as i warned you would happen at the beginning of this blogging adventure, i have been horrible at keeping this thing updated. i've been trying to write this post for the past three weeks. i feel like after such a huge experience i should have something profound or at least extremely interesting to say but alas, it didn't happen.
after i finished my finals, i had to come to terms with the packing monster, which was difficult to say the least. saying goodbye to people was also really hard. i'd been functioning by simply not thinking about people leaving but steve threw a monkey wrench in this plan when he decided the first friday of finals that he was going to be leaving (with kim) on sunday morning, which didn't leave a whole lot of processing time. the rest of the week was spend going out and saying goodbye to people. amy and i also managed to not only steal iain's shoes but in an attempt to throw them out the window to make it easier for us to hide them (logic may not be our strongest point) we got them stuck on the overhang the floor below and ended up needing iain's help to get them... oops O:-). my last full day at campus east i dyed my hair red, had a bbq on the beach, mostly finished packing, stayed up talking to mark for hours, and watched the sunrise on the beach (with my camera, finally!).
the next day i went to dark circus which was a burlesque circus-y thing. there was your standard circus stuff including trapeze, a magician, jugglers, etc along with some darker stuff like sword swallowing, razor eating, and piercing suspension. it was then followed by an awesome dance party. i was with pip, jackson, isaac, selwyn, corie, and corie's friend so i knew a fair few people and also knew a lot of people from pip's sydney juggling club. some people are just funny to watch when they are let loose w/ alcohol, red bull, and an open dance floor. afterwards we had a big sleepover at pip's where i was woken every couple of hours to say yet another emotional goodbye. you'd think by that point i'd be used to it, but no.
i spent a couple of days bumming around w/ pip and watching a lot of movies (and by watching i mean sleeping through... it had been a long week) before leaving for melbourne w/ julz to meet up w/ edwin, andrew, and andrea. it basically turned into 2 separate trips w/ julie and me doing one thing, the other 3 doing their own thing then meeting up at the end of the day to just chill. we did the great ocean road in a day which was quite the adventure and A LOT of time in a bus. but it was well worth it... i got some truly fantastic pictures, and some excellently awful ones as well :-). I also saw a wild kangaroo, a few wild koalas, and got to feed some really brightly colored birds. we also saw the 12 apostles, which are these really cool rock formations, and the site of a shipwreck. the next day we went and did some shopping during the day and managed to get ourselves $30 tickets for front row wicked seats from a raffle, which was absolutely amazing! the next day we did some wandering in rainy melbourne and kept striking out - everything we wanted to do either was lame or closed due to lack of planning. but that night we went to dracula's... a dinner theater thing that was clearly slightly vampire themed. it's hard to explain but absolutely fantastic. it was made even better by the fact that we got half-priced tickets and a free cocktail each. the last day in melbourne involved more shopping and then and early night back at the hostel since the movie we were going to watch was an outdoor thing and got rained out and there was nothing playing in the regular movie theater we all wanted to see.
back in sydney w/ pip we went to visit her horse roo. i tried to ride him bareback which ended quite amusingly. i was having issues getting onto his back b/c i'm short and pip failed to compensate adequately for this so my first attempt resulted in me sliding off the horse and landing in an awkward position that left quite a large bruise on my butt. we also had an all together fascinating dinner w/ her mom and dad. that is really all there is to say on that topic. i spent the next couple of days catching up on sleep and watching more movies w/ pip since she had a first aid class. on the wednesday we got most of our packing done and went to juggling one last time. thursday we dropped my very large box off at the post office (which was a nightmare... it was 1 kg too heavy to be shipped so i had to take stuff out) and headed to canberra. we also brought a VERY large apple pie with us in order to celebrate thanksgiving.
we finally made it to amy's house mid-afternoon and the pie was a hit. it barely survived to the end of dessert. we spent a lot of time just hanging out and doing the things that pip, amy and i do when together. when we went out, one of the pubs refused to accept my license as id b/c it's an international id. it's really quite annoying. i was not happy but we ended up someplace really cool so it's all good. come saturday it was time to head back to pip's house and finish packing for our separate adventures. i could tell that amy's gonna miss me b/c i got 3 free hugs... usually 1 is her limit.
sunday pip dropped me off at a hostel in kings cross sydney 'cause she had to leave a few days earlier than anticipated to go to this festival thing she's volunteering at for the month of december. i met up w/ mark (a couple hours later than expected due to him waking up way late). we went to see santa vs. the snowman in imax 3d which was dorky but fantastic. then we just wandered around the harbor and chilled in hyde park.
monday was technically the end of my australian adventure culminating in approx 28 hours of travel to get from the hostel to my house in nj. i am so done w/ flying for now, it's not even funny. each of the flights had a fair amount of turbulence which didn't help my stomach any. during the flight from australia to lax, the movie system kept failing over and over again resulting in hours of boredom since i had trouble sleeping. for all 3 flights i fell asleep almost as soon as we took off but i woke up about an hour later and had problems getting back to sleep. before i even got to the airport i started missing oz and all the people from uow like none other. so far, most of them have been pretty good at keeping in touch w/ me so hopefully that will keep up.
i spent less than a day back home before leaving to visit melissa for a couple nights at njit. nothing exciting to report on that one and then she put me on the train to spend a few days at au. it's really weird being back here as a guest in a place where i used to live. they also remodeled centennial over the summer so in some ways it looks exactly the same and in some it's completely different. it's also weird being back w/ these people especially since they are all stressing about their finals which start on monday and i don't really have anything to do. tonight i'm going to a group sleepover at dania's like we used to do in the old days... good times.
interesting oz fact: small children leave santa beer on christmas eve.
and with that, i do believe i officially conclude my travel blog. thanks for reading and i hope you enjoyed my adventures even a fraction as much as i did. however, there will be a summary post sometime in the near future with the links to the rest of my pictures.