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Small Miracles

August 11, 2015

I love when people ask me why I moved to Russia and I get the chance to tell them the whole story about wanting to live by faith and how that my time in Russia was the best one and a half years of my life and how God did little miracles for me all the time. There truly is nothing more exciting than getting to live by faith and getting to watch God work. It’s not always easy when you are up against a wall and totally dependent on God to work things out, but every single time He comes through and leaves you in awe of just how He does it. And the more He does it, the more you miss it when you fall back into the routine of living by sight and you lose sight of living by faith. Life just isn’t as exciting when we are in control.

A few weeks ago I was flying back from Japan and had a church friend scheduled to pick me up at 10:30 pm when I was to arrive. I was a little worried for her when she told me she’d never been to the international airport before but that she would figure it out. Then to make matters worse, my flight ended up being delayed by an hour and I had no way to get a hold of her. I only hoped she was able to use the flight tracker info I had sent earlier to find out about my delayed arrival.

Backing up a little…for the past few months my very old borrowed phone has decided to go completely on the fritz and do weird things like shut down in the middle of me doing something, even though the battery says it’s full. Sometimes if I wait a few minutes before turning it back on, it will then say the battery is partially full again. Or sometimes it will say 0%. Anyways, it just does completely random things and I can never depend on it anymore unless it’s plugged into the wall. Even then sometimes it will shut down. And sometimes when I turn it on, it has a new wallpaper on the background, one that has actions and pictures moving everywhere. I think it might be possessed. Anyway, it’s completely unreliable. Not the best phone to have when traveling.

Back to the airport. I had kept my phone off all day because I wanted to have battery left to call Cindy when I arrived so she would know where to find me. When we landed, very late, I turned on the phone and was surprised to see it only had 12% left! (for this phone 12% might as well be 0%). Since we weren’t allowed to make calls yet, I turned the phone back off to save the battery. When we finally were able to use our phones, I turned it on to see 6%. Then 1%. Then it shut off. I couldn’t believe it. Well, I could but…

The whole time I was walking through the airport and immigration I was unable to get enough juice to call her. I kept praying that it would just let me call her but it wouldn’t. I looked for outlets so I could sit and plug in the phone to call but couldn’t find any. I finally sat down on the floor in the baggage area and turned on my laptop and plugged in my phone to charge it from my computer battery. [Yes, people were looking at me like I was strange but I didn’t really care by that point.] But, to make matters worse, my phone cord doesn’t work very well and I couldn’t get it to charge for more than a second before it lost its connection. I tried and tried before seeing my bag coming down the belt but never was able to charge the phone. I packed up again and headed through customs and out to the arrivals hall. I again tried to charge my phone but to no avail. I had no idea how Cindy was going to find me, or if she was even still at the airport, now 1.5 hours later than when I told her I’d be there. I begged God to please just let her find me somehow as it was now after midnight and there was no public transportation available to me to get home. (With the distance I’d have to travel, taxis would be really, really expensive!) I had to work early the next morning so couldn’t just sleep in the airport.

With that last prayer for a miracle, I walked outside and across the street. In Australia you can’t just pull up at the curb to pick someone up, the close lane/street is only for taxis and shuttles, etc. Then there is a second street after the divider and that is where the cars drive. I crossed the first street and waited for the traffic to pass so I could cross the second street. The first car passed and the second car waved me to go in front of them. I started to cross when I realized the passenger in that car was frantically waving to me. I did a double take and saw my friend’s son waving to me. I was shocked that God had made it so simple to find her! Not only had we found each other within a minute of me walking outside, but she’d pulled up right in front of me! She later told me she’d been circling for 40 minutes, poor thing. But had she been a minute later we totally would have missed each other and I would have had no idea where to wait for her, and would have assumed she’d given up on me by that point. All I could do was smile and thank God for His perfect timing. He does things like that all the time.

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I can’t say I don’t stress at times when things don’t make sense to me, but I can say that I don’t doubt that God has a good plan through it all and that He will work things out for my good and His glory. My human nature still wants to try and take control sometimes even though my head knows that God’s got it all taken care of. But, the more you see God work, the more you have faith for the next trial or test that comes. And honestly, I don’t want to stop living like this. Part of my not wanting to live in America is my not wanting to give up this living by faith. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve been here but it’s just not the same when you are living in your own comfortable country where you know family and friends will step in to help out if you need it. You don’t even need to call on God, you just need to pick up the phone and call them. It’s totally not the same. But, I am excited for prospects for the future. Who knows what lies ahead, but I am super super thankful for other single Christian friends who have the same life goals as me and who are heading the same direction and who have the same vision and idea that I do. Here’s hoping that all our plans and dreams come to fruition!

Spoiled and Blessed

August 10, 2015

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I’m sitting here in Perth, in my friend’s house, listening to the pouring rain and thinking back over this past year, and these past 10 years. 10 years ago last month I stepped on foreign soil for the very first time. I never imagined back then that one day I’d do all the traveling that I have done these past 10 years. Whenever I scroll through all my pictures from various places (which I do quite often) I am overwhelmed by just how much God has blessed me. I am constantly taking strolls down memory lane through various countries and never get tired of remembering all the adventures. And this last year in Australia? This has just been the icing on the cake. I really can’t put into words just how amazing this experience has been! I am truly spoiled rotten.

The past few weeks here have been interesting and God once again showed me how He can take care of the details and work things out. On Friday, July 31st, my host mom/employer told me she had hired her next au apair and that she was going to start asap, even though I wasn’t supposed to finish until Sept. I always read stories like this on different au pair facebook groups I am part of, but never thought it would happen to me! You just never know what you will get when you sign up to live with a family that you don’t know. Thankfully nothing worse has happened. Anyway so a friend had already told me I could stay with her if that happened and so I packed up all my stuff and moved in with her for a week. Then God lined up a temporary job with a family who needs someone just for a little over a week until they meet their new au pair in Bali. Tomorrow I will start that temp job and then next weekend my parents come! [I am really, really praying for nice weather since we’ve had some rain these past few days.] There have been so, so many little details to work out with moving and my parents coming and yet God has taken care of all those details and I am so thankful. I couldn’t have worked it out on my own. I am thankful that He sometimes brings things into our lives just to show us how much He is able to take care of us and to work out all the details!

I am so excited about seeing my nephew and everyone else that I keep counting down the days till I am home. Which is kinda sad because I know when I am home I am going to miss Australia like crazy, so I really need to just enjoy these last few days and do as much as I can. But it’s so hard when my heart just wants to be home. [it’s really complicated, ha.]

Yesterday between church services my friends took me to a Mexican place for lunch (best “Mexican” I’ve had since I’ve been here), and then up to see “The Tunnel” that they had been telling me about for a while. It’s an old train tunnel up in the hills that is no longer used. It ended up being a beautiful day to be out in nature. Australia is so pretty. I really am going to miss this place.

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Okinawa

August 6, 2015

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit American friends who are stationed on Okinawa. Before I got there I didn’t know too much about the history of the island, but I do now. =) I didn’t realize that Okinawa wasn’t originally part of Japan or that it has its own unique culture . As my friend described it, it’s kinda like what Puerto Rico is to the USA. But in this case Okinawa actually is a prefecture, whereas PR isn’t a US state. Anyway, that helped me understand the relationship between Japan and Okinawa.

I had a nice, relaxing time there. The kids taught me some new games and we did some exploring and shopping and went to some cultural events. It was a really nice getaway. While I did get to spend some time in Tokyo, next time I go to Japan I will have to see more of the mainland. There is so much to see there.

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At the aquarium

 

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Look at the eyes and lips on this thing!

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This dolphn (and a ray) would NOT leave this diver/worker alone!

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FIsh that can climb rocks. Very interesting to watch them jump out of the water and run across the rocks!

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A “drinking fountain” that dispensed mouthwash instead of drinking water.

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Looking down on the whale sharks from above

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We went to the aquarium one day so I could see whale sharks since I was unable to make my schedule work to swim with them while in Australia =(

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One day Michelle and the kids and I went to one of the local castle ruins to explore. [Nakagusuku Castle.]

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Another day we hiked/waded through the river to get to this waterfall. So fun =)

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Did you know you can play the broom? =)

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One of the MANY turtle tombs around Okinawa

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This sign made me smile =)

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At the Eisa dance performance that we went to one night.

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The little kids were so cute!

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A musical road we drove down a few times. So much fun!

Home Sweet Home….in the Airport Again

July 20, 2015
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What a week [well, 12 days actually] this past week has been! After my adventure in getting to Okinawa, which actually turned out to be a good thing in that it let me see more of Tokyo, I spent about a week on the island sightseeing and relaxing with friends. We did a lot of relaxing, actually, since my sinuses kept acting up and that combined with the heat and humidity really knocked me out each afternoon. =( But it resulted in a nice combination of just hanging out and also sightseeing and it’s definitely going to be hard to go back to work tomorrow.

Right now I an sitting in the United Lounge at the Hong Kong airport being very thankful for my annual passes that my United credit card gives me each year. =) It’s so much nicer sitting in here getting free food and drinks and having a private space than being out there where I usually am.

I flew in from Tokyo last night at about 10:30 pm and by midnight the terminal I was in practically shut down and I didn’t see anyone else! It was so nice to stretch out and sleep for a couple of hours till the Lounge re-opened this morning and I was able to get back in, ha. I had originally planned to just stay in the airport overnight so that I could go see the Big Buddha this morning [since I ran out of time last time I was in Hong Kong] but I woke up this morning to heavy rain and thunderstorms [and the possibility that our flights might be impacted] so I guess I am just staying in the airport all day. =(

I opened youtube to play some music to drown out CNN on the tv here and youtube reminded me of this song that I love listening to. =) It’s nothing new, but if you haven’t heard it, do listen to it. Such a good reminder! I also love this song….reminds me of our trip to Jerusalem.

Just 6 more hours till my flight, ha. I still see flights taking off so here’s hoping that my flight stays on time!

Finally in Okinawa

July 13, 2015

You guys…I did it. I finally made it to Okinawa! Only three days later than originally planned, thank you Typhoon Chan-hom. Maybe sometime I will sit down and type out the entire saga for you to read. It was an adventure, start to finish, and all I can do is laugh when I think about it. [my real question in all of this is, “did I get frequent flier miles credited to my account for the flight that we took all the way to Okinawa and then back to Tokyo when we couldn’t land?” I somehow doubt it but I still hope so, ha. We need to get SOMETHING out of all that wasted time.]

Anyways, maybe I will post a real Tokyo post sometime soon, but for now, here is Mt. Fuji as seen from the air when we flew over it yesterday.

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Out-the-plane-window pics are never that great. Sorry.

 

The adventures of Japan…so far.

July 8, 2015
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Oh the [mis]adventures of this trip!

It started out well enough, last night. I got in to Narita International Airport and easily found my friends. They took me to a mall near their house, we got some food [well, I got a cupcake since Japan Airlines gave us so much food on the plane I wasn’t hungry], went to their house, got all settled in, and I got to sleep Japanese-style at their house [so comfortable!]. Got up this morning, they took me to the train station, I made it all the way through my connections and to Haneda Domestic Airport only to find out my flight to Okinawa had been cancelled due to the typhoon there. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. If only they had let me know before I got to the airport I could have skipped the 2.5 hours I spent traveling, plus the train tickets, and stayed at my friends’ house! So I managed to get online and get my Okinawa friend’s number and have the JAL help booth call her to let her know I would not be arriving today, and then I sat down to use the free wifi and figure out a plan. JAL had booked me on a new flight for the next morning, but the jury was (is) still out on whether or not that one would also be cancelled due to the typhoon. After emailing my mom the news, she sent me info she’d found on a hostel near the airport and I just booked it without paying much attention to it. I figured I’d figure it out after I grabbed some food. Well…long story short I wrote down all the details for getting to the hostel, bought a train ticket, got all the way there and found the hostel only to discover they don’t open till 6pm and the doors were locked. I tried to use a phone back at the train station to cancel the booking since I figured there was no point in me waiting till 6pm to drop my stuff and then try to go see Tokyo, so there was no point in me staying there, but the man who finally answered spoke only Japanese and that was no help.

So….I bought another train ticket and came back to the airport to be inside out of the drizzling rain and to use the free wifi. The free wifi is pretty elusive, and I had to try about 6 different locations before I was finally able to get a very weak signal. So now I just sit here..killing time till I can drag all my stuff back over to the hostel and figure out what to do next. It’s frustrating to keep wasting money on train tickets but there’s not much else I can do.

You win some and you lose some. So far this cancelled flight felt like a loss, then a win [an extra day to see Tokyo] then a loss [can’t see it till after 6 pm and keep spending money on train tickets]…Here’s hoping things are better tomorrow. Fingers crossed for no cancelled flights, good weather, and fun times tomorrow. =)

Catching up: Angkor Wat

June 30, 2015

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Because I am heading out tomorrow on a 3 week trip [yay for school holidays!], and am getting seriously behind in blogging, I figured I’d better dig into some of my past travels and try to catch up a little bit. The blog will be quiet for a few weeks as I don’t have any scheduled posts, but I’ll keep on trying to catch up as I have time.

One of the highlights of my Asia trip back in February was a visit to Angkor Wat, in Cambodia. As the largest religious complex in the world, (depending on your parameters) Angkor is pretty spectacular. My real reason for being interested in it, though, was the fact that it looked pretty fun to photograph. And it certainly was! Despite the crowds, and intense heat and humidity, I was still able to get a few shots that I really liked. The place would be absolutely fabulous for a photo shoot if there was no one else there!


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No it’s not a holgaish-edited picture, it just looks like that through the railings. =) That’s part of our group waiting for us below.

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Do you see the moon? =)

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If you get the chance to visit Angkor while on a trip to Southeast Asia and Cambodia, definitely plan to spend a while there. [They offer 7 day passes for a reason!] We only spent a few hours there and I really wished we’d had more time there!

 

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