The Dip.

Our program director/professor Kimberly was telling us the other day that around this time student start feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, homesick, disconnected, annoyed…yada yada yada. I knew exactly what she was talking about. I thought I was the only one feeling those obnoxious emotions, but she said that it is completely normal. I talked my good friend Liisa (from Michigan) who was feeling the same way & it was good to sit at McDonald’s & just let out steam. Kimberly told us that we should bounce back soon, but with the way I was feeling, I doubted.

Feelings of: loneliness, homesick, left out from things going on at home, annoyed, overwhelmed by the thought of schoolwork, frustrated with having no money.

Something snapped in me yesterday though. The sun was out, the internet was working & I got to skype with my family. It was so nice to see their faces & hear their voices. It was kinda frustrating seeing my little nephew’s face though because I just wanted to hold the little buggar, but it was refreshing at the same time. Shortly after that, I made my way into CBD (Downtown Sydney) to meet Darragh, a friend from highschool/church/czech team who is studying down past Wollongong at Capernwray. It was nice to see a familiar face and also talk to someone who is going through a similar experience. Unfortunately I had to cut our time short because I needed to get ready for the Flo Harris Harbor Cruise.

Last night every person living at Flo Harris got all fancied up & took a cruise around Sydney Harbor. We ate, we danced, we bonded, we swayed back & forth, we watched fireworks. After that was over, the majority of us went out to a German pub then to go dancing.

Yesterday was exactly what the doctor had ordered. A little taste of home through skype & a visit from a friend followed by an outrageous night with some of the funnest, most genuine, caring people I’ve met. It has been so beautiful to watch how this community looks after each other & how they have invited me right in. Up until yesterday, I was doubting how this semester was going to go, but now I know that I am going to have a hard time leaving & I’ve only been here for 3 weeks.

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bitchin’ cheese cutter, mate

Who knew that there would be a language barrier here?

The first words (my now friend) Johnny said to me was, “Bitchin’ cheese-cutter”…”I beg your pardon…”…”Bitchin’ cheese-cutter”…”uh…”…”Your hat. It’s cool”.

Johnny is from New Zealand so apparently that isn’t an Aussie norm, but that is a good example of the miscommunication I often find myself in. I ask for ketchup & the waitress looks at me like I’m a damned fool. I have to ask for “Tomato Sauce” or “Dead Horse” (yeah, what the hell? right? I don’t know where that one came from & I’m afraid to ask). The bathroom is the “toilet” & the garbage can is the “bin”.

Possibly my favorite aspect of the Aussie slang is how they shorten everything and add an “ie” or “y”. It reminds me of my dear, dear friends Erik, Natalie & Beckee. Sunglasses are “sunnies”. Surfer is a “surfie”. Can of beer or soda is a “tinny”. So on & so forth.

Here are some more entertaining slang:

“fortnightly” = biweekly

“fair dinkum” = “you’ve gotta be kidding!” or “I can’t believe it!” or “no way!”

“bum bag” = fanny pack (we can’t say “fanny” because it is a rude term for a girl’s “nether regions”.)

“singlet” = tank top

“hot chips” = french fries

“petrol”= gas

“bloke” = guy or man

“arvo” = afternoon…I had a guy tell me that our meeting would be either “arvo or evening”.

“chook” = chicken

“lollies” = candies

“footy” = Australian Football (AFL)

“op shop” = thrift or second hand store

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Wow…these Aussie blogs are so much different than my usual blogs because I feel like I just have to update.

 

This week was the first week of classes. Here is my schedule so far:

Monday: Photography III 9am – 11:50am, Hip Hop I 12:00pm – 1:30pm

Tuesday: View From Australia (AUS politics & history) 8:45am – 12:00pm

Wednesday: Faith & the Contemporary Artist 2:00pm-4:00pm, Hip Hop I 4:00pm – 5:30pm

Thursday: Drawing I 1:00pm-4:00pm, Service Placement @ Newtown Mission 5:00pm – 8:00pm

Friday: Indigenous Cultures ALL DAY

 

So far I enjoy all of the classes I’ve had thus far. Hip Hop is ridiculously hard but fun, Photography is really, really, interesting, AUS history & politics is a lot of fun and really interesting, Faith & Art is so interesting (dialogue based), and I am sitting here waiting for Drawing to start. Apparently we are doing Live Figure Drawing…so live nude people haha that should be interesting. But I’m excited, it should be a good experience. Pretty much every friday is field trip day 🙂

 

As far as everything else, I still love my community house. Our group of Americans is so much fun! We are getting along great and having a wonderful time together. Last night we went to Thai food and then a Chocolate Cafe. I had a chocolate milkshake that I won’t reveal the price because I’m ashamed of how expensive everything is here. After that, we wanted to do karaoke but the only karaoke they have here is SUPER asian. Like all of the songs are in Japanese and you have to pay money to get a little room to do karaoke in.

 

Last week, a ton of people from Flo (my housing) took us night swimming at Bondi (Bond-eye) Beach. That was such an adventure! I have yet to go to the beach during the day, but that was so much fun. It was a wee bit scary though because I didn’t have my glasses and it was really dark so I couldn’t really see what was happening, but the water was warm and the waves were fun to ride. All of the Americans are paranoid about the water and the sharks and jellyfish, but I am just trusting the Aussies, because they know what they are doing. They wouldn’t let us swim if they knew it wasn’t safe.

 

I will write more later when I can think of more.

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Here.

Wow so much updating to do!

Well first of all, I’ve made it here safe & I’ve been here for 4 days now & so much has happened!

Our flight was 14 hours, but it was not as bad as I expected. The plane was rather luxurious & comfortable. Apparently I fell asleep for about 5 hours; that was a nice little surprise. One of our flight attendants talked to us for about 30 minutes and he was hilarious! He told us that he graduated from Wesley Institute (the school where we’re studying) and he told us all of the hotspots in Sydney.

We arrived in Sydney around 8:30 am on Wednesday morning & the weather was gloomy & drizzly. Very anticlimatic & disappointed. We were greeted by our wonderful team leaders & were shuffled onto a bus to head to campus right away. The bus ride from the airport to campus was kind of a blur. Our team leaders & fellow Wesley students were incredibly excited to meet & talk to us, but unfortunately we were so exhausted that our reaction was rather underwhelming.

We reached campus and I was pleasantly surprised by its charm. It wasn’t at all as small or “dodgy” (Australian for sketchy or ghetto) as our flight attendant made it out to be. It is in an old high school, but made of all brick & quite lovely. We went straight into orientation classes. Trying to sit through hours of “how the school runs”, “what to do & not do in AUS”, & “how to navigate the transit system” is incredibly difficult when you’ve been awake for about 36 hours. But the wonderful thing about the schedule (& Aussie culture in general) is that they made sure that we never went hungry. Their meal schedule here really helps keep my stomache at a constant state of satisfaction.

Breakfast (i.e. eggs, potatoes, pancakes, etc.)

Morning Tea (i.e. juice, snack bars, yogurt, maybe tea)

Lunch (i.e. sandwich, juice, chicken, potatoes)

Afternoon Tea (i.e. biscuits [which are cookies], donuts, fruit)

Dinner (i.e. meat pie, chicken, kebabs, salad)

Supper (i.e. biscuits, ice cream, crackers, fruit)

Some time around 1 in the afternoon, the beautiful Aussie sun came out and it was about 24°C (about 85°). Finally! That is what I was looking for! But the Australian sun is a bit more scorching than the American sun, but wonderful nonetheless. After the sun came out & we sat through more orientation, we were hearded off to our new homes. Kimberly, our director, drove me, Paul & Lainey to the Flo Harris Lodge which would be our new home for the next 4 months…

 

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Just watched E.T. with my wonderful LA family!

Do I have to go to Australia?

I mean….oops! I’m EXCITED 🙂

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I am sitting in a Starbucks on Sunset Blvd. with one of my dearest friends next to me.

As I indulge in meaningless social networks and sit terrible, burnt coffee,

She quietly & diligently reads the Words of Our Creator.

Further down the bar is a new friend.

He also soaking himself in the Word of the Lord.

 

I went to church with my dear ones this afternoon.

The more the Holy Spirit spoke through Tim the Pastor,

The more the Holy Spirit spoke to me about LA and

His heart for this city.

I did not want the sermon to end.

 

I have a lot to pray & rest on while in Australia.

I haven’t purchased my ticket from LAX to PDX yet

Due to lack of money, but perhaps the Lord had other

Plans.

Plans involving an extended stay in the City of Angels.

 

Blessed, Beautiful, Precious Jesus,

Open only Your doors and close any others.

Place me in the city that will allow my life to glorify

You best.

Amen.

 

 

[tomorrow.]

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LA, thus far.

I made it to LA.

It is chilly here in the shade, but kinda warm in the sun.

My body is cold but my soul is warm.

My friends & friends of friends here understand what community

& the body of Christ really looks like.

 

I went to Beckee’s Community Group last night.

We split up into prayer groups and the guy I’m staying with,

Catlin (pronounced CAT-LIN, no KATE-LYNN), asked me what

I needed prayer for & I discovered something about myself.

Every time I end up in LA, I feel rested, rejuvenated, like everything

Is going to be alright, which is incredibly ironic due the to rampant,

Chaotic LA lifestyle. You would think that a slow, step-by-step, contemplative

Portland boy who gets stressed out amongst a lot of people would hate it here.

But LA feels right to me. I told him that I don’t know if this is a place where the

Lord is pulling me or if it is just a place where He sends me to retreat.

I’m praying-pondering-dwelling on it.

 

On Monday, I leave for Sydney.

On Monday, I will meet the people that I will

Be spending my next 4 months with.

On Monday, I will begin the adventure of a

Lifetime. The adventure that will be referenced

For the rest of my life.

Creepy.

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