Since we last spoke … so much has happened.

Last week I had lunch with one of my connect group leaders, also a first year, and we started talking about blogs and talking to people about all we’ve been up to when we get home, and she said something that totally summed up how I was feeling, she said ‘I just don’t know how to put it into words’. Or maybe I said that? Hmm? Anyway it sums out how we were both feeling – that so much has happened here, so many experiences, changes and growth, and yet when I go to write it down or speak it out, I don’t even know what to say. Its really strange. So yes thats why this blog post has been so long coming – I just don’t know what to tell you.

One thing I can tell you is that I’m coming home, in fact I’ll be home in less than three weeks!!! CRAZY! I spent a lot of yesterday packing (can’t believe how much stuff I have accumulated – think that could be for another post though) and yet it doesn’t feel like that long ago that I was packing on the other end of this year! Time moves so fast – this year has shown me that we really need to make the most of every moment, every opportunity, every second, because you fall asleep and you’ve missed it, the season your in can be over before you know it.

This Semester is a lot shorter than first semester because the first half of the year has Colour and Hillsong Conference which takes us out of classes. This semester is more intense class wise and it felt like I was just working on assignments all the time. The classes have been incredible, they included Christian Doctrine (Wednesday morning mind blown), New Testament (Wednesday afternoon mind blown), World religions, Church History and Spirit filled living. My brain is tired from all the information I have taken in, I think I need a year to just stop and process, especially Christian Doctrine. Wednesday was finalisation date, when everything needed to be in and marked and good news guys i’m on track to graduate 🙂 which happens two weeks tomorrow (Monday  27th – which if anyone is interested is normally shown live online, will find details of the link).

Since I last blogged I also had a few days in Melbourne which is a very artsy city, can’t say beautiful because I don’t like cities but if you like cities I guess you would count it as beautiful. I went with Rachel and Kirsty from Northern Ireland and Domi from South Africa. We spent a day and half in the City, and did the longest walking tour of the city ever, saw the longest line of beach huts ever, saw little penguins (scared little penguins – not my story to tell), ate way to much food (wore too much food Rachel?), watched the sun set and took way to many photos. Then we drove down some of the Great Ocean Road, which was AMAZING but also WET, felt like home to three of us! However we fully embraced the miserable weather and got into the Christmas spirit, playing Christmas songs in the car, then climbing into our big bed and watching a Christmas movie. God is amazing though because every time we were due to get out of the car it stopped raining, and we only actually got wet once in a search for PIZZA (I had probably the most disgusting pizza ever – it had potato on it?)! I have loads of photos (as in thousands) I will put some on Facebook when I get home, just need to sort through them all first.

So even though all my assignments are due and my last class is Wednesday the next two weeks are going to be crazy. Tomorrow (Monday) is my last day in my Core Tutorial, so we’re having a Core party at our trainers house. Its also the last FYC (first year chapel) which I imagine is going to be crazy. This week Hillsong is running its first ever three day Worship and Creative Conference, which is super exciting that I get to be a part of it. I am the student leader for Kids Welcome, which is super fun, so glad I get to finally do a conference on welcome as i’ve been involved in so much prep for welcome over the year. Then next week we have encounter or unleash week, which is two days of Chapel. I don’t know 100% what it looks like, I think it has performances, testimonies and praying over all the students that are leaving. Then we have Graduation Dinner, also known as Grad Ball, which is going to be in the City. Then my last Sunday in church, then Monday is graduation! Super Exciting Times!

And then I’m coming home, which means I can sit down next to you, with a cup of tea, and share some of my many thousands of stories I haven’t typed. Because honestly this year has been incredible, and super busy, and my stories could go for days. I have met so many incredible people that have enriched my life, I’ve had so many lectures that have introduced completely new concepts and ideas, and I’ve heard hundreds of amazing sermons that have challenged my ideas and encouraged growth, change and movement!

I can’t wait to see you all, my people, I just wish I could bring my new people home with me because I am not looking forward to these two weeks of goodbyes … love you all, see you soon xxx

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Its second semester already …

I can’t believe how quick time has gone but i’m actually now in my second semester of Hillsong College, no longer a newbie – how CRAZY!

After three weeks of conference mode I enjoyed two of the most relaxing weeks off ever, and i’ve now finished my first week of second semester intensive classes. In this post i’m going to tell you about how Hillsong Conference gave me a fresh outlook on life, how I found my happy place, and how I’m entering second semester with a completely new mindset.

Hillsong conference – so the two weeks before conference college students have to complete two weeks of conference intensives, basically getting everything ready for conference. I spent two weeks in the kids office and absolutely loved it! My main job was organising the kids groups, so making sure the groups didn’t go over numbers, were equal sizes, moving kids to be with friends if requested and keeping the leaders up to date with their groups numbers. I really enjoyed it, I know it doesn’t sound like the most exciting job, but it was great to see how much goes into conference before conference and to then see what I had been a part of come together at conference.

At conference I was on the Treasure Chest team, which meant that I was a buddy to a child/children with additional needs, supporting them and allowing them to access the full Kidsong program. The child I was connected with only came to the day program, which meant I only had the opportunity to hang out with him for three days, but those days changed my life – this little four year old, who had more fighting against him than a four year old should, had the most inspiring, enthusiastic, “I can conquer the world’ attitude to life i’ve ever encountered. This little kid believed he could do anything, and because he believed he could he did, and he dragged me along with him – one moment that highlights this is me sitting at the top of the biggest inflatable slide I can imagine, exhausted after chasing him up, him sitting on my lap excitedly screaming to slide down and me begging for a minute to compose myself wondering how I can get out of this, but because of him I did it (ignoring the fact that there was actually no other way down), I did it, and it was fun, totally scary and I sent someone else up with him the second time, but it was fun! These amazing kids make you realise how pathetic your excuses are, and that there’s actually nothing holding you back – you can do this – we can do this! That thing you’d love to try but your not quite brave enough, GO DO IT! Lets embrace this life, conquer this life, love this life!

After conference and after sleeping Saturday away, and then volunteering in church on Sunday,  I escaped to my new favourite place in Australia, my new happy place, Patonga! This little fishing village, two streets with the sea on one side and a creek on the other, one road over a mountain in and out, or a ferry – quiet, peaceful, stunningly beautiful! I was blessed to be invited to stay with the parents of the beautiful woman I serve with on a Sunday evening, and her parents welcomed me into their family with open arms, for five days I was at home in their home. I squeezed so much into those five days: I went to see the beach where they film home and away (for my sister), I went to a Country Women’s Association meeting and learned all about Hemp (the little old ladies shared some interesting stories), I went to some beautiful coffee shops, watched fishermen play darts, went to so many beaches, sat on the beach and watched the sun rise – but most importantly I spent time with God and had space to breathe, re-charge and dream!

Shirley welcomed me into her life, and blessed me more than she probably realises. Shirley has a coaching business, and for five days the conversations I had, the places she showed me, and the people she introduced me too, fuelled a dream God has given me and made me realise that that dream could actually become a reality, and because of that I have entered second semester with a new attitude, I have a purpose and I’m using this time more effectively as I work towards making that dream a reality (more details on that to come soon, but i’m so excited).

The second week of holidays was spent with my housemates and my college friends, I went to more beaches, more coffee shops, gardens, shops – It was a lovely week of just catching up with people and getting ready for second semester.

And I can’t believe that the first week of second semester is already over. This semester we have all new subjects and all new lecturers. This semesters subjects are: Christian Doctrine, Church History, Intro to Pastoral Leadership, New Testament Introduction, Personal Evangelism, Spirit-Filled Living, Teamwork and World Religions. I really feel like some of these subjects and the assignments are going to challenge me (in a good way) and strengthen me.

This week we’ve had Teamwork and Intro to Pastoral Leadership – both classes were really interesting and inspiring. The main thing I’ve taken away from this week of classes is how much of what we do, and what I’m being taught, could simply be said as ‘love people’ – in team work it was all about loving and encouraging your team/team members and Pastoral Leadership is in basic form ‘loving people’. I feel like sometimes we make things seems harder than they are and more complicated with formulas, steps and extra words – when really I feel we are simply called to Love God and Love people!

So I’m entering this semester with a new purpose and a lot of love. Although the decision has not in any way been made final yet (and I am still praying and open to staying), I really feel like this is going to be my last semester at Hillsong College – I love it here, the people, the classes and the opportunities we are given, are changing my life, I am changing and growing every day I feel – but God has given me a dream, and I enter this semester with renewed excitement, as I am given time to unpack and work towards my dream, and learn and grow into the person ready to fulfil this dream. Leaving my home in Neath has made me realise (and believe me I never thought I would say this, and still kind of don’t want to) that Neath and Wales are my home (although I am still holding on to the fact that I am english, although in college we’re taught to say Christian first). Definitely not where I wanted, or expected, to make home (a beach house in Patonga would be much more exciting) but for a reason I believe I am finally starting to see, God has placed me in Neath for a purpose……

What God taught me at the Wildlife Park

So for my 29th Birthday me and my housemates FINALLY went to see the two things that everyone comes to Australia to see – a Kangaroo and a Koala. I could so easily just upload the 737 pictures I took and walk you through the wildlife park, however instead I am going to share things that God spoke to me through the animals at the zoo (obviously the animals didn’t actually speak to me, and it wasn’t actually a zoo trip full of revelation after revelation of how amazing God is, although he totally is, its more things he’s been speaking to me recently and how the zoo reminded me).

As we waited in the queue the excitement hit (well actually I had been excited all week, hardly slept the night before, and was ready ridiculously early). And thats the first lesson I learnt at the wildlife park – excitement! To live life excited, to experience happiness, to embrace joy. I feel like sometimes I get caught up in the busyness, in the schedules, classes and assignments, serving and attendance, that I forget to feel excited. I mean I’m at Hillsong College, IN AUSTRALIA, something I’ve been working towards for so long and somedays I forget to celebrate that, I forget to feel excited for what God could do today, I forget to live every day to the fullest.

After the Wallaby enclosure we got to the Koala Enclosure – Incredible! Koala’s apparently sleep ALOT, although we were told there were seven female Koalas in this little area, we could only see three and only one was awake, and you couldn’t see her face because she was settled in a tree, surrounded by Eucalyptus leaves, munching away, perfectly content. What interested me was how precarious she looked balanced between the two branches of the tree, but how actually perfectly balanced and settled she was. And that was my next lesson – to settle. Although the normal message is to ‘not settle’, I feel like for this season God is asking me to settle – to settle in his presence, to settle in his provision, to settle in his love. And to remember that even when I feel like my life looks precarious, like I’m losing my balance, even when I feel like i’m about to fall, He has me! I’m in his plan, he’s holding me and he doesn’t want me to live with feelings of being unbalanced and about to fall, He wants me to feel settled and to relax and be able to sleep all day if I want to knowing he’s got me.

In the middle of the wildlife park was a little Farmyard, outside was a sign that introduced the animals – there was a pig, sheep, ducks, chickens – all the typical farmyard animals. So I didn’t go in, I mean outside the farmyard there was Tasmanian Devils, Wombats and Dingos, why did I need to waste my time seeing boring farmyard animals that we have in the UK. In retrospect the farmyard represents to me missed opportunities, those decisions made because they don’t seem to fit into the exciting plan God has for your life, it represents how we under appreciate the ‘regular’ and how much God actually values and uses those days where we just do the regular life things – those days spent serving when we don’t feel appreciated, those times that feel like we’re not achieving anything, those times when its hard to make the effort or where we don’t easily see the fruit from your little effort. God reminded me this week that he still uses those moments where we’re not really feeling it. Side story – part of my practicum is sending out postcards to all the new children who accessed one of the Sunday programs at Hills campus each week, and yes I agree with what there doing, its a very important part of placing value on the children and encouraging them to come back, however last week during intensives trying to squeeze time to do it in the packed schedule felt hard. Then on Friday I got forwarded an email about a little girl who received a postcard and it was the first piece of mail she’d ever received and it made her day, she even had photos with the postcard. Now her first memory of church, and therefore God, will be receiving that postcard, feeling acknowledged, noticed and loved – God doesn’t just use us when it feels exciting and important, he uses those boring everyday events. He uses us when we feel tired and even when we feel maybe a little unwilling.

My favourite animal surprisingly was the Wombat – Wombats look grumpy and are very food focused. It was about an hour after meal time and this one WomIMG_3445bat was just pacing back and forth in the corner as if he was waiting on his next meal and couldn’t relax incase he missed it. Regardless of the fact that the staff have always ensured that he was well fed and looked after, he lived in a state of alert, constant readiness,
waiting, worrying. One of the biggest challenges for college students is finance – its hard trying not to feel stressed and overwhelmed, not to pace back and forth worrying about paying your rent, buying food, paying for course fees or getting a job. But the Wombat reminded me that we’re living in Gods plan, he bought us to college, he’s ensured we’ve been provided for this far, he has a plan. And he doesn’t want us to
pace back and forth worrying and stressing, he wants us to relax and trust in his provision, his plan.

So yes I had an amazing Birthday and so much fun at the Wildlife Park. More photos to be uploaded to Facebook once I’ve gone sorted through all 700 of them.

I’m very excited about what my 29th Year will hold but thats for another blog post. Keep reading, commenting and asking questions. Love you all xxx

 

 

College – classes, serving, chapel and colour.

So next week is the second week of intensives, which college counts as being half way through the semester, which just seems impossible because I feel like I’m only just getting started. This post is going to contain some of my highlights, some info on classes and where I’m serving.

Classes – The teaching here is really interesting and thought provoking, this semester I am doing Old Testament Introduction, Mission and Culture, Public Speaking and Personal Leadership. For each class we have 1 and a half to 2 hours of lectures, these are incredible, I’m on my third notebook. Then for each class we have a tutorial with our core group, this is where we get a chance to go a little deeper, ask any questions and just see what other people pulled from the lecture. My core tutorial is the ‘oldest’ group of students, which is really nice as we are all focused on our studies and together we have so much life experience – there a fantastic group of people, who have all trust blessed my time at college so far.

Chapel – As students we have First Year Chapel on a Monday, and all College Chapel on Tuesday and Wednesday. Chapel always has amazing worship from our students and messages from college staff and leaders. Every chapel we have a three minute slot called out of the boat, where a college student has to give a message in three minutes, no more no less, it gets pretty crazy!

Colour Conference – for those of you know don’t know Colour Conference in Bobbie Houston’s Women’s conference and its amazing. She holds the first two conferences in Sydney and then travels around the rest of the world, this weekend she’s in the US. For conference one I was on Pastoral Care for Kids, so my role was to meet with any parents with children with additional needs and also to be available if a situation requiring a little more care occurred. It was a lovely week, I got to meet loads of students from the City campus and also got to talk to some of the staff at the brand new Sydney ICC theatre. For conference two the first year girls are actually able to attend the conference as delegates, so we got to sit into all the sessions. This years speakers at Sydney were Lisa Harper and Sy Rogers, the three days were beautiful – the worship was incredible, the speakers were inspiring and doing it as a core tutorial really bonded us as women!

Serving and Practicum – I basically serve in the Kids ministry in all areas 🙂 On a Sunday I sit in the 8am service, which I love as it is smaller and more intimate. Then I serve in Treasure Chest in the 11:15. Treasure Chest is the children program for children with additional needs, such as autism. They have there own set of rooms on there own floor with there own entrance, all rooms were purpose built in the new Epicentre, and includes a Sensory room, Soft play room and worship room – its incredible for the children. Then I serve in the 5pm on Cubby House, the 1-3s. I also serve in Cubby house every other week for Sisterhood. My practicum (this is my chosen pathway and what I get assessed on) is on a Wednesday afternoon, and I serve in the kids offices, its great to see another side of how the kids ministry is run, and its massive. This week one of my jobs was sending out postcards to all the children that attended for the first time last Sunday.

Assignments – so I’ve been busy doing lots of assignments, thankfully I’m ahead of schedule. Have managed to use the rainy days to get a big chunk of my assignments done. I’m now left with some assignments that require more thought and prayer, such as writing a mission statement for my life, figuring out my life’s core values and setting goals for my future, with steps to achieve them whilst I’m here. Its really good because it forces you to stop and think about some of the things that you sometimes forget about in the busyness of life.

My biggest achievement at college so far happened last Tuesday where I had my first public speaking assessment, a five minute community presentation. It went really well and I had some lovely feedback.

So thats just a little bit about life at Hillsong College. One of my goals is more blogging – so I’m holding myself accountable to you all, feel free to prompt me and also to message me with any questions you have about my life in Australia. Love and miss you all 🙂

Hillsong College – the experience.

So I’ve just finished my second week as a Hillsong International Leadership College Student. First week was enrolement and then this last week has been Intensives week. I thought I would give you all a mini diary of my two weeks of college 🙂

 

Monday 23/01/17. Evaluation Day. First day started with free breakfast which as a student is always a good thing. Then after a brief introduction to college we got split into streams, as pastoral students don’t have evaluations we had an introduction to the different pathways we can choose (kids, youth, social justice, church ministry, pastoral care, events) – it was in this session that I decided to go for kids not social justice as I had been thinking previously. We then had our photo taken for our student ID and that was first day done.

Tuesday 24/01/17 – Enrolement day! Today involved a lot of queuing but was very relaxed! We got our children’s checks and then we officially enrolled and selected our pathway and applied for our practicum! So exciting! Love that when you queue in Australia they make sure you get chairs – it was like a giant game of musical chairs all day!

Wednesday 25/01/17 – Orientation day! We had our first chapel, we heard two great messages from Lee Burns and Catrina Henderson, we watched interviews with other new students, heard all about sisterhood, worshiped together and had free lunch!

Then that was first week done – Australia Day gave us our first holiday, four days off, got to love Australia!

Second week. Intensives week – we have two weeks of intensives each semester. This semester our intensive subjects are Church and Ministry and Communication in Ministry. We will cover the first half of these subjects this week and then the second half in intensives week in April.

Monday 30th January (first day of classes) started with a morning session entitled how to maximise your college experience, in this session we were introduced to the college vision, the rules, whats expected of us, tips on applying for a job, dealing with homesickness, college timetables and portal and loads of important contact numbers and emails. This was my favourite slide from the morning:img_1116

After lunch we had our first afternoon of intensives – three hour-long sessions on Church and Ministry. In the first two sessions we broke down the mission statement of the church and then the last session was entitled what makes church church? Very interesting sessions and not too intense!

Tuesday 31st January – can’t believe its the last day of January already! Our day started at 12 with our first ever college chapel – its crazy! The college fills the Hub Auditorium, the worship was amazing and then we had another incredible message from Catrina Henderson. After lunch we had another block of three hour-long sessions, this time on Communication in Ministry. In this session we learned all about Healthy Communication skills, the importance of written communication and creative writing, and then communication that builds culture. This was another lovely and relaxed session, with a great lecturer.

Wednesday 1st February – Our first full day (9:00-5:15). Started with a session on our Practicum and our Passport. Then we had another hour on Communication in Ministry, which was with Michelle and she talked all about Cross Cultural Communication, it was really interesting. Then before lunch we had another College Chapel, where Lee Burns preached an incredible message ‘You are Empowered’. Then after lunch we had another three hour long sessions on Church and Ministry with Duncan Corby, the sessions were The House of God, The People of God and The Body of Christ – more incredible teaching.

Thursday 2nd February – another late start. 11am we had another Church and ministry session, entitled Weekend Services that Work – all about the elements of a Hillsong service and why they do what they do. We then had a lovely relaxed lunch. Then came our last block of intensives – four hours with Robert Fergusson – this was where intensives week got intense. He spoke about 10 languages we need to understand (although we didn’t get through them all), they included the language of the heart, the language of Adam, the language of light, the language of the prophets, the language of the spirit and the language of leadership. It was incredible, it was emotional … we all went home to process, it was an intense end to intensives week.

Friday 3rd February – started with a meet the pastors breakfast, where lots of the pastors put on a breakfast for all new intake. It was lovely, relaxed – with pastries and muffins. Then we had two safe church sessions – we found out all about health and safety and child safety. Then we got in a queue to have our children’s work interviews. Remember Australians sit when they queue, this time we also watched movies – I got through High School Musical and the Lion King. Inside out was just starting when I moved to the last queue …. it was getting late and it was getting obvious that we weren’t all going to get seen. Then it happened the queue was closed and we were asked to leave 😦 only I didn’t leave, I hung around in the last little group and thank-you God I was the LAST person interviewed that day!

End of intensives week 1!

This weekend the Children’s Work moved into the epicentre (church/college moves in next weekend). And I got to serve for the first time at Hillsong. I started at 6:30am (early early start). I blew up balloons, then I crashed the Kids leaders tour of the epicentre – the rooms are beautiful, the treasure chest rooms (special needs) are amazing, the facilities are going to be such a blessing to the children – then I served on welcoming, where I signed the children into there group and then helped direct them to the right room. One good thing about the epicentre being new is that everyone is having to learn there way around not just us newbies. Then I got to serve in the All Stars group (don’t actually know how old they are), it was so much fun. I can’t wait to get my placement on Wednesday to find out where I will be serving this semester.

This Sunday I attended the end of the 11:15 service and caught another fantastic message from Robert Fergusson. Then we had Bethel leading worship at the 6pm service and Pastor Brian preached for the first time since I’ve been in Australia. It was a fantastic Sunday!

 

Today is Monday and I have another long day – a one hour meet your tutorial session at 10:30am and that is all – so now its 12:30 and I am done. This week is lecture week, so I have the first lecture in all my other subjects. Full timetable starts next week when I will have my practicum placements and lectures and tutorials. This semester my subjects are: Church and Ministry, Communication in Ministry, Mission and Culture, Old Testament Introduction, Personal Leadership, and Public Speaking and Presentation.

So yes, I still don’t know what a normal week is going to look like, should have more of an idea on Wednesday, so will fill you all in then. Thank you for reading, I hope your enjoying a little glimpse into life at Hillsong International Leadership College.

Australia – settling in and being a tourist.

So I have now been in Australia for two and a half weeks and I’m now an official Hillsong College Student.

So my first full week was spent doing lots of cleaning, shopping and full of crazy bus trips with ridiculous amounts of boxes and bags! There was a lot of time spent sitting in front of a fan contemplating how I was going to actually go to college in this crazy hot weather – all I can say is that I truly thank God for the creator of air conditioning and the beautiful air conditioning at Hillsong church and college. (As I type this up I have got up super early and am sitting at college even though I don’t have class for 3 hours – guessing by second week my energy levels may have failed a bit).

Finally finished my room – so I want to say a massive thank you again for everyone who gave me a gift, I feel truly blessed – and now have a space that feels like mine, like home, even though I’m half the world away! (See above pics)

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During the first week and a half all my beautiful housemates trickled in, filling the big empty house with love, laughter and luggage. We are an ‘older’ house, ages ranging from 22-34, and we are a true international house – two from the UK (Wales and England), New Zealand, USA/Russia, Hawaii, South Africa and Chile.

Have only known these lovely ladies for two weeks but they’ve already blessed my life more than they can realise – the last two weeks have been emotionally exhausting but these girls have helped me through, they’ve given me hugs, kind words and prayer support, they’ve kept e smiling and kept me going – so blessed to have them as my ‘Australian’ family –  love you all!

In the last two weeks I’ve also embraced being a tourist – I want to make the most of every opportunity to see Australia. On our first day trip to Sydney we didn’t really know what the plan was, on arrival we found a Starbucks and settled in (it was raining), then we walked for 40 minutes (in the wrong direction) visited some beautiful churches and some shops. Eventually after realising we were heading in the wrong direction we turned around and headed in search of food, and then the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney (thanks to my Auntie Linda’s advice). The gardens were absolutely beautiful, we literally took hundreds of photos, you wouldn’t believe you were in the centre of Sydney, I plan to spend some more time here. Then we found Sydney Opera House (a lot yellower in real life) – more photos were taken.

The 26th January is Australia Day – which means after three days of college we were off (this college thing is so hard lol). Our local family park, Bella Vista Farm, had a family fun day event, I got to see Sheep Shearing, Whip Cracking and Working Dogs. We then went into Sydney to see the Darling Harbour fireworks, I’m not going to lie I didn’t suddenly develop a love of fireworks, but from our spot on the bridge we were pretty much in the fireworks and it was beautiful.

Then 28th January was Chinese New Year – we set off into Sydney early and walked around the Chinese Garden of Friendship, it is so pretty, like a little oasis in the middle of the city. We then got to see some Chinese lion dancing – which was really interesting. Then we walked through China Town (which was full of Australian tourist shops) and headed to a massive indoor market place (also full of Australian tourist shops). After a lunch stop we walked around Circular Quay and viewed all the Lunar lanterns (which are massive animal figures, representing each of the Lunar Zodiac signs). Then we took our first boat trip back to Darling Harbour – then I realised I had had way to much sun so headed home – it was a great day.

Ok – so I’m having a problem linking photos to my laptop with the lack of wifi so these will have to do for now – plan to post more on Facebook so check out there.

Sorry if this blog posts seems really random but I’ve been writing it in shifts every time i visit the college. My next blog post will cover enrolment and first week of college. Feel free to message me any questions – love and miss you all!

Australia – the prep, travel and first days.

I started writing this in the middle of the night as jet lag had attacked big time. I went a full 48 hours with about 48 minutes sleep. I’m finishing this post today and its been over a week since I left home, which is just crazy!

This post will contain some of my preparation and last few days in the UK, flight info and some of my first few days in Australia.

 

So I did quite a few things to get me ready for my time in Australia, including:

– sharing my shower with a little spider for the last four months – in preparation for the big spiders.

– switched to using Aussie brand shampoo and conditioner.

– prepared myself for having a roommate by sharing my living space for the last month with Walter the inflatable  kangaroo. This also prepared me for living with kangaroos.

– didn’t plan this one but I spent the last week in isolation from my family as some of them had the sickness bug, so we practiced chatting through iMessage and FaceTime.

In all honesty though I didn’t know how to prepare myself because I couldn’t imagine totally where I was going and what to expect.

 

My last few days home were amazing, I honestly felt so loved and so blessed. You guys truly gave me an amazing send off. I enjoyed my celebrations at the church, thank you everyone who contributed, thank you to my family, my friends, my church people – I love you all so much.

So things had been running pretty smoothly, then I weighed my suitcase – oh no I was going to have to leave my notebooks behind – the situation got so desperate that I literally had the kitchen weighing scales out and weighing items and grouping them into different piles, measuring things against things to see which I wanted more. Lets just say I didn’t get much sleep my last night in my lovely bed (which when lying on my current bed I regret greatly) however by the morning I was packed.

The morning of my flight went pretty smooth, I woke up checked my weights one last time and then zipped and locked my suitcases for the last time. Woke my parents up for the last time, then walked my dog for the last time. Then I went to get dressed – uh oh – thats when I realised that yes I had laid out the perfect flying outfit, but no I hadn’t remembered to keep out any underwear, cue manic rummaging through the airing cupboard and then I hate to say it rummaging through my bin for discarded underwear that wasn’t fit for Australia. However thankfully that was the only prep crisis.

Have to thank my wonderful parents for driving me off to the airport, and calming me as I stressed about the weight of my luggage – I couldn’t of got much closer, my suitcase was 29.7 kg (30kg allowance) and my hand luggage was 6.8 kg (7kg allowance), however that didn’t include the extra bag I added after I checked my bags – a girl needs her notebooks.

The flight: 34 hours of travel, 2 planes, 4 bag searches, 4 different airports, about 5 hours sleep, 2 sick bags, 6 anti-sickness tablets, 1 hole in the floor toilet situation that just wasn’t going to happen, 1 massive sign of release when I discovered Australian toilets were very much normal. It was sooooo long.

Arrival: after a four hour wait in the airport, the college shuttle picked us up and we were on the way. As I dragged my one suitcase to the bus, I glanced around at the American/Canadian’s and envied there crazy luggage allowance – one girls seriously had 5 suitcases – and then started to question what I had obviously forgotten to pack in my one suitcase.  First thing I noticed was the heat, next thing I was asleep. I woke up as I pulled into the church carpark – wow is it massive. And Hot! As we wheeled our suitcases across the car park and then down two flights of steps my envy for the American/Canadian luggage allowance faded away as I watched them try to pull 3-5 suitcases each, as said suitcases rolled away across the car park.

Enter welcome lounge – free WIFI and EXTREME uno (they take there uno very seriously in Australia apparently). Here I checked in at home, signed up for accommodation and got some shopping, then was driven back to my new house.

So my new house is beautiful NOW – however when I moved in it was a little, well a lot dirty. Also due to some miscommunication I was the only one living p1020081there for the first night – thankfully I was so tired otherwise this would of started panic attack number one – on the very massive plus side as the first house mate to arrive I had first pick for bedroom, which meant HELLO SINGLE ROOM! Then my bed was delivered flat pack – 95 minutes later I have a bed – must say that was probably one of my proudest moments.
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So my first night went surprisingly well considering I was in a new country, with no housemates, no phone and no internet, no contacts, no map, no sense of direction and no idea where the church was.

Early next morning I set off on my trek to Hillsong College, with vague directions and lots of help from kind Australians, after about 30 minutes I made it to the land of Hillsong and the free WIFI. This day is now a bit of a blur, thankfully I met a housemate, opened a bank account, got a bus card (yes I can now take the bus) I went on a shopping trip and bought some random things – I remembered hangers thankfully and a towel. So I’m at college with all my bags, not overly confident with my bus card yet so my only option is to walk home. What I haven’t mentioned is that the temperature today was 42 degrees, and Hillsong is called HILLsong because its in the Hills District – in all honesty I don’t know how I made it home, it was long, I ran out of water, the bags were heavy, it was 42 degrees – I literally made it through the front door, and didn’t care how bug infested the floor was, I lay down on the carpet in a hot mess.

The next few days was spent cleaning, shopping and attempting to function normal in this crazy heat. We had lots of fun filling a taxi with flat pack furniture, pushing trolleys all over shopping centres (you can actually take trolleys out of shops and into other shops it’s rather strange) and then trying to build furniture with no tools and in the heat! Thankfully house to slowly starting to look and feel more homely!

As I write this I currently have 3 housemates, but by Friday there will be 7 of us at number 39 – can’t quite imagine it yet!

Church – experienced church for the first time on Sunday, it was really good! Robert Fergusson spoke – so it felt more like home as he is originally a Brit! Loads more info on church to come!

Bugs – so I have only seen one spider and that was no where near my house. However I have seen loads and loads and loads of cockroaches. I think we co-inhabit with a minimum of 6 at one time – however strangely they don’t bother me!

 

Our funniest moment in the house so far – me and Danni (my first housemate) were eating in the living room after a mega cleaning/furniture building sesh. We heard  a bang, bus as we were getting used to the strange noises we both just ignored it, then there was another one, and then another – time to investigate. As we entered the kitchen we established that the noise was coming from outside the kitchen window and also discovered our kitchen window to be wide open (thank goodness for fly screen) as we neared the window to close it there was another bang – we jumped back, quite freaked out now. I decided to be brave and creeped up to the window – which was when as another bang happened that I discovered the true super frightening source of our disruptance ….. earlier in the day we had cleaned out our freezer and there was loads of ice cube trays, so we had put them in the sink upside down before we ate, they had slowly been melting and subsequently dropping into the metal sink = our super frightening noise! We felt rather silly however as that has been our only freaked out moment we think we are doing pretty good.

So that’s it for my first post from Australia – we plan to visit Sydney tomorrow and do a bit of sightseeing so I will post about that soon! Thank you again for all the kind gifts of money, my bedroom is coming together and so I will post some pics of that soon!

With Love from sunny Australia xxx