Current situation: lounging by the pool with one of my oldest friends and her housemate in Melbourne, Australia. The legs are feeling the strong UV and it's nice to relax a little. It's funny, having been in hot countries for well over a month, this is the first time I've sat by a pool and it's nice to reflect on all the things I've seen and done. So I thought I'd give you an update on Australia.

On Sunday, we landed in Sydney and experienced what is termed reverse culture shock. We'd grown used to Asia, its prices, transport and living standards, so it was quite an adjustment to immerse ourselves back into Western society, especially somewhere that appears as wealthy and well-done as Sydney. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it. The Circular Quay, the Opera House, the Bridge and the Rocks area (cool streets full of eateries and bars) is a great experience and the site of the harbour took our breaths away. It was a moment of appreciation of how much we have and the comparison between our surroundings from the week before. We stayed one night in a boutique-style hotel and the slogan was 'live like a local.' It was branded over their soaps and shampoos. It really caught me; a local here in Sydney lives a completely different life, socially and financially to someone in the Philippines. I think the reverse culture shock experience has only reiterated to me to appreciate other people's differences.

Whoever we meet across the world have been raised in different circumstances and cultures, both of which massively determine how someone might view or approach a situation. I've been caught in the trap of making assumptions about people based on what I thought I knew. That is rarely helpful because unless you know every detail, and I mean every detail, of that person's life, you probably don't know a lot at all. I'm beginning to see the world so much more vibrantly and despite all the differences, on the whole, I see one big similarity. Connection. Everyone longs for connection with others and with our modern-day, isolated, digital world, that is something that we're beginning to lack. So while rest days are essential for mental health and in my context, to anchor myself to God, I do believe I need to be more intentional in spending time with others because that's how people feel loved and valued. Time is a commodity and when people give it up for you, it goes a long way.

Now I've finished my little thought-process, I can let you know about some of the activities we've enjoyed this week. We tried surfing, something I really want to try again. We have seen kangaroos (and eaten one) and I went to my first comedy club. So another week of wonderful experience but I am starting to feel ready for a little bit of home.

Not quite the professionals

Off to the beach today in 38 degree heat. Pray for me. Take care and speak soon,

Lyds x