A Lesson from Philippians

Philippians 4:13 is probably one of the most quoted verses in the  Bible. No doubt this verse has given believers the strength to overcome a variety of life issues from the loss of a loved one and addiction to obesity and break-ups. I, personally, have heard this verse hundreds of times but never really took the time to think about it and grasp its true meaning. Have you ever wondered what the context of this verse is? This morning I took the time to find out.

No matter where you are in the world, a Saturday morning spent  enjoying a vanilla latte and a fresh-baked muffin with a Bible in your hand is a GOOD morning! As I sat in a quaint little cafe in the beautiful city of Sydney, I reflected on Philippians 4:11-13. I thought I would share what I learned in hopes that it might impact your day like it did mine!

The verses read as follows: “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether hungry or well fed, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength”

After reading this verse a few times, I began to think about my time here in Australia so far. I’ve done some pretty incredible things and seen some pretty incredible views. Needless to say, right now I have plenty. WAY more than I deserve! Yet, at times I’ve found myself still wanting more! Everyday I’m surrounded by thousands of busy businessmen and women trying to get to work on time in a big city. I’ve felt lost. I’ve felt at home. I’ve felt happy and sad. Living in a big city like Sydney has left me wanting more because at times I’ve felt like I’m just in any other big city, going to work, coming home and having dinner, passing out at 9pm and getting up and doing it all over again. Where are all the kangaroos hopping around? The beautiful shorelines and tropical temperatures? I want more! I want more!

This morning I came to the realization that I’m 21 years old and I’m in Australia pursuing my dreams! Most people don’t get this opportunity in their whole lifetime. What am I doing telling myself I need more? God has given me SO many blessings. He has given me WAY beyond what I could ever deserve. Not just because I’m in Australia but because I have a personal relationship with a God that’s loving and faithful.

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These verses also taught me that no matter what’s going on in my life, I know that all my strength comes from Jesus. I’m certainly not strong enough to endure this life without him. I’m just a weak, clueless little girl but with God by my side I’m a strong, independent and confident young woman! So strong I can jump really high!

So far this trip has involved countless smiles and “wow” moments. Just yesterday I had the opportunity to have an $11 glass of wine 47 stories above Sydney at a revolving restaurant! It took an hour and 45 minutes to make a complete circle and we stayed almost the whole time! As I looked out at the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House under the full moon, I was overwhelmed with joy. It was probably one of the most AMAZING things I’ve ever experienced in my life. This morning I realized that I should be rejoicing in the Lord every time those moments happen. He’s the one that gave me the strength to get to where I am today. He’s the one that brought me to Sydney. He’s the one that blesses me each and every day.

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Luckily, I haven’t been terribly homesick yet. But I know that by the end of the 10 weeks I’ll be crying for my momma and my boyfriend and little old Toledo, Ohio. I am too weak to handle this experience on my own. However, I know that when homesickness kicks in my God will give me the strength to be content with my situation. To enjoy each moment, whether tears are falling down my face or I’m smiling so hard my cheeks quiver.

This morning I learned that God not only gives me the strength to face each day but that I should always feel content no matter the circumstances. Things won’t always go MY way. There will be times when I feel in need even when I have plenty. There will be times when I am literally hungry and get irritated because a hamburger here in Sydney costs $15 dollars. There will be times when I feel alone but God is always by my side encouraging me, blessing me and giving me strength!

His love even showed through my latte this morning 🙂

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Just a little lost girl in a BIG, BIG city

So I had the opportunity to pet kangaroos, take a picture with a koala, scuba at the Great Barrier Reef and take a picture next to the iconic Sydney Opera House. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of being a tourist in Australia. However, this past Monday it was time for me to start taking on the role of an intern, a very, very lost intern but an intern nonetheless. For the next  nine weeks I will be spending most of my time at Dani Lombard Public Relations. It’s a small boutique agency run by four GIRLS! Can you believe that?!  They specialize in health and beauty products that are sustainable and organic. I work Monday through Thursday from 9am to 5:30pm. And no I don’t get paid… Here’s a little look at how my first week interning went.

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Monday: I set out to catch the train around 8am and successfully got off at the right stop. However, I had very little success finding my bus stop and the right bus for that matter. I had no map and no access to Google Maps on my phone so I literally had no idea where I was besides the brief directions I wrote down on my notepad. I never could have imagined how hard Sydney’s public transport was going to be. I ended up missing my bus, calling up my work and then hopping on the next available bus. When I finally did catch the right bus, I got off on the wrong stop and ended up walking what seemed like five miles until I finally found Dani Lombard! I arrived 30 minutes late and sweaty but happy to finally be there! Australians are much more laidback in the workplace than in the US. Me arriving 30 minutes late received a “No worries at all” response from my co-workers. That morning I looked through different Aussie magazines and newspapers to get a feel for what they were like. Then I walked down the street with my supervisor Zoe and studied magazines at the news agency to see if any of their products made it into the magazines. If they did, we bought the magazine. Luckily, I had a short day at work and I was able to leave at noon to enjoy Balmoral beach just minutes from Dani Lombard!

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Taking a selfie at Balmoral Beach in my work clothes

Tuesday: Thought I might have better luck with public transport. Nope, I nearly missed my bus in the morning and had to run it down. Apparently I wasn’t at a designated bus stop so the bus driver completely ignored me as I tapped on the door. I walked quickly alongside the bus with my pouty face on until he finally opened the door for me at a red light. People on that bus probably thought I was crazy! I had to run down my bus BUT I made it to work on time. I had so much fun at work this day. I met my co-worker Sam who gives me most of my tasks. She still goes to school and works at Dani Lombard two days a week. A majority of our day was spent dying sugar different colors! They have a green tea client and wanted to show the sugar content of their green tea compared to beverages like coke, Redbull, vitamin water, etc. I made two trips to the store for sugar, food coloring and more sugar. I also learned how to update their media list and format coverage they receive in magazines. All the coverage is stored in a nice little binder according to client. On the way home I got COMPLETELY lost after I got off the bus! I went to the nearest train station I saw and it ended up that none of the trains went to where I needed to go. Luckily, I asked a random guy on the street and he directed me to the right train station. It took me a good hour and a half to get home.

Wednesday: I got up at 6am for a run next to the bay. It’s just minutes from my place and absolutely beautiful. Hundreds of sailboats are docked up and gorgeous homes are nestled into the hillside overlooking the water. So glad I found this little gem! Did I tell you guys how active people in Australia are? I felt like a slacker getting up at 6am just to run because the park was filled with people running, sprinting, doing crunches, doing burpees, doing yoga. You name it, people were up and kicking butt at sunrise! I returned home to shower and eat breakfast. Once again, I got confused getting off the train. I ended up going in the wrong direction for quite a while and had to backtrack. Once I finally got to the bus stop I still caught the bus because it was late. A nice lady who knew the bus system helped me out. At least I have friendly Aussies to help when I’m walking around like a lost puppy! At work I finished labeling the test tubes from the sugar displays and filled them all with the colored sugar. It was neat to see the final product come together. I also learned how to send out products to different editors in hopes that they will put the product in their magazine. I also filed some media coverage into the appropriate client binder. My commute home was actually successful and I didn’t get lost. This gave me hope for a perfect commute the next day.

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Rushcutters Bay Park where I run in the morning

Thursday: I got up and ran again and discovered that if you continued along the path you could see the Harbour bridge and much of the city. It was spectacular! Today was the day of public transport success! I boarded the train, exited the train station and found my bus stop flawlessly. My bus came and I ended up in Mosman (the suburb I work in) 30 minutes early. I had extra time to stop and get myself a vanilla latte. It was my little reward for finding my way! Today it was only me and my supervisor Zoe in the office. It was kind of nice and peaceful. I spent most of the day calling around different newspapers to see if they were planning on running a Christmas gift guide. If so, I had to take down their contact information and deadline. It was quite the learning experience. I wondered what they all thought hearing an American accent on the phone. For the most part, people were much nicer than they would have been in the US. I only got hung up on once! I also filed media coverage, formatted coverage, restocked shelves with product, organized product send-outs and booked a courier. They just come right to your home or office and hand deliver whatever you want! I had never heard of the concept of a courier before starting at Dani Lombard. Maybe I’m too young to understand? I also found head shots of beauty editors for an upcoming event and researched prices for a new vacuum since the company vacuum died. My commute home was also flawless!

By the end of the week, I absolutely loved my job and I finally started to figure out how to get there. Everyday I do something different and I learn something new at Dani Lombard. My co-workers are the nicest people in the world and it’s such a fun, laid back workplace. I can’t wait to see what week two has in store! Hopefully more successful commutes 🙂

My GlobaLinks Intern Family

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Moving to a foreign country for 10 weeks can be tough for a variety of reasons. Having a group of people surrounding you during the process makes it a whole lot easier. When I arrived in Los Angeles to board my international flight I met most of the other GlobaLinks interns. If I didn’t meet them there, I met them in Cairns during the orientation program. They are all great people, from a range of different places, doing a range of different things while in Australia. I thought it would be interesting to list all the interns, where they come from and what they’re doing here. Enjoy!

1. Eden Pascual

  • From: Girdwood, Alaska
  • Attends: University of Anchorage Alaska
  • Interns at: Sydney Children’s Hospital

2. Cary Plott

  • From: Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Attended: University of South Carolina
  • Interns at: Creative Advertising Agency
  • Fun Fact: She’s here for a whole year!

3. Kamryn Fall

  • From: Victorville, California
  • Attends: California Polytechnic State University
  • Interns at: Spectrum Films (on the Fox Studios lot!)

4. Hanna Tappe

  • From: Pleasant Hill, California
  • Attends: California Polytechnic State University
  • Interns at: Iron Grip Gym

5. Lily Barnard

  • From: San Luis Obispo, California
  • Attends: California Polytechnic State University
  • Interns at: Iron Grip Gym

6. Fabian Virgies (the only guy!)

  • From: Chicago, Illinois
  • Attended: St. Ambrose University in Iowa
  • Interns at: Health gym

7. Brenna Liddle

  • From: Camas, Washington
  • Attended: Central Washington University
  • Interns at: Captain Cook Cruises

8. Amberly Condon

  • From: Quispamsis, New Brunswick in Canada
  • Attended: St. Thomas NB
  • Interns at: Brain and Mind Research Institute

9. Rayna Davis

  • From: Camarillo, California
  • Attended: California Polytechnic State University
  • Interns at: Cancer Council

10. Hanna Henderson

  • From: Lexington, Tennessee
  • Attends: University of Memphis
  • Interns at: Food and Nutrition Australia

11. Rhonnie Embres

  • From: Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Attends: University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Interns at: Gianacas Argiris McDonald Solicitors in Newcastle

12. LE Wolfram

  • From: Coppell, Texas
  • Attends: Texas State University
  • Interns at: Glen Waverley Secondary College in Melbourne

13. Rachael Leung

  • From: Renton, Washington
  • Attends: Washington State University
  • Interns at: Wedding Planning on Hamilton Island

So far, I have really enjoyed getting to know all the other interns. They are all very different but easy to get along with. I am super pumped about the diversity of our group because we not only get to learn about Aussie culture but we’re learning about each others cultures within the US (and Canada!). I can’t wait to learn more about each intern as the weeks pass here in Sydney! G’day for now, mates!

 

 

Fun Facts about the Land of Oz

I know I’ve been posting almost everyday but there’s just been too much going on here within the past few days! I am super excited about this post because I’m sharing all the things I’ve learned about Australia so far. Through the GlobaLinks Bridging Cultures program and experiencing life here in Australia, I’ve learned some pretty cool, crazy and interesting facts! In the states, we speak English. In Australia, people speak English (with a bit of slang) but the two countries are still vastly different. Here’s a nice list of what I’ve learned so far.

1. Australia is roughly the same size as the US but has a population of 25 million compared to 314 million back home!

2. TV channels here are limited and most Australians don’t watch a lot of TV. 

3. Access to Internet is limited and SLOWER than in the States.

  • In the US almost every restaurant, hotel and business you walk into has FREE Wi-Fi available. Here, Wi-Fi is rarely free although more and more places are starting to offer it. 

4. Australia has limited centralized heating and air. 

  • The temperature of my room here is controlled by opening and closing the window. Thanks for training me well Mom! (Mum according to Aussies)

5. The minimum wage here is $16.37 per hour compared to the US at $7.25.

6. Prices are jacked up here!

  • A burger will cost you anywhere from 10-20 bucks. Entry into nightclubs average around $40. A beer costs at least 8 bucks. I bought a pair of sunglasses at Target for $20 but most of them cost 30-35. I got the same pair in the States for $10. This has been the biggest shock to me because I’m not getting paid a dime for the two months I’m here.

7. The cost of housing is absolutely absurd here. 

  • You can stay in a basic, one bedroom apartment for $600 a week here. That’s how much it costs for a month in the US.

8. Most things are smaller here.

  • A small coffee looks like a shot glass. The serving sizes are much smaller as well. Rooms are smaller. Homes are smaller. Waistlines are smaller.

9. Everyone in Australia receives FREE healthcare. 

  • One of the things I love most about this country is the active lifestyle that everyone lives. People are always running or making their way to yoga class here. 

10. Dryers aren’t very popular here. Most people just use a clothesline. 

11. You can take as much liquid and food as you want through airport security.

12. They use a different measuring system here.

  • Speed limit signs are km/h. Meat at the deli is measured in grams. During my first grocery trip I had to ask the butcher to convert it for me! They don’t use calories here. They use kilojoules. One calorie is equivalent to four kilojoules.

13. Right now, it gets dark at 6pm. 

14. Crocodiles only eat every THREE MONTHS! 

  • You’d think they eat a whole animal everyday but they only eat every few months and store up energy until the next feeding.

15. When the Queen of England visits Australia she becomes the Queen of Australia.

I think that about wraps up the fun facts I’ve learned about Australia so far. I hope you enjoyed reading this post and learned something too!

Next up: Getting to know the GlobaLinks interns

Bridging Cultures: Ohioan to Aussie

Traveling to a foreign country can be nerve racking, exciting, sad, and downright HARD. After a full 24 hours in flight, I FINALLY landed in Cairns, Australia (pronounced ‘cans’). As part of the GlobaLinks Learning Abroad program, my fellow interns and I all spent three days in the beautiful tropical city of Cairns. A group of about 10 of us arrived at Gilligan’s, a hostel type accommodation for backpackers. Arriving exhausted but beyond excited about being on the ground, I couldn’t wait to experience the adventures ahead of me.

I roomed with five other girls during my stay in Cairns. Yes, our room had 3 sets of bunk beds and very few electrical outlets. You can imagine how that turned out! Despite the rainy and cold day, the view from our room was quite beautiful. We had a lovely pool and a nightclub (that stayed open ’til 5am!) attached to our hostel. 

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Our first afternoon in Cairns was spent getting to know each other with a few ice breakers, getting to know our GlobaLinks director, Ross and meeting a local Aussie who spoke to us about Australian history and culture. I’ll talk more about what I learned in my next post! To top the evening off, we went to an ocean view restaurant and had a 3-course meal! Ross made us stay up until at least eight to recover from our jet lag faster.

Day two was Rainforestation Nature Park day! This was one of the BEST days of my life. We took a bus up a mountain about 45 minutes from our hostel. I felt like throwing up as we twisted and turned up the mountainside but I made it just fine. When we arrived we took a Duck tour through the rainforest and our tour guide pointed out all the native plants and animals. Then we feasted on a buffet lunch and I even tried Vegemite (fermented yeast!). Not so sure how I feel about it.  

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Next, we walked through the wildlife park and got to pet kangaroos, take pictures with them and feed them. We also saw wallabies, crocodiles, koalas and dingoes! We each got to hold a python snake and snap a photo with it. We painted our own version of aboriginal art and watched an aboriginal dance performance. We watched aborigines throw spears. We tried to play the didgeridoo and tried to throw a boomerang. I was the only lefty and I got a special lefty boomerang! It kinda, sorta came back to me…

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Finally and most importantly, we got to take a picture with a cute koala in our arms! It was one of the best five seconds of my life. That concluded our adventurous day at Rainforestation. We returned to Cairns and finished the evening with our last bridging cultures session. We learned more about our internship, housing and how to use public transportation. 

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Day three, our final day in Cairns was spent out on the Pacific or more specifically, out on the Great Barrier Reef. We woke up at 6am for a continental breakfast at our hostel. We had to be at the boat at 8am. It took us two+ hours to venture out to the reef. Let me tell ya, it was a LONG two hours. I had never seen waves so big! Several people on board got seasick and I took a motion sickness pill before leaving and felt very nauseous the whole time. On the way to the reef, a group of us learned the basics of scuba diving. I had never scuba dove before so I felt very nervous. Especially because I don’t know how to swim. Okay, I can swim but let’s just say I’m not a very strong swimmer. When we finally made it to the reef, the water was turquoise blue. So beautiful! I was in the first group to scuba so I geared up in my fins, my oxygen tank, my wet suit and my respirator. We had to perform a series of tests before we could actually go down and scuba. I had a bad feeling about everything when I first got in the water. It was cold and I wasn’t picking up on the whole breathing underwater very well. 

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That’s me on the left. Holding on for dear life and freezing my butt off.

Even though I had a mini panic attack at first, I decided to venture down into the ocean and explore the Great Barrier Reef. Fortunately, our scuba instructor let us hold onto his arms almost the whole time. We saw a sea turtle, beautiful corals and we found NEMO! The dive lasted 30 minutes and when I exited the water I was shivering from head to toe! The scenery was beautiful but it was hard for me to fully enjoy the reef when all I could focus on was how cold I was. I sound like the most ungrateful person alive but snorkeling and scuba diving don’t seem to be my favorite adventurous activities. I think I take after my mom on that one! Overall, the trip was once in a lifetime and I experienced some of the world’s most beautiful scenery. For that, I’m forever blessed and grateful. 

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The Bridging Cultures program in Cairns was educational, exciting, fun and adventurous. The next day, I woke up at 445am to board my flight to Sydney. What a whirlwind couple of days!

Hope you enjoyed this rather long post. So much happened in a span of three days!

Next up: What I’ve learned so far about Australia (I didn’t have room in this post!)

Flights on Flights on Flights

So far, I have boarded 5 different planes during my trip. Currently, I’m typing this blog post aboard my 5th and final flight arriving in Sydney at 9:25am on Saturday, September 7th. Yes, that means airport transportation picked me up at 4:55am to make my 6:45am flight.  Needless to say, I can’t wait to stay on the ground for longer than a few days. I really don’t mind flying but checking and re-checking my bags has been quite the hassle. If you’re curious about all the flights I took to end up in Sydney here they are:

Flight #1: Detroit to Dallas on American Airlines, 3:15pm departure time, Sept. 2nd 2013

My mom and boyfriend, Jason took me to the airport and it was the hardest goodbye or better yet, see you soon, I’ve ever had to do. By the end of my goodbyes, I was in tears, my mom was in tears and my boyfriend claimed to have “teared up”. I entered security with red eyes and a salty face from tears. Once I was on my own I pulled myself together and found the gate just fine.

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Flight #2: Dallas to Los Angeles on American Airlines, 5:45pm departure time, Sept 2nd, 2013

Once I got to Dallas I had less than 30 minutes to find my gate. I quickly asked a representative at the service gate and thankfully my gate was in the same terminal as my previous flight. I was surprised at how easy it was to navigate. I didn’t even have to take a tram. Upon boarding the flight, I reached for the first book I wanted to read, The Great Gatsby. As I begin reading, I glanced up for a quick second and see the movie, The Great Gatsby playing on the screen! I decided to watch the movie over again and then return to reading the book after watching the movie. What a fun coincidence!

Flight #3: Los Angeles to Sydney on Qantas Airlines, 10pm departure time, Sept. 2nd, 2013

After a safe landing in LA, I took a bus around the airport to the international gates. Once again, I was surprised at how easy it was to find my gate. Additionally, the terminal was rather scarce with very few shops and restaurants around. I had heard before I left Ohio that the LAX airport was a city in itself but I didn’t get that vibe at all. In LA, I met up with around eight girls who would be joining me on the flight and were part of the GlobaLinks Internship Program. We had several hours to spare before boarding so we took some time to get to know each other. Before I knew it, I was boarding my international, 15 HOUR flight to Sydney. Qantas provided everyone with a blanket, a sleep mask, earphones, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a pillow and a personal touch screen television in front of us. It was literally the biggest plane I had ever seen. It had two levels and around 90 rows of seats! Fortunately, I sat by the window and another young girl sat on the outside but no one was in-between us. That meant that I could sleep more comfortably. I slept most of the plane ride because 10pm LA time was 1am according to my body. Of course, it wasn’t solid sleep. I woke almost every hour. When I finally woke up for good, we only had about five hours left in the flight. We had an awesome flight tracker on the TV in front of us to tell us where we were.  Since I feel asleep quickly after take-off I missed the in-flight dinner but got a snack bag to munch on. Who wants to eat at like three in the morning anyways?! After waking, I watched the movie, The Internship and got a few laughs out of it. I also read some more Great Gatsby and ate a nice breakfast served to us on the plane. Overall, I didn’t feel too exhausted and it didn’t seem as long as I expected.

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Flight #4: Sydney to Cairns, Australia, 9:35am departure time, Sept 4th, 2013

Still on Qantas, I boarded my last flight before my orientation program in Cairns. The flight was nearly 3 hours long but went very smooth. I read The Great Gatsby most of the way and watched a few episodes of Modern Family. I also had breakfast #2!

Flight #5: Cairns to Sydney, 6:35am departure time, Sept 7th, 2013

Now, I’m flying on Jetstar and sitting in the emergency exit row. Extra leg room! Score! We should land in Sydney around 9:30am and someone will be there to take me and the three other students flying with me to our housing for the next 10 weeks.

Overall, I was so pleased that every flight was on time and had very little turbulence. I got to experience some cool views out the window, talk to some Australians and even travel to parts of the United States I’ve never been! My internship starts Monday and I can’t wait to see what Sydney has in store for me.

Hopefully I didn’t bore you with my flying adventures.

Next up: What I did and learned at the GlobaLinks Bridging Cultures Program in Cairns.