The Adventures of Belinda and Ralph!!!

We thought about creating a whole site for them but it’s easier to keep it here as we have the adventures with them!! Belinda is my second eldest sister and she and her partner live in supported accommodation. Things are not as easy for them to do as they are for you and me, sometimes they can be a real challenge too. Bill and I always remind them to look for what they CAN do and not what they can’t. All too often they get caught up in the four walls that they live in and get caught in a rut. Its hard when things are difficult let alone ad more difficulties, but we know with the right encouragement they both flourish. In the past two years there has been a MASSIVE turnaround in both their lives and it is just wonderful to hear happy voices and happy stories.
Every year we take them both for Christmas, sometimes it’s at home and sometimes we go away. Last year poor Ralph was unable to come due to an accident so this year we are certainly making up for it, more of that later.
I have to back track a few things or perhaps I might just put it all up in photos…..

Plane ride 300/11/2008

New Bike!

Out to Lunch

Beating the heat 2009

Christmases

Mount Gambier 2008

Deanne Shoots Belinda at Surfcoast!

Feeding a Brolga

Figuring out songs to go on her MP3 Player

Going for coffee

Out and about!

Going for a walk!


Dinner!!

Ferry Ride

Belinda plays with Panoramas!





The next BIG Adventure!!!


We love to take Belinda and Ralph out and about, to see things to do things, to experience things, get out of the four walls and have fun. For years we have been trying to plan a big trip to somewhere they chose but they had to save a certain amount to do the trip, after all we cannot do everything! Sadly for years they just did not save, they were just not getting the support that they needed. Two years ago this changed dramatically with new owners taking over. In a very quick space of time the old bubbly Belinda was back, the adventurous Ralph surfaced and they were both so much happier. They do still need to be reminded to brush their teeth every morning but at least they are being told, at least GOOD support is in place.
When Belinda and Ralph said they wanted to go to New Zealand, we were taken aback, this was a big challenge they we setting for themselves, this was going to be one of the biggest things they would have to save for to date. We as always were fully prepared to support them so we decided the most economical way was by a cruise. A cruise meant they could get on the ship, unpack their things, eat as they wanted, have some sort of independence but still have the safety and security of people being there for them.
We were really worried that this may be a repeat of pervious years, but as always we had our hopes up high for them and encouraged them. We had done our usual thing of looking high and low for the best prices and managed to get really good prices, the travel agent was more than happy to price match it BUT we had to pay up front! OUCH! Lucky we could use a small loan and used that because we needed to keep the price down so they could afforded it, it was already going to be a mammoth year ahead. What has been really interesting is we looked at the prices for the cruise now and they are now over $1000 MORE per person than what we paid!! It sure paid to look around and stand our ground!!
So now it was time to set up a savings and budget plan and then ironically just after they were all excited to save and go the earthquakes began! DOH!!!! It was a massive task for them to save, particularly the amount they had too. We promised they pay for their fare and some spending money and we would look after the rest. We were also taking on something big and we too have saved like crazy all year. With the new owners and the constant positive reinforcement they were doing well, there was bumpy times but heck they had never done something like this and this big, of course there is going to be hiccups. In the past the “hiccups” would have been overlooked and this is why things never were achieved.
Its funny that some people can think that because we have so many adventures we are well off, but it is far from it, we just don’t have the take out dinners, go to the pokies, or buy things just because they are cheap, we wait till we can afford things. One thing that I have always said its not about finding $1000 is about not spending the small amounts! An example was a cup of coffee that Belinda and Ralph would have a few times a week with a cookie or cake, cutting back one coffee and cookie added up to be a few hundred dollars. If you cut back on all the small things like they did the savings add up really fast. You see when you save you still don’t have to miss out, just cut back on things or do things differently like taking advantage of the cheap nights at the cinema and byo popcorn! Saving is not that hard really, if you want something enough you will get there! Its pointless to be jealous of what others can do if you are not prepared to make a few sacrifices. For Belinda and Ralph to achieve what they have in monumental in every possible way and we are SO happy and proud of them both.
It’s been incredibly exciting to get the things they need and go through the processes required for an overseas trip. Getting the passports involved two trips to them for a few days and trips back and forth to the city and various offices. It’s the exciting but boring stuff but it has to be done, getting a passport has got to be one of the most exciting things! Really looking forward to getting a photo of each of them holding their passports to share. Really looking forward to a lot actually!!
We had the great fortune of having a heap of frequent flyer points so we were able to book their flights. It’s a great relief as the fares were starting to go up and places shrinking. It’s going to be exciting to see them both board the plane, Belinda has never even on one and it was a very long time since Ralph was on a plane. We did take them on a water plane a while ago but a tiny 6 seater is a lot different to a commercial aircraft.
The biggest thing to look forward to is the first time they see the ship, checking in, showing them to their rooms, walking the ship the first time….Belinda getting her Chinese meal, Ralph his fish and chips! I wonder how many times they will order room service too!! It’s going to be a blast figuring out what excursions to go on too. I do hope to go on one of the Lord of the Rings tours too. It’s going to be wonderful the see their reactions to all the new things, I am going to have to make sure we are armed with lots of memory cards and batteries!!!! Lol
So keep your eyes on this section of our blog, I plan to add a page all about the Cruise!!! 116 days to go!! WOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

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