Monday, 24 February 2014

Desk borrowing

I am currently borrowing a fellow student’s study space, in a kind of desk-share situation where he never uses it and will only take it back when studying at home is no longer convenient.  It’s an odd, indefinite sort of situation where I don’t know how much to make the space my own but do have the freedom to do so because he never made the space his own.  In fact I had to ask the other students to clear the desk for me because they had been using it as extra storage space.

In our college live-in community the garages of one set of units have been converted into study spaces for the students.  The front of the garages have been made into storage shelves and the actual study spaces at the back are accessible from inside the building.  There are three single rooms on this ground floor which are considered the ‘quiet’ studies, each housing 2 students, and the bigger one with 4 students.  The remaining four garages/studies are interconnected and are considered the ‘big study’ or the ‘communal study’.  Each ‘car space’ has three desks in it. Many also have bookshelves of textbooks, including a small selection of the college library that they have made available for our community.

J has had a space in the big study since last year and I studied at home.  But I found that I was easily distracted studying at home.  It was so easy to get up and make a tea or get something to eat, or just do something else entirely (anything but studying!).  This was particularly easy because I was the only one in the house.  I made it through the year fine but I thought it would be useful for my study habits if I could get a space in the big study.

I made inquiries but the studies were pretty full.  Priority of course had to be given to students with children who therefore didn’t have a spare room to study in.  However I knew that one of the guys in my year at our community had a study space allocated to him last year but never used it.  He was happy for me to use his space until he needed it.

So I’m using his study space for now.  I’ve stuck some things on the wall, put some books and pens on the desk.  Having other students studying around me has really helped me to concentrate on also studying and not wasting time.  I don’t know how long I'll be here but for now I will make the most of it.  Back to it!

Monday, 17 February 2014

One week down

We’ve finished our first week back at college and are quickly onto the next.  I admit that I was having some doubts about going back to college.  Was this really the right decision?  But as soon as I arrived I felt much better.  There were a number of things that affirmed this for me during the week. 

New things to study
I’m really looking forward to some of the things that we’re going to study this year.  We get to go into a lot more depth in doctrine and Old Testament this year.  I’m looking forward to studying John in New Testament (because he’s just so confusing sometimes!), and we start philosophy this year as well.  We also look in detail at the Reformation and I’m really looking forward to learning about what happened then and the detail in the differences between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. 

Some of our text books for second year

A focus on prayer
This year in women’s chapel we’re having a focus on prayer.  I’m not really sure what that looks like in practice, but I’m excited to be doing this.  I’ve been wanting for a few years now to look at prayer more closely and to improve my prayer habits.  I hope that this focus will help me to do that. 

The need for musicians
Due to some shuffling of people, Wednesday’s women’s chapel has been left with fewer musicians than normal so I volunteered to not only song lead (which I did last year) but also play the piano in chapel (as long as they’re happy for me to just play chords!). 

Filling out my committee
At college everyone is involved in a committee, be it prayer, tutoring, orientation, library.  My committee leader was pleased when he found out that I was continuing at college because it meant we had exactly enough (the minimum number of) people on the committee.  I loved helping out with my committee last year, I’ll write more about it soon. 

Keeping up in class
We heard last year that second year is a bit of a step up from first year in terms of workload and expectations.  I’ve been please that I’ve been able to mentally keep up in class (at least for now!), particularly in Greek, which is much more complicated and fast-paced than last year.  Additionally, though I wouldn’t be surprised if I drop behind in the set readings (as almost everyone inevitably does), it feels good to have started reading for a number of subjects. 

I’m excited to see what God will be teaching me this year and I hope you enjoy reading about it. 

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

If I were a millionaire…

Every time I think about writing this post I get the song “Billionaire” by Travie McCoy stuck in my head (actually until now when I looked up who sang this song, I thought it was “Millionaire”).  I don’t like this song, so I’ve shied away from writing this post.  But a grumpy off-hand comment from J the other day made me decided to write it. 

“Shelly, why aren’t we millionaires?”  I knew the question was rhetorical. 

“Why? What do you want to buy?”

“A new bike.  And new shorts!” 

J had been fixing his bike (again) and his shorts got dirty (again, and a different pair this time too).  The easiest solution would be to get a fancy new bike that wouldn’t break, but of course that would cost a lot of money.

I’ve had thoughts like this too.  If I were a millionaire I would buy a new wardrobe of clothes that suited me fantastically.  I’d pay a personal trainer/dietician to make all my meals and healthy snacks so I could still eat yummy things and not feel bad about it.  I’d buy a new car, with five doors instead of three (apparently the boot is counted as a ‘door’) so that our college neighbours could get in easily for the car pool to college.  I wouldn’t feel guilty about the expensive new running shoes I just bought. 

But we’re not millionaires obviously.  We don’t even have jobs!  We’re both students and we’re living off our savings (from when we did have jobs), and donations from friends and family (church and biological) who value supporting us in this way.  We’re also highly unlikely to become millionaires considering what we’re studying for. 

Sometimes I think having more money would make life better, easier, more secure.  But wishing for more means that I’m not grateful for what already I have.  We have a house to live in, money for groceries, dirt cheap clothes to buy at the college op-shop.  We also have friends and family and support.  Maybe life would be at little easier if we had more money than we knew what to do with, but we don’t, and I don’t think wishing helps in any way. 

Whenever I have those wishful thoughts about being a millionaire I will use them to remind myself of how grateful I am for what I do have, and I will thank God for all of it. 

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Chinese New Year generosity

Friday the 31st of January was Chinese New Year and we were invited out to lunch after church this Sunday by one of the elderly Chinese ladies at church, Rosey.  She had booked a table in advance and invited people at church to join her.   I’m not sure if she had any particular people in mind, she just invited people until the table was full. 

So after church we were ready to go, but we didn’t know where we were going.  Rosey can be a bit hard to understand at times but she said something like “we’ll eat barbecue”.  Alright, sounds good to me.  She had an agitated moment after church that made us wonder if lunch was off and she should just go home.  But she was persistent; we were going to go and she was paying. 

She said we could just walk, it was close.  But then she had a sore hip so we decided to drive her.  Those who didn’t fit in the car opted to walk rather than take another car.  But we still didn’t know where we were going.  She would give us directions as we drove (and then we would text those who were walking to let them know where we went!). 

Once we got there, of course!  She had said “Wok and BBQ”, that was the name of the restaurant. 

Image from

When we were seated Rosey got busy diving through her three bags looking for red envelopes and money and pens and her cheque book.  The lady sitting next to her at the tabled helped to write the messages because Rosey couldn’t see very well.  Rosey gave an envelope to everyone who came, even if she didn’t know their names yet (and I had to look up someone’s last name on Facebook to write on the cheque). 

We ordered a few dishes to share across the table.  Well, Rosey ordered for us.  She has been there a number of times and the staff there know her now. 

When the fish dish came the waiter expertly split the fish and pulled out the spine.  We smiled into our plates of rice as Rosey confused the waiter with where she wanted him to put the fish spine.  On her plate?  No, she wasn’t going to eat it!  But not back on the plate! 

J and I were touched and blessed by Rosey’s generosity towards us in paying for lunch and her gift in the red envelope.  This experience has been a challenge to me about being generous, not just with my money, but my time as well.  Relationships require generosity and I look forward to the growth that results from this in our relationships at church.  Thanks, Rosey.