Hello Kangaroo!

Hello Kangaroo!
Feb. 9, 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Since we last spoke...

Here's a short blog to let all of my internet fans know that I haven't forgotten about you! After I deal with some jet-lag, we'll be back up to speed!

See ya in a jiffy!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fraser Island Adventure

Easter weekend came and went, along with my week-long break from Uni.
During the week long break, I eat plenty of chocolate (enough to last a lifetime). All provided by the family I'm staying with.

Also, I hung out with friends, traveling to Noosaheads Beach with a group of 20 from Hillsong.

The week of break was filled with paper writing for me.
I am enrolled in 3 courses:
1. Advanced International Studies Theory
2. Ethics & Human Rights
3. Culture, Conflict & Reconciliation
And each course had a paper due. Most were about 40% of my overall grade. So that’s what I spent my time doing.

Now, after 3 papers turned in…

I went to Fraser Island this weekend (Anzac Day-- Public Holiday) with Katy!

The weekend started out on Friday morning… early, early, early! I woke up around 5 am to take the train to Brissie Transit Centre and catch the greyhound. The greyhound trip was 4.45 hrs long before we arrived at Dingo's backpacker's hostel.
We had orientation at the hostel and started meeting all kinds of people. Irene came with us, she's from Indonesia, and she was the only Asian in the entire hostel. Everyone else came from the Americas or Europe.

Saturday morning we woke up early again and headed off the the Beach. It down poured that night. We were soaked to our bones. We went to lake MacKenzie, the bluest lake I've ever seen. Indian Head look out point, on top of a cliff where you can spot all the sea creatures (turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks, etc.). And Lake Wabby, a lake where the fish swim up to your toes and bite the dead skin off. It tickles!!

I think my video will show my Fraser Island trip best!

It's on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAE6toxfbJw

Or view below. Please ignore the typos, I don't know why my mac uploaded the "rough draft" version. :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

I have certainly had a crazy past few days/weeks, with barely anytime for processing… and if you know me, well, you know I’m a processor.

I went to the Heidi Baker Conference in Aspley. Arriving by train, bus, then bus, I walked to my motel (which I paid much too much for) and settled in. I couldn’t believe how big my room was (no wonder it was so expensive)! With two beds, a kitchenette, back patio, and AIR CONDITIONING! Oh, how I’ve missed you, AC!

The woman at the front told me to ring the family in number 6 because they were also going to the conference. All in good faith, and being a little nervous, I rang the woman and asked for a ride to the church (over 840meters away). They said yes!

My weekend was full of prophecy, words of encouragement, and humbling… What an experience. It has been on my bucket-list to meet Heidi Baker, and although I didn’t talk to her, I hugged her. Her eyes shined with fire… the all-consuming kind.

I met several believers and shared much encouragement. I praise the Lord for the people he has put in my life to love on me and to confirm things I’ve been praying. Wow, God is good!

I went to a Barbeque for my Connect Group leader Rudo’s birthday! We talked about life growing up in Zimbabwe and shared testimonies. We spent time swimming at South Bank (a man-made beach over-looking the Brisbane River—it’s a hard life, I know), ate good food (thanks to Matt Tinks, our chef), and then went swimming again. You’ll find that I’ve been doing a lot of swimming (and getting a lot of sunburns… yikes! I apply and reapply though!)

I lost my shoe on the way to the train station, perplexing my friend Kirk. He’s a very logical thinker. Well, he is a civil engineer. I think he wonders how a person as illogical as me can survive! Ha!

Got a new job! I’m working a couple of days a week filing paperwork and doing other secretarial duties for the family that I live with. Not a bad gig, especially considering how much I get paid an hour!

I finished cleaning my flat. It wasn’t messy but it hadn’t been lived in for like 3 years—so I cleaned up the bookshelves, washed the dishes, cleaned the bathroom, etc. Trying to earn my keep (and keep my keep) at this family’s place! ☺

I said good-bye to my favorite Aussie Jasmine! She bought me Pizza Capers (now that’s love!) the day before she flew to Sydney for the Colour Conference at Hillsong (like 300,000 women coming together to praise the Lord in unity). After that she was headed to Canada for several weeks… Already hard to watch her go… But she’ll be back soon! I hope she remembers to say “Hi!” to the North-West Hemisphere for me!

Last Wednesday, I hung out with Gabrielle and Fanny, two girls in my program. They are amazing women. Gabrielle grew up in Canada and Venezuela, so she can speak French, Spanish, and English fluently. Currently she’s working for Human Rights organizations. Fanny is French and her mom lives on a barge in the middle of the sea… I know, right?!

Then Thursday night I got dressed up (probably a little too much makeup) and took Katy swing dancing at Cloudland. It’s is a super ritzy joint, with a retractable roof, strict dress code (no flip-flops!), butterflies in the banisters, and flora and fauna growing out of the walls. Not to mention the 2 story waterfall that flows down the front…. It is a fun place! Thursday was especially special because it was the one-year anniversary of the Club—in celebration, there were 3 live swing bands performing. Not too shabby.

Friday morning I left for Caloundra (nice beach resort towards the north) to go to my Rotary District 9600 Conference. I stayed in an apartment with Bryn, Lauren, and Jake. We had a balcony overlooking the ocean and a nice sea breeze to play with all weekend. I can’t believe this is my life…

Saturday morning was spent at the Caloundra city market (very reminiscent of when I lived in China—and the street markets there). I bought a GREAT vegetarian breakfast—and for the first time since I’ve been here, enjoyed scrambled eggs (with beans, raw spinach leaves, tomato, avacado, and mushrooms). I bought a large bottle of CHAI syrup (yum, yum! Tastes soooo good, just add warm milk), and too much fudge (if there were such a thing—milk chocolate, mint chocolate, and cookies and cream flavored).

Saturday night was the 60’s dance (Rotarians know how to have a good party), complete with an Elvis impersonator. After the dance we danced on down to the beach and sat under the stars (f.y.i. there’s more stars to see in the southern hemisphere than the northern hemisphere!!). I couldn’t resist going for a jog down the moonlight beach, the sand hardened by the waves.

The whole time I kept thinking to myself: I wish I could capture this moment and magically bring others into it…

I found myself a swing set and contemplated my existence. All in good conscience. I love the Lord who says: my thoughts on you are more than the stars in the heavens…

For class—I’m still reading about Realism (and the faults of American politics… sorry guys). Too add on to this, my Ethics and Human Rights course has me considering which companies I can and cannot support (Maybe giving up on Starbucks and Nestle) because of their trade practices. We’ve been looking at ethical issues such as poverty, malnutrition, and nuclear-war…. It’s heavy reading.

My brother is engaged to his girlfriend! Congrats (If you want to see for yourself check his or Kelsey’s facebook statuses)…. AND

I received an EASTER encouragement from College Heights Christian Church! What a joy!

In conclusion, let me end with a song:
Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy birthday mom, dad, and brother! Happy birthday to YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Weekend at Katy's (To the Gold Coast and more)

This weekend started out with meeting Katy at UQ library on Friday. Little did we know what a full weekend was ahead of us!

We took the train (several times during the weekend, it would turn out)

To go to Mater Hill and meet up with Jasmin to head to Friday night church... Gotta say, we love Hillsong!

Then, after Church, we headed to Garden City to hang out with the rest of the College-Age...

I've been meeting almost weekly with a Connect Group (a small group from Hillsong) and we have formed some close friendships. It consists of people from Asia, Africa, Canada, Papa New Guinea, North America, and more... including some Aussies.

David, Jasmin, Jessica, Irene, Kirk, Katy, Cliff...

On the return home, as we were sitting and waiting for the ferry (a.k.a. the City Cat), not only were we impressed with the city lights reflecting off of the river, we were also entertained by the three young men beside us who were each playing a guitar and singing the Beatles, "Hold Your Hand," for no other reason than to bring joy to those around them.

Turns out, they're Christians, proclaiming the love of Jesus. They're named R8- representing Romans 8. I hope they make it to America, like they hope to!

After coming home, Katy surprised me with a taste of home--chocolate chip cookie dough!

The next morning, after only about 5 or 6 hours of sleep, Katy and I headed out on the public transportation yet again, this time to go to the beach! (The Gold Coast)

We were meeting David and Matt Tinker for a day at Beerleigh!

There were surfers everywhere!
I was in awe of the ocean... it's a very powerful thing! The waves tossed us back and forth all day and the sun baked me! The sunburn only serves as a reminder of a wonderful weekend!

While at the beach we built a sand castle, collecting shells to adorn our sand-turtle which rested in the center of the castle. After determining that it would take far too much time and effort to collect that many shells, we gave up. The castle also had a princess tower, on which I was supposed to sit, however, I could not be convinced by Dave to sit on the sand.

The whole time I was thinking how the sand would crumble under my weight... that was not a tempting thought, a princess who smashes her guard tower by the weight of her behind... so anyways, the princess tower remained princessless.

After a day in the sun we were all exhausted and ready for $0.50 ice cream cones from Macky's (a.k.a. McDonald's). Katy and I stood in line for awhile, only to discover that Matt had already bought us ice cream. As we walked up to the car the two boys stood there shaking in the breeze holding a tray of melted ice cream cones... saying, "We bought you some ice cream." It was the sweetest looking sight I had seen since working with the kids at the Boys and Girls Club.

That night Katy and I headed to the city to find some cheap pizza (the name of the store still slips my mind) and spent about 45 minutes searching for the joint. We walked back and forth, back and forth, and back and forth, through the downtown, outdoor shopping center. Running across street break-dancers, Irish celebrating, kilt-wearing, men playing bagpipes, and chocolate cake...

After finally finding some pizza we headed home on the City Cat.

The next day we tried to find the St. Patty's day celebration, but ended up in China Town in Fortitude Valley instead. After a while of looking around, we headed home.

That night we went to Sunday night, College-aged Worship (named Powerhouse) at Hillsong with Jasmin, heard a great message about Love (1 Cor. 13 is the summer theme), and headed home.

I have to say, this is a great place. I have thoroughly enjoyed myself. It can be summarized in the following conversation.

Me: "Katy, you've studied the steps of culture shock, right?"
Katy: "Yep"
Me: "I think I'm in the honey-moon stage. What's after the honeymoon stage?"
Katy: *laughing* "Oh, you don't want to know."
Me: "What is it?"
Katy: "Just trust me, you'll know when the honey-moon stage ends..."

Monday, March 8, 2010

Now that class has started and I've been here a month...

In the outdoor arena at the Dance Studio I teach at:

I have to say, this trip to Australia is definitely unique in the sense that I've never been to a country where everyone speaks my native tongue and is so friendly. Making friends has not been difficult.

My time here can be summarized in one sentence:

I have no reason to wake up in the morning.

As grim as that sounds, it's the truth!
My classes are all in the evenings (Mondays and Wednesdays) and so is my job (Tuesdays).
Even my social life is focused around Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings... What that means is I can sleep in every day, which is good for vacation, maybe not so good for daily routine. Catch my drift?

I started my job as a CONTEMPORARY JAZZ DANCE TEACHER last Tuesday and it went really well! I teach grade one and grade three. We'll have a concert at the end of the year. It's two hours a week.

I found a group of girls who are interested in camping/traveling with me, so hopefully I'll have some exciting adventures in the near future.

I had Rotary Orientation on Sunday which went well. There are some very inspirational people who are Rotary scholars. True world leaders!

My first day of classes (last Wednesday) was canceled due to a strike (which my professors were participating in--perhaps slightly ironic since my degree is Peace and Conflict Resolution--we're a bunch of activists). Other than that, my reading lists are longer that the Great Wall of China and it's all about International Theory at this point! This, however, is a love of mine, so not too bad...

It's been raining day and night for almost two weeks, which is good news for a country that's been in drought the past decade... I'm itching for the sunshine without all the heat. Supposedly "perfect" weather is just around the bin...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

This is one large university!

ORIENTATION WEEK, otherwise known as "O Week" has started and finished.

Here's a quick update:
I have been privileged to meet so many people. There is not even time to introduce you to all of them. They are from all walks of life and studying in several different faculties.

(Just for fun, there are 343 Americans at the Uni of Queensland!)

Imagine with me, if you please, you are in front of 3,200+ international students at a major university. For fun, let's say it's the University of Queensland. And you're asked to answer one trivia question. What for? Free movie tickets (X2) and a free pizza.

Question: Who is the prime minister of Australia?

Nervous, yet? So was I!

Answer: Kevin Rudd, I got it right! Movies, here I come!!!

One day this week, my train was not running from Toowong because of a car accident. It had been suspended "indefinitely". So, I walked to the city. Here are some pictures of downtown Brisbane:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lamington National Park

I spent my day in the Rain Forrest, soaking up the beauty of nature!
Thanks to my new "family", I was able to travel to the Binna Burra Lodge for the day and sit in nature.

Here I also met some South Africans, Santie and Peter, who are devote believers. They spent the evening encouraging me and talking to me about the conditions back in their home country. They have lived in Australia now for some time. I maybe able to travel to Fraser Island with them and their 24 yr. old daughter in March, although I may also be in Uni studying...

I keep trying to upload a video I've made of my trip and it's not working. In due time, I'll post it.

Here's a link to my video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uot_Ks9Yuwc