Monday, February 28, 2011

when things don't go to 'plan', for the better.

It is interesting yet frustrating how sometmes the plans you made don't work out for whatever reason. It is even more interesting, and perhaps a bit more gratifying or satisfying when in hindsight you see and understand WHY those things didn't work out! Particularly when the delay between the two is small.
Spring is coming!

 I had one of those situations this weekend.  I had planned to go to newcastle to catch up with some friends up there, and as you may have guessed that didn't end up happening! I have a little bit of a reputation at times for not being completely prepared, or for being too laid back and not paying attention to departure times of flights/trains/buses.I was out with some work friends in Liverpool on Friday night, and when I got home I thought I should probably check what time the bus to Newcastle actually left (as I had already bought my ticket). Only to discover that when I had bought my ticket, I'd accidently bought a bus ticket up to newcastle leaving at 0745 on SUNDAY instead of Saturday! I didn't think it was worth the hassle of 5 hours on a bus up to Newcastle, a couple hours hanging out with friends to catch a 3hour train back...

Lady Lever art gallery in Bebington

The gardens at Lady Lever art gallery

Mersey ferries against liverpool

Muddy Mersey

Streets in Birkenhead

So I decided to stay in Liverpool for the weekend and was rewarded in many different ways. The sun came out!! On both days, though not for the entire day. Saturday I spent wandering around Birkenhead for a little bit where I walked to the ferry point and had a look around the Mersey river from that side. I now know where Birkenhead park is but I didn't end up there this time. Apparently Hyde Park in New York is based upon it. Then I went into Liverpool and wandered all around there as well.
Bombed out St Lukes church

I learnt quite alot of things that I didn't know previously. For example, I went to St Lukes church which was bombed during the war adn learnt about life during that period. The church is beautiful, but only the outside of the structure stands. The council bought the church and it is now used as a place of peace and serenety after the destruction of the war, with urban gardening inside. You can do as much or as little gardening as you want.

Down at Albert Dock there is the Maritime Museum, the Slavery Museum, the Tate Art Gallery and a fair few other things. I only managed to get through part of the Maritime museum, so will have to go back down there again to get through some more of them as they were all pretty fascinating. I learnt that three major ships that sunk within three years originally came from Liverpool - the Titanic, the Empress and something else that I forgot the name of. There was heaps of memorabilia from the different ships and tales of life during that period, particularly during the war.

The entrance to China town

However, the main reason that it was good in the end that I didn't go to Newcastle this weekend was that I found a church! First time lucky! :) I was googling 'liverpool, church, young adults' and came up with a few different options, two of which I decided to check out. One of them, the one I ended up at today had on their young adults page, the numbers of a few of the leaders of the various groups. So I sent a msg to one of them yesterday and got a few messages back from them, which was a promising start! It was raining a little bit when I left the hospital (where I'm living) this morning. I'm currently relying on public transport to get around, which is both good and bad. If you miss the bus on a Sunday though, you have to wait an hour for the next or catch a few buses to end up where you want. Luckily for me, when I ran to the bus, it was there waiting and I got straight on and managed to find the church straight away. Everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming and wanting to chat which was encouraging as well.

The message though, that was what really sealed the deal for me here though (as well as the friendliness!!). I found it to be really challenging, practical and beneficial as the stage of life that I am in. And I guess just following on from things I've been reading and learning this week as well. It all just seemed to fit.

It was on 1 Samuel 17, and about facing your 'goliaths' - the things that sap your hope, undermine your confidence, intimidate you. We have a tendency to only focus on the strength of Goliath and the weaknesses in our lives and then feel inadequate to overcome it. We need to take Davids' example, face our giant, raise up and conquer it, by replacing the giant focus with a God focus.

David's immediate focus is on God - he mentions God ten times and Goliath only twice, a factor of 5:1. We need to face up to the things that pull us down, keeping the focus on God. The armies of heaven are with us.

You are my King and my God.
You command victories for Israel.
Only by your power can we push back our enemies;
only in your name can we trample our foes.
I do not trust in my bow;
I do not count on my sword to save me.
You are the one who gives us victory over our enemies;
you disgrace those who hate us.
O God, we give glory to you all day long
and constantly praise your name. Psalm 44:4-8

Goliaths try to come and steal our happiness. We need to then need to magnify God, make him the biggest thing, the centre stage, doing whatever it is to get our hearts singing again and worshipping God. (Might I add that I am missing my guitar like CRAZY right now....)

It is incredible how a little bit of refocusing on what is actually important can completely change your mood. I am blessed.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

Friday, February 25, 2011

Changing my perspective

I really really don't like having nothing to do. It never seems to work out well. It was disappointing when I arrived last week to discover that nothing was prepared in terms of training or IT access, and starting on Monday (as I'd asked) would have been perfectly fine. That was hard, finding out that I could have waited a few extra days and spent more time with family and friends in Australia. An empty weekend forced me to begin to acknowledge and deal with all the changes that have occurred in the last few weeks of my life. Attempting to learn how to relax and rest, which I am definitely not good at. I've cried most days and wondered on multiple occasions whether I have made the right decision returning to England, or if I am making a mistake. I guess time will only tell. I'd like to think though, that God will use every situation I land myself in (voluntarily or not) to teach me, help me grow, change me. I've been reading alot of Ecclesiastes and I think that I'm going through a bit of a season of having to let go and just wait.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

The sunshine I woke up to

I'm learning to appreciate more and more on how blessed I am, and stop focussing on petty little things. I have it really good, and I need to refocus my perspective. I have a good upbringing and education and good health and safety in the environment I am in. Yesterday morning, just when I needed some warmth, the sun came out for the hour that I went walking in the morning, and it totally made my day seeing that tiny bit of blue sky and some warmer rays. Today the sun was shining all day! God is good.

Take the Congo, for example. Women and children there are being raped by militia using it as a weapon much cheaper than bullets. NGOs believe that one in three females have been raped. One in three! And then, thirty percent of those women are infected with HIV, a condition they will have for the rest of their lives. In comparison, the things I don't like about my life are minescule.

On a 'lighter' note. It am enjoying working in a hospital again, the little things that make you smile. If you've watched scrubs before, well most of the time it's a pretty accurate depictation of some of the silliness that can go on, the funny things you can overhear, the shenanigans that patients get up to... the chasing around trying to find patient notes, the patient who can't recognise the nurses who have been looking after him and think s they are all gorgeous, the patients who tell you they are eating when they actually aren't, the smile on patient's faces when you as a dietitian are ENCOURAGING them to eat even more cheese, chocolate, cream, butter, biscuits, chips... the irony of people with lung cancer standing out the front of the entrance of an oncology centre with their drip stands chain smoking...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

return of the boomerang

So the last 48 hours have been a bit insane, resulting in me right now being back in England on a train heading up to Liverpool. Yes England! Like I said, crazy. I'd just come home on Tuesday night from hanging out with the boys up the road playing tennis and swimming laps to receive a call from one of the agents in the UK who's been looking for jobs for me, saying that they had a position who definitely wanted ME. The only catch... I needed to start pretty much straight away. I ummed and aahhed a little bit, had a look to see if there were any flights available, had a chat to my neighbours next door about it, and then decided to go for it, see what happens and booked a flight. My parents weren't there at the time (which delayed my decision), so they found out from a note I left on the kitchen when I went out to grab some stuff from a friends' place.

By that time it was probably about 11pm (tues in aus), and I had a flight booked to leave Sydney at 6pm on the 16th. I spent about 3 hours finishing a job application (more about that later) for an opportunity I really want, leaving me with approximately 6-8 hours to pack up everything that I owned (thankfully I dont own much) in my room and pack what I would take to England. Mum and Dad are moving back to Africa, so the house is being rented out so I needed to clear everything out, put it in boxes in the garage if I wanted to keep it for when I come back. Which will be sometime. I'm like a boomerang.

The flight over went quite well, I managed to get 2 seats so could curl up a little bit with that, but unfortunately my TV didn't work very well for most of the 23 hour flight, so I didn't do all that much. I hadn't organised any accommodation, but when I arrived here in London I got a call from my agent saying that she had sorted me out some accommodation at the hospital on campus, which is great because its cheap and right there at work so I don't need to figure out transport around the place.

Right now I am on a train from London to Liverpool going backwards through the countriside past farms and old cottages and farmhouses. It's cloudy but the sun is trying to get through, and its no way near as cold as it was when I left in December which is a very good thing! About ten degrees I think.

I don't really know too much about what I am going to be doing here, other than I am working at Clattebridge Centre in Merseyside, which is a big oncology hospital. So it will be interesting, that's for sure!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Never a dull moment

I don't think I could ever be accused of being boring, or not attracting trouble at times!! Also I definitely have God on my side looking after me hey! So blessed.

I had a great day and night yesterday catching up with Sydney friends and friends who I met in Asia and Europe last year who are currently in Sydney. I went out to a club called the Chinese Laundry. I've known about it for years and been meaning to go for ages, and it worked out that I could go last night. Unfortunately so could many othe people and the queue was insane! Had to wait over an hour to get in to the club, which by the way was totally definitely worth it. There was some UK DJ rusky or something I think his name was who was playing so there was dubstep and DNB playing and crazy dancing galore! :)

I think I'd been there for a couple of hours when I checked my phone and saw a couple of missed calls and a text message from a random saying "Hi, I have found your bag, dont stress, please give me a call back, when you can, thanks..." Cue slight confusion! I had left my bag in my car (technically my brothers car) and had all my ID on me. So I texted back asking what bag and who it was and the guy called me back again (though I couldnt hear anything for the life of me because of the music). Turns out he was a security guard at an office block on Clarence St in Sydney and he'd found my bag and had my ID (old license), credit card, medicare cards etc in it. More confusion....!

So we left the club and went back to meet the security guard and get my bag. I was thinking over it as we were walking, because I had definitely locked the car (I'd double checked) and I figured that the only way my bag would be OUT of the car was if it had been broken into. Which in itself was an issue because a) it wasn't my car and b) the car's insurance has run out.... so if a window had been smashed or anything then I was in trouble.

I didn't really mind about the bag, my main concern was the fact that I'd left my computer in the car, along with my hard drive and USB drives (I have a few). That was my only concern because I had no money in the wallet (except for maybe 5-10 pounds, but I may have used them up in Czech Republic) and pretty much everything of importance/value is on my computer with no backups...

First I checked the car and obviously someone had used wire to unlock the car because the windows were all intact (thank goodness) and the doors were all unlocked. Luckily I had hidden the computer under the seat and that was left untouched. So, nothing was stolen except for my bag. Which is really weird.

Anyway, when we went to meet the security guard to get my bag I was trying to figure out how on earth he had managed to get my number to let me know my bag was missing. I had some documents from England in my bag, and apparently he said he called london to try and figure out who I was!! Not quite sure exactly who he called though. He was saying that he wasn't sure about putting any of the USBs in the computer in case they were corrupted, but ended up doing that and found my mobile number on my resume. Good thing all my documents are organised, but still it would have been a search to find it because it would be under various different folders.

So I'm happy to inform you all that there are still honest, genuinely helpful people out in the world and I've been very blessed this weekend because of that! :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Post wedding (not mine)

Well it is now a week after Ilana's wedding, and the change in weather could not be more dramatically different! The weather in the week leading up to the big day was the high 40s and this week has been low 20s and right now it is raining.

The wedding itself went well. There weren't any hiccups actually getting up to Newcastle (2 hour drive from Springwood) in our 12-seater minibus and there happened to be a little bit of a breeze where we had the ceremony on the beach. Unfortunately it did just get hotter and hotter over the night so the reception in the surf club was pretty hot!

It was really good being able to catch up with family and friends over the weekend, as we had a house up there till the Monday. I do love my family (both sides)! :) 

I actually didn't take any photos myself because I was otherwise occupied as a bridesmaid, but I've copied these off some other people (not quite sure who) so I'm not in anyway claiming copyright!!!!