Part 1: October Goodness
So it is almost time for me to leave!!! I know so soon. Time just flew by, but I feel like I say this each post.
Anyways, I wanted to talk about my last month and a half abroad. I will separate it into 3 parts: October part 1, October part 2, and November. A ton happened and so it feels inadequate to smush it all into one post.
October was a great month for my time abroad and I would even be willing to claim it as the rising action and climax of my time here. What made it so amazing was that I began to really settle in. For me relationships are extremely important, and by early October I had formed some solid groups of friends. While on campus I always had a lunch buddy and off campus I bonded with a couple of the girls on the program and in my church. However, I have to emphasize the relationships from my church. Most of my time was spent with Uni students from various campuses that were members at my church, and consequently we formed relationships that blossomed
Early in October, I got extremely pumped and excited for a Women’s Retreat where all the women at my church went to the Colloroy center and spent the weekend bonding and focusing on growing in relationship with God. This retreat became a highlight for me. It was a chance to get a way and just connect with others around me. The weekend was jam packed with lessons, dance parties, painting, and did I mention the center was literally right by the beach? I never cease to get excited over the proximity of the OCEAN so close. It always grabs hold of my attention. What was also so amazing about the retreat was the opportunity to form relationships with older women in the church who I may not see as often. I love learning from those with more experience in life, so these moments were cherished.
One other fun event was what we call a “Sister’s encouragement night”. The campus guys at my church get together to simply make the campus girls feel encouraged, loved, and appreciated. We all received a personalized scroll invitation for a night of “Fairytales”. We all came as various characters from Disney or fables which was a fun pre-cursor to Halloween. I went dressed as the lion from Lion King and the room was filled with every other character you could imagine. The night was fantastic and the guys served us 4 course meal that was extremely impressive especially keeping in mind these were Uni guys.
Though my times with the church were great ways build relationships with Australians, I also built great relationships with people in the program. One of closest friends has been Joanna. We have become somewhat of adventure buddies over the semester. They weren’t always super complex, but always an adventure nonetheless. For example, we went to explore Paddy’s Market which is a huge busy market in China Town before classes one afternoon and found ourselves playing dress up in wigs for about an hour. These types of small adventures with Joanna have been the unexpected highlights of my time in Australia.
At the same time, work for classes was starting to get really intense. In Australia universities, the work tends to be mostly at the end of the semester with little to nothing for the early and mid parts of the semester. For example, for one class I had to turn in 3 assignments and do a presentation that ended up being the totality of my semesters work. In one week! For a professional procrastinator like me, this was pretty anxiety inducing. However, it wasn’t all grudging work. For my Productions class, I had to do a performance analysis and that included going to see an show at Belvoir Theatre in Sydney. This turned out to be a really nice venue and the actors in the play were Australian famous. It was a great experience to see theatre performed in a different culture for someone like me who loves theatre and cultural studies in Anthropology.
I’ll end this section with a tip:
Find people you love, find activities you love, and find opportunities for mini-adventures. That is where you will find the things you fall most in love with.