Monday, 6 June 2011

Bitter-Sweet Feelings

Well after today I will only have 10 more days left in Australia.  I have absolutely no idea where the time has gone.  It seems like just last week my group and I landed in Sydney and were just getting to know each other.  Now that four months have past we have all split off and formed our own group of friends but we still see each other around campus and remember what it was like the first couple weeks in Townsville when we all clung to each other for support because we didn't know anybody else. 
I have made some really awesome friends here from all around the world that I'm sure I will keep in touch with, maybe for the rest of my life.  People in Australia are some of the nicest people I've had the privilege to meet through all my travels.  I know that at least one of them is planning a trip across the U.S sometime next year, and he plans on meeting up with everybody he's gotten to know so I'm hoping he can make it out to the Midwest for a reunion with a couple of us from the area.
Well last week I was able to take 2 last vacation trips around North Queensland.  The first part of the week Sunday-Tuesday a group of 6 of us went down to Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays for an all-day sailing trip around the Whitsunday Islands.  The weather was perfect and the islands were absolutely amazing.  We went snorkeling around a small part of the reef, had a great BBQ lunch and stopped off at the amazing Whitehaven beach which had some of the purest white sand I have ever seen.  It was even able to polish jewelery when it was wet.  We stayed at a resort on Long Island and relaxed and soaked up the sun before we headed home on Tuesday.
We got off to a little bit of a rocky start when we got to the airport to rent the van because we were traveling with 6 people and found out that since none of us were over 25 we were unable to rent a van, but could still get a car.  So off we went 4 hours south in a 5 passenger Toyota Corolla stuffed with 6 bodies.  Quite the bonding experience.
The last part of the week we spend another weekend in Cairns Thursday-Sunday.  There I got to go on my free trip to the Great Barrier Reef, which actually cost me $90 but it was well worth it.  We stopped off at 2 spots on the Outer Reef and got the chance to snorkel for over an hour each time.  I even got the chance to to an introductory Scuba dive where we went down about 10 meters (33ft).  I saw some very colorful coral, huge clams, Nemo (clown fish), and 2 Green Sea Turtles.  It was truly one of the best weeks I've had in Australia.  Talk about saving the best for last!
I still have 3 finals to take before I depart however.  My children's literature final is Thursday morning the 9th at 8am.  My criminal justice final is the 16th at 6pm  and my Australian history final of course isn't until the day before I leave, Friday the 17th bright and early at 8 in the morning.  After that all that's left is packing, good-byes and maybe a celebratory party...or two. 
Thanks to everybody for the support and prayers throughout my trip.  For those back in MN, I'll be home June 18th until a couple days after the 4th of July, then I'll head back to Iowa.  Here's a couple of pics from my trip last week, and tune in at the bottom of the page for the rest of the funny Australian slang words I've missed.
In front of the Camira before our sailing trip in the Whitsundays

Loving life on Whitehaven Beach

Long Island resort we stayed on

The sea turtle we found while diving in on the Reef

Can you believe I put my hand in that thing?!

Everything's all right

Passions of Paradise boat on the Reef

Australian Slang:
Arvo: afternoon
Telly: television
Roo: Kangaroo
Sepo: an American
Thongs: flip-flops
Wanker: idiot
Lollies: candy
Mozzie: mosquito
Swimmers: swim suit
Sunnies: sunglasses
Pissed: drunk

General rule when trying to speak Australian: Take whatever word you're trying to say and shorten it.

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