Saturday, July 25, 2009

Putting Off the Fire of Life

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda


(taken at the house of President Kim Antenorcruz)

I still remember one of the talks given during the Asia Pacific Conference in Hobart, Tasmania by Spencer, a graduate of Columbia Law School who now works in Bangkok, Thailand. He spoke of Life in the Law and quoted Sheri Dew. He quoted "In my house there are several fires and I only have one fire engine. I ask the Lord everyday which fire I should put out and trust that He will take care of the rest". This has been my prayer everyday since I became a lawyer as there had been so many different demands on my time from family, work, calling, community, friends.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Doing Home improvement Projects for a Change!!!

As part of removing the guilt feeling for spending much on my Aussie adventure and have something to do while still vacationing at home, I thought of having some home renovations. here are some of the things I did:

my wall attempt


my stuffed toys' corner


my first painting job



old pots turn into new use



my retro room (mosquito net in canopy)



my own electronic section in my room

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Seeing Sydney Opera House From Every Angle and A Lot More!

I really enjoyed my first day of my Sydney tour – July 8, 2009 and have been telling the tale of the great day I had seeing the opera house from every angle with great new friends –mom and son tandem- Kenzie and Caleb from Colorado. They really made my experience special.



Reach out and touch someone. I saw MacKenzie and Caleb Churchill while being amazed with the view of the Opera House from the McQuarie chair. I can’t believe I was just right across the symbol of Sydney and wanted a picture so much but since I was by myself I picked up the courage to approach MacKenzie. I'm glad I did coz I found friends for life!

1. From the Foot of the Opera House



2. From the Pylon Lookout


3. From Luna Park


4. From the Botanical Garden


5. From McQuarie Chair


6. From the Circular Quay




I really enjoyed the whole day of walking and all that. When I got home, my feet and whole body was aching. But it was all worth it!!!

Then, I went to back to the city again on Saturday. I went to the wildlife park and got to pet kangaroos and touch a koala. Then in the afternoon, I went to the Museum of Sydney which is the best natural history museum I have been to. It had really amazing interactive areas to do research and explore.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sydney Adventure: My Weeks Journey To Gutsiness!



Yes, Sydney here I come! It has always been my dream to be in Sydney, Australia and see the Opera House and claim that I have traveled the globe (the six continents that is minus Antartica!). But my week’s adventure in Sydney, Australia last July 7-14, 2009 meant so much more to me. It was a truly an amazing trip and one that I can write home about when it comes to my journey to gutsiness. It was during this trip that I stopped the negative thoughts and started taking more risks that led me to one great adventure I would always treasure in my life!

Making the First Move. I arrived at the Sydney Airport at 11in the morning. As I went out of the airport, I easily got lost in the huge and busy airport. I followed the other passengers from Hobart, Tasmania with Sydney as their final destination. One of them was a guy, who helped me with my carry -on luggage while on flight. But initiating conversation with a guy is a kind of emotional risk I haven’t done in my life yet. It is just a little uncomfortable for me, being a conservative Filipina (naks!). But my desire to be gutsy won over me. I smiled at him and started the conversation with him (of course not to ask him out or something but just to get some information about my whereabouts.) He is a nice guy (well, yea he helped me with my luggage to start with!) from Dubai and his second visit to Sydney, so he is familiar with the place somewhat. He led me to the car waiting place (which is not recognizable if you are a first time traveler), and there enjoyed his company until his friends arrived and a few minutes before I took the taxi out to the City.

Volunteer to do something I’ve never done before. A guy I only exchanged a couple of emails on Facebook about his daughter being kidnapped by his former Filipina wife and was in the Philippines promised to pick me up and bring me to my couch surfing host Ying Zhang’s place. I don’t have any idea of how he looked like, what kind of guy he is, what car I should watch for and how we could meet at a big airport like Sydney. He didn’t reply to my email the night before so I have no idea how to find my way around there. After hours from arrival, I didn’t see him at the airport. With courage, I went out of my way to dial his mobile number which he gave me prior to the trip. It was sad to know that he will not be able to pick me up because he figured in a car accident on his way to the airport. He was not hurt but his car needed repair and would take a good three hours before he could come and pick me up. I volunteered to just take the taxi! All my life, I had been afraid of taking taxi. I feel that my life would be in peril for hours while being at the mercy and whims of the taxi driver. Since I don’t have any idea of where I’m going in the first place and with all luggage being in the way, it was scary to think that I would not be able to escape or fight back if ever the taxi driver do something bad. But why would I think of the taxi driver taking advantage of me!! I have to be gutsy I thought! So I took my first ever taxi in a foreign land!!! After less than 30 minute drive, the taxi driver stopped me at a tall skyscraper in the heart of the City and said “Miss, this is the place!”. After unloading my luggage, the taxi driver even gave me suggestions on how to enjoy my visit to Sydney. Indeed, stepping outside the box can open endless doors.


With Ying Zhang (Taking a Social Risk). Ying is a Chinese girl from Beijing and lives in Sydney for 12 years already. She is pretty new on CS site and I am the first stranger she would host in her plush condo in the heart of Sydney. That is a lucky strike, because she too was as scared as me to try on something new and sometimes missing out the joy and excitement awaiting right outside our comfort zones, but decided to embark on journey to gutsiness by taking a social risk of getting to know a stranger and being with the stranger for two nights. It was great to know the nice person in her!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My Birthstone Opal and Australia

If there is one thing I wouldn't have known if I didn't visit Australia is the appreciation and a great deal of information about my birthstone - which the Orientals referred to as “the anchor of hope”, the birthstone of October - the lucky Opal.

Opal is Australia's national gemstone. Ninety-five percent of the world's precious opal comes from Australia, where unique geological conditions allowed the formation of this rare gemstone. Most light opal is found in South Australia, black opal in New South Wales - especially Lightning Ridge, and boulder opal in Queensland.



I was touring around Sydney last Wednesday, July 8, 2009 with Kenzie and her son Caleb, my new-found friends from Colorado, USA, when we came across "The National Opal Collection (NOC)" along George Street on our way back to the Royal Botanical Gardens. Since there is a museum and the entrance is free, we decided to enter. It was an interesting experience. The Opal Mine Museum and a theatrette within the stunning showrooms, provided me with an opportunity to understand and appreciate this incredible gemstone - my birthstone Opal. The NOC have faithfully recreated the history of opal and as you enter the NOC showrooms, you are completely surrounded by graphic, life-sized dioramas of Australia during the dinosaur age. Also I was able to cap my educational experience with a tax-free purchase of an opal memento - a koala bear necklace opal.

I then learned that like the fantastic colour play of Opal which reflects the changing emotions and moods of people, my daily mood is changing and always like to take on new and different kind of experiences.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Claremont, Tasmania: A Haven for Sweet Tooth

I love chocolates and who wouldn't! And Tasmania is the best place to go as it is home to Cadbury,a company with a long history in Australia and a passionate commitment to making everyone feel happy - with its Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate!



Cadbury Factory is located in Claremont, Tasmania, an ideal location because of its close proximity to Hobart, a good source of inexpensive fresh milk and hydro-electricity. The factory is modelled on Bournville, with its own village and sporting facilities.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hobart, Tasmania: Where I see RAINBOWS above my head!


Hobart is Tasmania’s harbour capital and Australia’s smallest and most historic capital in close proximity to beautiful natural surrounds. In fact, one of the first things I noticed when I landed in the Hobart Airport (although my camera was unable to capture it) was the rainbow. It is beautiful and long. It reminded me of a poem called "RAINBOW of Prayer".



When you are financially in the RED - PRAY
When you are feeling low and BLUE - PRAY
When some unthinking person tells a WHITE lie on you - PRAY
When you are unhappy and in the PINK - PRAY
When tempted to turn GREEN with anger - PRAY
When accused of being a YELLOW because you refuse to indulge in sin - PRAY
And before you know it, you'll have a RAINBOW above your head.
Hobart also has a provocative mix of historic and contemporary art and culture. It is a city of warm sandstone, bright spinnakers on the water and fish punts at the docks.



From what I read on pamphlets, Hobart was settled in 1804 by Lieutenant Governor Collins and grew rapidly as the clearing house for British and Irish convicts. Its place on the Derwent River became the perfect protected deepwater harbour.



Salamanca Place - you will find 19th-century waterfront warehouses dating back to the 1830s whaling days.


Battery Point - you will see polished glass winks in the windows of settlers' cottages and brass doorknobs gleam in the lofty porches of colonial edifices.



Parliament House looks out on its lawns.


Learn about the Island and the city's history and contemporary life at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery on Macquarie Street.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Launceston, Tasmania: Embarking on a Journey into the Wilderness



True to its label of being an incentive island, my trip to Launceston,Tasmania last July 5, 2009 was truly an incentive.It was not part of my itinerary and I have no idea where and what I can do in Launceston. But I was glad that my host couple - Matthew and Terry were picking up their son there and were gracious enough to bring me and another delegate of the JRCLS Asia Pacific Conference (Steven from Bangkok Thailand) around this beautiful, elegantly laid-back city in the north of Tasmania.



As Australia's third oldest city, Launceston is a place of contrasts, where modern marinas meet Victorian streetscapes and parks - and you're seldom without a view of the river and the surrounding valley. Launceston also is a mecca for bushwalkers and nature lovers. I feel like I am really in what the scriptures would call "wilderness".



the view of Launceston from the Low Head Lighthouse

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Port Arthur, Tasmania: A Ghost Tour Experience



A tour of Port Arthur Historic Site is part of the three-day weekend conference of the J.Reuben Clark Law Society Asia Pacific Conference held last July 3-5, 2009 in Hobart, Tasmania. Aside from the closing conference and the real witty, amusing and intriguing trial of Korihor of the Book of Mormon which will be held there, a Ghost tour is one of my huge reason for wanting to go there!



Port Arthur is the best - preserved convict settlement in Australia and among the most significant convict era sites in the world according to the flyer I've read. It sits on a tranquil harbour surrounded by dense native forest.



Port Arthur has a story to tell through its impressive architecture (which was created through convicts labour), delightful gardens and chilling prison facilities.It is a different place when the night falls, full of mystery and intrique. Our ghost tour guide has lots of vivid stories that challenged my wild imagination, amidst the soft lights, silence of the nights and the outpouring of rain. (cold rain because it is winter time in Australia and there is still snow in Tasmania).

Friday, July 3, 2009

Melbourne Australia Adventure: Best-One-Day Itinerary

By Mhe-anne Ojeda



I was in Melbourne for one full day on July 2, 2009 arriving the night of July 1 and left this morning for Hobart Tasmania.



Arriving in the evening,I was very happy to meet my host Aunt Tess and her husband. They were very nice to pick me up that late when the drive from the airport to their home was more than an hour (yes, without traffic!). Since it is winter, it was chilly so I just managed to take a quick photo in one of Melbourne' exciting restaurant (although I must admit my camera doesn't take good pics at night!).



They welcomed me in their home sweet home and showed me what Filipino hospitality means! Although, it was first time for us to meet, I felt right at home with them!



The next morning, Aunt Tess brought me first thing to see what I came there for to visit the Melbourne Autralia Temple.



After the spiritual high at the sight of the Temple, Aunt Tess let me experienced just what Melbourne, Australia is known for. Yes, shop to my hearts content! Shop till you drop has never had more meaning than in Melbourne!



After an exciting fun filled day of sightseeing and shopping, we went to the mall to eat. Then,began again the exploration of the city's fabulous factories and warehouses for shoes, clothing, cosmetics, china, glass, chocolates, jewelry, handbags, sporting goods, and children's wear... (yea,more shopping!haha ). I hope I won't have any excess luggage though (with only 20K limit).



Then at night, it was good to update with my friend Jenny and Aunt Tess family.



Before sunrise, Aunt Tess and uncle Bob brought me to the airport for my flight to Hobart,Tasmania.



Yes, it was really a quick trip but it was great indeed!Now I have more reasons to visit Melbourne again!!

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