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. 

Procrasti-blogging

Only one and half more days of study and I will be sitting my final exam for the semester….and guess what? It couldn’t come sooner!!! The anticipation of freedom, no more study and sleep is intense!! In fact, I have already started a list of things I plan to do come holidays. My room is a complete mess, and I keep telling myself that is just a sign that I have been studying. But hey – considering I am blogging at the moment, I’m not so sure. I also have drunk A LOT of tea and coffee. Basically if a hot drink isn’t on my desk, that is a sign that I need to get up, walk to the kitchen and make tea. This exam period I have also mastered the art of procrastination. A few months ago a friend introduced me to Pinterest (see my page here). Upon signing me up they warned me – “it is a great distraction and procrastination tool”. Now before exams, this wasn’t an issue at all…and yet as the exams draw out, it seems the closer I get to my last exam, the more time I am spending on Pinterest!! But for now, I think I should get back to studying…as exciting as it is…see you on the other side 😀

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A hidden beauty

Yesterday I had my last day of class at UOW for the year. In about 2 months I will be heading over to Denmark. Only 2 months away! This week has shown me how great humanity can be.

Today I had to go up to Sydney to complete my visa application for Denmark. I was really nervous about going, and was quite apprehensive about the whole process. The forms are so confusing, and the website just didn’t seem all that useful. Anyways, I found out from a friend that I had to go up to Sydney, and was freaking out that I had left the whole ‘license to live in Denmark thing’ a bit too late. You know, nothing too serious…Rest assured, despite a seemingly never ending list of things to do, I managed to find the time to venture to Sydney today.

Upon arrival (well once I managed to find the building), I was greeted with the fact that I had come to the wrong place. Not only that, but the place I needed to go to I needed to have an appointment AND the lady who works there was sick today. Nonetheless, the lovely Danish lady offered to help me and said I could lodge my application where I was. I was so thankful!! It wasn’t smooth sailing yet though. I hadn’t paid for my visa application, of which I had to somehow print my receipt…from my iPhone. But rest assured, the Danish lady came to the rescue again and said if I emailed her the receipt she could print it off. Then I hadn’t taken copies of my passport, and she offered to do so. The whole process was so so so stressful, but that amazing Danish lady just showed me that some people really are just lovely and will do anything to help you. This Danish lady also gave me great reassurance for the place I am going to be living for 6 months. If all Danish people are like this lady, then I am in for a good 6 months in a country full of lovely people!!

Humanities love for each other didn’t stop there though. Whilst waiting for my train home I saw a lady struggling to pull her pram up the stairs at the station on the opposite platform. If my train wasn’t coming in 2 minutes I would have raced over and helped her, and I just wished that someone else would not only see this, but act on it. Sure enough, one of the trade workers, came running down the stairs to help the mother. It just made me smile. This worker didn’t have to help the lady. He could have just as easily left her to struggle her way up the stairs, but no, he went out of his way to help her.

I think when we are in a society that is so individualistic we forget the good in people. Today, despite all the stress and set backs, turned out to be a really fulfilling day. I also learnt, when applying for important things, be prepared! Have multiple copies of EVERYTHING!!! 

To finish up, I spent about 20 minutes wondering around the city before my train came. It wasn’t a beautiful sunny day, but somehow the rain was really comforting. Even on a rainy day, Sydney harbour is beautiful.

 

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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.