First blog post from Australia.
Where do I begin? So much has taken place over the last month, let alone the last two and a half weeks! Have I really been here for eighteen days already? As the Australians exclaim, “crikey!” It feels like I have been down under for forever and for no time at all simultaneously. I am stalling for thoughts as I ramble in type.
Sensory overload: I have had it frequently since my arrival. There is so much about Sydney to take in. First, it was adjusting to people driving on the left side of the road. Then it was the crisp, cool, wintery air after leaving America’s summer temperatures. Next I found myself dealing with waves of culture shock and nostalgia as the sound of American pop music would play in shops around the city.
However, of all there is to take in, the mass amounts of culture groups filling the streets is undoubtedly the greatest cause for sensory overload. All this time I have felt like I am so cultured. Now, I am seeing how much there is still to know about the world and the people residing in every corner of it. In my short time here, I have met people from across the nations: Italy, Japan, Colombia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, India, Denmark, China, Sudan, Spain, Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic and it continues on. Of the 50,000 student population at this university, 11,000 of us are international students and 130 countries are represented within that portion. How incredible. I wish I could sit down with every international student and hear their story; where they come from, what their home is like, why they came, what they want to do with their lives. People I would have otherwise never crossed paths with are now gradually leaving footprints in my life story and I in theirs.
In some ways I feel a little more capable of relating to the people who find their way onto this continent. Many of them have their own unique ethnic or cultural mixtures that are unique to their own lives. I connect in the general area of being the child of immigrant parents. In other ways, I feel entirely incapable of relating or that I am sometimes too ignorant and clueless so I am not sure how to be culturally sensitive. To my knowledge, I haven’t insulted anyone by crossing any cultural boundaries yet. Hopefully I can keep it that way!
Overall, it has been one very large learning experience as well as a lot of re-learning. Learning how to communicate. Re-learning how phone companies and internet work. Re-learning how to be a tenant. Learning a foreign education system. Maybe eventually I will learn how to drive on the other side of the road!
Through it all, God has been faithful. He has been beyond faithful: omnipresent. I depend on Him more than I can on anything or anybody else. That is the way it should always be. Perhaps that is why- through the mass amounts of rain, stress, confusion, and homesickness- a smile has covered my face each and every day. The joy of the Lord is my constant source of strength. My ever present Help in time of need. My Best Friend and Savior. The Hope I hold on to every morning. The Prince of Peace who gives me rest each night. He will be exalted among the nations.