First New Zealand trip post

Jan. 6, 2013

It’s amazing to realize it has been almost two weeks since we left home. I don’t know whether to write details or give an outline coverage. I will try the outline and see if I can limit myself!

We got up at our normal morning time (about 7 am) and put the last items in our suitcases. This was really good because we stayed up late packing and weighing. I gave up trying to check in online the night before. We had tried to check in before leaving for the Cammilleris’ party, but no go. So I tried once more when we got home and decided my lack of success meant it was meant to happen at the airport.

We loaded the van and drove to the Daires’, where we picked up some of their family and the rest drove behind us in their car. They are taking care of our van while we are gone, making sure it doesn’t sit and get problems from sitting. At the airport, I tried to tell the lady that I wanted the discount on luggage charges because in good faith I tried to check in online the day before. She had trouble with getting the discount for me, but I just stood there, with Charlie Barkowski’s calm encouragement and finally she said I got it. This was important to me to try because we took 14 suitcases, including schoolbooks for the missionaries we are visiting. So every dollar I could save on that was a big help. I have to pay anew for all our luggage every time we check in with a different itinerary. We have six different itineraries, if I remember correctly.

After the long wait, we wolfed down the sandwiches that Charlie brought and had prayer together. Then we checked in. I was so pleased that they didn’t ask us to go through the X-ray machine. Each girl paired with a brother to go through security and I followed to pick up on any problems from the rear. No problems. We went to the gate they told us and no one was there. The number was right, but I had the boys split up and check other gates. One behind the wall of ours was the right one and everyone else on our flight had already boarded. So we go our seats and took off for Minneapolis.

This was not the first flight for any of the Parfitt children. But it was the first that Karen remembered. And Naomi probably didn’t remember much of her last one (she was almost three at the time). I don’t even remember anything from that trip to Minneapolis, except that I was happily surprised that they gave us some snacks (drink and small bags of pretzels). We found our next gate after a good-sized hike past lots of food places. I wanted Chinese and had seen Wok N Roll. But there was none near us and really no time to go back and get food, not even if we left some little ones and two of us went back to the nearest. Nana (Ken’s mom) had come the day before and given all the kids some cracker-and-cheese snacks and some other snacks. So they had a little of those. We refilled the empty water bottles we brought with us and we were set for the flight to LA. I think that is where I instituted looking at our seat assignments and lining us up so we went in with the farthest-back person first to eliminate having to squeeze past each other to get to our seats and put our things overhead. It got a little messy because we were carrying things for each other and they could not seat us all together.

Jan. 14, 2013 (NZ, 9:12 pm)

I was greatly disturbed by the movies playing all around me. I knew the kids would have as hard a time as (or harder than) I was, to not watch the movies. The cartoons were just as bad. I wish they would have a section of the plane for people who want to limit what their children can see. You can see several screens from your seat. We landed in the dark and found that our gate was very close to where we got off the second plane. I was ready to stop at the first Chinese restaurant, but there weren’t any! We found our gate and thought a minute. I decided we had enough time if we marched back through the terminal. But the terminal seemed tiny and there was a door to the outside. A lady working nearby confirmed that we would have to leave that terminal to find Chinese food! So we went back. We had passed a place that sounded Oriental in name. We went back there (almost to our gate) only to find that they had closed the grill and we could only get sandwiches from a cooler. Humph. We went back to the place we had passed three times now: “Lemonade.” What a strange place! I wish I had space to describe it. We all got trays and stared at the strange-sounding “authentic California cuisine,” wondering if it tasted good. I picked a couple of things and then said I would just have some chicken. I was getting “half-servings” from a sort of food bar. I was told, “Oh, that’s from a different section.” Different section! What does that mean? So I picked one more thing and moved on. Oh, here was soup. Oh, macaroni and cheese (sort of). THERE are the prices, on the wall at the end of all the food we have been choosing! I paid for the girls and myself and then let the boys fend for themselves. It was pretty stupid to not ask about prices first. Oh, well, we ate and tried not to watch the Grinch thing on the wall.

We went back to the gate and put ourselves into order to board. I had chosen seats online and put us all behind each other, down the middle of the plane. That plane seating pattern was three, three, three. I sat in front, Karen behind me, Naomi behind her, and Dylan in the rear. Karen got to move to the aisle. Annabelle was across from me in the first set of three seats, Reese was behind her, and Trevor was behind her. Reese proceeded to witness to the young lady next to him for a long time, and we all heard him, so several people got a dose of Bible that flight. Again we fought with the moving pictures we could see on all sides. The main problem was an excess of violence. Lots of killing and explosions. Lots of immorality. Lots. The young ladies between Annabelle and me knew each other and talked a lot at first about people they knew. The lady on the other side slept a lot. I read Jon Jenkins’ book about temptation. It was certainly ironic that I would read some of it, watch some of something someone near me was watching, drag my eyes away, pray and ask God to help me stop watching, and go back for some of the book. I guess the Lord let me learn how hard it is for my children and the young people (and older people!) at church to resist temptation. We want to set no wicked thing before our eyes, but it was just all around, colorful, moving, interesting. 🙁

We all slept some of the time. I think I actually got more than my usual one hour of sleep. Almost exactly halfway through the fourteen hours, they fed us. We had already had supper, so I assumed this was breakfast. Turns out they fed us breakfast later, too. I had a bag of almonds I had been working on all day, trying to get them all eaten before we reached Australia. I didn’t succeed. But they let me keep the nuts. 🙂

Before I forget, I talked quite a lot with a mother on the second flight, who was flying back to Minneapolis with her two little boys. She told me the boys had gone on all of her business trips and usually her husband did, too! Wow, wouldn’t that be great for all families? And on the long flight, I ended up talking with the lady who slept a lot. Turns out she took something to help her sleep. She and her husband were originally from Germany, but lived in Michigan. I had asked about them wearing their rings on their right hands. She said that everyone in Germany did that. Interesting. We had a long friendly talk. She even got out her camera and showed me pictures of pretzels she had made and arranged to look like a bouquet for a friend’s party. She has a business of making pretzels. But she just wouldn’t take a tract. 🙁 I think I talked to the Muslim as we were exiting the first plane (from Rochester). I am still so green that I had to ask him (after several minutes of conversation) what he believed. He sounded slightly surprised that I didn’t know. He had allowed me to give his daughter a tract! Divine appointments? Certainly, though nothing spectacular. Just kindergarten in sharing faith during travel. 🙂

We were the last ones off the plane, as I like to let others past while we make sure we have all the cameras, laptops (we took two extra-wide laptops and a netbook, and boy have we used them a LOT.), story books, Bibles, purses, and other carry-on things. I decided that rolling carryons are much better than backpacks. I am going to keep my eyes open for them on craigslist. The Snyders found some here on their local “trade me” and gave Karen one. She was using a backpack that started ripping near the zipper and is getting worse all the time.

So much for an outline! This is actually now THREE weeks since we left (it is Monday night here in New Zealand). I haven’t actually gotten us into the airport at Sydney yet! Oh, well, I will now look for some pictures.

taking off from LAX, bound for Sydney, Australia

taking off from LAX, bound for Sydney, Australia

Annabelle was across from me, to my left.

Annabelle was across from me, to my left.

Karen read a lot and slept a lot. :-)

Karen read a lot and slept a lot. 🙂

Fourteen hours seems like forever! The longest we had flown before was 8 hours.

Fourteen hours seems like forever! The longest we had flown before was 8 hours.

Getting closer. Maybe we will survive all this sitting after all.

Getting closer. Maybe we will survive all this sitting after all.

We have arrived at Sydney, Australia! Hooray!

We have arrived at Sydney, Australia! Hooray!