This is a bit of a long one, but I feel as if so much has happened today! I checked out and headed down the street to Flinders Street Baptist church again. An older gentleman named Torrey came over shortly after I had sat down and invited me up front to sit with him and his wife Liz. She was very nice and I found out that her husband is actually on staff at the church, he’s one of the pastors. After the service she invited me to the morning tea they have after church. We talked for a bit and then she introduced me to a young woman from Peru who is studying accounting here and hopes to eventually get citizenship. They have 4 people being baptized next week (or maybe the week after) and I met 3 of them (all Iranian) – they sat at our table. The one next to me was Hossein and he’s actually seeking asylum as a refugee. The other Iranian couple, Amir & Maryam, are here while he studies Project Management at University. Hossein’s story is so crazy to me – people think I’m brave for coming to Australia.
He is a Christian and his house church was raided one day and he got put in jail. After his court date he fled to Malaysia (I think, it was somewhere in SE Asia) and then ended up on a boat to Australia. From what I could understand his brother is a Christian as well, but he didn’t come with him (he wasn’t arrested), so he came all by himself. Based on the things I’ve read in the paper this last week, and from what information I gathered at the migration museum, he’s got a tough road ahead. The Australian government, at the moment, isn’t really granting asylum to people. Some of them get put in detention centers (not sure what else to call them) until the government decides if they should get a visa. Anyway, he didn’t speak any English when he got here 6 months ago, but I think he’s doing pretty well with his English now, after such a short period of time. He’s not allowed to work in the country, but there’s some organization that’s helping him with a place to stay and he’s “volunteering” (because he can’t legally work) doing some sort of video surveillance stuff. I couldn’t quite understand him, but he was pointing at the security cameras in the church, so I don’t know if he installs them or what… He said he enjoyed talking to me because he can actually understand me J He said he has trouble understanding Australians even though we both speak English; he said I talk slower and don’t use as much slang. It must be my time in Japan, trying to communicate in the simplest English possible since I knew no Japanese. Liz invited me to go back to their house for lunch, but since Leslie hadn’t really given me a time when she’d be picking me up I had to decline. I was sitting at the hostel debating about whether I should walk to the library or not, and I ended up chatting with Iliana for a bit. We had both checked out that morning, but didn’t really have anywhere to be until the evening. About 15 minutes later Leslie called me to say she would be there in 10 minutes. It’s a 20 minute walk to the library, so it must have been a “God thing” that I didn’t head out.
Leslie seems nice enough and her home, as she describes it, is very posh; which is partly why she’s moving. All the homes in her area are so nice, I love them! Most of them are quite old (late 1800’s) and every one has such great architectural character, which I why I love them. I’m staying in this great little apartment over her garage, so it’s nice to have a bit of privacy after staying in hostels. I have to make it look like I’m not actually living here since she’s got her house on the market and is having open house; so I’m still basically living out of a suitcase, but at least I’m not sharing with anyone. I think it’s going to be an interesting two weeks. A friend was watching the boys while she came to pick me up, and when we got back the friend told me “good luck” with the boys. Yikes, that was NOT what I wanted to hear. When Leslie told her friend that I didn’t have much experience with kids they both laughed. On the car ride Leslie mentioned that she wanted me to help at her father-in-law’s farm for a few days doing some sort of garden work – at least I know I can handle that. I might not like it, but it’s not out of my realm. I guess he passed away last year so she’s been taking care of that place too.
Apparently she doesn’t like to plan meals or cook (?) so she wants me to think of things to make. I told her I can follow a recipe in hopes that she would then just pick some foods they like, but she said she wants me to decide. She said she has given up on trying figuring out what to feed the boys. Man, I really should have gotten a bit more information before I signed up for this; or rather, she should have given a bit more information in her advertisement as well. She seems easy going enough, but I like rules and boundaries and knowing what is expected of me, so the lack of that causes me a bit of stress. I know, I know – but I’m a people pleaser and if you can’t please people if you don’t know what they want from you! My dad keeps telling me this (my time in Australia) is a growing experience, so I guess these must be growing pains. Cricket better watch out, I’m going to come home and be taller than him! After dinner we chatted for a bit and although she seems a bit scatter-brained and her boys don’t always listen to her that well, I’m feeling better about it than I was after the random meal decision conversation. I’ll be doing some cleaning tomorrow and then there’s an open house Tuesday. Over dinner she was talking about maybe taking me up to the Flinder’s Ranges at some point and maybe even going all the way up to Uluru in May and she’d be happy to take me along. If she gets the house at the auction next week she said she might even be able to pay me to help her move… Like I said, she’s a bit scatter-brained so it’s hard to remember everything she’s telling me since it’s scattered throughout other conversations.