Just a quick update today to all our family, friends and supporters!
What a whirlwind week it has been! Unfortunately I got quite sick on early Tuesday morning with some food posioning/stomach bug which sapped my energy. I did visit the doctor but they did not advise to do anything 'heavy' for the pain just in case there was something more serious. Thankfully by early Wednesday morning I started to feel better. Albert was a great nurse as always and managed to pack up his seminary stuff in boxes while I was in bed. We had a very lovely faculty/senior dinner on Wednesday night. It is so surreal to be finally done. The Bumas, Albert's third (or something distant related) cousins came down on Wednesday and babysat the girls while we went out for dinner. They also took the girls out for dinner, I'm not sure who had more fun on Wednesday night!
On Thursday the seminary organised a family lunch with the senior students being able to take family on a tour of seminary. I wish I could have taken all of you! It was very nice to relax and socialize with the seniors, their families and faculty. Albert also had his exit interview with the board of Mid America.
In the afternoon, we went back home. I braided the girls hair and Hannah and Karena curled the girls hair. Albert managed to 'cook' us some (frozen) pizza for dinner, proud of him! I got my hair done by a local member of the church who is a hairdresser. The girls FINALLY got dressed into their brand new dresses that have hung in my wardrobe for the last 6 months! They were VERY excited to finally wear their brand new dresses!
Once arriving at the graduation venue, we had photo's done, and oohed and aahed at all those gorgeous (graduation student) kids (including a 2 week old!). The photographer was great in taking our family photos, couple photo and on our request a photo of the girls.
While we were waiting for the graduation to start our guests started to arrive! We welcomed our two Canadian couples who drove in for the ceremony, it was very lovely to see them. Then the girls had to look twice at the lovely surprise coming from Canada! Pam and her two girls, Olivia and Amy had driven down to surprise the girls! WOW what a surprise it was, Grace was speechless (if you know Grace, that is just about a miracle!!!!). Since we didn't have any family here in the USA (apart from the Bumas who came) God blessed us with so many friends that came to Albert's graduation that we needed two pews! (those are BIG pews!). While we missed our flesh and blood family and wished that they could have shared that moment with us, God is faithfully in looking after us with providing for us family in Christ! We are soooo going to miss them sniff, sniff.
Hopefully we will be able to share a link to the graduation ceremony soon. The speaker was excellent, Rev Paul Murphy from NY. The wives got honored as well at the ceremony which I appreciated. It really has been a team effort, his Masters. Then the proud moment came where Albert received his Masters and his hood! VERY PROUD!!
Here are some photos that Jeremy took. When I get more photos I will share :).
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Saturday, May 16, 2015
Well just a quick blogpost to let you all know that we haven't dropped off the seminary planet. In fact it's the opposite we've been very busy with seminary and trying to finish homeschooling. Albert has finished classes and still has some exams to go. DV he will finish seminary for good on Monday. It will be a surreal day, we have thoroughly enjoyed the seminary experience but it is also good to finally have an end point. I finished homeschooling a week early as I physically can't pack/sort etc and school at the same time so I made an executive decision to finish. Almost all of the curriculum is finisished bar some science for the little girls and maths for the big girls. I asked the girls they other day what they thought of us going home. To my surprise while they are looking forward to seeing family, they are actually quite sad to leave their USA home. I suppose that's my own fault since I was determined to make it an adventure for them :).
Next week is going to be pretty busy. A final senior dinner with faculty on Wednesday night, Graduation on Thursday night, out with (out of town) friends on Friday night, our farewell party on Saturday night and spending time with a dear friend on Sunday. Albert is preaching his final sermon at our home church that Sunday too. The week after that will be completing our packing, having a garage sale and tying up some loose ends no doubt! Hopefully we can squeeze a last visit to the Museum. Albert hasn't seen the latest space movie (which is free with the membership) and so a visit is a must :).
We are moving out of our house on the 27th of May to stay with the other NZ couple in our church! We are hoping to have a garage sale on Thursday and clean the house.
We leave Chicago on the 1st of June via the Amtrak train. Albert's parents took the Amtrak train from Los Angeles to Chicago and thoroughly enjoyed it. This got us thinking and after doing some research and talking to other people about it we decided to take the train from Chicago to San Francisco. We haven't seen the west yet and so thought it would be a great opportunity to see some of the country side since we need to fly out from San Francisco anyway. Unfortunately we just found out that the dates we are travelling they are doing some work on the tracks and so we are not going through the mountains as was originally the plan. The train trip takes about 52 hours. We have booked sleeper cars so that we are able to sleep on the train, not sure if I would still be sane to spend 52hrs in a sitting position! All the meals etc are provided so it looks like a great opportunity to wind down and relax before our return to New Zealand.
We arrive in San Fransisco on the Wednesday and are staying until Sunday night (cheapest flight out without arriving in New Zealand on a Sunday!). Finding 'cheap' family accommodation in San Fran is quite a challenge. I looked into renting a house for the few days that we where there but since San Fran is hilly and we have no car, this was not a feasible option. I ended up finding a youth hostel that accommodates families. I have stayed in quite a few in my youth (with my family) in Europe and really enjoyed the experience so hopefully we will too! One of the huge benefits of this is that it comes with a communal kitchen so we don't have to 'eat out' for all of our meals. A couple of other benefits are that we are very close to the Golden Gate Bridge, supermarkets and the tourist attraction Alcatraz. Another bonus is that because Youth Hostels is for youth travelling on budgets is that the Youth Hostel has researched all the free/cheap things to do! A BIG bonus! We leave late on Sunday night for Auckland, NZ arriving very early Tuesday morning NZ time!
Well that's the next few weeks in a nutshell! Hopefully I will be able to post some photos otherwise I'll catch up once I get to New Zealand!