Him? Seriously?   Leave a comment

Donald Trump?  Really?

There are many things to say about both American Presidential candidates right now.  They both have issues; neither of them are people I would dream of as an ideal leader.  I have no desire to dissect them both; many, many people have already done that.  There is only one issue I need to bring up to settle the question of who is worse.

Donald Trump literally brags about sexually assaulting women.  He literally brags about it! At no other point in history could anyone have done such a thing and even be in the running for President, let alone become a nominee!  Bill Clinton has been attacked throughout the years (and rightly so, mostly) for cheating on his wife, but if a man is berated and judged for cheating on his wife with another consenting woman, how then is a man who brags about sexual assault not treated much more harshly?  Think about that.  Please honestly think about that.

Trump has cheated on his wives (of which he is currently on #3) and admitted it.  He has also slept with married women and bragged about it.  How are the same people who criticise Hilary for taking back a cheating husband ok with Trump, who has behaved so much worse?  Neither are ok, so why is Hilary judged (especially when she wasn’t the one who cheated) and Trump is excused?  I can’t use the words I want to describe the vileness (and painfully obvious sexism) of this.

Trump is now trying to disparage the image of women who claim he sexually assaulted them.  The classic bully line is that their victims aren’t attractive enough to be assaulted.  Sexual assault is about power, not sex, and this is the most base and cliché power grab, “I wouldn’t touch her, look at her”.  Please. That just confirms his arrogant, bullying persona.

He also has 5 children by 3 different women.  Can you imagine if Hilary had done that?  I plan to address to sheer sexism of this at some other point, but not now.

Defending some of his talk as ‘locker room talk’ is disgusting on every level.  Firstly, this isn’t just locker room talk; he has admitted to actual sexual assault.  He has actually committed the crimes of which he brags, they aren’t just words.  The words in and of themselves would be bad enough, but don’t kid yourself; they’re not just words.

The fact that someone running for President of the United States can admit to sexual assault and not be disqualified immediately is a horrendous reflection on America.  Think about that.  He is a proud sexual predator and people want him to be in charge of their country.

Back to the ‘locker room talk’ dismissal.  No.  Men are better than this.  Most of the men I know are better than this.  If you dismiss this as normal locker room talk, I feel sorry for you and the men that you know.  If you excuse men for talking like this you do not hold them in high esteem.  I respect men more than this.  Only awful men speak like this.

If you don’t expect men to respect women, what are you saying to other women?  It’s normal to be demeaned like that?  Donald Trump Jr said that women who can’t handle sexual harassment “Don’t belong in the workplace”.  Oh. My. Goodness.  It is not normal for men to disrespect women, that is both awful for men and women.  Men are better than that, and women deserve better than that.  What are you telling your daughters, your friends, and yourself if you are prepared to vote for a man who so blatantly does NOT respect women?  Oh, but he says he respects women, right?  Please…

Do not excuse his inhuman behaviour.  You may not like Hilary, fine, vote for someone else or don’t vote, but you cannot vote for this man and demand to be respected because he treats no one with respect; he respects no one but himself.  That is not the leader for anyone.

 

(Please don’t comment on this with anti-Hilary rhetoric.  Don’t vote for her if you can’t in good conscience, just don’t vote for him.  He is a disgusting sexual predator and you know it.  You’re just choosing to ignore it and excuse it.  And make no mistake, if you vote for him you ARE excusing sexual predators.)

Posted October 16, 2016 by Ludicrousity in Uncategorized

I Shall Not Want   Leave a comment

This song.  Wow this song.  Listen to it.

From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me O God

From the need to be understood
From the need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

From the fear of serving others
From the fear of death or trial
From the fear of humility
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

No, I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

 

This song has been going through my head non-stop since first hearing it on Sunday.  Not only is the music breathtakingly stunning, but the words are heart-wrenchingly convicting.

It is so hard to get everything I need from God.  I am constantly searching for the approval of others, for the need to be known and understood by those around me.  Why does that matter?  It shouldn’t, but it does.  Why can’t I let it go?  Why can’t I be satisfied knowing who I am, and knowing that I’ve done what God has asked of me?  Why do I need more?

Deliver me, O God.

My ego is a petulant child.  My ego is weak.

Deliver me, O God.

It is weakness to need approval.  Approval is always temporary; you can never, ever get enough.  Why do I fall into the trap of needing something that is as permanent as water going through a sieve?  I know it’s ridiculous.  I know it’s unhelpful.  I know it’s defeating me.  I know it’s stopping me from being happy and fulfilled, yet I still fall for it.

Deliver me, O God.

A good thing elevated to the best thing is a bad thing.

Being praised by others isn’t bad, it’s quite nice really.  Being in a mutually positive relationship where you build each other up is a wonderful thing.  The issue comes when we need that approval and praise to be ok.  If we don’t get the praise we crave or expect, does that dampen our experience?  Does it change how we feel about what we’ve done?  If what we did was good and right, it shouldn’t change the way we feel about ourselves if others don’t acknowledge us.  But of course if does.  Of course it does.

Deliver me, O God.

It’s so easy to be comfortable and stay in your familiar rut.  Even overseas in a place like this ruts develop.  I don’t want to be comfortable; I want to be where God wants me, doing what God asks of me.  It’s so much easier not to change my life, to remain the same, but I never want to just do the easy thing; I always want to do the right thing.

Deliver me, O God.

It’s so easy to rationalise my behaviour.  “Oh, it’s not that bad.  At least I’m not as bad as…”, but that’s never the point is it?  My life should not be measured against the actions of others, it should be measured by the standards of God.  I am not in competition with anyone else.  I am being asked to be the best version of me that I can be.  I am being asked to reach the potential that God has given me.  I am not in competition with anyone else.  The judgements of others do not define me or my worth.

Deliver me, O God.

I will keep listening to this song until it sinks deep into my soul.

Posted October 5, 2016 by Ludicrousity in Uncategorized

Admission Vs Confession   1 comment

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In our bible study we’ve been going through Oswald Chamber’s book ‘My Utmost For His Highest’. We’ve had some issues with it, but there have also been some fantastic things that have really challenged me. This week I was frustratingly gripped by the idea of admission vs confession.

I’m not sure confession is the best word for this battle; I think repentance is a better one.

Anyone who knows me will know that I’m a rather cerebral person. I like to think, analyse, understand, and dissect. I actually have no problem admitting to God when I sin. When I do the wrong thing I’m happy to talk to Him about it, even think about why and try to understand my own motivations and drivers. Admission is not the issue.

Repentance is a much more challenging concept.

Repentance requires a change of heart. It demands that we not only change our behaviour, but that we change it because we want to, because we see the need to, because we want to be different. It is only in right relationship with God that we can see with His eyes the true state of our lives, and the consequences of our behaviour. This brings with it the desire for change, not just a feeling of obligation or guilt.

I don’t always want to be different. Change is hard. It’s so much easier to live my life in the manner to which I am accustomed. Establishing new habits takes time and effort, and frankly I like some of my bad habits. Why else would I keep on doing them? I know they’re not good for me, or for those around me, but I’m human and stupid, and I do things that are bad for me in the full knowledge that they’re bad for me.

Repentance requires a real and intentional engagement with not only my own heart, but with the heart of God. I need to deeply comprehend God’s heart and why He doesn’t want me doing the things that are unhealthy in my life. When I understand why and what His heart for me is, that is when I can begin to let go of the things that hold me. When I shift my perspective and truly allow myself to see through God’s eyes, then I can begin to want to do things His way.

This is rarely a one-time thing; I need to constantly see my need for repentance, and at times, repent for the same things over and over. Even when I am honest in my desire for change I am inconsistent, and need to keep coming back to Jesus’ feet to repent.

Now I just need to muster the will to do this… Knowing is only half the battle…

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Posted September 27, 2016 by Ludicrousity in Uncategorized

  8 comments

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Well hi there blog, my old friend.  It’s been a while!  What have you been up to?  Me?  Well I generally work, sleep, get bitten by mosquitoes, get the odd stomach bug, sweat, mark endless student work, think of how lucky I am to live here, think how terribly inconvenient it is to live here, love my life, get annoyed with my life, accidentally cook lizards in my toaster, accidentally boil ants in my kettle, and enjoy the company of my friends (who are not ants or lizards, I don’t think).

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I’m currently lucky enough to be live streaming an ABC Jazz concert from Australia via Facebook.  These days our internet is pretty reliable and this is definitely one of the huge perks!  I desperately miss live music.

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Since writing school has started, we’ve taken our high school on a 3 days remote beach camping trip, and school is certainly in the wild swing of things.  This year I’m teaching Algebra 1 (year 9), Geometry (year 10), Pre-calculus (year 12), English 10 and Psychology; the same as last semester.  I’m really enjoying all my classes but I’m feeling kind of swamped by the huge marking load.  All of my subjects feel like they’re drowning me at the moment… Must be better organised…

Beach Trip was incredible as always.  I love spending time with my colleagues and students outside of a school environment; it’s such a great way to build deeper relationships.  I never would have thought I’d enjoy camping with no running water, no electricity, no toilets, no anything, but I truly do!  I’ll miss it so much!

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Luke (my brother) came to Papua to visit just before school started!  It was awesome to have the opportunity to show him my life!  You simply can’t explain life here to people, and even when they actually see it they only get a glimpse of what the daily reality feels like.  I’m so glad he got to meet some people and see my current home.

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In case you missed the news, this will be my last year here.  I intend to move back to Australia in June.  By the time I leave I’ll have been here 3 and a half years, which seems like a good chunk of time to spend here.  I am so grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to serve in such a unique part of the world with such a diverse group of people.  I’ve broadened my horizons and learnt more about God’s creation in both people and nature.  I have grown as a person and have solidified more of who I am in the world.

Knowing that I’ll be leaving is both a blessing and a curse.  It means that I’m trying to take advantage of my last year and the last time I’ll be doing certain things.  I’m trying to experience all the things I know I want to, and not miss out on anything I know I’ll regret.  It’s also strangely creating a psychological barrier for me at times; I know I’m leaving, so my mind is starting to prepare for that.  It means I’m half thinking about life back in Australia already and it’s making me less mentally committed here.  I don’t like that aspect of the process and I need to make sure I remain in the moment and live my time here to the full, not in anticipation of where I’ll be next.

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Part of that mind shift is that life in Australia is so much easier and I’m looking forward to familiarity and convenience again.  I miss my family and friends, I miss the ease and comfort of home.  I love the opportunity I’ve been given here, don’t get me wrong, and I don’t want to leave yet, but it’s an odd split in my mind of where I focus my attention and where my heart clings to.

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As usual there is a huge turnover of staff at HIS and we have a bunch of newbies this year.  It’s always great and awful.  You have to say goodbye to people you’ve built relationships with, and also find the energy to build new relationships with people you know will only be in your life temporarily.  That’s the good and bad thing about being here, the constant changes in relationships and the way you get to know so many different people.

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On a completely different note, our pasar (local markets) were recently demolished in an odd move by the government.  They’re constructing new buildings for everyone, but haven’t done so yet, so people are either unable to sell at all, or are fighting over what real estate is available.  It’s quite sad really.

Health wise I haven’t been feeling great over the last couple of days, another stomach thing as per usual.  It’s unavoidable here from time to time.  My right heel is really sore too for some reason, and I can’t walk without some pain.  I’ve also been having some back issues, I think my scoliosis is playing up a bit.  Isn’t life grand…  Nothing too serious, but annoying all the same, especially without access to treatment.

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I unfortunately wasn’t able to go interior before school started to help run those native song writing workshops I’d spoken about, as is the nature of Papua.  Things often don’t happen in the way or time you plan.  Now that school has started I can’t really go to a village for a week, which is quite disappointing.  Maybe I’ll get the opportunity some other time; I certainly hope so.

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An opportunity I do have though is to go to Hong Kong in November.  There is an international teachers’ conference every 2 years (last time it was in Korea if you remember) that our school sends their staff to.  I’m really looking forward to some good professional development and time (even if only for a few days) in a new country!

All that is to say that life is going well.  My heart and mind are in 2 places as usual, but I know that I’m still in the right place for now.

Posted September 15, 2016 by Ludicrousity in Uncategorized

I’m Leeeeaaaving On A Jetplane   4 comments

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My time in Makassar is sadly over.  I’m leaving tonight to take the overnight flight back to Papua.  I’m so incredibly grateful that I’ve been able to spend a month here improving my language skills and getting to know new people; it’s been such a positive experience!  I’ve made some incredible new friends, seem more of this huge and diverse country I live in, and I feel much more equipped to communicate with local people.  I couldn’t have asked for more!  I’ve experienced such wonderful hospitality here from both ex pats and Indonesians.

 

The above are photos of our language teachers at the local university we’ve been studying at.  They were such wonderful people; so friendly, helpful and kind.  I learnt so much and am so happy with the language program I was a part of.

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Alicia & Melsy as we watched the sunset at Pantai Losari

Not only did we take a class everyday (and sometimes 2 classes a day), but we also saw a language tutor (Melsy) 3 times a week.  We’d spend a couple of hours with her just talking and practicing the things we’d been learning.  It was incredibly helpful and she was incredibly lovely.  She’s getting married tomorrow!  I’m sad I won’t be around for it.  She invited me, but I’d already booked my flights back by then  :(

We got to try heaps of new food here!  It’s quite different to Papua.  Makassar has a particular favourite called coto (which is basically a delicious soup) as well as pisang epe (baked bananas covered in chocolate/lots of other things) & pisang ijo (banana covered in a sweet, green dough served in a sweet, cold soupy thing).  I also managed to eat some incredible sushi from a real Japanese restaurant!  So amazing!

It’s been interesting being in a huge city that is almost entirely Muslim during Ramadan.  Everyone is fasting during the day, so you can’t eat or drink in public, and everyone breaks fast as the sun sets (so the traffic is INSANE before 6pm).  We went and broke fast with some people one evening and they shared their food with us after evening prayers.

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As Ramadan ends, everyone celebrates together by going visiting for a couple of days after the month of fasting.  Hospitality is a huge value here, so we went around to different people’s houses and ate with them, which was such a cool experience.  Everyone was so welcoming and generous.  The trick though is not to eat too much at any house because you have to eat at every house!

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I spent the first 3 weeks staying with Chris & Amy (Aussies I’d met before I came to Indonesia), and I’ve spent the last week and a half at Sarah & Marc’s (Americans I met in Bali that are friends with Chris & Amy).  I’m so grateful for amazing friends who have shown incredible hospitality to me.

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Chris & Amy with their kids Josiah & Eliana

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I got to spend the 4th of July with some of my favourite Americans, the Howells.

I’m both sad I have to go home, and looking forward to the next stage of my Indonesian adventure.  I am truly grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given to see more of the world. I love seeing new physical parts of the world as well as seeing the diversity of people the earth has to offer.

As a side note I might be online less as of tomorrow because a few weeks ago an earthquake damaged the internet cable that goes to Papua, and apparently it won’t be fixed for a while.  No one seems to know how long it’ll take.  Another week?  Another month?  No idea.  Sigh… Just when we’d gotten used to having decent internet…

Posted July 11, 2016 by Ludicrousity in Uncategorized

Belajar Bahasa   8 comments

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Driving around Makassar

 

I’m currently in Makassar (on the island of Sulawesi) for a month learning Indonesian.  I’m here with a friend from Sentani, Alicia (our school nurse), and we’re studying at the local university.  So far it’s been excellent!  We’ve learnt so much in the first week already!  Our teachers are so lovely and make us speak almost exclusively Indonesian, which is hard, but good for us!  I’m really enjoying feeling more confident with my language skills so quickly.  There are 9 units as part of the language course and we’re doing unit 2.

We have 2 hour lessons in the morning 5 days a week, and starting this week we’ll be doing much more.  We’ll now have tutoring sessions in the afternoons to practice more what we’ve been learning.  This will be with a woman who doesn’t speak English, so there is no crutch to fall back on!  Again, this will be really good for us, but hard.

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We get to uni each day on a bentor (a motorbike powered carriage).  They’re extremely common here.

 

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Local public transport.  The blue van on the left is an ancot (taxi) and the red thing on the right is a bentor.

 

Makassar is an amazingly huge city, and having come from small Sentani, I’m really enjoying it!  We even got lost in the local mall this week it’s so big!  Although that was more due to the horrific layout of the mall!  People who’ve been here for months still get lost in that place.  We’re enjoying more diverse food options and shopping, even if it is just window shopping, although I did buy a $4 selfie stick and it’s awesome.  Judge away!  This way we can get photos of us AND the background instead of just close ups of our faces.

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Batik (local fabric)

 

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Local kids pick the berries from the tree in the front yard

 

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Looking after the kids we’re staying with

 

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Eating a local speciality called coto with Chris, Amy & the fam

 

Yesterday we went on a road trip to the mountains.  Chris & Amy (who we’re staying with) were kind enough to let us borrow their car.  We went to a HUGE tea plantation where we drank delicious green tea and incredible fresh strawberry juice.  The trip was problematic though because google maps told us to go the wrong way, so it took about 45 mins longer to get there than it should, then both of our phones died and I had to get us back without the aid of maps.  I got us home without a single wrong turn!  Winner!

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The tea plantation

 

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Selfie stick!

 

Next we went to a strawberry farm and went a little overboard with picking strawberries🙂  But they were super cheap so it was fine!  We’ve eaten a lot of strawberries in the last 24 hours!  We can’t get them in Sentani, so it’s a wonderful treat.

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The public toilet at the strawberry farm.  This was a really good one.  No bad smell, hardly any flies and relatively clean.

 

On the way home we stopped by some rice fields just because they were pretty🙂

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Yes, I’d been sunburnt by this stage.   As usual.  Stupid English skin…

 

Today I spent most of the day lazing around because I’m sick.  Boooooooo!  My throat is swollen and my nose is totally stuffed up.  The asthma isn’t much fun either.  Sigh…

All in all it’s going really well here.  I should be back in Papua by July 9 or 10.  I can’t wait to see how good my language is in another few weeks!

Posted June 19, 2016 by Ludicrousity in Uncategorized

Exploring   2 comments

I’ve had a really cool time recently exploring more of life here; there’s always more to see!  Last weekend I went with some friends to a nearby island to have lunch with some locals they knew.  It was so interesting seeing a coastal kampung (village/settlement), not having spent much time in one before myself. There was no electricity or clean water, so you can imagine that life can be hard there.  It was beautiful and sad all at once.

I also went for a drive around part of Lake Sentani with a friend yesterday, just enjoying the views and the lake culture.  People are so friendly there, always waving and smiling.

I’ve also enjoyed spending time hiking around parts of Lake Sentani with friends, often watching the sunset.  It’s absolutely stunning.

The rest of this post is just going to be photos, showing you what life here looks like.

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Part of the coast of Jayapura (Papua’s capital)

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Arriving at the island

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Having lunch.  That goopy stuff you can see is papeda.  I don’t like it much…  That’s my knee you can see on the left!

 

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Local housing

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A kampung in Jayapura

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Local street in Sentani that I drive past on my way to get petrol, some friends of mine live down there

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Part of the markets where I get most of my fresh produce

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Some more outdoor markets I often pass on my way to the lake

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Local police

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Batik shopping.  They have such beautiful material!

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Long exposure.  Sentani by night

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Hanging out at Lake Sentani with some friends

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Lake Sentani

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Hiking around Lake Sentani

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More Lake Sentani

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Hanging out at Lake Sentani

I hope this helps you picture some of my life here in Indonesia🙂

 

Posted June 4, 2016 by Ludicrousity in Uncategorized