Monday, January 10, 2011

Time Flies When You're Having Fun.

Wow, I can't believe that it is now January, and I only have a few more weeks left of my exchange. I will be in Australia, back 'home' in 25 days. It's something that I can't really comprehend, that I'm actually counting down the days until I'll be in Australia, when I've been away from home for a year now. Thinking about home is complicated, because I see Tudela as my home, and Australia as this far away land that of course is my home, but hasn't been for a year. I feel a little confused to be honest! I have finally left Tudela for good, and that has made me realise just how much I really miss it, and how much Tudela meant to me, and really felt like my home. I find it unusual to think that I'm actually going back to Australia. It doesn't really feel real, and I'm not sure how it will be finally seeing all my family and friends and my hometown. I mean to say, I'm extremely excited, I'm itching to go home, but at the same time, when I take that step, and reach my homeland, Tudela will be thousands of kilometres out of reach, which really makes it feel extremely daunting to leave Europe.

But this is a part of exchange, and coming home and readjusting to Australian life is all part of the experience. I'm really looking forward to coming home and making myself at home, exploring my town and seeing it with new eyes. Just sitting here, writing this post, I feel like it will never happen. It doesn't feel real at all that I'm coming home. My best friend wrote on my facebook wall that I'm coming home in three weeks. It just feels so foreign to me! Haha, I suppose I keep on saying the same thing over and over again, but to me, I need to keep on thinking about it, because I can't understand the concept of actually FINALLY coming home to Australia, speaking English with Australians, and saying goodbye to my European year.

I have had a very busy few weeks since I last posted. I went to Germany (was late by three days because of the air strike in Madrid) and had the most wonderful time. I absolutely fell in love with German, and it was so much fun to see Benne, our old German exchange student and his family again. I am actually heading to their place again next week, so am really looking forward to that.

Christmas was a really different Christmas for me. Different, but really enjoyable. In Spain noche buena, or Christmas Eve is more important, so we spent noche buena with the family, where Santa came and delivered presents. It was so fun to see the little kids that actually believed that Santa really does exist, (and to those who do still believe, he does exist! We heard him!) open their presents, and squeal with delight when they heard Santa say, "Merry Christmas boys and girls!" It was a really lovely last night with my host family. My host family went to Singapore on Christmas day, so Christmas was so different, as I was alone for it! Not all day, but for the afternoon at least. My parents Christmas presents also didn't arrive so I only had one present which felt weird. It didn't really feel like Christmas either because it wasn't centred around God. It wasn't a celebration of Jesus' birth, but rather a celebration of presents and family. I think I found that really difficult, not having anyone to fellowship with, and celebrate the real reason of Christmas with.

Saying goodbye to my host family was really sad. I said goodbye to them at the train station, and María Antonia, my host mum, just held my face and started crying. She said to me, "You know where your home is." It shocked me just how sad I was to be leaving my family, but it was really nice that it was sad, because it meant that we meant a lot to each other. After they left I headed back to Tudela, repacked my bags, and had my Spanish friends and exchange students over for my last night in Spain. We had a Mexican feast and hung out and reminisced. It was the perfect end to my exchange.

I didn't feel sad about leaving Tudela, because the people I was saying goodbye to, I am actually seeing again before I leave, so I didn't really feel like I was saying goodbye. As soon I was out of the town, I realised that I didn't know the next time I was going to see it, but it still didn't really sink in, until I was in England.

I will hopefully blog about my week in England and then Lithuania later, as I have a lot to say, but if I never get around to it, know that I had an amazing time, and that I really got to experience some different and wonderful cultures!

At the moment, I am actually in Jordan. I feel so incredibly blessed to have been able to travel this month. It is absolutely crazy! Today I went to Petra and was just so amazed by the culture, the history, the architecture, everything. It is easily one of the most amazing places I've been to in my life. I cannot believe that today I went to Petra, and saw the treasury, the monastery, rode a donkey, talked to Bedouins, and speak Spanish! When I was at the monastery, in Petra, I took a photo for a couple, and learnt that they spoke Spanish, so I asked them where they were from, and found out that the woman was from Peru, and the man from Zaragoza, right near my home town! It was so exciting to meet someone in Jordan who knew my town, that spoke Spanish, I felt like I was at home again, and it felt wonderful to speak Spanish again. I spent the day with a lovely 70 year old, Pam, from England that I met on the bus, and it was wonderful to talk about life, Jordan, trips and the world with her; I loved that we were 50 years in age difference apart, yet we could talk about so much, and enjoy each others company immensly. I will hopefully write some more on Jordan and Petra this week, as I have so much to tell, but am tired at the moment.

25 days. That's what is left of this incredible year that I have been blessed with. I really hope that these next 25 days will be as great as the 25 days after that, and the 25 days after that. I really pray that although my exchange year is finishing, my adventures will keep coming. I sometimes get frustrated that I've been away this year, my Dad turned 50, my best friend got engaged, my friends started and completed their first year of uni. I've missed hanging out with my friends, but I know that this is just around the corner for me. In literally 25 days, I will be able to celebrate these milestones with the people I love, and start my own as well. I can't believe what I've accomplished and am so excited for what I am going to be doing in Australia!

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.

For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

Today, if only you would hear his voice,
“Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested me;
they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
For forty years I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’”

Psalm 95

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