Run for your lives!! Commercialised Christmas is coming...

I am really sucking at keeping this regularly up to date... but seriously, I've been B-U-S-Y!!! My brain feels like its about to explode out of my head there's that much going on inside it...

There are many things I need to consider AND do before I can even set off on this new journey. VISA needs to be applied for. Flights need to be booked. Luggage needs to be organised. House needs to be packed. Stuff needs to be stored. Picasso needs a new postal address. Medical needs to be done. Vaccinations need to be atleast started. Newsletter needs to be written [and sent out]. Rest of the support needs to be raised [event maybe?]. Car needs to be sold. Household items not being kept need to be sold. Australian Tax Office needs to know I'll be overseas for 2 years. So does Centerlink. So does Medicare. So do some of my family...

See - there is alot happening. This is a unique opportunity I have. Normally people have 4-6 months ahead from their Pre-Field Training course. It's only been 2 weeks since I was there. I had under 2 months to do all of this, and now its almost Christmas! Oh my. I hope people understand that there wont be wrapped gifts from me this year. I don't think I've done many gifts for Christmas in the past couple of years actually. Partly because its so expensive. Partly because I wouldn't have a clue what to get most people [because their gift is also too expensive]. Partly because Christmas is not about the gifts and how much money is spent on your decorations and festivities. Its Family. Its Friends. Its Jesus... He is the reason for the season!

And then from Christmas day, its a one month countdown. I will be wishing Mum a "Happy Birthday!" from Cebu in the Philippines. And I'll be wishing many many friends their birthday wishes, wedding congrats and baby booming news from all over the world! That is... amazing!

I feel like I'm unprepared to go. But alteast with it being so close I cant be slack - I have to do things before Christmas or they will never happen! I'm going to be gone before I know it and that is both scary and exciting. I was told recently that last week was probably going to be the last time I would see them before I go because they were going to be away on holidays until a few days after I leave. That made me realise that THIS is REALLY happening. I'm going to be saying goodbye to people! I'm going to be away during important times in their lives! But i am really praying that people will keep in contact with me and will let me know what is happening with them.

So - here's to another update. I'll have to work out how I'll be putting my newsletters on here so those of you not on the Email list can download them. I'm sure we'll work it out!

If i dont have the pleasure of seeing or speaking to you before, have a very blessed Christmas and a wonderful start to your new year! Stay safe when travelling, particularly on the roads to and from your holiday!

Cheerfully,
Carola xx

Having faith to trust and believe...

I have a hard time dealing with things.

I have nothing in my control and that is something I don't deal with easily... I mean, I do... gosh... its hard to explain. What I mean is it's not easy to just accept things will happen when you need them/want them/require their assistance to turn up/etc. Its really not. Its not easy to feel like you've been changed, grown, pulled down a new direction - a direction that you thought was not where you would end up going - and despite all odds, still have faith to believe that it will happen. Faith to be patient that perhaps if it doesn't happen now that it might be soon, or later, or not at all, but still maintaining that faith.


It's just so hard! SO hard!!!

But it is VERY exciting! What is going to happen? Where will this take me? How will I be grown through this? Will my family stay excited about it when I've been gone for a while?

Unemployment and PFT Training

Hey you funtastic people...

So this is a little update to let you know what I'm doing... or something.

I've been back home in Adelaide now officially for just over a week. That blows my mind to read that but its actually very true. One week yesterday. Life just seems to have stopped, that I'm still in July only with no job. But alas life has certainly continued - for all of us.

So we are here in November. This evening I spoke with the Elders of my church about my desire to go back to the MV Doulos. I kind of expected the response I got, which was totally and utterly behind me every step of the way, but its just nice to hear it from them. It was a full-on rush of blood to the brain... followed by a pause and then a distinct unwell feeling in my stomach.

How am I going to do this? How am i going to pay for this? How is this even possible and why am I not running away from this... at all?

This is probably all coming to head because I dont have something occupying my time during the day like a job would. And it also helps that before I can go back to the ship I have to go to Pre-Field Training - and that starts Monday. Thats right, Monday coming. No rest for the wicked - and Carola too it seems.


So - with the blessing of the Elders, I'm now here writing to you the latest in the dramatic saga that is my life just now. With some of the little money I have remaining I have paid for my flight to Melbourne for the 23rd of November, and I return to Adelaide on the 29th of November. The course, which covers a wide range of helpful and informative things like who OM is, raising support, presenting my vision, writing a prayer letter, giving a missions testimony, cross-cultural & team living and importantly - prayer, as well as participating in a Life Direction Workshop amongst other things... all this an more for the low low price of.... $... - well its plenty and I'm going to believe it will turn up before I need to leave on Sunday evening. Oh my goodness - what am I doing???

Humanly speaking I should be running away - screaming and heading for the hills. Yet, I'm still compelled to do this. I still believe this is where I'm meant to be going. I still believe this is the door that is opening and despite the circumstances and frail footings, I'm walking this path. God is bigger than absolutely EVERYTHING, so why shouldn't I believe He will come through? Sure, it might not be right now, but at somepoint, God's plan is going to work out - its just that I have faith to think it is now...


Please pray for me! This is bigger than me and I cannot possibly do it alone! I haven't been more excited and passionate and utterly scared of my choice in something like this before, and just thinking about it all scares me more! I am but a servant and I only want to do what my Master instructs - I just pray I'm listening correctly!

Please also pray for OM Australia - they have a problem on their hands - me! Okay, I'm not that big a problem but I certainly am giving their stress levels a good workout - mine too!

Well... here's to living by faith... it certainly keeps you on your toes...!!!

To hyphenate or to not hyphenate...

[is that really how we spell the word 'hyphenate'...?]

Hyphenating. Why am I talking about this? Oh only because Lewis Franklin Bradford Scott possibly has a Hyphenated name... its true...

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?

Okay, to the beginning. Hello, my name is Carola and I am officially an Aunty!!!! My very first nephew popped out into the world today, November 2, at 5:34pm South Australian time to his mummy, Rachel Scott and to his daddy, Troy Bradford.

Doctors 'forecasted' the birth date to be October 26, but I thought they were out by a week [according to my background in medical... sciencey... stuff], so I said that the little bun would be baked by November 2... seriously this is not even a joke. I am not even laughing - THATS how weird it is...

I think I'll be known as Aunty Car-Car but according to my Dutch and South African friends from the ship, car-car means, ahm.... *whispers*... poo.

SO - as long as no one spreads that arounds too far [oh, EW!], and because kids can't say my name anyway, [usually Koala comes out and I'm not THAT fuzzy!], Car-Car is kind of a 'cool' name for an Aunty - that is till it becomes uncool and they think of something better... yeah....

In Perth

Welcome to a series of micro-updates... updates to let you know what's happening but small enough I don't have to think about writing them... only because I'm using an internet connection which has limits - you know, monthly download usability limits. This has been a first for a long time!

So, sadly I was off the ship Tuesday 28th October at 3pm. Held the emotions together till everyone seemingly lost control of themselves, with people crying on the Quay-side [off the ship] and on the ship where does one look? And because my little brother sent me a text that morning telling me his *cough* girlfriend was in labour I think it helped keep the emotions under control by sheer excitement. So, emotions now flying everywhere, I was happy to shed a tear or twenty hundred and wave and yell out goodbyes to the ship. It was harder the further away the ship went but it was dealable. I still think the ship left me behind by accident...

Oh yeah, I'm here in Perth at the Bond residence [so mysterious] until Tomorrow night. My flight has changed to arrive in Adelaide @ 10:05pm. Tuesday morning I'll then drive over to the Eyre Peninsular to spend time with family...

Last Hours...

Hey ya'll...

The hours are ticking by till my end of my time on the ship...

I just thought you would like to know that - :)

I'm excited to be leaving, but sad also at the same time, but more excited by the doors that could open following this experience - and particularly sharing my story with people...

Must stop procrastinating and get back to packing - and stuff....

All my love,
Carola

10 days...

Whoa back nelly! Its the 18th today and in 10 days time I'll be watching the Doulos leave me behind. I'm going to be sad! But, I'm also very excited... about the big door that could be possibly opening before me. It kinda scares my socks off or freaks my head off the possibilities that could come from this experience but its just as exciting to see where this adventure will now lead.

But back to the original statement - 10 days left. I was originally told that I'd be leaving the ship on the 27th. Then a few weeks ago we were told we'd be leaving the ship on the 24th. NOW its been confirmed [only yesterday!] that we'll be leaving on the 28th - the day the ship leaves to head to East Timor.

This means that in just under 2 weeks I'll be back in South Australia. I land in Adelaide the evening of the 3rd, then possibly on the 5th I'll drive over to the Eyre Peninsular to meet my brothers first child. Oh my. I am a little anxious about that. Not so much because there's soon to be a new relative, but because I want that child to have the best in life and I want 'its' parents to be the best they can be - even if they aren't going to be together. Perhaps that is the part that is greatly affecting me the most - the unknown of the entire situation. But hopefully I can be a good influence into his or her life and to my bro's and his former girlfriends. I believe all will work out amazingly because I know my bro is going to be a good Dad - he's got alot to learn though and I think only now realities really settling in...

So I'll spend most of my time in Port Lincoln to be close to my brother and new family additions, but I'll also try and spend and evening at Mum's place and then at Dad's too. If only they all didn't spread out over 2.5 hours of driving, it might've been easier to see them all more and spend more time with them. I might even try and steal a day off from all of them and go to my Uncle's place in Coffin Bay and just chillax there for a day. Beauty.

And then around the 11th I'll be officially back in Adelaide. And then looking for a job [Oh No!]. Part of me would like to just ask my former job for a casual role till the end of the year... this will depend on the work they have and if they need the help. That also would be the cheat soloution. Other jobs could be to use the newly certified skills as Coffee Barista and work in a Cafe' till the end of the year... or if desperation reigns I'm sure I could get a job back at the Supermarket. So many thoughts and possibilities... and unknown too...

Well, my friend Emma [Brisbane] has arrived now so we're going to laze around the Fremantle area and have lunch in the park on this fine day before we both start work this evening.

I hope your day is just - delightful...!

Carola xxx

Update! Get your Update...!

[This post was written on Saturday the 4th of October - very shortly after we made berth in Albany...]

Wow, I am totally being blown away being on the ship right now. Well, that is an ironic statement, the only thing literally being blown away is [cold + nose = something nasty].
Yeah, as of today I’ve got a cold, and feel like trash. BUT I’ve probably had the most fun this entire trip thus far in the recent week of sailing we’ve just had.

Because our duration of the voyage from Geelong to Albany was for 5.5 days, taking into consideration that the previous two voyages of 2 or so days I’ve not had to work, this voyage I was pretty keen to actually do something. Even for 2 days I felt like I was wasting time and allowing others to work overtime while I fished off the back of the ship. So when our Barista team leader said in a saddened tone that we’d actually have to work, I wasn’t shy about hiding my excitement. Then she asked me if I had anywhere I’d like to actually work – and immediately I said “Deckie!” – because the idea of scrubbing the deck surprisingly appealed to me.

The first day of the voyage all Barista’s were given the day off – which was pretty groovy – though we also found out that the Deckies actually didn’t want us – or perhaps it was that they didn’t need us. Bam. Slam that one in the face. There’s a no-go zone for me. So slightly saddened I had a chat with a few people and it was suggested that I ask an Engineer about working in the Engine – cool but, how?

Well, God certainly provided opportunities because while walking through the Mess [the room that everyone whose a grommet can eat so they don’t get all the civilised chairs dirty] I passed 2 Engineers having a break – and after walking straight past them, turned back, picked up my courage off the floor and asked what they thought about me working in the Engine. “Come back at 8:50am before devotions and speak with the chief engineer”… al-righty-then!

To be honest I was actually really positive they would say I couldn’t do anything – but amazingly I got to join the team. The work wasn’t anything technical but it was work that helped out the Engine Department and it was good quality dirty work. No kidding, I went in the first day relatively clean and came out in cover-alls and boots covered head to toe with engine dust, oil grimey sludgey stuff [though this was helped by having a oily grimey sludgey fight while down by the PST tank [basically the place the sludge of the engine lands]], paint and rust converter – pretty much anything I touched ended up on me.

The jobs we’re the most mind boggling but they were really fun! First job – hack rust off pipes and metal, clean up, apply rust converter, primer, and then a finish coat. Twist was that you literally had to twist yourself around poles in order to get to all spots. 3 guys and a girl going hard at rust and painting was pretty hilarious. Job done, moved onto the adjoining room and put primer on the converter that the boys had previously put on. Can I just say B-E-A-YouTIFUL!

Jobs following this generally consisted of cleaning floors [that have a time span of 2 minutes being clean before a big ugly oily foot print was planted in the middle of it], cleaning sludge [as previously mentioned], painting tanks and generators, cleaning the tunnel where the propeller blade shaft resides [surreal because it was the coolest place on the ship and the closest to the ocean – trippy!], cleaning above the control area’s panels [so dirty and black!], vaccuming [psh!] but seriously my favourite job was wire brushing nuts and bolts with the electric brush. Oh my goodness I came out so black and with so many cuts from getting my fingers a little too close to the brush on too many occasions – but the joy I felt when the boys were impressed with how well I did with all my work – that was just another highlight.

Hah – and the first day I was in Engine I walked into the Mess with my lunch and I was thoroughly embarrassed by this LOUD thunderous roar from the Deckies and Engineers who were – cheering? – at me… ha! I haven’t been that red for a long time! [Insert that I got sunburnt a couple of days later and I was equally as burnt then too]. I enjoyed all the work I did in the Engine Department, enjoyed sitting in on the Department devotions with the Electricians and Plumbers, laughing at other people… don’t get me wrong, I love being a Barista but I felt like I had a purpose even if it was minor. I got nickname “Mathias” because that’s whose coveralls I was wearing, and just spent so much time laughing.

Then the morning we arrive into Albany [oh my gosh! Pretty!] after a good 4 days of tiring work, it starts pouring down with rain via this nasty storm that decided to sit on top of Albany. Then I suddenly felt overcome with exhaustion and my body just ached. As the day went on I just kept going down hill and by 11:30am I was back in bed for 2 hours. I got up to go to work to set up the Café only to have the rain and the wind prevent this. I sat in the dining room with Gerard [Netherlands] who also has a cold and we stared out the windows. By 4pm it was clear we weren’t going to be doing anything outside for a good 2 hours so I managed to crawl back into bed to steal a few more hours sleep. And I’ve pretty much been here ever since. Totally knackered.

Albany day one hasn’t proved to be a big hit, but praying that Sunday will be glorious weather and that many people will take the opportunity to visit the ship while its here for 4 more days. Pray that I also can shake this cold just as fast as it came upon me. It really sucks to be so tired, I cant talk very much because my throat is really sore and my body is in a lot of pain. I will hopefully drag my sorry butt upstairs and post this onto my blog this evening before crawling back to bed and sleeping – again…

19 days to go…

Oh my giddy aunt…

Xxx

PS – on that note about sending this blog post tonight – I just saw an email that said that the time we’re in Albany we’ve no connection to out Satellite – and we’re using another one which is really low – so not incoming International Calls and no internet for now…The joys of living on a ship that moves around the world – hahahah!

PS - to get you a bit more up-to-date, pretty much the entire time we were in Albany -so, all 5 days, I was really really sick with this flu that's flying around the ship. I spent 5 days intensley ill and ate only 3 pieces of bread and a small amount of soup [a cup one day and a cup another]. I lost alot of water which wasn't pleasant and combined with the weight I've lost in the whole duration of my trip, ended up with none of my clothes actually fitting me anymore. Bah! One bad thing about loosing weight is you have to have clothes to keep up with it. And my first real shift after getting sick I sat in the sun in a jacket to soak up some Vitamin D and managed to soak up just a little too much and ended up with a slight case of heat stroke on top of that. Then the voyage to Fremantle we left at 8pm on a Wednesday night and arrived about 9am the Friday following. We had about 20 minutes watching a whale jumping around early afternoon on the Thursday and a pod of whales jumping around right on dusk that evening.

And now we're in Freo and I had the pleasure of seeing the Fraser's the day we arrived [we had to talk through the fence because we still weren't cleared to leave yet] and then the next day had breaky with Dave, Shae & Mia... that was soooo nice!

So - thats this small update! Its not very busy at work today and I have a huge urge to go swimming - at 4pm!

Love you all!

I am sailing...

Hey everyone! So sorry that the previous entry was really - abrupt. I'll try and fill in the spaces later. Its been really busy on the ship, not just because we've just left Geelong sailing to Albany, but the weather in Geelong wasn't as pleasant as we'd hoped. The day's often we're sunny but had some strong wind, causing us to close or relocate [certainly not my favourite choice of solution but for the information about the forcasts we had, we had no choice].

Some highlights in the past week or so...

  • Getting to know the new 'Pre-Ship' has been a hoot - they are all nuts and its so nice to have fresh energy on the ship.
  • Seeing familiar faces [though not some from my home church I was expecting - sad!]
  • Being challenged with how I deal with situations of conflict [a highlight, i know!]
  • Getting to know people for who they really are and not the label I've put on them before I knew them
  • Oh - this should be number 1!! - but having a closer bond with God! I was challenged in the beginning and I put God on the back-berner but then realised that this was not something sensible for me to do and now I am trying to commit some time to God everyday!
  • Laughing - I love it! I have missed it in the past week with being really tired and just a little down but love having it back!
  • Fellowship with people: Simeon & Josephine [& David!], Luke & Rachel [& Winston!], Mandy, Hugh, the Follands and the Neohs... among many others.
  • Sailing - and the longest voyage so far... [read on for more details]
We're currently about halfway through the voyage, south of about Ceduna at the moment. Its been a very gentle voyage so far which has been tremendous though many - including the new Pre-Ship - are ill. I was allocated the Deck Department but they had too many people to train and who weren't sick so was told that this was no longer an option. I then asked some Engineers if they'd like some help - and so that's now where I'm working! I'm an un-official Engineer - woohoo! I get to wear big blue coveralls and get dirty from chipping at rust and then dirty again from painting with Rust Converter, Primer & Finishing paint. I'm very proud of the work the lads and I have done! AND - i get to hang out with the Engine guys - pretty cool! Its hot working in the Engine roome but its unique and different!

This has to been short because i'm totally bushwhacked and need sleep. Its amazing how when you do some physical work for 8 hours it makes so sleep so well at night! Don't get me wrong - I LOVE being a Barista - but its not a physically tiring job and I've been physically tired from not sleeping well for the past month or so. Thank God for voyages and for good work and beauty sleep...

Love you all - hope you're well! Have a blessedly FUNtastic day today/tomorrow...

xxx

Like sands through the hourglass, so is my life passing by...

Argh! 5 weeks to go! What is this!

Time is flying so fast right now. I cannot believe there's only 5 weeks to go. That is so extreme. I cannot believe how many people I have met in the past 7 weeks who have impacted my life so much. I cannot believe what an experience I've had in just such a small amount of time. I cannot believe how many places I have been to that i've never been before. I just cannot believe I'm really here I guess...



In the past week-ish I've had more people come visit - which has been just so awesome! It's also been a little sad because everyone I've personally know who has visited me thus far have been people who used to go to my church who have now moved away. Its still really awesome to see them though!



Thursday Tamra came to visit both the Folland family and myself, which was just awesome! We had a right old time drinking coffee and having a good old fashioned chin wag for a couple of hours! I got to make her a coffee aswell which was super, and she really enjoyed it!

... ack... sorry... I totally have forgotten to finish this email - and now don't have anything to add to this so I'll just make a new one...

Reminising... again

Okay the continued update.

The evening I returned back to the ship from my 'Overnight' I ended up going out with a couple of work friends to a really cool pub called 'The Argyle'. Now seriously, you don't even have to want to eat at the pub, just go for a look. It is set up in an old wine cellar and has very cool lights hanging from the ceiling and glass cabinets of objects also lit up... I could go on for hours.

Then, I got the special priviledge to watch a movie called "Welcome to the Sticks". This movie I recommend to EVERYONE! It's French, so there's subtitles, but its done so well and it's so random and you can believe me when I say that I was not the only one laughing through most of it. Fan-flaming-tastic!!!!

This now brings us to Monday, ah the 8th of September, the day before departure. Our Cap'n Ashley wanted to have a 'getting to know you' day out - also known as the BDO - Baristas Day Out. We had no idea where we were going which made it all exciting as we all made our way to the Info/lobby to meet. When we get there, Cap'n Ashley excitedly tells us that the manager of the Maritime Museum is going to let us in for free. Ah. Right. My first thoughts became,

"What kind of dude is Cap'n Ashley?? He wants to get to know us so he decides that taking us across to the other side of Darling Harbour to look a museum is a perfect idea... does he sleep with ships on his pj's too? This guy sure know's how to party - not!"

***Don't get me wrong, the museum I think would be cool... on a lazy Sunday afternoon when it's raining outside and stuff and things...

So were walking towards Darling Harbour central to the bridge to cross to the Maritime Museum, when Ashley walks down this boat ramp and I'm thinking "This dude is going to get a taxi across the harbour instead of walking over the bridge! Lame!" ....until this sweet sweet Sports Luxury Cruiser speed boat pulls into view heading to the boat ramp we just walked down.

No - way!

So - cheesy Cap'n Ashley is not so cheesy after all - infact he's quite a fun teaser and knows exactly how to party! We all jumped onboard for a few hours of speeding down the Sydney Harbour channels, eating delux dips and nibbles, fancy lunch and a nice glass or two, pulled into mini harbours and disembarked to walk around like up to 'The Gap', had running races about who would get back to certain spots first and just enjoyed the day.

That evening - I can't even remember what I did but I'm sure it was exciting...

Tuesday morning we were leaving Sydney by 9:30am, smooth sailing until we passed through 'the Heads'. Then - we had some awesome waves! Awesome for me, but many people were very sick from these awesome waves. Elliott [NZ] and I were down at one of our favourite fishing spots [right at the back of the ship] called the Aft Mooring Station and when the bow [front] of the ship was tilting down alot and the back of the ship was up a fair way in the air, as it was about to drop over the wave and back down again, Elliott and I would jump. AWESOME! Feels like your flying! But its just as awesome on the top levels of the ship too... love it!

The rough seas lasted most of the Tuesday, calming off considerably on the Wednesday - which was also awesome because we got to see a pod of 5 whales just cruising around next to us - and by Wednesday evening when we'd entered the Bass Straight, the seas were perfectly calm. Sitting on the bow of the ship right up the front-most spot is incredible - and even though its cheesy and most guests coming onto the ship attempt it on the Car Deck railing - you really have a desire to do the 'Titanic' pose... hhehehe! [by the way - I didn't do it :)].

Thursday midday-ish we started up the final leg of the sail to Geelong, arriving into the Geelong port at about 3pm to be greeted by an Army Band who gladly played a couple of songs to warm up the crowd.

This stop in Geelong is the most home-like port so far being smaller than Adelaide but very much a laid back big-country town. Brisbane brought us perfect weather and was right in posh-central so because there were resturants and cinemas, people were often coming onboard for a look. Sydney had terrible weather and only few nice days, but with no one walking near us because we were shut off from the public by large fences, we weren't very busy at all, but that did pick up on our last weekend. Geelong however has had the most people come onboard on our opening day, which is a huge blessing, especially as during the day has been blowy but the evenings have calmed right off.

HUGE exciting blessings have been that everyday so far I've had the priviledge of seeing someone I know. When we arrived, Simeon & Josephine Telfer [and little David] came onboard to visit the Follands - but was awesome to say hi to them and spend a little more time with them for the 2 days they stayed onboard.

Friday ended up being a very tearful day as P.Andy and Diedre came for a visit and spent about 5-ish hours with me both on the ship and off. We went out to have Mexican dinner [YUM!] and came back on the ship for a coffee, caught up with Yi-An and Yoke Mei, and then had a tearful farewell. Tearful because perhaps this would be the last time I'd see them for a fair while, and its going to be sad to go back to church and not see them there. I know where they are now is going to be most exciting and awesome and I'm so glad I did get that chance to catch up with them, especially to see photo's of Sarah's wedding - so BEAUTIFUL!

It was also extra exciting because it was the first of two of my best mates birthdays - today on September 12, its Happy Birthday Alex! I miss her so much and cannot wait to just talk randomness with her and her delightfully whack hubby, Tim, again [sorry to publicly say that, Alex! :)].

Saturday, Walburger and Heather popped down from Ballarat to spend a couple of hours, but I had to work at 4, so the hour-ish I got to spend with them was pretty awesome to catch up a little about whats happeneing with them.

Sunday I had an evening shift but the weather was so windy that it was uncertain if we would work. Our new recruits, Geelong Pre-Ship, also arrived today so it was a mixture of emotions from saying goodbye to so many people to welcoming the new recruits. Our welcome for the newbies was to stand on any available deck or Quayside and wave flags and scream and ya-hoo and make it all exciting for our newbies. Then I was halfway into eating my dinner when I got paged [which never happens!], and was told I had guest on the Quayside. Having no idea someone was coming I walked out to see James & Alexa Telfer standing there. If anyone reading knows Alexa, you know that when she's excited she gets a high-pitched squeal going. Weeooo!
I got to show them around the ship before handing them back to Simeon & Josephine to have a catch up with them, as the Geelong weather proved consistent and at 6pm we decided it would be calm enough to open for the evening [not like we had any customers]. James & Lex will come back next weekend to have a better catch up - which will rock!

Sunday was also extra exciting because it was the second of two of my best mates birthdays - September 14, its Happy Birthday Mozza! I also miss her dearly and extra miss her because shes just recently moved - but I hope her day was special and that she got my message of well-wishes! I can't wait to drop by and say hello to her wonderful self and to her lovely hubby, Pete, too!

Sorry for the length, but that now brings you up to date!

So ahm yeah! Must depart or i'll end up spending all day writing updates! Hope your well and I hope that life is being delightful to you at this time!

Hugs & Kisses... Carola

Reminising...

Hi my beautiful readers! I'm so sorry for a delay in updates. When we were in Sydney we didn't have any land ADSL internet connection, which meant that only 7 computers were available with Satellite internet and they - were - sloooow....

Alot has been happening recently, which I'll try and fill you in on.

The weekend before we left Sydney, so the 5-7th of September, I went on a 2 night 'Overnight' to Bankstown Uniting Church. This church is located about an hour's drive from the City [in traffic] which provided a wonderful napping opportunity for a few of us in the group. Pastor Gaby is the new youth minister at this church, and since he's been there they went from having no kids to having about 20 - praise God.

The Uniting church here itself is very multicultural, with Gaby and his family originating from Lebanon while others spring from Asia, Tonga, Samoa, New Zealand, India - and so on. Its a beautiful church and very open to anyone joining - a great attitude any church should have.

We were picked up from the ship on the Friday about 2:30pm - in pouring rain! - which for me joyously continued till Sunday morning. For our plans however this halted a number of things that had been planned - but that meant other things got to be done instead.

We went to a Uniting Church Conference - which was... interesting - but also had alot of good things said in it. We also had the priviledge of 3 dancers from Tonga and Samoa performing various Bollywood style Indian dancing and then wrapped it all up with some cultural Tongan & Samoan dancing - including 'The Dummies Guide' version for 9 awkward conference attendees. I would be awkward too if some greased up well built Tongan guy was trying to teach me their dances... hahahaha!

Saturday I woke up after a restless sleep thanks to giant drops of water falling from the 8-storey UnitingCare facility landing heavily on the office tin roof where we were sleeping. We had breakfast at 9am in the church hall with Pastor Gaby and Keith, an elderly gentleman who attends the church. He told us in great detail how Sydney got settled, where the name Bankstown came from, and other information the others found interesting. Don't get me wrong I find it interesting but most of it I knew from basic History classes in school - particularly the colonisation of Sydney.

Then we were treated to lunch at - McDonalds [bleh!] before we headed off to look at all the other churches in the Parish. We were dropped back off at our office where I laid down to rest only to end up sleeping for about 3 hours [exhausted much?] and being woken about 10 minutes before we had to start the Youth Program for the evening - unprepared. Argh! In the end though, it all worked out really good [of course!]. I managed to sing solo, share my testimony, do a magic trick, perform in a drama and make some really cool friends from the church. All in an evenings work!

Then we had dinner - at 9:30pm! -with Pastor Gaby and his wife, Mary, and their son Kevin. I have to say, my meals are so routine on the ship - usually breakfast 7-7:50, Lunch 12-1 and dinner 5:30-6pm - so I was starving every time we'd get to a meal as it would be about 2-4 hours later than i'm used to!

Sunday morning - early breakfast [yay!], before being at church by 8:30am ready for a 9am start. Some beautiful Samoan's [I think] sang a lovely song for the congregation before we got up the front and introduced ourselves again. We performed another drama and our married couple, Alfonso [Switzerland] and Marli [Brazil] shared their joint testimony. Akhan [India] was our group leader and he did the message for the service. As a group I think we really connected well with each other and the church - especially the youth. Then we were invited to join Pastor Gaby and his family for lunch - even with it being Father's Day. It was a nice day and they are a lovely family. They were very warm and welcoming, they often spoke in Arabic or French so I spent most of the time talking with Kevin about music and things. They even invited me back to holiday or to help out at the church - nice.

This concludes the 'Overnight' update, I'll let you rest your eyes while I go down to Quayside and say goodbye to more friends who are leaving the ship. 70 in all will be gone by Sunday and Sunday evening we welcome the 71 new Pre-Shippers. Sad AND happy times...

The concrete heart...

I am typically an observer. I tend to notice the small things others might not see. I also pay attention to the structure of abandoned worn down buildings or the messages of graffiti. I see the impact of discarded rubbish or even the joy on the face of a child with poor living conditions. But I don't just see it - I feel it.

Today I had my 3rd E-day - or Evangelism day for those playing at home. In the past 2 E-days I've only left the ship once, and that was to walk around the nearby park in Brisbane and promote the ship to the community for a couple of hours. This wasn't very successful because out of all the people we talked to, the first 2 groups had already been on the Doulos, the 3rd were going to the Doulos already, a big group of people playing sports were actually families from the Doulos so we obviously didn't promote to them, and the very few people we spoke to after that didn't want to know.

So when I got told I'd be going to hang with kids with one of our crewmember's parents, I was overjoyed! I've missed the chilluns from HYPE where I was part of the leadership, so the opportunity to spend time with kids really excited me! So a meeting was set up with the 4 people doing the E-day and our group leader, Samuel [Switzerland] was asking about some of the creative ministries things we could do. I had no idea. The other team members have been on the ship for a longer time, some for up to a year, and have done many E-days so the skits and drama's they've done were things they could discuss. We decided that since we were so unsure about what we'd be doing anyway, we'd just let God really work in us.

Our pickup came at midday today, and 5 [gained one teamie overnight] climbed aboard. It had been mentioned to us in our prayer meeting at 11am that the term 'kids' was quite - broad. Not so many kids, more people. And we were going to be with Aboriginals or Muslims. When we arrived, the original plan Stanley [crewmate's Dad] had apparantly come with an unexpected surprise - something else was already happening.

Then we were kinda just followed Stanley around - which is something I utterly hate doing because I feel like I'm not allowing things to happen while I'm only following someone around - but he introduced us to people, and we handed out some flyers, and then we walked...

We walked past falling down houses that have bricked up or boarded up windows and doors to prevent people from squatting there, but mainly to stop people having some place to go to 'shoot up'. We walked past fenced off stairs and areas covered in broken glass. This apparantly is what it looks like when its 'clean' too. We walked past houses that had a horrid stench coming out of them and people still live there because there's no where else for them to go. We talked to people and said hello despite their consumption of alcohol and cigarettes that have almost burnt down to their fingers.

I looked, and tried not to stare. I tried particularly not to stare at a man who was wearing women's clothes. I tried not to stare at people who perhaps once were big drug users and now the drugs have taken their affect on their body. I tried not to stare at the people who find their clothes in Villi's bins. I tried not to stare at the ground expecting to see needles, and tried harder not to search for them.

But then, lyying on the ground I see a piece of broken concrete from a set of stairs that used to exist. I'm not sure if it fell or was brought down by choice from someone, but everything had been taken away and the ground sealed up, 'clean' is what it was called despite the broken glass lying around this piece of tarred concrete. It facinated me [who know's why, I don't find concrete particularly facinating] and I walked over to it. Surprisingly it was a concrete 'heart'. A broken piece of concrete that had its shape like a heart. And I felt compelled to pick it up.

The thing is, the moment I had grabbed that piece of broken concrete, I saw the whole situation of the day differently. Sure, most of those people were probably in poverty by some sort of choice, a choice that they made to put drugs, alcohol, or another form of 'abuse' before themselves. Sure, most didn't know God and don't know the freedom a person like myself knows. But among their 'shattered glass' life, there is still going to be hope. It might also not come from themselves. It might be someone foreign, like my team mates and myself, who have a hope for these people with 'shattered glass' lives that one day the life they live can change. My crewmate's parent's continue to work there in that area with those people hoping to help change their lives.

...just like the tree that was surrounded by brickwork, graffiti, torn posters, rubbish and glass, still growing tall reaching towards the sky...

I was confronted yet encouraged by my little adventure today. And then to make it all the more better, we have Security tonight. If you could please open your bag and place it in the tray there...

... please step over to the screening...

... and turn...

Thankyou...

Cause I gotta have faith...faith... faith

Since being in Sydney, we’ve certainly begun experiencing more of our Australian winter. Most people on the ship are ‘suffering’ from the cold – particularly when they arrived in New Zealand – as they had predominantly been living in mostly ‘summer’ weather for a year – or had arrived while travelling in countries like the Philliphines where its often warm. Mum has been informing me of her ‘puddle’ status – currently I believe she still has some puddles existing – which make her glad. And Dad has informed me that they’ve been having a reassuring stint of rain to keep them hopefull that perhaps this is the year the drought will change. I hope wherever you are your lawns and gardens are getting a well deserved watering.

I have appreciated the cool weather as I more than understand we’re in a drought, but have ashamedly found it frustrating as our Café is exposed to the elements being on the ‘Car Deck’ which is practically the bow of the ship. Because we also haven’t had efficient weather proofing – particularly from the wind and rain, [having it open gives people much more picturesque views not obstructed by shelter], so we have been braving the bitter chilling cold instead. Our demands really are not many. We want something to stop the rain getting to us, and we’d like a couple of those heaters that café’s with outdoor areas have. Having the heaters would trick us to believe the wind isn’t as chilling, and with the shelter the rain wouldn’t affect our entire area like it does. But it might take us all getting sick before that happens…

Saturday I spent my first money in what feels like months by going to my first IMAX experience with Timothy [UK], Mikaela [USA], Tomas [Sweden], Naveen [India], Jeff [Paraguay] & Christian [Paraguay], dude and dude [Naveen’s friends]. Oh-my-goodness. I’m not even gasping bout the slightly pricey cost to watch a movie there [only a sweet $25]. No, I’m talking about the overly impressive screen we got to eyeball. This was such a MASSIVE screen! I joked to my Jeff & Christian [picture me jammed between 2 well-over 6ft guys] that it would be hilariously nasty if IMAX tease us with this massive screen and show the movie with black defining top & bottom lines. We laughed, but I think we were all thinking how low that would be if we cough out that much money for half an awesome screen. Luckily after previews and really bad advertising [seriously, Sydney, I am appalled in your terrible graphics and advertising in cinemas!] the movie started and we were comforted to see that the screen disappears in front of the people in the front row and goes all the way to the ceiling, and wide enough that you have to slightly turn your head to keep up with the action. Amazing… so worth it!

I also went to the Hillsong City church – which was a lovely way to spend Sunday. A group of 5 of us walked about 45 minutes through the city to a stop where a ‘courtesy’ bus collects attendees and drives them the 5 minutes to the campus. The group was Noelle [USA], Jen [Canada], Timothy [UK], Tersius [SA] and myself. When we arrived I was honestly truly surprised that we had people recognise we were new. Our first greeter was really informative and encouraging – and upon hearing that we all live on a ship and are from all nationalities in the world – informed one of the head Pastors about us and soon we were talking to him too. They really found the whole idea fascinating, which isn’t really a surprise. They also had never heard of OM – which also did not surprise me. And for Hillsong City – it was tiny. I had imagined a humungous venue – but it was so small. And I was expecting to be bored of the message because I wouldn’t find anything of value in it – when infact Robert Fergusson actually preached the Word. He was reading verses from all over the bible and actually using them. He said don’t come to church and focus on the speaker, the singer, or the place. Focus on the message, the worship and completely on Jesus. I was encouraged greatly by his sermon.

When we had finished we caught the courtesy bus back into the city [it almost felt like a wasted drive when we could’ve walked that distance rather easily], and had a really awesome lunch in Darling Harbour for under $10. Shock. I really didn’t think there would be anywhere to get food there for less than $25 – so I was impressed – particularly as my chicken, avocado & salad sanga was a great size in price comparison.

Life otherwise is exciting. I worked my longest shift on Monday, working from 12:30pm till 10pm. It was meant to be 1-11pm but the Bookshop closed early from having less than 100 people come through all day. But Mondays on the ship tend to be quiet anyway as most people have Monday as their day off, which means to keep departments running, whoever’s on shift that day works ALL day.

Tuesday was then my official Off day I left the ship [you have to – or you’d go nuts from never leaving] and wandered the city with Cara [Brisbane]. She’s a Salvo, so we were actually in the city for her to do some Salvo things at the head office, and I tagged along because I was free and we have rules about how many people have to go with you if you leave the ship. When I got back I changed and ended up at work [it’s the hang out place for Douloids that just happens to come with AWESOME coffee or hot chocolates!] and ended up in this great DnM with Crystal [USA], Liza [SA] and Tomas [Sweden] about knights in shining armour, do they exist, that most women want a manly man, that even though Tomas isn’t that much a blokey bloke we’re sure he’ll fight for the chick he loves when he finds her, and other really random but interesting things like that which drinking coffee’s and eating chocolate in the sun. Then to randomise the afternoon, I hung out with John-Lee [SA] who really is like my brother [kinda annoying] but he’s cool and we just laugh a whole bunch, the tripper. And last night I got to hang out with some of the Bookshop Douloids, particularly Semih [like Sammy] [Turkey]. He is SOOO funny! And random! He reminds me a lot of Monty – we can just say a whole bunch of whack stuff and laugh about it and its all fun and fancy free but totally random. Nothing from ‘Lilo & Stitch’ has been mentioned [personal joke with Monty & Ali…]… hahhahaha!

Today I have had the pleasure of just doing random things that appeal to me till I have to go to work @ 3pm – earlier than normal because I was REALLY late to our Barista devotions [completely had forgotten them actually so I totally missed them] and therefore get to go to work early – haha! Then I watch the drills take place which today meant all the lifeboats on starboard side were lowered with crew and drills were practiced. This evening I work till close and that basically will mean just hanging out with Elliott [NZ] and telling him I can’t understand what he’s saying… hahah so funny! One example is that he says “Chux” when speaking about “Chicks” – which puts me into giggles. We’ve not been able to hang out as much as with the rest of the Barista’s and STEPpers – so it’ll be nice to just muck around with him.

Tomorrow I swapped a shift to work early because Silvan [Switzerland] came and asked me if I would sing with him at Prayer Night – which was really cool! I think he only asked because for one of our programs in Brisbane they were playing “Hosanna” by Brooke Fraser/Hillsong and I’d offered to do harmony as I knew it from Church but due to time restraints they decided to go ahead without – which was fine. But it seems I opened the door to sing on the Doulos. Lucky I’ve done it a few times back home J.

So - that’s really the latest update that I can give! A couple of weeks more and I’ll be only 1 state away! I have no idea exactly how many Adelaidians are coming to see the ship [and me?], and I can’t wait to see whoever does arrive!!!! I think Pandy & Dee Dee might make an appearance which might make some spontaneous precipitation occur from my eyes… but we’ll laugh it off! Note to them if they read this: txt message me when coming if you know – then I can see if I’ll be around! That goes for anyone really…

But please pray for 2 ‘incidents’ that have happened in the past week, particularly that they be resolved quickly…

One of our van’s was involved in a car accident with a Jeep on Sunday evening going to Hillsong Church – Hills campus. Out of the three vans and one car that were going, the third van was hit. Please pray that the shock of the accident wont affect the children who were in the car particularly as well as the other Douloids involved. Pray also that the driver of the Jeep could realise that it was an accident and not carry out the threats she has made.

Pray also for one of the STEPpers [Karl] who today was involved in a car/bike accident. He was with 2 other STEPpers [Samantha [Brisbane] & Elliott [NZ]] when he and the car collided. It seems that neither parties saw the other, and because we have no fixed address on the ship, the driver took Karl’s camera as security and is expecting a call back from us [the ship]. Karl by the way is okay.

Just to add to all the excitement already happening.
Please pray for me for patience with a couple of other Douloids who require more energy and patience to work with. Pray also for the right words when speaking to these people and to remember that God loves them and the person they are so I too should give them that grace.
Pray for energy to work and for enthusiasm to do my studies everyday. Pray also for my relationship with God as I’ve been so busy and then tired, or consumed by life that I’ve started to not be as consistant in my talks with God.

Thankyou sooo much!
Kisses…
Carola

The 'honeymoon' is ending...

Salut! I think I have now been here long enough to finally allow reality to set in. Or, I'm just really tired from working alot and from the past two nights of staying up late giggling with Cara.

Its all been a bit kaotic lately as I have had soooo many scattered morning shifts [9am-4:30pm] closely mixed with soooo many night shifts [4-11pm+] that its beginning to wear me out. We tossed up the idea of working one week all mornings and one week all evenings, but somehow we universally came to the conclusion that we enjoy having shifts with different staff each day. And we can have some days to go out or some evenings to participate in programs each week - instead of only evenings one week and only days another.

Wednesday was a public holiday up here in the Big Q which concluded being our biggest and busiest day thus far. I worked all that day, then worked all Thursday, which really just smacked all the sanity and normality out of me. I also had to change rooms on Thursday evening, so straight after work I had to cart my gear from one end of the ship to the other - something that certainly wasn't high on my "Awesome things to do today" list. The move actually refreshed me because both Cara and I got to put our stuff wherever we both wanted - instead of being provided a slither of space to occupy and live in from those who already resided in the cabins.

Random side note: I could easily say I feel like I am on school camp. Most people on the ship are around my age - so basically from 18-28. There really aren't that many people older than that in comparison to how many people are onboard. This means there are loads of riff-raff and cheeky ninja-pranking behaviour, which also means a load of laughing. Add to that the confusion of new languages and translations and words being used that mean one thing in one culture and something different in another, and bouts of random laughter just flow from all sources.

Speaking of laughter - I have become humbled to my own since being onboard. I used to think I was unique and had too many varities of laughter, a characteristic to be shared and enjoyed by others. Then I met Thabo from [insert country here]. He trumps my laugh and its so hillarious. Its soooo much louder than mine, so high squealing, so out there, so contagious... if you are a Simpsons fan, think Dr Hibbert [who always laughs at the most innappropiate of moments], times that by 10, crank the volume, and make the "hee-hee-hee's" top shelf high pitched. He is soon to leave - like so many other awesome people I've only just been getting to know - so until he does, I taunt him with the "Why, hee-hee-hee's". I've even gotten to a point where I don't have to say the whole thing... just "Why..."... hahahaha!

Anyway, back to my update...

The rest of the STEPpers arrived yesterday. I have only met about 7 girls and 3 guys so far - there could be more. Its really weird having them finally around because we've already been here for 2 weeks and have established friendships, know how to get around the ship, and have our jobs already. Its like an invasion into our group and I know that sounds nasty and judgemental from their first day but here me out. We've already done the awkward moments, got introduced to our group, got to know each other and the rest of the Crew, we've been there - done that. Now they have finally arrived, we certainly don't feel like we fit in with them. We're still apart of their crew but - not. Its like we have one up on them because of our arrival earlier, so its like its two groups instead of one. And their jobs are interchangeable because all STEPpers do those jobs, and they don't necessarily like them, whereas we actually applied to do our job as Coffee Barista's, so our job is more personal to us, and our time isn't the same everyday. It really will be interesting to see how the dynamics work out. I really pray we do gel well with them all.

So other than that - all is well. I am finally almost over being sick. My sprained ankle unfortunately is not healing fast at all - still very swollen, very sore and just an annoyance I'm ignoring - which means its not healing because I just keep doing life on the ship. Add to that the fact that I totally bashed myself up about a week ago with one of our external doors. [I may have mentioned this earlier... sorry]. Some of the doors are really heavy, and most need a key to open them. There is also a variety of door step sizes, which has been tricky to avoid tripping over when I'm in a hurry collecting milk or cookies for work. So picture this...

I arrive at a door needing a key to open it [crew only]. I have my key on a neck chain for covenience as I brought work pants with no pockets [great idea]. I open the door, and while trying to get my key out again, begin stepping through the door - not quite getting my leg high enough over the step, the key finally releases from the lock, and while loosing stability I grab the door to correct myself, resulting in pulling it closed with my legs caught between. This has got to be the most random way to be jammed - you seriously cannot correct yourself gracefully.

Hope you had a laugh. I certainly did writing that. I am uncoordinated at the best of times - but I feel that since being on the ship I've become so much more awkward and easily damaged . Bruises adorn most of me from just running into random things - or randomly assaulting myself like the above.

Another cool thing is that it seems we have free dental - and I'm having un-wise wisdom teeth problems again, so I'm going to look into seeing if I can get the problem ones removed. I mentioned as a joke to the Dentist if she would like to pull out some teeth - and she all too quickly and excitedly said that she'd love to - scary woman. I'll go suss her out.

And that pretty much concludes this update! We set sail [hahahahah] on Tuesday afternoon - bound for Darling Harbour, Sydney - berth 5. Please pray for efficient cleaning and packing for all of us, pray for good sailing weather and seas, particularly that sea-sickness is minimum. The biggest prayer point for me right now is my future. I haven't been here very long at all and the suggestion of returning in Feburary as a Pre-ship has been thrown around by my crew mates - but also from some in leadership [wowsers] - so I really need your help in prayer as to a direction and to know if God wants me here and not accept the idea because I'm having a great time - you know how it is...

Love, love, love... [doo be doo...]

View from I-Cafe'...

I like to be beside the sea side...

Hi everyone! How are you? Can you believe its been officially ONE WEEK since I jumped onboard the ship and almost 2 weeks since I last saw most of you guys? WOW! Can I just say I feel like its been so much longer - but not in a "so boring" kinda way, oh no. Its just full on. I know my way around the ship now, have met many many random people from all over the globe, and have even visited the doctor onboard [the Neoh's if you were aware and its okay, its just an ear infection]. Its cool.

The Barista-ing life is fantastic. My team includes Cara: 23 - QLD, John: 33- QLD, Bev: 53 - NSW, Elliott: 24 - NZ, Maricel: 32 - MALAYSIA, Liza: 21: Manager - SA [South Africa] and Captain Ashley who is our "Big Boss" and not just because he's the Captain. The International Cafe is his little pet project, so anything that goes wrong we tell him. He has been getting loads of stuff for us regarding setting up. We've just received today our final piece of work attire in the form of an apron & cap with the Doulos I-Cafe' embroidered on it. The cap is like a hat with no bill [if that makes sense]. NOW I think we'll feel like we're really a part of the crew. And hopefully soon we'll get out most fantabulous ID Badges instead of the most un-funky Guest Badges, which hopefully will stop people asking why a Guest is working there. Enough already.

We're still in all the early stages of development, trial and testing many things etc etc. We dont have Decaf Coffee - and I'm not sure if we will because all the coffee has been donated to us. Nice. We might be having syrups coming soon so we can funkify the menu, but thats probably happening later so we can get better at making shots and doing the milk. I'm a little backwards with my milk, making frothy milk for Latte's [and having to spoon off the excess] or making flat milk for Cappucino's [not enough froth at all]. Its hillarious! But it's definately improving!

Where we're positioned on the ship overlooks the bow, and I have some awesome photos of that view of mine but my camera is having a caniption and wont be recognised on the computers I've tried. I'll try again later I hope! The only down fall of where we are positioned is that when its a windy day all the coffee grinds get blown around and we've had several cases of 'Caffeine Eye'. Its not a cool thing to catch. Nor is "Chocolatte Eye". Thats a mixture of coffee grains and chocolate dust. We also get a fair bit of sun since they took down half our tarp covers so people could sit drinking their most fancy Latte's in sunshine, and this also has allowed the one night of rain we've had to get more drift onto our un-waterproofed coffee machine and computer. But that all adds to the fun!

People are genuinley liking our coffee, and really appreciate that we're all still learning - so that really has helped. I think we've only had one case of 'complaint' about what was wrong with the drink they were given, and they sound like they were a little toffy - which is to be expected since we're 'parked' [that is the ship I mean] right in the middle of lah-di-dah town. That has a cinema. That us Douloids get like half price discount at. Wee-ooh!

Ah, in other aspects of the Doulos life, its hard to get to know people when so many of them are leaving soon. So conversations are really quick or really random or really just "Hello!" as we walk by. Its amazing the friendships that are developed in such small spaces of time. The Auckland STEPers are soon to leave, and its amazing to see their friendship not only with each other but with the long-termers. I really pray that as time goes on here that I get to continue to meet really amazing people.

Another funny thing is the whole "SP" Priviledges that people have to apply for. You may have heard me mention this to you before I came onboard, but the Doulos has very particular 'friendship' rules. No one is to date within the first year [lucky for me I'm here for 3 months!]. After that if a girl fancies a guy and the feelings are mutual - then they go to some dude or chick high up in the co-ordinating department and apply for a "Special Persons" priviledge to spend extra time with their "Special Person". How hillarious. And from that point their relationship is public - and can often be mentioned or congratulated in meetings or prayer nights. Ha! Embarrassing much?

Very funny!

Well I must go get some fancy cards that I have to sign for and to work out what to do with my washing [we have washing days - and you can only do your washing on those days], and the only other machines we can use are for Families only. Which I think is a bit unfair because I just want to wash my clothes and because I have to work I couldn't wash all my work clothes and can't wait 2 days to get my clothes back! ARGH!

*Well thats about it for now. I don't know if you groovers have worked out you can write to me, or you are just opting to let me be adventurous for now. My mum did seem to think I had told everyone that they couldn't write just to tell me they hung up the washing. This is true, I don't really want to know you hung up your washing. But that doesn't mean you can't tell me if you have been struggling lately or that your life is going fantastic. I do also have at the top of the page my email address but perhaps that explanation doesn't make sense so I'm going to put it in better terms here... carola.bradford@gbaships.org... okay?*

*...*This part has been edited recently... sorry if it confused you before hand.

Ciao Whoops!

PS - Please pray for health, I can't rest to get my energy back so its taking longer to get better - and thats frustrating me. Pray also that I wont be distracted by the new environment and the 'new fishing pool' - people don't necessarilly act different on the ship to how they would in real life, but everything heightened when you work with someone all the time or you see someone all the time. I hope that doesn't sound too weird! I don't have a problem with it but I want to be focussing on doing God's work.

I think thats all... for now! :)

Carola xxx

Mucho Update-oh

Its been a crazy few days! I am totally EXHAUSTED! It could be because there are endless stairs to be climbed and decended throughout the entire ship [I'm sure I'm going to come back half the person I used to be - ba-dom-cha!]. It could be because for 3 full days its been all go and the only stop I get is when I’m vertically standing. I could be from all the information we’ve had to absorb in 1 day that any other STEP team/crew had atleast 3 days to take in. It could be because Brisbane has FINALLY pumped out some better Brisbane weather instead of Adelaide weather [it got to 5*C at one stage I’m sure they were saying!].

But I am having a total blast!!! And I really can understand why so many people do this for longer because the experience itself is truly amazing. I think I’m going to really miss leaving all these wonderful people! And you would be so shocked to know I didn’t act at all like the person I'm usually being [loud, crazy, chatterbox, clown - You know the one!] - until today! That’s a pretty big challenge but don't act so shocked! I can’t take all the credit - I had the flu :( – so I was far more intent to listen to everyone due to lack of voice. So I had you going back there. You were thinking “She hasn’t even been gone a week and she’s a totally different person!?”. I think that would probably take something really big..

So I’ll describe what the ship is like…. its TOE-TAH-LEE OOR-SAHM!!! [Have you watched “The Incredibles” anytime recently?]. Coming from afar it looks so …Majestic. Intriguing. Facinating. Superb. Even as I continued to walk up closer to it, its sizing did shrink a little but I realised how real it was! And then I was onboard. Well I managed to haul myself on board anyway. Mr Holland [or other country - I never got his name or nationality] was cleaning the sides of the stairs up to the ship [as you do] and saw my luggage [it wasn't shocking!] and without me even putting its lah-di-dah roller handle down he was hauling it up the stairs. And inside. And through some doors. And all he said [and has said since] is "Ya!". Hahaha. Good introduction to the ship and crew!

Mr Daniel Wong [STEP Co-Ordinator] then collected myself and my luggage [I know!] and showed me my room - and its TINY! Sooooo tiny! I will show pictures soon. But its sooo tiny! I get the wonderful blessing of sharing with Gerdia from South Africa. She has alot of stuff [really puts me to shame!] and its really - everywhere! But she's been here for almost 2 years, is about to get married, and has shared a room with herself for a while! She's sooo lovely! We have our own telephone box sized shower & bathroom - thank goodness! Its so groovy!

Up stairs from my floor [known as "Main Street"] is the dining room. And upstairs from that and around a corner is my "workplace". I believe I was blessed with such a good location so that I could get my ankle & knee back to some working order - so that by August or September I'll likely to change rooms when Gerdia leaves *tear*.

Thursday evening [the day I arrived on the Doulos] was "Prayer Night". This lasts for up to 4 hours! Its intense! Its a bit of info night, a bit of singing, a bit of randomness, a few skits, and oh - some mega praying! Its very spirit filled. I unfortunately lasted till 9pm and then "karked" it, exhausted from the flu and Brisbane weather. I unpacked what now seemed like very small amount of luggage and pretended to go to sleep. Pretended because I was so HOT! Having been used to going to bed with a hot water bottle in a cold room, to then go to having a regular temperature throughout your whole home/office/gym/library [note it mention some random things because these are all on the ship and this is where I spend most of my time!] ...of 23*C [perhaps?] was really bizzare and I felt so stuffy!

Sleep did finally arrive and I was awake at 5am when Gerdia went for a run, and then managed to drag myself actually off my bed at 5:30am to get ready for early breakfast with our crew which magically grew from 4 to 7 for coffee sampling in a cafe within the city. Wee Ooh!

So the team which originally consisted of Bev - NSW, Cara - QLD & John - QLD, has now grown to Liza - South Africa [on a long journey with the ship and is also our Cafe' manager], Elliott - NZ [who sailed on the ship to join us as Barista's around Australia - cool!] and Marcelina - Malaysia? [who is also on for a long journey]. We also met Brett McDonald - brother of our Cap'n Ashley and Barsita extrodinaire. Due to the early start we enjoyed the coffees [note - plural :)]. It was a funky way to learn some things - and invade someone elses Coffee making space. Then we had orientation for the rest of the day. That probably was the most intense and exhausted me the most as it was so full on and jammed in because instead of 3 days Orientation we had only 1. When I really had no brain left, I managed to have dinner and do more learning in the evening [I've seriously forgotten what we did because I was so brain dead - and it was only last night].... wait - we all practices making coffess, I remember. Then most were so exhausted that they went to bed and Elliott, Brett & myself set up and practiced making coffees on random people until one of the randoms brought back his friends. So I got to give it a whirl. Wee Ooh. Said Random actually returned today.

Wrapping this up quickly, my first shift was today, and it was pretty crazy! We had about 3 hours off as we used up all our milk [all 14L's!] and then finished my shift technically at 4:30 but as I'd had register/money/EFTPOS experience from Bi-Lo, I got to teach people how to use it - with the guidance of Mr Paul C - IT crazy man from IRELAND! :)

So - thats about it! Make sure if you write me emails you send to the email at the top of this page - the one in red - and replace the [at] with @.

Kisses to the ones I miss-es...

Carola

Day 1: Brisbane [Not in Kansas Anymore]

The journey has officially begun.

I'm still coming to terms that I am going to be sailing on a ship making coffee around Australia for 3 months. Despite having only left Adelaide last night, even arriving in Brisbane couldn't secure some guarantee that this really is happening. I even went into town today and yet for some reason feel like I've wagged a day of work. Its a rather strange feeling! Added to that is the great blessing to already be updating this.

At the airport I had a wonderful send of by some dedicated N'worthians who really wanted me on that plane - delayed or not! As I was walking the gangplank to the plane I obviously had something stuck in my eye, because it began to weep, but God busted a move and let me sit next to this cool 6y/o called Jennifer. Jennifer is vibrant, bubbly, entertaining - and has Scoliosis. She has had one lot of surgery to correct her back last year, and in 5 years time she has 2 more operations. Her Mum, Amanda, is legally blind and her brother who is 13 [not on the plane] had his feet amputated as a baby. Talk about wow! Jennifer and I exchanged drawings and we watched cartoons and laughed. And then I was in Brisbane!
Trav wonderfully collected me and my delayed flight from the aiport, drove me and my luggage back to greet his lovely wife who was waiting in the warmth of their very Queenslander-esque home [one of those houses on stilts kinda things]. The Mad-Oxes and myself then chat for an hour or so. Night owls much? It was great to catch up with them!

Finally calling it a night I haul my slightly over-weight [hahah] suitcase onto my bed where the top handle decides that its previous attached location does not suit its style any more and therefore detatches itself. Nice.

Bed. Ah. Bliss. I wake only to hear Trav & Jo tip-toe out the house about 7:45am and I roll back to sleep. 45minutes later I receive a text message which I begin to reply to before accidently falling back to sleep [I really didn't mean to!]. I wake half hour later discovering I'd not finished the text - consider doing so - before rolling over and falling back to sleep. I wake at about 9:45am.

After pottering around and trying to fix my suitcase I have some breakfast and consider the days events. I should get out and explore, though the ankle isn't terribly excited by this:


Lovely. Who sprains their angkle 5 days before leaving on a new adventure anyway. Oh right. Me!



Proof that I am actually here in Brisbane. And if you sit outside on the CitiCat's you look like this:



And now for some random snaps from the day to tie you over till the next post.

XOX Carola


Countdown...

1 Week before M&P move to "Face Mask"

Kaos.
Insane-ness.
The want to do everything with recognition that that is not possible.
The want to see everyone with the recognition that that is not possible.
The want to stop time just for a moment with the recognition that that is not possible.
Having faith that all will be well, but in my weak human nature, still doubting that.

2 Weeks before P.Andy moves to VIC

Exciting!
Nervousness!
To have no idea what to expect, but expecting the unexpected all the same!
To know that this is only but one small step into a bigger journey called life!
To be slightly scared about where exactly my life IS going...!!!
To be more excited about what amazing things might happen in my life!
To understand that I don't need to take everything in order to 'have it all'...!

3 Weeks till I leave Adelaide bound for Brisbane...

Because I have nothing really to tell about what is happening with me - I have instead been telling you all the crazy weird things that have been running through my head instead!

Forgive me...

But I will admit to having dual emotions running round. Not doubt that i'm doing the right thing, I'm 99.98% certain of that. Its just sadness to be leaving friends who mean the world to me mixed with excitedness to be making new ones! Sadness to not have as much contact with my family while i'm away, but excitedness that in my absence they might just blossom in their own relationships with each other! Sadness to not see the funny people I work with now, but excitedness with what my job might be when I come back [and find it!].

What a big ball of crazy energy!

*grabs her earlobes and begins rubbing them between her fingers...*

Ciao-whoops groovers...

People, Places & Passports

Just a random update about random things for all my readers who possibly read this... [yep, thanks for reading, Alihsee... :)]

In relation to my trip on the MV Doulos, I've had the pleasure of meeting 3 wonderful gals.
It's actually been really - surprising!

I met Cara B when the short term co-ordinator Jane suggested that I say hello to one of my soon to be fellow co-Baristas. So I did. Little did I know that in saying hello I would find my twin! Okay not overly really - but the similarities between Cara and myself are many. Our main name initials are both CB. We both use the 'car' analogy when explaining our names. We're both 23. Both of us are overly bubbly with seemingly infectious personalities. I could go on... I am very excited to meet Cara - and hope we get along famously!

Then there's Rhea - who found me via a Google search [woohoo!] with words including "fundraising" & "Doulos" because she was trying to find some information about how to raise money while being away on the ship, and came upon my lil blog here. Little did I know that from her simple enquirey we'd become email buddies!

Then we come to Bev - the 3rd and final gal out of the 4 Barista's for the Doulos. Bev & I have spoken briefly but already I feel like we have a connection - or just both have excellent sense of humour! The granny of the team she claims, but I think she is very young at heart and i'm really excited to chat to her!

Its been pretty cool! I cant wait to find out who the bloke is in our team - and where he's from. He'd probably really like to know now too since its only 3 weeks away - TODAY!!!! It would be nice to know where he's coming from and what he's been doing ministry wise up till coming onto the Doulos. Its just facinating to know why each of us are doing it!

In other news - everything has pretty much fallen into place - thankyou God!
  • My passport arrived swiftly [and it is sooo exciting to have one that i've embarrasingly been sleeping with it under my pillow... hahaah... hmm tho now that i've mentioned this on the net, I think i'll stash it away somewhere safe... hahaah].
  • My total in money to raise was raised with a month spare - which was just such a blessing and made my heart literally burst with joy! Its really awesome to have so many people excited and encouraged by this little adventure I'm going on!
  • I have my suitcase and backpack ready to pack...
  • Flight to Brisvegas booked...
  • A place to stay in Brisvegas from arrival in the city till arrival on the ship 4 days later...

Its all really just made me more and more aware and impressed that when God wants you to do something - it will happen! Even if you never thought something like this would be or could be possible! Amazing! Exciting!

Oh... i am so excited to be going on this adventure - but I'm also really quite sad - and scared! July is the month of departures for my lil niche of groovy friends. M&P move to the town of "Face Mask" so M can be a full time teacher, which is SOOO exciting for them! But that happens on the 12th of July. P.Andy's last Sunday as our Pastor is on the 13th of July, and then himself and his delightful wife are making a new adventure in VIC, she's already there as her new job started 8 weeks ago?, and P.Andy's official leaving town date is the 18th of July.

And I leave on the evening of 27th of July... for 3 months... crap! When i say crap, what I mean is, whoa-crap! I've not been away from somewhere for so long - so that kinda scares me. And the idea that many changes will take place between now and when I come back with people, places, personalities, picturesqueness [no, not exactly a real word but run with it!]... just the changes that will probably occur. And it will be hard to fit back into life here I think, because i'll have changed too. But then, were the changes for good or bad? Or what about if something hasn't changed, when it could - or should've. What will reactions be like? It will be interesting to say the least...

But the friends i'm going to be missing when i'm away. Their characters. Their spark. Their quirkyness. The fact they actually slightly understand my crazyness - or atleast recognise it as just a part of me. I have to train a ship-load of people to realise that I often make NO sense... and its best if they just nod, point, and laugh. My friends here think its funny that I have different laughs, and that often when I laugh I stream a fountain of tears down my face - and that is funny. My "Angry eyes". NO ONE WILL GET THAT! But - that definately comforts me to know that when I return, those funny little things are likely to have not changed. Or worse - they've had time to think up really good jokes, or pranks, and i'll provide the perfect victim...

ahahahaahahahaha...

Hmmm well thats about it...
Ciao just for now...
Carola xxx

Officially-Officially Accepted, Update and Police

Well, I missed the point of telling ya'll that I was officially officially accepted on the Doulos... that was only about a week ago anyway...

I have about 6 weeks to go...

My passport - fresh off the milkyway press of delights - should be arriving soon...

Birthday pressie from 2 lovely lassies is to purchase the bag for all my luggage - thank goodness - because I have no idea...

Have bought the first flight - to Brisvegas from Adelaide: Carola departs 8:30pm Sunday evening, July 27 2008...

I'm soooooooooooooooo excited...!!!

I'm scared, too...

I officially handed in my resignation from work *tear!* today...

I have ALMOST tracked down my digital camera I left in the Starbucks Cafe in Melbourne a month after filing a report about its geograpic misplacement. Its only taken ringing the Cafe 5 times, ringing 4 different police stations numerous amounts of times and getting help only as of today, all because a lousy receipt number and Constable name the Cafe chick has would've told us where my camera has been taken to in the first place... like the police told anyone that... but thanks to them and their help anyway...!!

I ---- trully have now run out of things to say...!!

Wait - no I appologise I forgot one thing...

Its very cold now that "winter" [according to the calendar] has set upon us... *brrrrr - this is the time to find someone to cuddle to warm you up - I found my giraffe stuffed toy... he's goooooooooood!*

Un-officially Official

...that has got to be the weirdest combination of words.

But, you have indeed read correctly. I'm [basically] accepted!! I just have to wait for the final dates & costs and details to be confirmed and then I am sign, sealed and soon-to-be delivered!

Be blessed!

A Bee's Knee short of officially going on the Doulos...

Its so close!

The interview went really well! I had Mandy, who I had met in the very early stages of my decision of going on the Doulos, and she was just as encouraging now as she was back then! So that was a huge blessing!

And it wasn't hard! Which was really good because I was feeling pretty shocking with the cold I had [insert communal "Ew!" here...]... and because most of the answers came from general conversation, that was also just handy!

And Mandy even let me in on a secret... she said she'll definately be recommending me for the STEP Program and the Australian Leg of the tour. How AWESOME!

So, now we're full steam ahead with fundraising. I mean, we can now steer towards full steam ahead with fundraising. People really are generous you know. I 've had many offers to do things, and its just a blessing. I am trully blessed with my Family, both my immediate family, and my Church friends and family - family... They really do rock my socks off! Or, they really want me to leave :)

From tomorrow, there's only 2.8 months to go. I want to take a friend with me, but I could never decide! So instead they can all come with me, a little piece of them all will be on my journey with me!

May you be blessed this evening!

I'm off to dinner [at the local "Windy"] and then onto Bible Study...

Interview: [Timestamp] 1430hrs 26/04/2008

Thats right folks.

The last 'nail in the Doulos coffin' [so to speak] will soon be nailed into the box. Will it be a nail of a new adventure or a nail of a different door opening? God only knows.

This is the moment we've all been waiting for. Its do-or-die. If its all good, then so many things have to start rolling into place. Passport needs to be applied for. Suitcase of large stature needs to be located and/or bought. Things need to be organised for the time while I'm away. Picaso needs a holiday house [and carer]. My room could be up for rent-ish. My family needs to be seen. Tickets need to be purchased. Departure date needs to be finalised. My heart, mind and spirit need more God time...

Whose getting scared? Me! Why? Because i've never done something like this before. Sure, its not overseas really, but it is to somewhere new, somewhere i've never been, and with no one else but me and God. God guiding me.

Scary.

Phone call from an OMer...

Heads up. I got a call Friday night. I've actually not yet responded because I have not yet been able to hear the message, but hopefully tonight I will. This has made me all excited and nervous... This kind of means things really REALLY are happening. It's one thing to be accepted and receive your Pack in the mail, its another to be officially accepted to officially go and to officially be told that officially, you will be on the Doulos in July.

Oh Wow!

And so much is going to happen while I'm away! It's in no way going to change my mind about going because I really believe that this is what I am meant to be doing. God needs me to be challenged I believe. But it is a shame that for a few people who are close to me who have been there the whole journey of me knowing and growing into the person I have become, that I will miss out on their fun events! Party for them before I go or when I return from Port Lincoln I think.

Challenges of it all. Its amazing what we would do in a regular situation if we weren't already headed in a direction. Like, if i wasn't going away on the ship, I'd probably have already said yes to buying this awesomely funky Green Dell Notebook. But because I am leaving, I hesitate saying yes. I need to save, remember? Or did I think that everyone else would cover my expenses that I need to pay to go and while I'm away. And I also need to do some fundraisers. So I know spending [just under] $1000 on a Notebook is not really on the important list right now...

"Your horrible, Muriel!"

The weekend is over.
A new weeks begun,
A month we have lived for,
Another month gone...

And so it's near Ma-ay,
And what have we done?
This world we have lived for,
Is coming undone...

War's not over, now...

Dunno where that's come from really. Just had that song [War is over (Merry Christmas)] running through my head, and what was sticking in it the most was the line, "What have we done?" and then i changed a few lines and well.. you know the rest.

What have WE done? Physically to the world... Mentally to society... Emotionally to our moral values... Spiritually to the purpose of marriage between a man and a woman... what HAVE we done?

So much that was condemned and taboo is accepted now. Its not approved by most, but its very much accepted. In the "Real World" as non-Christian's like to call it, encouragement is not a widely accepted form of kindness. Something monetary is. Why? If someone gives you a gift, because they choose and want to, why must we think we need to return their gift with an equally priced gift? Or why must we think we should even spend more because of the generosity of the original gift? Don't we realise that by replacing their generosity with our own gift we are somehow trying to out do the other person?

It's weird. And I just thought about that.

How's your weekend been? Were you challenged in anyway?

May Peace be with you today...

C x

Fundraising...

Bleh... I hate organising things.

Its not that I can't do it, I just dont like to. Its stressfull. It makes my head ache.
I always worry about silly things - and with fundraisers - will you get any money to put towards the actual fundraiser from the event?

Meh-ness... well thats for the coming thought processes and I dont need to worry my pretty little head about it.

But if you have done a successful fundraiser - I'd really love to know the details!

In other news:

I've been meaning to get into my "Recommended Reading" for my preparation "onboard the Doulos/in short term missions work" and I'm not getting very far yet! I think I've read a chapter out of the smallest book in the pile - and that was a while ago! I seem to have said yes to other things which have somehow prioritised themselves above my "special time with God discussing lifes matters and reading important books to help my spiritual growth that I should also be discussing with The Big Guy".

I'm part-time sidetracked that I will officially become a first time Aunty in the last month I'm still away. This has got me all arty-farty-and-crafty trying my hand at making booties [so much anger towards something so small!!!!] and planning other most awesome Aunt-to-be presents I could [but likely not] make. You may not believe that I have still yet to give one of my buddies her wedding present I was making, and they got married almost 3 years ago. My intentions are good, and I thought about it, and its the thought that counts - right? *Doh!*

I was also part-time sidetracked from a women's day out with the ducks [young and old] from church - and I was almost certain the feedback about the trip, despite my effort of outward encouragement, would've made a big downer on us - but I failed to trust God there and when the ladies started pouring in [especially the ones who were adamant not to come!] and the day happened and they were happy - with only one really affected case of motion sickness - and the girls... *gulp*... loved it!

And then the rest of the time is me just being slack. Or knackered. Or slack.

So... if anyone can lend a bum-kicking contraption, that'd be sweet...

Pray for:
- God's ability to kick my bum into the right direction - or more so my own

- To make time for God, and not just give him what's left over from a day

- Planning of Fundraisers for when they will happen and what to do.

- To keep me focussed while I'm still working which surprisingly has been really good! I was concerned I would become so excited about going on the ship that I would be the worst staff member ever, but thankfully I think it has given me renewed energy to put my whole self into my work and to remember that even though its mind and body draining, its work in God's mission field and He will renew me when I'm getting low or tired! Praise God!

- Finally, for my family, with the new arrival due when I'm away and their strained relationships, perhaps having me being unable to keep them all accountable to each other will wake them up and help them make that effort themselves. What a blessing to come back to!

May your hearts be filled with the love of God today... for He is the only one who will never leave us and never stop loving us...

Carola

Floating Update...

So far, there really hasn't been much to say. I got the paper work to fill in about how many times I've sneezed in my whole life, how many socks I have, what I do, when, how, why, where etc.

I'm happy to say I have just about finished all that [totally forgot for like a week! Whoops!]. I'll send that off tomorrow.

Aside from that, I gave an update to my Church Family last Sunday, and I really feel overwhelmed with the response! They are just the most beautiful people you can imagine! I know not everyone gets along with our Family the way I do - nor do they have the same elated feelings about them as I do - but that happens wherever you go anyway!

They are just so eager to see me go! Okay, I know that reads like they are actually giving me the boot - well ha-ha if they were because its only 3 months man! - but I think its more for the fact that they want me to go and EXPERIENCE the EXPERIENCE and come back energised to get this Church Family more jived up! Or, just to awaken me and expand my faith and enlarge my walkway towards a more personal relationship with God. Its all so - exciting!!!

Anyhoots, I'm going to leave that update with you and hope that your travels with your life are energising you.

If you want me to pray anything - let me know - even anonymously!

Carola