Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hip hop Australia

When we checked out Melbourne one weekend, we happened upon a hip hop gang that was performing on the sidewalk. They were pretty good - check it out:

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Keep praying for rain for Victoria state here in Australia (where I live). There has been a drought here for many years but this year they've only gotten 2 mm of water TOTAL so far. If you've seen any of my pictures of this area, you've seen how brown and dry everything is. Fires continue to blaze all around us and more than 5,000 have lost homes in this area, some towns have burnt, and several hundred have died. We've had numerous fire ban days here and tomorrow is another. All public schools have been closed for tomorrow so that should evacuations need to occur, parents won't have to be in mad panics to get kids out of school. We have evacuation plans and are to have bags packed to leave at any time. Right now the closest fire to us is 30km away but new fires are starting every day. Please pray for the protection of Australia and it's bushland, for protection of the Equip campus, and for rain to wash this land! Here's a website showing all the fires here and updates. We are just NE of Melbourne, near where N Warrendyte if you zoom in one time in the Melbourne area. You can get other bushfire news at:

Beatbox and didgeridoo

Check out Joel putting his phonetics to practice in vitally important, everyday applications! Or really, it's just fun. :) First one is beatboxing and 2nd is human didgeridoo. To compare, the last video is an actual didgeridoo, an Australian Aboriginal instrument, played by John and accompanied by Paul.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

So, what about life in Australia?

Yeah, I'm slowly unburying myself after 6 weeks of insanity. Some super fun things have happened during the craziness that I made a video of. Don't get the wrong idea that I've been just playing though! :) Many of my pictures are sadly altered here because quite a few of my new missionary friends work in sensitive countries. They can't have their pictures floating online in connection with Christianity or missions so I had to block their faces out. Just know they are lovely, lovely people and I wish I could share them with you but when you notice their missing faces, pray for them and the ministry the Lord has called them to! The music you'll hear is songs from Australia Bush dances, which I thought fitting considering our location and also the fact that I have ton of pics from a Bush dance we had! Enjoy!

Masta Ki

Language Learning class had lecture components as well as practical classes 3 days a week with an LRP (Language Resource Person). All the Summer School students were split up into groups of 4 students each to learn and immediately apply language learning techniques and skills. All of our team was able to learn from Pastor Peter. Peter is a pastor on Tanna island in Vanuatu in the WhiteSands language area. He is also the head of the VBT (Vanuatu Bible Translators) and we met with him in some SIL meetings before we came to Australia. It was great to be able to get to know him better over these 6 weeks as well as learn some very very basics from his language group. Hopefully learning some things like pronoun systems (where there are pronouns for dual like us 2 and you 2 and they 2 as well as trial like us 3 and you 3 and they 3 before you even get to plural like we, you, and they) will help us when we start learning a tribal language in Vanuatu wherever the Lord leads us. Peter wrote a song called Masta Ki about Jesus being the master key, the only true Christ so we sang it for a song night at Equip.

Videos of class

For summer school we had 4 classes,which were Language Learning, Phonetics, Language Awareness/Intro to Linguistics (Grammar), and Anthropology. Phonetics class had lots of crazy fun things that went with it to make it interesting, aside from the fact that we were learning weird things like how to make funny sounds with our mouths. Here are some videos from class and practice sessions.

Intonation and reading this story out loud makes it fairly understandable. Isn't English a beautiful thing! :) See if you can figure out the story. Cathy read it in class our last day:

This was the story of "Ladle Rat Rotten Hut." If you thought that was horrible, better not visit this site for more:

And a silly video about "Everyday IPA" or the International Phonetic Alphabet that we learned for transcribing sounds in languages we learn is last:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Surprisingly for me, Grammar was my 2nd favorite class. It was nice to have it be something measurable and achievable. The teachers were great about presenting the material in a way that was down-to-earth, practical, and even hands-on with lots of practice. Here are a few things we did in the class. The first is specifically formulas for phrases and the 2nd is a morphology exercise. All of this will be hugely useful for learning a language in Vanuatu and determining the language structure and functions.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bush fires

I've gotten some e-mails from some of you asking if all is ok in Australia. I don't have time to send an e-mail to all my groups, so hopefully people will check here. Two towns within 20 minutes or so of here were destroyed by bush fires over the weekend and we are in the area obviously for all of them, but wind changed in such a way that fire didn't come through Kangaroo Ground. Over 100 people have died in this area from the fires though, many of whom are known by staff here. Please pray for rain (this area is in a nearly 10 year drought), for fires to be put out, and for comfort for affected families. Thanks for your prayers.

Monday, February 2, 2009

27 dresses - well,close anyways

Isn't "27 Dresses" the name of that newish movie that came out about the girl who'd been a bridesmaid a million times and never a bride so had all these crazy dresses? That's what I thought of when I hung up all the island dresses I was given over the last 5 months and it made me laugh. Sure, they aren't bridesmaid dresses, but there are a lot of them and they certainly aren't the sort of thing one wears on a daily basis - in the States anyway. In Vanuatu, especially for those over 40, yes, they are everyday attire. Younger women tend to wear t-shirts and skirts but all females wear island dresses to church and for special occasions. I decided that since everything in my brain is in the process of being replaced by translation, language learning, literacy, and linguistics information, I'd better document who gave me what. Plus, it gives me a fun chance to show you the ni-Van friends who gave them to me.
Some of you remember my first ni-Vanuatu friend, Elodia, who showed me a local kitchen and how to prepare various island foods out at her home in Pango village on S Efate island (just 1/2 hour or so away from Vila). She gave me my first island dress. Check my August posts for pictures and stories from hanging out with her.

I first met Magreth at a church I visited. She was visiting as well and we chatted afterwards. She told me she wanted to give me something later that same Sunday so she got my phone number and rang me later from SIL's driveway. She was there with this dress and that was the start of our regular hang-outs. Her family is from Tongoa island just north of Efate.

Talua College up north on Santo island had a ceremony for Ross, Lyndal, and I on our last day at the school last October (see Oct. posts for those stories). Lyndal and I received dresses and lei's and Ross, an island shirt and lei. Someone must have told the ladies that I was tall because this is by far the longest dress I ever got. Ross, Lyndal, and I matched for several hours, but changed into our regular clothes when we left campus to catch our flight back to Vila. We felt a little too much like silly, matching tourists. :)

Wini, Magreth, and Jen - the sisters! At the katikati (check out that post), Magreth won a few dresses and then proceeded to pass them on to Gretchen and I. Wini sewed it, we helped put elastic in the arms, Jen was as always, fun and provided comic relief! :) You'll see them throughout my blog, my time with friends was largely dominated by hanging out up at their place.
Claudia is my friend from exercise class. She's from Malakula island northwest of Efate. She's also the friend I mentioned in my e-mail with my December newsletter whose boyfriend/husband? was in the hospital for blood issues. She gave me this blue dress the last day I saw her. Afterwards, I went with her to to visit some relatives who were to be married the next day. She brought some gifts to the family property, where one room in the house of the couple-to-be was set aside for receiving gifts. Yards and yards of fabric for making island dresses, pounds and pounds of rice, and stack and stacks of weaved mats nearly reached the ceiling!

Madeln and her daughter Bali are new friends from Pakaroa Presbyterian church, where I visited most often on Sundays. Bali quite often came up after services, held my hand, and chatted with me. She told her mom that I was a good friend and should be given an island dress! Madeln asked me if I had a picture of myself that she could give to a seamstress so that the dress would be the right size. Not sure how a picture would have helped, but for some reason she was surprised when I wasn't carrying one with me in my Bible. :) However, even without the aid of a picture, the dress I was given is the closest to being even remotely close to my size of any I got so she must have described me well. Island dresses seem to be made to be unflattering so it is still that, but at least I wouldn't be able to fit 4 of me in it!

The last time I was up at her house, Magreth gave me this red dress as a farewell gift. She also saw me off at the airport this last December as I was taking off to come here to Australia, which was very sweet, but very emotional.
Finally, here is Anna, a friend my expat friend Anna introduced me to. I know, Anna and Anna... :) She didn't give me an island dress, but I haven't put her picture or story anywhere in my blog yet so this is as good a place as any. Anyway, Anna is a cooking mama at the market with her own little table and cooking area. I went and storied on with her quite a bit. When I had time, I bought a meal from her for around $3.50 and sat and chatted, but if I didn't have time, I just went by and squeezed her hand and said hi. She is from Malakula island and is very sweet, although was definitely one of the hardest people for me to understand in Bislama. She has this horrible habit of mumbling and then turning her back when she's talking. I went to practice Bislama with her and felt pretty pleased when I was able to follow most of her words just before I left Vanuatu.
I hope to put some updates and information here about Australia, but expect that posts will be less frequent. Everyone who told us before we came that school was going to be so hard and so intensive was right! I'm working hard to stay afloat so be patient but do keep checking back. :) Please pray for all these lovely women in the pictures above. I miss them and ask that God would grant them understanding of Him and of the Gospel, that they might be saved!