I am flying home in a week, and it is just starting to hit me. I cannot believe how fast my time in Australia has flown by. Today was my first of three finals; the class was “Health and Health Care in Australia.” The final was at 8:15 in the morning. I drank a cup of tea and half of an energy drink before the test. Zach and I walked over together but we were split up by last name so we had to take the test in different rooms. The test was 100 multiple choice questions. I
t felt like the SAT because you are not aloud to bring anything in the room with you and your cell phone and calculator need to stay under your chair. Also the test is monitored by an instructor and everyone sits at their own desk, far away from the person next to them. There was no way a person could even think about cheating on a final exam in Australia. I am unsure of how I did. I was confident in some of the questions but had no idea about others…we will see.
Lets back up a little…Halloween. Halloween day was a lot of fun, we all layed out by the pool and went swimming together and ate. It was a lot of fun. Now we can say we went swimming and were i
n 90 degree weather on Halloween 2012. Halloween night was also fun; we all ended up getting dressed up. Katie, Lexi, Sarah, and I were “risky business.” We wore the guy’s polo button downs and spandex. We also had ray bands and handkerchiefs with tall socks and sperrys. Alex and Anna were runners, and Alysha was a koala. Zach dressed up as Jordan with a broken arm, and I am still not sure what Jordan’s costume was. We all ended up staying at the lodge instead of going into town because we missed the bus and would have had to pay a lot of money to get into the parties in the city. We decided to have a pool party with the entire lodge, there were tons of people there. We were listening to music a
nd hanging out but neighbors complained, so we had to end it. It was a very nice night, we all just talked and ended up watching a scary movie in our costumes.
We have been mostly studying for finals the past week, but we are studying by the pool…so its not so bad. Also, the 3rd was Katie’s birthday!! We all celebrated with her. We all went and bought a bottle of champagne and when the clock hit midnight, we called her outside. There were at least 10 of us with bottles. We shook them and sprayed them all over her so she was drenched in champagne! It was so much fun we all were yelling happy birthday and chasing the birthday girl. The next morning we went to Palm Cove beach and spent the day there. The jellyfish are out now, so it is a little risky to swim in the ocean. They have nets up and lifeguards with nets, constantly looking for the deadly stinging jellyfish. After we left the beach we all went back to the lodge and showered. We took the bus into the city and 10 of us went out to dinner at a burger place for Katie’s 20th. It was a lot of fun! Afterwards we went to PJ’s and the casino. Katie and Jordan played blackjack but ended up loosing $200. The night was a lot of fun though.
The next day, Alex and I woke up early and went to the fruit markets. We ate brekkie together and got on the bus by 10am. It was extremely hot outside that day. As soon as we got off the bus, we started to sweat. It was a nice morning. We walked through the markets..I got mangoes, which are my favorite fruit. They were really cheap, about $1 each for large mangoes as big as my hand. We also got some bracelets, and other cool stuff at the markets. After, we walked to the mall to get cookie man coffee–it was so delicious. We spent the rest of the day studying.
It is hard to start thinking about saying goodbye to all of my amazing friends in Australia. I am going to miss them so much. It is going to be really hard to go from seeing my friends every second of everyday and perfect weather…to cold wintery New Jersey. I am so excited to get back to my friends and family but I will also miss this place so much. Last night, Katie and I took a break from studying and learned the dance from the movie, “something borrowed.” It was SO much fun, we both read the book and watched the movie while we were here, so we decided to
learn the dance. We must have stayed up until 2:30 practicing the dance moves, but I think we perfected it. We have become so close and I don’t know what I am going to do without seeing all of them everyday.
On a brighter note, we are going scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef on Sunday, so I am REALLY looking forward to that. We are going with Quicksilver company, and I will write all about it. =]
I cannot believe I will be heading home in 17 short days. I feel like I have been away from home for a long time but at the same time, it has gone so fast! Today is Halloween so we are going to take a break from studying and play volleyball and have a pool party. When am I going to be in warm tropical weather during Halloween again? We are thinking about dressing up as the united nations tonight. I am going to be Australia, Lexi will be the USA, Katie can be France, Sarah can be England or something. We haven’t figured out costumes yet but I will keep you all posted.
Last week we all went into Kuranda for the day to go shopping. I got all of the girls in my family a special present. I am going to have to save them for Christmas. We have been laying out by the pool and planning trips for when we are all going to see one another again in the United States. I am going to be so sad to leave everyone. It is going to be very hard to go from seeing them every day to hardly seeing them =[. It is going to be like graduating from Foxcroft all over again. We went out to dinner on Friday where we met with our Australian adviser, Laney for the last time. We found out that she is pregnant, and we got to each spend $50. We all got huge filet steaks. Then Katie and I ended up splitting 3 desserts between the 2 of us. They were SO big but SO good. We got a death by chocolate which had chocolate mouse, chocolate brownie, chocolate ice cream, and a ton of whipped cream. It was piled up so high off the table- from my elbow to the tip of my finger. We also got a macadamia and mango cheesecake, and an australian date pudding. They were all delicious but we were sick afterwards and went to walk around the night markets to digest a bit. Lexi bought presents for her family, and we got home around midnight.
Friday was the last day of classes and we went out to dinner for our last Biodiversity of Tropical Australia class. We all paid $20, which was a really good deal because I looked at the menu and the average dinner costs about $35 or so. We got to the restaurant and it was really nice inside. We sat down at a huge table and had the waiter serve us as he taught us about all sorts of different unique Aboriginal and traditional Australian foods. First he brought out a plate of different seeds/berries/nuts/spices. They were all a little strange but he explained them all and told us how they were found, used, and were they got them today. One of the berries, called the Quandong, is wild in the outback and has the highest vitamin C content known. It coast about $95 a kilo. It was really good. Next then brought us out bread with wattle seeds on it. It was SO delicious. I loved it! I am not usually the most adventurous person when it comes to trying new foods but I figured I am in Australia so I must branch out. We tried crocodile, emu, duck liver, kangaroo, and salmon. We thought we were done but then brought out pounds of Kangaroo steaks and Wallaby steaks for us along with salad. I loved the Wallaby, it tasted like beef steak so I liked it a lot. We ate until we were so full and they brought out dessert. They had passion fruit along with an array of other Aussie fruits and sorbet. My favorite was the papal-ova (sp?) It has marshmellow on the outside and a custard on the inside. We ate it with macadamia biscuits. It was an awesome time, we loved it. After that we walked around town a bit to digest and went back to the lodge for a movie night
Also last week we went to the movies to see Paranormal Activity 4. I really liked the movie; it was pretty scary. We went to the one around 10pm which made it more scary. We all sat together and crunched together during the scary parts, it was a fun night. A few weeks ago we went to see Taken 2 on a rainy day. The movies in Australia are really fun. It coast $14 to get in without a student discount though! Another day last week when we were bored, we decided to go across the street to a CVS-like place called IGA. Katie and I thought it would be funny to get 8 wash non-permanent hair dye. It did not turn out so well for us. We had a successful girls night and Sarah dyed our hair. I did brown and Katie did red. Both of them turned out really bad. We washed our hair more than 8 times but a little is still left in both of our heads. I will know never to dye my hair, I will always be a blonde girl. We went out to Gillians a few times. Katie had a photography project and decided to bring her huge expensive school camera to the clubs with us. Everyone thought she worked there and made them take her picture. It was a fun night. Thursday is Katie’s birthday and we are trying to go to the cable park or hiking which should be fun. I will update soon but for now I have to go to sleep. =]
I cannot believe how fast time has been flying by. In one short month I will be on a plane headed back to the USA. I don’t want to leave this wonderful country and all of the amazing people I have become so close to, but I am also excited to get home and see my friends/family. Since spring break we have been doing a bit of homework, going to the beach, esplanade..the usual. We are trying to plan our last month so that we can make sure we did everything we wanted to do because lets be honest, when are we going to get back to Australia?
Yesterday Katie, Sarah, Alysha, Jonno, and I went to the esplanade. It was really fun, then we went to the night markets to get souvenirs for our families. I got my mom and a few sisters some stuff but I still need to shop. The night markets are awesome. They have $15 massages, and a bunch of stands set up with cheaper things…it reminds me of a flea market. You can bargain with the people there. =]
We have also been playing prank wars with each other. The other day Jordan, Ben, and Jonno ran into my room and locked me out and messed with my room. They took all of the wooden boards our from underneath my bed so that when I laid on it, the mattress fell through the frame. They also took all of the clothes out of my drawers and put them all over the floor. Also they put peanut butter over the entire back of my phone so when I picked it up I got peanut butter everywhere. hahahah it was funny but took me a while to clean up. Also the other day while Jordan was at the library, Max and I went into his room and stole his mattress. Max climbed a tree and put it high up there along with his chair, drawers, clothes, shoes…pretty much his entire room was in the tree..hahahah. Last night we messed with Max’s room by putting soap all over his door handle, putting all of his poker chips/cards on the floor. We also put plastic wrap over his guitar and room.He is planning on getting us back and I am kind of nervous. I lock my room but we all figured out how to unlock the doors by sliding a credit card in the slot.
I have been having a lot of fun the past few weeks, mostly just hanging out at the lodge and beaches. We are trying to plan another trip out to the great barrier reef before we leave and a trip to the cable park to wake board. These next 2 weeks are the last weeks of classes then we have a few weeks to study for final exams. I am so happy that my sister, Christine sent me 2 care packages with tons of snacks for studying. She sent me 12lbs of pistachios and other fruit/nut mixes. They are awesome, I have been eating so much, its awesome. hahaha. Well I have to go finish a final paper for a class, then its one down 3 to go.
The best time of my life by far…
We ended up traveling most of the East Coast of Australia! Jordan, Zach, Anna, and Alysha went to Brisbane a day before Lexi, Katie, Sarah, Athena, and I did. We got picked up by a taxi at 4AM sharp. Tom took the taxi with us because we was going home to Brisbane to see his family for the break. He brought a huge spear gun on the plane..the airports in Australia are so relaxed compared to the USA, its insane. We didn’t even have to show our ID once. We got to the airport on time and Katie, Sarah and I decided it would be a good idea to get coffees, so we all got cappuccinos and stayed up and chatted the entire flight at 6AM, I think our neighbors were pretty annoyed by us, but we were just so excited! We got to Brisbane and took a Maxi Taxi to the Chill Backpackers hostel to meet the rest of our friends, we got to them by 8AM, we pounded on their door and woke them up by jumping on their beds. Hahaha. After we settled in, we went to get food and see the city a bit. I texted my friend Logan (also from Gettysburg). We met up with her and got smoothies then decided we wanted to rent rollerblades. It took a little convincing to some of our friends but it was so worth it. We all rented them and got elbow pads, knee pads, helmets, hand braces…the works. It was SO much fun, we went rollerblading along the harbor. We raced and I think every single one of the 11 of us fell at least once. I tried to jump over a speed bump and landed right on my butt. After that we took a Ferry across the bay back to our hostel (ferry’s are free in Brisbane, it was awesome). After that we went to the XXXX beer factory and got a tour of the place, it was pretty neat. My tiredness finally caught up with me when walking through the tour and hearing the history of everything. I nearly fell asleep standing up…I did only sleep about 2 hours the night before. Regardless of being tired, we decided to rally. We got McDonalds and went out to the clubs with Logan, she told us all of the fun places to go. First we went to the Brisbane Festival and got our pictures taken in a booth where we got to dress up in silly hats and boas. They printed them and let us upload them to facebook for free. I think we took about 10, ahahah. After we took the pictures we stood around the festival for a while and then all went and dangled our feet over the edge by the harbor water. The city was so beautiful all light up. We sat there and chatted for a few hours. After that we went to a place called Victory. They had Karaoke downstairs, a club upstairs, and then an outside dance area with music, it was a lot of fun. I was going to sing Karaoke but the line was really long. We finally decided we were too tired to even stand anymore and went back to our hostel. The boys went to the Casino and won a few hundred dollars…I am so jealous but still afraid to gamble. The next day in Brisbane we woke up and went to brekkie then the girls went shopping. I bought a dress, and lexi bought a few things. We went into a shoe store and they were giving away free chocolate covered bananas covered in sprinkles or nuts or whatever you want. On the bottom of the box they had it in was a promotion for the store. Athena was the grand prize winner, she won $150 towards a pair of shoes. We got our picture taken, they loved us. Everyone got a coupon, I got $30 off a pair of flat sandals, so I got them for $20, they are really nice. The boys met up with us and came shopping too. They bought matching bandanas, hahaha. The rest of the day we just ate and hungout and went out at night. They went to the Casino that night and their luck finally caught up with them, they each lost a few hundred but are still ahead. We went to bed and woke up to get on a greyhound bus to Hervey Bay…
The bus ride took about 5 hours or so but we got there by lunch time. We stayed at the YHA hostel, it was a lot nicer than the hostel in Brisbane. We had cabins and had to be split up into a group of 7 and 3 (but were neighbors) and they picked me to be roommates with the boys. I loved it. The YHA had a pool and hottub, basketball court, tennis court, hammocks, a place to eat and watch TV. We went to the beach after we settled in. It was so beautiful, a wedding was going on and we just sat and stared at the ocean for a long time while taking pictures. Zach, Lexi and I watched the sunset while the rest of the group went out to dinner and Jordan and Anna played tennis. We went back and Jordan and I decided that we should make a fort. We took all of the sheets (about 7) and tied them together and draped them over the lights and squished all of our beds together to make the best fort ever. It looked awesome. We all went to eat dinner then hunout in the fort all night and Lexi, Zach, Jordan and I played dare-dare..
The next morning we were off to Fraser island. It was absolutely the most beautiful place I have ever been. It is the largest sand island in the world (123 KM). It is also the home of the Dingo..there are about 150-200 dingos on the island. We met our tour guides at 7AM outside our hostel. They picked us up and brought us to the ferry. The ferry took about 40 minutes, we got to the island and got on a tour bus. The tour bus was SO much fun, the bus driver had to go fast or else he would have gotten stuck in the sand. It was a rollercoaster the whole time. Katie, Sarah and I were in the very last seat and would have hit our heads on the ceiling if it weren’t for the seat belts. I kept saying my mom would definitely be car sick on this bus. Hahaha. It was a ton of fun though, we got out and looked at the dingo tree..it is all white and called the dingo tree because it has no bark (dingos can’t bark), we saw the clearest creeks and awesome trees. Then we got to drive in the bus on the beach, it was SO much fun. We were going really fast and it was the bluest water I have ever seen. There was a beached whale which was really sad but cool to see. We also saw Whales swimming in the ocean. There was also an entire ship, (titanic-like) that washed up on the shore that is now there for people to look at, it was really neat. We got to go swimming too. We stopped for a buffet lunch in a resort which was good then went swimming at Lake Mackenzie. It is kind of known as a fountain of youth. They say that when you go swimming in it, you come out looking 10 years younger. Jordan’s scar definitely looked better after we went swimming there! It reminded me of Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire. We swam there for about an hour and took the ferry back to our hostel. It was an amazing day.
The next morning we got on another grey hound bus heading to our last stop, the Gold Coast. The bus took all day, we stopped back in Brisbane for 2 hours and picked up our friend Ben. We were all so happy that he decided to join us. We got in to the Aquarius hostel at about 10PM. We settled in a bit and got the rooms situated, this time Anna was roommates with the boys. We all cleaned up and took a walk around to see what was around us. It was pretty late so we ended up just calling it a night. The next morning all of the girls decided we wanted to go deep sea fishing. It was one of my most favorite memories. All of us got out backpacks together, packed a lunch, and left the boys to go fishing together. We got picked up by the boat at the harbor after taking a bus to sea world. We all hopped on and went out to sea. Our boat drivers were so cool, they were 2 guys that were so into fishing, and loved us and that we were all girls. We went out deep into the sea to fish for bait. We all caught some. On the way out we saw a sea turtle by out boat (biggest turtle I have ever seen), tons of whales, and a dolphin. After we got the bait we went out deeper to catch the big tuna fish. We were out there for about 4 hours or so, and I got a little boat sick along the way but we all ended up catching HUGE fish. It was so hard to reel in, but we all did it. We ended up with 7 GIANT tuna fish. We all killed them and decided we wanted to keep them. The guys were so proud of us. They let us off back at the harbor all covered in fish blood and each with a huge tuna in a black garbage bag. We tried to take them to a seafood place to cut up for us into steaks but they charged $3 a Kilo and a nice lady told us to go to the cabanna park and we could do it ourselves. We ended up walking down the street (about a mile or so) with stinky bloody fish. We were laughing so hard though and eventually got to the park and found nice people to help us cut them, by the time we got back we were so beat up and bloody. We all showered and put on dresses and hit the clubs. The boys signed us up for the Wicked club tour. It was pretty cool, we went around for 3 nights with a huge group and got into all of the places for free. They also gave us some free food and we had a good few nights out. We even ran into some other people from the lodge and hungout with them.
The day after we went fishing, we went surfing in Surfers Paradise. The people we booked it with came and picked us up at the hostel. They were really cool, typical surfer dudes. Hahaha. We had a 2 hour lesson. It was so much fun, I was not so great at it. Jordan surfs a lot, he wrapped his wrist in some tape and went out there. Katie picked it up pretty quickly and so did Zach. It was a lot of fun and we got some pictures. The rest of the day we hungout at the beach and went to get ice cream and kebabs..they were so good. We went out again that night and the next day we were broke and tired so we just hit the beach all day and went to the night markets. Today we woke up and got breakkie and headed to the airport. Katie, Jordan and I sat together on the plane it was fun. We are all really tired but had the best 9 days! I would not have changed a single thing. I didn’t think it was possible to become any closer than we already were but we did. I loved every second of the trip. Now we are back in Cairns and have a lot of homework to catch up on in the next few days before classes start again on Tuesday.
Thanks for reading =]
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were adventure days…
Thursday our butler program coordinator, Laney, had told us she was going to take us lawn bowling (like Bocce ball) and we got on the bus and told the bus driver we needed to go to “the Lawn Bowling” place, so naturally he took us to the closest one. He dropped us off on a field across the highway from a lawn bowling place. When we got there it was filled with senior citizens sitting around at a bar. Laney was nowhere to be found. Eventually I get a call saying she is outside and wondering where all of us are. I told her and we were definitely at the wrong lawn bowling place. Long story short, we waited for an hour and a half for a maxi taxi to pick us up and bring us to the right place. Meanwhile, we are all starving but still laughing at ourselves for being so silly and not looking up where the right place was. We all felt bad for Laney because she had to wait so long for us. We got there and played some lawn bowling, it was fun. You roll a little white ball out onto a rubber court and then roll heavy balls to try to get it closest to the white ball and whoever does, wins. We ate a nice dinner each getting to spend $25–it was awesome. Then we all decided to go to Gillians for ladies night, and we took the bus back at 11:40, it ended up being really fun.
Friday Laney took us all out to an early dinner; we got there early because we messed up so much the night before. Our luck was not so good again because the place didn’t serve food until 6 and it was 4:00. So we ended up going to another place in Cairns, which was good. We all got coffee and lots of good food. 8 out of 10 of us were running in the glow stick run so we had to leave to catch the bus. We ran to the bus and hardly caught it. After we got off the bus, the race was starting in 15 minutes. We ended up walking around for an hour and a half following glow stick arrows, thinking it would eventually lead us to the start of the race. We finally called the people who were running the race and it had been right around the corner from us when we got off the bus, so we walked around like idiots for a long time. We finally did the run and it was awesome, it was just a bunch of people and the only source of light was glow sticks, it was really cool. We ran about 5K then turned around and gazed up at the stars, it was am awesome experience I was so happy I did and got to share with all of my new friends who I have become so close with in such a short time. We heard someone yell, bus in 5 minutes so we quickly got up and we on our way running to the bus stop. Katie ended up tripping on a ladder on someone’s yard right before we got on the bus and now has a huge bruise on her leg. We all got on the bus and were super tired. We got back to campus, showered, and just hungout while skyping some friends from Gettysburg.
Saturday was VIVO LA MEXICO day. It was SO much fun. Max knocked on my door at exactly 9:30AM for me to get up and go to breakfast before going to the party at the pool. The day was so much fun. There were about 20 or so people there..we played volleyball all day.. boys vs girls, the losers had to jump naked into the pool, thankfully we won and they all jumped naked into the pool. It was so funny. Zach and I were sitting on the hammock together and Marcus and Max starting swinging us really high and we broke the hammock and landed on our butts, it didn’t hurt but was pretty embarrassing. Hahahah. We all sat around all day chatting and swimming, Sam turned on the sprinklers for us as we played volleyball because it was really hot outside. We made and ate guacamole and some spicy cucumbers. The chef brought us out cheese fries and chilli. We had a Mexican piñata too. We ate all day long and had an awesome day. We were all tired from our long day and Lexi and I decided we were just going to hangout and watch a movie and go to bed. That was not what everyone else had in mind…they talked us into going into town to go to the clubs. By the time they convinced us it was 11:00, we were catching the 11:07 bus but it was a half an hour late so we didn’t get to town until after midnight. We went to PJs and then all decided to go to Gilligans. It cost $10 to get in after 10:00 on Saturday nights, but it was definitely worth it. We ended up staying until they kicked us out at 5:00AM. We danced all night long, there was a fog machine and strobe lights, and so many people we could hardly move. It was so awesome though. There is a lot of stuff in GIlligans, we went uptaris to the attic and sat on the couches for a while and they have an outside area with picnic tables and another part with some slot machines and then the dance floor…the place is huge and more people than I have ever seen. Lexi and I met some nice people who were in the army and we made a few other friends. We were happy to be with all of the boys because whenever anyone creepy came by they circled us and we danced in the middle of all of them. After that we were so tired and wanted to go back to campus. We walked around for a bit planning on taking the 5:40 bus back to school…little did we know that the busses stopped from 4am-7am. We ended up going to the bus stop and seeing that the next bus wasn’t until 7:40 am. We laughed and cried all at the same time. Hahahha. It ended up being so much fun though. We went to the esplanade and chatted as we watched the sun rise. We met a few nice people and saw all of the drunk people try to go swimming, it was really funny. We tried to go into a hotel for free breakfast but that didn’t work out like we planned. We went to mcdonalds to get brekkie then sat at the bus stop looking like we got beat up. Everyone else was starting their day and we were finishing our night. We FINALLY got back to school and I showered and slept for about 3 hours but didn’t want to sleep all day or I wouldn’t have been able to sleep at night so I went to the store and did a little homework. We all went to bed at 10:00pm and I didn’t wake up until 11:00am this morning. Hahahah. It was an awesome time though that I will never forget. I am so happy I don’t have classes on Mondays…
The past week has been really relaxing. I feel so close to everyone living at the lodge. Almost every night this week I stayed up talking to individual people having “heart-to-hearts.” We just tell each other our life stories and it has brought me SO much closer to all of my friends. On Monday, Katie, Alysha, Alex and I went to the esplanade and hung out in Cairns. We went with Jordan so he could go to his first physical therapy appointment for his arm. We walked around and went to an old second hand bookshop andgot coffee. It wasn’t hot enough at the esplanade so while Alex and Alysha listened to music and read, Katie and I talked for about 3 hour straight. We both feel like we know every single thing about each other. We talked about politics, school, traveling, what we want in life. It is so nice to just talk to friends and feel so comfortable around them in such a short amount of time. I feel like we have known one another for ages. We ask each other questions and it just gets us thinking. I feel like I have learned so much about myself since I have been in Australia because all of us ask each other questions all of the time. It is not acceptable to say ‘I don’t know’ so we have to come up with something. Everyone has told me I am so easy to talk to and so open to everything. I feel like I have discovered so much about myself and what I am capable of. We also all sat around and said first impressions we had about each other. It was so much fun to see what everyone first thought. Also we have been going on long runs every night. Tom, Max (Australian), Max (American), Ben, Pat, Katie and I all went for a run the other night. We all tell stories along the way and it makes it go so much faster. Australian Max always tells Katie and I how impressed he is that we can run so much and so fast. He has never had girl friends that he could run with. Max and I went for a run together Thursday before we went out to town and he told me all about his family. I feel like we really connect when we run because we have nothing to focus on and our minds are so clear. We have found a lot of awesome running routes through the forest and down dirt roads. Max feels like he has gotten so close to us and is going to cry when we leave…Max never cries. I am really having such an amazing time.
We went out to town on Thursday for Ladies night and Saturday we went to the casino. Even though Jordan was so unlucky with his arm, he has been winning big at the casino. He has won every time we have gone. On Saturday he won almost $400 and Anna won $160…both on Black Jack. I really want to play but I am so afraid of loosing and I don’t have the confidence yet. The casino is awesome though…they have a machine where you get free coffee, hot chocolate, and tea. It is unlimited. Lexi and I stayed by it and drank hot choc and tea all night while the boys gambled. We also met some nice people from Dublin, Ireland while Zach played roulette. I don’t think I will ever be a gambler…I see how much people loose and I could never bear it. We play the penny slots a bit though! =]
I am missing my friends from Gettysburg a lot and my family but I am still loving it here and so happy to be here. I have had a bit of work for my classes. I am working on a paper about Aboriginal bush medicine being incorporated into Western medicine. It is all really neat stuff. Last night we had a gecko in our room and made the boys come get it out but I think it is still in here. Hahaha. Tomorrow we are going lawn bowling with our Butler program and we are suppose to be doing a glow stick run in Kuranda but we are not sure how to get there yet. It should be fun if we make it! That’s all for now =]
The other day we all decided to go to a school sponsored event to learn how to play cricket. The game is a little slow but it was fun, we all picked it up pretty quickly. We got free movies tickets, and Australian lollies for playing. We ended up staying there for like 3 hours. It was a little like baseball but different because there are 2 people that bat and you run to wickets instead of bases. Also everyone had to bowl (pitch) and bat. After that we went swimming and hungout at the pool at the lodge and played some volleyball.
Yesterday we went kayaking at Palm Cove beach. It was a ton of fun, we woke up at 7:00am and went to get flat white coffees at the IGA (grocery) across the street. A taxi picked us up at 7:45 at the lodge and 10 of us squeezed in! We got there by 8 and put on booties and life jackets. Alex and I went in a double kayak and I went in the back. It was actually really hard and we were expecting to be really sore today but surprisingly aren’t. We kayaked to the double island where is costs $33,000 a night to stay there. You get to have the entire island to yourself if you rent it. It was really nice, the water was so crystal blue and clear. We were walking in the water with sting rays and we got to see sea turtles which was awesome. We stopped on another island to eat lunch, explore, and snorkel. Our instructor was also from the states but recently moved to Australia. She made us all try a citrus ant. Will ate 3 of them because he loved the taste but all of the girls just put it on their tongue. It tasted like a sour war head, it was so strange. The ants have bright green butts, the Aboriginal people use them to eat and for sour sauces. The islands were awesome because instead of sand, there was dried up coral that we got to walk on. We also went kayaking through a cave, which was SO cool, it was pretty intense because the waves were crashing up against the rocks and we had to control the kayak. It was pretty tough but we did it. The entire area we kayaked was where they filmed the movie “Fools Gold.” It was absolutely beautiful and the weather was fantastic. When we got back we were all so tired, we took a nap right on the beach listening to the ocean. Then we went back and Lexi, Jordan and I tried to go out to town and waited at the bus for an hour but it never came so we just watched harry potter and got pizza.
The rest of the week we had a few beach bonfires and have been doing a bit of homework. I have been working on an essay all day that Chris, my dentistry student friend that lives in the lodge helped me finish it and edit it. It is hard to write papers in Australia because you need to make sure not to spell things like we would in the states. Basically anything with a ‘Z’ has to be an ‘S’ and anything with -or you have to make -our. It was okay, I hope I end up doing well on it. The grading system is much different here. The highest grade you can get is an HD, then D, C, P, PC, and N,X mean failing. It is a little complicated. A C here is a B at home and a D or HD is an A back home. A few days ago Alysha, Katie, Sarah, and I went to the esplenade and night markets. We got frozen yoghurt in Cairns and walked around to the malls and stuff, it was a nice day. I am still loving Australia more and more every week. I am missing a lot of friends and family at home but I am so grateful to be here.
Today Lexi, Alex, Sarah and I went into Cairns to have a girls day and go shopping at the mall. We hadn’t been shopping much yet so itwas awesome to just hangout with the girls. We went to the cookie man in the mall..Jodie told me about him before I got to Australia. I haven’t had coffee in about 8 months but I had some from the cookie man and it was absolutely amazing. We got free cookies too, which were delicious. We all bought something at the mall. I got a light blue dress that was on sale–$20 and Lexi got a shirt and Alex and Sarah got some clothes too. My wristlet broke last weekend so I got a cute little billabong purse, it will definitely come in handy and very “aussie” looking. After we went shopping we went to visit Jordan in the hospital because he had his surgery today. He didn’t have feeling in his fingers but eventually got it back. He had to spend the night there so is coming back in the morning. The hospitals are much different in Australia than the US. We just walked right in and asked if we needed to sign in or anything and they seemed confused by our question and sent us to his room. We went back to the lodges for dinner, showered and went back into town to watch our friend Ben play the violin. He got a gig playing with a band in a little Mexican restaurant. It was nice, there were about 15 of us that went to watch him play. Australian Max saw that there was a challenge on the menu…eat the hottest wings ever and win a free beer. He paid $15 for the wings and could only eat 2, tears were pouring down his face, he had to give up even though the whole place was cheering him on. I dipped my finger in the sauce and almost started to cry. It was by far, the hottest thing I have ever tasted. Will, Alex, Alysha, Katie and I came back on the bus. I might end up going bungy jumping in the next week if everyone goes again. I am nervous about it but think I want to do it.
Last night Jordan had a big craving for tim tams so he told Katie and I that if we biked to the Smithfield shopps and got him tim tams we could eat them all by midnight while we watched Harry Potter. It was about 8:40 and the grocery store was closing at 9. Katie and I love a challenge. We biked there and made it with 5 minutes to spare. Jordan gave us money so we bought every flavor of tim tams they made and taste tested all of them. I made hot chocolate and probably ate about 10 tim tams. Some were better than others but it was so much fun. I am now obsessed with them. I think I am going to bring home a whole suitcase full. Dark chocolate and double dark chocolate are my favorites. After that I had SO much energy, I was just bouncing off of the walls. I never really eat that much sugar and my body just didn’t know what to do so I just started running around like a crazy person. We had a pool party and all hungout. I stayed up until 4am talking to some Australians about all of our life stories and how we ended up in Australia. After everyone went to bed around 2:30 or so, I still had energy so I started my paper for the dentistry class that is due in about 2 weeks. Chris stayed up with me and helped me write it. I think it is coming along quite well.
On Wednesday we had a field trip to the botanical gardens for our “Biodiversity of Tropical Australia” class. It was really neat, we walked around the gardens with a worksheet trying to find the answers to the questions. The worksheet was actually really hard so everyone basically just put it away and enjoyed the natural beauty of the gardens. As the days go on, I am becoming so much closer with everyone at the lodge. We are all loving it so much. We are planning on all going to Fraiser Island and Brisbane and the Gold Coast together for Spring break. We wanted to go to New Zealand but the tickets during spring break are crazy expensive-about $750 round trip.
Tuesday night we had another bonfire on the beach. We rode our bikes to the beach and stated a fire, it was raining a bit but it was nice cool rain. Sarah ended up convincing me to go swimming with her, which was a lot of fun. The party was for Anthony and Will’s 21st birthdays. It was a lot of fun. Ben played the violin and Maya sang and played the guitar. We walked to the rocks and sat at the edge of the ocean. It was a really fun night.
This week has been pretty eventful. Jordan went mountain biking yesterday and ended up breaking his arm. Zach went with him while Sarah, Lexi and I went shopping for groceries and toiletries. They called us and told us they were lost and to help them find a trail but we were no help. The next call we got from them Jordan was at the hospital. He is getting surgery next week =[
Today we woke up and went to brunch. Max asked me if I wanted to run in an event called “dash for cash” it is put on by the uni. I was kind of still sleepy and full from breakfast but they talked me into it. I am so glad they did because we won the relay ($200) and then I did the 100 meter sprint and came in first place. I won $150 for that race so in total I won $200 today. I am really excited about it. I think I am going to use the money to try to go to New Zealand for spring break. The event was so much fun, it reminded me of field day in middle school. After that we all went to play basketball.
Earlier this week I went to intermural basketball and I ended up being the only girl there. The school plays every Tuesday. Jordan and Zach went with me and we scrimmaged with a bunch of other guys. I made 16 points in one of the games; it was a ton of fun. I also learned how to throw a boomerang the other day. Zach and Jordan love throwing it and taught me how, and it is one of my new favorite hobbies. The rest of the week we went to the beach a few times with the entire lodge and went swimming. We also went out to the clubs dancing the night away at Gilligans. We missed the bus on Thursday so 15 of us squeezed in a taxi van at like 2:30am or so. We have all started to become really good friends and I am loving Australia more and more everyday. Katie's friend from home is here visiting us, she is really nice too. I have a few projects coming up for classes that I have to start working on this week. Classes are a bit boring but its not too bad because its only a few days a week.
Thanks for reading =]
I have been having the best time! A few nights ago we went to the casino and 3 of my closest friends, Katie, Anna, and Alex all decided to play Black Jack. I decided not to play because I didn’t feel good enough at the game yet…plus I cannot afford to loose all my money. Anyway, Katie ended up loosing $120 and Alex lost $35 and Anna won $30. I was glad I decided not to play. Hahah. Then we went to Gillians night club which was so much fun. Everyone from the lodge was there. I mean there were at least 20 of us. We all got there around 9:30 because you have to pay $10 after 10:00. It was a lot of fun we danced until 11:39 and the LAST bus back to campus on Thursdays is always at 11:40. We quickly grabbed everyone and ran as fast as we could to the bus stop. There was a mob of us taking town the town to get to that last bus. If we didn’t make it we would have to take a taxi back and it is muy expensive! We made it and then all hungout at the pool for a while after. Alex and I hungout with Australian Max (named because we have an American Max too!) He wore a tutu out to town for ladies night and we tied him to the tree and stole his pants. Hahahah…
Now to the best part…the weekend…I had the most wonderful time. I think my favorite weekend so far! We went to Kuranda for the weekend. A taxi picked us up at 10:30 am on Saturday morning. We all met at brunch and a few of us packed sandwiches so we didn’t have to buy lunch in town. It was a smart idea because some people spent $20 on lunch. Anyway, we went to the skyrail. It was a beautiful view. We got out and walked around and saw Barron falls, it was beautiful. It is currently their dry season so the water wasn’t too crazy. We heard that during the wet season (USA winter) the falls get so loud that you can’t hear the person next to you talk. We got to Kuranda and went to bird world. You walk through it and these amazingly beautifully colored birds land on you and we pet them and everything. The colors some of these birds had were unreal. One landed on my arm and its claws hurt a bit by digging into my arm. Then we went to kangaroo world and got to see koalas again and hangout with some kangaroos. Also they had reptile world. They had an extremely poisonous black snake. It was huge and scary and I did not get close to it! Hahaha. After that we ate lunch and walked around. The town is so cute with lots of unique little shops. I have been shopping around for an opal necklace since I got here. The lady talked to us all and was super helpful and friendly. Also she had a bishon puppy, so it was a sign I had to get something because those dogs are my favorite. She gave us all $20% off. I got a really nice necklace that I will wear everyday. It is the first thing I have bought aside from food and trips in Australia. She taught us some history about opal and showed us where it comes from and how they get it. It is so rare and unique. Next we met Lalena (our awesome IFSA butler teacher) and she took us grocery shopping. We had $300 to spend at the grocery store. It was so much fun. The 11 of us went around the store throwing stuff in the cart while Lalena pushed it. We got tim tams and sandwich stuff, avocados, yogurt, muslei (my favorite cereal) and a ton of other stuff. We got back in the van and our driver took us to a backpackers place. It was so so awesome. Lexi and I got the nicest room. It was right next to the pool and firepit. We were the only ones that had our own bathroom and shower so we got really lucky. We freshened up and Lalena took us to a nice dinner. I got a $30 filet because I never really eat meat here, it was really good. Then we all got hot chocolate and a bunch of Australian desserts. It was called Date pudding or something like that? It was basically chocolate cake with dates in it and whipped cream and ice cream. The place we ate at was a cabin with no heat. Kuranda was MUCH colder than Cairns. It actually felt like winter there…especially in the cabin and drinking hot chocolate. We watched the Olympics and the place had no heat so we were freezing. The only thing I brought to wear of course were shorts so I was freezing the entire night. We got back and the 11 of us got some wood and made a fire and sat around it. I wanted to tell scary stories but some of the girls weren’t having it. Hahah. We talked all night around the fire, it was awesome. Zach and Jordan were both in single rooms and afraid to sleep alone so they brought in mattresses and we all cuddled up to keep warm. It was 2 degrees Celsius that night.
The next morning we woke up and went to eat all of the food we bought from the day before. We packed a lunch and were on our way. First stop was a swimming hole in the middle of the rainforest. We all hiked up a ways and found a rope swing and a cliff that we could jump off into the water. I wasn’t going to go in because it was absolutely by far the coldest water I have ever felt…but then Zach talked me into it because I am only in Australia once…that’s all he ever has to say before we all do something. Hahaha. I went off the rope swing and thing my body went into shock because of the freezing water. It was so clear and beautiful though, I ended up doing it like 3 more times because it was so much fun. I never got use to the coldness though but soon warmed up in the sun. We got back to another campsite to eat again. We all lounged around in the grass and waited for our driver to come get us. We went to the white water rapids next. It was so so so much fun. We got life vests and helmets and a guide and were off. They taught us all of the basics and we almost flipped out a few times. We did end up sort of flipping but then just getting out and going swimming. The 11 of us were in the water and linked up and floated down the river together a little ways. I was at the front of the raft and I loved it. We surfed the rapids by going back up them. A girl in our boat ended up flipping off of the back and cutting her hand open but other than that no injuries. We all had a great time and it was beautiful. They took professional pictures of us. We all pitched in $4 and got them. We came back dried off and Lalena bought us ice cream and tea. We said our goodbyes and the driver took us back to campus.
I never have showered so fast. Zach invited us to go into the city because his parents are here for a few days. Lexi, Jordan, Katie and I went with him. We dropped off our backpacks, jumped in the shower and were on the bus. We met a crazy lady who wouldn’t stop talking to us. Lexi, Katie, and I ate on the bus because we didn’t think we were going out to eat with Zach’s family because it is his mom’s birthday today. We met his family and they were so incredibly nice. They bought us dinner and gelato. His mom is a dietician so we talked about jobs and stuff and she is even from NJ and said she might be able to help so I am super excited about it. His family went to sleep because they were so tired from the flight and we walked around the city and went to the night markets and to a bar to play pool where we saw Lalena. It was an awesome weekend and I really wish my family could be here to enjoy this awesome experience with me.