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What's Next For Us

Submitted by Bethany on Fri, 11/01/2019 - 10:00

After a few weeks of chaos and uncertainty, we have finally sorted out what the rest of the year looks like for us. I feel like I can finally breathe a big sigh of relief now that I know where we will be through the beginning of 2020! So here's what's on the docket. 

November 2: Screamfest!
     Just after we decided we were doing a second housesit in Perth (the one that didn't work out after all) we purchased tickets to a Halloween event in Mandurah (a suburb south of Perth.) It feels like ages ago that we decided to go, but it will finally be here this weekend! There will be a zombie walk, a haunted maze, face painting and more at a place called King's Carnival. There will be mini-golf and carnival rides and delicious food, too! I am excited about anything that extends the Halloween season even a little bit. 

November 4-8: Bali Trip!
     To be honest, we did look into canceling this trip. We only booked it because we needed to step outside of Australia in order to stay here through the end of the year and still comply with our visa requirements. Turns out, we are not staying here through the end of the year (more on that in a minute.) However, the tickets and hotel room were non-refundable so off to Bali, we go!
     We have decided to make it an anniversary trip (we celebrated 6 years on October 12) and as such, I am not going to blog next week. Okay, we also decided that because we aren't taking any checked baggage and we are only allowed 7kg of carry-on each so there isn't room for the laptop. Also, I haven't taken more than a few days in a row off from the blog since I started blogging daily (M-F) in July of 2018, so it's time for a break. I plan to schedule some posts to Facebook (repeats of favorite or overlooked blog posts) so you all don't forget about us, but otherwise, I am going to be hands-off for a whole week! I look forward to exploring Bali, spending time on the beach and at the hotel pool, and generally just relaxing. 

November 9-18: Keep staying with Elaine in Perth
     When we get back from Bali we will stay with Elaine for just over a week before it's off on our next adventure. We still have a few things we want to explore in the area including the historic town of Fremantle and visiting a farm owned and operated by one of Elaine's friends. We will be sure to enjoy our last little bit of Australia because then we are heading back to the UK!

November 19: Leave Australia!
    We originally thought we would like to find our next housesit in Australia so that we could A. Explore the East coast of the country, and B. Make our visas and our trip to Bali really worth it. But, the more we thought about it and prayed about it the more we realized we are ready to head back to the UK. There is an ever so slight possibility my job with the British Methodist Church could start early (talks are happening) and we are hoping that if we are actually back in the UK that will become more likely. We are so ready to have a place of our own and I would love to be serving in a church for Christmas so please pray for us if you will!  Joel is disappointed we won't get to experience an Aussie Christmas and swim in the ocean on Christmas day, but I am excited to not be hot for Christmas.

November 20: Arrive in London!
    Leaving Australia and getting to London will involve over 24 hours of travel. We leave Perth at 6:30 am local time on the 19th, fly to Bangkok, have a 9-hour layover, then fly overnight to London, arrive at around 6:30 in the morning, local time on the 20th. Then we'll almost immediately get on a bus to Wales!

November 20-22: Stay with a friend in Chepstow, Wales
     I mentioned recently that I am in a group called Young Clergy Women International. When I began the process of applying to the British Methodist Church last year, it was through YCWI that I met two other young clergywomen from the USA who are now serving in Britain. Also, they both happened to attend the same seminary I did and one was even there at the same time! Rachel was a third-year when I was a first-year, we have a lot of friends in common, but we have never met in person. 
     It turns out that Rachel now lives in Chepstow (she just moved there in August for a new appointment) and it is almost exactly halfway between London and our next housesit. We had two days between arriving in London and when our new hosts would prefer for us to arrive, and Rachel has graciously agreed to host us at her place for those two nights! I am so excited to finally meet her in person and learn more about what it's like to be an American serving in Britain. 

November 22: Arrive at our new housesit near Cardigan Bay, Wales
     This housesit came together quickly. We applied on Monday morning and by Tuesday night we had purchased plane tickets! We will be caring for one labrador retriever at this countryside housesit. I'm a little hesitant about being in the country (we didn't care for it in France) but we will hopefully have access to a car (if all goes will with putting Joel on their insurance) and there's a bus stop only a half-mile from their house. The dog is an older one with some health issues (including being mostly deaf) but he seems very sweet and overall pretty easy to care for. The owners leave on the 24th so we'll have a couple of days to settle in and learn the dog's routines before they leave.
    We are very impressed so far with the hospitality of the hosts at this sit - they already emailed asking if we had any food preferences (so they can make us a meal when we arrive) and what we like to have for breakfast (so they can have a "welcome pack" of sorts ready with some of our favorites.) The end date of this housesit is a little bit flexible but should go through at least the beginning of January. I am super happy about that because it means we don't have to relocate over the holidays! 

Celebrate the holiday season in Wales!
     I am very excited to once again be celebrating an American Thanksgiving in Wales (though a few hours away from where we were last year.) So far our only guest will be our friend Steve, and since we arrive in the country barely a week before the holiday I don't anticipate our guest list growing. I am very much looking forward to making as many traditional foods as I can (some ingredients are hard to find in Wales) and kicking off the holiday season with Thanksgiving. 
   I am also excited to have as British a Christmas as possible this year! I've already planned the menu based on everything Steve served us last year, and I am looking forward to making some of these specialties myself for the first time. We'll also celebrate Joel's birthday just before Christmas (the 23rd) and then get ready to ring in the new year in one place as well! 
    Of course, if my job were to start early (still a big if) that could change our holiday plans. If that happens, I will go to wherever my job is, get settled in and started working, while Joel finishes out our obligations at this housesit. If it doesn't start early, we'll be looking for more housesits to carry us through till next September when it will definitely start. 

So there we have it! We are all set through the beginning of next year...unless, of course, God has other things in store for us. As much as we have enjoyed Australia we are both looking forward to going back to the UK and avoiding the hottest time of year here (we both hate summer so we are glad to get back to the proper seasons.) The timing on the new housesit worked out really well, the flights were surprisingly affordable, and fingers crossed everything seems to be falling into place! Phew!

XOXO, Bethany