29 July 2009

Update - Woolys

So postage is quite expensive – well relative to what I am used to in Charlotte. It’s $1.40 for cards, and $2.10 for letters. Even post cards are $1.40. But whatever, I had to send out thank you cards from my party. Today is Wednesday and finally I start class. This afternoon at 4pm I will have my first class at Uni. From 4-6pm I will have a lecture in International Politics. The lectures are held in big theaters and hundreds of students attend. Then at a different period – usually there are five of six periods to choose from – we each go to a one hour tutorial. And the tutorials are taught by different teachers – known as tutors – and these classes are much smaller. There should only be about 26-30 students in each tutorial. I am used to that size at Queens and it allows for a great exchange between professor – or tutor – and student. These tutorials involve instruction for upcoming assignments as well as discussion of the topics touched on in each lecture. Week one is the easiest because there are no tutorials. Next week I will have lectures and tutorials.
Sunshine Coast takes good care of its International Students. They have workshops that teach students how to write assignments using the Harvard system of referencing. Student Services helps students know what is expected of them at this Uni; which is really helpful. I am signed up for the class “Assignment Writing @ USC for International Students” which meets the next three Fridays from 10am to noon. It is really helpful and will help me not be overwhelmed with understanding the requirements. Also at this Uni – which is what everyone here calls University because Australians like to shorten everything – each class posts a course outline before the class begins. In the course outline is every assignment for the term, every reading, everything that will be graded, and all the requirements for each. This was very useful in planning things out. I’ve already gotten two weeks of homework done for one class and one week’s homework done for another class. Staying a step ahead!
At the front of the development is a shopping center with a grocery store and banks and post and video store. Last week I walked to the Woolworths (grocery) and it was about a half hour walk there. I bought my groceries and decided the only way I could get all the things I had bought back to my house was to push a trolley (grocery basket) back to the apartment. Well, in Australia, the trolleys have wheels that turn 360° and the sidewalks are slanted towards the road…so my walk back was quite an unadventure. It was ridiculously frustrating! The basket was very heavy and kept rolling toward the road. It was disastrous. Everyone I passed asked if I needed help. Well, yes was the obvious answer but I couldn’t very well ask a stranger to help me push my buggy for 30 minutes. By the way, why do people say a ‘prefect’ stranger? If they are a stranger how could you possibly know they are perfect? What makes a stranger perfect? Anyway, if Melanie was here she’d be able t o answer that question…so I finally got the trolley to my house. I and the trolley and even the eggs were in one piece. And I parked my trolley with the other 15 trolleys that other Uni students had already taken. I vowed to take one back. And today I did. I walked the trolley back to Woolys as I have come to call it like the natives.
I also went to the post and sent some cards and letters and now I am going to read “An Acceptable Time” by Madeleine L’Engle. I forgot to bring “A Swiftly Tilting Planet” to read it again, but I have “Meet the Austins” - the first of another series by the same author. And when I am finished with the Time series – of which An Acceptable Time is the final book – I will start the Austins. And I am going to sit on our balcony in the sun.

26 July 2009

Update Five - Kings Church

Kings Church – the best thing that could happen to me here! Oh my! I was moved to tears during worship. It was so amazing to worship with a young group of kids who are truly passionate about God and talented beyond belief. I was blown away by worship. It was great! The drummer is a girl! The lady worship leader has an AMAZING voice! But they are all great and really in love with God. The sermon was preached by a guest pastor – whose name I forget. But he preached on the story of the ten lepers and the value of thank you. He spoke about the one leper who thanked Jesus and that his thank you was counted as faith. The pastor said we should all be more thankful and put real value in that because it connects three realms of time. Past – you a re showing value to the person for something they have done; Present – you acknowledge them and make them feel good now; Future – your thank you empowers and inspires them to act in the future! AH! It was so amazing. But the coolest part was that last week, the home pastor spoke on the same story and no one told the guest speaker about it!
The church has the thing called the 300 miracles. On two walls there are all these really cool looking shields that represent a donation of $5,000 to the building project. And they emphasize that miracles follow the shield of the Lord. It is really cool! They are all about believing in healing. There hasn’t been any hands laid on anyone yet but they said, put your hand up if you need healing. We’re all going to believe for a miracle for you! It was like my spirit was sleeping beauty and Kings was the Prince that kissed it to wake it up. I believe there is another level of glory and passion that I will be stepping into here and I am excited!! I met some really cool people too! The knect leaders – Richie and Rachel – are moving into an apartment and have rented out the rooms of their two houses to some of the young adults at the church. I met all their tenants and I am so excited about spending time with them. Lucy is one of the new tenants and has said that we will be having a good many Disney Princesses Slumber Parties. The best part is that the two houses are a five/ten minute drive from where I live so I will have an abundance of rides to church stuff!! Wahoo! Oh man I am stoked! Life is good on the Sunshine Coast. Miraculous and wonderful. I am really believing God for this job at Australia Zoo! And watching and listening to the Hillsong stuff is doing me some good as well! Oh man I love God!!
Richie is the head of the camera and web streaming and creative stuff at the church – like the video announcements. When I told him I know all about it he was so excited! He said we could do some cool stuff together. So I will be learning about the video announcements – what it takes – and some editing stuff too! Oh man, I feel like I am going to come back with all these upgrades! You need to get the Hillsong CD! It’s so amazing! A new level of amazing! And this upcoming Friday Darlene Zschech will be at Kings Church. WOAH!! Man! God is awesome! Love it.

Update Four - Job

So I applied for a position at Australia Zoo! They have a store at the zoo that has weekend shifts available. They are only open until 5 so I wouldn't be out late and a bus goes straight there from the campus bus station - the zoo's 20 minutes away. Pray I have favor with this! I updated my resume and sent it in and called them to let them know to be looking for my application online. It would be a GREAT opportunity because it would be heaps of fun and good experience. I would love this job working at AUSTRALIA ZOO!!! Pray for favor. I am thanking God for this opportunity and favor for the go ahead.

Update Three

Today I went to all the information sessions and the BBQ – which consisted of hotdogs on a slice of white bread with barbeque sauce. I had just the hotdog and bread. I am getting so hungry but am trying not to spend money my first week and go from there. In our welcome packet there was a student survival guide shopping list for under $55 a week. I will look at it and make revisions as needed. There were also some cheap recipes that make several servings which can be frozen for lunch or for later. They are all easy recipes that consist of cheap items. So I will probably get some of that stuff at the end of this week. Classes begin Monday but I don’t have a class until Wednesday. Because we have lectures and tutorials, Week one is easy with just the Lectures for each class. Week Two begins the Tutorials. I am taking Marketing, International Politics, Politics and Security in East Asia, and International Law and Human Rights. My schedule for week two and on is Monday 10-11, Wednesday 4-7, Thursday 10-12 & 2-5, and Friday 12-2 & 2-3. USC suggests that students devote 7 hours outside of class to each course. I may not need to spend that much time but I will try to stay a step ahead so I can avoid stressful situations. I went to look at my books in the bookshop – I was looking to spend nearly $200 on three books – not fun. So I went to the library and found all three books that I need and checked them out. Two of my courses do not require textbooks but will most likely include online readings. The library charges students to print – 10 cents per page. That’s kind of dumb – especially when most of the things we need to print are required for our classes. I am still praying for a job. I don’t want to work nights; maybe during the day on Saturdays or Tuesdays – when I don’t have class. From what I hear the going rate is about $10-$13 an hour – which would be marvelous and mean that I wouldn’t need to work very often. I am going to ask Lucy Kerr – the girl from the church – to come with me to the bank near campus to help me set up an account. I am also going to look into a phone plan. I don’t think it is necessary but for emergencies it would be good. I carry around my cellphone for time but could probably dial 000 if I needed to. But in Jesus’ name there will not be any emergencies!
I am going to start on Week 2’s homework for the class that has the syllabus posted online – marketing – and then watch Princess Bride and then go to bed.

Update Two

I miss everyone loads. Distance makes time seem more severe. It is cold here at night and I want another blanket. I wear leggings and fleece pants, long socks, a long sleeve shirt and a hoodie to bed and it takes awhile for my body heat to fill the covers. The day weather is perfect! Boliva's twin. It was so nice today. Like high 60s, low 70s. Beautiful. And the sky seems bigger here. The clouds have been amazing! I've been taking pictures.
Having 2 dollar coins is weird because I treat it like change. The left side of the road is freaking me out and the roundabouts are not an equal trade for not having stop lights. There are very few stoplights here. But a roundabout every mile or two.
I took it easy this morning. Got up around 830. I made breakfast – oatmeal – and some chai tea in my new coffee cup. I ate outside on our balcony in the sun. Then I cleaned up my room and finished some paper work for the apartments – a thing I had to fill out about the state of my room. I had to comment on where marks were on walls and carpets and how the bathroom was. This is to ensure that when your stay is over your room is in the same condition so your bond can be refunded. So I was super anal about it and commented on absolutely everything so they couldn’t blame me for anything. I also commented on how dirty my room was when I got there and I asked for half of my bond to be refunded because my room was not in acceptable condition. We’ll see how that goes. Pray for favor. I did it respectfully but said, my room was not in good condition and I don’t think it is right for me to pay a bond to ensure I keep my room in good condition when I didn’t receive it in good condition. Hopefully they will agree and give me some money back.
I went for a walk on campus to see where all the buildings are so I will be more familiar with the campus for orientation which begins Monday. I’ve decided to take everyone’s advice and not worry.  I am here for school and will accomplish that. I will keep the main thing the main thing. I will find a job and be perfectly at peace at all times in Jesus’ name! The campus is so nice. All the buildings are really modern architecturally. It’s funny how similar Australia is with South America as far as climate and geography. It reminds me so much of Bolivia. I saw like five or six kangaroos just hanging out on campus. They were basically right in front of me just wandering around. Like squirrels but big and more dangerous and cooler. Ha! I also swung by the bookstore on campus and the book list for classes was listed. I only need 3 books! Two of my classes do not require textbooks. There will probably be online readings – said my roommate Ashlie. Then when I got back to my room and got online to check out my class schedule Ashlie got home and invited me to go with her and some friends to the beach. So I went with her and her three friends – Liselle, Jess, and Jen. We just laid in the sun. I read my book and the girls talked. I don’t plan on spending much time with people during this trip. I want to focus on school and have a job – which won’t leave much time for other things.

Update One

So it is 1pm there and 3am here. :/ I slept well for about six hours. I crashed around 7pm here. There are still people awake and outside. It’s cold too. I need another blanket. But I brought lots of warm pajamas so that is good. There is no ac or heat which is not surprising but not expected. My carpet smells like vanilla bc I bought some carpet cleaner foam spray that disinfects. I also spent about 2 hours scrubbing the walls and floor in the bathroom and the walls in my room and all the shelves and stuff.
My roommates aren’t half bad but one has yet to arrive – not the male though. But the guy is Ben and he is from Germany and he is a nerd majoring in Business. He’s nice and likes his space so I don’t have any weird feelings about him. One of my girl roommates – whose name I have forgotten – is Australian and when I arrived she took Ben and I to Woolworths – the grocery store up the road. Things are a bit more expensive here. I bought toilet paper, spaghetti, sauce, oatmeal, bananas, and eggs. I’m pretty sure I can drink the water so I won’t have to splurge on that. Bottled water is quite expensive here. But the girl roommate said it’s fine and that Germans always make her laugh and spend loads of cash on bottled water when they could just drink from the tap. My girl roommate is into drinking. There were two six packs of coolers and two bottles of Smirnoff on her fridge shelf. I told her I don’t drink. She makes me sad because she is probably the norm of most girls my age but I have only now been exposed to that.
I will send pictures of my room once the sun is up here. I plan on walking about campus tomorrow and calling the church at some point as well. I saw kangaroos! They are right outside my apartment. I will take lots of pictures tomorrow and familiarize myself with the buildings on campus so Orientation will be okay.
Mrs. Z said to read Daniel on the way over here and it helped me a lot. Daniel never freaked out. I don’t think he ever even worried. He was always steadfast in his dedication and trust in God and in God’s ability and desire to prosper Daniel. I need to be that way too. I need to be completely dependent on God and on His desire to prosper His daughter. I trust Him to provide.
I met a woman on my bus ride from the airport who lives in Brisbane but commutes to Sydney every week. She told me a lot about the people and place I’d be staying at and she gave me her contact info and said to get in touch whenever. She is pretty wealthy and is a change manager – she handles multi billion dollar transactions of business. So if a company is spending 200 million on updating some software – she is the one who organizes that update and makes sure everyone in the company is prepared for the change. She is certainly an asset. I will be emailing her soon. I also will be calling the Clarksons tomorrow and the church. The church is right around the corner from the apartments. But I will need to take a bus there or get a ride. I will work all of that out soon.
I am going to head back to bed now and will post pictures soon.