Thursday, October 28, 2010

Is this love that I´m feeling¿...I really, really think so..

OH MATE. I have found it- the closest thing to heaven on Earth.

I´m chilling in a place called MontaƱita, and guys, I am telling you, if there was ever a place where I wanted to set up camp and never move, this is it.

It´s a beach town- the surf capital of Ecuador. It pretty much consists of about 5 streets full of little shops and restaurants. Its 3pm in the arvo and walking the tight streets feels like being in a movie as the music blares from all angles (I´m telling you, these people love music!). There are kids on the side of the road playing guitars and drums- busting out the reggae beats and singing their hearts out. I´m struggle to concentrate as beautiful-dread-locked-tattooed-hippie man after beautiful-dread-locked-tatooed-hippie man pass by me while I´m strolling. I´m literally speechless- finding it hard to get the appropriate words down on this thing, cos I know no matter what I say, my words will not give this place justice.

OH MAN. Seriously. OH MAN.

It´s hard to concentrate when you´re busy falling in love, however I was able to construct some vauge, mind-challenging thoughts this morning (just).. I´ve been contemplating this passage in 1 John, chapter 1:
For God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all..
When I have more time and I am back in the right state of mind to build full-sentences, I will share my thoughts with you.

For now, I have to run.

If by any chance Bob Marely is still alive, I have no doubt that I am going to find him here. Will keep you updated.

Oh and P.S- if I fail to make it back to Australia for another couple of years, this is where you´ll find me- on some random beach in MotaƱita, Ecuador- with flowers in my hair.

Peace out,

Love Crissi

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oh man, how embarassing.

No really, how embarassing-

So, Evelyn and I are in Guayaquil city for the day getting the last minute things done regarding my visa. We have woken up at 4am, and after a 3hour bus ride from Machala, we have arrived. To get to the Immigration Agency, we must catch another bus. Luckily, I have lived (and driven) in Rome before, so being stuck in traffic chaos is nothing new to me. Buses and cars stopping only inches away from eachother, brakes slamming left-right-and-centre, vehicles dividing into five lanes instead of two, and Nonna's squealing as pedestrian crossings are completely ignored, are all things that I grew accustomed to while I was living in Italy. When I was learning how to first drive in Rome, a very dear (Roman) friend of mine described it like this- "Driving in Rome is like raging through a jungle. Do not pay attention to what people are doing around you- just use your indicator, and keep your eye on the destination, and you'll be fine." Duely noted in Ecuador too, obviously.

One novelty that I do notice however, is that people are jumping on and off buses anywhere (so, not necesarrily at a bus stop)......while they're still going. These drivers don't stop. Their aim is merely to get from A to B- 'if you get hit or break a leg in the process, we do not apologise, because we do not care..' On the positive, I have realised that even whilst behind the wheel, Ecuadorians manage to maintain their sweet natures. They will toot their horns at eachother (over and over and over again until you cringe at the sound), however will proceed in all their road rage with smiles upon their faces. Unlike the Romans hanging out of their car windows- middle finger in full-view and screaming things that translate something along the lines of 'I curse your mother, and I hope you get cheated on'- Ecuadorians will toot until their little heart's are content, yet will not yell a word of abuse at one another. How lovely of them.

So anyway, we're on this ratty, run down bus and it's approximately 8.30am. The driver has the Latino music brawling in attempt to block out the sound of the madness around us (just as we like it..) . I am functioning on a mere 2-3hours sleep, due to the terrible dreams that I've been having which are effecting my sleep patterns lately. These dreams include visions of floating cigarettes, and me twirling happily in clouds of thick cigarette smoke (for those of you who are unaware, I have not smoked since the day I arrived in Ecuador). Last night was particularly bad- I dreamt that I was walking down the main street of Sunbury, and as people walked past me, they would acutally start turning into cigarettes, until by the end of it I was the only human standing on a street full of life-size, walking ciggies... It was heaven.
Moving on- as my fingers tap to the Merengue beats of the music, I become so lost in my day-dreams (about my night-dreams), that I do not notice the robust African-looking man that gets on the bus and sits infront of us. But then....I smell it-
'Oh, sweet, sweet, cigarette aroma, where have you been hiding, and why are you not more present in my life? My hand is incomplete without you, my airways feel empty (and clean) without you- please float, float, float to me and fill me up with Hydrogen Cionide, please, please, please don't go away..................'  The smell is sheer torture. This man must've chain smoked a whole packet (and then some) because he is absolutley reeking of the stuff. I can't fight it. I can feel my body slowly, slowly, slowly leaning forward to get a bigger woft of it. A little voice inside is saying 'What the fuck are you doing you imbecile?!' , however the sleep deprived-nicotine-addicted part of me is screaming 'WHO CARES, INHALE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN NOW!!' My body leans in further and further; my nose getting closer and closer to the back of this big black-man (no offence homies) 's head....'just a little more, just a little more, just a little more........'  And just as the driver slams on the brakes.......


Dear God, I head-butted the black-man.

Aw, shit.

I'm frozen. The man turns around to find my face 'all up in his grill', and gives me the most confused look I have ever been given EVER, (even more confused than when I recite my surname to people). I cannot move. Meanwhile, Evelyn is in fits of hysterical laughter, although I'm not sure that she has quite caught on to what just happened. I still can't move. I'm just waiting and praying for the ground to part underneath me and swallow me up so that I dont have to sit there soaking in the utter humiliation of WHAT JUST HAPPENED. The man holds his confused glance for a few more seconds, before he turns back around, rubbing the back of his head. Evelyn is speechless. And still frozen.

And, that wasn't even the worst part. On top of this, I had to continue sitting behind the placid, innocent man (whom I head-butted) for what felt like the longest 10minutes of my life, red in the face and completely paralysed.

Guys, I can imagine your giggles, but I assure you- this is not a funny story. This is a sad, sad, terrible tale about the after-effects of ADDICTION. It will drive you insane (I should know, I'm almost there). So sad, so ridiculous, SO HUMILIATING.

What an idiot, seriously.

On a positive note, I am kicking the habit. It is proving quite hard (or anything more exaggerated than that), however, it will get easier, and I am confident that one day I will be able to sit on public transport in perfect harmony with both smokers and non-smokers, without molesting or scaring anyone.

For you people out there still smoking, have one while you think of me. And, for you others out there quitting- don't take the bus.

Love, Crissi

Sunday, October 24, 2010

From sugar to home-boy's...

So, Friday I topped the list of my 'worst experiences ever'... I went to a sugar factory.

Now, I have been trampled in protests before. I have slept with rats on me before. I have stood in a line for 12hours, had ticks, and been forced to dive into bins to feed myself before. Nothing, I mean NOTHING compares to taking a tour through an Ecuadorian sugar factory.

It was terrible. Apart from the fact that I was walking around in the sweltering heat with what felt like a 30kg work hat on, the smell was excruciatingly nauseating- and that's an understatement. I cannot even convey what this place smelled like in words- it's indescribable. I can still smell it on my clothes, and I'm pretty sure that there is sugar up my nose. Also, I'm fairly sure that I dreamt that I was running for my life from a man covered in sugar who was attempting to beat me with a 10kg bag of the stuff. The experience is haunting me. Absolutely haunting me.

When I find myself in distasteful situations, or anytime that I end up doing something that I feel is of no benefit to me, I tend to ask God why He puts me in such positions every so often? Let me tell you, Friday He was getting a mouthful from me- 'Why the EFF am I here Mateeeeee? What the EFF is the point of this??'
He doesn't always answer straight away. Sometimes when we ask something, it takes days, sometimes months, sometimes even years...but Friday I got my answer instantly..

The trip was organized by Evelyn's uni, and I happened to tag along. She and I were travelling in a car with 3 of her uni mates. Amongst these I made a very special friend- Henry.
Henry is a recovering alcoholic/drug-addict. He has been clean for 6years (mind you, he's only 21.) Henry wants to travel the world stopping at Alcoholic's Anonymous centers to tell people his story, and eventually end up in Switzerland where he can settle down with a super-hot Swedish girl and live on a farm with 10 children and grow tomatoes. Henry loves loves loves to talk. Shame that I don't talk much (ahem.) Henry and I yapped for 4hours about everything- from Australian culture, to bananas; to politics to geography...and of course, the topic that most extended conversations find themselves touching on- religion.

(**Note- Let me just mention that I really dislike the word religion. For me, having a relationship with God is not about having a 'religion', because I tend to associate the word 'religion' with the word 'rules' and for me, abiding by rules has nothing to do with loving God. Some people will disagree, I am sure.)

Henry expressed to me that he is struggling spiritually. He is finding it difficult to grasp the concept of having ‘one God’. Henry challenged me with this question- 'Why choose God over Allah, or over Buddah? What is it that makes you think Christianity is the truth?'

Firstly, have it known that while I was 'searching' 10months ago, not only did I begin reading the Bible, but I also did an extensive re-search on many other 'religious' groups too, so I am not completely oblivious to other belief systems. Personally, the Bible spoke to me the most. I COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY believe in, and respect, man's free-will to choose what belief system best works for him, so the following is not intended to offend anyone, or by any means try to convince anyone that what they think is 'wrong'. The following is simply a summary of what I believe and why I believe it. Seeing as I make quite a few references to God and the Bible in this blog, I think it's important for people to understand how I feel in order to try and comprehend where my reasoning comes from-

Yes, I am a Christian, meaning that I believe in Christ. Again, certain words were not intended to cause division amongst people, however during the course of the ages unfortunately it has come to be this way. Hence, I prefer to use the word 'Believer': I am a BELIEVER in God, and I BELIEVE that His son Jesus Christ came down to save the sinners of the world- you and me and your mother and mine and my best friend and your best friend and every single person that we have ever met, and every single person in the course of history. EVERY SINGLE ONE of us- "For all have sinned, and all fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

I am a sinner. By sinner, I mean that I do things against what God desires of me all the time. I say mean things to my friends about other people. I look at photos on Facebook and judge people be what they look like and the things they write. I do harmful things to my body, like drink and smoke and eat the wrong foods. I gossip (is not my most frequently asked question 'What's goss?'). I snap at people. I do a shitty job at being there for people because I'm too caught up in my own stuff and I am constantly complaining that I don't have this that and the other. The list goes on. There are many, many things that I do wrong as a human being. Many things I don't even realise I am doing. I am aware of what is right and what is wrong, but there are some things that I do that are completely unconcious.  Of course, there is the big stuff like murdering and stealing that are a conscious acts of malice, but I'm talking about the not-so-conscious ones. For example, in the Old Testament of the Bible one of the 10 commandments includes 'Thou shall not covet'. The act of coveting is the act of being jealous. Jealousy is an emotion that comes from somewhere within me; never have I actually wanted to be jealous, it just happens. I mean, how can you help not being jealous when you see the Princess of Monaco fluttering about the pages of your newspaper? (God, 'Why don't I have my own castle?') This is an illustration of the fact that SIN lives within us- it is inevitable that I am going to fuck-up- even in ways which to some may seem petty and unimportant- but it's going to happen..every single day.
'For I know that nothing good dwells within my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out..' (Romans 7: 18)

Now comes the cool part- no matter what I do, no matter how much of a fuck-up I am, or how many times I screw Him over, God continues to grace me. I look around me, and I have absolutely everything that I need (plus more). Even from a bigger perspective- thinking about the world in general- with all the people that are atheist, or with all the people that turn to other god's, does God not continue to grace them as well? Have not most of us got everything? Okay, so maybe I don't have a Ferrari, or maybe I don't have a jet-ski, or a hut in the Bahamas, or a private jet, or free plane tickets to anywhere in the world, but I have EVERYTHING THAT I NEED TO SURVIVE. God may not necessarily grace me with material things, but He has given me so much more than that- I have a home, I have food and water whenever I need it, I have an amazing mother, and great friends, and all my limbs, and a heart that works properly. I am surrounded with LOVE and above all- I have been given LIFE. Despite the fact that I disappoint God multiple and uncountable times a minute, He keeps giving and giving and giving. And do you know all that He asks for in return? Love. Love for my life, love for the people in it, love for HIM, and above all, love for His only son- our good mate JC. In the words of John-
'And this is the commandment, that we believe in the name of his son Jesus Christ, and LOVE ONE ANOTHER, just as He commanded us.' (1 John 3: 23)
And in the book of Romans-
‘For the commandments- you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and any other commandments are summed up in this word- YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF.’(Romans 13:9)

This is my truth. This is why I am a Believer. This is why I read the Bible. This is why I chose to get to know God...because that's all He wants- LOVE. God knows me, and He does so much good in my life that it brings tears to my eyes. For me, it is my duty as a human; it is my duty as a creation of God, to love Him and serve Him. I owe it to Him after all, don’t I?
People think that loving God is about ad-hearing to certain rules, attending certain services, saying certain prayers- yes, the Bible does tell us that once upon a time, God’s people were instructed to live by certain regulations (the 10 Commandments) in order to do right by God, but the new testament confirms that Christ’s death served to erase the sins of everyone, so that God should grant us grace- regarless of our imperfections- because He LOVES us. So, for me, it’s simple. Love God and love people. Because of this, I have chosen to live my life loving God and serving Him.  God has blessed me for a reason and it seems logical to me to use that to help others. This is why I am a Believer. This is why I read the Bible. This is why I chose to get to know God.  That’s all.

Henry shed a tear, and I felt accomplished. After being able to share this with someone, and touch someone in this way, I decided that I definitely would take a tour through that sugar factory again, and even 10times over, if it meant that I got to express this and get a reaction like Henry’s with people every day.

Enduring 2 hours of utter sugar-hatred was worth it in the end.
And- just for the record- Jesus really is my home-boy. Can someone please buy me that on a T-Shirt?

Love, Crissi

Ps, Shame I’m not very elaborative- I could have made this longer…….

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Keep on moving, keep on moving.

When I walk the streets of this city, I feel like I'm the monkey in Aladdin...what's his name? A-poooh?

There are people, people, people, everywhere- mothers grasping their chidren (two on each arm), teens sprinting through the chaos- dodging things at every angle, and of course, just like in any Melbournian shopping centre- there are those ones that walk slow that you always get stuck behind.
To give you guys a visual- the centre of town is like one big market. For every shop, there are about 5 banquets all lined up on the foot-path, leaving little room for commuters to get from A to B. While some retail shop-keepers relax comfortably in their shops, tending to customers from behind the iron bars that provide security from robberies, others prefer to manage their business from behind a table on the side of the road. There are food stalls everywhere (mangoes, bananas, popcorn, disgusting fried concoctions), thousands of taxi's honking at eachother, and my favourite thing of all- salsa music blaring around every corner. I am afraid that eventally the rhythm is going to get to me and I won't be able to hold back a dancing-with-myself-party in the middle of the street.
While we're on the subject- today was a really good day, shopping wise. I managed to find an elecritcal adaptor for my computer worth about $15 in Aus for 70c. SEVENTY CENTS. And they wouldn't even keep the change from $1... We also went grocery shopping- packed enough food in a trolley to get us through to next year- and the checkout chick looked at me and said '$50'. Are you serious? With food at this rate anywhere else I would shout everyone meals for...well forever.

Tonight I'm feeling relaxed knowing that we managed to accomplish everything that we needed to today.  Yesterday was not a good day- I was forced to spend most of the afternoon infront of the computer giving my email account a work-out as I attempted to resolve issues that I was having with my Mastercard. I tell you, it is so so frustrating to have to deal with things like that when you're so far away and do not necessarily have all the resources to do so ie, a functional phone to call Australia with. It was a challange, but it all got sorted in the end thanks to my mum and a nice man called Shane. My accounts are now accessible, and Westpac Sunbury has apologised for the inconvenience. Thankyou very much.

As I reflect on the events of the last week, I have to admit that I have never had so many set-backs while travelling in such a short period time before. Starting with the terribly irritating rash on my chest and arms the morning of my departure (did I mention that?), followed by the 'attack of the contaminated water' last Friday, it was all topped off with yesterday's mess. 
I say all this to say, that I've been thinking a lot about how the enemy will do anything to hinder us from proceeding in our calling smoothly. He is lurking around every corner- ready to stand in the way- and will take any opportunity to make things harder.

Due to these thoughts, I've been reading up in the book of Ephesians, chapter 6. Verse 12 tells us-
'We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil..'
Some things are just completely beyond our control. There will always be set-backs, no matter the situation. We cannot always expect everything to go perfectly, and furthermore, I personally should not always assume that things are going to go smoothly without any glitches whatsoever. I always assume that things will go according to plan, and when they don't, I get so worked up about it.

Anyway, through all of this, my lesson (because there is always a lesson...) has been this: 
'Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.' Ephesians 6:11
I need to remind myself every so often, that yes, while God has got it all worked out for my benefit, the enemy is always waiting on the side-lines ready to pounce- not only do I need to expect this, but I need to be ready for it. Therefore,
'In all circumstances, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one..'  Eph 6:16
Yes, I should have faith that everything God does in my life is working toward something bigger and better, and put on this confidence as a shield against everything that could stand in the way in the process, however, I have to bear in mind that I'm not the one who's in control, that there will be slips,  and that I have to power through the set-backs to get to the good stuff. Or, as 90's boy-band Five would say- 'And if the sun don't shine there's a meaning- it's telling me not to let things get in my way..'
So, don't lose heart, keep pushing through, and at least THINK about the possibilty of negatives occuring rather than assuming 'rainbows and smiles' all the time. And further, when things do go a little bad, don't get too worked up cos it will all work out. Remember that Nikki rekons you stress too much to become a hippie anyway (note to self: prove her wrong.)

That's all.

'Keep on moving on anyway' kids,

Love you all,
Love, Crissi

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Everybody laughs in the same language.

Now that I'm feeling alive again, guess it's time to get back into the blogging.

It's harder than I thought to have to document all my thoughts/feelings on this thing. The past week (yes, only 1 week!) has been an emotional rollercoaster, my brain is having a hard time keeping up. I tend to find myself having random outbreaks in which all I can think about is crying- but then there are moments that everything disappears and I manage to get a grip on my surroundings for at least an hour or two.

In saying this, this weekend has acutally been quite nice. We have spent most of it at the local church (Evelyn's uncle is the head pastor here). The people are lovely, and very welcoming. All but one have absolutely no knowledge of English, so I've been racking my brain trying to get my point across, however I can feel my Spanish is becoming more fluent and it's becoming easier to communicate. I am looking forward to working with Machala Baptist Church and getting to know that locals for the next (almost) two weeks that I will be here in Machala.

Contributing to the day's general 'good-feeling' is that tonight has been the first night that I have acutally laughed. Laughed hard.
Evelyn, a friend of hers and I went to the 'park' for ice-cream this evening. Now, when I say park, I mean massive traffic island with a ferris wheel and two massive fountains on either side- and no, it's not a Luna Park, it's just a park (evidently). People were everywhere. The girls made me try 'fried gelato'- some foul mix of pistacchio ice-cream dipped in an oily batter- a pathetic excuse for a desert. (Hello, you're dealing with an Italian here- I have tasted possibly the best ice-cream in the world, and you have no idea what you are doing- sorry). After this, we proceeded to walk around the fountains and bright lights. Note: I love that this city has dirt tracks as roads, but they have parks that resemble the Melbourne Show. Really?
Anyway, after exploring a little, me being the kid I am suggested that we take a ride on the choo-choo train that was choo-chooing around the streets, and OH MAN, what an idea. This thing was like Puffing Billy on crack, except without all the scenery and stuff. I can't believe that mothers acutally let their kids on it! I could have sworn we were ripping corners at about 60kms....such fun, such fun. You can imagine how temped I was to yell out 'rip a burn-out!' (classic Sunbury style), however I held myself back for fear of confused looks and people thinking I could potentially be trying to terrorise their children. I let that temptation slide....and somewhere between our screams and hanging out the side of a tiny carriage hanging on for our lives, I realised... everybody laughs in the same language.

Futher, something to report for you other 'churchies' like me out there- God showed me something really awesome during the service today-
It all began last night. I was having one of my ICM's (Irrational Cri Moments) as I lay down to go to sleep. I was hysterically sobbing for really no reason at all, except that I am a massive fuck-up and I always hurt Him who loves me the most (you guys get me, yeah?) yada, yada, yada- cry me a freaking river. Anyway, I prayed- really hard- for God to start answering some mega mega requests that I have asked of Him as of late. Most of them are fairly long-shot, but we all know that He can do anything.
Anyway, this morning, as I listened to the pastor preaching in Spanish, and flipped back and forth through my English bible trying to keep up with the passages he was reading, he read out something really special-

'Have faith in God...whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and thrown into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him..'
- Mark 11:22

Do not doubt in your heart. Do not doubt in your heart. Do not doubt in your heart.
Thanks mate- I'll try my best.

That's all for today dear friends. The mozzies are telling me it's time for a cold shower before sleep.

Talk soon,
Love, Crissi.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Listen to your mother.

Oh wow, welcome to the world again.

I've spent the last 48hours drifting in and out of conciousness somewhere between a bed and a toilet bowl, enduring what could possibly be the worst sickness of my life so far (then again we always say forgetting that it there has been worse somewhere along the line).
Thinking back to the morning of my departure- my mother slipped a packet of pink pills in my bag saying 'This is incase you get sick- your body might find it difficult to adjust to it's surroundings during the first week, ' to which I replied, 'Please mum- I never get sick.' Well, after vomiting up my soul, and arguing about it with my body for about 10hours ('I will not take the medicine, I will not take the medicine..') I decided that it was my only option. Thankfully I packed those pills because they saved my life. Lesson: Listen to your mother.
I'm feeling much better now, so for those of you worrying, don't stress. Completely normal for my body to react in this way- especially when I'm told that the air here in Ecuador is contaminated by various bacteria (not to mention the water that should not be drunk straight from the tap- fairly sure that I did a couple of times without even thinking about it).
Anyway, all good guys, all good.

It is currently 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon. I managed to drag myself out of bed at approximately 12pm and force feed myself 3 dry crackers. After a (cold) shower and a fresh change of clothes, I can feel my sanity slowly starting to creep back again (woohoo!).

In saying all of this, I don't have much of an update for you (assuming that you don't require a detailed summary of everything that went on in the last 2days).

Missing you all today. The only thing worse than being sick in a foreign country is being sick in a foreign country and not being able to find comfort in someone who's familiar. However, I am thankul that Evelyn is so wonderful- she really looked after me.

Talk soon guys,
Miss you- really really really. (already? geeeeeez.)


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

just a quick update...

Today I had a really good session with my guitar- I love that. I feel that I didn't get much time in Aus to express myself musically, so one thing that I am really looking forward to here is having the time to sit down and sing everything out.

Today is my first day of not smoking. Just figured it's a good opportunity to quit, and I'd rather not spend the money. Doing okay so far surprisingly, haven't really been thinking about it.
I'm also still really jat-lagged. My body is swollen as it adjusts to this heat, however with the cold showers I've been taking, it should be back to normal in no time. There is no hot water here- I'm not complaining. Even if there were, I would definately not be using it- it's way too hot.
I'm being eaten alive by mozzies- Evelyn says that she's never gets bitten so she was surprised. Guess they're loving the Aussie blood (though my blood isn't really Aussie, on second thought, maybe it's the Italian blood, who knows?).
I feel very lucky to be so adaptable in times like these. I can really see how my past experiences with travelling have benefited me so much in situations like these. When I think back to who I was about a year and a half ago, and imagine myself in such a situation, I rekon that I would be going out of my mind. Going straight from such a Western way-of-life to one like this one would be so hard to adjust. I can already see the difference in myself (one of the major ones is that I haven't reached for my make-up in about 4 days!) so I'm confident that it after a while I will feel at home. So thankful for all the things that I've experienced that have led me here now. Life is amazing.

Today has also been much better emotionally. I'm getting right into reading my bible again, so I'm feeling really peaceful and faithful that God is using me during this time to do great things on His behalf. I really feel that I got steered away proritising other things during my last couple of months in Australia, so this I'm definatley using this time to get closer to Him again and let Him guide me.

Overall, a really good day. Praying that my body adjusts to everything really quickly over the next couple of days.

Talk soon,
Love Crissi

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

....and then the reality hits.


I finally made out of Buenos Aires airport. I swear, that was the longest transit OF MY LIFE. I slept the whole way through to my next stop over which was in Lima, Peru, and then from there onto the final destination- Guayaquil, Ecuador.

I was so happy to find Evelyn waiting for me. Evelyn is the name of the girl who I will be staying with for the next couple of weeks. Evelyn is 22, and she lives alone in a town called Machala- about 3 hours south of Guayaquil. We caught a taxi from the airport to the bus terminal and immediatley boarded a bus to Machala. 

The bus trip was interesting. I was shocked by the poverty of the towns that we passed through- I didn't imagine it would be quite like this. Just proves that you should always expect the unexpected. Selfishly, I'm really happy- it's exactly what I wanted for this experience. As we drove through run-down towns and rural communities I couldn't help but feel a sense of guilt. I have everything. I actually HAVE everything.
Once arrived in Machala we hopped in a taxi that brought us to the house. The ride was probably about 10mins long, so you can imagine how surprised I was when the taxi driver turned to us and asked for only $1.50. So cheap. It's disturbing that my first thought was 'imagine being able to get the Billboards for only 4 bux?' Ah, some loves never die.

Evelyn and I are communicating quite well to my surprise- her, with her gracious Spanish just rolling off the tounge (am I the only person who loves the sound of this language?), and me stuttering about 5 times each sentence trying to get my point across. I'm pretty sure that I'm making no sense, and that I'm just putting 's' on the end of what are all Italian words, conning myself into believing that I'm actually speaking Spanish. She seems to understand, so I mustn't be doing too bad...then again some people are good at smiling and nodding.

I'm currently sitting at Evelyn's computer. She's gone to uni (uni from 7 to 10pm? Huh?) I'm all alone at the house, and things are finally starting to set in.
It's inevitable to get a little teary during the first 24hours of being in a completely new place. For me, it's a mixutre of  'I'm so blessed to really be here', 'What the hell am I doing?' and 'Mum, where are youuuuuuu???.' These thoughts occur frequently when the reality of being so far away from home, and surrounded by compete strangers, finally hits.
However, for some reason, Evelyn doesn't feel like a stranger at all. I've known her for a whole 8hours, but even from the first moment we saw each other, it was like I'd known her my whole life. She has just been so wonderful already.

Guess it's time for some much needed rest, I will keep my updates coming. I can already see this blog becoming an addiction- much like my facebook status' (when you are planning status updates in advance you have a problem. A serious, serious problem).

During this small momentary thought lapse caused by me being uncetain of what lies ahead, and how challanging this experience is going to be, I will fall asleep with this reassurance in mind-

'His thoughts are higher than out thoughts, and His ways are higher than our ways.'- Isaiah 55

I don't know exactly what He has planned, but I know that His plans always turn out ridicuously awesome. Thanks mate.

Goodnight peeps.
Love, Crissi.


Monday, October 11, 2010

The first lesson.

Hey guys,

So this is going to be my blog to keep you updated on all my adventures, and to give my mother some peace of mind at night-time.

I´m currently at Buenos Aires airport in Argentina. The journey went well- apart from working up a sweat running through Sydney airport to my connecting flight in the fear of missing it. I left Melbourne Monday morning, and arrived here in Argentina also on Monday morning- that´s the weirdest thing ever, silly international date line.
Getting on the bus to head into the centre, I met Kennedy. Kennedy is from Towsville. Typical Aussie bloke- nice kid, down to earth. I was surprised to discover that Kennedy is a Christian, and that he was carrying around a bible in his bag. As you can imagine, I was very excited and we had a lot to talk about. Thankfully, Kennedy didn't think I was weird for squealing and blabbering on about God´s awesomeness for about an hour and half, and he proceeded to walk around the centre with me all afternoon.
We sat down and had a drink with another guy that was on our flight- Ben I think his name is. Ben is staying in Buenos Aires for 5 days before he's off to Brazil with his surf-board to catch some waves and meet some hippies. I was shocked to find that Ben had picked up some chick on our flight and took her into the bathroom. I cannot imagine the awkwardness of that situation. Kennedy thought he was a legend.

Buenos Aires is nothing really special to look at. I concluded that it resembles a mixture of Madrid in Spain, and Naples in Italy. The women here are so beautiful, it´s intimidating. Here's me looking like a midget albino that's been dragged 100metres by a bus before being run-over by it. Not very good for my self-esteem. Should've got a spray tan, you idiot.

I can´t even begin to imagine what lies ahead in these next few months. The fact that I'm already on the other side of the world hasn't even hit me yet- it's just complete crazyness- so crazy but the feeling is amazing.
I feel that I've grown a lot in the couple of months that I spent back in Aus. I've learnt some really valuable lessons, but also had to reach some disappointing truths in the process. However, with the good comes the bad, always.
When I think of my most important lesson, one very special passage springs to mind-

Love is patient and kind, love does not envy or boast. It is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on it's own way, it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice in wrong-doing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4

The greatest thing that I have learnt during my stay back home is just how important it is to love people. It sounds so simple, doesn't it? The part that makes me laugh is that it IS so simple. You just have to love everyone. That's it. How could that be hard? What bad can come out of loving? Sure, that love may not always be reciprocated by the other person/people, but who cares? The important thing is that the love is in your heart, and you can make a difference in their life just by loving them. Just loving them. That's all there is to it. None of us will every have everthing, or maybe ever feel completely filled from top to bottom with satisfaction at any point in our lives. But life wasn't supposed to be fully satisfying, otherwise we would have nothing to look forward to. Even through all the material things that we count on for happiness, everything is nothing without LOVE.

In saying all this, if you're reading, I love you. I really really, love you.

That was my day- activites and thoughts. It is currently 6.45pm. My connecting flight to Lima, Peru isn't until 6am tomorrow morning- 12 hours of nothingness and sleeping on a hard floor lies ahead

Talk soon, and will keep you updated.
Miss you already,
Love, Crissi.