Tuesday, December 29, 2009

the best game ever

Last night we dissolved into giggles while playing Activity.
A walrus became the tooth fairy, rabbit fur changed into donkey ears and Drew did the best impression of a train I have ever seen. Haven't laughed that hard in a while.
Salzburg it's great to be back.

We'll hit the snow tomorrow if we can find it :) Can't wait to see the lovely Sophie who's coming all the way from across the border to spend the day with us.

Monday, December 28, 2009

holiday mode

How was your Christmas week? Mine consisted of lots of family time, playing games, singing carols, watching silly movies, laughing until we cried, etc It was great.

The best part about being in Austria for a couple weeks is having enough time to catch up with lots of people I haven't seen for ages.
Yesterday I met up with my old friend Burn. We went for a walk and saw the remains of an old castle, before sitting down in a cafe to warm up and have a giant cup of tea. Love days like that, nobody is stressed out and people have time to sit and chat.
I reckon we don't do this enough. There are too many things that keep us on our toes, meetings to rush to, a career that makes life too fast, ...

In other news, My Glorious got to play in Bethlehem over Christmas and that made the news. Read everything here.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Thank you Jesus for being born and giving us a day to celebrate your life once more. Couldn't imagine my life without you.

Hope that everyone has an amazing Christmas and you get to celebrate with all your loved ones.

image taken from a Marc Jacobs holiday email :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

walking in a winter wonderland

My mum and I went for a walk Sunday afternoon... look how pretty it was. The sun was setting and the sky had come kind of peachy glow. It was beautiful.

oh christmas tree, oh christmas tree

Joachim and I ventured out to get our tree today. As Ulrich was busy otherwise - or boring - the two of us went to my old school as they'd set up heaps of trees there.
Couldn't get myself to get into the school as I forgot so many names that it'd be horrible. "Nice to see you again, teacher who taught me for 4 years and whose name I forgot. Sorry, but lovely seeing you!" Maybe next time. I've always loved that school, 5 years of fun and fashion :)
Anyway here are our adventures in pictures

As you can see, all the snow has gone boohooo. So sad but very optimistic that there is lots more to come. Thanks for coming out to play Joachim.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

dear snow

Thank you for being here when I arrived home, literally the icing on my cake
Thank you for putting a magic blanket on this place and covering up all grey bits we put around her over the years
Thank you for being all sparkly and pretty
Thank you for being very cold and making our cheeks red while playing outside
Thank you for making driving more fun
Thank you for reflecting the moonlight so beautifully during the night
I really hope you came to stay for the next couple weeks, I like you very much and would miss you if you leave!

Friday, December 18, 2009

lovely winter

Did I already mention that I'm excited about the snow :)

My brother and I went to an Advent concert last night to hear our friends sing. Paul and Gregor from my glorious were there as well, accompanying all their students. Was nice to see them and since they're off to Bethlehem it was a hello, merry christmas, good bye!
Nicest thing ever, my best friend's boyfriend came all the way from Linz just to hear her sing before he had to get up early the next morning and catch a train back and go to work. It was the cutest thing and it was so nice to hang out with them after.

Got to catch up with Ruth and Johanna today. A couple years ago the three of us went up to England and spent a week at Soul Survivor, which was amazing. Don't think we've met up just the three of us ever since so it was a special day :) Love those lovely girs!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

snow snow snow

There is something about sitting in your cozy warm house and listening to the snow plough outside. Love it!
After a fun flight - we almost crashed into the plane ahead of us when landing, so we had to pull straight up and fly another loop!!!!!!!!! - I got to Austria and it was snowing. The poor Asian couple next to me got a fright when I saw the ground and started yelling "snoooooooooow". I'm a winter girl so naturally I do get very excited about it haha.
Can't wait to see all my friends and family over here. I'm glad to be home and so happy that for once I wont have to rush everything as there will be enough time.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

good bye for now

Once again I packed my bags and am about to head to the airport. I feel like I only just got here and saying good bye to friends and family is not nice. It'll be almost 2 months before I'm back again.
London I will miss you!!!
On another note... Somebody needs to remind me, what the heck I was thinking when I booked a 6am flight!!! Being in London comes with all kinds of benefits, but if you need transportation to the airport it is a pain in the butt!! At least at that time of night.
It's not like I haven't had my fair share of staying at the airport due to missed connecting flights. Experiences range from getting really ill - thank you air condition for distributing germs - to phone calls from drunk friends nearby (who decided to check their phones at 1am after you've been calling for hours if you can have a little floor space somewhere that's not the airport) to finally falling asleep, in an embryo like position due to all those nice armrests they've put up in-between chairs, only to be woken up by construction work that starts around midnight. Happy days.
Tonight is special, I am going to stay at the airport on purpose so I don't have to pay a million pounds on a taxi at four in the morning. Yippie Yay. I'm equipped with books and my trusty ipod and will hopefully not fall asleep and miss my flight :) Jesus help me!

Monday, December 14, 2009

cold days

Our boiler broke on Thursday which wouldn't be a problem if it was summer and people came and fixed it. Oh no it is early winter and wonderful 5 degrees in grey London. 
To be fair, someone actually came to fix it on Friday only to realize that they had to order in the part that was broken.
It's true that you only miss things when they are gone. No heating or hot water has left us a bit frozen over the last couple days. Nights are not the problem, but spend a day or just an evening inside a cold house. Not even mentioning not having showered in days. (Thank God for baby wipes!!)

Please Mr Plumber come quickly!!! You'll even get a cup cake!
Until than I'm left sitting like Willy Wonka's grandparents - as my mum said earlier :) 

one more thing

My favourite photographer of all times is Sam Taylor-Wood. 
I love her work, especially her series "Crying Men", it makes me tear up every time and beautiful is all I can say. She's also done self portraits of her being suspended in the middle of a room, but you can't see strings so it looks like she is floating or falling. Amazing!
Her movie about John Lennon's teenage years will be released this month and I cannot wait to see it. Check out Nowhere Boy.

Christmas special

We had our Christmas special at church today and it was legen... wait for it ...dary!!
Once again I was blown away by the people and talent that comes together, for a local church to put that kind of production on is pretty massive! Truly West End worthy! Loved it and am so proud of everyone who was involved! You guys did an amazing job!! 
You know as fun and great all of this is, more important than any of that was that people got a chance to make their peace with God and meet Jesus today. 
Every time we have an altar call I remember what someone once told us in staff meeting "Today I'm sitting in salvations row" and that has been my prayer for the last couple months during each service. 
It's an honour and privilege to be part of this crazy amazing God journey and I do not ever want to take it lightly.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

As Tall As Lions

Lydia and I hit the barfly in Camden tonight to see above mentioned band. It was the second time I got to see them and flip they're phenomenal!! 
The venue was packed and it had about 100 degrees in there, sweat was dripping off our faces. Found myself in a sea of plaid shirts - what is it about boys in their 20s and plaid shirts??? Is it just winter or something else. Anyway, fun times!
Realised that this will be the cheapest I'll ever hear them play live, as they will do great things for sure!

Thanks to the guys in front of us, who knew every word to all the songs, danced hard, failed at crowd surfing and made us laugh so much. 
Thank you London for bringing all these different kinds of people together, one of the reasons I like you!

Friday, December 11, 2009

life in storage

Ever since I left Vienna in 2005, I haven't had a steady home for more than a couple months at a time. Although I love the travelling, adventure life I seem to have, sometimes I wish I'd have a permanent home base. A place to return to, unpack your stuff and repack to head out once again. A place where there will be no more boxes! Amen.

As my stuff is spread out around Austria and England(thank you Jesus for friends with attics and garages!), I took a trip up to see my friends in Northamptonshire and get some boxes. Opening the box with all my winter stuff felt like Christmas. Cardigans, hats, gloves, scarves, etc. I had the best time :)
It was the best excuse to see my friend Hannah again. We shared a house together in Sydney and went through all the ups and downs of studying at bible college together. She is a legend and does an amazing job as a youth worker in her town. The difficulties that get thrown at her and how she masters life anyway is inspiring. It was so good to catch up over a cup of tea and wish we had more time together.

hanging with the Zekestar

Spending the day with my favourite little boy

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

big cities and bread

As I went on my little shopping spree to get ingredients for dinner tonight, I once again realized why I love this city so much. Even though it is a massive city - all Austrians could live here and we'd still have room for another 4 million people -  you still feel like you're in a village or rather lots of little villages.
Rather than having a massive super market, there are still your bakery, butcher, fruit and veg shop, post office, bank, chemist, etc. It's lovely when you pop into a shop and number one they're not rushing and number two it's personal.
My favourite place right now is this little french bakery around the corner. I love listening to them talk and so wish I would remember more than "Je voudrais un croissant". Five years of french down the drain! Anyway, they have sourdough bread and let me tell you, it is divine. 
Seriously is there anything better than bread? The person who made that up was a genius or very lucky. No matter what it was, from the bottom of my heart, thank you very much!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

sundays should be fun days

Woke up to the wonderful sound of rain hitting the overhead windows this morning and just the thought of getting out of bed was terrifying. Let alone walking down the road to catch the tube into the city. Did it anyway and it was well worth it.

The moment I stepped foot into church it felt like being back home. I love the house of God - better is one day in Your courts, right. Biju Thampy from Vision Rescue was speaking this morning. He and his team do an incredible work among street children in Mumbai. It's one thing to oversee a ministry like that, but to hear him tell individual stories of how lives have been transformed because Jesus stepped in and brought hope, healing and restoration, is just amazing. He said something really profound today that still keeps ringing in my head,
"Partnership extends your hands."
I remember someone else say something similar once, why start something fresh when you can get behind someone else's work and partner with them? It is a privilege to be involved in their work and see what is happening all the way over in India.

Rest of the day was spent

lunching with Lydia and Maria

a trip to the British Museum - had an hour to fill before church so we did a 45 min eyeOpener gallery tour. Instead of getting overwhelmed with everything you could see, we spent 45 minutes in one room and learnt about the Sutton Hoo Ship Burial :)

back to church to hear Sanga bringing down the house. He used to be our high school age youth pastor in Sydney and does a great job with Youth Alive NSW and travels with United. If you want to listen to his message click here, it should be up tomorrow.

lastly a little detour to Winter Wonderland, a pseudo Christmas market in Hyde Park. So much fun to stroll around and people watch.

God, good friends, fun - what more could you possibly want... By the way, from the moment I stepped outside, it hasn't rained once for the rest of the day!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

no pain no gain

Jamie Cullum once sang:

You know the sunlight always shines, 
Behind the clouds of London Skies.

That was my mantra yesterday as it was pouring down and would you know it, today we had clear blue skies. With very very low flying planes, rules must have changed in the last couple weeks. Weird!

Despite the rain, I went for a run yesterday. 
Now let me explain, I don't do running I'm a walker and it's the biggest deal for me! Still think it's the most boring thing and somebody needs to explain the whole "endorphins get released when you exercise" deal again -  so not happening!!!
For now I'm blaming my wonderful new runners and early new years resolutions. At the end of the day it'll be good in the long run and help me when I'm 70, ha take that brother who make fun of me.
Today I'm sore all over as I haven't been running since school days and I pray to God that it will stop hurting the more I do it.

Here some photos of our tree decorating shenanigans. Poor Zeke didn't know that you can't lean on the tree so he fell head first. It got caught on camera and is therefore kinda funny :)

Loving Kings & Queens  the new 30 seconds to Mars song at the moment, can't get enough of that and the new Vampire Weekend song. Too funny.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

rain, rain, rain - welcome to the UK

After 2 flights, a trip on the tube and a taxi ride I am finally back with my favourite London family.

Sometimes I love travelling alone as you get to chat to all these people. This time I became the friend of the elderly on my 5 hours layover in Toronto. They all had wheelchair assistance, so I met a couple from India on their way to Goa, which I apparently would love and have to go to :) They've lived everywhere(Asia, Africa, Europe and now America) and it was fascinating to listen to their stories. Also got to chat to a tiny old lady - seriously I could have put her in my pocket - even though she's old and needs help getting around, she still loves travelling and we bonded over not liking how wet England is in the winter.

Got to pick up my favourite 2 year old from nursery last night, he immediately ran up to me and I got a big hug!! Crazy how much he developed in those 2.5 months.
It is so nice to be back here, can't wait for the weekend and church!
Gotta go and get my wellies out of storage now.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

bye bye USA, London calling

2.5 months in Tennessee end tomorrow. A time where I've encountered the beauty of this state and also its people. Seen the good and the bad, not to mention the weird in people :) It's been a great and challenging season.
A special mention goes out to all family P. members, I've been blown away by your hospitality. When Jesus talks about storing up treasures in heaven, I think you just put a truckload up there! I truly hope that I can return the favour one day. THANK YOU...

London will be two weeks of fun, family and friends before I head down to Austria. My first day will bring Christmas tree decorating with Mr Zeke (Can't wait for all the Thomas related things he will show me) and looooooooooooooooooooooooooooots of catching up.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Advent Advent ein Lichtlein brennt

Last Sunday in Tennessee!!!!! It's insane how quickly 2.5 months have passed and time has come to pack up and leave again.  Between packing we made time to go on a short hike up the hills and a trip to Opryland to see the lights. More than two million lights twinkle their way through until early January. Impressive to say the least. In addtion to all the lights they have a gigantic nativity scene with the Christmas story being read out loud on repeat.

Today being the first Advent Sunday we celebrate the coming of Jesus. If that's not a reason to party, I don't know what is!! Love knowing that people back home will light the first candle and will bring out their advent calendars. My brothers, after my mum told them that they're too old for that by now, put our old calendar up and filled it themselves last year :) Can't wait to see what they've done this year haha

Saturday, November 28, 2009

visuals to the last couple days

Anne and Andrew stumbling upon a film set

work - the last coat woohoo

7.45am Thanksgiving morning

reminded me of a pilgrimage, but it's the charity run/walk


P. girls and extended family @ Liz's ornament shower

Friday, November 27, 2009

cliches and funny movies

First ever Thanksgiving and it was fabulous.
Started out really early to walk the Boulevard Bolt - a 5 mile run/walk to benefit the homeless people in Nashville. Although it was freezing and I looked like a clown - turned out to be okay as people were dressed up as turkeys, Santas, Indians, etc - it was the best start of the day. It's nice to see people taking time out of their holiday and give back to their community.
What followed was the above mentioned cliches - a house full of people, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, football, games, an overload of food and funny Christmas movies (Elf anybody!).

Things I am thankful for this year...
an awesome God who took me on a whole new adventure
a family, who still love and believe in me
amazing friends
the Lago di Garda crew for being who you are
different airlines taking me places
Willi Dungl tea
being part of a great church
my MacBook
sleeping in a bed for most of the year
Zeke for making me laugh every time I see him
Zoe and Malin for giving me a chance to work with them
Florence and the machine, Kings of Leon, MuteMath, Mark Ronson, As Tall As Lions
Jetty for making me climb up that mountain
fresh air
My Glorious for memorable moments on the road
Wimbledon Common
Life is full of things that don't necessarily have to be there but they are. I always wonder why I get to be part of this unfolding journey, that is so rich in everything.
I've stopped asking why and started saying thank you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

preparations and memories

Thanksgiving prep is in full swing in this house. There are batches of dough rising, sweet potatoes are roasting in the oven and cheese grits bubbling away on the stove.
Considering that Christmas is a month away and this little dance in the kitchen will repeat itself, I asked Missy why the two are so close together. She said "those pilgrims couldn't wait for a couple months!" haha
I'm not complaining, the house smells amazing and is getting full with all the girls and their better halves coming home  to celebrate.
My London family celebrated last weekend and they had 48 adults and 22 kids in their home :) I bow my head!!!!

Last night we stopped and had dinner at California Pizza Kitchen. Memories from my first trip to the States came rushing back... fun memories of when my brother was frozen solid after having about 6 or 7 glasses of pink lemonade or not being used to US portions, we couldn't move around after lunch. Can't believe that was seven years ago.
It baffles me how much has happened in those years, the places I've seen or lived in and ALL the people I got to meet and do life with. No matter where I wake up or what the circumstances, I know that I am blessed!

Tomorrow morning we will get up early and be part of the Boulevard Bolt. It's a charity run/walk to raise money for homeless people. I'm super excited and will fill you in tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

late nights and ball games

If you haven't watched a football game in a sports bar, you haven't really experienced America. Very good when the home team is winning, not so sure what would happen when losing, but there was dancing in the street!
Finally met Anne's boyfriend Andrew in person yesterday. He's a track and field runner who is finishing his post grad in DC at the moment. Funnily enough Sarah's class had to write about their modern day heroes and one of her class mates wrote about Andrew. They've been giving him a hard time ever since haha.
After dinner we all ventured out to watch the Titans game at some bar in Nashville. Fun times with too much beer(the whole pitcher thing... so not what we do) and crazy people. Loved it.

This was in my fortune cookie last night. Couldn't stop giggling as earlier that day I had talked to my friend Simon, making plans about hitting the snow at the end of the year. Haven't been on a snowboard in 15 years, as I wrecked my knees(went skiing for the next couple years which didn't help the knees either!), and would love to take it up again. Told him that they have to take it easy with me. Being the ever optimistic, encouraging person who's lived in a world of "you can do it" and "we believe in you" etc was confronted with him saying "that's gonna hurt". Thank you very much Simon, I much prefer the fortune cookie :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

countdowns and chats

Time has been flying past so quickly it is ridiculous. Yaya's days in the US are numbered :)
It feels like such a long time ago that I came over here and met the amazing family P who have showered me with love and hospitality. Wish I could give back so much and just pray that they will be blessed abundantly for taking me in. (considering that I was supposed to stay here for a weekend and 2 months later I'm still with them!!! they're legends!)
So after church (including a rendition of Alleluia Alleluia Alleluuuuuu-ia which still makes me think of a certain Mr Bean episode) and a quick lunch, we headed to downtown Nashville once again to walk around like tourists. It was a quick visit as the rain kept coming down. Slowly it feels like I know my way around the city. Like and hate that part... After two years in Sydney I finally felt like I know how to get to places, short cuts, etc and than I had to leave. What's the point?!

Life is great everyone and I could burst with thankfulness and gratitude. Just got to chat to these two

An hour an a half later their battery died and we finally hung up haha. Talking to your besties is like a shot of energy. Heard funny stories from the EheG and we're all going a bit nuts over celebrating New Years Eve together. Crazy things happen when we all get together, you wait and see world!!!

A few pictures from the last couple days...

Vanderbilt - Lipscomb game

the hot light at Krispy Kreme was on

so to annoy my brother a photo of what he can't have :)

dad this is for you

he's everywhere

streets of Nashville

Fort Nashborough replica next to the river, where people first settled