We’ve arrived! It only took 24 hours on a plane, but we are here safe and sound! The kids were awesome on both flights, and gave us long stretches of sleep. Elijah amazed us, and only required about 20 trips up and down the aisles. People actually seemed to enjoy seeing him come because he had big smiles and big ‘Hi’s’ to share! Our connection in Vancouver was very tight, but we managed to have close to an hour before the long 15 hour flight to Sydney, so the kids were able to run around the airport and expend some pent up energy, even if it was 3 in the morning our old time! Paying extra for bulk head seats was definitely well worth it, and CAS will be happy to know that Gravol was only used on Elijah for a short nap in the latter half of the long flight from Vancouver to Sydney. No animals were harmed in the making of this…….never mind!
We arrived in Sydney and blew right through customs. They barely looked at our passports, stamped them and sent us on our way to pick up our luggage. We were warmly greeted by Amber and Damien’s parents – Caroline and Colin, and Doug and Jenny. They brought us Aussie hats and bananas for the kids – Elijah ate 4 before leaving the airport! Leina and Cohen were dumbfounded by the kangaroo buskers and Chinese dragon performers just outside the airport! It was a balmy 32 degrees and quite humid.
Caroline, Amber’s mom, drove Al and the kids back to their beautiful home in Glenbrook, at the base of the Blue Mountains. Colin and Caroline built their home some 30 years ago and it is tucked into the side of a mountain. Beautifully designed and laid out. It was fun to explore. Colin, Ambers’ dad, drove Matt to the car hire place to pick up the rental, and once back at Caroline and Colin’s, we were treated to hot meat pies and more Aussie paraphernalia – like beach towels, flags, mugs, beer cosies, and yes, thongs!! Matt’s first pair of thongs! And they fit! They make them big enough!
It was here that we met Amber’s sister, Amy and her two boys Sash and Oliver. She had made up a “Welcome to Australia” gift basket complete with Vegemite, Tim Tams, Lamingtons, Tomato Sauce (our ketchup), chocolates, ANZAC biscuits, and sprinkles to make “Fairy Bread” (very popular at birthday parties I am told), and she and the boys had made homemade chocolate cookies and cupcakes, and she also gave us a beautiful bouquet of traditional Australian flowers. We were overwhelmed!
Around 2:30PM we headed out of Glenbrook, escorted by Colin and Caroline, to our new home in Blackheath. The drive up from Glenbrook was breathtaking! The scenery in the Blue Mountains area is so awesome! The road is winding, and around every corner there is some new vista. Matt was busy concentrating on driving on the left side of the road, and the kids were so tired they passed out – but Alyson got to enjoy the views!
Blackheath is this quaint little village tucked into the Blue Mountains that seemed to welcome us with open arms!
Stay tuned for our first impressions of our new home and the town and friends that welcomed us!