Newsletter (non pdf version)
So sorry it’s taken me a little longer than I had originally planned to get this newsletter out to you all! Thing have been a lot busier than I thought they would be… Which is always good right? Haha. As always thanks for all the emails, Facebook messages, thoughts and prayers. Really means so much to me that you are all walking this journey with me! Lots Of Love, Akila xx
HELLO PERTH, GOODBYE PERTH!
I made it to Perth, Western Australia, on Monday the 29th of August. With little travel drama there isn’t a lot to report back in regards to my trip from the UK. I did the usual getting my monies worth of movies. Only about six of them! I also got to watch two sunsets, one sunrise and the Middle East below me. I LOVE the flight over the Middle East during the day! Did it once before and this second time was just as great!
Left England at 13 degrees C, arrived in Dubai at 35 degrees C (it was midnight local time), and eventually made it to Perth where it was a manageable 22 degrees C! Phew! I was getting nervous! Haha. While I was in Perth I caught up with a few friends from the ship as well as reconnect with the friends I made last time I was here. They’re all so cool! And yes, everyone is asking this same question… I did catch up with Fitzy!
Perth, Rockingham, Port Kennedy Mandurah, Freemantle, Scarborough and Bunbury were all places I visited again this year. Check them out on Google! As I write this I just realized I didn’t make it to the beach! Oops! My adventures included eating out and going to see “Wicked” at the theater. Everyone over in Perth was SO generous!! I’m so blessed! It was such a blessing being in Perth. It was so great to get to know everyone a little more and I started to really fall in love with Perth again. Which isn’t so great. Mum will cry because it’s on the opposite side of the country to where she plans to be in the future! I’m working on convincing her and Dad to move over there too! 😛
THE BIG MOVE TO BRISBANE!
I arrived to Brisbane on the 13th of September, which means I have been in Australia now for exactly 7 weeks and 4 days. My first week here in Brisbane was busy in terms of sorting out administration documents; i.e. tax number, Medicare, blue card, bank account etc. As well as just generally settling in. I’ve got to say, I had a LOT of fun setting up my new room Haha. I’m staying with the Assistant Pastor and his wife from the church that I’m working with, as well as their two young boys. It’s been a lot of fun staying with them. The boys are entertaining! The property and views outside are amazing, and the wildlife in their garden has been an experience! So far the list includes a wallaby, a possum, a bush turkey, a huntsman spider, kookaburras… We also have bees for fresh honey; chicken for fresh eggs; and we grow our own fish, veggies and herbs for fresh food. But the best bit I think is… I drink rain water! Believe me I’m not in the jungle!
I’ve tried to get to know the local area a little more but I’m still getting there. I haven’t actually been into Brisbane City yet or to a number of the places I would have gone had Mum or Dad been here. I’m sure I’ll get around to those things eventually. A couple weeks ago I was able to go in to the South Bank which is on the edge of the Brisbane River near the City. It was really amazing to see where and the January floods affected the area! You wouldn’t believe it but… the whole time I’ve been here I haven’t ONCE suntanned! What’s that all about?! Ha-ha. The weather is definitely getting warm, high 20s, low 30s. We had a big tropical storm yesterday which was an absolute experience to drive in?!
I’ve spent a little bit of time hanging out with people but I haven’t really connected with as many as I would have liked. Between “setting up”, working and transport it’s been more difficult than I thought it would be! Having said that, I do have a great ‘pay as you go’ credit allowance so I can phone the family quite regularly. I’ve been able to catch up with two of my aunties and one of my uncles which was SO awesome. Really hoping to work something out to see the rest of the family.
Quite amazingly, I was able to borrow a car from the cousin of the Assistant Pastor. While I’m using it (only for the local area) it’s been an so helpful! Unusual for Australia, everything is quite close by where I am. Church is a 40 minute walk, the shops are a 25 minute walk… Back in England I would just walk everywhere! But with the heat and the hills walking isn’t really an ideal option. Consequently I am getting NO exercise… I do have a plan to climb over the wall of the nearest pool and lie on a lilo! HAHA! But back on track, it was quite entertaining getting use to the indicator switch being on the other side where the windscreen wipers are in England! Had to QUICKLY learn that one! As an absolute side comment… I’ve been converted to the TV show “Gilmore Girls”; UK X Factor is better than the Australian version; and everyone must watch at least one episode of “A Farmer Wants a Wife” !!
CHURCH AND YOUTH!
At present I’m suppose to be working two days a week at River of Life but I’ve been doing full time. My role at the moment is basically administration which is good as there’s always a steady stream of work. Friday nights we have “Youth” and two weeks ago we started a new 12 month program. The youth group has been split into four smaller groups and every Friday we host “mini Olympic” style games; have a message; and then discuss the message in our small groups. Last week I gave the message and since our present topic is on “Relationships with self, others and God”, I decided to speak on “Authentic Relationships”. Went better than I thought it would! Phew! Ha-ha. I’m slowly getting to know the youth and the leaders which is always a good feeling. I also really like the youth in my small group!
In time I’m hoping to continue to connect with the youth and those leading Youth. The foundations are being laid but I’d really like to build solid friendships with them. It’s slightly awkward at the moment because I’d love to just invite people over and hang out. Right now I’m not really in a position where I can do so as I’m living with a young family. A little apartment would be fairly sweet! 😛 However in the mean time I’m trying to convince some of the girls to go camping because we’d never survive and consequently we’d create wicked memories!!
Today I got to oversee a funeral and in the next few months I’ll be involved with a few church related events. River of Life is hosting a large youth dance competition run by the Somali community. Based on last years attendance we’re expecting about 800 people. Youth isn’t running during December and January but we have a holiday program planned. Whilst it’ll be a lot of fun there’s some preparation to do for it. Hide and seek in Ikea, bowling, and barbeques are all on the list!
Settling into life in Australia will continue. The place I’m staying at the moment was only for a temporary basis and I’m to move out soon. Where? I’m not entirely sure yet. Also looking for a small part time job. Right now I’ll take anything but I am hoping to stay within the Social Work profession. While the idea was to work “full time” with River of Life, I’m not being paid and therefore I was planning on doing a few hours a week paid work. This would enable me to have a small income and allow me to do some of the fun things I’d like to do while I’m here. However, not knowing where I’m to live makes things slightly difficult in regards to getting a paid job. Realistically the job needs to be in a suitable location; but since I don’t know where I’m living, I don’t know how wise it is to try pursuing certain jobs. Walking and public transport are not really options here in Australia. I know it will all come together but it’s just a bit complex at the moment.
Also in the next coming weeks I’m planning on catching up with a good percentage of my family. I’m really excited to see them again. I’m also off to Sydney and Adelaide in the next 7 weeks to catch up with friends from OM and one of my closest friends from Carlisle. She’s just moved to Australia too! There’s an OM event in November and I’m thinking of doing TeenStreet Warwick in July. In July I’ll head back to the UK and beyond that I have yet to discover.