About orangepippy

I am a science student, trying to write a blog. I spend my summer days at the beach. I spent not one but TWO summers trying to surf, yet despite being Australian, I still cannot. I do however love a jamming session on the piano, singing. I also love the colour orange.

Quickly alienated from the world we live in

Last night when I turned on the radio, I suddenly felt a wave of comfort sweep over me. Ok that is a bit strange, but there was something so lovely about hearing a good Australian accent, on ‘702’ as I tuned in to midnight talk-back radio. Usually I wouldn’t care less about the radio, in actually fact, I usually avoid listening to it. In the car, I have an extensive list of cds just to avoid having to listen to ‘gardening on a Sunday’ or trivial topics like ‘what was your first job and where did you first get the sack?’  I spent my child hood listening to James Valentine with my mum as we came home from school. When you are overseas, despite the cringe factor, there couldn’t be anything better to remind me of home and those countless hours spent in the car with mum laughing over the random topics.

The reason I actually started listening to the radio in the first place was actually to get an update on what was happening in the world. It came to my attention earlier this week, that I actually have no idea! No longer do I sit down to read the newspaper on the weekend, or watch the 6pm news with Mum whilst we wait for Dad to come home. It frightened me how little I know about what is going on in the world. So  I decided to listen to the radio, however unfortunately the news never came on…

I think when you are living abroad it is so easy to fall into the trap I have fallen into. I have become obvious to both my mother country, as well as world affairs. It is something that should keep one connected to their country, and without remaining connected you quickly become very distant from where you once lived. Originally I thought ‘oh if anything important happens, mum and dad or a friend, or even Facebook will tell me’, but I am quickly coming to realise that that isn’t enough. It isn’t enough to be just concerned about the little minute portion of the world you live in at one particular time, but rather we need to be aware of what is around us. Why? So that we can pray about events happening in the world. So that we can pray for those suffering in war, poverty and trauma. In James 1:27 we are told to “look after orphans and widows in their distress”. Sometimes it isn’t always possible to provide immediate care to everyone, but we can always pray! In the past 6 weeks, I have definitely learnt the power of prayer.

 

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Just a little uni, and exploring the sites of Denmark

I have now been in Copenhagen for over a month, and I am definitely settling in to my new life here. Here is just a glimpse of my past week, which was a little crazy…

I started uni, which turned out to be not quite as I had expected, and I visited these famous cliffs called Møns Klint.

So basically, I thought uni would be pretty chill. I was only doing one subject for the first few weeks of semester, and only had class for 6 hours. Sounds pretty chilled right? Well think again…basically Danish students (well the ones in my class anyways) are basically super humans. Before the first lecture, they had read all the notes, done all the questions, and knew every detail about the lecture material. That’s right – BEFORE the FIRST lecture. Me on the other hand turned up having done nothing, which resulted in me being rather lost and confused. This was before I realised the difficulty of the course that I was in, resulting in me having to negotiate if I could change subjects (still to be decided). Also riding 10kms to be at uni by 8am  (about a 45 minutes bike ride  due to bicycle traffic – yes it is a thing exclusive to Copenhagen) isn’t what I would call fun. On the positive side though, I met some Danish people who were really nice!!

This week was also meant to be my debut in ‘spring gymnastics’, however due to flooding in Copenhagen on the weekend my class was cancelled. Basically we had a lot of rain on Saturday night, and as I discovered early Sunday morning, the Copenhagen drainage system couldn’t quite cope. The metro near my place didn’t run for a week due to the flooding, and as I was trying to ride my bike on Sunday morning, this is the small obstacle I came across…

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Life has continued to be busy, especially with the arrival of my two new housemates. Most nights turn into a gourmet cooking fest, where we cook, eat and talk for about two hours. We even decided to name our apartment ‘bat cave’. Please don’t ask where the name came from, we don’t actually know ourselves. But it works, and a few nights ago the ‘bat cave’ hosted it’s first dinner party, complete with lasagna and homemade danish candles.

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Yesterday I went on an amazing day trip to a place called Møns Klint,  It is about 2 hours south of Copenhagen, and was absolutely beautiful. Upon arrival we walked down to the beach to have lunch. The sun was shining, and the air temperature was a balmy 20 degrees. It was probably warmer actually. After lunch we decided that we had to go swimming. Despite the rocks being very sharp, and the water being a little cold, we did it – that’s right, I went swimming in the ocean in Denmark!! We spent the rest of our day walking along the  pebble covered beach, trying to find fossils. Møns Klint is famous for having many fossils, however unfortunately we didn’t come across any – well not that we noticed anyways. The cliffs at Møns Klint were amazing!! They were so white, due to their high calcium content, and against the bright blue sky, they were gorgeous. I don’t think I have said ‘wow’ so many times in one day whilst looking at the one thing. It was really a lovely day, and we couldn’t have been more blessed with the weather that we got!

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On a side note, I received some marmite this week from a friend and it reminded me a lot of home. It isn’t quite the same as vegemite (so if anyone feels inclined to send me some over feel free :P),  but put it on bread with cheese, and I was one happy girl!

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Hope you have a fantastic week!!

Bikes, Colour and everything Danish

I have now been in Copenhagen for 3 weeks and it has been a fun filled, crazy 3 weeks. I have had so many new experiences, seen so many amazing places and met a whole bunch of lovely people.

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Copenhagen is a lovely city. When you are walking around, it is hard not to feel happy with the cobble stoned streets dotted with colourful houses. Every where you go you have trouble finding your bike amongst the array of bicycles. The other day I was even caught in a bike traffic jam!

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It is summer at the moment in Copenhagen so I have been trying to get the most out of it. Last week some friends and I had multiple picnics and watched movies under the stars in the parks around Copenhagen. It was so nice to star gaze and learn all the star constellations here in the northern hemisphere. On Tuesday night we were even blessed with a media shower, which filled the sky with shooting stars!

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Whilst being here in Copenhagen I have had the joy of learning Danish. it is quite a hard language to learn, but I feel that I am picking it up. It always surprises me when I can read whole pages of texts, despite only having studied it for 3 weeks. Sure the pronunciation of the words is hard, and don’t even get me started on spelling, but apart from that, it isn’t too bad. My friends and I now can have short conversations to each other in danish, as well as me being able to understand my housemate when we (frequently) talks to himself in danish.

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On Sunday I went and helped out at the kids church at my new church. It was such an amazing experience. I had never had experience helping with kids ministry, and so I knew I was up for a challenge. This was compounded with the language barrier. But kids are kids, and God answered my prayers, and I was able to still connect with the kids and the other leaders. It was so cool that even though the kids couldn’t understand me (except when I spoke the little danish I knew) we were still able to have fun together. Their favourite game was to push me over and then sit on me. I think the most amazing thing was when these 4 girls, all dressed up in fairy costumes, decided to hold hands and dance around in a circle. It was even more special considering the sermon was on friendships. These girls didn’t even really know each other before Sunday and God answered our prayers and brought these 4 girls together. One was even Swedish and didn’t really understand the other girls. Wow God is good! I can’t wait to see what else He does through the leaders!!

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One week down and still alive!

One week down and I survived!! Quite surprising really considering a near bike crash, sunburn and continually getting lost, but I did it! One week in Copenhagen – and what a good one it was!

Upon arriving I was really quite daunted by the big city, where everyone spoke a different language. Sure everyone speaks English, but when you are walking down the supermarket aisle, everything is in Danish. This proves quite difficult when trying to buy food…I ended up guessing quite a bit what I was buying.

I spent the weekend feeling lost. I didn’t know anyone and wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself. I had just travelled 30+ hours to the other side of the world and the reality of it all was sinking in. I ended up spending the days walking around the city trying to find the interesting sites of København. This proved quite difficult considering I didn’t have a map, but it also meant I got to see things I wouldn’t have seen.

I spent all weekend wondering if I had made the right decision coming half way around the world to live and study. But then I went to church on Sunday night and knew everything would be fine. The church I went to (Hillsong Copenhagen) was amazing! It was a little different from my church at home, but also much the same. I think the thing that stood out to me was just how enthusiastic everyone was. I walked in (a little late because I of course got lost on the way), and found everyone dancing and singing at the top of their voices. It was a site, and feeling, I will never forget. I immediately felt like I belonged, despite not knowing anyone. It was then I knew that I had made the right decision, and that God did indeed have not just a plan for me, but an unbelievably amazing plan for me.

Danish class started on Monday. I was expecting a nice, simple course, which took things nice and slowly. Well this most definitely wasn’t the case. We jumped right into it, and it was intense and so hard!! Basically in Danish, you only read half the letters written in a word. I am however surprised by just how much Danish I have learnt in one week. It is crazy! By the end of the week we could read an article on immigrants in Denmark, and it was a good page long. If I think back to when I learnt Japanese, it took us probably 6 months to a year to be able to read that much Japanese. Can’t wait to see how much I know after 6 months of learning Danish! Today I even asked someone something in Danish, and not only did they reply in Danish (yay my accent mustn’t be too bad), but I understood their reply.

If you would like to hear more about my travels and where I go, feel free to check out my ‘travel blog’ here

orangepippy

So Long, farewell, I don’t want to say goodbye

Saying goodbye isn’t always easy, but I guess in a weird way, the harder it is, the better. “Huh? How’s that work?” you may ask, but hear me out. I think the harder it is, is a symbol of how important a relationship is. But it also a good sign that it would take a lot to break such a relationship apart. I have definitely done my fair share of goodbyes these last few days, and it has really affected me. With each person, it has affected me though in a different way. Some people I’m upset because they are part of my daily life, and won’t be for the next 7 months. Others I am going to miss being at uni with, or seeing each week at church and bible study. I am going to miss praying with the girls in my bible study, who so open heartily welcomed me only a few short months ago. Others are new or revived friendships that I fear may not last the time I am away. I find myself wishing “oh if only I were going next year” or “if only I were leaving later”, and yet nothing I do can change the commitment I have made.

It’s hard saying goodbye to such a familiar environment. Saying goodbye to friends and family who know you so well they can look at you and know what your thinking. It is hard coming to terms with the fact that I won’t see some people for 7 months (apart from on Skype).

Yet despite all this I know it will be worth it. No matter if I might think the timing is bad, I know that it isn’t my timing that’s important. It is God’s timing that matters and is right.

“But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31).

I love this verse because no matter how anxious and nervous I feel, it gives me strength and hope that what I am doing is the right thing. A few months ago when I hadn’t officially been accepted on exchange, I decided that if God planned for me to go on exchange, it would all work out. I would be accepted (yes I was), I would get accommodation (couldn’t have been easier despite the odds) and my visa would come through (it came through this week, after a lot of praying!) So despite my insecurities, I know that God has great things planned for me over in Denmark, and this is what makes me excited!

So even though this doesn’t take away the sadness of having to leave my friends and family, I know that Jesus will be with me the WHOLE way, no matter what!!

Run legs, Run!!

Over the past month or so I have really been getting back into running. It has been such nice weather lately. In true Australian fashion, winter has brought with it beautiful sunny days, with bright blue skies. Sure it has been quite windy, but that somehow hasn’t stopped me. I have always enjoyed running and have always gone through periods where I run heaps and heaps, and other times where even all my motivation can’t seem to get me to put my joggers on and just go for a run. Luckily though, this past month has brought with it heaps of running for me. After running one day, and just sitting on the beach watching the waves crash against the sand, and the sun setting on the mountains behind me, I decided to try and take a photo journal of all my runs. I thought it would be a great way to remind myself of each run, especially in those times when I am not all that motivated to go for one.
Unfortunately I have often forgotten to take pictures, but here a few I thought I would share with you.

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7th June, Fairy Meadow Beach. Distance: 4kms. Not the best of runs, but I hadn’t been in a while. It was the day before my first exam, and I remember I was really stressed, so coming down to the beach was a must. How cool are those clouds!?!

 

 

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26th June, North Beach. Distance: 8kms. This was the first time I had run 8kms in a very long time. I had just finished exams the day before, and so really just wanted to get out there and give it all I had. And that I did. Lets just say, my legs were QUITE sore that night!

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27th June,  North Beach. Distance: 4kms. The day after my massive 8km run. Not sure it was the greatest idea to run, but I was pretty keen. I think the start of the run however was actually the worst part.

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1st July, North beach. Distance: 8kms. This was such a good run! I had so much energy, and somehow ran really fast. Not only that, but the weather was beautiful, I was listening to good music, and there weren’t too many people.

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This wasn’t a run, but it was definitely a very good bush walk (Sublime Point Bush Track) I did with friends. The walk is only short, but quite steep. At one point, it is so steep you have to climb up ladders! Despite it being scary due to the lack of a harness, and my hands feeling like they might fall off as it was very cold, it was worth it!! The view was amazing 🙂

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Just some fun shots after a walk with my puppy, Ellie.

I hope in the coming months I document my runs more. Often I forget how far I have run, or where I ran. Not saying this is heaps important, but it would be a nice all the same.  After looking back at these pictures, I realise that I have missed taking pictures after runs, so lets hope I get better at that!

‘The lasts’ begins

So today I had my official last day at work. For some this would be a celebration, but for me I am a little bit sad. Sure it is nice to have a break, but I am going to miss my work a lot. I work at a swim school, teaching young children to swim. It is an amazing job, both because of the people I work with, and also the children.

I guess the thing that I am going to miss most is the children. They are (mostly) so cheerful, and funny, and say things that just make me smile. Sure you have those days where it seems that in every class there is that one kid that is being annoying and mucking up, but I guess this makes my job even more rewarding. When ‘the perfect child’ gets something for the first time there is a moment of ‘woo great job!’ followed by a high five. But when a kid who isn’t what you would call ‘well behaved’ gets something, the thrill is even better. It is more like “woooohooooo!!! Awesome work!!!! You are amazing!!!” followed most likely by an over excited (on my behalf) high 10! I have learnt so much from my job. About kids, parents, teaching and myself. Kids are funny. Most of the time they haven’t quite caught onto the whole ‘oh I’m in a social situation, I probably shouldn’t say ‘blah blah”. So they so innocently say the most ridiculous, sometimes unfortunately rude things. I have also realised, probably more recently, that children do a lot of things in a day! Well I knew that, but what I didn’t fully realise was how this can affect them. Quite often by the time a child gets to swimming lessons, they are over-tired and as a result really unmotivated. Sometimes this is really hard to remember, when you have a child who just isn’t kicking, but if you put yourself in their place, suddenly it isn’t so bad. I guess this is apparent in all parts of life, not just teaching kids to swim. You know those times when you try having a conversation with someone and they just don’t seem interested in what you’re saying? It is really depressing, but if you think about the day they might have had, their response seems somewhat normal. I know after a really tiring day at uni, followed by work, I am not in the mood to talk heaps!!

I have also seen so clearly a parents love and protectiveness over their children. Giving your child to a total stranger, in such a dangerous environment must be so terrifying for parents. I am so grateful for the trust the bestow in me to teach their children to swim. As in everything in life, there is also the parent who is over protective, or a little bit too pushy, but in the end it is their love for their child that is the instigator for this character, something I have to remind myself of often. 

I am absolutely going to miss this job so much! I have learnt so much! This job has given me so much more confidence then I ever had, and I have also realised that I have a real passion for working with children. I always liked hanging out with kids, and mucking around with them, but teaching them is definitely something different. They pick things up so quickly, and when a kid moves up a level, or simply just does really good kicking or arms, it brings me so much joy. 

This was one of the (probably many) ‘last time I do [insert activity here]’ moments. Whilst it is sad, I know that the next 7 months on exchange will also bring a lot of ‘firsts’, and this is exciting! 

This week I also started up a new blog to journal my exchange travels. This new blog is going to be purely travel/ exchange experiences, more about where I am going. I hope to keep this blog up and running, with a similar sort of theme.