An ordinary week…or not!

This week was one which I will never forget…well I sure hope I won’t because whilst it was the busiest/craziest week I have had in a while, it was amazing all the same.

Two of my friends had birthdays, I completed 5 assignments, worked 13hrs, bought my tickets for exchange and gave my life to Jesus. I also realised that I no longer remembered how knock knock jokes go…but we won’t dwell on that one!

After hearing my news about being accepted for exchange, the realisation that I had to be in Europe in 2.5 months was lets say ‘sudden’. I wasn’t organised at all. I didn’t know if I wanted to go, I didn’t have flights, no visa, no accommodation, no idea of when I had to be in Europe, and well no bag to stuff 7 months worth of clothes into! So on Sunday I set out to buy a bag. It was the first step of me actually committing to exchange. Sure I had applied and stuff, but you can always back out of an application. Not that you can’t back out after buying a bag…That night I went to church with some of my friends, and I realised that yes, I was ready to change the way I was living my life. It was terrifying to make such a decision, but I realised sometimes you just have to go with your gut feeling, and ignore all the other scary stuff. 

On Monday, one of my closets friends celebrated her birthday. We enjoyed a nice picnic with a group of friends at uni, something that doesn’t generally happen. Usually we are stuck in lectures over lunch, or stuck studying in the library trying to catch up on study. Yet somehow we all found time to sit down on these (rather uncomfortable) new chairs at uni, and just enjoy the sun and each others company. But I also prayed to live my life with Jesus. It was a mind-blowing day. Despite everything that I feared for the future, a friend told me a verse that really put everything into perspective. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough worry of its own” [Matthew 6.34].  

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday brought a string of assignments, but also one return ticket to Europe. Only 68 more days until I walk on that plane, saying goodbye to Australia for 7 months. I am still trying to comprehend that I will be calling Copenhagen my home for 6 of those months. Yet I am quite excited about it all now. Excited because I know I will learn so much about myself. I am also super keen to see Europe and hopefully come home fluent in Danish.

Last night I celebrated another close friend’s birthday. It was a great night, but left me absolutely exhausted. I finished up today painting with watercolours in order to re-decorate my cork board. Despite some minor problems (not being able to find any paintbrushes, so having to resort to calligraphy brushes), I was  actually kinda happy with how they turned out. It was also so lovely to sit at my desk, without any music playing and just hear the birds twittering outside. It sounds simple, but so often I am rushing around, trying to get everything done, that I forget just how awesome the place I live in. In winter I find it shocking that I can spend a whole day inside and not venture out, even if it is just outside onto my verandah to muck around with my dog for 5 minutes. Image

 

 

“There are far far better things ahead than any we leave behind”

Last week I received an email congratulating me on my acceptance into Copenhagen University as an exchange student. Before receiving this email nothing was 100% official, it was all still in the land of ‘yeah maybe’. But now, its official! I’ve been accepted to go study overseas for 6 months, study in a nation I realistically know little about, a nation where I know (basically) no one, and one which will soon become more home. 

I always thought that once I received that email I would be jumping with joy and uncontrollably excited. Yet I wasn’t. I was more scared and frightened on what I had committed myself to. When something is just a possibility, it is a lot easier to brush aside all the realistic thoughts that ‘hey I won’t living with my family, surrounded by my friends’, ‘I won’t get to go to eat breakfast at the table I have eaten at for 19 years’, ‘yes I will be on the other side of the world for 7 months’. Sure all of this will be exciting, but I guess I just hadn’t fully realised what exchange involved. And I guess I still haven’t. Only going will grant me that.

I was talking to a friend this week and even though we were talking about something quite different, they said something that I think applies to everything in life. “If we don’t step into the unknown, we wouldn’t do anything”. I think this is so true. Quite often in our lives we are faced with decisions, which are really really scary. Decisions that we don’t know the outcome of. Decisions where it feels like we are stepping into a big black hole. Yet most of the time, it turns out ok. Actually most of the time, we are really glad we made those decisions. If we weren’t scared about a decision, then it wouldn’t be important right? 

This week I have made a fair few major decisions that still frighten me, but I know deep down, it will be worth it. Whilst my reasons to go on exchange have definitely changed since I first applied, I don’t doubt it will be worth it. I am excited to meet new people (once I get over that initial introduction – I hate introductions!). I’m excited to see a part of the world I have never seen and I am beyond excited to grow into my new found self. In the words of C.S Lewis; “There are far far better things ahead than any we leave behind”

Autumn leaves

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Autumn leaves

This afternoon as I was walking back to my car from uni, I noticed that (seemingly) overnight the leaves on some trees had turned. It was glorious the dramatic change from green, to beautiful oranges and reds. It made me realise just how amazing nature is. It seems Autumn is really here!
This photo was actually taken in my backyard – I wish I had have captured the trees on my way home.

Being creative

This week was a pretty stressful one. I had 2 exams, a few assignments, 3 appointments, my mum’s birthday and today – Mother’s Day. Whilst the later two are a lovely thing to celebrate, it is still exhausting. What I really needed was some time to myself – something that I haven’t really had for the last month. So once my study was done, I sat down to paint some little dishes a friend had given me to paint. Now I’m in no way an artist, in fact I struggle to draw stick figures, so it was a bit of a challenge, but it gave my mind something to concentrate on, and I momentarily forgot all that was around me.

What you need?

Some newspaper, paintbrushes, porcelain paint, water, inspiration! I also had a felt tip like pen, which was really useful in outlining what I wanted to paint, as it can easily be removed.

Being the uncreative person I am, I definitely needed some inspiration. I went on Pinterest and quickly I was smothered with endless ideas. The challenge now was to just somehow create it!!

Before you start…

Unfortunately I didn’t realise this until after I started, but a good little tip – make sure you wash your dish/mug/plate before painting on it. Often a residue is left from a price sticker or something, meaning that if you do make a mistake and want to remove the paint, you are left with a nice smear…

What next?

Paint!! Just make sure you shake your paints before using them.

All done?

After finishing painting, leave them to dry. Now depending on the paints you use, how long you have to leave them before putting them in the oven, and the temperature of the oven will vary. The paints I used suggested drying for 24 hours, then placing in a 150 degree oven for 35 minutes. 

 

This is what I ended up with. It was a great way to relax. Remember you can paint practically anything, for any occasion. Whether it just be for you to drink tea out of, a gift to a friend, or a pen holder on your desk. I was genuinely surprised by what I came up with, and would never have thought that despite my lack of ‘artistic flair’ I could (sort of) paint. 

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If God brings you to it. He will bring you through it

The last few weeks have kind of past somewhat in a blur. Zero to hero didn’t happen (unless you count day 1) but a whole lot else did…

When you are exposed to a situation you only thought happened in TV shows, your whole life does a little summersault. And by ‘little’, I mean that you look at every little aspect of your life and question it. When I let someone know what happened to me 2 weeks ago, they give you this look of ‘what!?! are you joking?’ and are left speechless. I don’t blame them. Even I am trying to comprehend what happened. Yet despite all the trauma, somehow these last few weeks have brought me a fair bit of joy.

Within 24hrs of the incident, I was in stitches of laughter with my friend because I had been trembling so bad that when trying to take a sip of water I somehow spurted water not only all over my face, but also on her. Then slightly later I couldn’t even eat due to my hands shaking so much that another friend decided it would be a perfect opportunity to feed me. Now when I say ‘feed me’ I don’t just mean, placing food in my mouth…no it meant playing ‘aeroplanes’ which then became a train…a boat…even a hot air balloon a think.

Situations like this also help demonstrate just how amazing the people close to you are. My house for the first week after was a flow of people. From family, to my parents friends, to my friends. Just as I am writing this now my mum said “you do realise, this is the first time in 2 weeks that it has only just been us in the house?” Yet I don’t think I would have it any other way. My friends have been absolutely amazing. Coming to and fro from my house, taking me to church with them, supplying me with an endless supply of movies, even answering phone calls at ridiculous hours of the night.

One of my friends sent me a quote that really helped. To date, I am still unsure why it made such a difference, but then again can we really have an answer for everything? I guess this quote also answers that…? You can decide that for yourself.

If God brings you to it. He will bring you through it

As cliché as it may sound I know this experience is a life changing one. One that has made me think about what is important in my life in a completely different way. One that has made me appreciate the life that I have lived and how lucky I have been with my life to date. Sure I now also have little trust in every person I see and meet, but maybe before I was just naive…? I guess what I am trying to say in writing this blog isn’t to tell the world ‘hey I had a bad experience’ but to demonstrate that even when everything around you seems to crumble, there is something stronger that will keep everything going.

orangepippy