After three amazing days in Sydney, you’d think this post would be chock-full of pictures of the Opera House, the Sydney Harbor Bridge, and Manly Beach . . . don’t worry, those pictures are coming, but for this post at least, they’ll have to wait.
Because there’s something I’ve been even more impressed with lately. Or rather, someone.
I’ve been impressed with this someone long before this trip was even a dream, but something about this trip has shown me all over again just how capable and kind and encouraging this someone is . . .
Day One: March 16, 2017
. . . he helped me get all the last-minute shopping done even though I could have done it the day before while he was at work
. . . he helped me pack all the things we thought we might need for the next two months into our suitcases and then willingly lifted them onto the scales for me even though he’d just gotten an adjustment at the chiropractor
. . . his strong arms are the only reason we were able to wrestle two big, weight-maxed suitcases, an unwieldly, falling-apart suitcase, a carry-on suitcase, a backpack, and a duffel to and through the airport
. . . he’s the one who was always running to fill the water bottle
. . . he made sure our seats were together on our long flight to Sydney, which was actually rather funny because our seats already were together and we didn’t realize it . . . “ABCDE, you know the alphabet?” said the ticket lady
. . . and of course, he’s the one who had arranged our tickets beforehand and made sure everything went smoothly at our various gates . . . including dealing with the very somber Canadian patrols when we went through customs
I’m sure you know who this someone is by now, but I’m not done yet. 🙂
Day Two: March 17/18, 2017
. . . even a fifteen-hour flight is a good place to be when you’re with your husband
. . . he let me use his shoulder for a pillow but ended up holding my head up while I slept for quite a while because it kept falling off his shoulder . . . I think I would have woken him up once my arm started hurting, but he didn’t
. . . he was confident and friendly to the people we were sitting by and struck up a conversation with them
. . . even the best of heroes forget things now and then, so now we can say we were homeless in Sydney for a little while . . . we were in the air over the Pacific somewhere when he realized he forgot to book us a hotel, so we were flying to a strange city with nowhere to go. . . but after weaving us through Australian customs, collecting our hordes of baggage (it wasn’t all ours, in case you were wondering), and finding the way out to where it seemed likely Uber would pick us up, he hotel-searched until he found something affordable and comfortable
. . . his easy friendliness showed up again when the Uber driver did, and they talked all the way from Sydney International Airport to Central Station Hotel
. . . our room wasn’t ready yet and wouldn’t be for a few hours, but he’s the one who got us checked in and who made sure we could leave our bags at the hotel instead of lugging them around the city as we waited for our room
. . . he made being in a strange city so easy . . . all I had to do was follow him . . . down to the corner café for lunch and then on to the supermarket for a few groceries
. . . he’s the one who asked for directions
. . . he’s the one who translated kilograms to pounds and Australian dollars to US to make sure we weren’t getting bad deals
. . . and he’s the one who made it all so fun even though we were both very tired and a little overwhelmed
I realize almost every day all over again why I fell in love with him. But that’s still not all. 🙂
Day Three: March 19, 2017
. . . he makes me laugh every day, and this day it was, “Too bad we didn’t bring the chessboard. We could play coffee and drink chess.”
. . . he’s not only the one who asks for directions, he’s also the one who actually listens and remembers those directions, which comes in very handy in a huge, busy, somewhat chaotic city like Sydney
. . . he got us to Central Station and asked around until he figured out where to buy us Opal cards, the public transit card that you “tap on” and “tap off” with every time you use a bus, ferry, or train. . . one trivial yet very important thing that I love about him is that he likes to eat as much as I do, so when we saw chicken kebobs at nine o’clock, of course it was time for lunch . . . we just might have eaten several lunches that day . . . one day our unfulfilled motto was “lunch after every stop" 🙂. . . he chatted with the people a few seats behind us on the train and got a few touristy details out of them about what not to miss in Sydney . . . I’m continually impressed with how someone can be looking at us funny or with an unfriendly expression (probably because I look so different), but then once Eric starts talking to them, they’re suddenly our friends
. . . he wasn’t too fazed by the dumping rain in Katoomba after an hour and a half train ride to get there, even though we were in flip flops and light jackets and had no umbrella . . . he just led the way again, and we ended up in an Anglican church at the end of their service asking for directions to where we could buy an umbrella
. . . he also found out something we could go do while we were in the Blue Mountains, which was to go see the Three Sisters
. . . when it was lunch time for real, he was as ready as I was to buy some yummy bready pizza things, and after those, to buy an even yummier-looking pastry (it was the opposite of yummy)
. . . but between lunch and the pastry was a frantic rush up a steep, wet hill in soggy, slippery flip flops to try to catch our bus to the Three Sisters, but he wasn’t upset that I couldn’t go as fast as he could or that we ended up missing our bus
. . . so it was back for the pastry, but then we saw another bus and went chasing after it up the same steep, wet hill in the same soggy, slippery flip flops, only to discover it wasn’t our bus . . . but he’s the one who encouraged me to hurry up that hill again, even though my legs were so tired, and he’s also the one who suggested throwing the rest of the disgusting, disappointing pastry away 🙂
. . . we finally caught a bus to Echo Point, but it was so foggy we couldn’t even see the Three Sisters . . . he said we should take a picture anyway and even asked someone to do it for us . . . I think I would have felt silly asking someone to take a picture of us in front of a blank wall of fog, but I’m glad we have it now!
. . . we had a worse time trying to catch a bus back to Katoomba than we did catching a bus from Katoomba—the first one filled up before we could get on, and the next two were very long in coming and both going to the wrong place—but when we did finally see our bus, he made sure we got on it, even if it meant not letting the old Asian ladies push us out of the way (it’s a good thing he did, too, or we might have missed the last train back to Sydney)
Moral of that story: don’t travel without someone like Eric or you might end up spending the night in a train station because you missed your train. 🙂 He’s the best to travel with.
Day 4: March 20, 2017
. . . after our soggy, somewhat disappointing and overwhelming day the day before, we were pretty excited to take a ferry to Manly Beach
. . . the day turned warm and sunny, and we had an amazing time . . . riding the ferry and seeing the Opera House in all its real-life glory; eating Chinese, Mexican, and ice cream (at different times of course) in the food court in Manly Wharf; souvenir shopping in Manly (and only ending up with something for Uncle Wes); walking Manly Beach . . . it would have been amazing to do all those things anyway, but it was so much better because of him (even if he did buy me sunglasses and I hate sunglasses)
. . . he even got us a tour of the inside of the Opera House after we got back to Circular Quay . . . that’s one building I’ve wanted to see for a very long time, and it was pretty unbelievable to be there
. . . after so much walking around, we were quite tired, but we wanted to see the city at night, and it was our last day there, so Eric decided we’d pay the extra train fare to go back to our motel room till it got dark and then come back out in the evening . . . he takes such good care of me
. . . when we went out later, we couldn’t find a place to eat and even ended up leaving one place because it was taking too long, but Eric was really polite about it and told them we were short on time
. . . then we couldn’t seem to find the right train to get to Milson’s Point and ended up back in Circular Quay instead . . . he got something figured out eventually though, and we finally ended up walking on the Sydney Harbor Bridge
. . . the lights of the city and especially of the Opera House were amazing, but I was too busy getting rather sick to my stomach on the bridge, so he took all the pictures and didn’t make us stay on the bridge too long
. . . he then figured out where to catch a little ferry back to Circular Quay, so we got to ride the ferry at night, too, and there were even fireworks over the Opera House as we got back to the wharf
. . . the trains gave us another runaround on our way back to our motel, and we ended up in Circular Quay twice, but again he asked questions till we finally figured out how to get back
He just goes and does it! And he does it so well . . . I couldn’t count the times I was so relieved that he was the one figuring out the trains or the money or the ferry.
And that was just Sydney. That was in itself an adventure, and a very nice one, but I think the real adventure started when we got off our train in Armidale (well, maybe it started with wrestling those four overloaded suitcases across busy Sydney streets and down bustling sidewalks and up long hills and even up the escalator, but anyway) . . . an eight-hour ride brought us to Armidale, and Will met us at the station in his little beat-up ute (what they call pickups around here). A stop at Cole’s for some groceries, a stop at the laundromat for some towels, and a stop at the gas station for some petrol, and then we were on our way to Jazam.
We didn’t really have a clue what to expect. But even though the house is more rundown and empty than we’d hoped, and even though Will saw a rat or an opossum in the kitchen a couple nights ago, and even though we don’t have the whole place to ourselves (we have the downstairs; he has the upstairs), we’re making the best of it and having fun along the way.
And I think the biggest part of us being all right with everything is Eric. He’s encouraging, and he does the hard work, and he drives the stick shift ute down the wrong side of the road in the dark like he’s done it all his life (well, minus the few times we ended up on the other wrong side of the road), and he reminds me of the ways we saw God’s hand on this trip before we left and how we need to keep looking for it now. I don’t have the perfect man, but I wouldn’t trade the one God gave me for anything in the world. He’s amazing, and before I brag on the country we’re in, I just thought I’d brag on my sweet husband who makes it possible for us to be here.🙂