Best for last! Our first day in Sydney, we went to church, where we met the most amazing family and cutest kids EVER. When we think of this trip, they come to mind first; they made it special. You'll soon see why.
We enjoyed the ward, full of Australian accents and multi-cultural backgrounds. Only one American family in the bunch, the Swintons were quick to introduce themselves. They went to BYU and were glad to see us. It was so nice of them to invite us over for dinner. We were both famished and happy to accept a home-cooked meal. The three Swinton kids were so adorable, we were sad to say goodbye. Stan drove us to our hostel and offered for us to stay with them this weekend. How NICE!!
We did stay with them, and they were godsends as our hosts, friends and tour guides. Their generosity and kindness still amaze us - they treated us like family.
They took us to Featherdale Park, where we got to pet/feed kangaroos and koala bears (I was flipping out, I was so excited).
They also took us on a day trip to the Blue Mountains, a national park. Although quite foggy that day, we really enjoyed the company of the Stan and the darling Swinton girls. (Ryan couldn't help but hold their hands and give them shoulder rides...he's a sucker for cute little kids.)
With their insiders expertise on Sydney, they took us to a little-known beach, a lovely place with a magical little bridge leading to an island. We played in the sand until it got dark, wishing we lived within babysitting distance of our rad new friends.
They showed us around the Sydney Aquatic Centre, now a family fun water park, where the Olympic events were held in 2000. Ryan, naturally, did his swimmer thing and swam lengths. I got in a length, just to say I did it.
We want the Swintons to know we feel so blessed we met you and still talk about memories with you. We hope to have a rad family like yours someday. You really were the best part of Australia, and totally made it worth missing New Year's Eve. Stan and Eish - you're such great parents. Kiddos - we miss you guys. Happy New Year!