Hard to believe that it’s only been nine days since I landed in Los Angeles and celebrated by eating the largest Big Mac Meal available along with two coffees from Starbucks. Now that jetlag and American culture shock has subsided I am struggling with the strange excited/sad feeling in my heart. This is always a challenging and interesting time in ministry because you are torn between being exited about seeing family and friends at home again and missing loved ones on the mission’s field.
Thankfully everyone here is excited to hear about all the Lord is doing in Melbourne and my Australia stories and love asking me questions about life in Melbourne. Most of them I take great joy in answering as a yank who has experienced Australia and view myself as a liaison of sorts between the American and Aussie culture. But the one that makes me stop and think is; “what do you miss about Australia? because it’s very hard to come up with only one or two of them (there are so many). So put on your kangaroo leather hat and break out the boomerangs folks, because its time to share what I miss from Australia.
1. The Food: I realize putting something like friends at the top of the list would be the right thing to do but seriously I miss the food. Melbourne (the city I live in) is incredibly multicultural which means when you go to someone’s house for dinner they serve the food from their Country. Recently some of my ESL students threw a goodbye party for me that had food from no less than eight different Countries on the table.
Some foods I truly miss are Kebabs, meat pie (there is a meat pie shop near my home which serves a meat pie with lamb that is to die for), tim tams, chicken curry with rice, lamb chops off the barbecue (that’s grill yanks), sausages, and pavlova.
2. The Sports: One of the biggest reasons I DIDN”T want to come home in September was the finals (playoffs) for Australian sports where starting up. Australians love their sports and it’s hard not to enjoy rugby but my personal favorite is Australian football or the AFL, which is better than any sport in America. Don’t believe me? go ahead and google AFL, or search AFL on youtube…I’ll wait. (twiddling thumbs and humming) So what did I tell you, isn’t that the greatest sport in the world? Yea you know it is.
3. The People: A few weeks ago I wrote a short blog post about how Cornerstone Baptist Church (where I am Associate Pastor) truly became my Church family because there was a family atmosphere to everything we did. The Sunday services will be missed but Wednesday night prayer meetings at a Church members house are what truly have a special place in my heart. There is something about sitting in someone’s living room with a cup of coffee and discussing Scripture that just makes me feel relaxed and comfortable.
That isn’t to say I don’t feel comfortable and happy back home but over time those nights sharing prayer requests sitting beside the fireplace will definitely be missed.
4. Having a Go: I have already written extensively about this because its my favorite part of the Australian culture, but still really miss giving my friends a hard time (and usually embarrassing myself in the process) over a board game.
5. Cappuccino: Okay to be fair it isn’t exactly the cappuccino that I miss but the conversation you end up having with friends over a good cup of coffee. Go into any one of the cities many cafes and you will find people having a chat (Australian for long conversation) about what’s going on in their lives. This has to do with the slower pace of the Aussie culture and its focus on relationships…something that is definitely missed in the States where people often rush from one place to another.
6. Games Nights: A few weeks after arriving at Cornerstone one of the young adults walked up after the morning service and asked if I liked board games; that evening was the first “games night” at my friend’s house, which lasted about six hours (got home at 2:00 in the morning). Since then these activities have been something I grew to love and look forward to because of the fun we always had together.
Though there are many opportunities to spend time with friends here part of me wishes I could get another one of those “hey JB (short for Johnny Boy) do you have plans tonight” texts that let me know we would playing board games that evening.
There are many other parts of Australia that I miss but you get the point; it is weird being pulled in two different directions and in essence it feels as if my heart has been ripped in half but I am thankful for the experience because it is God’s Will. So as I tell friends in the States its good to be home (and mean it) may my Australian friends know I will never truly forget them.