Monday, 26 January 2015

Happy Straya Day!

Happy Australia Day! Or as it has more commonly become: Straya Day!

Perhaps you know us through Steve Irwin or Crocodile Dundee. Throwin' another shrimp on the barbie perhaps?

It wasn't until my mission in Canada that I realised the differences between Australia and North America. So to celebrate Australia Day let me give a rundown on Aussie culture!

How Aussie are you?! Test your Aussie culture knowledge! (Scroll down for answers!)

1. Brekkie
2. Mozzie
3. Bludger
4. 'Chuck a sickie'
5. Bloke
6. Fair dinkum
7. Heaps
8. Deadset
9. Arvo
10. Maccas

<------- Thongs: things you wear on your feet! (Boy did my companions laugh when I told them I usually wear thongs at home)

<-------- Vegemite: most popular bread spread equivalent to peanut butter in the US. I had a jar I used to share with members... who absolutely hated it 

<------- Pavlova: Delicious Aussie dessert.

<------- Golden Gaytimes: my favourite! (No pun intended!!) Seriously the best ice cream you will ever have.

<------ Tim Tams: Awesome blocks of chocolate-ness. 
Tim Tam Slams: warm milk, bite opposite corner on Tim Tam, place on top of milk, suck and throw in mouth as it melts.... Mmmmmm.... I will do deals of mail exchanging Tim Tams for American goodies ;D

Imagine the faces of my companions when they were listening to me talk to a fellow Aussie at Church saying 'it's so crazy that bitch is a swear word here', (bitch, damn, hell and ass aren't swear words down under - I was apparently the potty mouth missionary).

Check out the video below for more Aussie slang! (yes we do sound like the guy in this video)


1. Breakfast - "Let's have brekkie here"
2. Mosquito - "There's a lot of mozzies here"
3. Lazy person or someone who relies on others to do things - "You're such a bludger"
4. Pretending to be sick, taking a day off work - "I chucked a sickie today"
5. Guy - "He's a good bloke"
6. True / Genuine - "That's fair dinkum"
7. A lot / Very - "That's heaps cool"
8. Truth / True - "That's deadset"
9. Afternoon - "What are you doing this arvo?"
10. McDonalds - "Let's go to Maccas for lunch"

So to finish off... when you guys say you're 'rooting' for something... yeah... that has a COMPLETELY different meaning for us.... but I'll let you google that one ;)

Happy Straya Day!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Inactivity Acknowledgement Milestone

I was Facebook messaging one of my former mission companions this past week and all of a sudden out of the blue he asks me: 'I have to ask, are you still in the Church?' It took me a bit (or a lot) by surprise because I'm certainly not one for sharing every aspect of my life on Facebook and certainly I haven't publicly announced my challenges with the Church. 

I proceeded to say that I have been 'less active' but still go occasionally. To my surprise, he didn't judge nor make a big deal out of it but simply just moved on. I almost felt like I wanted him to ask so I could explain to him my issues however he didn't ask and I just moved on with the conversation.

This made me think about anything that could've given it away on Facebook because that's the only contact we've had except for the occasional Skype chat when we first returned home from our missions roughly 5 years ago. I noticed that over the last few months I've subtly 'unliked' all the Mormon related pages on Facebook such as 'The Book of Mormon', 'General Conference' and 'LDS missionaries' because they would fill up my news feed. I then thought about my lack of active 'Gospel related' posts and 'YSA events' I've attended which could've given it away. It's funny how even the omission of Gospel related posts could give it away from a once very active Mormon.

I certainly have moved away from trying to hide the fact that I've developed some issues with the Church but I've been a bit reluctant to make it public knowledge for a few reasons. I still keep in touch with some converts I taught on my mission and members that I've been really close to and I don't want to affect their testimonies and I didn't want them to see me differently... 

It was after that conversation that I realised that I had avoided to make contact with some of the closest families on my mission because I was scared they would see me differently. In one of my areas on my mission I was really close to a family and I would call them 'mum' and 'dad'. When I first returned home I would call them several times a year (her birthday, his birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day and Father's Day). I realised that I hadn't called them in about 3 years. I decided to change that and I called them this past week. We talked for about an hour on Skype and of course they found out that I was no longer 'completely' active in Church through asking what my calling was. I felt a little piece of my heart break but they didn't judge or hassle me. It reminds me of the loving nature that Mormons are striving so hard to obtain and gives me hope that although there maybe imperfect people in Church, they also possess a lot of perfect qualities.

I now notice that a lot of things that used to bother me no longer do. When I first started not wearing my garments I would be so scared that people would see so I'd often wear a jumper (sweater) or a jacket over my white shirt. I would be so nervous when I'd have to decline the invitation to give a prayer in class or who could see me not partake of the Sacrament.

I walked into Church today and stayed for the whole 3 hours block (how did I manage to go to Church for 3 hours my entire life?! It was SO long!) I no longer look at who's staring at me pass the bread and the water along without taking it or care who can see I'm not wearing my garments. It has taken me a long time to be comfortable to not fit into the Mormon mould anymore and I think that's a win. Once I can remove the social incentives of being a member, I can truly go on a spiritual, soul searching journey to find God in my life. I can still enjoy the wonderful musical items in Sacrament meeting and giggle at the travel log testimonies but I can take a step back and ponder about these things as an outsider looking in as opposed to being indulged in the emotion of it all. 

I am an inactive Mormon and I am O.K. with that.

Scripture from Elders Quorum today: Alma 34:26 - 'But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness'. 

Seriously Alma?! I think I've been in the closet praying for long enough!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Open Doors for 2015

I'm usually not much for new year resolutions but what the hell.

I guess I'll just reflect and document on plans/goals for the year and see how they measured up at the end of the year.

Beginning 2015...


What can I say? I love my family. They have been nothing but supportive in the past year and I feel like I'm closer to them than ever before. We have no more secrets amongst us. Although the choices I have made do not coincide with the choices that my family wanted me to make, they still love me and that means the world to me.

As we've grown up and moved away, it has become harder to spend time together as a family but I'm grateful that in 2014 we were able to spend time together in March for my niece's baptism and in December for Christmas. While it may not seem like a lot of time during the long year, I'm grateful for the time we do have to spend together.

- visit my parents at least 4 times
- spend time together as an entire family twice


So if you've missed what's happened last year, here is the post that summarises my love life adventures recently.

Last week was a bit tumultuous when I found out that he deleted me on Facebook (it's funny how everything seems more real on Facebook - now I can feel my dad's pain when I blocked him on Facebook a few years ago). So this was the guy who asked if we could be friends after he just broke up with me and while I was trying to make sense of things deletes me on Facebook! I was quite furious to say the least. How could he? Were we not even friends now? Did he not even want to know what was happening in my life? I was so close to writing an angry post about it but I think it was at that moment things began to change for me. Perhaps this is what happens when you finally come to accept things. I felt like he has moved on and while I thought I had moved on, I hadn't - I was still secretly hoping he still cared and stalked my Facebook as often as I would stalk his to see what was happening in his life, (gosh I sound like a creep). I can proudly say that I have not stalked his Facebook or Instagram profile since and I'm content with that.

I feel like this song captured how I felt initially and now... I'm content with him being "somebody that I used to know".

'...but you didn't have to cut me off, make out like it never happened and that we were nothing.... I guess that I don't need that though, now you're just somebody that I used to know....'

So here's to one chapter closed and another one opening.

While I don't think I'm ready for love just yet, I do hope I will be able to fall in love somewhere along the line in 2015.

- fall in love


So I feel like I've totally slacked off last year in this department. You know how you have a few good friends and you're just content and not put in the effort to put yourself out there to make new friends? That was me.

I think I've already taken some plungers this year already though.

So, I hosted Family Feud for my department at work for Christmas last year and other departments heard about it. I subsequently got invited to host it for another department (twice the size of my original party with me only knowing about 3 of them). I think I may have just 'long jumped' out of my comfort zone. It wasn't too bad actually... I even scored a bottle of red wine as a gift for doing it ;) (anyone want a bottle of red wine??)

- don't say no to an invite for no good reason
- make 2 new good friends (friends that actually hang out together regularly)


If I haven't mentioned it before, I am currently a clinical social worker working in health and while I love my job, I feel like I want to experience other areas of social work and be challenged.

There are 2 areas of social work I've always wanted to steer clear of and that is mental health and child protection.... Guess what?! I want to try child protection now. Yep, call me crazy (I question that myself all the time ;)). I just feel like I would learn so much and whilst it is sad, there are a lot of children out there who need protecting.

So after much contemplation I decided I wanted to seriously give it a go and started on my application to work for protective services here in Australia. Wait. Curve ball coming. My supervisor at work suddenly resigned out of the blue leaving a more senior vacant position which are hard to come by. There are so many of my colleagues who are more experienced than I am but i decided to give it a go and if anything it's interview experience. So let's wait and see what happens.

- work for protective services OR get a promotion in my current field


I've decided this year is going to be the year of travelling.

Planning holidays are SO much fun! I've had a blast the last few days researching flights, how I want to fly, where I want to visit, where I want to stay, places I want to see, so on and so forth.

I've always loved travelling but for one reason for another it never pans out the way I want it to. This year, I've decided to just go ahead and do it. If no one else if organised enough to plan ahead then I shall do it alone (and it actually feels quite empowering!)

I will be visiting the US in November this year and I know it's still a fair ways away but if any Mohos would like to catch up while I'm there that would be awesome!

- travel to the USA


So I've just started my personal training again for the new year and I'm so mentally ready to go at it hard! I even went to the gym by myself yesterday without my trainer (now that's an achievement because I find it intimidating going to the gym without my trainer).

Whilst training may likely help with my chances of finding a partner, I think the most important aspect for me is boosting self confidence and health. 

- Fit into clothes the next size up
- Pick up a recreational sport
- Get ripped Be healthy

Church Faith

Last but not least. Probably the most difficult to analyse out of all because I don't exactly know where I want to be and probably the least tangible of the bunch.

For starters, I do want to distinguish the Church from my faith because I know that many Mormons will use the terms interchangeably, but I feel like they are separating for me. That's not to say I think the Church is wrong, simply because I feel separating the two will make it easy for me to process my thoughts.

- find God and develop a relationship with Him if He is there

So there you have it!

Anddddd.... here's my backup plan: