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


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...