Schooools Out (Kind Of)
The last few weeks have gone by so fast, and so many things have been happening! School has ended and we are currently on “Study” Vacation, where there is a lot more vacationing happening than studying. This includes going to the beach since the weather has finally been sunny and warm, watching heaps of movies in the red room where we push together couches to make couch boats for ideal movie cuddling, and going on various Macca’s runs basically on a nightly basis for some nugs and chips. Truly, it’s a time to bond with all of the people that we live with in the last few weeks before we all head back to the States, depressingly enough. But if I don’t think about leaving then it won’t happen, right? Isn’t that how time works?
Lately we’ve been getting ready for the two week exam period, but everyone gets a week off before known as “Study Vacation.” Surprisingly, everyone definitely pays more attention to the “study” part than “vacation,” but there is definitely a fair amount of visiting the beach happened this week. The weather has been beautiful and sunny, so obviously everyone can be convinced to take a mental break and go lay in the sand or play in the waves. I adore living so close to the beach, it only takes about a 15 minute walk to make it to North Gong Beach, and it’s always bound to be a good day where you come up with games to play or read a book in the sun, or accidentally get really burnt (like me, oops).Here’s me, soaking up some rays, pretending that finals aren’t a thing…
Since I live in a campus accomodation with about 200 other people, we had a Farewell Formal for the end of the semester. Everyone got really dressed up, and got on a bus that took us to this beautiful convention center on the beach. They gave us a delicious three course meal, the mentors made toasts about all the fun during the year, and there was a photographer roaming around who managed to capture hundreds of photos with everyone mixing and matching between groups to get fantastic photos. We all danced like doofuses because everyone is so close to each other that no amount of weird dancing is too weird. Everyone was in a fantastic mood, and we all continued the party afterwards by going to the R&B night at one of the local clubs that we frequent, continuing to dance like idiots all dressed up to the nines.
Halloween! My favorite holiday, spent in my favorite country. Australians definitely don’t take Halloween as seriously as Americans do, but everyone still got dressed up and had a fantastic night anyways. There is this cute little bar across the street from the ocean where they held a Halloween bash, where everyone dressed up as a zombie-esque characters with plenty of cheesy decorations scattered around the bar. The music was great and people were having a great time, but I was definitely missing the hometown fall, pumpkin patch, and Halloween spirits (very few scary movies were watched, since all of the Australians I live with are simply too scared to watch any movie scarier than the Nightmare Before Christmas).
All week there have been movies and bonding in the red room with everyone, and we’ve also recently picked up the game Clued0 (American Clue), and never in my life have I been so good at figuring out if it was Mustard in the bathroom with the lead pipe or if it was Scarlet in the kitchen with the dagger. Great bonding moments with the other residents happen when there isn’t much going on, especially during the StuVac where everyone is free and the staff will cook us all pancakes every night for a “study snack.” We got to explore the spring food markets near the lighthouse with little booths from local vendors, then explored the lighthouse grounds and beach face. We saw tide pools (including a little crab friend, not pictured, but was very concerned about our presence) and got to watch the sun set over the mountains behind us. Lovely beach, lovely company, and a perfect way to spend a week of “studying” vacation in my favorite place.North Wollongong Lighthouse at sunset