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2007 August » Philoxenos

Philoxenos

Journey to America, the final chapter

8th August 2007

Journey to America, the final chapter

I probably shouldn’t post this until Handsome actually arrives in the country, which will be on Friday afternoon (only two more sleeps!) but I feel like I’ve made another transition and I want to write about it.

It’s been a long journey to get here. You can read about it here (Pt 1, Pt 2, Pt 3, Pt 4, Pt 5)  My husband has finally been issued his green card. The American Consulate in Auckland has been fantastic. They received a copy of his police report from PNG by email on Wednesday morning from the Embassy in Port Moresby and they processed the visa the same day. Handsome got a call from them about noon on Wednesday to say that the visa had been issued and he arranged to have them courier it (send by registered mail) so he will receive it first thing Thursday morning (which is my Wednesday afternoon, so today). We already booked tickets for him to leave Auckland on Friday evening. Miraculously my dad was able to use airpoints to get a free ticket (plus taxes, of course) for him. I say miraculous because, really, this whole process has been an act of God. So he will be arriving at LAX at 10:45 am on Friday, Pacific Standard Time, and a few hours later will catch a very short connecting flight to our city.

He told me last night that he will be going to orientation at the seminary next week and will start classes the week after, so he’s going to hit the ground running! I have an appointment tomorrow to view a house that we’re quite keen on so hopefully we’re able to move in sometime next week. He is in discussion with a church about a possible job, which is also exciting for us.

So what have I learned? Let’s see…

  • God’s timing is not mine.
  • Even when things don’t go the way I’d like, life goes on. I can’t just sit around whining, I just have to get on with it. God still wants me to exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit, to share with people how much He loves them. Even when I think life pretty much sucks.
  • I am not complete without my husband. We are a team and although email and phone calls are great, it’s just not the same.
  • I really do have great kids. They have been through a huge adjustment, just like me, but they don’t understand all that’s going on and have very little control over it. They’re champions. I’m taking them to McDonalds today for morning tea and to play on the playground before it gets too hot.

I’ve started to adjust to life here in America. We’re still at my parents’ house for another week or so, but we’re looking forward to the time when we have our own place. I don’t freak out every time I go to the supermarket and have to choose which kind of cereal to buy (I usually buy cornflakes, rice bubbles, or cheerios, because it’s just easier that way). I’m enjoying worshipping at my parents’ church. The kids are recognising things around town. It’s good.

But I still miss New Zealand. I miss my friend Sue. I miss my parents-in-law, who I don’t think I fully appreciated until I knew that I wasn’t going to be around them much longer. I miss my Bible study group. I miss seeing my new friend’s new baby, which arrived the weekend that I left.

I didn’t realise how much I was missing New Zealand until we turned on The Wiggles this morning. Although they’re Australian, it’s close enough that I got a bit homesick. I often catch myself saying “Back home we…” I quickly edit myself to say “In New Zealand…” because America is my home now. I need to embrace life here and not live in the past. It’s a fine line - remembering and cherishing the things of my life in New Zealand while also embracing the new life that we have here.

I appreciate you reading to the end! Hopefully as we get settled into our own place and our new routine I’ll be able to write more regularly with more exciting news about kids’ sleeping habits and great recipes that I try.

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7th August 2007

Coupon on Gerber baby food

American mommies of infants - go here to print off a Target web coupon to save $1 off any two Gerber food products. I just went to Target with 10 coupons and was able to use all ten at once. The coupon does not specify that you can only use one at a time. Must be used before August 15. I paid $10 for 24 containers of food. My Target doesn’t have a big selection of the jars, so I had to buy the packs of 2, but still a great deal! I make a lot of my own baby food, but I like to have some canned food for travelling. I think I’ve got all I’ll need for this one!

Thanks to Monica at The Homespun Heart for letting us know about this one.

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5th August 2007

ANSWERED PRAYER

Friends, thank you for praying. I just talked to Handsome on the phone and our contact in PNG has his police report in her hand (we had another friend submit the paperwork and she won the race!) and will be submitting it to the American Embassy to be faxed to Auckland hopefully today. Otherwise she will overnight it to New Zealand. Either way, barring any unforeseen mishaps (and I wouldn’t be surprised at this point), he should be with us next weekend. HALLELUJAH!!

posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

4th August 2007

Reusable bags

There is one major thing that I’ve noticed since moving here. Actually, there are a lot of major things, but I’ll write about just one. Reusable bags. In New Zealand they have been promoting the use of reusable bags for several years now. Supermarkets have them for sale at the checkout and everyone asks “Do you want a bag or would you like to carry it out?” There is even a small area of the South Island that has gone ‘bag free’ so you can’t even find a plastic bag if you wanted one.

Here in the States it seems that they are just now starting to get into reusable bags. I know that Trader Joes has encouraged this for a long time, even to the point of having a weekly draw for a $50 store voucher if you don’t use a paper bag. But the other mainstream stores are now producing their own reusable bags as well. Costco has huge ones, in which to hold your 20lbs of ground beef and 500 rolls of toilet paper. And the supermarket closest to my parents’ house, Savemart, gives you a 5 cent credit for each bag that you bring! How awesome is that?

I brought all my reusable bags with me, I think I have about eight from different places. They are very strong and you can actually fit more stuff in them so you end up having a lot less bags to haul in from the car. I now cringe when I get a bag from a shop because I know that it’s just a waste of resources and I’m going to have to find something to do with it. My mom, who also uses reusable bags, keeps them and there is a recycle bin at the grocery store and she stuffs them in there. I imagine they’re probably destined to become other plastic bags.

If you’d like to buy some good ones, visit reusablebags.com . I think I might be doing a lot of Christmas shopping there this year. Act surprised if you get one from me :)

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2nd August 2007

One small slight advantage to being without Handsome

The kids and I have been without Handsome now for almost two weeks. And in almost every way it really stinks.

But. In one very small way, it’s been quite good. Because he’s not here, I can pretend that I’m on a holiday. I have visited my parents alone with children twice before. So I can use this time to pretend that I’m on holiday, enjoying having someone else do the laundry, the weekly housecleaner, using someone else’s petrol, the perpetually packed pantry. It’s nice :)

Of course I would trade it all in a heartbeat to have Handsome here.

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1st August 2007

Guest blogger - online savings account

Handsome thought that I should share with you one of the great things that we discovered since moving to the United States. Hat tip to Trent over at The Simple Dollar for putting us on to it.

Instead of writing it myself, I asked Handsome to write it for me :) For other great writing from my husband, visit his blog, Daily Breadcrumbs . And leave him a comment - he’s always a little bit jealous when I have, say, two comments and he has none :)

A shift to a new country involves a lot of changes. One the big things
is getting used to different financial systems. For instance, the New
Zealand tax system is sooo much simpler than the US system. You should
have seen my face the first time I saw the annual return form - I had
this look like a deer in the headlights. Of course, the great thing is
there are plenty of great financial resources on the internet (some
pretty shady ones too) and both of us are really good at
researching.

One of the things we've been researching is what savings account options
we have. For various reasons we ended up deciding to go with ING Direct
(currently offering 4.5% APY). One of the nice little extras was a $25
sign up bonus (with a referral). Obviously do your own research but if
you're looking for a place to park some money than the ING account is
quite attractive. If you want a referral to get the bonus money drop me
a line (we get a little bonus as well).

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1st August 2007

How cheap is that??

This is probably one of many posts about Costco. I *heart* Costco. I always have. I have this thing about buying in bulk. I get all excited - my heart races, I start breathing faster, and I get a little antsy. Something about having my pantry stocked with four gallons of oil and 200 rolls of toilet paper just really gets me going.

One of the very special things about Costco is the polish dogs. You can buy a polish dog (similar to a hot dog, but spicy) and a 20 oz soda for just $1.50 plus tax (I think that’s $1.64 here). When I was in New Zealand, I used to crave polish dogs and they were the one thing that I could replicate. One unfortunate side effect is the smell they leave in your mouth. Not nice.

Anyway, today we went to Costco. They have great prices on media - books, CDs, DVDs. All at great prices, usually. Last week my mom bought the new Harry Potter book for less than she could get it in any bookshop. Today I was browsing very quickly while my mom was in the checkout line and I found the Bob books! I had these on my wishlist at Amazon to purchase some time this year. Precious is just about ready to start learning to read (she’s a smart cookie) and I had read marvelous reviews about these books. Costco had them $2 cheaper than Amazon. Then I found a copy of Leap Frog Letter Factory on DVD, which had been recommended by Kendra at Preschoolers and Peace. I got that one for $3 less than Amazon. I’m very pleased.

We also got a huge box of nappies and another of baby wipes, some juice, some grapes, two jars of peanut butter, and other various things. None of which we’ll need to buy now for a long, long time :)

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