Friday, May 31, 2013

I ate Kangaroo...and I liked it.


So here is my last blog probably in Australia, sorry it has been forever, I have been crazy busy with classes and trying to have fun and explore and all that at the same time :p

Sooooo here is a quick blog full of all my experiences since the Outback...yeah that was forever ago, woops:




Highlights:

-       Ate my first Kangaroo burger, and didn't want to at first, but i'm glad I did...it was delicious! Pretty gamey but good! Dad would be proud :)
-       Enjoyed more gorgeous sunsets on ferries and at my favorite place, Manly beach (good moment eating ice cream on wharf during sunset just chilling and watching surfers)
-       Took a class field trip to a park and learned to play didgeridoo (I suck) and I learned to throw a boomerang AND it returned to me on my first try and I almost caught it! WOOT. We also learned to throw spears, which were twice as long as me, hmm.
-       Finally got to go to Coogee beach, I had heard alot about it but never made the trip over there! Wow. In love. Clear water! Coast walk with huge tide pools and cliffs like Maine! Mini “blow holes”...SICK.
-       Loved the atmosphere and feel of Coogee and the locals, just breathtaking and such a great example of the Aussie lifestyle: relaxed and enjoying life!
-       Hillsong Street Team service placement is becoming more meaningful: good convo with guy about debating Christianity (magic, miracles, etc.)
-       Went to an Australian Football League (AFL) game, NOT at all like American football, but super fun and interesting to try to learn!
-       Went to see the Don Quixote ballet at Opera House! Felt so mature and fancy-like ;) no but for real, it was gorgeous and a great night! Sat at a cafe along the harbour viewing the bridge and opera house, got dressed up, and just enjoyed my first ballet in such a great place!
-       Went to see X Factor auditions and was a part of a great experience seeing the behind the scenes aspects of a TV show---learned that Aussie's way of doing TV is veryyyy different that USA lol! (Singer of LMFAO and a guest judge for the show called Red Fu talked to us because he asked if any of the audience were American and we were the only ones, so he talked to us from the stage and we were on tape and such, pretty funny!)
-       Watched Finding Nemo and saw all the stuff I see everyday :p
-       Went to ANZAC day parade (“march”), kind of slow, reminded me of how Americans do everything “louder, bigger, better” etc. stereotype, which in relation to how the Aussies acted during the parade and X Factor seems somewhat true! (Although AFL was more crazy due to alcohol :p)
-       Had a great day at the famous Taronga Zoo! (my camera worked this time so yay! got pics of kangaroos and koalas, saw a red panda!, crocs, tree kangaroo, seal show! gorgeous view of the skyline!)
-       Had another beach day at Coogee (and it's winter now)! First swim in clear water beach/ocean! (Frisbee, swam to rock/cliff got cut up by rocks and barnacles, saw stingrays and other suspicious creatures, snorkeled in clear water, saw sea urchins, cool starfish)
-       Went to Watson’s Bay for fish and chips but got steak and chips instead for $10 (because the other place closed at 6pm!)--Finally got fish and chips for the first time there later, because it's a famous place for it. NomNom! Also went on the Watson Bay coastwalk which was gorgeous and so like Maine!
-       Went to Luna Park at night! Gorgeous lights and so fun and colorful and lively with people, rode an upside down ride for $10! Ah. WHAT!? But it was worth it! You could see the opera house and bridge and skyline all lit up (and upside down! ;))! So cool and fun!
-       Sleep over with friends one Tuesday night randomly, had burritos and chips and salsa and nachos with cheese and beans and biscuits with ice cream, marshmallow fluff, cookie dough, and chocolate (Cadbury, mm!) on top! So grossly deliciously sickeningly wonderful! haha, then we watched movies. So fun even though I had a huge art project due next day, oh who cares...
-       Went to Saturday city markets! (Glebe, Surry Hills, cool atmosphere! Chill, food, people picnicking, live music, smells, cheap--kinda, fun, more culture!)

RANDOM Facts I've observed:
Foods:
-       milkshakes are like chocolate milk, chocolate milk comes in juice boxes, smoothies are like watery milk, sour cream comes in school milk carton container
-       Cadbury chocolate is delish, Lamingtons (coconut dessert, famous here) are delish, TImTams are my fav! (Can't wait to teach some of you the TimTam Slam!)

Words:
-       “assume= ashume”
-       “heaps”, “fair go”, “muck up”, reckon,
-       fair dinkum (It’s true, or is it true?)
-       daks- pants
-       jumper- sweater
-       thongs- flipflops
-       singlet- tank top
-       dodgy- sketchy
-       no worries- that’s okay, you’re welcome
-       rooting – bad word :p don't say "who are you rooting for?" lol Instead say,
-       “Who are you going for” (who are you cheering for)
-       reckon- for sure
-       ripper- great
-       bushtelly- camfire or starlight
-       lollie- candy
-       chewie- gum
-       cuppa- cup of tea


South Coast Trip:

Weekend at Booderee National Park with the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Tribe
-       Jervis Bay (famous for dolphins)
-       Educational field trip for class
-       Led by Paul (Mac Daddy)
-       “Have a yarn” = telling stories
-       Informed us on Aboriginal culture/beliefs
-       Bushwalk and bushtucker and bushtelly
-       Ate mullet, bread, sarsaparilla tea (taught to learn which leaves to pick vs. poisonous ones!)
-       Smoking ceremony (welcoming ceremony, connection to land)
-       Learned about natural remedies in nature (iodine, penicillin)
-       Sharp plants, snakes (widow-maker!), wichitti grub, huge ants (fire ants with pinchers, about an inch long or more)
-       Greenback crabs, poisonous toad fish
-       Hike to beach, white sand covered in huge shells!
-       Coastal cliffs (highest in Aus!)
-       Huge shells, perfect, white (Jami--- :)
-       Striped shells, conch, vivid purples and blues and pinks, smooth and shiny
-       Went for a swim in the cold but clear ocean at 5 pm
-       About 65 degree water
-       Got changed into swimsuit on bus :p
-       Swam in the sunset!
-       Treaded water in deep part looking for dolphins (the bay is famous for them)
-       Saw stingrays :/
-       I saw a dolphin a bit away and swam closer to it
-       I lost it but then heard “GABI!” -- my friends were calling me and I turned and a huge dolphin swam right by me so close I could hear it and touch it! Buttttt I was too shocked to try at first! 
-       It was literally breath-taking
-       BUT THEN....
-       Minutes later the same dolphin, huge and grey, came back and swam around us and under us and was playing with us!
-       It touched me once and then came back under me and I was almost sitting on top of it, I felt its nose, fin, and tail! Crazy! It was so smooth but also kind of scary and weird!
-       PLUS....
-       It was not alone! LOL. I freaked out because I looked down and not only saw the dolphin but also another large blue blob with a long pointy thing on it and I couldn’t make it out but it scared me enough to grab onto my friends! Oops. We started swimming back to shore because we were so freaked out but sooo happy!
-       Later I asked our bus driver, Ian, about the other fish, and we realized it was a Marlin fish!
-       Lesson: embarrassing to know that in time of absolute terror I grab onto my friends and pull them underwater?….:( hahaha
-       I was just overwhelmed: deep clear water, large mammal and fish and stingrays swimming under me and into me-- just so much excitement, fear, vulnerability and awesomeness!
-       Even in the terrifying feeling of vulnerability with these wild animals around me, I still had such an amazing experience because the dolphin literally swam with me and I felt it and heard it and it was just beautiful.  I was so happy and scared and couldn’t believe it was happening—one of my biggest dreams!
-       It was maybe not as peaceful and romanticized as my ideal dream ;) BUT it was so fun and new and funny looking back on it!
-       It was great to have such a close experience with one of God’s huge, beautiful, powerful yet friendly creatures!
-       Gave me even more respect for dolphins <3
-       I know dolphins are docile and friendly, but in that moment I was like hmm, this animal could hurt me if it wanted (not to mention Mr. pointy nose marlin and sting rays under me) and I just feel so vulnerable to it yet so excited to be in this situation!
-       Oh PS. Most embarrassing of all…I accidentally kicked the dolphin in the nose when it swam under me. Yeah. How’s that for a first encounter with my favorite animal…

So that night we discussed the day with Paul and the Aborigine leaders, and
-       Paul told us it was rare for dolphins to come in that close and swim around humans
-       Even more rare to have them stick around and play with humans!
-       It was a magical thing because it meant something
-       Although I don’t share their beliefs and spirituality in relation to land and animals, I still think it’s cool to think that the dolphin felt some type of connection to us and knew we wanted to experience it—it’s like he wanted to welcome us and love us back.
-       Paul has this song he sings to the dolphins, and he thinks this dolphin was one he has sung to and seen before, and he said he sang it that night which is why the dolphin came to us to meet us and respect us (as the song respects them).
-       So cool to think, no matter what I believe. 

So anyway....
-       I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT I SWAM WITH A WILD DOLPHIN! (and for free!)
-       PRICELESS EXPERIENCE. (and unique, lol)
-       God is awesome. So is His creation and His creatures.
For the other parts of the trip:
-       Kangaroo hunting (played around in a whole field of Kangaroos just eating grass)
-       Could hear their chomping, and grunting, and weird clicking noise
-       Got really close! (def wild but used to humans)—some chillin in ppl’s yards!
-        Met “Big Bill” and “Wayne the Wallabie” :D
-       Saw them itch, box, walk (weird lookin), grunt, etc.
-    Saw a Joey mimicking/paralleling every movement of its mother!
-       We got too close to Big Bill and he stood up and was tensely staring at us, so we freaked out afraid he’d dropkick us ;)
-       Sooo, of course, we ran away.
-       The way they itch is supe funny: they stand up, roll head back to the side, and use tiny little arms to scratch their belly or chest. TOO STINKIN CUTE.

Loved South Coast because:
-       Culturally and geographically, it was a new side of Australia to see
-       Gorgeous countryside: rolling, green hills, distant mountains on horizon, blue clear water, blue, clear skies, white sand, huge rocks and cliffs on coastal line (highest in Aus.)
-       A lot like Maine but mixed in with coast and beach and rock was country and horses and cows!
-       Cool juxtaposition of location.
-       Loved the relaxed feel of the country
-       Like a beach town but also with country-like atmosphere
-       Like the Australian I’d pictured and dreamed of, the one you hear about ya know? The beach culture, beauty, relaxation, and quaintness
-       People just relaxing whether at shops, cafes, parks, or beach
-       I thought, “I really want to live in a place like this one day…”

So here are the things I've done since South Coast:

      -    Lots of coast walks!
-       Bondi to Tamarama to Bronte to Coogee (3 hours)
-       Cool, free pools that are actually in the ocean!
-       Crazy waves, white and frothy
-       Sunny, gorg fall day—so many Aussie’s still tanning and surfing, totes wanted to join them
-       Sunrise at Circular Quay with Steph, cloudy but pretty colors
-       Rocks markets
-       Went to Darling and saw VIVID light/water show!
-       Went to Circular Quay and watched VIVID festival all around the harbor
-       Also went on a coast walk from Spit to Manly with Fiona 
-       Found out there are wild penguins at Manly!? (saw signs, but not penguins, boo)
-       Gorgeous views of whole city from the coast there!
-    Also went to the gorgeous stunning Blue Mountain! Walked up and down 1800 stairs, super steep and awesome! 
-   Finally walked across the harbour bridge! So fun and beautiful views of the city!

LAST WEEK OF CLASS:
-       So ready to be home and see my family and friends, but I wish I could live here!
-       Went to Manly one last time :( with steph, saw the sunset and collected shells and just enjoyed it in the peace and beauty and ahhh, I love Manly!
-       Nice ride on ferry as always, enjoyed the weather and waves and fresh air
-       Love the ferry, it really is like a slow-mo roller coaster, hehe :D
-       Bought myself a sweatshirt! Only 10 dollars and so cute! YAY Just what I’d wanted!
-       Rode ferry back after dark, saw VIVID festival in the harbour again
-       Played on the lit up piano attraction at the harbour :D
-       Walked around, relaxed, enjoyed the atmosphere and gorgeous lights of the famous VIVID festival. What a beautiful city I live in! 
-    Truly hope to come back some day!


So many struggles and joys and fears and awesome things! I can't believe I leave in a few days, it has gone by so fast... It's an amazing country with amazing views and places and people and I am so blessed to have been here. So for now, this is my last post, until I maybe write one when i get back home and reflect on it all! Thanks for reading :)

1 comment:

  1. Wow Gabi! I love this quick read of what your life has been like. It sounds amazing. I am so happy for you, and I would love to go there with you someday. Even if it is so expensive. I got tears reading about your whole dolphin experience-- seriously. I so get it.. I can't wait to give you a giant hug. I am so glad you got a sweatshirt and have had such awesome adventures. I love you so much!

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