Katie 's FotoPage

By: Katie Mastin

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Friday, 8-Jun-2007 07:30 Email | Share | | Bookmark
One last entry before leaving wild Australia--my other home

me on the train headed to the CBD
Rachel on the same train
Brissy CBD skyline
View all 12 photos...
I thought it best to write one last photopage entry before heading out so that you lot can get another glimps into my life here. Once again its taken me awhile to write and so much has happened in that absense, I"ll try to recount the major happenings.
My friend Rachel and I returned from Brissy on Monday evening, exhausted but glad for time away. We'd gone down to visit her cousin, Nan, and uncle and aunt and just to look around. We saw a fair bit of the city during our short stay, mostly because we got lost while driving (Rachel had never driven there and I'd never navigated the city) But we sorted things out and enjoyed the scenery.
When we arrived on Friday we picked up the hired car and drove to her Nan's house where we'd be staying. After a delightful conversation over lunch Rachel and I drove to pick up my race materials and then to a book shop. I enjoyed looking out the window and taking in the great architecture and flora!! Saturday we started out fairly early and took the train into the CBD. There are open markets (both fruit and veg and craft markets) all over the city on weekends, the one on South Bank which is where we went was amazing! So ecletic and artsy, we both agreed it was time well spent. I bought a lovely sholder bag after much debate over what color and which vendor had the best selection, as well as another item. I also enjoyed meandering with Rachel and helping her decided on some gifts for people.
After a scrumptious lunch we came back on the train and spent an hour regrouping and then made our way over to Rachel's cousin's house. I was glad to meet Trish and spend some time with her, Rachel and her get on super well--I was glad that they could see each other for a good bit! We had afternoon tea together although I was far from hungry b/c we'd just eaten a heafty lunch. But after a good 2.5 hours the 3 of us went back to Nan's house. Rachel and I changed and then the 4 of us headed out for dinner, eating again It was so cool b/c once we were inside the resturant the heavens broke open and water gushed forth and pulummeted to the ground, it went on like that for about 30min. Everyone in the queue turned to the nearest window and looked on in awe, that's a sign that rain isn't a regular occurance.
Sunday Rachel and I got up super early for my race and made it to the course around 6.20. I warmed up and enjoyed taking in all the familiar sights (runners lining up for the loo and pre-race jitters) and feeling the excitement of a race!! I'd wanted to run in another country during my lifetime so when I knew we were going to Brissy I located a race and signed up. It was a GREAT experience, I just enjoyed myself and did much better b/c of it I reckon. Rachel seemed to enjoy herself also which made it heaps better! That afternoon Trish, Rachel, and I went to Mount Koother to meet up with her mates. We spent about 2 hours walking around the gardens which were amazing Returned to Trish's house and enjoyed a quite evening at home.
Monday Rachel and I went 'round the town again. Her Nan wanted to show me this older part of town called Sandgate where there are heaps of old Queenslanders right on the water. I was in awe of how beauitful the place was and kept oohing and ahing. We dropped Nan off and made our way to another book shop across town and then over to Manly where we ate (again) an cheap but tasty lunch. Our flight left around 8pm. It was definetly a memorable and special trip for me!!

I'm getting down to the last bit of time before I leave Australia, its a very surreal experience. I remember a few months ago when I thought about leaving, how far away it seemed! Now its coming quickly and I'm struggling to express my feelings. Am I excited to see family and friends and familiar places? Yes. But am I hurting b/c I have to leave a country, people, and a lifestyle that I've come to love and treasure? You bet!! I feel so blessed to have been given this amazing opportunity by God to explore another culture and meet strangers who've cared for me, loved me, and challenged me and who are now a large part of my life!!
When I think about all the different things that I"ve seen during my time here (i.e. koalas, wild kangaroos, firey red dirt...) and the ways I've changed, I feel humbled that God chose Australia for me and me for Australia. He knew it was good for me to come here, how did He know this? Its because He's all-knowing
I have no doubt that I've changed, maybe not in overt ways but I can feel a difference inside me. Some changes may not even manifest themselves until later but I know that I've been forever blessed becuase of the rich moments I've spent here in Australia! Coming back to the States will be shockin' and a bit sad for me but I AM looking forward to seeing each person again.

I hope that you all have been able to see a bit of the real Australia through reading these fotopage entries. And I look forward to sharing more with you in person shortly!

Saturday, 26-May-2007 07:51 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Here are some photos of my life

before the lot of us we off to Shepparton
lovely coffee that I'll miss!
victoria (vic) market in Melbourne
View all 11 photos...
Its been a LONG time since I posted any news or photos on this site but that's partially b/c I'm under the impression that only a few people actually look at it. Anyway, I'm just posting photos on this entry because there has been so much that has happened in the past month or so that I can't possibly write about it. So...if you want to know how I'm going or what I've been up to yous can ask me and I be more than happy to tell you.

a side note, I rode the Ford's motorbike yesterday and it was GREAT fun. It wasn't as difficult as I thought and it was even a manual

Wednesday, 11-Apr-2007 09:23 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Life contiunes

Sorry its taken me 16 days to write another entry, much has happened since my last update and I'm sorry for not being good about writing. Every time I thought about working on this fotopage I found something else that needed to be finished or started (i.e. a rather difficult biology assignment). But I have a few free moments before my practical to write a bit.
A big thank you to those who sent me emails of encouragment during the rough week or so!! I really appreciated it, the feelings of homesickness have gone away and I'm once again loving Oz and my simple life here in Rocky. I've been submitting a few assignments during these past couple of weeks which has felt lovely. I recieved my first mark back last Wednesday, it was for a prac write up. I did fairly well which was a nice surprise, esp. since it was a science course
Life at uni continues onward, I finally have established a weekly routine and becuase of that I am able to better manage my time and set apart bits of time to spend with friends and to train. I enjoy taking in the little pleasures like walking in from the main road and watching the progress of the road works (they still haven't paved the road into the uni after a 7 wks.) or hearing the kookaburros outside my window each morning. There have been difficult days where I feel overwhelmed with assignments (i.e. last week) but that is normal and part of being a student.
The Fords and I contiune to get on well, each of us learning more about the other. I would say that I know them pretty well, considering that I've only been living with them for 8wks. I truly feel apart of their family, going to the shops with Sam to buy groceries, or with Robert to look at tools, or playing with the kids. The Lord has truly been gracious to me, he knew I needed the Fords even before coming to Australia was on my rader. I have learned much from them and I think they can see a difference in me since I arrived. That's neat to hear!
For Easter holiday we went to Kinka beach to camp. Its an annual thing for the Fords and 3 or 4 families who they are friends with. I got to experience real camping for 4 days, it was great fun! I'm so used to constantly going on holidays and seeing things which is fun but sometimes tiring. It was enjoyable to spend the days outside playing sport, reading, writing, and chatting with new people. I was asked heaps of questions about America and myself, it was neat to have some attention.
Tried some new foods like prawns, crumpets, and beetroot. I discovered that people in Oz really do love chokkie heaps more than people in the States, everyone exchanges it at Easter. It was fun being so close to the beach and having the opportunity to run around in the sand. I got to play soccer and softball, two sports that I haven't done in a long time. Everyone connected with the Fords was at the beach participating which made it more fun! Rob was one of the captins and his first pick was me, can you believe it? Granted it doesn't mean that much b/c its not a competition but still I felt special
It didn't rain at all which was amazing because there were a few nights that were super windy and rain was on the horizon. Good thing b/c being in a wet tent is no fun, I know b/c I had that experience. There were these female peacoks roaming around the caravan park, one morning I was walking to the toliet half asleep and looked up. There in a rather tall tree were 2 peacoks sitting there "chatting". On Sunday an Easter bunny came 'round to distribute eggs to the tin lids. It was a sad looking rabbit with mis-shapen teeth and droppy ears, Sam and I got a hearty laugh out of the sight. Apparently the suits been around for a decade or so. The adults got scones (pronounced scons) with cream and jam, ummmm.
Got back on Monday morning and unpacked all the gear from the trailer and the two cars, I was exhausted b/c I hadn't slept well the previous 2 nights. My body hurt as well, esp. my right knee. Running on the sand was fun but costly, I reckon that the uneven terrain is what caused my pain. And all the extra running around and playing sport has made my body sore so I've been spending the last couple of days streching and doing recovery training.
Sam, Robert, Rob, and Beth are going alright here in Rocky. Everyone is on holiday except me so they are just vegging at home most days. Robert works outside in the garden or in the paddocks alot of the time. Sam cleaned parts of the house yesterday. Beth and Rob are wittling away the hours watching tele and playing Xbox. Last night at dinner we were finishing dinner and just chatting and laughing, something that the Fords didn't do much of before I arrived (so they say).
I'm anxious for Friday to arrive, that's when I board a plane for Melbourne!! I'm glad that my flight is first thing in the morning rather than later in the day, how horrible to wait 'round in anticipation. It will be amazing and sort of surreal to see Deanne and Mum and Dad face to face, no so much with Mum and Dad though. I can't believe I've been gone from the States for 2.5 months, it seems longer.

alright, I'll end this saga now but Lord willing I'll update again sooner rather than later.

Monday, 26-Mar-2007 12:13 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Homesickness arrives

Up until yesterday I was fine, I only missed home the slightest bit and then mostly my friends. But yesterday before church and a bit afterwards I lost it! I was reading through Psalm 104 if I remember correctly and looked at the mountains and started crying. I had been thinking alot of people back home and abroad that are going through rough moments among other things and it just got to be too much. I had a decent cry 2x and felt a little relieved.
Went to church with Viv and Andy, they've switched to Oasis church which is alot more sound than the Salvation Army. After the service a lady came up and introduced herself to me and we chatted for a good bit then she invited us 3 up to their visitor's lounge. It was nice to be there chatting with some people, had a couple tim tams About 15 min into the conversation I started to get really fidgity and wanted to leave but one of the guys was quite the talker and Viv and Andy looked like they were enjoying themselves.
We left and they took me back home. I had enjoyed myself but at the same time I just wanted to be alone, be with my family, or be with Deanne I couldn't decide which. It was hard too b/c it seemed like Sam wanted to chat and it was nice to have her ask a few questions but I wanted her to notice the fact that I seemed sad and ask why. Then I could. But she didn't and maybe it was b/c she wasn't sure how to ask or what to say or didn't notice anything.
But around 2pm Sam, the kids, and I went for a haircut at one of Sam's friends house. We stayed there for a while and by the end, two had their hair coloured and two of us had our's cut. It feels wonderful to have shorter hair again!! Before I felt like I was walking around with 3 kilos on my head. So free now
Came home and had a swim which made me feel a bit better. While Sam was fixing dinner I casually said that today was the first day I was really missing home. I needed to tell someone even if they didn't care. It was a hard day b/c I felt that I couldn't be sad; its like they have an expectation that I will always be cheery and light-hearted and if I don't feel that way i have to stuff it. Its probably not how they feel all but its hard. That's one thing I have missed, people genuinely caring how you're going and asking you about it each day!!!

I know this posting is not uplifting but I want you to know that not every day is peaches and cream. At the same time I have to remind myself that God uses the big and small hurts to challenge and mature our faith, but its not easy by any means. Not sure who reads these postings but thanks to those who do, its nice to know that I'm not writing to a deaf and mute wall

Thursday, 22-Mar-2007 08:31 Email | Share | | Bookmark
a month away and I'm already changing

me and the kids, don't think Rob likes to smile
Sam took this photo, the koalas were so animated that day!
the tree Rob and I scaled-it was fabulous
View all 6 photos...
I can't believe that I've been out of America for more than a month, time does fly! Yesterday marked my first month with the Fords, they don't want to get rid of me yet so that's good, hey. Like I've said many times before, I'm into a routine and such things like hanging the laundry out and feeding the horses has become normal. Two things that city people don't ever think about.
Being away from comfortable things like familiar faces and education system has both streched and challeged me. The longer I'm away the more I realize that I needed this time to change my thinking patterns and become more reliant on God. There have been times that I wonder why I chose Australia and Rockhampton of all places but then I remember that I ultimatly didn't have anything to do with it; God chose everything for me. He brought me here at this time.
God is using nature as a way of revealing himself to me more. At Covenant I love looking at the mountains as I walk up to campus from the apts and in the Spring looking at the flowers, they paint such a picture of God's majesty. But here its even more so, I think its because I'm reminded that God is everywhere and His handiwork is avaible to everyone, Christian and non. He wants people to know Him and nature is one way of doing it.
I can't accuratly discribe the feelings I get when I look at the mountains, plam trees, birds, stars... other than I'm in constant awe of God and reminded of Psalm 8 where David wonders at creation and why the Lord cares for mankind. Its humbling to realize that we are sinners and at times faithless and doubtful but our creator desires to show us marvellous things.
Not only am I expriencing physicall changes like the weather and walking heaps more out of necessity, my perception of others and myself is changing. When I first arrived I was so concerned about making friends and meeting people, it was huge stressing point. I just wanted to feel secure. I decided that instead of forcing conversations with people I would just see who comes along for me to chat with. There are moments where I could be more social I reckon but I think its also been good for me to not have many friends so I can know what it feels like. I'm learning how to be proactive socially (Aussies are alot less willing to take the first steps) but also not to stress and enjoy seeing familiar faces on campus.
Before coming I knew the Fords were not Christians and I was happy for that but I romantized the idea. Its been hard at times b/c when good or hard times arise I know that its for a reason, not b/c of chance or luck whereas they believe the opposite. And Sundays are sometimes strange b/c I leave for church and its just another day of the weekend for the Fords. They make some crude jokes which annoy and sometimes offend me but I'm learning to voice my fustrations in love and remembering and sometimes letting things go.
Ruth Epp's told me that I'll be amazed at how at home I feel with non-Chrisitans and at first I didn't believe it but now that I've been with them for a while and have gotten to know them a fair bit I realize she's right. I don't know how many evenings we'll spend chatting with one another after dinner, we laugh together, we've had some really good conversations; ones where I came away thinking "wow, I feel like I genuinly know something about them and visa versus." They are very lovable people and I already find myself attached to each one of them in a different way.
I write what I'm thinking and I could go on but won't. I'll just briefly discribe the attached photos. On Sunday we went to the botanical gardens/zoo and saw heaps of things, it was a real treat b/c I had wanted to go there for a while but hadn't had the chance. Saw lovely plants and trees, there were a fair amount of fig trees which I've decided are one of my favorites. There was also a playground in a paddac surrounded by monsterous trees where Beth, Rob, and I ran around and played on the toys and swings. Great fun!!! It felt like a Sunday family outing.
I'm loving Australia, alot more than I imagined. God is teaching me new things each day, some of them I can piece together at the moment but there are many others I don't know how they fit into the larger scheme of my life; and I'm learning to be alright with that. I love getting your emails, they are a great reminder that life continues 12,000 miles away.

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