I felt like I needed to update everyone on the last two… maybe three weeks of my life in Newcastle. Each week has been filled with studying, travel, and a lot of God’s grace upon my life.
First, I was stuck on campus for the second week of mid-semester break because I had a compulsory lab/fieldwork component to my ecology class Tuesday through Friday. It was strangely quiet throughout the new residences, and I had a lot of time to build up my physical strength as well as my spiritual strength. I dove into the Word a lot, and worked out a lot in the time I wasn’t in class. It wasn’t all bad, having all my friends in New Zealand for a week and I was still in Newcastle. During our fieldwork, a moth latched onto my hat and stayed there for 3 hours while we sampled organisms on the rock platforms, which was pretty cool. Plus, there was a pod of dolphins swimming just 100 feet from us! (not pictured, the 5 other dolphins underwater)
Then Iowa State beat #3 Oklahoma in college football, which had all of my friends back home going absolutely berserk! ISU was even the number 1 trending topic on Twitter that day!
I’ve been able to call a few friends from back home in recent weeks, notably Julia Voss who is in Norway for the semester and Spencer Nelson back in Denver. It was really good to catch up with the both of them, and I can’t wait to see them both back in the states when I get back.
Two Saturdays ago, I had a wonderful time hiking the Tomaree Mountain in Nelson Bay with Reality! We were rewarded for our climb with some amazing views of islands that surrounded the area and some pretty hilarious photos of the journey together.
The mountain sported multiple gun emplacements from World War II that served as defense for Australia’s coastline, so I thought I’d man the lookout for any enemies on the horizon!
When we finished hiking, we headed into town for fish and chips which were delicious, and split off to go to Stockton Beach. The beach connects Anna Bay to Stockton at a distance of 20 miles! People 4-wheel their trucks (or utes, as they call them here) down through the sand, something I’ve only seen in American commercials and never in person. Another funny thing I saw, was a camel tour on the dunes! A big line of camels being led to the water and through the dunes was definitely a sight to see.
On Friday of last week, I had East Tower Ball… even though I no longer live in the tower… they still gladly let me in. It was fantastic to see all my friends from the tower there, dressed up in fancy dresses and suits for the night. I had to rock a bow tie, and I got a lot of compliments for it! Apparently I look good in one?
The ball was hosted in a converted church-turned-event-venue which was kind of strange, being that there was a bar in the sanctuary with stained glass windows of Jesus overlooking the open floor. Even though I don’t drink, I had a fantastic time dancing to the DJ who was really good! I pulled out dance moves that I didn’t know I even had, and people thought they were good! I am not a party dancer, so somehow God gave me dance moves that night hahaha.
It’s kind of funny that I bring this nice set of dress clothes to wear twice in a two day span, but likely not again for the rest of the semester. The day after the ball, I had to get dressed up again for a video call interview with the CALS Ambassador program back at Iowa State because I want to be an ambassador for the college! I think the interview went really well, so here’s praying for God’s plan for my life to either say yes or no to the new position.
For the last 4 weeks, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to help in KidsChurch at Hunter Bible Church to teach kindergarten/1st graders about Jesus and it has been so inspiring. I can see the gleam in the kids’ eyes as they hear about Jesus and all the teachings of the Bible each week, and I am continuously encouraged to share the Gospel with them and others in my life.
As I near the end of my semester at Newcastle, less than 2 weeks stand before me and my first final exam, I cannot be more grateful for the chance I have had to study abroad while at university and better explore the world.