Monday, June 30, 2014

What Will It Take?

I love my Grandma, she's very zany.  She's forever making me laugh and skyping with her this morning was no exception.  I was asking how she was doing at BINGO since she'd won $1 when I had last been there to play with her, sadly she hasn't had the same luck since.  When she feels like talking she always has the best stories. She was telling me about two of the nurses having to break up a fight the other day, which I can only imagine was quite comical.  Then there was another instance where a gentleman my Grandma described as "a know-it-all who tells everyone what to do" was trying to tell her how to use her wheelchair.  She just grinned at me told me she just ignored him.  I just love her independence.

She's found this young man at her nursing home (I think she said he's a nurse's aid) and he's apparently made quite the impression on her.  I say that because she's been trying to fix him up with one of my cousins, but so far hasn't had any luck (although it's not for lack of trying on her part).  Well, apparently, she's now decided that I need to come home so I can date this man.  It was an amusing conversation; in the words of my Grandmother, "he's tall and skinny, he's got a great sense of humor, and he likes to travel."  Plus, he apparently owns his own home, which I guess makes him more dateable?   Anyway, she couldn't remember any of the places he's been though, so I'm not holding my breath on the "loves to travel" part.  I told her he's going to have to come over here and visit me or he'd just have to wait.  She seems quite adamant though, because she told my mom she has to come to the nursing home and take his picture so she can send it to me.  She's crazy, but I love her anyway....

The Land of Rainbows

I saw another rainbow this morning, I seem to see them quite often here.  I could see both ends, but not the middle.  And while hearing "the land of rainbows" probably doesn't conjure up pictures of South Australia, due to the whole leprechaun-rainbow- pot of gold trifecta lending itself to images of Ireland, I'm still amazed how often they're visible here.  Of course, that's probable only in the winter when they get more rain.

Last night I had the pleasure of cleaning up a wonderful surprise Polly left me.  Yes, that sentence was sarcastic.  As I walked behind the bar to turn off the fishtank light I noticed something on the ground.  I'd turned most of the room lights off already so I had no idea what it could be, but I'd heard her messing around back there while I'd been watching TV.  After turning on some lights I saw what looked to be partial remains of a rabbit.  I have no idea what she'd done with the rest of it and can only hope she didn't hide or leave it somewhere else in the house.  So that was a fun little chore, removing rabbit pieces and cleaning the carpet...

I was able to skype with my parents this morning, so it was nice to be able to talk through some of my future options.  For a girl who doesn't like to make decisions I've certainly got plenty of options ahead of me, so it's always nice to get someone else's perspective.  Since it was finally sunny today I decided I'd do a bit more gardening.  I was able to do quite a lot and finally decided to call it quit's when my gloves were nearly dripping wet.  All this rain made most of the weeds come out quite easily, but it also meant everything is still wet.  Dick & Les come home on Thursday so my time here is coming to a close.  I'm definitely looking forward to hearing about their trip and all the countries they visited.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Day 112

I have this really great habit of writing blog posts in my head when I'm nowhere near a computer, and by the time I get to one I've essentially forgotten everything I "wrote".  So last night, as I was trying to fall asleep, I had all this great stuff written in my head, and this morning it's all gone.  So, this morning you're stuck with a weather report.  It's been crazy windy here, and rather rainy as well, the last few days so it's been rather wet taking the dogs for a walk.  To be honest, we didn't even walk last night.  As we got to the park it started raining and we weren't even 50 yards down the path when it just started pouring.  Since it was so windy the umbrella I had quickly turned inside out and busted, and it was really only keeping my head and shoulders dry anyway.  I let them run for a bit and then decided I wasn't dedicated enough to spend 20 minutes walking around in the rain and decided to come back to the house.  I didn't fare much better this morning, but we did manage half a lap before I decided to call it quits.  As we were pulling into the driveway the rain turned to sleet for a little bit and then it poured again, so I think that was a decent decision.

 I've still been applying for jobs in Cairns and I did do a bit more research into the Dive Master internship.  They apparently do these types of internships all over the world, and of course you can always pay to do them as well.  I'm just feeling a bit like I'm in limbo and I'm not a big fan of that feeling.  I still have a few weeks until I arrive in Cairns and I still don't know how long I should wait around Cairns to find a job before I move on.  At this point I'm thinking I might just come home in November without changing my plane ticket, so in the back of my mind I'm trying to make sure I see everything I want to see before then, just in case.  Of course, returning in November starts me thinking about what I'll do when I get back.  All that to say, I haven't done a very good job the last couple days at being patient and trusting God for each future step.  I'm not sure I've gone so far as to worry about the next step, but I don't think I've done enough praying about the next step...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My foray into the realm of house sitting....

So back in November I decided that house sitting might be a great way to spend less money while residing overseas.  So, I joined, paid my fee, created a profile, uploaded photos, etc., etc.  So for a few months I would get emails, almost daily, from the site telling me there are people in Australia who need a house sitter.  I'd sent emails to 8 different people in response to their postings, but nothing had worked out.  Then out of the blue I had a man contact me about house sitting for them.  The house sitter he had scheduled had backed out and he needed me in May for about 7 weeks.  Several exchanges later I decide that even though the situation isn't ideal (mostly because it doesn't start in March, so I'd have about 2 months to fill somewhere), I'd be willing to do it.

So here I am, months later, nearing the end of my first house sit and I don't really have much advice to impart.  My biggest piece of advice is that if you're not a huge animal lover, you might want to refrain from doing a house sit that also involves pet sitting. I know that sounds like a no-brainer, and maybe it is...

Watching other people's animals can be difficult if you're not crazy into animals. Thankfully the animals I was watching weren't needy, but from some of the house sit postings I've read, many of them need special attention. I don't mind dogs, but being a neat freak I don't like having them in the house, and most house sits (including mine) have indoor dogs.  The postings often don't tell you if the dogs are indoor or outdoor, so you might want to check first.  Depending on the length of the house/pet sit I would also make sure that the home owners leave you money to purchase additional pet food (unless, of course, they've bulk purchased in advance).  I'd also suggest asking if a neighbor or friend has a spare key to the house just in case you lock yourself out or lose your key; and if they do, make sure you get their name and number.  At the end of the day patience, common sense and some emergency phone numbers should be all you need for a successful house sit.

A Devotional for Travelers

Faith-Based Travels by Nicole Jeffery

"They'll make a devotional about anything."  If you walk through a Christian Bookstore and browsed the devotional section I'm sure you'd have to agree with that statement.  Be that as it may, I did find this book did a pretty good job of addressing some of the issues that face people, particularly young people, who set off to do some more long-term traveling.
This devotional addresses those challenges {when faced with distance separating one from family and familiarity} head-on, reminding readers that God is with them wherever they go, and that He will meet their needs.
 While I did feel that there were times the author might have taken verses not entirely in context to make her point, in general she did a good job in picking topics on which travelers would struggle and giving encouragement and advice.  The one thing I didn't like were the prayers at the end of each devotion, but that could just be more of a personal preference, and doesn't necessarily detract from the book.  Each section ends with travel tips on the chapter's topic from travelers the world over. I appreciated that she started with devotions in regards to planning your trip and ended with a section of devotions on what she termed "re-entry".  Here's a brief glance into some of the topical sections she covers: prayer, evangelism, loneliness, fellowship, the church's perspective, God's guidance and more.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is planning on taking a gap year, studying abroad, planning a working holiday, or the like.  I can definitely attest that the chapter on re-entry would have been most helpful to me upon my return from a semester abroad years ago.  My family can bear witness to that fact that I did not handle re-entry very well.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

God's Timing is Always Perfect

God sure knows how to brighten a girls day!  I've been really praying in the last few weeks that I'd learn to trust God, and just leave things in his hands, especially in regards to a job.  The sermon yesterday at church was about Time and before the service started there was a beautiful slide up on the screen that simply said "God's timing is always perfect."  That's what I keep trying to remind myself when I get discouraged about not getting a job - that God's got it under control.  So it was a nice reminder before the service ever started.  I really enjoyed my time at church, the song time was comfortable and I'm starting to feel like I belong.  Maybe describing the music portion of a service as "comfortable" sounds strange to you, but when an entire congregation is singing songs you don't know you feel a bit out of place, but I knew a few of the songs this morning; and since I love to sing it's nice to be able to just sing.  The worship team was to teach a new song, but the drummer hadn't been able to make it, so Peter decided he'd just have the congregation clap the beat for the song in hopes it would help us get the rhythm.  It turned out to be a rather amusing exercise as half of us were clapping one beat and the other half another beat, on purpose mind you.  But, rhythm just isn't some people's forte.  Either way, it had everyone laughing.  As it says in Psalm 100, "make a joyful noise unto the Lord" and I'm sure He loves to hear His children laughing.  Judi (she had me over for lunch last week) sat with me during the service and I was able to chat with her afterwards.  I also met Allan & Betty Duncan, this sweet couple who just celebrated their 65th anniversary.  He told me that they're best friends and do everything together.  He and I talked for quite awhile, and then Maureen (the Canadian woman I met at the church work day) came over and said that if I'm still around once they get their kitchen finished she'd like to have me over for dinner.  So it was a lovely morning.

I spent most of Sunday afternoon online reading articles and travel blogs, researching things to do in Cairns, job searching, that sort of thing.  Carol Laird (we met in Juarez, Mexico years ago) and some of her family are in Australia right now and had just done a tour of the Great Barrier Reef so I'd asked her on Facebook what her recommendations were of the group they'd gone with.  She'd gone with Reef Experience and would highly recommend them.  She also mentioned that they hire workers and several of the staff were from the USA.  So on a whim I decided I'd just email them and another diving/snorkeling tour group just to see if they'd need any help.  Since I was on the diving topic I started checking out the types of scuba diving certifications thinking maybe I'd do that while there.  Anyway, I'd stumbled upon this blog while contemplating my move to Australia and stumbled upon it again yesterday.  She had a whole series of posts on Becoming a Dive Master. For whatever reason I ended up reading the whole series, even though a Dive Master is way above what I was contemplating doing.  I promise I'm leading up to something with this story.  So, a few weeks ago my parents had asked me what type of job I'd like so they could be specific when praying for a job for me.  I told them I didn't really know, I was open to a lot of things, but told them a job on the water would be pretty cool.  Then this morning when I checked my email I got this reply from the manager at Seastar Cruises:
Thank you for your application.  The only position we have available is a Dive Master traineeship.  As this is short term training work the pay is very modest. Also we require you to stay for a minimum of 6 months.  But you do get to do a lot of diving on the Great Barrier Reef and you are a fully qualified PADI dive master on completion, which enables you to work anywhere in the world as a dive master.  If this interests you please advise.
Seriously?  God is pretty awesome sometimes.  I'm not saying I'm taking the job, I still know next to nothing about it, and have never even been scuba diving before, but what an opportunity!  Since I'd read all the blog posts yesterday I actually had a clue as to what the man was talking about, and so many people had been praying that I'd find a job before I left Gawler.  Even if I don't take the job or actually get offered the job, it's such an encouragement to see how God can do so much more than we ask or imagine (Isaiah 64:4).  I would have been happy serving lunch on the boats while they're on tours, but never imagined this!

Then to top it all off, I'd managed to fix my webcam/skype issue Sunday night and so I was able to skype (and actually see) several people from my home church (and my Gram) when talking with my family this morning.  For the last 3 months I've only been able to talk with my family, we haven't been able to see each other. God's timing is perfect, I fixed it right before my parents surprised me by taking their laptop to church so I could talk to some dear friends during our weekly skype call.  So, with this good news comes the possibility of more decisions, which I'm still not a fan of, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.  For now I'm just thankful for what He's showing me about His perfect timing.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Planning My Next Move

Well, with about 2 weeks to go I realized I needed to figure out where I was heading next.  So at the beginning of the week I decided I'd do a tour of Uluru and then head to Cairns.  I spent a ton of time researching guided tours of Uluru, bus trips there, pricing airline tickets, you name it.  I narrowed it down to one tour and just had to decide how to get up to Alice Springs.  The website for the company that had the bus trip (cheap transport) wasn't very descriptive so I called for more info.  Well, actually, I ended up calling 4 times over 3 days and just couldn't get an answer!!  In that time the air fare had gone up so I was getting a bit frustrated.  But God was looking out for me because today I finally got some answers and realized that the bus trip was from Alice Springs to Adelaide (backwards) and wouldn't have worked anyway!  Thankfully the guy mentioned that I wanted the trip in reverse and he wasn't sure if it went in reverse.  Somehow, despite looking at the description multiple times, I never caught that it wasn't starting in Adelaide!  So, the bus trip was out and now I was stuck paying more for airfare than I would have had I gotten the answers I needed the first day I called.  I was able to find a ticket that was only $50 more than the price from 2 days earlier, but I decided I'd do a bit more research and see if I could find any other random airfare search websites that would give me a lower price.  After about 8 different searches I'd nearly decided it wasn't worth it when I thought I'd try a special student ticket site.  Low and behold, I was able to get the ticket for only $13 more than on Tuesday!  Then, to top if off I got to skype with my favorite 10-year-old and even saw a rainbow on my walk with the dogs tonight.  I'm just thankful things worked out today.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Gotta Give Credit

I don't think I've give God enough credit during the last three months or so.  Although I've been praying for a job, and had hoped to have found one for the time I was in South Australia, things have worked out quite well without one.  He sent me two lovely girls for my week in Sydney, who also were interested in surf camp - had they not been going I'm not sure I'd have done it.  Then, after a week of not finding work I was able to do the help exchange with Lesley and things worked out well enough that I was able to stay until I came to Gawler, so I had virtually no expenses for those six weeks.  Although I had anticipated having to pay for food and gas while doing the house sit, God worked it out that Dick and Les left me money for food and gas!  Doug & Rosalie were also a wonderful blessing and here in Gawler He's given me wonderful Christian people to look after me.  Today was my lunch with Judi (one of the chaplains at the church here) and I was just so amazed at her journey.

When we made our plans she had originally said to meet at 10am and then she'd mentioned having lunch and I told her I could do lunch.  I hadn't realized she had changed the time of our meeting to lunchtime, when she mentioned having lunch, so I showed up on her doorstep at 10am this morning.  The poor woman hadn't even showered yet, she'd had a very busy day yesterday and had overslept.  I felt terrible once I realized she had thought I wasn't coming until noon.  She was a gracious host anyway, and quickly showered and got ready.  We talked in her living room for two hours and then she ended up taking me out to lunch and we talked for another two hours.  She has some amazing stories of how God has worked in her life.  Things that have happened that can only be explained by His hand at work in her life.  It's always nice to be encouraged with stories of things that might not make sense at the time being used by Him later on in life.

 She gave me this adorable little stuffed wombat for me to take home for my new little niece or nephew too!
 She saw it while out the other day and thought it would be perfect, so that was very thoughtful of her (we'd made our plans the day I found out I was going to be an aunt so I'd shared the news with her).  Before we parted ways she said that if I ever needed anything to give her a call, even if I'm not still in SA because it's always nice to know there's someone in the country who is willing to help.  She said I can even call her if I just want to talk.  So, today I'm giving credit to God for all the little things He does, even when they aren't obviously, smack-you-in-the-face, from Him.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Days Like These

I'll admit yesterday was not one of my greatest days Down Under.  I was feeling pretty bummed Saturday night, and some woman yelled at me Sunday morning for not having Jordan and Pancho on leashes so that certainly didn't improve my demeanor.  Anyway, I was just feeling pretty blue and discouraged (you should see my journal entries).  Just struggling with the reason I'm here in Australia, my lack of contentment, frustration with not being able to get a job, you get the picture.  Well, lucky for me, Mondays are the day I get to skype with my family and I ended up getting a great pep talk from my Dad (I realize that on Father's Day I should be giving him a gift, but as the wonderful father he is, he gave me a gift - encouragement).  It makes me so thankful that I have my family's support - I don't know how people travel without it.  And, as my favorite little Mutt pointed out, Kid President also gives a mean pep talk (but my Dad's was more to the point):
I can't keep sitting around waiting for something to happen.  There's a fine line between leaving an open schedule to allow for spontaneity and waiting around while accomplishing nothing.  So, I spent a few hours this morning writing down some goals for my time in Australia, things I'd like to see before I go home, and working on my next move.  At this point, unless I get a reply to one of the many job postings I've applied for, I'll be heading to Alice Springs and Uluru next.  I found out that they have this cool event in Alice Springs on July 12th called the Camel Cup, so I'm going to stick around and see that while I'm up there.  From there I think I'm heading to Cairns.  Hopefully I can find a job and stick around there for awhile, and if not I'll visit the Great Barrier Reef and move on down the road.  So, those are my next two goals for my time in Australia, well three, if you count finally getting a job.  I applied for a nanny job, that's how desperate I am.  Granted, it really sounds more like a chauffeur job, dropping the kids off at school and taking them to sports practice, but still, it involves kids.  Had the job description sounded more nanny like I'm not sure I'd have attempted.  I know Lesley would give me a good reference, so I figured I might have a shot at the job even though I'm not really a kid person...  Only time will tell I guess.

Psalm 139:1-6 -- O Lord, You have searched me and known me.  You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.  You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.  For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.  You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Working Bee

Despite an unfortunately unrestful night, and it being a Saturday morning, I managed to make it to the church by 8:45am for the "working bee", as they call it.  The church is currently in a Heritage listed building so they're trying to get it sold so they can move to something that is more useful for them and more cost effective.  So the goal for today was to throw away things that they really don't need and wouldn't want to move.  I spent the majority of my morning in the kitchen helping Liz and Kate (from the fitness class & dinner) clean out some kitchen cupboards.
 During our morning tea break I ended up chatting with a woman named Marleen who is originally from Winnipeg, and came over on a working visa as well.  She ended up marrying an Aussie so she's been here for the last 20 years.  It was definitely a great way to meet more people from the church.  Pastor Jeff even joked that I came all the way from PA just to help.  I was the youngest person there by a good 20 years as Brian pointed out; I think he was a bit bummed that more people didn't show up.  It's not a huge church, but from what I gathered it was the same people who always seem to come and help out, and they've been doing it for years.  Brian mentioned in passing that he wished he'd brought a camera to take photos, and since I'm traveling I pretty much always have my camera with me.  Lucky me, he took all the photos so I didn't have to, but I got copies of them all.  I emailed them to him and he said he's going to put them on the screen before the service on Sunday to show people who came to help out.  All in all, it was an enjoyable way to spend a morning.

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Rainy Day in the City

I managed to get the dogs walked before it started raining, so for that I was quite grateful.  It rained pretty much nonstop from about 8am to 2pm, but South Australia definitely needed the rain.  I caught the train into town and Rosalie picked me up outside the train station.  We then headed to Zoe's Restaurant to meet up with her husband Doug for lunch.  This is the lovely couple from Flinders Street Baptist who often took me out for lunch and then drove me home from church.  They gave me some advice on visiting Alice Springs and Uluru so that was nice.  Anyway, after lunch Rosalie and I headed down the street to check out the shops and do some window shopping.  She's such a lovely woman.  I can only think to describe her as the Aussie version of a Southern Belle.  She's very neat and proper, but as sweet as can be as well.  She said 'hello' and made small talk with just about every shop keeper we visited and always made sure she said 'Thank you' as we left.  She also has a wonderful way of making people feel at ease.  We stopped in a few jewelry stores and she was giving me advice on the style of engagement ring I should get!!   She was cracking me up, but she claims a beveled setting is the way to go so the diamond can't get lost and it never snags on things.  Apparently she lost her diamond from a pronged setting and nearly lost another stone from another ring so she had them both reset with a beveled edge.

Well, after our window shopping we decided to head back to their house and play a game called Sequence.  It was so yucky out or else she said we could have gone to the beach or something.  She said they learned the game Sequence while in the US so it seemed fitting that we play it.  I'm pretty sure I've played it before, in fact I think my mom made our own board so all six of us could play.  Well after a lovely afternoon, I managed to just barely catch my train home.  I had to run to make it (or wait another 40 minutes for the next one), but I got back to Gawler with just enough time to take the dogs on a quick walk before it was too dark to see.  It was a lovely afternoon and I'm glad I got to see them both again.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Another Lovely Dinner

It's rainy here today, but it thankfully held off until after I'd walked the dogs this morning.  I'm heading into Adelaide today to visit with Rosalie, so that should be nice.  I suppose I should catch you all up on the happenings yesterday.  I had an appointment at the Volunteer Resource Center to see if there was any volunteer work I could do while here.  It took them quite awhile to get my appointment in, so I've only got a few weeks left here, but the woman did seem to think I'd be able to help do some short term admin type work for a Sustainable Living Festival.  I'll hear back from them on Monday as to whether they've got anything for me to do.  After my meeting I headed into town to stop at the post office and the library.  While there I figured I might as well stop in to check that job opening at Subway.  As suspected, they're looking for a more permanent employee, not just a quick 3 week fill in.  So, still no job, but at this point I'm ok with that since I don't plan on staying here anyway.

After our afternoon walk around the park I headed off to Brian & Liz's house for dinner.  They're the couple from church who had me over for dinner a few weeks ago.  Liz had also invited Kate and her husband Allen to join us.  Kate, Liz, and I were the only 3 at the fitness class Tuesday night, so it was nice to get to know them a bit better as well.  It was a lovely meal, Liz is a very good cook.  With five of us the conversation flowed quite nicely, and I didn't even have to do most of the talking.  Both couples are quite involved in the church and will be at the clean up day tomorrow (Saturday), so I'm going to stop in and see if I can help.  Well, I'd better go get ready so I can catch the train into the city.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Staying Fit

I decided to head back out to Lyndoch yesterday and visited the Barossa Chateau (the beautiful part is the back, so I'd missed it the first time) and saw some of the Yaldara Estate.
 Beautiful old buildings and of course, the lovely rose garden that I'd visited a few days ago.  Since I was so close to "downtown" Lyndoch I decided to try the little German bakery again.  I thought someone had told me they have really good Bienenstich, so I bought some.  I first tried it at the Keller Miester and it was delicious; sadly, the Lyndoch Bakery version didn't seem to quite measure up.  It was still tasty, just not as good as I remember the one at the Keller Miester.
 Bienenstich, also known as Bee Sting Cake, or Bee sting cake is a German dessert made of a sweet yeast dough with a baked-on topping of caramelized almonds and filled with a vanilla custard, Buttercream or cream.

After I walked the dogs for the evening I headed to the church for a fitness class.  It was a really small group so I appreciated that since it was my first time.  It was a good mix of stretching and toning, with some light weights thrown in for good measure. Liz (I had dinner with her & her husband Brian) was one of the women there and afterwards she invited me over for dinner again on Thursday.  There is another class Friday morning (more cardio based I believe), but I'm heading into Adelaide so I won't be able to make it.

Well, I certainly am feeling my abs this morning - I guess it's nice to know I've still got them :)  While listening to a local Christian radio station this morning I heard a song by About A Mile.  They're a band made up of brothers, and my younger brother played basketball with them in high school.  Anyway, I'll be the first to admit I don't actually listen to their music per se, but I'd heard the song on the radio here before and didn't realize it was theirs.  When they played it this morning and said their name afterwards I couldn't believe it!  A band of boys from Western PA getting air time in South Australia.  It's a great song and you can check it out here.

It's supposed to rain tomorrow and although Dick told me I didn't really need to worry about mowing the lawn, it was definitely in need.  He had shown me how to run the lawn mower and after several attempts to get it started I was finally able to get it running and mow everything.  It's definitely not a self-propelled mower so I got a decent work out this morning too.  Thankfully they're yard isn't too big....

Monday, June 9, 2014

Free Polly Day

The cat is free!!  She's finally allowed outside and since I've found out I'm really not much of a cat person this is very good news for me.  I was able to skype with quite a few people yesterday morning, including my wonderful little sister, so that was really nice.  Lesley and the boys were supposed to come up for a visit (yesterday was a holiday for the Queen's birthday), but she ended up texting me that the boys desperately wanted to go to the movies, so they weren't going to make it. I didn't realize it was a "real" holiday, I thought it was more of just a school and bank holiday, but apparently it's not.  I was out of cat mince so I decided I'd run into town and get that and a few other groceries, but everything was closed!  I couldn't believe it, I'm just so used to stores back home not really closing for anything - not even Christmas!  I guess that just goes to show the laid-back attitude of the Aussies.

Well, I finally bit the bullet and called Judi this morning (a women I met at church).  I often thought of it while driving and just never got around to calling her, so today I remembered and decided I'd best call.  She was so glad I did because she didn't have my phone number, but she'd seen a Help Wanted sign on the local Subway and had talked to the manager.  Sadly, it comes when I've only got about 3 weeks left, but it can't hurt to stop by, so I should probably do that today.  We made plans for me to go to her house for lunch next Wednesday, so that will be nice.  Anyway, I've got to get ready for the day and head into town for the cat mince I couldn't get yesterday and stop in at Subway while I'm at it....

Saturday, June 7, 2014


The devotional book that I've been reading has been talking about prayer this week, and it hit me this morning on my walk that an awful lot of my prayers are really just requests for God to make my life easy.  I'd like to have everything just fall into place for me.  I'd like to find a job and a place to live, with relative ease and little stress.  It's far to easy for me to think of God as the "Easy" button in that Staples commercial.  It's a hard habit to break, even more so when there are things for which you'd sure like His expertise.  Honestly, who really likes to struggle at something, or have difficulty?  But sometimes the things for which you have struggled are the things you appreciate most.  At least that's what I'm told.  Truth be told, I can't necessarily think of any specific thing in life I struggled at but am really glad I did, but then again I could have just forgotten.  I think that's why God gives us friends and family, to remind us of the things we forget, the things He has done for us and the things he helped us through.  That's what my sister is for in my life (among other things), she helps me remember so much stuff, that, for whatever reason, just didn't burn into my mind.  I digress.  I think I'm going to try to focus on contentment - something I've never been very good at, I'll admit.  I'm in Australia because I want to live my life on purpose.  I wanted to try my hand at living overseas again, and this was my opportunity.  Job searching is part of that decision and I want to be content with that, maybe even enjoy the possibilities.  Well, that was my pep talk to myself today; maybe you can relate, maybe not....

In the movie "Bottle Shock" they talk about how the
grapes have to struggle or they don't make good wine.
You don't water or irrigate, they have to fight to grow.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Your First Love

I suppose I should let you all know that my speech at the Gawler Light Rotary Club went pretty well.  I got a free dinner and a thank you pen for my efforts, so I guess that makes it worth it, right?  I'm only sort of kidding.  Personally, I think I could have given the speech better, but I always get nervous and start straying from my notes.  I'm better at writing speeches than at giving them, so my perfectionist tendencies kick in when I realize that I'm off my notes and I get annoyed with myself.  I can read in public really well, but people don't really like to be read to....  All that to say, thank you to those who were praying for me.  I sat with Bev, the woman who asked me to speak, and before I left she told me that if she can think of any interesting things to do she'll send me an email or call me, or if I found anything I wanted to do that I should give her a call, so that was really nice of her.

Going through all my photos from my trips to Japan and thinking about all the things I've experienced there made me quite nostalgic.  Then last night the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha" was on TV so I just had to watch it.  Since Japan was the first truly foreign country I ever visited I've always considered it my first love.  I even wrote a several of my research papers in highschool on various Japanese things, including geisha.  It's one of those places that will always be with me. Although, when you add it all together, I've spent about 6 months of my life in Japan I still haven't visited Kiyomizu Temple, Tokyo, or seen the Sakura blossoms, so I'm thinking that if I stay in Australia until March of next year I might have to go back home via Japan and finally cross all my other Japan bucket list items off the list once and for all.  But then again, who knows what the next 9 months will hold.  Plus, I hear that flights to India from Australia are quite cheap and I've got a few places in India I'd like to see as well.  Who am I kidding, just about every country is on my list, so only time will tell.

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Chance Encounter

I was skyping with my family this morning and my Aunt stopped by so she stuck around to chat.  In the course of our conversation she asked if there were a lot of koalas in my area.  I told her that there were some, and that Dick (the man I'm house sitting for) had told me he'd seen one once in the park where we walk the dogs.  He said that it was more common for the dogs to find a kangaroo and run off chasing it, than it was for me to see a koala (being as their mostly nocturnal and all).  We went to the park this evening, as usual, and set off around the loop.  Not long into the walk they both went running off into the woods, which isn't all that unusual, when suddenly, I heard this strange thumping noise behind me.  I'd never heard such a sound before and I turned around to see a rather large kangaroo hopping extremely fast through the woods and heading straight towards me!  There was a fence behind me, so I took a few steps backwards so that it could run up the path towards the field without me being in the way.  I wasn't sure if a kangaroo being chased by dogs would feel threatened by a person standing still, but thankfully it steered clear of me.  The dogs weren't far behind it and they all went barreling through a break in the fence and into the field.
Obviously not the kangaroo in question, but
don't be fooled by their cuteness, they're quite fast!
 It all happened so fast and was quite shocking.  I feel as if that was some sort of Australian initiation rite or something, either way, it's way better than a chance encounter with a shark, or heaven forbid a spider or snake.  Well, that was my excitement for the day - cheers!

Sunday, June 1, 2014


It was rainy all day Saturday, the perfect day to curl up with coffee and a good book.  Despite the yucky weather I decided I might as well get myself out of the house and go to the birthday party.  Did I mention it was a 60's & 70's themed costume party?
The party invitations
 I obviously didn't have anything that would pass for either era so I didn't dress up, and thankfully a few of the parents that came didn't dress up either.  They apparently take their costume parties very seriously, almost everyone had rented a costume!  So, needless to say, everyone looked very authentic.  There was one kid who was wearing some of his grandfather's clothes from the era and another kid who claimed he'd found a loop-hole and had dressed up from the 1860's.  The invite only said " a costume from the 60's and 70's is your ticket in" and this young man decided Jacob should have specified the century as well.  Rachel told me he marches to the beat of his own drum.  They had a disco ball outside and played lots of oldies.  It was funny to hear the other ladies reminisce about their favorite bands and which groups they'd seen in concert.  Apparently, at that point in time most of their music still came from England or the U.S. first.  It was a nice enough evening altogether, and although I didn't necessarily have fun, I don't regret going, so I guess that's what matters.

I had to get gas this morning before church, and man is it expensive!  $50 doesn't even fill the tank on a little Hyundai!  Anyway, I found this at the church library while browsing this morning - sounded pretty perfect, so I checked it out.
Faith-Based Travels: A Devotional Guidebook For
the Faith-Filled Traveller by Nicole Jeffery
 Anyway, I met one of the chaplains, Judi, and she was, of course, very nice.  She lives off Cheek Avenue (the opposite direction from Liz & Brian) and said she'd love to meet up or have me over for coffee or lunch some time since I'm free during the day.  She gave me her phone number and told me to call if I'd like to stop by, she didn't want to pressure me into visiting.  Although I appreciate her not wanting to pressure me, I feel like now I have to initiate and I hate initiating things.  Oh well, if I can go to a 60's themed birthday party I can certainly call and make plans with someone I barely know.  Live life on purpose.  Life life on purpose.