Update So You Can All Calm Down :)

Alright, alright! I’ll write something. So the flying and everything was pretty brutal, but I think hauling my luggage around was the worst part. We arrived in Cairns on the 16th and immediately jumped into activities. We stayed at Gilligan’s Backpackers Resort or something like that. Very nice hostel.

Day 1- We went to Rainforestation, which was amazing! It is an Aboriginal cultural center and wildlife park. We held koalas, fed kangaroos, learned to throw traditional boomerangs, painted in the Aboriginal style, watched traditional dancing, got our faces painted by the wonderful Aboriginal guides, and saw tons of other stuff! Man-hunting crocodiles, Tasmanian Devils, Dingoes, Wombats, Wallabies, Cassowaries, and evil plants, among other things. There is this hanging vine that pulls people off of motorcycles and horses, and if the spines get in your skin, they semi-permanently fry your nerve endings, making it sting REAL BAD for months on end. EVIL.

Day 2-Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef! The boat ride out to the first site was about 2 hours long, and it was spent slathering myself with sunscreen! Even so, I got burned. Not as bad as some people-one girl had to go to the hospital the next day because her eyes were swollen shut! She didn’t put sunscreen on though. Still, I hurt haha. Snorkeling was incredible. After I stopped breathing water in through my snorkel anyway. I was about two inches from a gigantic sea turtle-he said he was 150 years old! Unbelievable fish, giant clams, huge coral formations, it was all there! Crazy beautiful. Absolutely tons of jellyfish-they were everywhere! Hence the “jelly suit” I am wearing in the pictures haha. Almost all of my pictures are still on the disposable underwater cameras, so I will post those when I get them developed. Hopefully I got the turtle selfie! 🙂

We had a free day, which I spent at the famous lagoon in Cairns with a few people, and then it was off to Sydney!

We arrived in Sydney on February 20th, which would have been the 19th for those of you in the US. That whole day was kind of bizarre. We landed, and there was no one there to meet us except the random bus driver, who didn’t have enough space for everyone plus their luggage, so people were sitting on floors and suitcases-very safe! Then, to top it off, those of us at Urbanest on Cleveland Street were dropped off a couple blocks away with no direction whatsoever. Luckily, we found it! It is still technically under construction, which means that it is brand spanking new. Which is great! I have 5 roommates, one of whom is Australian.

Our first full day, we had a short orientation at the university, and then one of my roommates, Gabby, and I went exploring down King Street, which is a neighborhood called Newtown. It was awesome! That street is absolutely endless and packed with great stores and cafes and whatnot. After a rest at the apartment, we then went to Bondi Beach! We were supposed to take the train to the bus, but as it was only a couple miles, we decided to walk from the train. Possibly a mistake. We saw a few beautiful parts of Sydney, but we also got terribly lost about six times. Finally we made it, and were playing in the ocean when the sunset hit us like a ton of bricks. Absolutely stunning. There were NO JELLYFISH OR SHARKS. There were, however, tons of surfers. What a sight. We staggered back to the apartment, ate some leftover pizza, and didn’t move for the rest of the night. I did manage to watch A Cinderella Story with Hilary Duff and Angels and Demons, which were on the same channel-the only one with American programming! The Olympics have a different feel when they have Australian commentators-its like they are focusing on the Australian athletes or something. Weird.

Today we are planning on visiting the Opera House! We were originally going to go to the Olympic Park and swim in the SAME POOL as all those athletes, but apparently there is a little kid swim meet there today. Adorable, but not exactly what we are going for. I will post more photos as soon as I have them! Maybe. Don’t hold me to that. Family and friends, I love you all and miss you!

Preparations

Well, I’m finally starting to pack! Sort of. Actually not really. I have the suitcase on the floor. That counts right? The urgency hasn’t quite hit me yet, but I do feel like all of my organs have been removed. I wonder if that means I’m nervous… This can’t be happening. Can it? Do people really just fly to the other side of the world? I feel like a balloon with its strings cut-floating far far away!

I’m going from Minneapolis to Chicago to LA to Brisbane, AU, to Cairns, AU! I will arrive in Sydney a few days later. I can’t wait!