Tuesday, October 21, 2008

back to day to day life..

so back to the day to day life in Gillingham...and ive come to the conclusion that I love the work I do here and I love the kids I work with..and I love the team at GYFC..Its just the fact that im away from home and my family and friends that I dont love..and that sometimes makes me question my work here...But no more questioning coz i know its not the youthwork that i dont like..Its just the distance between new zealand and england..
If somehow we could close the gap between the two countries it would be perfect..! Or some kind of 'new zealand post' advert scenario where the letter gets sent and the person gets sent with it..lol hmm maybe a little unrealistic..false advertising?! lol
Sunday we had a youth service at St.Marks church..which was really cool coz the youth basically get together and plan it..It was on being a church outside of the church..as in like helping people out in the community..which i love the idea of..So me and Phil had to answer a few questions and do a little bit for that which was cool...except i still havent gotten over my intense fear of public speaking lol i like shake and i can tell my voice is going all quivery..and i seriously considered all the exits and thought about leaving the building before they called us up so i wouldnt have to stand up and talk in front of all those people..lol ah well...i put it down as one of my areas i want to grow in this year..which means more opportunities to speak in front of crowds..lol great. But i totally know i'll be better of for it and I do really want to become more confident in it..before you know it ill be volunteering to speak in front of crowds of thousands..lol hardly.

Yesterday we had morning team meeting...which ended up with me in tears..lol we had to make these fish out of paper and put them in this aquariam that had been drawn on a whiteboard and explain where we thought we were in the team at the moment..and i had no idea..because i kinda feel like im meant to be here but at the same time torn between new zealand and here radaradarada...and then Malcolm, our gyfc director, was like 'oh are you really finding it tough being away from home...coz you wouldnt know from the way you are round the office..' and then i just cracked..and cried and said it was difficult..lol so i ended up blubbing while they prayed for me..But it was so nice cz it kinda felt like a supporting family you know..lol but i do usually try not to cry in front of people..lol ah well...so many surprises..haha
But in the afternoon it was so good coz instead of doing community time me, dave and Helen just went to the park (which apparently you dont go to at night coz ben had his head kicked in like the week of beginning to volunteer at gyfc..gangs hang out there and stuff..thats gillingham for you..) and had quiet time with God...it was so nice and relaxing..
And went to the gym last night...pumped some iron..lol too funny though coz its a guys and girls gym..so the guys are doing all the weights and then checking themselves out in the mirrors...lol its so cringe worthy to watch..lol

Tomorrow Claire, our line manager and possibly the most lovely person in the world, is coming down to have a visit with me and phil..yay


Sunday, October 19, 2008

the city called me back..

I might have taken another trip to London on Saturday...If there is a possibility you could be addicted to a city, London would be it for me..I LOVE IT...It's like hustle and bustle and everything you could ever imagine..you can spend up large or you can just look and picnic in the park and its still just as cool..In the daytime or the night time..its amazing...! They should pay me for doing some sort of tourist pitch ..lol

It was my friend Simons (who volunteers at yfc in Swindon) birthday last week so we all decided it would be a good idea for a group of us to meet in London and just hangout coz its like halfway in between Swindon and Gillingham..and plus its the best city ever..lol So I organised the perfect time for me and phil to take the train to get to London..slight problem though...As we were waiting on the platform to get on the train...Phil remembered that he had forgotten his ticket to the delerious gig he was going to in London that night (organisation is not one of Phils strong points lol)...so as he ran home to get it (and our train came and went without us on it) I waited outside the train station..where possibly the weirdest 20 minutes of my life began to take shape..

As I was minding my own business waiting...A man came up to me (there were a whole heap of other people wandering around so i dont know why specifically me) and started explaining that he hadbeen sleeping on the streets and hasnt eaten and its been really cold at night (which it has!!) and asked me for 30p to buy some food with...Knowing never to give homeless people money if they want food (as everyone says they mite just want drugs lol) I took him over to the shop and bought him some lunch...As we stood there i asked him a bit about himself and found out that he was visiting his mother in a mental institute that he hasnt seen for over 20 years...oh my word..it was just so odd..just to meet this person that i would never have even known existed and whose story i would never have heard if i had hopped on the train we had planned on catching..or if he hadnt come up to me and asked..so random..and then Phil called saying he was at the station and where was i?! lol so i ran off to catch the train..pondering whether there was something in the way i look or act that attracts people who need help..who knows?!

We met Simon birthday boy, Kirsty (both based in swindon), Bex, Beckie and Josh (who has an identical twin brother that confuses me and also reminds me so much of Danid Molloy) at Victoria Station...where we then wandered the streets of London...walked around in a few circles..NOTE: Beckie and Kirsty really dont know where they're going..especcially when trying to find a park to have a picnic in..

ME: 'Hey im sure we've just been around in a circle...?'
KIRSTY: 'ssshh we dont want anyone to notice!'
BECKIE: 'I think it might be this way.......?'
and supposedly beckie has been to London many a time lol

We had lunch in some park...after walking for ages and finding HAMLEYS...This is honestly the worlds best and biggest toy store...5 floors of commotion...clowns, people dressed in costumes, all the toys you can play with...Im gunna make a day trip to London just to go there and play all day...its amazing...truly brilliant..

The rest of the afternoon consisted of more walking...starbucks, random photoshoots on monuments and just general fun...Josh, me and Kirsty who were supposed to be going to get money out got totally distracted by St. Pauls Cathedral..and ended up sitting in on a service..oh my word its the most beautiful cathedral ever...The walls and domes are painted with detailed artwork like the ones you see in the art history books..There's gold leaf and detailing everywhere..and the choir is singing beautiful songs...it was so eery as we sat there..like we just didnt talk coz it was so amazing...One of the nicest placest ive been so far..
We went for dinner at this place called 'tinseltown' which is like an american burger and milkshake bar..where they make milkshakes out of anything you want..truly brilliant..im going to be like 50 kgs heavier by the time i get home...size42 pants anyone?! lol

And then i experienced Camdem..This place is so cool...Martha and Luke (the couple that im staying with) were at a doo in a bar in Camdem so they said that i could meet them there so i didnt have to use the dodge trains all the way back to Gillingham by myself..
I got kind of worried when as I left to tube to Camdem everyone was like 'Now people will offer you all sorts of things when you hop out of the tube station..JUST SAY NO and keep walking..there'll be lots of people but just say no..' lol which got me a little bit freaked out but apparently its known for its night life and drug habits...which is why its where Amy Winehouse is usually seen lol
But I met Martha and Luke..and they were at a doo of one of Marthas friends (who goes out with a guy called Chris Moyles brother)..Now for all reading this from New Zealand I will explain who Chris Moyles is coz i had no idea until someone told me about a week ago..Chris Moyles is the breakfast host of like the most popular radio show in England..and he was at this party...and I watched him play guitar hero..lol The whole event was completely wasted on me though coz everyone kept saying how many celebrities were there..and I looked around the room and saw none..coz none of them are famous in New Zealand..I was so annoyed coz i at least wanted to know them so i could say i had met them lol Maybe drop a few names to get a few friends lol

But the night ended in the early hours of the morning running through victoria station, up escalators and to the train platform so we wouldnt miss it..lol and just a word of wanring..never take the last train back to Gillingham on a Saturday night..its when all the drunks and weird people take it (and we didnt fit into either one of those categories) lol too funny
Such a good day all round..


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Coventry and the week that has been

So after getting like 6 hours sleep on the night I return from London I am then woken on Saturday morning to go to Coventry and partake in commissioning..This is when all of us volunteers get welcomed into YFC (like 4 weeks after we've actually been in our placements..go figure) lol
I just slept in the car on the way there (in my true style of elegance when id just met the guy who was driving us that day) and my host mum Martha came with us to support me coz everyone else's families were going to be there..and i would just be the foreigner who has no family lol But I had a plan to test out each family there and adopt one that i thought would be suitable to claim for the year lol
It was so good though coz I got to see all the other volunteers that I hadnt seen for ages..so weird coz they feel like my family coz we all went through so much at training and have been kinda doing the same thing so it was kinda like a family reunion lol So good especcially to see my girls..
(yes ive made friends that i can call my girls lol yay)
Too funny though making small talk with other peoples families there..i am now an expert lol

Sunday we went to church and then went for a curry afterwards (the English love their curry) which i am ashamed to say was the first of 2 currys i had in 2 days lol Monday we had plnned that after team bible study we were going out for another curry to celebrate my birthday..lol Oh how in that moment of Indian meals I missed my dad who always manages to order the hottest dish on the menu because he's been to India and 'can handle it' then sits and sweats and goes red the whole way through trying to eat it but trying not to show the strain lol EVERY TIME..lol

But weve had a bit of a touch week in drop-ins..just stuff has been getting nicked..and kids have been getting into fights and swearing matches on the streets with other kids parents..its all a bit crazy really..something out of Jeremy Kyle..lol

But you know what Ive been struggling with loving these kids and having a want to hang out with them but now these things have happened i see a total need..Like getting to know the kids is like sharing their lives with them and caring for them and helping them through things..and that is such a priviledge that our massive God and the kids themselves are letting us do life with them..even if they're playing up or nicking phones..weve still gotta love them, not judge them and understand them..Its not easy but there's some kids you just feel for and your heart goes out to them..and you catch a glimpse into the awful-ness of their home lives and you know that what you're doing is so worth it and so necessary..coz more than anything these kids just need love and the love of Jesus who unjudgingly will walk through everything with them and just be there and believe in them when no one else seems to...
It's weird because this is just so different to Hamilton..and I think its totally changing my views and my outlook on life..and its totally opening my eyes and giving me a bigger world view of what goes on and what some people live with..

And a note for anyone who ever steals a phone:
DONT ANSWER THE PHONE AND SPEAK -its a dead giveaway that youve taken it
and when asked to bring the phone back after just having answered the phone dont ever say 'BUT I AINT GOT IT'..its just silly..some thiefs arent that bright lol
love these kids though

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

big cities

As i begin to write this 3 year old that i live with is bouncing a bunny rabbit that he made at playgroup out of paper all over my head and my arms..these are the hurdles i must jump to write this blog..and learn the valuable lesson of multi tasking - entertaining a 3 year old and writing the tellings of my trip to London...and the Jeremy Kyle like scene that happened outside 133 drop in yesterday afternoon...it was classic Jeremy kyle scene - yelling, swearing, threatening...But anyway lets get back to London..which was the most intense packed day of my life..but all so amazing

Im sure im a master of the train system by now..im an expert at buying tickets, boarding the train, and if not sure, asking where the train is coming in (which has happened every journey i've been on lol i like to think of it not so much as asking for directions, but testing those who should know where they're going and see whether they know the answer lol) but apparently i havnt mastered the art of finding first class and economy class...
WARNING FOR TRAINS: If there are empty seats do not assume you can sit in them, even if they look like every other seat. These may indeed be first class seats in disguise. As I found out. The conductor comes round through the journey and checks your ticket to make sure you're not trying to skive a lift to London. Me being very happy with having got on the right train and merrily on my way to London I handed my ticket proudly over to the guy, who just starts looking at it and tapping things into his little hand held computer thing.. Next thing i hear is 'that will be 10 punds please' me just quivering and being like 'why?'
The conductor then informs me I am sitting infirst class (note: the seats are just as bad as the economy ones and you dont even get more room..) an i have to pay extra..thats like $30..so gutted..i just handed the money over but getting all bitter and twisted on the inside lol

I met Rach ( a friend from church in NZ) in the train station and after much hugging and exclaiming over the new happenings and how we couldnt believe we were meeting in london radaradara we she led me on my way to seeing everything London had to offer...
First stop was the London Tower and while I was trying to conjure up any knowledge i had left in my brain from history last year she bought me breakfast and coffee and we sat looking at the tower bridge (and beign such tourists snapping away) and planning the rest of the day..
We fitted in so much..and i think i must have had a blatant label on me saying tourist coz everyone kept coming up to me and asking me to take photos of them by different monuments..lol show off my world class photography skills

She took me to the tower of London, London Bridge,
Buckingham Palace (not as impressive as first hoped but we saw the changing of the guards), Leicester square (where all the big movie premieres are held - HSM3 premier had been there 2 days before and so had ZAC EFRON ahhh),
Oxford Street (the most amazing street for shopping ever)
Piccadilly circus (which has the New Zealand house and a shop that stocks nz treats that arent sold in normal stores like black forest chocolate and pineapple lumps..),
St. James park (where we fed squirrels peanuts and became closely acquainted with the wildlife),
Horse Guards palace (where all the gaurds on horses are and the home of millions of statues),
Westminster Abby,
The London Eye (which I think was my favourite), AND
Covent Garden markets

So funny though coz when we were in St. James park Rachel was showing me how friendly the squirrels were..they just come up to you..so there's me prettending ive got peanuts in my hand trying to get these squirrels to come closer to me and me making these high pitched noises hoping that somehow this would make a difference lol this worked for a little while..until all of them clicked on that i didnt acually have peanuts..so they all kept well away..except for this one that leapt on my leg and clung to my tights..this just freaked me out so im jumping around shrieking trying to shake it off, much to the enjoyment of the others in the park..and it shook off and ran off..im sure it gave me rabies coz it was the mangiest one of the lot..had like a stub of a tail and stuff lol ive still got scratches on my leg..lol

Also at the Changing of the guards there are guards on horses that ride past aswell..and theres one at the front that blows a trumpet in this tune thats meant to sound all royal..anyway this one guys horse was totally playing up so he was trying to keep his pride, blow the trumpet and keep his horse under control at the same time..which wasnt really working oout for him at all..the trumpet was so awful and out of pitch and wrong as he was trying to control his horse..and that is my memory of the horse guards that ill keep forever lol everyone was trying to control their giggles coz there were so many tourists there watching..oh poor chap..

But I do have to say that London is quite possibly the most amazing place ever at night...(and might i add the perfect night date city?! hmm) because the lights are all on and there's so many amazing things to see...from the bridge you can see the London eye all lit up and the city and all th amazing buildings and things lit up..We went down to the London eye because I really wanted to see it at night and go for a ride on it (it does a complete circle kindof like a ferris wheel that takes about 20 minutes and yousee the whole of the city from high up) but we got there just as it was on its last round..so disappointing but we walked down by the river on the little promenade with the fairy lights and all the benches and things whihc was just so cool..
We then went again to Covent Garden..its like an outdoor area with heaps of dining places and old buildings and street performers and we just sat on the cobbles and listened to this street performer guy sing cute songs..it was truly perfect...i want to go there again..

I ended up catching the train back at 11:10pm abd managed to catch the train that stopped at EVERY station all the way back to Gillingham so instead of taking 50 minutes it took about an hour and a half..lol good times..

Its so crazy though coz even then i was exposed to a totally different way of living coz this guy in really scruffy clothes came up to me and was like 'ello darling. you care to spare a few coins so i can have a place to sleep tonight'..so i gave him some change..to which he proceeded up the train to continue his begging..Its really sad coz i dont know whether back home things like that would have happened..or whether its just that here im in a situation where im more aware of things like that...i just dont know but it does make me kind of sad..
Because initially I was thinking that they guy probably only wanted the money for booze or drugs..But even if there was the slightest chance that any one person giving a few coins could improve this guys quality of life then why dont we do it?!

So that was my day trip to London.
It is a city I love.
And a city I will no doubt return to.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Home sweet home

So as I am finding it difficult to google crime statistics in England (for youth alpha im running tonight not just out of interest sake lol) and am wondering where everyone in the office has disappeared to I decided I am going to update my blog...because i feel i have a lot to say about anything and everything..and for once during my England trip I have a small social life to share...

First of all I am truly missing New Zealand..I dont know if I'm thinking about it way too much so the thought of the country is a little more extravagant than it really is but all i can think about is beautiful beaches, waterfalls, trees, snowy mountains and forests and cursing England for its lack of countryside other than a few paddocks and trees...when really when i think about it Hamilton had not a pretty place in sight really...and maybe seeing the extreme 'pure new zealand' adverts over here have made things worse..showing the best parts of New Zealand..and drawing me back to my home country lol But I really do miss home and people..BUT im waiting for the day when i decide that i might stay longer, which everyone is telling me will happen soon...waiting..waiting...still waiting lol

Last Wednesday was my birthday..and i could finally rip into the pile of pressies that were on my dressing table..which alfie happily helped with..so cute he just ripped into them..Martha, my host mum, made me a cake in the shape of a kiwi bird...it was amazing and tasted brilliant (the gym calls?!)..Alfie made us stick a candle in it at the breakfast table and blow it out before i went to work..lol yes work on my birthday..no rest for the wicked i say..But really by work i mean a little but of photocopying (at which the lady in the church office said 'oh its your birthday isnt it? must be SO sad to be away from your loved ones!' thanks lady for making me feel just great. This was followed by a phonecall to my mum and maybe a little moisture of the eyes...lol) But Dave, Ben, Malcolm, Abby, Kirstie and Phil (the Gillingham Youth For Christ Team) had made me a cake and gave me the Vera Wang perfume which was so lovely and cheered me right up..nothing like a good present to do that..couldnt figure out whether they were trying to hint whether i smelt or not lol So basically all we did was sit in the office and eat cake..and laugh at the english culture and slang book that esther and bridgie gave me for my birthday (thanks guys i can now speak the language and they understand me lol)...

Things they dont have in England that Im seriously thinking about importing

- Black Forest Chocolate..Are they nuts?! this is like the best chocolate in the world..My mum sent over blocks of it coz ive been raving to people about how good it is..and everyone loves it..there is definitely a hole in the English market for it..lol I could make myself a fortune..volunteer work?! with a job on the side lol

- Summer music - no black seeds, tiki taane, Fat Freddys drop..summer where have you gone?!

But then they do have cherry coke, jaffa cakes (the most amazing things ever), London and amazing shopping..so i might let them off lol

Ive been to london too..But so much happened that ill write a whole blog devoted to it...it really deserves it..

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

oh happy day...

oh happy day...Its my birthday tomorrow..actually technically if you're in New Zealand my birthday is today...so im trying to figure out that since i gained a day..does that mean that I am forever going to be a day older than i say i am..will i forever celebrate my birthday a day later than i should? hmm this is confusing...if you understand me..
Ive managed to hold off from opening the large array of presents thats sitting on my dressing table that ave slowly been accruing over the past few days..oh i did open my dads present early..But one out of about 6 is definitely a large accomplishment lol Its kinda funny though coz im not really doing anything for my birthday...just going to work at yfc same as usual..But itll still be so exciting..im such a little kid about birthdays..
We just finished our first youth alpha session about half an hour ago..Its like a little group thing that want to learn more about God and stuff and we just hangout and have dinner (an amazing lasagne cooked by bens wife)..and for some reason i just had a fit of giggles..this one kid told the funniest joke in the entire world..Im just going to have to share..

A dyselxic man walked into a bra...ouch! hahahahahahaha
oh my word had me in fits

i have to go coz some kids have turned up for drop in. Ill do a longer update later

Saturday, October 4, 2008

And now for an english lesson..

These are all words used by English people to describe when something is dirty or yuck.
eg. Not having a shower for 3 days is skanky.
A gross dinner could be 'manky'

These are words to be used instead of cool
eg. You're ace

Can be used in more ways than one so can get confusing.
1. To describe a goodlooking boy/girl
eg. That guy is so fit
2. To describe someone personal health
eg. You are so fit.
3. To describe the general coolness of something
eg. That was so fit!

Another word for boys but its used heaps over here!

a cup of tea

this is a general greeting of hello

and they say that we talk the same language as the english..dont believe it for a second..

And my postal address for those of you who want it is
42 York Street


Let me just start on the weather once more...

So now its not only cold..but its rainy, and not that normal rain but the miserbale drizzly rain, AND its so windy that i would actually not be able to go outside without being blown halfway up the street (and this is not an easy feat..especcially not after the copious amounts of chocolate i have been consuming..)..and i just walked home in that weather..its enough to put a downer on anyones mood..HOWEVER i now have an mp3 player (thanks dad) to listen to with loads of summer music on it..black seeds, jack johnson, paulo nutini..which makes me a lot happier..pleases my ears a lot..
The mp3 player may have been a birthday present sent over from nz that i may have opened before my birthday (last night) hoping that the excitement would counteract the fact that i was home alone on a friday night with my biggest excitement being facebook and hoping people would come online to talk...this in itself was a sad moment..in which i took it upon myself to bond with the mother country by looking up pictures of new zealand on the web and picturing myself in these scenes..lol me at a waterfall, me on a mountain...you get the picture lol
Today it was so cool though..a girl i met at ST.MARKS church a few weekends ago arranged for us to go to canterbury (yeah new zealand stole all the english place names..i have yet to find a taupo or a te awamutu in england though) for the day..so we took a train (im getting so pro at the train rides..) and took off for the day...the most amazing cathedral..like i think its the biggest in England and i payed 7 pounds to get in..(thats like 21 nz dollars..) but it was so worth it..inside it was so beautiful with all the stained glass and the detailing and the figurines..and outside (if the weather wasnt dampening my mood) it was amazing too..
Too funny though coz the streets are all cobbled and really narrow and lined with really cute sweet shops and card shops..and there's this one shop thats lasted from the tudor times but as the time has passed the building has moved and slanted itself..so the door is like on a total angle..i actually laughed out loud..and was such a tourist taking heaps of my photos (see facebook)..so cool..anyway was so nice to get out of Gillingham and look around..!

OH YEAH ONE OTHER BIG THING..I started using my free gym membership on Friday..a gym that is filled with people who just are immaculate even when they work out..like no sweat or red face or anything..me just puffing and panting and getting red and sweaty lol...Me thinking that its not that bad..until i woke up the next morning and was aching all over..lol couldnt even walk up the work stairs without dying a little inside lol But its my mission to go to the gym at least every second day..you wont even recognise me when i get back..lol

Honestly though something ive really been struggling with is the lives that the kids we work with have..and they just dont see any way out or that theres anything wrong with them..dont see the point in trying to have a good future..there's tis one boy thats totally been on my heart in the last few days..
Hes only 13
has been in juveile detention centres at least twice
continuously smokes weed
has been kicked out of every school hes been at for fighting
his brothers are all in jail
steals stuff all the time..
and has no want to change
and he brags about all this..when you say what about the future he just doesnt care..

Honestly it really gets me coz i know that the only way that this kid will turn around is with a total new look from God..like a total miracle and for God to come in and completely change him..which i know is possible..and the only way that I can possibly help this is juts by meeting kids like him where they are, hanging out with them, loving on them and just seek God for them and with them..Its so hard coz I'm like why doesnt God just come in and sort it out for them before their lives spiral out of control? and to be honest with you i just dont know and its something that im gunna have to seek God about..or maybe his plan is to put people like me and the other GYFC people in his life to slowly show him how he can turn his life around..hmmm I'm just going to have to trust that God has it all under control..

But I love the drop ins..and the kids that come to the drop ins..
and i totally know that this will only grow over the year im here..