This year has been one where I have focused mainly on my studies, with work and relationships thrown in. It has been a year of accomplishments.
In January, one of my paintings was chosen for 2 special exhibitions representing the best of works for students of art at ACU. While this was not a sale opportunity, the recognition of my work made me feel wonderful.
So too I felt wonderful when one of my photos won the National Photo Competition with the theme of The Year of Mercy.
My University results have been consistently high. I achieved 2 High distinctions this year in Communications. I received distinctions in Sculpture and Literature, and credits for all other subjects.
The Strathfield choir had a change of Music Directors this year, with the introduction of the wonderful Claire Mc Fadden. We sang at many concerts and masses, including a special one for the Sisters of Mercy in North Sydney. We sang a suspice for Catherine McKellar which had never been sung before. It was written by Mr Graham Press, who also wrote several other pieces that we sang this year. It was a pleasure working with Graham as a guest of Claire. Peter Kneeshaw also worked with us as accompanist.I was also involved in the Australian Catholic University National Choir, singing as a bass. We had a masterclass in July, then met briefly before going to Rome to sing.
The trip to Rome was incredible. We sang 3 concerts and rehearsed together well. We bonded closely under the baton of Fay. It was incredible how so many singers from three or four different local choirs were able to sing together so well. We had some very special people listening to one concert including Cardinal George Pell and the Ambassadors to both Italy and the Holy See (Vatican City).
Mid-year I had to change cars. The Tarago which had served me well for the last few years finally died, and I bought a Mazda MPV. I like this vehicle but it loves petrol too much, and I fear I will need to change again purely for economy reasons very soon.
I have had a few health issues this year but overall, I think I had a better year health-wise. I did manage to split my head open in Rome, but that did not stop me from enjoying myself, and I now have a ‘Harry Potter’ style scar in the middle of my forehead.
I continue my work as a Mystery Shopper for three different companies, and have just been employed by two more. Hopefully that will bring me enough income for me to continue my studies and living in Earlwood. I have done it tough this year, at times wondering where my next meal was coming from. Thankfully, I have friends who were quick to lend me an extra dollar until payday, and others who shared a meal with me.
Besides still having contact with Mission Australia, this year saw me do a volunteer placement with The Big Issue magazine. I loved working in the office and meeting some of the vendors and other volunteers. I was invited to share a Christmas Lunch with them and had a great time.
I am also still volunteering at Polly’s, doing the photography at the drag shows and dances, however I missed a few due to choir commitments and illness.
Sam and I are still enjoying each other’s company, but with both of us working multiple jobs, our time together is precious. Sam was granted Citizenship this year and is just waiting for a date so he can attend a ceremony to get his certificate and passport. We intend to take a week off later in 2017 to go to Thailand to visit some friends there.
Christmas was a quiet event. I sang carols at the university chapel on Christmas eve, and shared lunch with a wonderful mentor Br. Jude and his community.
I have neglected meet up groups recently as I spend more time concentrating on my studies. I do hope to become more involved next year as I find it a good distraction from the busyness of Uni and the stresses of everyday life.
2017 will see me continue with my studies, and I will finish my BA in November. I am starting a Diploma of Languages next week and will study Italian. This will help with any future tours to Rome with the choir and with the pronunciation of Latin and Italian words in some of the songs we sing.
I am also looking to do a course on editing and proofreading at TAFE to help me look for work in the literary world. I have applied to audition with the Christian Arts company Artes Christe and hope to perform with them when I can as well.