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……

Five months

I have been in Australia FIVE months today, I can’t believe it! I am sorry I haven’t been posting as regularly as I planned, honestly I don’t know where the time has gone. Last week all my assignments were completed for this semester, I have one more week of classes, then we have three weeks of conference season (two weeks of prep and then one week at Hillsong Conference) and then first semester is finished. And as today is a public holiday for the Queens Birthday, and I am recovering from a horrible cold (sympathy needed here), I am committing to posting something today.

So much has happened and I want to tell you all so much but putting how i’m feeling into words has proved challenging, I’ve started writing at least 6 posts over the last two months and none of them sounded right. I easily write an introduction, a quick update of where I’m at and then … I get stuck. So ….

[Sorry it happened again, cup of tea break – side note: did you know it gets really cold in Australia and it rains, I mean heavy downpours of rain (more sympathy needed here) 🙂 sorry now focus]

Here goes … so in all honesty over the last two months I have been questioning whether or not I was getting much out of college, whether I actually needed to stay for the second semester of first year, never mind second year – I know crazy right – I mean this is HILLSONG AUSTRALIA – I couldn’t have dreamed of being in a better place to put aside time to grow in my relationship with God, learn more about the bible, and unravel some of the calling he’s placed on my life – It truly is a fantastic church, college and community and i’m loving it and feel so blessed to get to spend a season here ….

But I didn’t feel as settled, as at home, as some of my classmates seemed to be feeling, and I couldn’t see as clearly what purpose God had for bringing me here, whereas I could easily see why others had been bought here. However I think I let the size of the church overwhelm me a little, I felt like a small fish in a big pond, no make that a tiny fish in the ocean – a tiny fish who was trying to fight the waves to move away from the shore and grow into a bigger fish, but I felt like every time I made progress a wave came and carried me back again.

But then I found my school of fish – my housemates, my connect group sisters and my core tutorial – they’ve helped me re-focus, they’ve helped me remind me what I CAN do and encouraged me to step out and be brave, they’ve hugged me, laughed with me and kept me afloat. They are some of the most amazing, beautiful, encouraging, strong, inspiring people I could wish to be on this journey with. So it may have taken me nearly half of my first year (and possibly half of my time here) to settle and get swimming in the right direction, but I honestly feel like I am on track now, and the swim is invigorating.

[OK end of fish metaphor – swam a little bit off course there]

So this is where it gets challenging, this post was supposed to cover everything that has happened to me in the last three months but its actually taken me all day (with multiple distractions) to write this much, and as I start this post by saying I’ve been in Australia five months TODAY, I can’t really put off posting it until tomorrow, but I want to tell you all everything, its just so hard, I wish I could FaceTime all of you and chat for an hour, hear all about whats happening with you ….

So a really super speedy account of the last five months – Hillsong church is massive and amazing, college and classes have been incredible, I love the Old Testament, I passed my public speaking class, have seen Sydney, experienced Vivid, climbed the giant stairway in the blue mountains (all 911 steps), stood in the ocean, seen a killer spider, met loads of amazing people from all over the world, started to dream God sized dreams, discovered so much more about myself …..

Theres just so much, obviously this post isn’t going to cover it. So I’m going to post more, I promise. I want to sit down with a cup of tea and share my heart with you regularly, theres just so much I want to share with you, so i’m adding it to my schedule (after my personal leadership development plan I LOVE my calendar app, and if its in there I have to do it, so you will be hearing from me). Feel free to post any questions on here or on Facebook, would love to include what you actually want to know in my blog posts. Love you and miss you all, speak soon 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 🙂

My Nanny Daisy

So just over two weeks ago I lost one of the greatest women I had the honour to know, my Nanny Daisy. Honestly I was heartbroken, I was lost. After never not having my nan close by she left a massive gap, a massive loss. For two weeks though I held my tears in, I felt separated by the oceans and so separated myself from the grief, from the reality. But then reality struck, I crumbled, I couldn’t breathe, I cried two weeks of tears in two hours, I felt desperate, I felt alone, I felt broken.

For 24 hours I kind of checked out to cope, I walked through my day but didn’t really pay attention to it, I chatted with people but didn’t take it in, I sat a lot. And then I slept …

I woke up and it was like I suddenly remembered God was there, I wasn’t alone, yes I was sad, but I had a choice to make. I could sit and wallow, or I could give my grief to God and choose to celebrate – to celebrate my nan’s life, to celebrate the life i’ve been given and to embrace every day. I had 28 wonderful years with my Nan, a true gift from God, so i’m choosing to thank God for those memories, to embrace them, to find the joy in them, but not get caught up in them, not let the grief take over my life because thats not what my nan would want and its not why God has bought me here.

So this post is just to share some of my memories, to share some of the joy and love my nanny daisy bought into my life, to celebrate, to laugh, to engage with the past but not get stuck there. Its kind of a public therapy session, maybe some of you would like to post your memories in the comments (on here or Facebook), and we can find joy together…

 

My nanny Daisy:

Daisy the artist – Nan was a very creative person (I like to think I get some of my creativity from her, definitely didn’t get it from my mum). She loved to write and draw. We often found drawings or doodles, and lines of poetry in her paperwork. When me and Jenny were little we spent countless days cutting and sticking from catalogues, writing stories and making paintings into books. She taught me to knit and she didn’t go far without her crochet bag, she could crochet a blanket without paying attention, and her artistic individuality came out in her sometimes quirky choice of coloured stripes. She also showed her creative side in her constant need to rearrange her furniture, quite often we would pop around and catch her with the sofa in the middle of the room, the table blocking the doorway and there she would be trying to push an armchair by herself (in her eighties).

Daisy the dog lover – My nan introduced me to my love of dogs. My first dog wasn’t actually my dog, she was my nan’s – Kirsty. When nan moved into her flat in Wimborne she wasn’t allowed dogs so Kirsty moved in with us, and I loved her! Then when we moved to Wales and had our dogs they became nan’s as well. Scampa used to run outside and wait for nan to play football with him, and she loved telling everyone how great he was at it, and Oscar always jumped up on to the sofa, knocking nan backwards and gave her kisses all over when she came for Sunday dinner, and he doesn’t do that to just anyone.

Daisy the gymnast – we all have memories of nan showing us that even at 80 years of age she could still put her legs behind her head and doing exercises whilst lying on the bed with our legs in the air. I’ll always remember how after nan’s heart attack she came home with a booklet of recommended exercises and a giant elastic exercise band – and no matter how many times we tried to tell nan that they were mostly exercises for people that could do those exercises prior to their heart attack, nan was convinced she needed to be able to do them all, and try she did.

Daisy the walker – nan loved a  good walk (and a good car ride). All my life I’ve been on walks with my nan, walks through the New Forest, Upton Country Park, Moors Valley, Scotland, Sandbanks, Mumbles, Cadoxton, the Gnoll and Aberavon to name a few. When nan couldn’t physically do the walk anymore we got a wheelchair and took turns pushing her, although nan was hesitant to use the wheelchair at first she soon sat back and enjoyed the ride as she got to go to all the places she loved, and even some new places. Last summer we went to Burry Port for the first time and after a lovely walk had fish and chips, one of nan’s favourites, then after another walk enjoyed watching nan eat an ice-cream, another of her favourites. Nan loved Aberavon, and would go at every possibility – she loved having a little walk and then a coffee, or an ice-cream. Another great memory from last summer was taking nan down to Aberavon, which turned out to be the hottest day we had so it was packed, after fish and chips we pushed nan down the ramp and then sat her in her wheelchair on the edge of the sand – what I love about that day is that she got to watch Scarlett have her first summer beach day, and she loved every minute, especially the ice-cream on the way back to the car.

Daisy the traveller – nanny Daisy loved to learn about and see the world. In her life she visited Hong Kong, Dubai, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Holland, France and Germany. Growing up we had lots of holidays with nan in the trailer tent and the caravan, including joining us on our caravan holiday to Scotland. I take peace knowing that although I am separated from my family at this time, nan was so proud and excited that I was going out and seeing the world – especially Australia. After travelling here in her late 70s she came home full of life and love for Australia, so when I told her of my dreams/plans to come to Hillsong College she said GO! and here I am – maybe I get some of my dreams to see the world from her as well. A holiday I will always treasure was in Summer 2014 when me, mum and nan spent a week in Dorset, visiting favourite places, (Poole, Sandbanks, Bournemouth, Wimborne and the New Forest) sharing memories, recreating memories and creating new ones.

Daisy the giver of gifts – nan was so generous, you only had to say you liked something and she’d offered it to you. A favourite on a Sunday was seeing what she would pull out of her handbag for dessert. When she was still getting about she would always pop to the corner shop and pick up a packet of cakes or biscuits, however when she got less mobile she would just bring something from her cupboard, a tin of rice pudding, a tin of custard, a tin of peaches, a tin of sweetcorn, then during the next week mum (who had bought the tin in the first place) would have to sneak it back into her cupboard.

Daisy the mum/nan – Nanny Daisy was all about family. If you sat down for a chat she would talk about family – who she’d heard from, news from a postcard or sharing a memory. Nanny Daisy was blessed with a large family, and we were all blessed by being a part of it. Her flat was full of the latest photos of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, she was so proud of all of us. She loved and cared for us all so much, she would have given us all the moon if she could. She was truly the best nan you could have wished for – she taught me so much, believed in me always and encouraged me constantly.

I am so blessed to have so many happy memories of days spent with nan that I will treasure and stories that I will share with generations to come. So I guess that ends my therapy session – feel free to join in the sharing of joy, the celebration of life and leave your messages in the comments below or on Facebook. Thank-you for taking the time to read, I hope it bought to mind some of your own memories of nanny Daisy. Love you all xxx

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