are. One Russian commented to me that she loved the faces of Americans because they were so open and free. It seems like under communism it didn't do to draw attention to yourself by smiling or laughing...and so there is this kind of blank Russian expression that lingers today.

Meanwhile, let me tell you about the exciting breakfasts we had at the Sanatorium we were staying favourite day was the day we came down to a huge bowl of pasta each, drizzled in oil and with a small sprinkling of cheese. Yum - who needs toast and tea??!!

We had an incredible team with us - the glamorous American Greg Veenstra (the Russians loved him so much they treated him to a national favourite....a pig fat sandwich with garlic cloves), the lovely Caroline Bone and Joel Freeborn from Bath, and our incredible interpreters...Oksana soon-to-be Dunnagan, Naomi and Yana.

Oh and by the way, an internal flight in Russia is an experience not to be missed....let's just say the No Smoking signs are taken as suggestions rather than as an actual instruction....

Nonetheless we would be very happy to return.... to Russia With Love.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Random & Spontaneous Blatherings

Hi and welcome to my toe-dip into the 21st Century (that is where we are at, right?).

Having been inspired by my technobabble friends, Alyn and AJ, I have been corralled into creating my own blog. What?! An opportunity for me to post my own blatherings in a public forum...has the world gone mad? This should not be allowed.

Even more are currently reading my randomaneous's not too late for you...get out while you can, save yourself...take the last's too late for me!