I just keep reminding myself that this must not be where God wants me. I had sort of hoped to find a job here in Cairns and then my employers would love me so much they'd want to sponsor a visa and then I'd be able to stay in Cairns for another year, or maybe two. As you all know that hasn't exactly happened. While chatting with Edith at church Sunday night (her and her husband Jeff just got back from their month-long holiday, so I hadn't seen her in awhile) I mentioned that I would be leaving soon. When I told her that the next time I see her would be one of my last Sundays in Cairns she looked a bit bummed and said to me, "I know I don't you that well, but I'm really going to miss seeing you here." She's such a sweetheart, and one of the only people I've really even connected with at the church here (she's a travel lover as well and has done a working holiday in Canada), and I'm going to miss seeing her as well. I had breakfast with Anne, Shoko, and Romey on Monday morning at a nice little cafe on the wharf. They gave me a neat card (photo below) and gave me their email addresses so we could keep in touch outside of facebook as well.
When I told Jay when my last day would be here at Bohemia he just sort of sighed. I was sitting in reception using the wifi and about 20 minutes later, as I was getting ready to leave, he asked if I really had to go. I just laughed and told him that since I wasn't able to find a sponsor for a visa that I really did have to leave. He told me he wished he could sponsor my visa himself, and that if the company was actually sound they would, but as it is they unfortunately cannot. I just have to trust that this isn't where God wants me or He would have opened the doors. I miss being away from my family, and I miss my church family back home as well, but I really could see myself living here for a year or two. God has a plan though, and maybe in a few years I'll be back or I'll find a job that pays me to travel; I just have to trust His plan... I did find it neat to see Him work recently too. I was talking with my parents Monday morning and mentioned how I thought you have to earn at least $500 from your employer or else you can't claim back all the taxes you've paid when you leave the country, and that I thought I was short of that mark with the staffing agency. With only a few weeks left before I leave I told them how I was hoping to get at least 2 more shifts so that I'd be over the $500 mark, but didn't think it was likely. Dad said they'd be praying about it and it occurred to me that I hadn't even actually prayed about it - shame on me! And yet, a few hours later God answered (without me explicitly asking Him - what a loving Father, always looking out for me) and I'll be working Christmas Day (double pay because it's a holiday) and on New Years Eve. With those two shifts alone I will be all set, and make more money than a normal shift too. I had never expected to work on Christmas Day because of them having to pay us double pay (it's over $40/hour) and I'm just a temp. Apparently it's a common thing in Cairns (possibly all of Australia, I'm not entirely sure) to eat out for Christmas lunch though. People pay big bucks to do it, over $100 per person, and some sources tell me the food isn't even that great at some places; but when you have to pay all the employees working that day twice their normal rate it would add up quickly.
In other news, my trip to Tasmania is all booked and scheduled, so now I'm just working on my Melbourne trip details. I haven't managed to get very far with my Cairns to Sydney bus trip plans, but I'll worry about that once I have Melbourne all squared away. We had another "BBQ" before volleyball last night, although we made French Toast. It's almost a tradition now to have dinner together before volleyball on Tuesday nights. Some of them thought it was a bit odd that we'd be eating breakfast food for dinner, but I think I converted them to my American ways. It was actually the easiest (and cheapest) dinner we've done so far, so that was good (at least for Caterina and I since we always do the planning and preparations). Not sure what if we'll try to do something next Tuesday or not. There's only so many simple things you can prepare on a griddle...but then again why mess with a classic BBQ?
I had a lovely skype marathon with my family this morning, Merry Christmas Eve to me. I've talked to them on the phone many times, but usually don't get to skype and actually see their faces. I started off with my Mom and Dad, and then texted my sister to see if she was free to skype as well. As luck would have it, she was at my second home hanging out with 2 of my sister-cousins so I got to skype with three of them and chat with my aunt and uncle a bit as well. Then to finish off the night (well, it was night for them) the third sister-cousin came home and I got to skype with her as well! Even though the connection wasn't always that great and their beautiful faces were often pixel-y it was so great to chat with everyone while actually seeing them.
I caught the end of this sermon from Pastor Greg Laurie on my walk to volleyball the other night and really enjoyed it; he made some great correlations between the Gift of Christmas and the Gift of Salvation. I just downloaded it so I can listen to the whole thing... I guess that's all for now, I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and that those predicted snow flurries do indeed happen for you all.