Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Getting settled

The question everyone keeps asking is, "Are you settled yet?" We've been in Australia for 4 months now, and in Ballarat for just six weeks. Moving from Hoppers Crossing to Ballarat felt like moving countries again. We had made good friends and I was enjoying my work mates in Port Melbourne. We were always looking forward to moving to Ballarat though... to finally having our own place again and being able to set up a home. Below: our cottage on Duncan Street.

You're welcome anytime!

Now, six weeks after moving here, I can say that I'm starting to feel settled. Starting. Really, things are just beginning, so it will be a while before we are in a routine of things. For instance, basketball starts this week for me. I will be both playing in a women's league, and coaching 16 - 18 year old girls. I'm nervous but also looking forward to this opportunity. Also, the leaugue is paying for me to get my Coaching Certificate, which I'm excited about. In other things, I have yet to be made Assistant Manager at the Starbucks I'm working at, but I'm hopeful that will happen soon. In our quest to find a church, we think we've found one (yah!) but until that is confirmed we are still unsettled in that area. We had the pastors (a husband and wife team) of that church over for dinner this week, and our time together was good. We'll tell you more when we know more. With Mark, first he was covering for a maternity leave, then we moved up to Ballarat and he was asked to travel two hours away, three days a week, to cover for some other absent doctors. He is away as I type this. This finishes this week though and from next week he will be able to practice his permanent (for now) schedule of five days a week in Ballarat, and one day a week back in Hoppers Crossing. So, for the both of us, these next few weeks will be a time of settling.

The best word I have to describe Balllarat is 'charming.' It's small, but not too small. Everything is within reasonable biking distances. I'll try to take some photos for you on my way to work. I have to say that I am really enjoying biking everywhere! It was a bummer having our our new-to-us car die on us mostly because of the money we sunk into it, but now I even feel blessed. We're lucky that the weather has been so great lately. It's beautiful and refreshing riding during the day, and peaceful and magical riding at night. We bike to work, to the grocery store, to friend's houses and to church. The aren't many bike commuters in this town so people are always amused at us, but I'm excited to demonstrate another way of travelling that is good for one's health and the environment, and it saves money on car expenses like petrol. To my fellow friends out there travelling solely by bike and public transportation: way to go! I feel united with you... bike riding is that special.

And last but not least, the newest edition to the Colvin househould: Bella! Her name was inspired by Rob Bell, a pastor/author/short-film writer that we have been interested in and appreciated lately. Mark has just finished reading two of his books, Sex God and Velvet Elvis. I've really enjoyed many of his NOOMA videos. Check him out if you haven't already.

Bella is VERY affectionate. We got her a week ago, at six weeks old. Her favourite place in on us somewhere, usually on our shoulder or face (if we let her). She loves cuddling and just wants to be close to us and play with us. We almost called her Beso (kiss in Spanish) because she loves nibbling our ears and licking our lips (Yes! but I never let her. She's cute, but not that cute. No kitty breath near my mouth.)

That's it for now. Again, our address is 3 Duncan Street, Ballarat, 3350, VIC, Australia.

p.s. I just thought I'd share one of my favourite things about work: a regular customer named Bill. I love Bill because he reminds me of all my homeless friends. Bill used to be a teacher and was tragically, brutally beaten up by students (a long time ago). He is now 'different.' I'm not sure what exactly is going on in his head, but he lives with a very mangled arm, and has the looks and similar mannerisms of a mentally disabled homeless person. He always smells and sometimes clears half of our store upon entrance. His clothes are often dirty, and his hands caked with dirt. What I love about Bill is that he's always reading, and often reads aloud to us. He breaks out in song every day, usually Australian ballads of sort. And his laugh... he sometimes goes on and on to me, and I can't unserstant a word, and then he laughs at what he's just said and I laugh because his laugh is so funny, so contagious. I also love the my co-workers all treat Bill with respect. I can't say the same for all of our customers. Just yesterday Bill was telling me about a book he is reading on the Bible. Bill was telling me about the book, about how he was enjoying it, and then he said, "And you know what Rachel, I read that Jesus is going to come back again one day!" He said it with a brief glimpse of delight and wonder in his eye, like a child. It was beautiful and made me stop and reflect, and delight and wonder as well.