After a crazy and incredibly hectic term, the holidays sprung forth in a three-week bonanza of relaxing, planning, working and more relaxing! I spent the first weekend down in London, seeing M&M world, Victoria, and catching up with a few friends for a brilliant time!
After returning to Cheltenham I spent the week learning how to cook. Following recipes from Mum, the famed internet, and
a two quid cookbook, I tackled soups, steaks, and managed to hit home with a batch of the famed family Bolognese sauce. After my week of being a domestic goddess I moved onwards back to London for the major part of the break. I had booked a gig with an events company in North Wales for the Word Alive Conference.
Meeting in London with the Clownfish Events crew was a bit of a shock. Forty minutes on the district line took me to a warehouse in the midst of a suburban area filled with inflatables, portable dance floors, and massive plastic animals (yes, I was worried at this point). I met the eccentric and hilarious company owner Matt, who joyfully directed me to help load two massive vans with as much gear as possible. After two hours of lifting and working, 8 blokes were on the road at 8PM.
7 hours later…
Prestatyn. What does that word mean? Oh, that’s where we went… The middle of nowhere in northern Wales holds a small town with a ‘beach’ and a caravan park named ‘Pontins’. Yes it was 2AM and all were incredibly tired, so we parked the vans and headed to bed. The next day we briefed about what the future looked like. Each day I was able to attend a worship service with a bible talk, work on inflatable rides for a few hours and then go to another service in the evening. The name of the primary speaker was David Cook, an Aussie preacher who spoke on Romans. He gave a hard-hitting, no-nonsense presentation that was incredibly refreshing. Other talks during the week centred on the Lord’s Prayer, biblical overviews and mission.
We may as well have been studying Revelations because apocalyptic weather pursued the first week. 65 miles an hour (over 100kms/hr) winds battered and blasted the country town. The gigantic marquees erected for 2000 people were being blown to bits in a matter of hours. Due to the ‘generosity’ of our leader, Matt, we were offered as scouts between 3AM and 7AM in the morning. In a car with a dead battery (meaning no heater) James, who also works at DCPS with me and I watched the marquees and prayed that the car not be flipped into the wind. Wales definitely left an impression.
On the day between the two camp groups we had a day off. at 6PM the night before we thought we could make something of it… What better to do than climb a mountain! With James and a new friend Tom, we pursued the mighty Mount Snowdon in jeans and joggers… We were copping a few strange looks from serious hikers in full kit with walking poles and proper boots and coats, but we pushed up and on! In half the time it was suggested to us, the three stooges were atop a Welsh mountain! Our smiles of success were only slightly dinted when we discovered a cafe (closed until summer) on the top…
The weeks were to end with a frantic two-hour pack up session and a long drive back to London. I stayed the night at James’ place before visiting Wimbledon Tennis stadium. It was far too expensive to go inside, but trust the local to know a viewpoint where you can see the entire city in all its majesty. After a pint at a local Wimbledon pub, I was on my way back to Cheltenham.
Shout out to Clownfish Events for having me on board for the week. If anyone in GB needs an events company, these guys do everything from bouncy castles to corporate staff development days with superb professionalism. Check them here: http://www.clownfishevents.co.uk/
The final week was filled with planning, cooking, and sleeping. I got the chance to explore the local countryside with a twenty-minute run that turned into a day long hike through the Cotswold Hills. Believe me, I didn’t technically get lost, but thanks to a random lady who I crossed paths with in the forest, I found my way back before sunset. Further on in the week I got to see the Cotswold Village of Broadway, which other than the clothes people wore, I would have guessed I had transported back in time!
As I head into the central part of my year out, the seemingly fairytale opportunity I have is becoming realistic. Seeing a globe in classrooms here quite often astounds me in that just 6 months ago I was 17 000 KM’s away frantically awaiting my ATAR. The distance between my wall mounted Aussie Flag and the country it belongs to is ridiculously large. At the same time, the people I have spoken met and the culture here are so similar if it weren’t for the accent I’d think I’m in a (very cold) part of Epping! I love being over here, but at the same time do miss all of you back home, it’s been good to hear Uni is more exciting than scary! Over the weekend I have exeat and then in a few weeks I’ll be in the Lakes District with my Grandparents, and I’m looking forward to catching up with more friends soon!
As always I’m keen for people to contact me in any way to chat, give advice, or ask questions via any method available on the ‘about’ tab, but until the next chapter of #jongmasjourney is done, and as Grandma’s friend Laurie always says…
“Love all around”