Monday, February 14, 2011

Home

I am finally back at Bentley, I am getting adjusted to being back at school and trying to keep my act together, although it is hard sometimes. My friends make things both harder and easier because I often get overwhelmed by how great my friends actually are. People always say you don't realize how much you miss things until their gone. That is certainly true, but I am certainly overwhelmed by how many great individuals are now constantly running in and out of my life. I am taking six courses and am already hitting the lib. I was doing three hours of cardio a day (between gym and p90x) but then took a break for four days, hopefully I'll be back at it tomorrow... My roommates are wonderful, they are all very motivated and I am hoping some of that will rub off on me. Three of them are in Dphie with me the last, Kaity loves to bake and do yoga, she's really into recycling and eating healthy which I am all for! I am not the best at knowing what can be recycled yet, but she's teaching me!

Bestos is finally back in my life! I finally have a little!! About 40 new sisters since I last left, and about 30 that I will sorely miss(but know I will see allllllll the time). Man is it good to be back in the states! Cannot wait for future adventures. Later and out!



Aloha

I love when my sister greets me at the airport with a delicious grande peppermint mocha latte in Maui. I think I am a pro with doing transfers and layovers. I once used to get queusy and extremely nervous before I jumped on a plane, but now it feels weird to think that this is my last lonesome trip. My father loves Maui and wanted to take us for the holiday season. For christmas we went to eat at Cheeseburger in Paradise.

 For New Years we celebrated at the Hotel, we had learned from Christmas celebrating that the island is extremely low key when it comes to celebrating holidays with the family. We managed to have alot of fun together goofing around though!

 We went horseback riding through pineapple fields, whale watched, went surfing, shopping, and took a helicopter ride over a volcano, we went and adventured around the island on the road to hana, and tried out alot of restaurants.
Maui really is beautiful. One of my guy friends lives there, he is such a sweet kid and fun to be with. I called him up and told him where I was and soon enough he picked me up and brought me like 100 meters down the road to a cliff where a sign read "do not jump." He parked the car and stood on the edge with me explaining that someone once jumped off the cliff in a white prom dress. I read up on the cliff later and it is a dangerous 40 ft cliffhead that the natives would jump off in ceremonies to prove their manhood. My friend, Hawaii, leaped off the cliff into the water, I waited a bit before I joined him. I literally slapped into the water, so painful! I had bruises all over my legs, and even the bottom of my chin, for two weeks. So sore! It was such a great trip over all. I spent the first two weeks of my year abroad in Jamaica with my family, and then the last two weeks in Maui. I guess its true that everything starts and ends with Family. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Closing thoughts

video
Decided it only fair that the most overplayed song during my time in Australia become the background noise for the slideshow. I met some wonderful people while abroad and cannot believe that my year long study abroad experience has come to an end. The experience certainly had some extremely bizarre ups and downs. Overall it was a worthwhile experience, I learned alot about myself and others. & for all of you who questioned why I of all people was uncomfortable going into bars... I think Sarah Turnbull in Almost French says it best on pg 177, "As a woman, walking into a pub filled full of blokes in Australia can be intimidating: the attention often has a discomforting edge." Not to mention, the increasing violence reports from Surfer's Paradise. aka CANNOT WAIT TO PARTY IN THE USA. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ezfk7s1NyY


Additionally, Sarah Turnball captures leaving Australia perfectly. While leaving England was sad, I was more upset about leaving Ericka and new friends behind. I was exhausted from whirlwind European adventures and was eager to get home to see my Big and the seniors graduating and my sisters at Prom. Leaving Australia was entirely different. I feel like I actually left a world behind, one in which I had grown fond of and comfortable in; incomparison to the feeling of coming home from a vacation as I did on my return home from England. This time around there was more than the fleeting pang of remorse to be leaving:

"If we look out our windows we can have one last glimpse of Australia, the voice says in that practised this-is-your-captain-speaking tone... The change in background is abrupt, leaving little time for sentimentality. One second flying over what had seemed an incessant desert - such a funny pink in the evening light- then the space beneath us is a vastness of deep blue. Looking back over my shoulder, I watch the evanescence of Australia, transfixed. The coastline, with its white frill of surf, becomes smaller and smaller, until finally it disappears entirely as though I'd imagined it. A pang of nostalgia stabs my stomach and then I take off my sunglasses." -Sarah Turnball in Almost French

I am currently eagerly awaiting to see how my grades transfer back at Bentley (UPDATE: passed all subjects and did extremely well in them (yay it paid off to stay home during study week!)). In the mean time I am reading up on Economics in Maui as I am taking a two week course when I get back on January 3rd! It's nice to be spending time with the family finally and I will be sure to post some of the crazy Longvall girl stories soon!
Hope all of your holidays have been merry! xx

Activities

Thursday: Libby's 21st B-day! I had to register that night, so I could not drink! Love Marisa for letting me use her room and ethreanet set up... Literally at 11:58 I handed my half finished vredbull to Libby and ran from the bar to her room. Got all my courses! General Business 401, 2 Science electives, Lit, and Marketing Research. After this semester, provided the online Macro course occurs, I shall be completely done with General Education requirements! Hooray.


Dear Bentley Registrar, granted I was up anyways, I do not think I should be compelled to stay up until 12 a.m. to register. Rather, I do not think I should have to plan my social life, or change my drinking habits on a thursday night due to an 'early' registration time. Love, Helen's liver.
Friday I went to Burleigh heads with Gu to finish up my Photography second assignment portfolio. We had to take outdoor profile, advertising, and a creative shot of a building during magic hour. That night I went to a Bond Uni Party with the scandanavian girls, then went out to a local club East, watched a girl ribbon dance, then left to another club where Tina&Tina got us into a VIP bar, found myself recieving free drinks for the remainder of the night. Other than those two nights I was in the library. Saturday night I got a message from the boys to go on skype. They panned the room to an interesting smooch sesh and a girl passed out on their thigh, and then asked why I wasnt going out. Oiy. P.s. Like your dress mom?



Following weekend? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDDHcTNZaQo&feature=related Byron Bay. Gu and I went into Byron for the night to meet up with Tina. We walked around the city shopping in the rain and as soon as it lightened up we walked up to the lighthouse! Then Tina saw hanggliders and decided she wanted to play. We chilled at the beach the next day. We had had a 10:30 skydive appt, but because of the rain we did not end up being picked up until around 3:30. We slept on the beach, had some tea at a cafe, and then did some shopping and walked around a bit more.

  
Then we went Skyyyyyydiving. The thrill was unbelievable. I was excessively calm perusual. I always knew it takes alot for me to emote, but apparently I underestimated myself. The tandem flyer asked me if I do extreme often and if this was a repeat flight because I was so eerily calm. I got out of the plane as if in a daze, everyone else was going might as well go too. I leaned back my head and literally was smiling thinking about how I was achieving one of my goals for the semester. Scubadiving and skydiving in Australia... conquering both above and below. 

The free fall was incredible. I had been fearful that I would feel like on the tower of terror when your stomach drops and you feel nauseas. That did not occur though, its just a superior rush. Literally you feel weightless, nothing else matters as you fall from the sky. Natural high definetly. He caught my hair elastic as it was falling out during free fall... pretty good trick. On the way down after the tandem flyer let go of the shute he asked if I wanted to "play around" "yah" was all I managed to reply. I would have said yes to him letting go of the straps, I was that out of it. I could not hear out of one ear, and my entire body was reacting as if it had just had a couple energy drinks. We started spinning down to the bottom, all I remember is him saying: "Not too bad an office." He had done this job for 14 years predominately at the same location... I'd have to agree with him, the view is amazing.

 I had been so wrapped up with school work that I could not do much other than school. I really literally lived in the library the past two weeks and my body is still crying in pain due to looking at computer sceens for so long. I wrote a history paper, an advertising paper, gave an advertising presentation, wrote a marketing plan, gave a sports marking presentation, and wrote a few speeches basically in two weeks. After my presentation I left the following morning at 4:30 am to Fraser island with leila. I slept the entire way there, then did not even go out that night. I am still exhausted, but I have another 2 papers and exams to study for. I am soo excited to be going to Maui with the fam after this, even though I am already down under, it is currently raining and when it is sunny, I end up in the library anyways. Woof.

Some photos I took this week:


    

Last weekend I went to day drink for a few hours for a break. Hah I was in bed by 10, but I had alot of fun with the scandanavian girls. We had a smorgashboard of amazing scandanavian foods, later in the evening some of the Bentley kids walked in and joined it. It was fun, we played the drinking game and thumper :)





Leila and I then decided to do a spur of the moment trip to fraser island. We spotted dingos, went for a run, layed out and enjoyed the few moments of sun we had. It was an amazing trip. I loved the island! We went to Rainbow Beach, drove across 75 mile beach, eli creek, and more. It was amazing! We took a few hikes and had shell races.

The next two weeks are finals aka crunch time. The boys all left for an RV trip around NZ but I am unfortunately stuck at home writing a marketing business plan (40 pgs), and advertising plan (35 pgs), advertising critique paper (10 pgs), History Paper (4 pgs), and studying for exams, putting together a final portfolio... soo much fun!












Sydney

Got off the plane, took the train to King's Cross where my hostel "The Funk House" was located. I got onto a squeaking train, and noticed a relatively normal looking kid my age with a backpack on. I crossed my fingers and hoped he was a fellow backpacker, "Hi! Where are you headed?" Turns out he was headed to the same place! what are the odds.. He was a Frenchmen who had been backpacking for the past year and a half, he was great, probably gay (which was even better), and was huge (tall and fit) HUGE plus because as you can see from the following paragraph, King's cross is kind of intimidating, exspecially if you have no idea where you are going...


"Most Australians who have visited Sydney at one time or another have wandered through the Cross, if only for a look at how the "other half" live and play ... The strip clubs, topless waitresses, adult bookshops and tacky nightclubs ... small, trendy cafes... The Cross is most sleazy at night, when the bright lights come on and the action hots up. During the day it can look a lot less threatening.Visitors to the area should be careful, especially at night, as people do get mugged here. The other thing to be careful of is the spuikers outside nightclubs: they can be intimidating and aggressive and have been a problem in recent times.You will see some pretty strange sights around the Cross." -http://www.sydney.com.au/kingsx.htm

CLEARLY, did not do research before I chose my hostel. Granted it was the only one avaliable at the time. I got off the literally screeching and howling train, as the French acquaintance put it "This train reminds me of the Bronx," should have picked up then and there we were not headed towards the 'nice' area of town. I got off the train and instantly thought what in the world have I got myself into. Literally on my 50 meter walk to the hostel, a showgirls, an adult toy show, a dollar store, an adult concession shop, a bar, coco cubano, mcd's, a 'gentleman's club,' the sugarhill bar, and then? My hostel. I literally wanted to vomit it was so unbelievably scummy. Granted had I been with a group going out for the night I would have thought differently. This I accomplished the following night and the place is an absolute blast! It also has a great cafe culture and nice little boutique restaurants. I rather enjoyed it in the daylight!
The first day I woke up and left to go into the city, I took the train to Circular Quay and literally you know how often times a film will show the Opera House and you hear in the background and opera voiced "AwwwHH" ? As I stepped off the train to my fist viewing of the Quay with the Sydney Bridge on one side, the opera house on the other side, and a seagull in the middle my brain went "AwwwwHH." It was simply breathtaking. It is exactlyyy how you would imagine it.

I walked around for a bit taking photos then decided I wanted to go to Manly Beach.
I took the Ferry over and did a cliff walk... and managed an hour out, to get stuck out in the rain quite literally. I was soaked, ended up having to buy an umbrella on the way back and a tee-shirt because I was soaked thoroughly and was freezing. I got Max Brenna Mint Hot Chocolate to warm up while waiting for the Ferry back. As terrible as the rain was, the walk was possibly my favorite part of the trip. It was like a hidden gem. I stumbled into a cafe over on Shelly Beach which was quite good also, they had a corn muffin with rasberry's for sale which served as breakfast/lunch for the day!

I got back to the mainland and headed back to Kings Cross to dry my belongings. I put all my clothes including my shoes in the dryer and stayed nearby worried someone might steal my only footwear if I left. I sat there indian style on a bench as slowly more and more kids joined round the picnic table on the roof top. Then slowly over the course of the hour drying period joints were rolled and passed, as the kids all gambled and played card games for various other pills and packets of sorts. They were all nice enough, let me choose some songs etc but the entire situation was making me nauseas.

As soon as my dryer buzzed I excused myself and left the now rather large group. I got ready to go out and have a nice meal/glass of wine at a suggested restaurant from Connie, my cousin Emily's friend, and went to see Pirate's of Penzance at the Sydney Opera House. I was in the second row just a little to the right. The show was beyond fabulous, after the show I was feeling a bit better about the city and decided to go for a walk around to take photos. Some American guys approached me and started chatting, they thought I was from Australia at first, and looked at me incredulously when I initially said I was from Boston. In anycase, they were heading to Kings Cross and invited me to join, obligingly I retorted of course. They were a very boisterous group of ten boys, keen to have fun and play. I had a blast and eventually got back to my room later that night.


The next morning I woke up and took a walk into the city stopping at coco cubano for a cappacino. I then walked to the Peek Tour, a free walking tour. I don't really suggest it, while it was nice to hear a little history, it was three hours... it could really be dropped down to one-two hours. I took a walk around the rocks, around the botanical gardens and then dayraged at the Flugtag Competition put on by Redbull.
There were soo many people, you couldn't move, so people just stood drank and smoked on the sides. It was all good fun. I then wandered down to the Quay and walked in to the contemporary art museum for a bit, then walked to get gelato, then went to watch the stars in white arrive for the Aria Awards, then went to get on a train to Bondi Junction to see Bondi Beach.

On the inside of the clock tower is where one of the legended chalk cursive 'eternity' was written.
The picture to the right was taken in the beautiful gardens.
Most of the the little girls in Sydney were wearing tutu's for some reason. Obviously loved it! After all of my adventureing I was really hungry. All I had had to eat was two pastries, two bananas, and a salad, for the past three days. Granted the salad was pretty amazing, consisting of blue cheese, pear, walnut, and rocket spouts. Needless to say I was hungry though, so I sat and ate outside the Hostel waiting for the Airport Transport in a little pizzeria. Most amazing Pizza I have had since I left Europe. It was delicious, basil, real motz cheese, sauce, thin crust, made right infront of you. Had it with a glass of house red wine. I ate the entire pizza. The entire thing to my dome, so good. I got back around 12 a.m. then talked to my sister Juliette for a bit. Who responded after I told her of some of my adventures, "Helen. Why did you travel alone?!"

In retrospect, I do not think I could have traveled and spend the night in a red light district by myself a year ago, but it didn't seem unnusual to me until she asked in that manner. As my sister looked at me doe eyed waiting for an explanation, I thought to myself how can one really explain the satisfaction in waking up to a city alone, ready to capture it and make the most of the day in full force? And to be honest we're never really alone. Even a thru-hiker will stumble upon another similar like-minded wanderer to befriend at some point in their travels. Meeting people is never really a problem, finding people to walk around with and stumble into surreal spots not hard to do, people are genuinely kind hearted and are often more than willing to share a smile, a laugh, a memory to add to their reality in the unknown space. Don't get me wrong, I love having a base of friends to meet up with after I am done wandering for the day, but there is something fascinating in having nothing to do but explore, experience, everything new.

Melbourne

I arrived at 2 a.m. well after reception left, and went out into the city before reception got in. I was alone in the city with no map, and no idea where anything was. Yet somehow I managed, due to all of the great people I ran into. Guys would literally just walk up, have a chat, and offer to walk with me to where ever I was going. I really felt comfortable in Melbourne. I walked for 10 mins up the street to the Nunnery, and waited for the bus tour to get there. In the mean time a girl walked by and offered me tea and crackers, a guy walked by and offered me a ride, a old man offered me a croisant. This city is beyond liveable, very comforting.


I got on the bus and left for the Great Ocean Road. I really wish I had had the nerve to just rent a car and do the trip myself. The day tour was seriously rushed. Additionally, it was pouring, like usually I have great weather, but this trip was horrid weather wise. Yet, everything happens for a reason, due to the weather I got some sick pictures. The rainforest was so vibrant and rich in greenery and color. The hues in every shot were slightly more dense in saturation. I was glad to be travelling by myself at that point in a bus full of Asians as I looked a complete mess. My hair was all tangeled from being blown around while wet, I had slept with contacts in, so I had bags under my eyes.. overall not a good look for anyone.

I got back to the hostel and the one of the guys who I had ran into earlier that morning, looked at me with a face that asked "Wait... are you the girl from earlier?" I just smailed and said I'll be back down in a bit. I literally ran upstairs ran into a roomfull of judging girls who had spent the day dolled up at the derby, threw on a dress, and ran into the bathroom to put on some concealer to hide the eyebags, quickly coated my lashes with dior mascera, ran my fingers through my touseled hair, and ran back into the room to throw on heels and noticed the other girls in the room had suddenly changed their tune. It took them three seconds to close their gaping mouths. "Where are you going tonight?" "Are you staying here long" "Wait, where did you say you were from" ... guess there is something to appearance. I just smiled, "Oh, I'm meeting up with a friend for drinks, hope you girls have a good night!" I continued running down the stairs and ran into the reception asking how to get to 5-17 flemington st RMIT village.

There, the Scottish guy was waiting and eyeing me once again and this time he voiced his confusion, "Wait, are you the girl who just flew up the stairs to change out of a hoodie?" I replied that in fact I was that sorry mess. He laughed and just stood there for a few seconds and said "wow, that was quick" then kindly offered to walk me to a bottle shop to get some wine, and take me to RMIT. On the walk he kept offering compliments. I am the most awkward person whenever people try to compliment. I get tonguetied not knowing how to respond. He told me everyone must be jealous to see him 'strollin with such a model.' When he initially out of left field told me that I 'shape up' real nice, surprised I did a heel slip. oops. In anycase, he gave me his number in case I needed any help around the city once we reached RMIT. He continued on his way saying he needed to find some substances for the night and to call him if things needed to become more exciting and excused himself for a smoke. The Scottish kid was nice enough, had a kid which was why he was still in Melbourne because the girl he 'used to date' was Australian. He was quite the character..

Meg called as I arrived, she is a fellow Bentley student who is studying at RMIT. Love that girl. We drank a bottle of wine each, took tequila shots, and had vodka tonics. Needless to say we were in a good place after our quick pre-drink. We then left for a bar and at the end of the night hit up McDs. I got back to the room and literally crashed forgetting to call the Scott. Whoops. I saw him the next morning as I was leaving to go to the Eureka Skydeck and just smiled and said 'Hi' as I slided by. I was horridly hungover/ maybe still intoxicated, I have no idea how I got to the skydeck, but it was a wonderful location to sober up. High above this city sipping on a long black with a chocolate chip muffin I thought how peculiar that this city appears as all of my 'failed' cities do in the initial growth stages of sim city and about all of the great Bentley kids who have studied abroad in this city before me.

After I took a walk around and sat by the upside down river. It was so murky and trashed it really did appear to be upside down. Then I met up with Meg again for crepes, shopping, and dinner. I got back to the hostel and literally fell asleep in the Lobby for an hour, and then left to get on the Sun bus to Avalon Airport. I got home around 2 A.M.

Rocktober

This entire week I felt like I was still on the boat. I've also been severely lethargic, reminiscent of sophomore year when I thought I had mono. One of the girls here gave me some addy while we were out partying and the next day I felt 100 times better, if anything just a bit more wired, which is amazing considering I had lacked energy to even stay focused facebooking. I went for a run, did the work I had failed to do during the week, then went to class early.

Today I woke up at 6 A.M. and got onto a bus with Bond's Exploration Society to Mt Ngungun. We were going Rock Climbing and Abseiling in the Glasshouse Mountains. They are named that due to Cook's, one of Australia's premier explorer's, revelation that the mountains, while sailing past, reminded him of the glasshouses in England. I went climbing with Shauna, Libby, and Marisa, it was great because one could climb, one would belay, one would stand as back up, and the other would be the photog! I belayed for Shauna, who stated before she started up: "don't drop me or I'll kill you." Marisa belayed for me, and helped me all the way up to the top! I can sometimes become scared of heights, like psyched out, but faced with a challenge of reaching the top, my natural competitive spirit was brought out and up I went! The only slight fear I felt was when I looked down while climbing, I loved looking out and across the mountain, it was such a surreal view; however, looking down made me queasy for all of two seconds. We all made it to the top, our groups claim to fame!

Today I've been in the lib and running around getting photos printed. I am a 6th of the way done with my history paper, obviously have more work to do tonight! There is a killer lightning storm occurring outside and I am sitting here with a cup of tea watching the rain fall and dance down. Right before the rain started falling the air smelt so fresh. Like a coconut room spray, without the chemicals. It was the most amazing scent, I just wanted to stand there and get high off of it. Then lightning started cracking, so I quickened the pace back down to my dorm.

Whitsundays

 
Day 1: Jump on a train to Brisbane Airport, with a sinking stomach I listened to one of the wonderful 14 boys informing me, "It appears you are the worm in the bird's nest." We got to Arlie Beach and stayed at Beaches hostel. We dropped our things and went to buy some goon to bring with us on the boat. Again, I was the only girl in a room of 10 guys. We went to get McDonalds, dinner for less than 5$ is always a great thing. We went out that night, had a blast, and then went to bed. There were two cases of sleepwalking. I was one of them. I woke up apparently at 6:45 got dressed, everyone was up chatting, and then we all went to bed again, myself fully dressed. While I was in the shower one of the kids had to vomit, and was knocking on the door. I could hear him, but knew everyone was drunk, so there was no way that I was going to open the door for some kid that I had just met while I was soaking wet in a towel. When I got out of the bathroom five minutes later he had already gotten sick and recovered for the most part having thrown up over the side of the balcony. Everyone in the room was joking about it. The other room also had a case of sleepwalking where one of the boys decided that he liked the bottom bunk better and got into bed with another guy on the trip. Obviously the sleeper, not the walker, was very uncomfortable with this and squeaked out a 'rescue me' to the rest of the room.  
 


Day 2: We got up and checked in with the boat. We then went to the lagoon for a swim. We got on the boat around noon, a few of the kids were seasick. We went for an introductory Scuba Dive in Macarel Bay, my group consisted of Marco, Nick and Tommy. They were alot of fun to dive with, Marco was cracking us up the entire time. Richie, our instructor informed me that I barely used any oxygen in comparison to the rest of the group because I was more relaxed. I thought this hysterical because I was literally freaking out while under the water, I hate swimming normally, never mind being meters under the water swimming around without being able to see land. Marco told me after that he was cursing me under the water, bubbles would hit his stomach, and he'd freak out not knowing what it was, until he'd spot me swimming underneath him.

Day 3: I woke up before Dawn, I could not stay below deck on the catamaran. I got up and fell asleep on deck. Took some cool shots, then got dressed for the day. Sleeping quarters were a little cramped, so I waited until everyone was up to actually change. We then got off the boat and headed to Whitehaven, the world ranked beach where "Fool's Gold" was filmed. The sand is not sand, but silica! It's great supposedly for cleaning jewelry.


We then went back to the boat, and went Scuba diving again! We saw a turtle, a bullray, baby fishies, and Nemo! My mask was leaking the entire time. I kept having to blow it clear. I also because of the off breathing was bouncing around like a little yo-yo. Richie, came over to fix my equilibrium. He pumped the red air button twice and then turned around to swim on. I could not swim after him, I was floating up. I lost him, Tommy, and Nick. I was alone. It was all blue, could not even see the reef. Ever have a nightmare when you're alone in open water? Hello, welcome to my second Scuba Dive. I figured it would be better to swim to the surface than swim to find them. I started hyperventilating and forgot to breathe a few times on the way up. I got up to the top, and tried to get my bearings. The last few feet to the top were the worst. It must have been only a second, but it felt like 10 minutes, where I felt as if I'd never reach the top. Richie rounded up Tommy and Nick right away and was up to the surface in seconds. "You alright?" "Yea, I just lost you guys." I also told him my tank was whistling, he said not to worry about it. I kept checking the gauge anyways though, on top of clearing my mask out. We went to the tunnel of love, and ran into another scuba diving group. In the meantime, one of the two boys swam by me and knocked off my mask, just to my forehead. Again, worst nightmare? Not being able to see under the water? I relaxed and just did what I had been doing the entire time, put the mask on, put two fingers at the top, and blew air out my nose like five times. I almost lost them again, but thankfully they had stopped to take photos. Then one of them sank literally while swimming on top of me. I gave the kid a push up as I was already on the ocean floor. Needless to say I did not go on the third dive and went snorkeling instead. Snorkeling was a blast though too. We saw George, this HUGE blue fish. All the guys had their heads in the water, so I looked down too. I jerked back screaming out of the water, this thing could have swallowed my arm no problemo. We learned it was harmless when the captain Harry came to pick us up. The fish still made me nervous, so as we were being towed I looked back down into the water to make sure it wasn't around. Sure enough, it was close enough to give me a kiss. For the second time I screamed, all the boys instantly put their heads back in the water. Later that night we drank on the boat and enoyed the sunset.
 
Day 4: We got up, went snorkeling, then went sailing back home to Arlie. Back at Arlie we fell asleep on the beach. When I woke up it was aff in a dream, there were Camels walking past me. In this phot they are further away, literally when I woke up? they were right in front of the first palm tree, less than 5 feet away from me, it was the weirdest best sensation ever. I felt so safe sleeping there on the beach with my new friends. When I woke up I went to get coffee and a snack at the Village Cafe and then went back to enjoy it. I have never woke up so pleasantly discombobulated. Yachts, sailboats, camels, palm trees, good company, real life suddenly the dreamlife and viceaversa. I then sat by the water as the boys slept on. It was gorgeous. Somebody then started sending their dogs toy over my head, eventually the dog was playing with me, dropping its little football with eyes that said 'play with me.' Eventually the owner got too close and I got up and left. The boys by this time were up and were watching the situation. I felt alot better, a bit more secure knowing that they were aware. Marco laughing said it reminded him of the Corona commercial, and then proceeded to explain it when I told him I had no idea what he was talking about. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UqZzZWZd-Y  I went off again to the beach after chatting with the boys for a bit, and fell asleep on the beach. There were a few hippies and one by one they came to chat. One of the girls, rasta braids, hairy legs, piercings, tattoos, came to sit and chat. She was very interesting, and very friendly. I really liked her, she told me to go to Tamborine Mtn. She also told me how safe/great hitchhiking was, I think its great that she trusts people to the extent she'll jump into a 18 wheeler with a truck driver, and have dinner later with his family, but even after the conversation I do not think I could ever in a million years hitchhike like that. Nick came down to chat also and then the conversation became heated. She turned into an activist, I couldn't handle it and left. She was talking about coke and nestle products. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nestl%C3%A9_boycott

We finally got into a taxi to leave paradise and went to the airport. We got onto the plane, to the train, to the bus, finally took a long shower, and hopped into bed.








The Outback

Tuesday: Hit up CBD for the first time with a fantastic group of SPOT X girls. Had a great time yet woke up wednesday and went to class hungover for the first time in Australia.
Wednesday: After getting myself together I got on a bus to Robina to catch a train to Brisbane. I got off at the wrong stop, and had to get back on to meet Tina and Tina at the next stop. We stayed at Base X, a hostel for the night. It was incredibly noisy, but the service desk was very helpful. (I had forgotten to grab my booking information, so I had to ask Student Flights to fax it to me. I am now a huge supporter of their company!) Of course we went out in Brisbane first, hit up a hotel bar Vics, and Dunder.
Thursday: 5 A.M. walked to the train that would take us to the airport. Got on a plane to Caines, then a plane to Alice Springs. Alice Springs is the most bizare little town. It is what I image the midwest ghost towns of America to be like. Obviously tourists and backpackers are what keep the local economy going. Tina looked at me when we passed some friendly constructors and said "I don't know whether people are just really friendly here, or if it's because we're girls" I responded "The later, I don't think construction workers would be as apt to say "G'day," (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PT331BRkkP0&feature=related try to get this out of your head) and stop to stare if we were two boys walking around town." It started to down pour, and was so cold Tina decided she wanted to buy some jeans; in addition, to the bottles of wine we walked into town for initially.

Friday: We woke up at 5 A.M. to get onto a bus for the OZexperience. We stopped at a Camel Farm and rode camels along the way. We drove to Katja and got out to walk the Valley of the Winds. It was my favorite walk of the trip, it was absolutely gorgeous. It was like walking into a hidden world. I don't know what made me think of it, but if someone could pull off a wedding there, it would be surreal. We then got on the bus again, heading to see the sunset at Uluru then headed to camp. There was no cabins, no tents. Just a sleepingbag covering called a Swag or a Matilda (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwvazMc5EfE&feature=related ) There was nothinggg protecting us from the elements, bugs, mice, grasshoppers, flies, and stars. Thank god it did not rain. We ate Kangaroo steak and Camel sausages for dinner and drank enough wine to think sleeping in a Swag was an ok idea.


Saturday: Once again we woke up at 5 A.M. went to get breakfast and then watched the sunrise at Uluru, it was FREEZING. We then drove up to the large rock for the first time. We walked the 9 km around the rock, but did not climb it. I don't think I would have even if it was one of the supposed 90 days it is open out of the year. It holds spiritual value to the Aboriginals, wouldn't want to disrespect their culture any more than we already tend to do.

While walking the 9km I stoped by a waterhole. There was a tour going on in what I thought was Spanish, but one of the Scottish kids in my tour group informed me it was Italian. Either way, the tour guide was speaking and I walked up behind him and started taking photos over to the side. Aparently his tour group was staring at me and not paying attention to him any longer. He stopped talking about the waterfall, and commenced talking about the "photographia bella being more interesante no?" and then would keep glancing over his shoulder at me as he chatted on. I can't entirely blame the group of foreign tourists, nor their tour guide. Afterall, I was wearing short shorts and a DPhiE tank top. I quickly covered up and put on my Bentley Hoodie. Speaking of groups, I had a great tour group! It was mostly all girls, there were only three guys including the tour guide (a very much welcomed experience as I had been spending a majority of my Australia experience with guys) The only part I did not like was when the tour guide would send us into the bush to collect wood for the fire. I was afraid a snake would bite me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OE_k4soD2t8 Later that same day all of us girls were sitting around the table sipping on water at a rest stop and yet another tour guide makes a loaded remark. "I obviously am leading the wrong tour," then freely continued staring at each of us in turn. To set the record straight, I love attention, and hearing comments like these while an ego booster are more annoying than anything else. I mean, I was in the Outback for three days, not much of a shower, no make up, hair awry, tired, sore, hungry, and grown men are trying to make passes. Give me a break. Do people think it socially acceptable to talk about others in earshot as if they are not there? As if women are secondary citizens, an object to be remarked on. What kind of society have I been living in recently? So I glared, turned on my heel, and walked away.


That night we drove to a different campsite. We headed to King's Canyon, on the way we stopped at a petrol station and learned about a great project: http://www.conwayskids.org.au/  We also stopped to see a salt lake across from a "fooluru" look out. Fooluru is a table top mountain in Central Australia, and while interesting in its own right, many tourists and backpackers believe it to be Uluru, take photos, then head back. Not realizing that Uluru is another hour or so up the road. I chatted for a bit with a couple from Galway, Ireland who asked me to take their photo in front of the mountain. It was awkward, but after I took the photo I suggested they travel further up the road to Uluru interpreting that they had miscalculated their adventures. They looked at each other exchanging shocked glances, "What is this then?" "Fooluru." I'm not quite sure if they thought I was making fun, but either way they got back in the car and continued on the road.


We made a pasta dinner then roasted 'danish bread.' We wrapped bread around a stick, roasted it, pulled it off, then put jam/nutella down the middle hole, yum. One of the girls offered me her roasting stick because she was done, and hers was longer than mine. I said "Thanks, but I like my stick." Which set off the Danish girls in a plethora of lighthearted sarcasm: "Take it with you into your swag if you like it that much." "Put some Marshmellows on it for added fun." We all crawled into bed laughing and dodging flying crickets.

That night I awoke to noise, raised my dome, and was peering face to face with a mouse. My hands were by my sides in the swag, I had no way to defend myself. My eyes wide, I whispered out 'TINA!' The mouse scurried off and Tina, next to me, slept on soundly as I lay face to the stars counting shooting stars and praying nothing else would come near.

Sunday: Woke up yet again at 5 A.M. to get on the bus. Today we would be hiking only 7 km, but it was a mountain. The walk was gorgeous and I was sad to leave, but by the end of the walk I was exhausted. I really need to remember to pack snickers with me when I go for long walks. I almost fainted/blacked out in the bathroom after. We were walking down the hill back to the bus when I started feeling lightheaded. I finished my water and walked straight to the bathroom where I started seeing spots. I felt alot better once I had eaten something, but just shows how out of shape I am!

Saw many wild animals: camels, emus, horses, a sand lizard

We left the Outback and headed to the Stuart Highway to drive back to Hostel Haven in Alice Springs.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBqiFkkB9sE&feature=related

Monday: Woke up at 7 A.M. without an alarm. Tina and I walked into Town in the morning to find a boomerang. My father had said, "you can go to Australia, but you have to bring me back a Boomerang." I was not going to disapoint. I hunted for that boomerang at every stop we made, they were all terrible. Either outrageously priced: 500$ for a piece of wood or 50-100$ for a piece of souvie trash not even made by an aboriginal tribe. I wanted it to be from the Outback feeling that it would be more authentic, and would hold more personal value for my dad. I then learned that 'real' Boomerangs are not made to return. Excuse me? You expect me to pay 100-500$ for a piece of wood that does not return? Apparently the returning Boomerangs were only used in a small section of Australia by a tribe that would use them to hunt birds. They would not even use them to kill the bird and bring it back, but rather it would be used to scare the birds backwards, so that they could kill the animal with a 'real' Boomerang. I honestly remember hearing about this somewhere before, some know-it-all dictionary in Elementary school I think mentioned it once. Not to name names, but I think it was Eric, ha I'll give credit for the 'did you know' fact. In any case I got back to Alice Springs and only had 2 hours to find a Boomerang before I had to jump on a Plane. Tina and I were literally running around town, but we found some! I saw one hanging on a wall and I had to get it, it was perfect. Made waiting to buy the Boomerang worth it. I haggled with the owner over the price. Do you have any student deals?! "No." C'mon, we're buying more than one here, you won't cut us some kind of deal?" In the end he generously chopped off over 150$ combined. We thanked him and then ran out of the store just in time to catch the airport transfer from the Hostel to the Airport. We flew from Alice Springs to Sydney to Brisbane. Got on a plane, to a train, to a bus, then walked to my room, did some laundry, talked to my family, then got into bed.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvH4vSeGz4I&feature=related

My lips are sealed

It seems like I am going to be unbelieveably busy with school work. I am giving a presentation on Wednesday, ad journals due the following week, 28 photos to pass in tomorrow, write a business plan by Friday. ...I'm confused when did Bond become Bentley?


In anycase, thus far I have read two books and watched a documentary on Mary Bryant. One remarkable lady, an escaped convict. Sent to Botany Bay (Australia) to serve out her sentence for stealing a silk bonnet. On her voyage she gave birth to Charlotte whom she named after the boat. Once in Australia she married William Bryant, a fisherman, gave birth to his son Emmanuel, and tried her best to keep her family healthy through dire conditions. She later made her escape with six other men and her new family; however, on the crossing back to England, she was recatured and lost her husband and two children to illness. When she arrived in England she was a local celebrity, and was able to attain the generosity of Boswell who helped her gain the freedom she desired. The End.
Like seriously? Why are there 300 pages in one resource dedicated to that? The sources conflict in data. It's given me a headache. Clearly, I deserve a surf vacation.
I met up outside with about 20 other kids from Bond going on the surfing weekend. Got up on waves, learned to pump and steer. My body is in more pain than it has been in years, and I like it. I look terrible surfing, most awkward being alive, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and am slightly addicted. Socially, the weekend was out of control.

So the weekend was out of control. I did not want to give details as they are pretty insane, but as there are photos are now on facebook (of some of it), might as well explain the part that has made it's way onto the web: We played "Aussie flip cup" pretty much if you lose the winning team makes like a dare for the losing team. Examples: snog down the losing line, lick your teeth down the losing line, lick from chin to forehead down the losing line, spit wine into the next persons mouth (from start to finish) down the losing line... etc. high stakes to win, I was sufficiently grossed out when we lost initially and heard the first dare to the point I chugged quite a bit more wine before letting anyone touch me. Then ad in the factor that once you sat down, you were stuck in the spot you sat down in. No switching teams, or position along the line. People were obviously drunk, some borderline blackout. Some guys sat down next to their best friend ready to play flip cup, lost, and would end up having to kiss the guy next to them. Hysterical.
So obviously I tried cheating (we all know I have a phobia of spit). Additionally thought I was being nice, I stuck up my sleeve and pretended to lick instead of really licking the last guy, but the kid called me out! "She didn't lick me!!!!" Didn't realize people would wantt to be licked..
The night went on and most of us went skinny dipping. Kelsey, myself, Leila, and one of the surfing instructors went in first. Then about 10 dudes and two girls followed suit. When we were done streaking, Kels and Leila decided they would steal everyones clothes, moveing them up the beach a bit.
Other shenanigans continued throughout the night, pillow theft, crazy fights, and continued insanity... hopefully none of those hit facebook! This was seriously the best weekend I have experienced here in Australia! Met some great kids and am really looking forward to more weekends like this to come! :)

**Thank you Elle and Colleen for the photos!**


We stopped on the way back in Byron Bay. I grabbed a gelato from 'PINK': "Scoop of Pistacio and Noccio in a cone please"

Nimbin

Classes have officially started. I have homework, reading, assignments. It's going to be an interesting semester. My first photography assignment is to take 10 good self-portraits to submit and bring to class. It's harder and more time consuming than you'd think! I also have quite a bit of reading to do! This week we went to the beach and this weekend we went to Nimbin on the 'Magic Bus.' We also visited a water hole, jumped off a rope swing and then warmed up by a fire. In Nimbin we got cookies to eat on the way home. We listened to heady music the entire time and stopped along the way for drinks. It was a good day.


  
 
NIMBIN
 The boys went off in search of something more interesting than what the town was readily offering. I went to find a friendly coffee hut. I ended up in a small bright kitchy seating area and ordered a cappacino. There were photography books scattered all over the tables. I stared at early 1900 aboriginal scarification portraits. There were pictures of men with scaring on their backs that were so heavy and defined, the scars appeared as if wings. The 'wing' design was to protect from club beatings; however, most of the designs were soley decoration. Each tribe had different scaring, and some leaders would supposedly sign treaties with marks that looked like their scaring. Nimbin itself, was like a scar, left over from the 1970's.

The place seemed pretty much deserted. Only a few actual residents, the area's populants mostly being tourists and travellers backpacking through the shanty town. In the 1970's it was the land of Aquarius, a peace movement was held here for 10 days by the Australian Union of Students with Johnny Allen, Graeme Dunstan and Paul Joseph heading the organized celebration (http://www.nimbinweb.com.au/nimbin/history/history2.htm). After the celebration, some went home, others stayed to contribute to what is left of the colorful city with its even more vibrant nonconfromist dwellers. We had lunch at the Sphinx Rock Cafe.


We left Nimbin and headed for a small watering hole. It was fun roasting marshmellows and jumping off the ropeswing. There was no place to change, but the woods. So I walked up a ways along the path and was about to change out of my wet clothing, but A. there were plenty of kids with the group (about 40) and I didn't want some of the kids who had wandered off to smoke to stumble on me changing and B. a car drove past just as I was about to drop my pants. I walked back to the group unchanged and looked at our tour guide with eyes that said "Are you kidding me?" His response was in a disbelief, laughing voice, "that was the one car that will drive by all year."