GreatBarrierReef169-sm.jpgYes, I knew this day was coming, but I did not really think it would ever come. When I arrived in July, four months seemed infinitely in the future. However, as I sit to write this, the end of my time in Australia has snuck up on me, and we leave in 48 hours for China!

The last week and a half I have spent a lot of time studying. I had two finals in both my finance classes, and each one was worth about 50 percent of our final grade. My very last final had six questions, so each question was basically worth 10 percent of my grade. I remember back in high school where it was a school policy that no final exam could be worth over 10 percent of our grade. Those days have definitely changed.

I had a number of other friends in these classes, and studying together was very helpful as we motivated and challenged each other to finish this semester strong academically. Overall, the tests went fairly well, but we’ll see how they’re graded …

In the midst of studying, I still managed to try to enjoy my last week in Australia. One day I ventured downtown with friends to do some souvenir shopping, and I also studied there at a coffee shop a number of times. On a sunny afternoon I went to a cafe overlooking the beach to continue my pursuit of understanding futures, forwards and options contracts.

Great%20Barrier%20Reef%21%21%21%20172.jpgWe’ve had three more family dinners together, and I have included a picture from one of those gatherings. One thing my friend and I commented on is how much we will miss evenings like those, with simple gatherings of everyone together. When we return home, busyness and conflicting schedules prevent the ease of gatherings like the ones we’ve been blessed with so often while abroad.

Great%20Barrier%20Reef%21%21%21%20187.jpgSunday, Fremantle had a festival, and I went there with a friend. Fremantle is the best place to people watch that I have ever been to. There are so many styles, people, cultures, and funky outfits everywhere you look. We also visited the Fremantle prison and took a guided tour through its halls. During the tour I felt like I was a tourist in my own town, so I guess that means I have been able to make Perth home for the last few months. One sidenote, the cells looked surprisingly similar to our dorm rooms here in Australia ; )

Great%20Barrier%20Reef%21%21%21%20194.jpgThat evening, we went to a large gathering of over 200 churches right on the waterfront in a park in downtown Perth. There were close to 15,000 people there, and it was a really neat experience to see the unity in the churches coming together. The guy who spoke was even a pastor from Portland, Oregon (my hometown) – it truly is a small world after all.

Tuesday was the day of my last exam, and it felt great to get it over with. Though it doesn’t quite make up for the stress in studying for a final, the relief one feels when finishing finals week is something truly unique and special. I will miss that feeling when I graduate from college.

Great%20Barrier%20Reef%21%21%21%20199.jpgYesterday, we had a meeting to go over everything for our study tour to China, and afterward we spent the day at Cottesloe beach. Also, Stewart, one of my good friends here, met up with Dale, a guy he’d spent time volunteering with over the semester. Dale has cerebral palsy, and he wanted to have lunch with Stewart one last time. A number of us guys joined them, and it was a neat time.

Great%20Barrier%20Reef%21%21%21%20201.jpgAfterward, Dale expressed his sincere gratitude for Stewart’s help and encouragement over the last few months and said how he would miss Stewart. It was quite touching and I believe Britney Jo would’ve cried. Anyway, way to go Stew for truly having a positive impact on someone’s life this semester! (We rewarded Stew by burying him in the sand and I have included the picture :).

Today, I have spent the morning packing, doing laundry, and writing this blog! Tonight, we are hopefully going to make it out to watch one last amazing sunset over the Indian Ocean. Tomorrow evening, they are doing a going-away dinner for us at a local hotel. Since we will be in China on Thanksgiving, they are preparing a Thanksgiving dinner for us! Needless to say, we are very excited!

I will try to update this blog every few days in China to inform you of our daily happenings. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Take care and God Bless,

1 John 5:3