We weren't looking forward to a long seven hour layover in the Los Angeles airport, so we decided to take off in a cab to eat on the harbor at Redondo Beach and walk around to pass the time.
We eventually made it on our plane to Sydney though. The flight was loooooooooonnnnnnnnggggggg. Alec took an ambien and dozed in and out of sleep for most of the trip. I managed to curl up in a small ball and sleep under the seats (I have been feeling the effects on my back ever since). Oh well, at least I slept. Then, after 14 and a half hours or so we could see famous Sydney Harbor out our window. It was beautiful!
We passed through customs (after 40 minutes in line) and found my mom and dad at the bottom of the ramp waiting for us. There was a red line that was painted on the airport floor to separate the passengers from the people waiting for their family and friends. You are not allowed to cross it. Apparently my mom was impatient (surprise, surprise) and crossed the red line a couple times hoping she could see us. We finally came down the ramp and saw my parents! I was so happy to see them! I've missed them so much and it was so great to get a hug from my mom and a big bear hug from my dad! My mom said, "I'm glad you are finally here! I crossed the red line 2 times and I was told if I crossed it one more time I'd be arrested!" (It's so comforting to know she is still "Diane.") They are incredible parents and I am so lucky to have them.
We first met some of the many friends my mom has made with the people that live in her neighborhood. We met Manny the Greek chicken man, Jimmy the fruit man with all of the beautifully-colored fruits in the picture above, Matt the butcher, Lisa, Emerson and Michelle who make our seafood and chips with chicken salt (so good!), and others.
My parents live in a little town called Oatley and are in the the Mortdale ward. There are more trains that leave from the Mortdale train station than the Oatley station, so after a quick run to get our legs moving, we boarded a train from Mortdale to Circular Quay where Sydney Harbor is. That's where you can see the Opera House, the Harbor Bridge, and take Ferries to different parts of the Sydney area and different ports and beaches. We headed to Manly beach on a ferry that gives such an amazing view of everything!
Alec was trying to look like a pirate but left his eye patch in another pair of pants.
We had to strike a "manly" pose on Manly Beach.
We had to do it.
On our second day in Australia we went to Stake Conference for the Mortdale Stake in the morning. It was such a spiritual meeting! It was so cool to sit there in the stake center on the front row and look up at my parents sitting on the stand with their missionary name tags and watch the happiness you can see in their soul for the love of their mission and the Australian people. I love this place! It is so beautiful! The people are so friendly and no matter what they say, whether it is a hello or directions to a bathroom, it sounds so cool! Later we went with my mom to Sydney's Botanical Gardens with beautiful grounds, statues, amazing harbor views, bats and Mrs. McQuarie's chair. Mrs. McQuarie was the wife of a Sydney Governor who loved to view the harbor from a certain spot, so her "chair" is huge for some reason, but there it is.
A deodorant check immortalized in stone, and another young boy who is extracting a thorn from his foot but ignoring the fact that his left arm is missing.
Our third day was bittersweet. We went to a transfer meeting in the morning and met all of the Elders and Sisters who were getting new companions or going home. After the meeting we went to see the new home my parents will be living in after the North and South missions merge which was near the Sydney Temple.
That night we had the departing missionaries dinner and testimony meeting. This was the part that was bittersweet. Their testimonies brought such a strong spirit, and in the short time we got to know them, it was already hard to say goodbye to them. They will be such strong members and we see now why these transfer times are so hard for my parents.
Well that's it for now, plus some videos. We'll post more as we do more.
Bye for now from Australia!
Megan "The Southern Cross" Rampton
Alec "What's a Rumpus Room?" Rampton
An Aborigine Show
Singing by the Missionaries