melbourne days 1 & 2: airport hugs and a day in the city / by mmkeyes

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We arrived in Melbourne on transfer day for the mission, which meant my parents were already at the airport. When you have 275 missionaries, transfer day is even crazier than normal. Melbourne is a huge melting pot, and the mission make-up reflects that. This means flights are coming from and going to anywhere from the States to China to the Pacific Islands to the Philippines to the UK.. to other parts of Australia, etc etc. It's quite the day for my parents. Seeing them was so so wonderful and happy! We hung out with them at the airport as they rushed from place to place, saying goodbyes to missionaries and welcoming new arrivals. It was tender to watch them and the departing missionaries say their goodbyes.

While waiting for a group to arrive, we and some of the office missionaries went to Macca's (McDonald's) for a bite to eat. We then got on a huge tour bus and headed to the mission home. On the bus, my mom was splitting her time between talking to us and making the rounds to welcome the new missionaries individually and ask them their favorite scripture. The back of the bus was set aside for my dad to interview the new missionaries.

Lunch at the mission home was delicious. Brandon and I then got to rest a bit while my parents did a training at the mission office around the block. Once my mom got back from the training, she took us to Lysterfield Park to see if we could spy any kangaroos. We were a little late in heading out, and it was raining, so we only ended up seeing one kanga, but it was the first time Brandon or I had ever seen one.

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We headed home so that we could get dinner ready for a couple of missionaries who were departing early the next morning. It was really nice to be around the departing missionaries and APs and to hear some of their mission experiences.

My sweet mom had stocked the kitchen full of food she wanted us to be able to try during our time in Australia. There was a basket full of Australian lollies, custard apple, marmite and vegemite, snags, drinks, popsicles. So in the morning, naturally she made us toast with vegemite and avocado. I had tried vegemite before, but I had hated it, since I had eaten it alone. This time, since there was just a very small amount of vegemite overwhelmed by avocado, it wasn't too bad!

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The mission home is really lovely and is located in the beautiful neighborhood of Wantirna South.

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The backyard is especially beautiful! We got to Melbourne during autumn, which is such a different experience than the autumn I'm used to. Everything is still green and flowers are still blooming, but the tree leaves are changing colors. 

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Later that morning, once my dad had finished some pressing duties, we headed into Melbourne city. The city is such a unique blend of modern and old architecture and so colorful!

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Our first stop of the morning was at Queen Victoria Market. I'm a sucker for markets in any country, whether they be supermarkets or fresh air markets or night markets. I love exploring the different food and wares offered around the world.

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We walked around the shops and admired the wide range of products and produce offered by the sellers.

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My parents don't ever get a break from their callings. They have to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to attend to the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of their 275 missionaries. This means they both had to take calls whenever they came in during our visit. Thankfully, we arrived just after a transfer, which is the quietest time for them. Even then, calls came in fairly regularly. They are sure needed by those missionaries!

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We took a break from wandering the market to buy some food at one of the many restaurant/cafe options. Melbourne's melting pot culture makes for a very wide array of dining choices. We ended up at Canton Grill.

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We walked the market more, stopping for some churros along the way.

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On our way back to the car, we stopped at the Chinese branch/International branch and talked to a few missionaries there. I always love seeing the buildings used for church service in other countries. This one was located on an upper floor of an office building.

Our next stop was at the Block Arcade. I was introduced to shopping arcades on my study abroadin Cardiff, which happens to be the City of Arcades, and I've loved them ever since. The Block Arcade in Melbourne was so beautiful!

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One of the many little treasures we found was a temporary Dr. Seuss exhibit. Our parents raised us reading Dr. Seuss, so we were pretty excited. The paintings and drawings were really phenomenal!

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From the Block Arcade, we headed out to walk around the city a bit.

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We walked by Flinder Street Station--such an enormous and colorful building.

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Melbourne is such a cool city!

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While walking the city, we passed by a Spanish donuts shop we couldn't resist. Chocolate-dipped, flavored churros? Done.

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Next up was the lovely and ornate St. Paul's Cathedral.

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To provide contrast to the historic, religious cathedral, we next walked through the street art area of the city. For some reason, seeing a mission president walk through graffiti-ridden streets is awesome.

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On our way back to the car, Brandon naturally stopped to watch a few minutes of Australian Rules Football aka Footie. What a crazy and exciting game!

My mom also stopped in at Crazy Wing to buy us some RIDICULOUSLY spicy wings for later. Apparently, for a bet, a missionary lived off these wings for a week. I love spicy, but these were nearly unbearable.

Our next stop was the Melbourne Star--it's the London Eye of Melbourne. We took a thirty-minute ride around the ferris wheel with a beautiful view of the city.

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Our last stop of the day was, naturally, at Costco where we bought Magnum ice cream bars and Nando's sauce. Since my parents left on their mission a couple of months before Brandon and I got married, our trip allowed them the opportunity to get to know him better. It was so amazing to spend the day with my parents exploring the city they've called home for two years.