Some days my heart wants a perfect American life with a nice husband and a nice clean suburban house. And some days, the majority of days actually, my heart wants to be on a foreign field where I’m forced to daily draw my strength from Christ and to know my help comes from him alone. My heart wants the intense closeness to him that being in a foreign land brings. And then sometimes my heart wants to throw aside every responsibility and just spend my days roaming and exploring this planet with no one to report to and no set plan to follow. My heart wants to wander down hidden alleys and lose itself in the wonder of new places and new faces. A lot of days my heart wants to live with little in a faraway country so that I can give away lots to those who have need. Often my heart wants to sit in the middle of an abandoned, overgrown playground on the other side of the world and share the awesome news that is Jesus with a little girl who’s never heard. And then there are days when my heart wants to just go buy new outfits and purses and shoes and go on fun dates with cute boys. And then again my heart wants to be in heaven, in the presence of Jesus, worshipping with saints I’ve only read about. A lot of times my heart wants to spend my days with family, remembering all the fun times and cuddling with lots of nephews and nieces. But then my restless heart wants to wander the globe photographing everything it sees and then open a cute boutique somewhere and sell prints and cards to everyone.
My heart bursts when I think about all of this. It’s overwhelming. I want it all. At the same time.
If I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me “so what is your next adventure?” in these past 4 weeks since I’ve been back in the states, I think I could FUND my next adventure. =)
Last week I flew up to Broome for a few days. It was something I had been thinking about off and on for a while, but hadn’t really thought it would work out. It was pretty spur of the moment when I did decide to go for it and I booked a flight and a place to stay in just a few minutes. And then I realized I had booked my flights without checking first to see if I’d be up there to see the Staircase to the Moon like I had originally wanted. So I was relieved to realize I would have one chance to see it, the night I arrived. I was cutting it close by flying in at 5:45 pm and the moon rising at 7:22, but it worked out beautifully! It was so neat to see the bright red-orange of the moon rising over the total darkness of the mud flats, but I was a bit disappointed to realize that we were a bit far away from it and that I should have brought my zoom lens in order to get better pictures. But it was still neat to see and I managed to get some ok pictures, but certainly nothing great.
The next few days I did things such as rent a bicycle to ride out to Gantheaume Point to see the dinosaur tracks. Didn’t exactly make it out there in time before the tide came back in and covered them, as I had been told it would take 20 minutes to ride out and it actually took me an hour. [Should have known, Australians NEVER give the correct time estimates, ha.] Broome has some extreme tides, meaning that the tide can move very quickly and that it has very high and very low tides. It makes for an interesting walk on the beach when the tide is out.
I am glad I got the chance to see Broome, as it’s one of those places that Australians either love or always want to visit and never actually get the chance to get up there. (If you mention Broome to an Aussie you will inevitably hear “Ahhh, I want to go to Broome someday.”) It’s insanely expensive, both getting up there and then actually doing things when you are there, on top of the fact that Australia is already expensive in general. Someday when I am rich I will head back to the Kimberley region and do all the expensive trips that I can’t afford right now. The whole region looks so beautiful, but it sure comes at a steep price to get there!
Well, it’s been a while since I blogged anything, but life has been anything but dull lately! So much has been happening (story of my life) that I can hardly keep up. In the middle of everything, my parents came to Australia for a few days and we had a fun, whirlwind time exploring the local area. I had SO much I wanted to show them but there just wasn’t time for it all. We packed in as much as we could, and Australia cooperated and showed off its beautiful weather (well, it was a bit on the chilly side for them seeing as they had just come from Fiji, but it’s winter here after all…at least it was sunny and didn’t rain) and fabulous flora and fauna and they had a great time! We spent a night on Rottnest island and exhausted ourselves biking around the island (it’s pretty hilly). Now I have about 9 days left until I fly to Hawaii for a day and then on to Los Angeles. And yesterday I decided spur of the moment to book a ticket up to Broome. So I fly up there Monday to Friday and then I fly home the next Monday.
Life is sure a fun adventure. =) I’m going to miss this place like crazy. Australia feels like home to me. I am going to miss it more than I can even express and I honestly don’t even want to think about leaving. =( But…life is such an adventure and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. I feel so spoiled rotten in all that God has allowed me to see and do and experience and in the ways He takes care of me. [example: my laptop died on Thursday and I had barely finished casually mentioning it to my current hosts when they called their son who works with computers and asked him to stop by and look at it. He came over and spent a few hours on it, fixed it, and did it for free! God does stuff like that for me all the time!) I feel so, so blessed.
I’m still waiting for my mom to send me all the pictures of us since we used her phone for all of them, but here are some shots that I took with my camera when we were together.
Araluen Botanic Garden:
Cohunu Koala Park:
We had such a fabulous time and I am so glad my parents got to see some of Australia [as well as catch up with some old classmates from their college days. ]
I love when people ask me why I moved to Russia and I get the chance to tell them the whole story about wanting to live by faith and how that my time in Russia was the best one and a half years of my life and how God did little miracles for me all the time. There truly is nothing more exciting than getting to live by faith and getting to watch God work. It’s not always easy when you are up against a wall and totally dependent on God to work things out, but every single time He comes through and leaves you in awe of just how He does it. And the more He does it, the more you miss it when you fall back into the routine of living by sight and you lose sight of living by faith. Life just isn’t as exciting when we are in control.
A few weeks ago I was flying back from Japan and had a church friend scheduled to pick me up at 10:30 pm when I was to arrive. I was a little worried for her when she told me she’d never been to the international airport before but that she would figure it out. Then to make matters worse, my flight ended up being delayed by an hour and I had no way to get a hold of her. I only hoped she was able to use the flight tracker info I had sent earlier to find out about my delayed arrival.
Backing up a little…for the past few months my very old borrowed phone has decided to go completely on the fritz and do weird things like shut down in the middle of me doing something, even though the battery says it’s full. Sometimes if I wait a few minutes before turning it back on, it will then say the battery is partially full again. Or sometimes it will say 0%. Anyways, it just does completely random things and I can never depend on it anymore unless it’s plugged into the wall. Even then sometimes it will shut down. And sometimes when I turn it on, it has a new wallpaper on the background, one that has actions and pictures moving everywhere. I think it might be possessed. Anyway, it’s completely unreliable. Not the best phone to have when traveling.
Back to the airport. I had kept my phone off all day because I wanted to have battery left to call Cindy when I arrived so she would know where to find me. When we landed, very late, I turned on the phone and was surprised to see it only had 12% left! (for this phone 12% might as well be 0%). Since we weren’t allowed to make calls yet, I turned the phone back off to save the battery. When we finally were able to use our phones, I turned it on to see 6%. Then 1%. Then it shut off. I couldn’t believe it. Well, I could but…
The whole time I was walking through the airport and immigration I was unable to get enough juice to call her. I kept praying that it would just let me call her but it wouldn’t. I looked for outlets so I could sit and plug in the phone to call but couldn’t find any. I finally sat down on the floor in the baggage area and turned on my laptop and plugged in my phone to charge it from my computer battery. [Yes, people were looking at me like I was strange but I didn’t really care by that point.] But, to make matters worse, my phone cord doesn’t work very well and I couldn’t get it to charge for more than a second before it lost its connection. I tried and tried before seeing my bag coming down the belt but never was able to charge the phone. I packed up again and headed through customs and out to the arrivals hall. I again tried to charge my phone but to no avail. I had no idea how Cindy was going to find me, or if she was even still at the airport, now 1.5 hours later than when I told her I’d be there. I begged God to please just let her find me somehow as it was now after midnight and there was no public transportation available to me to get home. (With the distance I’d have to travel, taxis would be really, really expensive!) I had to work early the next morning so couldn’t just sleep in the airport.
With that last prayer for a miracle, I walked outside and across the street. In Australia you can’t just pull up at the curb to pick someone up, the close lane/street is only for taxis and shuttles, etc. Then there is a second street after the divider and that is where the cars drive. I crossed the first street and waited for the traffic to pass so I could cross the second street. The first car passed and the second car waved me to go in front of them. I started to cross when I realized the passenger in that car was frantically waving to me. I did a double take and saw my friend’s son waving to me. I was shocked that God had made it so simple to find her! Not only had we found each other within a minute of me walking outside, but she’d pulled up right in front of me! She later told me she’d been circling for 40 minutes, poor thing. But had she been a minute later we totally would have missed each other and I would have had no idea where to wait for her, and would have assumed she’d given up on me by that point. All I could do was smile and thank God for His perfect timing. He does things like that all the time.
I can’t say I don’t stress at times when things don’t make sense to me, but I can say that I don’t doubt that God has a good plan through it all and that He will work things out for my good and His glory. My human nature still wants to try and take control sometimes even though my head knows that God’s got it all taken care of. But, the more you see God work, the more you have faith for the next trial or test that comes. And honestly, I don’t want to stop living like this. Part of my not wanting to live in America is my not wanting to give up this living by faith. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve been here but it’s just not the same when you are living in your own comfortable country where you know family and friends will step in to help out if you need it. You don’t even need to call on God, you just need to pick up the phone and call them. It’s totally not the same. But, I am excited for prospects for the future. Who knows what lies ahead, but I am super super thankful for other single Christian friends who have the same life goals as me and who are heading the same direction and who have the same vision and idea that I do. Here’s hoping that all our plans and dreams come to fruition!
I’m sitting here in Perth, in my friend’s house, listening to the pouring rain and thinking back over this past year, and these past 10 years. 10 years ago last month I stepped on foreign soil for the very first time. I never imagined back then that one day I’d do all the traveling that I have done these past 10 years. Whenever I scroll through all my pictures from various places (which I do quite often) I am overwhelmed by just how much God has blessed me. I am constantly taking strolls down memory lane through various countries and never get tired of remembering all the adventures. And this last year in Australia? This has just been the icing on the cake. I really can’t put into words just how amazing this experience has been! I am truly spoiled rotten.
The past few weeks here have been interesting and God once again showed me how He can take care of the details and work things out. On Friday, July 31st, my host mom/employer told me she had hired her next au apair and that she was going to start asap, even though I wasn’t supposed to finish until Sept. I always read stories like this on different au pair facebook groups I am part of, but never thought it would happen to me! You just never know what you will get when you sign up to live with a family that you don’t know. Thankfully nothing worse has happened. Anyway so a friend had already told me I could stay with her if that happened and so I packed up all my stuff and moved in with her for a week. Then God lined up a temporary job with a family who needs someone just for a little over a week until they meet their new au pair in Bali. Tomorrow I will start that temp job and then next weekend my parents come! [I am really, really praying for nice weather since we’ve had some rain these past few days.] There have been so, so many little details to work out with moving and my parents coming and yet God has taken care of all those details and I am so thankful. I couldn’t have worked it out on my own. I am thankful that He sometimes brings things into our lives just to show us how much He is able to take care of us and to work out all the details!
I am so excited about seeing my nephew and everyone else that I keep counting down the days till I am home. Which is kinda sad because I know when I am home I am going to miss Australia like crazy, so I really need to just enjoy these last few days and do as much as I can. But it’s so hard when my heart just wants to be home. [it’s really complicated, ha.]
Yesterday between church services my friends took me to a Mexican place for lunch (best “Mexican” I’ve had since I’ve been here), and then up to see “The Tunnel” that they had been telling me about for a while. It’s an old train tunnel up in the hills that is no longer used. It ended up being a beautiful day to be out in nature. Australia is so pretty. I really am going to miss this place.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit American friends who are stationed on Okinawa. Before I got there I didn’t know too much about the history of the island, but I do now. =) I didn’t realize that Okinawa wasn’t originally part of Japan or that it has its own unique culture . As my friend described it, it’s kinda like what Puerto Rico is to the USA. But in this case Okinawa actually is a prefecture, whereas PR isn’t a US state. Anyway, that helped me understand the relationship between Japan and Okinawa.
I had a nice, relaxing time there. The kids taught me some new games and we did some exploring and shopping and went to some cultural events. It was a really nice getaway. While I did get to spend some time in Tokyo, next time I go to Japan I will have to see more of the mainland. There is so much to see there.