Monday, 11 September 2017

Prayers Answered

We give thanks that Simon received notification from CASA (Aviation Authority) that they have granted him a restricted flight license.  He has been given a VFR (visual flight rating) which enables him to continue in his role as a flight instructor in the standardisation department.  In the future he hopes to challenge the aviation authority and pursue the full license with IFR (Instrument Flight Rating) and night flying.  However, one step at time.  Grateful we have made it this far.

Thanks to all of you who have been praying through this situation with us.  It has been quite the rollercoaster but thankful that God has been with us on the rollercoaster.  So thankful that we don't do this alone!

Friday, 8 September 2017

"Wombat" Week

"Some days just have me looking like a Wombat"

This past week or so has had some folks in our family looking more like a wombat due to being unwell.  Joshua has had some issues over the last few months with diarrhoea which we are having looked into but no specific cause has been found yet.  He has now been referred to a specialist.

On top of that he came down with pharyngitis at the beginning of the week and has been really unwell.  After another trip to the doctor this morning showed that he is improving but will take time. In the meantime Zara has come down with it also and Simon is now coughing and has a sore throat. We are praying that they don't get it as bad as Joshua and that I can rise above it.

However, through all the ups and downs of sickness we have had friends visit and had some special times together which we have enjoyed a lot.  Thankfully they are still healthy and doing well and have not picked up our bugs.  I will try and post some photos at a later date.  Time to do my rounds at the Wunderli "hospital".

Monday, 14 August 2017

Aussie Update

I used to think that when we lived on the Equator time went super fast but it seems in the southern hemisphere it is no different.

Some of you have been asking for an update on Simon's eye test the other week.  Sorry it has taken me so long to post an update.  He flew down to Brisbane and rented a car to drive to the clinic where he was to have the eye test.  Unfortunately he didn't pass this test either.  You may be wondering what does that mean for him and flying.  At this point we are not sure.  We are waiting to hear back from CASA and that could take some time.  Meanwhile life continues and Simon started his next course.  He will be taking a Indian lady through MAF's four week Standardisation course so that she can fly in our Northern Territory programme here in Australia.  He will be doing the same with a South Sudanese man who, in time, will return to South Sudan to fly all going well.  We might be in Australia but we continue to get to work cross culturally across more than just the Aussie culture.

Last Thursday we said goodbye to Simon's two sisters and brother-in-law who were visiting us from Switzerland.  It was fun to have them here and see parts of our neighbourhood that we haven't even seen yet.  This included snorkelling and diving on the Great Barrier Reef.  I am still amazed that we had the opportunity to do this even although it is on our door step.   We also visited some wildlife parks.  Normally we are on the lookout for lions, buffalo, leopards and elephants but this time it was crocs, koalas and different birds.

On one of our road trips as we were about to cross a bridge we noticed a group of people standing looking into the water.  Curiosity got the better of us so we stopped too only to find a very large crocodile on the opposite bank taking a snooze and a slightly smaller one in the water that would appear now and again.  Some guys were tempting it with a chicken on the end of a stick however there were no bites that day.

Below are some photos of our time together with family.  It was a special visit and we look forward to the next time.

Where are those turtles?

Shall I try standing next?

Who can spot Nemo?

Monika and Therese with "Crush"

Chillin on the beach...

Monika went along as a passenger on Simon's instruction flight.  Good practice for the student in passenger management :)

The girls just couldn't beat the boys!  Dani took the checkered flag each time!

Joshua making friends with a black parrot who squacked non stop

Zara and her furry koala friend Codi who just happened to pee right at that moment!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Colour Deficiency Update

Thanks to all of you who have been praying for Simon regarding his colour deficiency issue.  As mentioned before he failed his colour test with CASA and has now been referred for another test in Brisbane on the 2nd August.  Thankfully, CASA has not banned him from flying but have issued him with a restricted pilots license which enables him to continue in his training role with MAF

We are praying that it all comes together and the issue can be sorted out.  Another pilot that Simon works with has a similar colour deficiency and he is able to fly with no restrictions.  Just need to work through the red tape on this one.

Thankful  for your prayers as we navigate the challenges of living in another culture.  Life continues to keep us on our toes.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Aussie Update

The last couple of months have continued to be a whirlwind for us.  Between work, studying, school and training the days and weeks have just sped by.  

I  have just returned from the airport this morning as Simon needs to fly down to Townsville for an eye test.  We found out this week that the medical that was done in Kenya and the subsequent FAA waiver that Simon has for his colour deficiency has not been accepted by CASA (Aviation Authority in Australia).  They have asked him to do a further test.  He was on a early flight this morning and has an appointment at lunch time.  To be honest we are not that hopeful of him passing this test as the testing is very similar to one he did in London a number of years ago which he failed.  However, we can always pray for a miracle.  I will keep you updated as to the results.

Arnhem Land

A few weeks ago Simon was up in Arnhem Land for a week getting checked out on the caravan.  MAF serves aboriginal communities in this remote area of Australia through flights, outreaches and technology services.  You can find out more by visiting their website

Simon enjoyed being back in the caravan again and the plan is for him to help out in this programme in between the standardisation courses that he will be teaching.

Simon flew from Cairns to Gove Airport in Nhulunbuy.  Can you find it on the map? :)

MAF's hangar at Gove Airport in Arnhem Land

A view out the cockpit

I have been busy in the MAF office here in Cairns working in the HR department.  The department serves Arnhem Land, PNG, Bangladesh, Timor Leste and Mynamar along with the needs of the support office in Cairns and the Flight Training Centre in Mareeba.  Due to a shortage of staff the responsibilities have been shared far and wide in order to ensure that there is enough support for the programmes.  Next week we will be having interviews for one of the vacancies.  Pray for the right person to fill this slot.

Joshua and Zara are doing fine.. Their second term at school went well and are adjusting to the ways of doing things here in Australia.   We just returned from a camping weekend with friends.  We had a good time together and the kids were sorry to see the time come to an end.  I will post photos at some point.  They are still on holiday this week and have some fun things planned.

Thanks for keeping us in your prayers!

Monday, 22 May 2017

A new challenge

As many of you know I have been doing a Certification in Life Coaching to add to the qualifications I already have in Member Care.  I have enjoyed the course and hope to complete it in one more month. I have been already looking at opportunities for me to use what I have been learning and had a few conversations over the last weeks.

However, there has been some changes in the HR Dept here in MAF Australia.  Due to this there is a need for more staff members.  After an informal chat it became apparent that I could help in the interim and so discussions became more formal.  After discussing job profiles, contracts and agreements I will start on Tuesday, 30th May as HR Officer.  This will be for a time period of 6 months.  I am looking forward to the challenge and know I will be kept very busy.

The role is varied and many of the tasks will be new.  However, I am thankful for the experiences I have had in MAF Uganda which will help me in this new role here in Australia.  I look forward to joining the team here in Cairns.

I would value your prayers as it will be a big change for us all but thankful to have the family behind me and do their part to make this work.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Koala Moments

After living half of your life as an expat, and Australia being the fifth country you have lived in, it would be understandable if you sometimes feel like the koala in the picture above.  When cultural fatigue hits like a freight train, and it does, the only recoil is to sit on the proverbial branch and close your eyes for a bit.

This past year has been huge for our family in more ways than one.  As we adjust to our new “home” we often just have to have “Koala” moments.  A time to just be gentle on ourselves and realise it is going to take time to adjust to our new “normal”.  There are many reminders during the day that show us that Australia is not yet home and it will take a while.  We are the new round pegs trying to fit into a square hole and it just doesn’t work.  However, there will come a time when the round peg and the square hole will accept each other’s differences and will live comfortably side by side.

Cultural moments

On Saturday morning when I went to the servo (gas station, petrol station, filling station, or whatever else you might call it depending on your location and culture) and asked the man behind the counter for some ice for our esky (cooler box, chilly bin).  He looked at me and said I don’t understand.  I, of course, repeated it multiple times and still had the deer in the headlight look.  He asked the other customer “do you know what she is saying?” and he said “I have no idea”.  Then thankfully understanding came and he said “oh, you want some ice”.  Oh the relief, he got it.  I wondered if I had spoken in Chinese for a split second and that is why he couldn’t understand me.  Then to top it all when I was paying he said to me “are you local?”  I said I live locally but I don’t have the accent.  At which point he said I will give you locals rate then for your diesel.  We laughed at the irony.

Another day whilst in the local supermarket I was checking out at the self-check-out.  They have pictures on the display so it is usually easy to figure out what button to push for the vegetables and the fruit.  However, on this day I had a courgette but I couldn’t find the right button to push and the pictures weren’t helping.  It must be a zucchini then but no it wasn’t under “Z” either.  Thankfully, there was a helpful lady who saw my dilemma as I stared at the screen for probably too long without pressing any buttons and she told me what it was.  I think she said it was a marrow but can’t quite remember as she then proceeded to tell me what other vegetables are called that might not be so familiar in name.  I now know why we used picture books for one year olds to teach them what things are. (haha)

How to cut grass in Australia…..  Now you would think cutting the grass would be simple.  However, it takes time to figure out what patch of grass is yours and what part isn’t.  We were noticing people cutting grass but then leaving parts of it at one end.  Why would you do this?  Until you realise you are only responsible for the grass up to the imaginary boundary line of your property.  If there is still a couple of square metres of grass beyond that then you can leave it and it belongs to the neighbours.  I just found out recently that we haven’t been cutting our square metre on one side as I thought it belonged to the neighbor.  However, they have gone beyond the call of duty in these last months and cut it for us and we have been doing a bit extra on the other side.  Oh the things you learn.

The word “visa” gives a bit of a sinking feeling in the stomach when it is mentioned.  In the last 20 years or so I have been on a visa that gave me refugee status, a student visa, a dependents pass visa and now one that is affectionately called, according to some people online, “the slave visa”.  After all the craziness of the last months of trying to figure out visa issues the government is revamping the immigration system and the visa we are now on no longer exists.  It has been replaced by a newer one.  Thankfully, we will continue on the old 457 until it runs out in 4 years and hopefully, by then, we will have graduated onto a different one which will be more permanent.

There are many more stories that we could tell as we adjust to this country but this gives you a taster.  To end I will give you a bit of a laugh and insight into some Aussie words that we have been hearing along the way:-

Rellie’s – Relatives
Ripper – Great
Servo – Petrol Station
Thongs – Cheap rubber sandals
Rash vest – swim shirt
Togs - Swimsuit
Ute – Utility vehicle
Rego – Vehicle Registration
Arvo or Sarvo – Afternoon
Bikkie – Biscuit
Brekkie – Breakfast
Lollies -  Sweets or candy
True Blue -  honest and trustworthy
Avos -  Advocado
BYO – Bring your own
Chook -  Chicken
Chrissie – Christmas
Docket – Receipt
Dux – Top of the class
Reckon – Do you think so?
Kindie – Kindergarten
Freshie – Freshwater Crocodile

Saltie – Saltwater crocodile