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It’s been a big weekend!

As always with NTE, I find it quite hard to process everything. It’s like getting a juggernaut going, this conference, but once it’s rolling there’s no stopping it. There has been torrential rain, as well as all the other dramas I’ve mentioned, but the students seem to just be loving it. And it is a pretty amazing conference to come to. Everyone is really positive this year.

I met up with a friend, Jono, who stayed with us a couple of years ago when the UTS mission team was at our church. He graduated this year and has moved to work as an electrical engineer in Singleton. He rang me last week to wish me a good NTE, and after our hour’s conversation he decided he was going to drive 6 hours there and 6 hours back to come to NTE just for one and a half days. That’s how much some people love it! It was great to see him, and I think he needed to have some soaking in the word, and being with other Christians as he is the only Christian in his workplace and is quite isolated.

We went to a cafe called Cream, in the new section of the Canberra Centre. We had hot chocolate, a yummy cheese platter, and a great chat (inspired by Karen I’ve started photographing my food).

(not a great photo of either of us, but there you go)

Today I’ve had some time to do a bit of writing and prepare for the writing network time we’ll be running tomorrow. Karen arrived and we went to the National Gallery. We saw a curious exhibition of artworks by a Japanese Buddhist nun, Rengetsu, who used to paint and make pottery sake and tea vessels, inscribed with poetry. I found it quite fascinating, seeing these small, crudely made yet beautiful items covered in Japanese characters, and thinking how intrinsically words were a part of this woman’s everyday life. Much of the poetry was quite beautiful as well. I would have liked the catalogue, just to read a bit more about her, but couldn’t really justify buying it.

After wandering around the other exhibitions, soaking up a bit of impressionism at the end, we looked at everything in the bookshop and I had to resist buying many things. Then we headed back to the Canberra Centre to go to Koko Black. Karen had written about this place when she visited it in Melbourne, and was very excited when I suggested we go there.

This is what we had – a ‘Belgian spoil’ with delicious hot chocolate. Oh, it was good.

Tonight I managed to get my hands on Andrew’s Canon EOS 40D digital SLR camera, so spent the whole meeting wandering around taking photos and remembering how satisfying it is to use a beautiful camera. I’ll post some of the pics when I get them off the camera.

Now I just have to finish putting together my talk for tomorrow, and hopefully get some sleep!