Friday, January 30, 2009


One of the most loathed words in my lexicon. I get super stressed out when I can't sleep, mostly because I used to be an insomniac, and the sleeplessness was torture. Your whole body and mind are depleted completely, screaming for release and reparation, but as soon as the lights go out and the eyes shut, brain activity increases to the nth degree. Jetlag reminds me of those days, and I lay awake throughout the entire night praying the disease stays far, far away.

In the meantime, I've been thinking about the past 6 months and have decided they are the most eventful, wonderful, trying times of my life. I graduated, moved to and worked in Utopia (Steamboat Lake State Park, CO), went on the most incredible roadtrip, somehow got a job with a company that inspires me more every day, moved to Australia, got ovary-assaulted and had surgery, and now I'm back home. Whirlwind - a beautiful act of nature and force of God.

The plan as I foresee it (and I'm far-sighted so the immediate details of life often elude me) is to live with my parents in their itty bitty bohemian nomad condo...and I'm starting to very much gel with the idea. Staying in Australia would have helped me save a lot of money, meaning pay off a lot of debt, but living with my parents will hopefully have a comparable effect.

That being said...I can't stop thinking about all the goodies I want to buy now that I'm back, and I am all too easily rationalizing these goods away as "necessary for work." Fortunately, I am the girl who will shop in a store long enough to pick up everything at least once with the intention of buying, only to throw everything in a corner at the last minute and bolt with all money preserved. Said work items include: Blackberry (salivate), new wardrobe courtesy of Banana Republic and J Crew, new glasses and a fridge/pantry full of tantalizing and new foods.

Speaking of food: there are cookies called TimTams in Australia that Hugh Jackman introduced me to. I practically ate an entire box in one sitting, so maybe scratch all the exotic, new foods, as I'm going to be losing TimTam weight for the next 3 years.

Have I mentioned I'm thankful to have air conditioning?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

So long, beautiful Aus! I hope to visit you again someday under better circumstances.

Arrived safely after only 16 hours of crying babies, suspicious food and one very angry man. I accidentally dropped something from an overhead bin onto an Australian cowboy, and no matter how many times I apologized, he would NOT absolve my guilt! Rude. The Australian airline, Qantas, is my favorite method of travel. Even in economy, everything feels luxurious and comfortable, and there are enough movies and TV shows to keep me occupied for the entire 14 hour flight. And their orange juice just seems superior to all other airlines. Good on ya, mate.

Oh, I will miss my land down under. Three weeks isn't a short amount of time, except that I was supposed to be there 5 more months. We spent our last evening at the local university bar with the Canadians. Harry Healy plays every Wednesday night; Valerie and I heard him our first night in Australia while having our first Australian beer. His scratchy, beautiful voice singing "Hallelujah" will always be a favorite memory of mine.

A few things I won't miss -- how everyone smokes in Australia. Yuck. Everyone at the office except for Val, one Canadian boy and me smokes. It seems like every hour there's a 10 minute smoke break.
I won't miss the heat. Our apartment had a great location, an incredible wrap around deck and was a nice size...but it only had one air conditioner (and even the one was more like one-half). Even that was more than what most people live with, which blows my mind. In the midst of my sickness and medicine, I would lay awake at night COMPLETELY soaking from my own sweat. I think my need for air-conditioned-everything is one of my most defining North American attributes.
I won't miss not having internet. There's only one main phone provider in Aus, and it controls the internet too, so this modern amenity I take for granted at home is way, way expensive to have in Australia. There are so many little, quickie things I use the internet for, and not having that privilege was hard to get used to!

It's off to the doctor tomorrow to make sure I'm safe and healthy. Monday begins work in Houston, and I'm very excited about my new boss. I'm also very excited to be back in Texas. I love this state, and I love this country.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


This is it, folks - my last Australian blog. Let me try to explain a little better about everything that's happened:

Last Wednesday around noon, I started feeling the worst pain I've ever felt in my life. It wasn't a typical cramping pain or belly ache; it was a demon I knew wouldn't just go away. I tried to deal with it for about an hour, mostly by laying on any type of cold tile I could find (shout out to Mom), but eventually it got so bad I asked my boss to please, please take me somewhere to get help. They took me to a clinic in a mall nearby, and I was shameless in asking for medicine. Anyone who looked like they knew how to poke me with a needle, I tore at them. The pain was outrageous.

Eventually the clinic had run out of pain killer or something and an ambulance came and took me to the closest, and apparently crappiest hospital in Brisbane. I waited in the ER for someone to do something, still pleading with anyone who would listen to do SOMETHING, ANYTHING about how much I was hurting. Eventually, Narelle, my co-worker/international mum/holy, bless angel took me to the private hospital where she takes her own kids. Praise the Lord forever for Narelle.

There, I was filled with all the morphine my body could handle. A doctor spoke with me, gave me an ultrasound and spoke with me again. Apparently a freakishly large ovarian cyst had formed on my ovary, which isn't that uncommon except this was a Goliath cyst on a fairly young girl. That doctor gave me a bunch of codeine and told me to come back in a month.

I took Thursday off and didn't get out of bed once. Mostly, I hallucinated.

Friday, I went to work but didn't make it past 10 am before I had vommitted more than ever before in my entire life. The world refused to stand still; again - tile floor. I took a cab home, called my parents and took a cab back to the private hospital.

Within 30 mins, 2 doctors, several nurses, an admin assistant and Narelle were telling me I needed immediate, emergency surgery pronto, as the cyst was doing more undoable damage by the minute. I flipped, went into hysterics, because I couldn't get in contact with my parents. Eventually, Narelle talked to my dad, and I was hospital gowned, prepped and getting ready to be on the table at 5 pm (Friday).

I don't remember anything after meeting my anesthetist. I was being wheeled down a corridor, joking about being a Texan and having been in Aus only a week and a half before having surgery, and then I was waiting in post-op. So groggy, such heavy lids! I ended up back in my hospital room somehow, and immediately ate an entire box of chocolates that someone (Narelle) had put beside my bed. Before my nurse could say, "You probably shouldn't eat ye--," every last milk chocolate morsel was gone.

Throughout the night, a nurse named Raj came to check my vitals and my bandages. My belly button was (is) completely bandaged over, the once white coverings black and red from the surgery. I have another set of stitches about 5 inches below my belly button, and 2 out to each side. My stomach looks like a baseball diamond. The swelling has gone down now, but it was enormous that night and the days following. I had to slide out of bed and chairs.

I went home Saturday morning, laid in bed and hallucinated some more. Sweated a lot, talked to my parents a little. At first I didn't want to go home, but as the pain continued and the pain meds started to wear off, I began to realize the gravity of everything that had happened. So, with much trepidation and crazy internal dialogue, I decided to come home and finish my 6 months in Houston. I need a clean bill of health from my own doctor, as doctor-centric as that sounds. I need to recover in familiarity. The reasons are so many, and I've decided they are all legit, good reasons.

So, now I'm sitting for the last time in this internet cafe. I will miss Aus so much -- 3 weeks is hardly enough time to spend here, but it's better than none. I'll continue to keep this blog going, and I'll still be going to Colorado in July. But, that's pretty much it. Thank you SO MUCH for the prayers, support, emails etc. I love y'all. See you in TX!

Monday, January 26, 2009


Well I have a few blogs written up that I wanted to import, but this internet cafe doesn't have Microsoft Word, and I'm just unfortunate enough to not know how to get the text by other means.

Basically, I got really sick and I'm coming home. A massive ovarian cyst has been growing on my right ovary. It wrapped itself around the ovary three times and was suffocating the life out of it and my fallopian tube. I had emergency surgery down here in Australia, and I'm okay, but the company, my family and I have decided it just makes sense to come here and get better. I have about 10 stitches in my stomach so mobility is limited but getting better.

I struggled with whether or not to return. I'm just starting to love it here, but in the long run, I want kids and I don't want to hurt my chances by not being smart when it counts. I'm so, so sad to leave and am trying to keep all thoughts of being a failure or quitter at bay. I got sick; it happens. They will set me up in Houston with a job at NOV HQ, and I'm flying out any day.

That's the news! Love y'all.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


So McDonald’s here is called Macca’s. Subway has the 7 dollar foot long, instead of the 5. Burger Kings are called Hungry Jacks, and the curries here are to die for. Val and I went to Subway this evening immediately after work. I got a grilled chicken 6 inch on white bread with avocado, and then I loved myself for making that selection. We laid on the couch for an embarrassingly long time waiting for Friends to come on, and then by the time it was over, it was 7:30, which is almost my bed time.

Biggest Loser Australia starts Feb. 1…I LOVE THIS SHOW! There are some trails alongside the Brisbane River that are seconds from where we live. They take walkers and bikers from Toowong down to Brisbane and back again on the other side of the river. My goal is to be able to run to the city and back, which is only about 6k, by the time I leave. Side note: converting everything (EVERYTHING) from miles to km, inches to cm and Fahrenheit to Celsius sucks!

I’m getting used to work. Right now we are hot ‘n heavy trying to get the office moved to its fabulous new location, so that involves a lot of practical, tangible tasks I can wrap my brain around. Once we are settled, our boss tells us we will spend 3 months in inside sales and 3 months in purchasing. No clue what either of those positions will entail, but I’ve resigned myself to not getting stressed just yet. I’ve also started to accept that although my boss is a lot different than anyone I’ve ever worked for, and that her personal life isn’t what I would choose for myself, and that I’ll probably never get a warm and fuzzy “good job” out of her, she is an INCREDIBLE manager and business woman. It has been rocking my world to watch her in action. I’m certainly learning a lot of professional prowess from her.

This upcoming Monday (Jan 26) is Australia Day, which means we get our first 3 day weekend! I’m not sure what the Canadians have cooked up, but I’ll probably go along this time. These boys are crazy, there’s no other way to describe it, and my goal is just to be up front, honest and steadfast when they cross the line. Which has already been many, many, many times in the 2 times we’ve hung out. They call Val “Miss America” and me “Texas,” and they always refer to us as “miss” even though we are generally close in age. “Why aren’t you drinkin’, Miss?” “Have a good day, Miss?” These guys have such a strong Canadian accent, they sound Irish! It’s weird and hilarious!

Well, I’ve been here one week. Hoorah! Every day is getting better. I still miss everyone so much it makes me nauseous, but I’m able now to have a TIIIINY bit more perspective. A little. Every day, a bit mo’ betta’.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Blogs from the Weekend

Since we don’t have internet at our apartment yet, I’ve been posting blogs in my spare time at work. Today, Friday, I didn’t have any time to post, so I’m going to write over the weekend and do a big post on Monday. Here goes…

1-16-09, Friday
Today was actually a great day. The greatness definitely had everything to do with the fact that it’s FRIDAY, tomorrow’s SATURDAY and then comes SUNDAY! I finally felt like I was in Australia today when I saw kangaroos bouncing around in a field. Yes, kangaroos. They’re like deer back home – they graze in little packs and then bound away when anything startles them. I can’t wait to see/hold my first koala! There’s a koala “sanctuary” about 5 driving minutes from us, so we’re planning to go there as soon as possible.
Work is just different, and different has never been an easy hurdle for me. I wasn’t a business major, mostly because I’m not business-minded. My boss is the general manager of all Australia, so she’s understandably busy and stressed out of her brain. Mostly I feel like my intern roommate and I are more a hindrance than a help to her because we’re so clueless, but there’s no getting around our ignorance unless she teaches us. I don’t like – HATE – feeling in the dark or like I’m incompetent in any way, and that’s all I’ve felt since the beginning of last week. One of my Australian co-workers today raised his eyebrows and said, “So you’re straight out of college, straight into a new job and straight into a new country.” Yes. It’s amazing to be sure, but not yet the party I planned on. That being said…
We ate Thai food tonight and talked about how much we love our Brisbane suburb, Toowong.
So tonight Valerie and I are hanging out with our two younger Canadian co-workers. It’s 7:13pm, and I’m honestly ready to get in bed, have some of our Aussie white wine and finish “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” I can’t, though, because that’s weird. Plus, Valerie’s been very patient with me as I’ve gone to bed before 8 every night this week (and she hasn’t complained when I’ve most likely woke her up at 4am every day).
The Aussie pastime is drinking. If you know me, you know that I’m set after one beer, and that I’m usually ready to go home and sleep immediately afterwards. I’m less than perky to go out for a night of drinking, especially when I’m already whipped. The place we’re going is called the Regatta, and it’s a young-person’s bar right on the Brisbane River (about 15 minutes walking distance from us). Valerie walked me through what she’d be wearing tonight…this girl is so methodical in her choices, it blows me away. Earlier today she detailed why and when she chooses which perfume she wears. I was blown away, and indeed further educated.
Usually every morning around 5, we’ve heard these crazy bird squawking noises. Tonight, walking home from the mall (where we get our groceries), we looked up and learned that they’re cockatoos! They flapped around from branch to branch and splayed out their yellow head feathers while we stood across the street amazed. What a wonderful gift that moment was.

1-17-09, Saturday
Last night we ended up going out with a big group of people, mostly Canadians, to the Regatta. The night was long but fun, and I almost, almost, almost felt bad about being the first one to call it an evening. I woke up at 6 am, which is 2 hours later than “normal,” so I’m glad to have been up so late.
I talked to my parents for a long time today – Everyday I love them more. Every day they set the bar a little higher for who I want to be as a parent. There’s nothing in the world like hearing from my mom or dad that I will be okay. I can think it, sing it, shout it, meditate it, but it doesn’t blanket my heart in peace like when I hear it from them.
Valerie went to the Gold Coast with the boys today. I had planned on going until it turned into an overnight gig, and then I excused myself even though I’m dying to see the beaches here. I’m just a girl who needs her alone time. After studying my oil textbook while laying out for a while, I went for a walk around Toowong. I went into the mall to get a book so I’d stay occupied tonight. The Longest Trip Home, by John Grogan (who wrote Marley and Me – great book), has been on my to-read list since it came out. While I was waiting to check out, the BIGGEST spider I’ve EVER seen in my life sauntered right past me, right next to my left foot, right in the middle of the freaking mall! I’m pointing, whimpering, and gagging, and all these Aussies are just cruising right by like it’s nothing, treating ME as though I’M the mutant beast in this situation. My gosh there are some gigantic spiders here, a large number of which live in our backyard.
I had nothing to do tonight, so I bawled to Charlie for a long while and then watched Sisterhood of the Traveling pants. Maybe it’s all the wine I’ve had, but it was so good. Definitely helped nurse my sobfest of an evening. In the spirit of indulgence, I’m going to pour myself another glass or two and just go full force into Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (note: these are Valerie’s movies; she has the cutest taste in films and I love it). I’m hoping to be asleep by 9 just so that I can sleep off the fact that I ate half a box of caramel-toffee cookies I found at the grocery store today. Occasionally it’s nice to be alone, overeat, laze, wail and then put on the ol’ sleep mask and call it a Saturday. Maybe not “healthy,” but nice all the same.

1-18-09, Sunday
News from the fashion front in Toowong: gladiator sandals are everywhere. I wasn’t a huge fan of them back home, but here the variety is so vast, I’ve seen some I’d actually put on my feet.
I went for several long walks today to forget the other half of the box of cookies I ate for breakfast. My parents and I chatted for a long time, and it was definitely soothing to the soul. My dad talked for about an hour about this business and industry, and then towards the end said the one thing that can help right now: You’re going to do fine. Yes, he’s wise, brilliant and knows me like a dad SHOULD know his daughter. I talked to Charlie later about how special it would be to have the responsibility of making your daughter’s self esteem soar and to know that it’s so easily done. Just a few little words, maybe a sentence or two. It’s something I’ll never experience because the ways a mom makes her daughter feel secure are so incredibly different. My mom is an ocean of all things good in this world. It hurts so bad to miss them this much.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Everything is hard right now except going to sleep. I know that sounds bleak, but I'm weak with homesickness (yes, already). I'm trying to find ways to call home; you'd think it wouldn't be that hard in a country so similar to our own in almost every way. Everybody here is so nice, the country is so beautiful. I'm praying desperately to snap out of it and see this opportunity for what it really is: remarkable. Unmistakeably the chance of a lifetime. Even just not that bad.

Six months is a long time, but you may never get to goback to Australia -- truth from my dad.

"The future doesn't lie ahead waiting to happen. It lies within you waiting to be discovered." - a quote Courtney gave me.

"This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

So, please pray. I know this is just an adjustment phase, but it's hard to remind myself that not all of the 6 months will be more sad than happy. Love y'all.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Wow. I am tired.

We got into Brisbane around 8 am, which is 4 pm the day before for Texas folk. Deanna, our manager, picked us up and we went to the apartment, went shopping, went up to the office, and THEN were dropped off to unpack, adjust, cry (me) and sleep a little. Deanna and her husband took us out to a restaurant called Jaz for dinner, where they serve you raw food on a 500 degree stone. The food cooks in a jif and the stones keep the restaurant warm too.

We went into begin working the next day (today) and I’m sitting here rather zombie-like. My desk mate is a boy named Brandon, 22, from Canada. This office is in the process of moving to a larger location, so Brandon and I have been stuck out in a portable building called the dog house until the end of the month. I’m grateful no one else is out there because I bawled my eyes out today when he asked me if there was anyone back home I missed. I didn’t verbally respond, I just cried.

It’s so devastating to leave home, family, friends. This time feels more permanent, like not only am I leaving my loved ones, but I’m leaving adolescent Amy and all the security and safety nets that came along with her. The reality of that was enough to capitulate me into hysterics even before I left, but now that I am essentially alone to process these feelings, I’m crazed and emotional (okay so that’s not so untypical for me, but the time change hasn’t helped).

I woke up at 3:30 this morning and cried and read my Bible for a long time. I was reading Psalms (always a good go-to when I’m upset). The Psalms I immediately turned to had “Praise the Lord” as the first sentence of their sections. Repeatedly, I flipped to a Psalm and those three words popped up. So that’s what I’m trying to do/doing. I don’t know why I’m here, but I trust that Jesus wouldn’t have let me come unless he had a great message to give me, a lesson to teach me or a revelation to show me. I’ve pledged to myself and Him that my #1 purpose here will be to seek Him. Of course this should be my mission all throughout life, and why I can’t abide by that baffles me. As of the next 6 months, however, I have no other option, and that’s how I prefer it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Holy Bloomin' Onion, Batman!

This blog will be frantic, as I'm leaving for the airport in 4 hours. I just wanted to establish a single post before my world gets flipped completely opposite on its axis (literally).

I'm moving to Australia at 7:15 pm tonight. My two(!!!) suitcases are packed to the busted zipper point, and every five minutes I check to make sure I (still?....still?....still?) have my passport.

I work for National Oilwell Varco in a program that is designed to give me a from-the-ground-up perspective on the oil industry, specifially the distribution side of this fabulous company. Last week I met with the other 12 interns, and we had a blast surmising what each of our different rotations would be like. I'm not sure how I got mixed in with these brilliant, sophisticated kiddos, but I sure am thankful! Valerie and I are headed to Australia, but we've got others going to Dubai, Scotland, Holland, and Indonesia. After these six months, we'll all spread out again and relocated somewhere else. I'll be headed to Rifle, CO.

I'm googly-eyed right now. The internship has been SO generous to all of us, but even more importantly, everyone has been so patient and welcoming. NOV is massive (almost 40,000 employees worldwide); it would be so easy to feel like a tiny, floundering, DOA fish in a huge pond, but in reality the opposite has been true. I'm very excited for the things to come.

I will try to post frequently, and once I get a camera (meaning once I get a paycheck) I'll post some pictures. All my best, best, best.