Sunday, December 20, 2009

Joy

It brought so much joy to my heart to see John and Patricia get married! John is such a good guy. I admire his discipline and commitment to God. He is a strong Christian. He does everything with passion. He is most definitely, hands down, voted the hottest McNeilus Language School teacher of 2006! Patricia you got a good one, John searched the world for you.

After the reception dinner, in good company, we started a game of Risk at Amanda’s house. I can admit this now; it was the most humiliating game I have ever played. I was the first one out of the game, which never happens. We were even playing with two people that had never played before! Rheu was defiant in making sure I was the first kill of the game.

At two in the morning John called with a heavy burden on his heart, he had forgotten his passport at Andrews. Turk, Rheu, and I agreed to drive to Chicago that night to deliver his passport.

We went to John’s house. Pounding on the door Gestapo style, an unfamiliar face finally answered. This was John’s rent paying replacement. We stormed the house, looking for a pink duffle bag. This led us to John’s old bedroom, where one of his roommates lay in slumber. Relentlessly we turned the lights on. We quickly spotted the infamous pink duffle bag. Searching the bag, I quickly found his passport.

In Chicago we found John’s hotel. John was eternally grateful, he even offered us money. We didn’t accept it, he is our friend and that is what friends do when one is in need.

I was determined to save money. I suggested that we sleep in the car. Turk and Rheu didn’t like the idea. In rebellion Turk said “what are we going to do, when you get cold?”

We found a Motel 6. Bullet-proof glass protected the woman behind the desk. We quickly settled into our suite. Matt’s comment on our new accommodations was, “I wonder how many women have been impregnated in this bed?”


Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Longest Day

Today at 3:30pm I boarded my plane for home. I restarted my Thursday again in Los Angels at 8:30am, when my plane landed. I feel like I am in the movie Ground Hogs Day.

In LA I had to go through security again. This time it was even more idiotic! One of the TSA agents screamed Code Bravo; everyone was forced to stop what they were going.
We stood still, except for this guy from Africa. But don’t worry TSA did their job, they pounced on him. Poor guy was just trying to put his shoes back on. We stood there for five more minutes doing nothing. It was like we were in a fire drill. And then just as suddenly as it started, it ended. It was like nothing happened. We just continued through the line. I didn’t see any terrorist.

In the airport, I was bombard with hostile voice mails from friends. Friends that had forgotten I was in Australia.

Tonight I will be home in Lincoln, only to get in my car to continue this great adventure in Michigan.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bucks Party

Today we had Chappo’s Bucks Party. A buck’s party is similar to a bachelor party. However, I would discover it is a lot more humiliating for the groom than it usually is in America.

The evening started out nice. All of Chappo’s mates took him go-carting. We had a barbeque, all pretty normal things. But after that it gets crazy! Some of the guys brought mesh panty hoses, a tight pink belly shirt, and some very low cut shorts. Chappo was then forced to put these clothes on. There wasn’t really a battle either. He just accepted his faith. He even put them on in the women’s bathroom.

At Chappo’s house later that night, they blindfolded Chappo with toilet paper and duck tape. We then sat in his living room for 30 minutes, while all most of the guys teased him. I won’t go into detail. The poor guy just took it, I guess this is all pretty normal in Australia.

The guys then took Chappo outside. They sat him in a chair and we waited. We waited for a car to roll up into the front yard. The radio was blaring strip tease music. While two girls jumped out of the car. The women then started dancing while wrapping Chappo with ropes and chains to his chair.

The girls then took the garden hose and started spraying him. In the process someone took the blindfold off. Chappo’s mates then threw flour in his face.

It doesn’t stop there. I guess everyone felt bad about getting him so dirty. To make it up to him, all of the guy grabbed him and proceeded to through him off the rope bridge.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Coastal Bush Fires

Today is real vacation! We slept in and spent most of the day on the beach. We did nothing. It was beautiful. The ocean is so big. Looking into the horizon there is nothing but water and sky; to think that America is just on the other side. I can’t wrap my mind around it. God is big, really big and we are really small.

Throughout the day helicopters would fly over the beach with water bombs. We didn’t think much of it. I guess that bush fires happen a lot around here. It is summer and the trees are really dry.

At 11:00 pm, Danielle’s mother came rushing into our room! She said that we need to get all of our things together and leave right away. Apparently if we didn’t, we would risk being cornered by the bush fires, making it impossible
to make our flight in Brisbane the next morning. Taking her advice we fled Cabarita beach. Danielle’s mother dropped us off at a near by town, where we had to hire a cab to the train station. We then took the train to Brisbane but it was too late to take the train all the way to the airport so we had to get another cab. It was a very expensive evacuation. By the time we arrived at the airport it was 1:00am. We found a quite corner to rest in, only to be disturbed by a man on a riding vacuum. It was really annoying. He didn’t stop for like 30 minutes. He drove the vacuum like someone on a riding lawn mower.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Queensland

Waking up south of Brisbane, the sunlight was shining through trees, as the train continued to race through Queensland. Lance had made fast friends the night before with some American girls that were heading north to Cairns. So when we got to Roma Station, Lance asked the girls if they would like to go to the park with us. They agreed we spent the rest of the early morning with them.

Lance and I departed later that morning to Tangalooma on Morton Island. The island happens to be the second largest sand island in the world .The locals had really built it up so we had high expectations. Tangalooma is super expensive! The main attraction is a ship wreck. Lance and I snorkeled around the wreckage. While taking a break on one of the wrecked ships, Lance heard some kid yell for help. Wanting to sav
e the day, Lance was prepared to jump over board; fortunately the kid wasn’t for real. I am really glad that we didn’t stay longer because it cost so much money just to be. That evening we caught the ferry back to the mainland.

Back in Brizzie, we still had to figure out how we were going to get down to the Gold Coast for the evening. While in transit from the ferry to the train station, we discovered that the tour bus was going to be making a trip to Surfers Paradise. We made the arrangements and we were on our way. The guy driving the bus even took us on a mini tour of Brisbane.

Surfers Paradise was much more then I expected. It is actually a fairly large metropolitan area; I had pictured it as a quite coastal town. Lance insisted that we eat at the Hard Rock Café. Danielle met us there with Josh.

That evening we spent at Danielle’s parent’s house on Caba
rita beach.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ahh Australia!

Today, I could have taken some advice from the Australian novelist, Clive James, “Stop worrying. Nobody gets out of this world alive.” Things don’t always go the way you plan them. This morning we were suppose to go to the Hillsong Church in Sydney. This didn’t work out, so we slept in, making us late to our alternative, Avondale Graduation. After graduation we were suppose to catch a train to Brisbane. This would be pretty easy under normal circumstances. We still had to figure out when the train departed and where it departed from. Internet is kind of hard to come by here at Avondale. We went to Katie Page’s house to use hers, interrupting her graduation party. After getting all the necessary information, we then delayed Chappo from getting to his graduation party because he had to drop us off at the train station. As a result Lance was bad company and nobody likes bad company. He felt bad about troubling all of his Australian friends. This whole experience was an inconvenience for everyone! Never the less we pushed on. We caught the CountryLink train in Newcastle for our over night journey to Brizzie.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sunny Side

Happy Sabbath! Last Sabbath I was at Union College, today I am at Avondale College, and next Sabbath I will be at Andrews University. I love God’s Church! It is so amazing that I can go anywhere in the world and worship with God’s people. Our Church family is united.

After church we had lunch at Chappo’s. We had Haystacks. The company was great; it is graduation weekend, so he had invited heaps of people over.

Today I had high hopes of spending some time at Sunny Side, Ellen White’s house in Australia. Lance had told me that Mrs. White had written the Great Controversy while in Australia, so I thought that it would be really cool to spend Sabbath reading it at her house.

Arriving at Sunny Side, I discovered that it was closed and that Ellen White hadn’t written the Great Controversy here! She had written the Desire of Ages while in Australia. A little frazzled, I thought about breaking into Ellen White’s house. Realizing how irrational that would be, I quickly throw that idea away. My company was in a hurry and wasn’t interested in spending the afternoon reading the Great Controversy. This jeopardized my plans completely.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Summer in Sydney

Waking up at 4:45am, Lance and I rushed to the airport. Tiger Airlines, Australia’s budget airline, would be our carrier to Sydney. When we told our friends in Melbourne that we were flying with Tiger, they laughed at us because apparently Tiger is not the greatest. On board we discovered what they were talking about. The seats are so tight that when ever the person sitting in front of you moves, you can feel it in your keens and then when the person behind you moves you can feel it as well. There is no where to move your body if you are uncomfortable. Tiger should make a guarantee that if you are not completely uncomfortable for the entire flight they will refund your money.

Usually when I travel, I ended up wearing the same clothes a few days in a row. I don’t ever plan it to be this way. I usually pack enough clothing. Today was different however, instead of wearing the exact same clothing I wore the day before, I mixed it up. Israel has always told me that commando was the way to go, if you truly want to be free. I truly do want to be free. And since I had failed to calculate the correct underwear to days ratio, today, was the day to be completely free!

Sydney was another big touring day! Since Lance had been to Sydney before, he already knew all of the good places to visit. We went to the Opera House, saw the Harbor Bridge, listened to some musicians in Hyde Park, walked through downtown, and even toured a submarine at Dawes Point. The day was really good.

Wanting to make it to Avondale for Vespers we boarded the train. When we got to Morisset, the closest station to Avondale, we didn’t have a ride. Thankfully near the station, we stubble into some people that go to Avondale, that were willing to give us a ride.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mates in Melbourne







Today we were big tourist. We soaked up Melbourne’s appeal, by walking around the city, seeing the major attractions, Federation Square, the Royal Botanic Gardens, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Shrine of Remembrance. After doing all of this I was ravished!

Back at Danielle’s posh apartment, Lance and I relaxed. Danielle had people over. We watched a movie, ate dinner, and indulged in some poplova, an Australian dessert. We stayed up late enjoying the company.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Victoria- The Place to Be




















Starting the morning out right Lance and I had our first showers in several days and ate Fruity Bix, which is Australia's most famous cereal and just happens to be made by Adventist.

We boarded the train to Sydney that morning, where we were greeted by twin Australian shelis, there mother, and a kiwi bloke. The conversation was very entertaining. The kiwi continued to bring up random things like, when I was in the kiwi army… Lance gave everyone the dirty on The Cause, while the twins listened intensely. And the mother filled us in on all the details ofMelbourne.

The day was filled with deals! At the Airport in Sydney we got discounted metro tickets. At Krispy Kream, I got two donuts and a milk shake for $7.50. While eating at an Asian restaurant, I got three dollars off. And to top it off in Melbourne we ran out of money for dinner, the man at the counter kindly took all of our money and called it fair, which was at least an 80 cent savings!

When we arrived in Melbourne the city was filled with excitement. There were street performers, high rise office buildings, and big name clothing designers. The city would fit perfectly into any European country. There are trams in the narrow streets, pastry shops, and street cafés. Everyone seemed to be dressed up, men were wearing suits and ties, while the women looked very sophisticated in their slacks and refined dresses.

At David Jones, a clothing store, Lance and I met up with Danielle, another one of Lance’s old friends from Avondale. From the very beginning Lance described her as very sophisticated, like the city she lives in. In her black elegant work attire, to her high rise apartment, she was just as Lance had said. Shortly after arriving we took the tram to her home to get ready for a night on the famous Chapel Street.

Chapel Street was booming with life. Walking down to the end of Chapel Street we stumbled into a 1930’s movie theater called the Astro, with its Art Deco it reminded me of grandeur times.From there we made our way to the beach. A little too late to watch the sunset, we still had a good time taking photos in front of the beach huts.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chasing the Sun

Through out the night our flight chased after the sun. Skipping over Monday completely, at about 6:00am on Tuesday we finally reached day light. Three hours later we finally landed in Sydney, Australia.

At the airport, Lance and I were faced with bewilderment. We had no idea were to go and we needed to make some fast plane reservations for our trips to Melbourne and the Great Barrier Reef.

We made our way to the Virgin Blue ticket booth. There we gave the women behind the desk our destination and dates. As she searched prices, we asked her if her airline was going to be the cheapest airline in Australia. To our surprise she said “Well, we are kind of popular, we are like second to Qantas.” A little confused I replied, “So you are saying you’re not the cheapest?” She reassured me that her

company wasn’t the cheapest and if we paid $5 we could get a ride to the main concourse and book tickets there for less on another airline. Deciding to face defeat under the pressure, we hoped that we would have better luck on the internet.

We boarded a train to Morisset, the closest town to Avondale.

In Morisset, we flagged a taxi for the final stretch of our journey. The taxi driver asked us if we wanted to take the long way or the short way to Avondale. Thinking that was a stupid question we said the short way, of course, why would we pay more to take the long way? After the driver dropped us off, it became clear, as to why someone might want to take the longer journey. To reach the school, we had to go down this narrow trail, drag our luggage across rockyterrain, and then cross a rope bridge to reach the campus.

At Avondale we met up with Chappo, Lance’s long time Australian friend. He took us to eat Kabobs and then we picked up some bread to feed to the kangaroos at a near by park. I had some ambitions of possibly boxing a kangaroo but after seeing how big their claws were, I decided that it probably wasn’t the best idea.

It is now Tuesday evening and our Australian friends are working on making us “tea” in the kitchen, I recollect that I haven’t had a shower since Sunday morning. Now, I know there is a time change in there somewhere and I don’t really know what meal this is but I am thankful for the people in the kitchen making dinner and I am sure no matter how long it’s been it is time for a shower.