Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Goodyear/Badyear?

Sometimes we can look back on the year that passed - as we are wont to do at this time of year - and consider that it was a good year; other times, we look back and see a bad year. Usually, however, these terms are more likely to reflect what happened in December than what took place over the year.

'Good year' and 'bad year' are such subjective, fickle terms.

I could easily look back on this year and see a fairly bad year. I found it difficult to find a place where I felt comfortable and at home (7 residences in a year and a week), I lost my best friend of 4 years, I deferred my studies because I had severe difficulty recovering from that as well as do everything else I was doing, and December has left me a little empty.

On the whole, I've got a lot of reasons to look back on this year and say 'bad'.

But, this year wasn't a total write-off, either. I've been involved in starting some pretty awesome activities (like a new mission parish, a new mission endeavour and expanding a church's cycle of services), had the luxury of taking time out from studies, got to live in West End (albeit for a short time), lived in Shanghai, figured out that I'm actually pretty good at teaching。Looking at that, the year actually starts looking pretty good.

But, looking at the past is only of value in assisting when looking towards the future.
So, what's 2009 bringing?

Well, in January and the first part of February, I'll be completing the third semester (i.e. first semester, second year) of my studies in theology. After this, from March to June I'll be completing the final semester of my studies in education. Concurrently, I'll still be chanting at a number of services, and beginning work with a new organisation promoting Orthodoxy in this part of Australia. I also intend on continuing my public speaking development, hopefully attaining my first Toastmasters' award, and in learning more about Orthodox liturgics and continuing research into genius and expertise. I am, however, intending on scaling down my adjudicating commitments.

On the whole, I'm looking forward to the year that shall be :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

So, what's happened this year?

January, I started off living in East Brisbane. I did this semester's worth of the theological course I'm doing. I also got glasses and joined Toastmasters.

I found that sharing a studio was difficult, and moved in with my best friend and her housemate in around February. Had an operation in April (around Easter, no less), then did my prac at an all-girls Catholic school. I finished the semester with pass marks and a very positive recommendation for my prac.

Sadly, my domestic relations deteriorated after May, and I felt forced to move. I moved back home in July until I found a new place. I tried to continue university in second semester, but the combination of completing the next semester of my theological course and the disintegration of those domestic relations meant that I found myself unable to complete the final semester of my university course. I deferred my studies, unsure if I would return to them.

I moved to West End, fulfilling a desire I'd had since mid-high school, in around September. I attempted to find a job, but couldn't find any. It was during this time that I recommitted myself to finishing my education degree, which I will complete in June. I made a number of plans at this time, including doing my field experience in west Africa.

At the end of October, I visited China for just over a month, visiting my brother and his girlfriend. I came back in late November and, for various reasons, decided to move back home (making a total of seven places, in the last year-and-a-week, that I have lived in for longer than a month). As my last milestone for the year, I was blessed to be asked to deliver the Christmas message at the carols night at our church.

Other things that I did include teaching high school Orthodox Religious Education for the year and adjudicating high school debating during the year.

And, here I am - about to be half way through my theological studies (another 18 months to go), halfway through my education degree (6 months), back to living at my parent's house. I've got about five months until my field experience, after which is holidays and (hopefully) some family celebrations, and then...who knows!

It's bizarre, and a first for me, but it's kinda liberating to be able to look at a year ahead and not know entirely what's going to happen next. As I'm currently saying to everyone, after September, no promises as to where I'll be...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Scene from the Vicar of Dibley

This was a scene from the Vicar of Dibley that I particularly enjoyed - particularly seeing the love that the character had (kudos, Dawn French!). It was a Christmas special (entitled Winter), and happens to be one of my favourite episodes - immediate Christmas SpiritTM. I hope you enjoy it as well.
A warning - a couple of the jokes are somewhat off-colour...maybe PG rated.


Vicar: Right. Well, thank you everyone for an excellent day’s rehearsal… after a slightly shaky start. Right. The poster. What do you think?
Owen: Well, I don’t know about that.
Vicar: What?
Owen: Well, I just don’t think it is the greatest story ever told. I mean, there’s that great story about the people whose house was burgled, and they thought that the robbers hadn’t taken anything, and then they developed their photographs months later, and they found pictures of the robbers with toothbrushes up their bottoms.
Vicar: So, what – you think I should write, ‘the second greatest story ever told’.
Hugh: Yes, there is, there is fantastic story about the woman whose husband got out of the car, and she heard this banging on the roof, and the police said ‘get out of the car, and don’t look ‘round’, but she did look ‘round, a-a-a-and it was a lunatic, actually banging her husband’s severed head on the roof of the car.
Vicar: Well, perhaps I should just write, ‘one of the top 10 greatest stories ever told’.
Owen: That’s forgetting all those great Jackie Collins stories – The Beach, The Stud…
Frank: And Beatrice Potter, of course. She wrote lovely stories.
Hugh: And News from Southeast have some excellent local stories.
Vicar: Right, right. Sorry. Can we just stop, right there. Can I just remind you all a little bit about the story we’re actually telling here. Two thousand years ago, a baby is born in a stable. The poorest of the poor. And yet during his lifetime, He says things that are so astonishing that millions of people are still living their lives by them today. He said, ‘love thy neighbour’. He told us to turn the other cheek, whatever people might do to us.
Owen: Does that include that Simon bonking you like a beachball?
Vicar: Yes, it does, Owen…sadly, it does. But most astonishingly, I believe that this tiny little baby Boy, actually was the Son of God. And when He was younger than I am today, He was brutally crucified, for simply for telling people to love each other. And the men who killed Him thought ‘that’s it, He’s dead, He’s gone’. And yet, here we are. Two thousand years later. In a village, in the middle of England, doing a play about His Birth. Now, I think that’s a pretty great story.
[muttered affirmations]
Owen: Yes, all right, it’s a good poster, leave it as it is.
Vicar: Thank you. Although I do admit, the one about the toothbrushes is pretty gripping, perhaps we’ll do that next year.
Hugh: Perhaps Frank plays the toothbrush.
Frank: Yes, please.