Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Viist with Abuelita

Last night we went to visit Mariella's 97 year-old Grandmother. Here are some photos of family photos. Each family member has shared where they were during earthquake. Although the damage in Santiago is not major, there are visible signs of the quake. They were still very scared. The earth shook for three minutes! Her Aunt and Uncles apartment is on the 14th floor. There was a lot of movement at that height during the quake. Having a blast with the family although we are fighting off colds. Snot that fun!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Requesting Your Assistance…

Hello friends and family. Mariella and I plan on returning to California in mid May. At this time we are wondering where we will dwell. Mariella was accepted to universities in Sacramento and Fullerton. At this time we plan to live in the Sacramento or Orange County area while Mariella pursues a degree in English over the next few years. I’ve been looking for school counseling job postings over the past year. Unfortunately, there have not been many counseling jobs available in the state. My first choice would be to find a job as a school counselor in a secondary or middle school. Currently I am not aware of any positions available in the Orange County and Sacramento areas. As a result, I am open to other job options during the current economic slump. If any of you know of any jobs that may be available in the Sacramento and Orange County area, I would be interested in learning more ( Mariella and I also plan on purchasing a used car when we return. Any leads that you have in the job or car area would be appreciated. Thank you for walking with us through this ongoing journey. It is great not knowing what will happen in the future. It’s even better knowing the One who does. En las manos de Dios!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Connecting with La Familia

We celebrated our prima`s (cousins)birthday on the first day of our arrival. Nena turned twenty years old. Mariella is overflowing with joy as she connects with her family. The family is requesting that we move to Chile. We are wondering if they are scheming together to encourage us to move south. For now that is not in our plans. Yesterday I went mountain biking with my primos. Francisco and Francisco took me for a nice mt. bike ride on and around Cero San Cristobal. There were heaps of families and other individuals enjoying the mountainous park on the edge of the city. We are enjoying the time with the family and all the cafe, pancitos (breads-pastries), dulces (candy) which acompany our dwelling together.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Santiago, Chile!

Mariella and I arrived safely to Chile. Just in time to celebrate our cousin Nena's 20th birthday. Muy bien!

Check out our final approach to Santiago as the sun was rising over the Andes Mountains. The highest peak in the range casted an amazing cone shaped shadow on the blanket of clouds. What a great way to be welcomed to Chile.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Last Flight Ending How We Started... With a Blessing

The most cost effective route to Chile from New Zealand was through Fiji and LAX. We had about eight hours in Fiji before arriving in California. We have less than twenty-four hours in California before making our way to South America to visit Mariella's family. We are muy excited.

Ten months ago our first flight out of the United States was over booked. Mariella and I volunteered to give up our seats. In return the airline gave us business class seats all the way to Ireland and $800 in flight vouchers. We used the vouchers to purchase one round-trip ticket to Santiago, Chile. Thank you Jesus for the good gift! This is another story of God's faithfulness on the journey. We are seized by the power of his great affection.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Adios New Zealand & Hola Chile

We leave New Zealand tomorrow. The natural beauty of New Zealand has left us in awe. It is a place we would love to visit again. We will say goodbye to our friends Lorena and Gaz. Our short stay with them was filled with good conversation and laughter. Thank you! The plan is to catch a ferry that leaves from the harbor down the road. The ferry will take us to a wharf located in Auckland. Then we will catch a bus to the airport. Our next destination is Santiago, Chile. Mariella and I are excited to visit with our Chilean family.

From New Zealand, Lorena and Gaz B

More Beautiful N.Z. Rainbows

We went on a nice walk yesterday past a newly developing area around a golf course. We thought of our friend Paul P. It would be fun seeing him play the course. Hole 17 had some amazing views. I was realy excited about seeing another rainbow.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hanging out in Whangaparaoa

Mariella and I are spending a few days with our friends Lorena and Gaz. Lorena is a family friend of Mariella's. I also worked with Lorena at Commonwealth Elementary School in Fullerton. She married a good guy who is a Kiwi. They live in a beautiful area North of Auckland on Whangaparaoa Peninsula. This morning Mariella and I enjoyed a nice walk around the area. We spent a good amount of time soaking in the day from a cliff top bench dedicated to a praying man.

Bye Megan

Megan thank you for joining us for the past few weeks. We enjoyed a our final day together walking around the "city of sails", Auckland. We had lunch with our friend Wayne and his wife. Thanks guys for the tickets to the Skycity Tower. We enjoyed the views of the city from the top.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Back to Christchurch

Heading to Auckland to visit some friends. Final pics of the South Island of New Zealand. Mariella was hanging out with a hedgehog last night. Don't touch the animals Mariella!

Final Days in the Campervan

Lake Tekapo area. Sunrise!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Todays drive from Deer Flat to Queenstown

Around Milford Sound

We arrived in the Milford Sound area yesterday. There was a lot of clouds and rain which made it difficult to see the tops of the stunning mountains. Milford Sound is New Zealands Yosemite. The mountains are humbling. All the rain in the area created a spectacular seen of hundreds of waterfalls. Many of the scenes in Lord of the Rings were shot in New Zealand. We also saw the place where the battle scene in the Chronicles of Narnia movie. Beautiful stuff!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Queenstown Area

We left Fox Glacier a couple days ago and drove to the town of Haast. We camped meters from Haast Beach. The sunshine is gone and rainy weather is in the forecast. The sights are still beautiful. The rain stopped for a little bit when we reached Queenstown. We were given a beautiful rainbow to enjoy. We do not particularly enjoy the storms, but after the storm passes it makes for great beauty. It is a reminder to us about the storms of life. God can take the trials and difficulties and turn them into things of great beauty. We are making our way south to Milford Sound.

Lake Matheson

We camped near this lake. Megan and I (Craig) woke up early to wathc the sunrise.

Fox Glacier

Two days ago we hiked around beautiful Fox Glacier.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Franz Joseph Glacier

New Zealand!

We arrived in New Zealand on the 7th of April. We spent the Birthday (Craig’s) sleeping in the Auckland’s international arrivals terminal. That is until the customs guys woke us up and asked us to be processed through immigration and customs, one of them adding that we could be prosecuted …blah blah blah. The other guy, the nice one, quickly shut the other guy up, and they led us through a private and quick escort through customs. We caught a plane early on the 8th to the South Island of New Zealand. We picked up a campervan that we plan on venturing around in for ten days. Last night we arrived at Franz Joseph Glacier. Today we are hiked around the glacier. The past two nights we parked the campervan on the side of a road (free camping!). A couple days ago we drove 300 km from Christchurch to Punakaiki soaking in the scenic drive. The days journey took us through green fields and a steep mountainous area called Arthur’s Pass. The sunny and warm weather has been fantastic. Unfortunately the forecast calls for seven or more consecutive days of rain, but for now we are soaking in the sun and the glorious days. We’ll see what happens.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Around Sydney Harbor

Blue Mountains, Sydney

Here is a video of Mariella repelling down Empress Falls (100ft.) located in the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney. Megs also did an amazing job making her way down. This was our highlight of Sydney. Our friends Rowan and Debbie live in the Sydney area. They gave us a great experience canyoning. Thank you for the serendipitous event. An unexpected blessing! Mariella and I met Rowan on the top of a mountain in the Swiss Alps many months ago. Thanks for inviting us to the Blue Mountains and letting us spend time with you.

Rainforest River Crossing

Here is some video footage as we drove through the flooded Daintree Rainforest a few days ago. This is not an actual river, but it looked like one to us. Thankfully the rental car made it through!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sydney, Australia

We arrived safely to Sydney. Yesterday we went canyoning with our friends Rowan and Debbie in the Blue Mountains. We were decked out in wetsuits and harnesses. The trek was down a water filled canyon. A times we leapped off of cliffs, freefalling in pools of water. We ended the adventure with a rappel down a huge waterfall. You've got to see the pics of Megs and Mariella lowering themselfs down the middle of the giant falls. Crazy! Pictures coming soon. Today we are walking around the Sydney Harbor area. Having a blast. Thank you Rowan and Debbie for taking us on a crazy canyoning trip!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Operation Cape Tribulation: Not Accomplished

Today we drove north to Mossman Gorge, the Daintree Rainforest, and Cape Tribulation. Mossman Gorge is “Gorgeous”. The entire day was rainy. We were able to observe the Rainforest in its truest sense: raining! It rained so much that we were unable to make it to Cape Tribulation, which is the furthest north, Coopers Creek overflowed making impossible to continue. By the time we made our way back through the rainforest, a hillside collapsed on the north bound side of the road. Waterfalls were cascading off cliffsides and we were forced to drive through a wide swath of an overflowing creek. We looked for saltwater crocodiles when we crossed on the Daintree River Ferry, none were seen. We heard about a crock petting zoo, but it costs and arm and a leg to visit, get it? It must be a good experience because parts of you may never leave. We wish everyone a Happy Easter as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ and the freedom of the resulting saving grace.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Port Douglas, Queensland & The Great Barrier Reef

Thank you Thomas family for letting us be with you while in Melbourne. Our time with the family was great. We arrived safely to Port Douglas. The weather is humid and rainy. I do not think we will see the sun in our time in Northern Queensland. It is the end of the rainy season. Yesterday we went snorkeling and diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Mariella and Megan snorkeled while I went on three dives. We went to three different reef locations over the course of a day. It is difficult to describe the great beauty of the underwater world. The time underwater went by so fast. We wished we could have the super power of breathing underwater. We saw huge schools of fish, clown fish, a turtle, white tip sharks and giant Grouper. One giant fish was named Daisy. She was about the length of me. Daisy let us hang out with her for about ten minutes before we swam further down the reef. Although the weather above water was rainy, under water was warm and beautiful. Tomorrow we plan on driving to the Mossman Gorge in the Daintree Rainforest and further north to Cape Tribulation.