April 27, 2010

The End.

We leave for the airport in a few minutes. It’s so difficult to wrap my mind around, because I’m feeling so many different emotions. They warned me this would happen, and I thought I was above it. Yeah, right. There are so many things to say and so many lessons learned. Here are some points of interest, all of which have their own story to tell…

  • No matter how far you travel, you can’t run away from matters of the heart.
  • “I have found the answer is to love You and be loved by You alone.” - Shane & Shane
  • Living the gospel, like, really living it, is attractive to the world. If you do so, people will take notice.
  • Your life is telling a story.
  • Seek to be knowledgeable about things that are foreign to you - don’t be ignorant.
  • The internet can grow to become an idol so easily. Fast from it whenever you can - life goes on.
  • After a certain amount of time, even the most romantic and exotic of places become just places.
  • Earthly beauty is a relative concept.
  • Jellyfish suck.
  • You are only responsible for your own attitudes and actions.
  • Everyone is searching for something.
  • Americans have accents, and apparently people around the world seem to like them.
  • There is grace and it’s so mind-blowing. His is sufficient.
  • The easy way out pales in comparison to the hard way - take the road less traveled.
  • Being a nomad or a vagabond is not romantic, it’s lonely. Roots are good.
  • Pine-scented candles are superb.
  • When you don’t have your friends, your family, your job, your responsibilities - who are you? You are you. And who is that, really? It’s not always what you expect, and it’s not always pretty.
  • Heaps of free time does not always help you prioritize. Take responsibility for your life.
  • I don’t think I’ve seen one person every single day of my life since I was about 5 years old. Now I have and I feel like we’re married. Love you Natty, couldn’t have done it without you, mate.
  • A fresh start can occur anytime, anywhere.
  • Family can be a relative concept.
  • I want to live simply.
  • Bugs at home are wimpy.
The time passed so quickly. It wasn’t what I expected in so many ways, but what a blessing this trip has been. I wouldn’t change a thing. I can’t wait to share my stories with you all and reconnect in the northern hemisphere. Thanks for reading, for praying, for commenting, emailing, writing and even calling! I have really appreciated your support through all of the ups and downs. I’ll probably keep blogging as I adjust to life back home and unpack more of the things God’s been teaching me. I’d love for you to keep reading, but my ordinary life might not be as exciting as these past four months, so bear with me! Please pray for our safety, and I’ll see you in a few hours! Until then, cheers.

April 22, 2010

Sianara, Gold Coast.

We're done with classes.
We're done with finals.
We've said "bye" to Bond Uni.
And we're back in Sydney...

I'm pretty sure I'm content with all of that.

Sure, I'll miss the new best friends I've made, but I have faith in our global communication skills. We'll be just fine. My emotions are all over the map though as our days are numbered. We'll be flying back to the States in just 5 days. Where on earth has the time gone? There's so much to process through about these last 4 months, and hopefully my time in Sydney (and those ridiculously long flights) will allow for some good down time to clear the head.

Be praying for our adjustments. We're just realizing now that it will be an adjustment. We thought we were ready to go home, but this is really the end of an era.

I'm reading a fantastic book about living your life, examining it, and analyzing the story that your life is telling. Here's a challenging excerpt:

“I’ve wondered, though, if one of the reasons we fail to acknowledge the brilliance of life is
because we don’t want the responsibility inherent in the acknowledgment. We don’t want to be
characters in a story because characters have to move and breathe and face conflict with courage.
And if life isn’t remarkable, then we don’t have to do any of that; we can be unwilling victims rather than grateful participants” (59).

Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

I want to acknowledge the brilliance of life.
I want to accept responsibility.
I want to move, breathe and be courageous.
I want to be the protagonist in my story, the hero.
I want to be a grateful participant.

Hopefully my experiences here will grant me the necessary perspective for carrying on with my story back home. This is a chapter of my story - a new, bright color in my "technicolor life." God is working and this chapter is key. Pray that I will be willing and that I will be grateful to carry on with whatever comes next.

See you in a matter of days,


April 13, 2010

Waking Up

For Easter, Nat and I spent time in Sydney with some friends of mine and had the most delightful time. I think the only way to really convey how I feel about Sydney would be to type out one of my journal entries from our stay.

“April 2, 2010

I feel as though for the past month or so, I’ve been asleep. Things on the Gold Coast have run their course, and I’m no longer enraptured with it’s beauty or with the guaranteed daily warmth of the sun. I’ve been sleeping, just trudging along through my days with nothing unexpected happening or change to look forward to. It’s just blasé now.

It’s engaging, it’s bewitching, and I can’t describe it - but something about Sydney has woken me up. Maybe it’s just the fact that it’s a new place so the prospect of adventure hangs in the air, but this city is amazing. Nat and I both can’t believe the way Sydney has breathed life back into us. We feel transformed and it’s like we’re home. We’ve been here for just barely 24 hours and this place feels like home FAR more than the Gold Coast ever did in 3 months of being there.

I’m not sure what to attribute it to either - the weather down here is beautiful - so much cooler with a breeze that feels like New England Fall. The sun is also so warm still, but it’s not muggy. And the leaves are actually turning, falling, and blowing all around! It’s glorious. Australia, I didn’t think you had it in ya :)

But it could also be the houses. On the Gold Coast, everything is so modern, trying so hard to look cool so they’re not tasteful at all. One might look at a house or a building and say, “My, that’s unique,” but you would never be moved deep in your soul to say, “I must live here.” Down in the Sydney area, we’ve seen it all. We’ve seen the more modern styles, but we’ve also seen ranches, mansions, apartments and my favorite, the terrace house. We’re staying in a terrace house which is so fabulously home-y. There are sunflowers on the table, stone and hardwood flooring, stone backdrops in the kitchen, and big couches where I sit listening to the world’s best selection on the stereo next to me.

I initially wandered in with my green tea (in a darling Grandma-like mug with poppies on it) because I was drawn to the quiet sounds of Frank Sinatra (or something that sounded jazzy/big band-ish). So I sit here journalling with my tea and that CD just ended. I was a bit nervous as to what the 6 CD changer would grace my ears with next, but no worries. If possible, it’s actually better than its predecessor. I’m now being serenaded by the sweet sounds of the Michael Buble CD that I don’t own. It’s literally a dream. Did I mention that we went sight-seeing this morning after Good Friday service and then I napped for an hour and a half? Yeah, I’m a happy girl.

And THEN, just now, I looked up and to my left on the wall, I was greeted by a very familiar shape that warms my heart. There’s a large, black and white, very old, framed map of where? New England! Massachusetts was staring me in the face, meeting my longing gaze! So beaming and overjoyed, I leapt from my sunken-in dent on the couch to greet Haverhill and Wenham. Then I raced to get Natalie from the back patio to show her my new treasure. She was pleased with my find.

I also think that a huge reason why we’re loving it here is the company. It’s such a pleasure to be staying with Patti and Wolfgang. They are so loving and so helpful, we’re just adoring being here with them. It’s so great to be with adults, with Christians, and with a family unit. Those are all things that we’ve greatly been missing on the Gold Coast. It’s an environment of drunken, crazy college students and this is the type of connection we’ve been craving. The Fischers have been like medicine to our souls. I’m sure visiting Tyson, Dayna and the Jorgensens will prove to be the same. We’re just so grateful to be here, and I don’t even want to think about going back up to Queensland.

But let’s not go there. For now, I’ll just enjoy my new second favorite city in the world. Only second to home sweet Boston, of course. Where we’re staying in Paddington (a 20 minute bus ride from the city) is definitely an area I could get used to. It’s so artsy and adorable. The terrace houses are narrow and tall, and they all look so European with their balconies, iron lacing and vines. They’re so beautiful. We’ve also been to Rose Bay, Double Bay, Vauclose, Edgecliff, the North and South Heads and Bondi. They say if it isn’t happening at Huntington Beach or Bondi Beach, then it isn’t happening. Well now I’ve been there and I’m not sure what all of the fuss is about. It’s no Singing, that’s for sure…

Tonight we’ll spend at home with Patti and Wolfgang, having dinner and watching Jerry Maguire. Tomorrow, we’ll explore the Botanical Gardens in Sydney, then head to Newport! I can’t wait. I love it here.”

As you can see, Sydney captured my heart and held it tightly. It’s like Boston in the sense that it has that older feel. To me, it’s far superior to other cities we’ve been to over here because it’s not trying to be modern and hip. Obviously it’s no where near as old as Boston, but that’s the aura it gives off. Although it’s the busiest city in this country, it seemed so slow to us. Maybe that’s because I can compare it to the oppressive nature of New York or the hustle and bustle of a summer in Boston. But to Nat and I, it just seemed so peaceful, clean and vibrant. We also went to Manly, surfing in Palm Beach, climbed to the Barrenjoey lighthouse, and a few other places that Tyson and Dayna took us.

It was a fantastic Easter and we’re so thankful to the Jorgensen/Fischer clan for welcoming the weary travellers in. We loved it so much, we’re going back :) Our finals are done on April 21st, so we’re flying out that night to join them again for a week. We were supposed to be flying to US from Brisbane, but switched it to Sydney, because that will be a much better way to end our time here.

Something I didn’t mention was the joy that oozed out of every pore as we walked through Circular Quay. With the Harbour Bridge on our left, we knew that at any moment, we’d round a bend to reveal the Sydney Opera House. I was on the phone with Mom at the time (partially to let her know that we arrived safely and partially to rub it in) and I squealed with delight as that sparkly white beacon of all that is Australia came into view. To call it gorgeous would be an understatement. We gave it hugs because we were so happy to see it.

See all of the merriment - Sydney, we love you. See you in again in a week.

April 11, 2010

Bond Royale: All in for Tanzania

Later that night, Saturday, March 27th, my Event Management class had our big event - the culmination of all we had learned and been working toward!

Some of you may remember from blogs past, but the evening was a poker tournament to raise money for Bond University’s Tanzanian Physiotherapy Project. This initiative was started with the hopes of enriching their students’ educational experiences, while also reaching out to those living in the destitute Moshi region of Tanzania. The goal of the program is to raise $10,000 by the beginning of April to fund two Tanzanian student’s trips to Australia. These funds would cover the costs of their travels, visas, paperwork, living arrangements, and studies in the university’s medical program and clinics on the Gold Coast for four weeks.

Two Bond Physiotherapy students already made the trip to Tanzania last fall, and Bond hopes to keep this exchange with Tumaini University a reoccurring program every year. There are only fourteen physiotherapists in the Moshi region, and they are expected to serve nearly three million people. The money that we were hoping to raise (aiming for over $1,000) will most certainly be going to a good cause.

To participate in the tournaments, player would pay a flat fee of $30, which would cover the buy-in for the game and provide them with three drink vouchers for the bar. This way, the money would all go straight to the charity and people wouldn’t be gambling with money at all. The chips were representative of dollar amounts, but the contestants were playing for prizes. And the prizes were so sweet! First place prize was a poker table, combined with other prizes such as fitness vouchers, restaurant vouchers, bottles of alcohol, and tons more. The prizes were worth over $1,000 themselves! The event was held at Robina Tavern, just a short walk from campus, and we were able to secure a private room which included access to the outdoor balcony with a pool table.

My job for the evening was the group the prizes into categories, arrange them in an aesthetically pleasing way, and I was also the photographer for the evening (special thanks to Lyndsay and her camera)!

For my Broadcast Journalism class, I had to create a news story and I chose to preview my event. It sounds like cheating, but it made things a hundred times easier for me because I knew every contact person and didn’t have to travel for my interviews. It was just strategic, that’s all :) I finished my story a week early so that I could send it into a Gold Coast community site for additional advertising. I would post it, but I actually don't have a copy of it. The computers were wiped in the labs. Bummer.

Overall, the night was a huge success. People were dressed to the nines, they had a blast and I think we made our fundraising goal! Below is a photo of the majority of our group and our poster, but you can see the best photos from the evening here.

April 7, 2010

My abs went sailing...

It’s time for me to play some catch up on the blogging. A few Saturdays ago, I had quite an eventful day. On March 27th, Sarah, Natalie and I surprised Lyndsay and Tracey, with an early birthday adventure. Sarah and Tracey, our good friends from Endicott (blasphemy, I know), live across the street from us and we hang with them from time to time. Dinner, drinks, casual stuff, reminiscing of the North Shore together. It’s good fun and we’re glad to have them.

This time, Sarah devised a top secret plan to surprise Lynds and Tracey with abseiling in Brisbane. Their birthdays were on the following Saturday (Easter weekend), but we’d all be in separate parts of the hemisphere that day (Lynds in New Zealand and Nat and I in Sydney) so we celebrated early.

Abseiling is rappelling, the bouncing down the rock face as opposed to climbing up. I love rappelling so much, but had never heard it called abseiling. Oh, the Aussies. We got on the train at 6:30AM to be in Brisbane and set up to leap at 8:30. We enjoyed three hours of jumping, but there was an interesting dynamic I wasn’t used to - when I have repelled before, I’ve been in, you know, the woods. But here, you’re overlooking the river that cuts through the middle of Queensland’s capital city. It was definitely a unique experience. Then we had lunch in the city and explored Brisbane for a bit. The girls were surprised and a good time was had by all.

Here’s a glimpse of the day, but you can see all of the photos here.

The crew, minus Lynds behind the camera.
Tracey, Cas, Sarah & Nat.

Me, on the descent.


This guy and I = good mates.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...