Arkansas Trip, Thanksgiving 2017 (By Karen)

Thanksgiving was quite a while ago—all of four months! But I thought that it would be of interest to some to read of our adventurous trip down to Arkansas to visit family for Thanksgiving. So here I go!!😀

Let me start with the night before we left. We had had a birthday supper that evening to celebrate Trevor’s birthday that was that day. After he and Dylan and Emily had left, we began taking things out to the RV. (We were going to be taking our RV on our trip.) During the few days before the trip, we had taken a lot of things for the trip out there already, so these things were just some last-minute things we had forgotten earlier. For example, a sleeping mat for me to sleep on. (I was going to be sleeping on the floor during this trip, and I definitely didn’t want to forget THAT!) We went over our list of ingredients that we were going to need to make meals, to make sure that we had everything out in the RV pantry that we needed. (We had made a list of what meal we were going to make each night, so we could take only the ingredients that we needed.) After it seemed like there were ENOUGH things out there, we went to bed in hopes of getting up early the next day and getting our trip started nice and early.

Day #1, November 18, 2017…

I got up early and got ready for the day. When I went downstairs, there was no one around down there. I figured that they would be up pretty soon and decided not to worry myself about that. I believe I got something and took it out to the RV, but I don’t remember what it was. I was in the office and when I came out I saw that Reese was lying on the couch! Gulp! Well! I got him up. By this time Naomi was downstairs. (By the way, that day was her 16th birthday, in case you wondered!) We discovered a few bags that Mom had put by the door and we took them out to the RV. Annabelle had eventually found her way downstairs by then. When Mom came down, I honestly can’t remember what we did before we went outside to the RV. But I do remember that it really took us a long time to get going. FINALLY we went out and locked the door! When we got out to the RV, it still took a long time before we left. Reese was trying to navigate the GPS to a place where he wanted to stop and get diesel. While he was doing that, Annabelle remembered something that she had left in the house! So she had to take the key and let herself back into the house. I can’t remember anymore what it was that she wanted. But she eventually came back out. Finally Reese had the GPS set up how he wanted it and we could leave! After we sang and prayed, we started out…FINALLY!! It was much later than we wanted to start, but at least we were finally on our way! 😊 The thrill of watching the scenery whiz past our windows very quickly lost its appeal. Besides, it was familiar landscape for the first half-hour or so! We read our Bibles and looked at the birthday cards Naomi had gotten in the mail. It didn’t seem long until our big ol’ RV was rumbling its way into the gas station to get diesel. By now, we were in COMPLETELY unfamiliar territory, and we were watching the things around us with interest. A tractor trailer truck pulled up to the other side of the pump we were at and a lady got out and started pumping herself some diesel. We had already gotten ours, and while Reese was inside paying, I got out and offered her a tract, which she declined. When Reese came out a couple of minutes later, he also offered her one, not knowing that I already had. She refused his, too. He came inside and soon we were on our way again with Mom driving. Since Reese had his license but Mom only had her permit, he had to sit up there the whole time she drove to “supervise” and he couldn’t go lie down or anything. Since it is not against the law to ride without seatbelts in the RV, Naomi and I went to the back of the RV to the “bedroom” and made the bed, so that at nighttime it would be ready for Mom to sleep in. It is really fun to lie on the bed and watch out the window. And in the summer, it is really fun to do that with the window open! But back to making the bed! Annabelle came back there after we had the bed made. Soon we were starting to talk about lunch. The plan for that day’s lunch was to make tuna subs with a bunch of sub rolls we had gotten for free. It was then that Annabelle made the interesting discovery that we had not brought the can opener. So we decided that we would have to stop somewhere and buy one. Of course, Reese was sure that we didn’t need one, but he wasn’t the one making lunch! We stopped at a gas station/store with an interesting name, but I can’t remember what it was. Reese and I went in and asked if they had can openers but they didn’t. The lady said that there was a Dollar General down the road a ways that would probably have one. So we thanked her, and left. We drove to the Dollar General and Reese and Naomi went in. They came out with a can opener! So we continued to drive, while we girls made the subs. We cut them and passed them out. They were pretty good, especially since I had not eaten breakfast. After lunch, we girls went to the back where the bed was and watched out the window. It was drizzling outside. After a while I stopped looking out the window at the boring highway and sat down at the end of the bed to read a book. I was so tired, and the next thing I knew I was waking up. While I had been sleeping, my head was in a funny position so my neck was sore. I fell asleep again in a comfortable position and when I woke up the next time, my neck didn’t hurt anymore. By now it was POURING!!! Reese was driving, and Mom was sleeping on the couch. It was super bad visibility out there, and a lot of people had their flashers on. Oh, I didn’t tell you that by that time we were in Ohio! When we stopped the next time at a gas station, we decided to make and eat supper before going on, which would give the rain a chance to stop. We made tuna casserole, and while it baked, Mom took a nap and we girls and Reese watched people out the huge windshield. We saw some Amish people. After the casserole came out of the oven, we ate it. We were really eager to get a move on since the storm had stopped and we still had quite a ways until we reached where we were going to be spending the night. We eventually did leave. It was dark in the RV but we did not turn the lights on because it would have made a glare on the windshield. We dozed sitting on the couches or on the bed. We finally crossed the state border into Indiana. After that I fell into a really deep sleep…
Slam!
“He said to go around the building and we should be able to park over there.”
I sat up suddenly and rubbed my eyes. Where were we? Why had the door slammed? Had Mom gone out and talked to someone? Who had told us to go around the building? I was too tired to try to figure out the answers to those questions, so I lay down again. I was aware that we were driving around slowly. Then we were backing up. Next the RV engine shuddered to a stop, and all was quiet. For a while I lay there, not moving. Then I sat up as they turned the light on. Apparently, we had gotten to the truck stop we were going to spend the night at. Reluctantly I got off the couch. I went to the back for my sleeping mat, pillow, and blankets. Annabelle and Naomi put their blankets and pillows on the two couches. Reese put his sleeping mat on the floor of the kitchen and I put mine on the floor of the living room, between the couches. And Mom slept on the bed in the back. A tractor trailer pulled up beside us while we were getting our beds ready, but never turned off. I lay down on my mat and pulled the blanket over me. All around me everyone was talking. Then… OUCH!! Someone stepped on my arm!! Finally they went to their respective beds and the light was turned off. I closed my eyes, soon fell asleep to the hum of the tractor trailer beside us, and never woke up until the next morning.

So, there you have it—day 1 of the trip down to Arkansas. The lesson learned from day 1 is- Don’t forget a can opener when going on a trip, especially if you are planning to make tuna subs in an RV while you drive!!!😉

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!