Sunday, November 15, 2015

Our Australian Adventure - A Post by Lily

Proverbs 3:5 (KJV)
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Getting told:

We were sitting in the kitchen when we found out. Dad walked in and the room became still; you could hear a pin drop. A layer of frost covered the counters and a tumbleweed rolled across the room. Well, not one even saw him come in. He cleared his throat a few times until we finally looked up from what we were doing and gave him our upmost attention (except for Simeon who was still quite focused on his bowl of yogurt).

He fleetingly glanced at Mom who had a sort of nervous expression on her face. Dad grabbed a stool and looked us in the eyes.

"Guys, me and Mom have been thinking for a while, and we have decided that we are going to move to Australia. We've arranged it with QTC, I'm going to be a lecturer at the college. We are moving next June, so you guys have lots of time to say goodbye."

For a moment you could hear nothing, but then tears started rolling down Simeon's cheeks like Niagara Falls.

"B-b-but Dad!" He sobbed, his yogurt forgotten, "What about my friends?"

"And our family." Evelyn added quietly.

And our life. I thought. Tears threatened to leak down my face so I squeezed my eyes shut and took a deep breath.

"How do you feel about moving Lily?" My dad's voice broke through my thoughts.

"Great!" I lied, "It'll be fun."

The Next Step:

The next few months passed in a blur of goodbyes, prayers, spending a lot of quality time with loved ones, and boxes. Lots and lots of boxes.

I liked cleaning out the house as I secretly disliked the old things we had ("They're antiques!").  I was hoping to get to have a sleek, modern home in Australia and was warming up a tiny bit to the idea of moving.

My friends threw me a going away party and gave me letters spelling out LILY that had little notes written all over them. I loved the gift and as we were driving home from the party I felt the overwhelming urge to cry. I was so thankful for all my friends and I was going to miss having water balloon fights with them and taking crazy pictures. When we got home I went into the bathroom and cried silently to myself for a good twenty minutes. Everything that I had was being taken away from me. Why is God doing this to me? I thought, What good will come out of all of this?

My episode in the bathroom I never really forgot, but the farewell party that the church gave us will stick in my mind forever. The entire service I was biting my lip and pinching myself to keep from crying, but then I thought to myself, what do you have to lose? You're moving to Australia, you idiot. Tears shot down my face like rockets of grief that had been waiting to take off, but I wasn't the only one. All my friends were hugging me and sobbing and people who I barely knew were wishing me good luck. Soon, I started smiling through my tears. My friends and I stood in a circle sharing memories and funny stories. At the end of the day, I felt much better.

The Last Week:

The last week before we left was sad, but I felt light and almost happy because I knew I would keep in touch with friends and family and I knew that God had a plan, even if I didn't know what it was.

The Airport:

We were driven to the airport by our family and we were all teary-eyed when we hugged them goodbye. We went to grab some Starbucks and then we waited. We waited, and waited and waited and waited. After that we decided to wait some more, and then to finish off our day we - get this - waited. Chaos, seriously. Fiiiiinally, the speakers announced our flight and we hurried over to the walkway that would lead us to our plane.

Arriving in our Texas layover, the O'Donnell kids decided that waiting was wayyyyy too mainstream so we fidgeted instead. We begged for expensive candy, comfy head pillows, thai massages, and iPhones (still shocked that I didn't get one - crazy parenting, I know). Eventually, after our pockets were stocked with goodies (haha just kidding it was all wrappers - RIP sour patch kids), we boarded the plane for Brisbane. (Drumroll, please....)

Well, after the initial shock that we would have to wait approximately another 45 minutes for the plane to take off, we settled down in pleasure to the hundreds of movies and T.V. shows that were at our fingertips. The plane took off, and we hardly bothered to watch the gorgeous view out the window. Soon, it got dark and the plane lights got dim to signal sleeping time. But HOW, I must ask, are you supposed to sleep when you are moving to Australia and you are cramped in a airplane seat and you have no space and it smells bad and you want to puke and (*takes deep breath*) Well I decided to pray. I had stopped watching movies so the reality that we would be in Australia in 12 hours was setting in fast. My dad and sister were both asleep next to me, and the next thing I knew I was crying. Silently, but there were tears sliding down my face slowly but surely. I was very very VERY scared. What would Australia be like? Would I make any friends? Questions swirled around my tired mind and I breathed one word. "Please." I whispered into the dark silence. I lifted my tears stained eyes up to heaven and said it one more time. Then, finally, I was able to sleep, and thank God for that.

The Outback:

Well, let me just tell you Australian stereotypes are wrong. I mean, maybe the stereotype of someone with a big straw hat waving an Australian flag while saying "Put another shrimp on the barbie, mate" may apply to some Australians, but no one I've ever met (it would be quite entertaining to meet someone like this though). But my dads stories of walking into a shop, being greeted with a friendly "G'day", and squawking back an awkward American "Hello!" are quite true.

People in Australia act just like Americans. With a few differences that have to do with accent and culture, they revolve around American television programs, celebrities, music and take after America like its younger sibling. Well, beautiful younger sibling that is. Australia is gorgeous. From its breathtaking beaches to its majestic mountains, its proud land brings in all the tourists.

Back to the story.

We were off the plane! We skipped over to the baggage claim and found our suitcases easily. Then we went through security and met a cute dog whose name was Wolf. As we walked out of security, I saw a crowd waiting for us. Well, hardly a crowd, but there were a few families waiting to greet us once we got off the plane. I smiled when I saw a girl about my age come up to me and say "welcome to Australia!" I already felt that this place was starting to become my home.


Quick rant: okay so you know how in America summer starts in June? Yeah well NEWS FLASH Australian schools are still in the middle of the school year at that time. We move to Australia in June. So guess what lucky person got no summmmmmerrrrr? Me. Okay rant over.

So I know there has been a blog post about school so I'm not going to say the exact same things but can I just say my teacher shared that blog post with my class and she ranted about "how true" it was and no swearing and blah blah blah. It was very awkward. That is all I must say.

I started high school a few months ago and it's really great. My school is huge and I'm lucky to have an awesome group of friends. School is school in every country though. Homework. Tests. Friends. Teachers. Yay.


Other than friends and family, the thing I miss most about America is the church we went to. I loved the songs, the preaching by my own Dougie Fresh, and the people. The church we go to here in Australia still has great preaching but doesn't really have anyone my age there which makes it hard. The little kids are really cute though so I help out in Sunday school a lot. Just trusting God that the right people will come.

One year:

There's this funny little thing called procrastinating. This blog post is an excellent example of it. Itwas originally meant to be posted a year after the day we moved, but I just "forgot" and had a few notes written down.

Okay, so I feel like life hasn't really changed that much since the one year mark but can I tell you something really weird and unexpected? So you would think that you would still be at a somewhat awkward stage in friendship if you've only known each other for a year. No. This is very untrue. I can't explain how weird it is to think that I've known my friends here for just over a year! I'm really close to them and moving back to America now would be harder than you might expect.


Christmas! Yayyayyayayayayya! Words can't explain how excited I am to see my family in America when we visit (even a new addition!).

Our family here in Australia has been excepted by many other families and we feel like we have really close families we can sort of adopt ourselves into, especially when we are missing our family back home. It's never going to be exactly the same though. (Ps. Come visit us!!)


I highly recommend searching up "Australian slang" and watching a video on just how shortened Australians make words. All I can say is I love choccy. (Look it up). Also, I feel like I can't hear a difference between American and Australian accents anymore. Help. I SWEAR CHARLOTTE IS GETTING AN ACCENT THOUGH AND ITS REALLY WEIRD. Help.


Our Australian adventure. That's what my mum (GUYS YES ACKNOWLEDGE I JUST WROTE MUM) always referred to our trip as. At first, (as you know if you've been reading our old blog posts), it felt like a long vacation. We live an hour away from gorgeous beaches and a place nearby us called Southbank is like some resort type of thing, so I guess we are sort of living a vacation.

It's been very different in some ways, but in some ways it has been the same. I used to go to a Christian private school with my sisters in America, and moving to a public school in Australia was a big change. But, I made friends the same way and some of the friends I've made in my year and a half in Australia are life-long friends. I've already graduated from primary school to high school (which starts in year 8) I have actually never tried vegemite in Australia (go me).

To me, Australia is starting to become my real home. I really wish everyone I knew in America would just come on over and live here with us. That would be the dream life.

I guess I sort of have my own fairytale moving to Australia. It started out scary; tears, goodbyes, leaving special things (and humans) behind. But it was all in Gods hands. Through everything I prayed and I prayed and I prayed hoping that our move would be okay. And it was. Through Gods miraculous plan I've laughed with people I didn't even know existed before the move, I've tried Freddo Frogs and fed Kangaroos. I've seen my little sister pronounce 'h' as 'hayche' instead of 'ayche'. And best of all, I've learned to completely trust God with everything, no matter how big.

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