i'm finally here.
we landed thursday morning and went straight away to circular quay(pronounced key) to see the bridge and the opera house. we took a walk around the botanical gardens and had a snack before we came back to usyd.
we moved into our apartments; i have a room in a 5 person apartment. it's nice- crisp white walls, and huge kitchen, 2 couches and an armchair and pretty good furnishings in my room. christiana and i went with the two other guys staying here at usyd and bought sheets and towels and such at kmart. when we got back i had a shower in one of the bathrooms, which are nice, and then we made our way back to circular quay for drinks at the opera bar(which is this beautiful outdoor place right on near the water, from which spectacular views of both the bridge and the opera house surround you) with the rest of the brockport group.
eventually everyone from brockport except chris and i left, but we stayed because i had called liam from a payphone at kmart, and he agreed to meet us there. we were talking to the two women running the orientation, carol and skye, for about an hour, and liam was late so i was getting really antsy. when carol and skye left chris and i walked around to see if maybe somehow we'd missed him. no luck, so we sat at a table for a while. when he didn't show up for another half an hour we decided to do one last walk around and then head back to campus. as we were walking though, liam appeared right in front of me, with gore(mike) behind him. i gave liam a hug and asked him why he was so late, and he explained that he'd had to wait for gore and then they'd gotten mixed up on their way in. i gave gore a hug and introduced chris, and then we all sat down and had a few drinks. it was really nice, actually- totally surreal to be there with them and at the opera bar, no less. when it got late the boys drove us home, and we told them we'd see them saturday for gore's birthday dinner.
on friday the group had an info session about classes and things like that, and then we were visited be Uncle Max, an aboriginal elder. he showed us his spears and boomerangs, and then did a smoke ceremony for us. a smoke ceremony is kind of like a blessing and a healing in one. he lit a beautiful smelling piece of fungus and waved the smoke around us each while giving us this blessing in his language:
through your mind and your eyes, that you see truth
through your ears, that you hear truth
through your mouth, that you speak truth
and through your spirit, that you live your truth
i thought it was such a great way not only to kick off the trip, but to put us at ease. i've been struggling so much lately with what i want out of my life and what are the right decisions to make. when uncle max told us what his words meant i immediately committed it to memory because i thought it would be a good mantra. i have to keep reminding myself to just enjoy my life and to trust that it will all work out.
after the smoke ceremony we ate morning tea and then got on to bus to go to bondi(bond-eye) beach. it was gorgeous- i haven't been on the beach for so long and i totally reveled in just lying there feeling the sun and listening to the waves. after a while chris and i got up because we didn't want to get sunburned, and waded in the water for a couple of minutes. we then went to icebergs, and nice bar, to get some water and to chill out. two business men were sitting next to us and somehow we struck up a conversation. when they discovered that it was only our second day in the country, they ordered a glass of champagne for us both. one of them showed us a picture of his son and told us his wife was american and that they were looking for a nanny, and did either of us want to stay for a job. as we left we thanked the profusely for the champagne, and the father wrote down his phone number because he said he thought his wife would love to talk to us about being their nannies. of course we're not going to call, but still, how's THAT for a job offer?
we walked around bondi and bought some stuff, then stopped in an internet cafe to finally check our email. we met the rest of the group after that and took a beautiful walk with them to bronte beach, where skye, her husband scott, and carol cooked us a barbie or steak and sausages. we were all so beat that we left after that, and took a bus back to campus.
saturday we all went to the zoo, and got taken around by one of the women who works there. she showed us all of the australian animals, and it was awesome! we saw red kangaroos, the dominant male of whom was totally jacked- i haven't seen biceps like that in a while! we then had lunch, and afterwords she showed us some more animals that we got to touch- a boa constrictor, some lizards, a smaller kangaroo, and even a koala! even though we didn't see any of the african animals, it was awesome to touch the aussie ones.
we came home afer that, and chris and i got ready to go to gore's birthday dinner. we hoped on a bus out to castle hill, his suburb, and met he, his girlfriend belinda, and liam for a drink. we then went to the restaurant and had an awesome dinner. donnie and his girlfriend bronny were there, macca, lucas(jeff), tim gore, liss, and some other friends were there. it was so much fun, we were laughing at talking and i'm sure the staff hated us for being so loud but we had a ball.
afterwards gore, liam, liss, donnie, bronny, chris, gammo(gloria) and i went to the RSL, which is like a verterans club. we hung out there and then liam, chris and i got a life to gore's house.
when we got up this morning liam, chris, and i drove to liam's house to see trish and mick, which was great, and they gave us some spare cell phones. then we came back to campus and chris and i showered and changed, and then the three of us went to the aquarium, which was awesome! huge sting rays and sharks. the zoo's better but it was so nice to be out and about on such a beautiful day.
liam and i dropped chris off and then went to dinner, which was nice 'cause we haven't actually been alone together since i got here. we have a ton to talk about but it's not awkward to hang out at all, so that's good. i really think that i'm going to leave here with a solid friendship with him, which is good because that's when i want. i don't want any bitter feelings on either side.
so that's the last few days in a nutshell. pretty crazy... but absolutely amazing.