Wednesday, December 31, 2014

happy new year! meet Albertville:

Happy New Year from the Veltjens!
We are here in Albertville, France, getting settled in to French language school. It still doesn't feel real that we are here to stay for awhile.
Yesterday afternoon I took a short walk down the road and took a few photos. This place is breathtaking, and we can't believe we get to live here for this season of life. We are still getting over the jet lag and haven't explored much yet, but we can't wait to get to know this beautiful French mountain town. Everywhere we look there are picturesque French homes with mountains in the background- what a wonderful place to begin a new year!

We are still just figuring out what our lives here at the school will look like, but we have been warmly welcomed by the other students. All the students here are missionaries, and almost everyone is headed to French speaking Africa. A wide variety of missions organizations send their staff here, we celebrated New Years with families serving with Mission Aviation Fellowship and Samaritan's Purse. The students who started in September tell us that the education is very fast paced and that we will grow very quickly- great news for us. We want to learn as much French as we can during this time. 
We have a few more days to get settled in, and then placement exams on Monday to determine what class we will join.

This is our school, the building below is the one where we live and take our classes

Chemin des Galibouds is our street

Thanks for following our blog updates, many blessings on your new year!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas in Cairns

We've had a wonderful holiday here in Cairns!

Cairns, Australia is very hot in December, so swimming is a must.  This creek is a favorite swimming spot, called Crystal Cascades

We went looking at christmas lights one evening, and this was our favourite house...

Christmas morning fun:  giving gifts, a second hand shop gift exchange (couldn't spend more than 5 dollars), finding the lychee seed in the christmas tree, and lots of laughter

Nick kept stealing Laura's iPhone and wrapping it up and putting his name on the gift :)

Even Millie got a christmas gift

These are lychees- a tasty fruit that we don't have in North America

Later on, the whole family came over for Christmas dinner- it was wonderful for me to meet everyone!

Australian traditional dessert: Pavlova

Nick's grandfather told the traditional family story of "the lion hunt"

We all felt pretty tired after all that food....

On Boxing Day (the day after Christmas), Nick and I went to visit our friends Ryan and Teneale and their lovely family.   It was a beautiful drive out to their home, the area outside of Cairns is called the tablelands.  

It's been a good visit, and we'll miss everyone here in Cairns, 
next blog update will be from France! 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Nick's hit single makes the news..

Nick has made his singing debut on the Channel 7 Sunday Night program here in Australia...

The program showed footage of Australians who were on the ship during the Congo outreach, and several clips of Nick and a group of us singing to the kids on the ward made it into the final cut.  

The song we were singing was one that Nick made up out of the only words in the local language we knew...."hello" "how are you" "I'm fine" and "high-five".  That silly song was such a hit with all the patients, people were still singing it months later, long after Nick had left the ship.

Here's a link to a blog post I wrote last year about singing to the kids on the ward:

And if you want to see the program, the link is here (I think it only works in Australia, but I'm not sure):

Here are a few screen shots....I even made it into a few clips (just look for the green wig) :)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

see ya later, Brisbane!

The Veltjens are on the move again!

We packed our bags and left our first home together in Brisbane, and are en route to France via Cairns, Queensland for the week.  We are here visiting family for Christmas, and then we head to France on the 28th of December.

Our first home together- we lived in a unit on the second floor of this blue house 

We can't believe how quickly the months in Brisbane went by- we will miss everyone there!

We settled into our lives in Brisbane very quickly, which made it a bit sad to leave.  We are very thankful for our friends and our jobs in Brisbane.

On Thursday night before we left, we had a late thanksgiving dinner with our Bible study group, and a wonderful evening of talking, laughing and saying goodbye to friends.

Nick and I are both very thankful for our jobs in Brisbane during this season.  Nick returned to work at the Royal Brisbane hospital, and I worked at St Andrews in the central services/sterilising department.
We had the staff christmas party over lunch on my last day of work- I am so grateful for my coworkers at St Andrews and the way they welcomed me into their team, and patiently answered my many questions as I learned my new position.  Having a job at a hospital really made Brisbane feel even more like home for me, and I'm going to miss this team!

Our next destination after we leave Cairns...
Albertville, France.  We arrive in Paris on the 30th and we'll take a train to Albertville.