Friday, December 17, 2010

Love those Kiwis . . . and Christmas

Many members of our Church's congregation here in Sydney are from the south Pacific islands and New Zealand. They are wonderful, warm-hearted people and we've enjoyed becoming acquainted with them and learning a bit about their culture.

f you aren't accustomed to the various accents from Commonwealth countries, you may not be able to distinguish between them--they may all just sound "British". The Kiwi accent is quite distinctive--and pretty funny. They add "is" to the end of statements, but pronounce it "az". As in, "I'm thirsty az". There is a Youtube video that some Aussies produced making a bit of fun. We got quite a kick out of it too. Warning: there is one curse word. You may not even notice it because of the accent, but this serves as a disclaimer.

In what couldn't be less relevant to the video above, this next clip is o
f the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performing "Angels from the Realms of Glory" with the Norwegian crossover soprano Sissel. They performed together at the Choir's 2006 Christmas Concert in Salt Lake City. It is to the tune "Gloria" (or "Iris", the same tune "Angels we have Heard on High" is usually sung to). It was written in 1816.

find the lyrics to be quite powerful. They are more prescriptive than descriptive like in "Angels We Have Heard on High". Midway through, the lyrics shift focus from the humility of Christ's birth to the triumph of His return. It captures the longing of the saints for that event. As a Mormon and a Christian, I appreciate the reference to the Temple. It's interesting that it is even there--the absence of the temple and temple worship is conspicuous in Western Christianity. Coupled with the power of the full Choir and orchestra, a great arrangement, and then add a voice like that of Sissel's, and it is, in my opinion, very moving. My new favorite Christmas hymn.

Here are the lyrics used in this version:

Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o'er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation's story,
Now proclaim Messiah's birth.

Shepherds, in the fields abiding,
Watching o'er your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing,
Yonder shines the infant Light;

Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great desire of nations,
Ye have seen His natal star;

Saints before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear,
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear:

Though an infant now we view him,
He shall fill His Fathers throne,
Gather all the nations to him,
Every knee shall then bow down.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year...



This year Christmas is obviously going to be a bit different, being in a new country and all. Word on the street is the celebrations here are closer to a 4th of July vibe than a 'baby it's cold outside' feel. It's all good, I'm just going to prep myself to be sweltering on Christmas morn, and then we'll break out the BBQ and have ourselves an Aussie Christmas. I've been busy coming up with Christmas decorations (as all our stuff is sitting in a storage unit in LA) so I'll be sure to post some pics of what I've come up with.

As for a few non-Christmas related experiences I've had lately...


A rooster lives outside our bedroom.
I know I've already posted about the crazy birds, but this morning there was a full on rooster (no, not an
actual rooster, but it might as well have been) outside our window. We're talking 4 am, sun hasn't come up, and this bird is cock-a-doodle-dooing the whole world awake.
Needless to say, I did not wake up for the day rested.


A wee?? Last week in church a 3 year old little girl suddenly burst from her seat and exclaimed, "I have to do a wee!!" (imagine it with the accent) I almost had to follow her to the bathroom cause I was laughing so hard. I'm pretty sure we're going to change out our current phrase for that one.
So cute.


Crocodile Dundee was at my house.
When we first moved into our place we realized one of the window panes in our back room was cracked. So they sent out someone to fix it. They just didn't tell me it would be HIM. I'm serious when I say this guy could have been his stand in. He had the shaggy blond hair, wrinkly over-tanned skin, grungy tank top, short shorts, steel toed boots, and he sure as heck called me matey (like 20 times). It was awesome. I spent the whole time he was here trying to figure out how I could take his picture without him noticing.

Alright, well I'm off to print my Christmas cards. If you're late like me and stressing about getting them out on time, here are 5 fabulous options brought to you by the one-and-only Becky Higgins.

Happy Holidays!