I’ve Got Four Whole Months In Austr…Wait, What? It’s June?
I think I’ve been doing everything in my power to avoid posting this entry. I uploaded the pictures I needed to on Monday, yet haven’t written a word until today. I know this is most likely the last post I’ll write while in Australia, and I’m not okay with it. Hence: procrastination.
Before I forget, I should probably correct a statement I made in the last post. You know that do not enter or be prosecuted sign I talked about that led into the conservation park? I said everyone ignored it? Yeah…disregard that comment. As it turns out, I’m pretty sure they do mean what they say. They don’t want you in there. Yet, one time I was walking through there, and there were these guys in a Jeep, and I thought, “Oh, shoot, I’m going to get called out for being in here,” but all they did was say hi and went on their way. Also, I’ve seen people riding bikes and walking their dogs in there, and there is an entry into the conservation park in there. So how do they get in, if they’re not using my illegal route? HOW DO THEY DO IT?!
Anyway, I discovered I was wrong about this when my friend told me about the entrance to the conservation park she knew about. The park I’d gone through was as tropical as they get; this park was very temperate. Lots of bike trails, lots of paths, and a map that was of absolutely no help let me know that this was the place I’d been trying to get to. Will I still go into the forbidden park? Yes. Until someone tells me off for it, it’s way too pretty to stay away from. And I still need to figure out how those other people get inside…
My first walk in the legal park didn’t go as expected. I got wicked lost. I took a picture of the map on my camera, and tried to follow the trails as much as I could. After 45 min of walking, I finally came to another map.
I was practically on the other side of the map from where I’d thought I was. And I didn’t have a clue how to get back.
Either the universe was on my side, or I got super lucky, because by some miracle I made it back to the beginning after literally five minutes of walking. Seriously. How the heck do I spend 45 minutes walking to this place, and get back that fast? What did I do? Did I enter a portal or something? I’m still surprised I managed to find my way back.
Last weekend, Katie, Matthea, Matthea’s other friend Katie (confusing, yeah), and I went scuba diving on the reef. I can honestly say that it was the most amazing experience of my life. I’m not even sure I can put into worlds what it’s like. Everywhere you go there are these bizarre, three-foot fish, and some of them swim right up to you and you can pet them. Yup. I patted a fish. And then if you’re at the bottom of the reef, you can look up and see your bubbles expand from little marble-sized bubbles into bubbles the size of a beach ball by the time they explode on the surface. I happily paid the extra fifty bucks for the second dive. I would’ve paid for a third dive if we had the time.
Before my finals, I developed a nice routine for studying. I’d wake up at around 8, head to campus at 10, snag my favorite picnic table, and study/watch TV shows. Then at around noon, I’d go to the refectory and get a caramel latte, and return to my studies. I found it to be a very effective way of working.
But with a week of no class, I also partied pretty hard. One of these times happened the night before my last final. Not the smartest decision, but I’d been studying all week, and, although I was hardly conscious for the 8 am exam, I managed to crank out the three essays I needed to write. I’m almost somewhat certain they’re coherent.
I’ve had a lot of trouble figuring out the flight-home stuff. I had a long talk with Rachel from the International Students Office about whether I should get to the airport two hours ahead of time or one. Apparently it depends on if I fly from the domestic airport, or the international, and whether it’s a connecting flight and yada yada yada…
Today, though, we figured it all out, and I’ve arranged for Sunpalm to pick me up at 3:30 in the morning for my 5:30 flight. Except they only pick people up from the student lodge. So I need to bring my stuff over there the night before and stash it in my friend’s room, because there’s no way I’m hauling that much stuff across the highway at 3 in the morning.
I went to Rusty’s Market a couple hours ago, possibly for the last time. All I bought was an avocado, but at least I got to take in the sights one more time. I have nine days left here, but Rusty’s is only open on the weekends, and I don’t know what I’ll be doing next weekend. I’ll most likely be packing.
So now, without further delay, I shall begin my list of things I’ll miss when I leave Australia. I’m sure I’ll forget about a hundred things, but here it goes:
- The “Wild-Thing” woods, which is a huge row of trees along the highway by the student lodge. At night they look exactly like the trees in the book. Literally.
- The fact that crossing the roundabout to get to the student lodge is one big game of Frogger. One misstep and splat.
- The butt-wigglers and puvs. Since I don’t know most of the names for birds here, I made up my own. Butt-wigglers are these little black birds who always wag their tails from side to side like dogs. Puvs look like a mini hybrid between pigeons and doves.
- Cockatoos and Kookaburras. Kookaburras are easily the coolest birds ever, and Cockatoos look awesome when they fly across the sun.
- The constant fear that, while walking in the conservation park, I will bump into something that could kill me, or run across the path of an angry cassowary.
- Rusty’s Market, and all the amazing topical fruit samples.
- Living in a community like the Beaches. Everyone’s pretty awesome.
- Tim-tams, though I’m smuggling some home in my suitcase.
- The pond by Lake Placid, where I bike to all the time.
- The Uni, and the fact that enormous lizards wander across campus and no one thinks it’s a big deal.
- Riding my bike everywhere.
- Sunrises and sunsets over the beach.
- Toad races.
- Australians with accents so thick I don’t have a clue what they’re saying.
- Hearing phrases like “good on-ya, mate,” “cheers,” “ta,” “bugger off.”
- The fact that I can walk into the Smithfield Shopping Center barefoot, and everyone else is barefoot too.
- The Wet-Season, when you have to walk barefoot because the rushing water on the sidewalks will sweep away your shoes.
- The Dry-Season, since I can now go outside and not worry about a sneak-attack rainstorm.
- Wild horses in Chillagoe.
- Tony trips, with all the bizarre foreigners, and his awesome breakfasts.
- “Beware of the Jellies” signs.
- At home I can recognize almost every tree I see. Australia’s rainforests have more species of trees than anywhere else in the world. I walk through the bush, and no two trees are alike.
- The Great Barrier Reef. Nuff said.
- When my teachers take their students out for pre-final drinks, their “shout.”
- Manu and My Kitchen Rules. I’m not going to get into it, but Manu is the bomb.
- Dumbass cane toads.
- My flat.
- My friends.
- My life here.
So what will my last Check It Out! be?
1. Australia. Forget about the things to stay away from. See it all, take it in, and make it your home.