Hi, everyone...sorry it has taken
me so long to write about what I have been doing. I just got back from my big
trip to the mainland. I spent three days in Sydney, one on a train, two in
Melbourne, and two on the Great Ocean Road. I'll just highlight on what stood
out to me or I would write end up writing a complete novel…although it may be
almost that long.
Sydney was a lot of fun, but as my
mom and dad said a city is a city is a city. Although I did get to go to Fox
Studios Australia, where they filmed some of the matrix and will be filming
parts of Stars Wars Episode II and III. That was really neat but it is so much
smaller than universal...only one action ride. (Michelle...I took some pics of
the Babe goes to the City set for you). Saw a lot but nothing spectacular.
So there I was sitting on the
train for a ten-hour ride through the southeast part of Australia as I traveled
from Sydney to Melbourne when an Anzac entered our train car and sat down across
the aisle from us where a little boy sat with his mother. He took out his
harmonica and started playing Australian national anthems and more children
started gathering around him. So there I was listening to Waltzing Matilda on
harmonica while rolling green hills spotted with sheep and black and white
cattle grazing with the sunlight beaming down and making the world glow raced by
outside my window. The stops along the route were small and the train stations
were wooden buildings that still had signs that say Ladies and Gentlemen for the
bathrooms carved in wood and hanging from the ceiling. There are wooden benches
along the platform where people sat waiting eagerly to abroad and or great
friends and family returning from the Easter weekend. It was unreal and I felt
like I had been transported into some movie scene or something.
I spent Wednesday and Thursday
taking a bus tour with twenty other backpackers along the Great Ocean Road. It's
just miles and miles of amazing coastline. I took so many pictures (over fifty
actually) which I hope to get some of them posted in the next couple of weeks.
The first day we saw beautiful beaches and bays. I am always amazed at how
turquoise the water is here. The colors are so brilliant and the sand so smooth
and soft. On Thursday, we got to see the rocks. More miles of breathtaking coast
but this time it was not all beaches but rather the water has shaped the rock
cliffs into arches, caves, and blowholes. I can't believe how amazing it was. Oh
I am *so* excited. Rob had his video camera with him the whole week so he is
going to make me a copy of the tape so I will be able to show you some of what I
have seen and he is going to let me video tape places around Tassie when he
comes to visit me at the beginning of June:-) Lots of smiles from me.
At one point during the two days,
I felt as though I were in space floating among the stars. But really I was just
walking through a rainforest surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of little
glowworms. I could have sat and stared forever. Tiny little specks of light
everywhere, all around me. It was absolutely amazing. Oh and by the way,
glowworms aren’t really worms at all! They are actually phosphorescent insect
I was scared of being a backpacker
at first -- like being homeless. Traveling with your clothes on your back,
bunking with strangers, cooking in a common kitchen. But suddenly for a brief
moment in time, the world becomes your home and the strangers your friends.
Drinking a beer in a cabin along the Great Ocean Road, laughing and listening as
people from all over the world gathered together as friends and told jokes and
teased each other. Accents blending into a beautiful harmony. For two days these
strangers were friends. And then we all left and returned to our respective
lives - strangers once more.
For a bit I was jealous of the
people that I met who are here just backpacking around for three or four months.
They are going to see so much more of Australia than I am because they don't
have to worry about classes but then I realized living in a house with
Australians and becoming part of the community is such an awesome experience
that they are missing. When you're a backpacker, you meet tons of people from
other countries but not too many Australians so you don't get to submerse
yourself in their culture.
It's funny...Audra asked me about
the culture differences and I have been here for almost three months now that it
took me a while to actually think of any. I think the biggest is that this
country is so laid back. No worries:-) And they are never afraid to rail on
someone. I have been often called a sepo (jokingly of course) Oh I guess I
should explain what sepo is. I am a yank and yank rhymes with septic tank which
has been shortened to sepo...don't ask. People here love to rhyme and shorten
words so it takes a while to understand certain phrases and their origins.
(totally off base...ask me to say aluminum, addidas, Nissan, and Nike when I get
home) However, for a laid back friendly culture people are not nearly as open as
Americans. They tend to joke and laugh together but rarely tell a lot of
personal information unless you become friends with them. (Audra - I'll write
more if I can think of them...I'll start paying attention to non verbal ones
that I may have not noticed.)
On Saturday morning, before I had
to leave for the airport I walked around Queen Victoria Market, which is similar
to Salamanca except heaps bigger. I love the open air markets...I'm going to
have to find some when I get to the states. The blend of music, voices, venders
yelling, and then the smells of all the different foods. Oh and they had
ducklings and chicks for sale. Only 80 cents each. They were so cute and I
wanted to buy one but I didn't think they would let me take it on the plane:-(
I feel so alive...so grateful for
my health...and thankful for all the support and encouragement I have received
from friends and family in coming here.
"There is a huge amount of
Australia that few people will ever see. Rugged mountains, wide red deserts, and
thick tropical rainforests are a small sample of what's out there waiting for
the explorer willing to rough it a bit. Those that do get out there will see a
land so amazing that a person could spend the rest of their life trying to
describe it.” -Steve Parish
Those last few words are exactly
how I feel. I find myself constantly trying to search for words that will enable
me to share a least a small part of what it is I am experiencing - not just the
beauty of seeing it but the emotions of experiencing such works of art. If I can
for a moment transport you here and allow you to feel what I feel I will have
accomplished so much.
Continue enjoying spring for me
and writing emails even if I slack in responding. I love hearing from all of
you! It's back to uni and work for me. I have four more weeks of classes, then
swotvac for a week and then two weeks of finals. And then guess what! I'm coming
home! :-) I'll know sometime next week what the exact date will be.
Miss everyone heaps and can't wait
to see you this summer.
Smiles and hugs,
PS thanks to the speech and debate
team for nominating and electing me treasurer! Look forward to being back with
PPS good luck on finals to
everyone who has them.