Grand Optimist

“… you give him burdensome times, and he will escape unscarred.”

Hello strangers, friends, and family. It’s been too long.

My life here in Australia has been a bit unexciting as of late, but that will all change very soon. This week I spent going to class, finishing my part of the International Business presentation I have due the Wednesday I return from break, and ‘ballin’ on a budget.’ Classes were good but quite boring as usual. Definitely glad that only three more days of school separate me from break. In those three days though I must finish my Australian Politics essay because that is one thing I do not want to have hanging over my head while I am trying to relax.

Monday I did the training consultation at Swinergy that came free with my membership (so not really free) and I have my workout walkthrough at 8:30am tomorrow morning. So no raging for Benny this Saturday night. Tuesday was my good friend Elliot’s birthday so after footy practice a bunch of us went to the predrink at his apartment before heading out to the Hawthorn. I also discovered on Wednesday that my International Business professor will be gone for three weeks after break which means that I will be presenting in front of a substitute. This could go either way. Either the sub will be extremely easy and not wanting to cause a stir by giving us a bad grade or they will be a hard ass who thinks this is their time to prove their toughness to the professor. Hopefully they are the former as I would really rather not threaten even more Australians while I am in this country. Thursday was a productive day in which I finished up the restrictions of investment in Korea section of the presentation and paper. I was actually quite surprised at my level of productivity so here’s hoping I still got some in me for that damn Politics essay. Friday was a good day. We finally got ‘Australia’ worthy weather with a hot sunny day so a big group of us decided to head on over to our beloved St. Kilda beach for some fun in the sun. The water was noticeably colder from when we were there a few weeks back but that didn’t stop us. Towards the end of they day, as we were throwing and skipping foam stress volleyballs at each other across the water (it is really fun actually), we noticed that there was a dog wading into the water who was following said foam volleyballs very intently. Intrigued, we threw one in the pooch’s direction and watched as it chased it down and tried to run away with it. How rude. We managed to get it back and quickly discovered it knew “Come” and “Drop” which made it much less time consuming to get the ball back. I could have played fetch with that dog for hours and hours. It was hysterical to watch it chase the ball down because when it would come up to the ball it would belly flop onto the ground and slide so that it wouldn’t run past the ball. It loved to swim too so when we needed a few seconds to wash the slobber off of our hand we would throw one into the water. When the owner came to take him home the dog would only follow him if he had the foam volleyball. I would lie if I didn’t quickly run through a “what if…” scenario involving me running away with the volleyball with the dog chasing after me as the owner was left standing very confused on the beach but, knowing how frustrating it is to have a dog that doesn’t follow directions very well coughcoughGingercough I just handed the volleyball over to the owner. Friday night my friend Natalia had a barbecue so Ben, Olle, and I walked over to her apartment where we spent a few hours trying to grill kangaroo burgers in the dark, drinking beer and sangria, and giving the girls a hard time about anything and everything. It was Colleen’s birthday at midnight so I stayed to sing her happy birthday and then called it a night. Saturday has been uneventful. The weather isn’t quite nice enough to go back to the beach and by the time I realized that it was too late to go to the footy match so I have spent the day sending emails, reading The Lacuna (which I am STILL reading because I barely ever read anymore), and beginning to write this Politics essay. But blogging > essay writing so I decided to do this instead. Tonight I’ll go out to celebrate Colleen’s birthday but not too late because I gotta get up early in the morning to be led through my new workout. We’ll see how that goes. Then it’s only four short days until Cairns and Surfer’s Paradise!

So like I said, my life is far from jet-setting around Australia at the moment. But there is nothing like news from home to cheer you up when you realize you’ve been in the same city for over a month. And this past week was chock full of good news. First, I found out that my dear friend Katie Hayes successfully moved to California to move in with her husband. Although it made me incredibly sad when I realized I wouldn’t get to see her before the big move, I know that this is something she wanted more than anything else in the world and for that I am ecstatic for her. Plus, now I have an excuse to go to California! Second, my best friend Tom Milan somehow managed to survive to be 21 years old. Between the shenanigans our group of friends get into and just a generally reckless lifestyle this was a major achievement. Congratulations, sir, and I look forward to travel stories over Guinness in the future. Third, I was once again struck speechless by the reaction to the “We Never Left” blogpost I wrote about Bellarmine basketball when Peter Kremer contacted me and offered me a basketball signed by the 2011 National Championship team. I emphatically accepted of course but was still in disbelief that a post on this blog had gained so much recognition and support. The last, and arguably most important, bit of news that received this week had me giggling like a little boy at my computer screen. Last week Knights’ Nation, an organization that I am deeply involved in at Bellarmine, had elections during which I applied for the position of President and on Thursday our current President Katie Cannon informed that I had been granted the position! My term started right then and there when she asked me to fill out our allocation for Fall 2012 and I did the entire sheet smiling and laughing at myself for being so excited. Ever since then I have been finding myself staring off blankly into space while I try to come up with new ideas and events for Knights’. Call me obsessive or weird if you want to but that was truly a great moment.

Running Bull, you are one of the reasons that I started this blog. Whether it is because you’re so intimidating I was scared not to or not, you will never know. The point is that I am so happy for you and the opportunity that you have to start your life somewhere new and exciting. I miss you terribly and I know that waiting 45 minutes for you to show up for lunch will seem like nothing now that we are so far apart but I also know that this is what you wanted. And because of that this is what I wanted, too. I wish you the best of luck and know that I am here for you if you ever need anything. I will talk to you soon and try to keep the sarcasm to a minimum, okay? Not everyone understands it as well as I do. 😛

Coach. I miss you.

Hmm, 100 more words and this could have been my Politics essay. Minus the 10 sources of course.

How are all of you? What did you do today? Whatever it was, I hope that you were smiling while you did it.

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Just a few things…

THANK YOU

First off I would like to thank all of you who responded to my last post. It was completely unexpected but incredibly heartwarming. “Never Left” and my blog got over 430 views due to all of you sharing it across various social network sites and formats. I was even mentioned in the Bellarmine Knights’ Elite Eight blog! Your response just reinforces what I said in the post about how tight knit and close the Bellarmine community is. To see and hear that you all feel the same as I do is a really great thing and I am so happy to call myself a Knight.

FOOTY

I can now officially say that I am an Australian football player. That’s right, yours truly played in his very first footy match this afternoon and lived to tell the tale. I was a bit out of the loop since I had been staying away from practice to try and regain sensation in my foot but Elliot told me that the team was going to be participating in a friendly and I decided, whether I played or not, to go and support the team. I was a bit nervous about showing up after being gone for so long but I was reassured that there wouldn’t be any hard feelings. SteveO brought me one of his old pairs of cleats to play in and Elliot, Cody, and I rode in our coach Mel’s car to the field. It was HUGE. The field we practice on is big but is nowhere near regulation size and this field looked absolutely massive compared to what I was used to. We did our warm up run throughs and stretched while Batman handed out our jerseys and I would get the pleasure of being #29 this wonderful Australian afternoon. It took a few kicks to shake the cobwebs off but by the time the team made its way to the game field I was feeling good about playing. Nervous, but good.

The game would be split up into five ‘quarters’ that would be 20 minutes each. I admit I smirked when the term quarter was still being used for a quantity of five. I was obviously playing for the reserve team, aka the B team, and this meant that I was sharing play time with about 30 other guys. But when you play 18 players a side for 100 minutes there is plenty of play time to be had. I waited excitedly the first two quarters to be put in and even though I wanted to get out there to put the hurt on someone I was also glad I had time to watch the game before playing. Because I am still clueless about the rules and strategy of the game. I’ve managed to pick up the very basics (enough to be able to play) but the terminology, positions, and fine print rules are still lost on me. Don’t even get me started on fouls though because I feel like the ref has an invisible coin he flips and that rather than logic determines what is and isn’t a penalty. When I did get in I was put in the full forward position, which is the guy that every other player on the field tries to get the ball to so that he can kick a goal. I wouldn’t score any goals in this game and only ever touched the ball three or four times but I did manage to get my tackle for the day. It was such a rush to be out on the pitch running around knowing that the guy next to you wanted to lay you out just as much as you did him. When that red oval came hurtling towards you it wasn’t a teammate who you were shoving but a guy who wouldn’t hesitate to leave you writhing in pain on the ground. So.much.fun. It was actually really funny though because with a field as big as this one and not exactly the best talent playing the game there were some long periods of time where my area didn’t see much action. So that bloke who I was pushing, shoving, and tackling into the turf would turn to me and we would have a very polite amicable conversation about where we were from, how long we had played footy, what our favorite beer is, and life in general until we would see the footy start to make its way towards us. Then we would become mortal enemies. Once we were out of kicking distance from the footy and play had continued on down the field we would pick up where we left off. Only in Australia does the proximity of a ball determine whether you are trying to hit a guy into last year or talking to him about the hot blonde on the sidelines. I ended up playing the entire fifth ‘quarter’ at a pocket forward position (whose job it is to back up the front forward if he misses a kick or handball) and was quite happy with myself that I didn’t royally fuck up at all. I also didn’t get hurt, which is always a plus.

Once our game was over I stayed around for a little while to watch the ‘A Team’ play their match and the difference in play was astounding. I thought that our gameplay was fast but these guys made us look like snails. I volunteered to be a water boy for the first quarter so I would shuttle plastic bottles of aqua out to the players whose side of the ground was momentarily void of screaming men and referee whistles. Since we were relying on a ride to get back to Swinburne we took the first one we could when Andy and Rusty decided to head out. Elliot’s nose was still bleeding as we walked through the parking lot from when he had gotten it busted an hour before halfway through our game. Not profusely, but anything that bleeds for an hour should be considered quite the battle wound.

PICTURES

Alright, so I have gotten better about keeping this thing updated but some of you are STILL getting on me about pictures. Well to be perfectly honest with you WordPress is terrible when it comes to adding media and so I created a website that is completely dedicated to pictures. And it is also completely updated! You can find the link to the website on the Home page of this blog (go to the upper right hand corner to get to the Home page) or you can click http://recollectionsofawanderer.shutterfly.com/. I will do my best to add more photos to these posts from here on out but it is just such a pain in the ass to do so don’t expect tons of them.

KEEPING IN TOUCH

If you are not friends with me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, have one of the five email addresses I have in my name, or aren’t privy to my Skype username and want to get in touch with me then you can find all of that information on my Home page along with my address for while I am here in Australia. Don’t be strangers! I know it is completely absurd of me to want to know what is going on in your lives but since none of you have wonderful blogs for me to stalk don’t be afraid to update me on your life!

That’s all for now from this side of the world! Love and miss you all

Bellarmine Basketball: We Never Left

I love Bellarmine basketball.

Being in Australia is amazing, but you have absolutely no idea how hard it has been for me not to be in Louisville for this basketball season. With a 16 hour time difference and an Australian internet that refuses to cooperate with almost all streaming websites, I was relegated to refreshing the statistics screen every 2 seconds while I did my best to follow the Knights’ March dancing. For the Elite Eight I was finally able to get a live video stream of the games and woke up an hour early to make sure my internet was working and computer was charged. My ability to watch the video may have done more harm than good though as it now enabled me to kick and bang anything in sight as I screamed at my computer screen for two hours. A spilled water bottle and concerned knock from my neighbor were more than worth watching the team play though.

As most of you are already aware, the Bellarmine men’s basketball team suffered a heartbreaking loss in the Final 4 of the NCAA Division II tournament just over 3 hours ago. The team had climbed back from losing in the GLVC tournament and had triumphed in four games to win their region (which they played at home in the glorious Knights Hall) and advance to the Final 4. Despite all the hype that was surrounding their tourney run and the ever-present possibility of repeating as National Champions the team remained focused and humble as they steadily moved through the bracket. But things don’t always work out the way we want them to. After erasing a 9 point deficit in their Elite 8 game against Alabama Huntsville and earning a return trip to the Final 4, the Knights fell to Montevallo 79-72. They played with all of the heart and determination that has become their trademark but it is very rare that a team can go 8 minutes without scoring and win the game. Those 8 minutes made for the most torturous stretch of basketball I have ever witnesses and it killed me to watch shot after shot bounce off the iron. But as they always do, the team managed to get out of their funk and stage a run that had me biting my nails and screaming at the computer. They cut a 12 point lead down to 5 but it was too little, too late. It was almost a relief to hear that buzzer go off. One could stop worrying about the next foul or whistle and simply applaud the effort the guys had given. One could accept defeat, as bitter as it may be. I’d like to think that everyone in Knights Hall North could hear me as I sang the fight song and clapped as the team huddled up for one last time before jogging off the court.

It seems that somehow someone in the PR department always does a beautiful job of finding a slogan right in time for tournament season. Because we all know that the two drawers we have full of Bellarmine shirts aren’t enough. Last year it was “Trust”, which came from our beloved Scotty D and was branded on the famous maroon shirts the Knight faithful touted as we cheered, screamed, and partied our team to victory in Massachusetts. The week we spent in that hotel is almost holy around Bellarmine, as are those shirts. To say “I went to Massachusetts” is a badge of honor and the ‘TRUST’ shirt is your proof. The slogan this year had a bit of a different feeling to it and was adopted after some Bellarmine talent created a song titled “We’re Back.” The video (link is here –>  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Es2pTTiMg8k) and tagline spread like wildfire around campus, Louisville, and the nation as it was recognized by several sport websites. Now, I don’t know what clothing or souvenirs were emblazoned with the “We’re Back” motto but it was absolutely the theme for this year’s tournament run as it, and the video it came from, strongly suggested that the Knights would once again be crowned National Champions. I like the video and admit that “We’re Back” was a great hashtag for Bellarmine to respond with after NKU’s #BellarmineHateWeek and it is always nice to have a brand you can stamp on the team’s March games, but I don’t think that Bellarmine basketball is ‘back’ at all.

There, I said it. If anything can be said about Bellarmine basketball it would be that it is much more than the ‘W’ on the athletics website. Anyone who thinks it isn’t obviously hasn’t seen a game in Knights Hall. Bellarmine basketball is something much more than a statistics sheet, it is a community. I’m not saying that winning isn’t fun, exciting, or fulfilling but I am simply saying that to narrow Bellarmine basketball down to titles and trophies doesn’t do the program justice. At all. The community that surrounds Bellarmine has embraced basketball in a way that very few schools do for any sport. When basketball season comes to Bellarmine, everything else seems just a little bit less important. Home games are like holidays. Oh, you have a Thursday night class? Drop it. What? Your Mom is celebrating her birthday and you have to go home? Have Knights Hall celebrate her being 23 for the past 30 years. The preparation that go into the games are ridiculous as well. Contracts with chicken sandwich restaurants, the designing, ordering, and sorting of tshirts, volunteering for concession duty, and finding a way to get everyone who wants to get into Knights for the game a place to stand. But once you’re in there, you discover that Bellarmine basketball is more than 2011 National Champions.

Knights Hall isn’t the biggest, prettiest, or nicest court in the world. Far from it, actually. But I like it that way. Gives the place character. It has been compared to high school gyms, called many things other than beautiful, and even I still wonder if I’ll be the lucky person a ceiling tile decides to collapse on. But the question you’re asking to yourself shouldn’t be how the ceiling would collapse on me. It should be why. Why should your question be why? Because Knights Hall gets fucking rowdy. And when I say rowdy I mean stand-on-your-feet-and-scream-your-voice-into-oblivion rowdy. My record for not having a voice from cheering is 3 days but I am sure there are others who have had longer. We jump, stomp, and run (but not across the yellow line!) as we cheer the Knights on. When Chris Dowe throws down NBA-worthy dunks on unsuspecting defenses, the place erupts like Mt. Vesuvius and the away teams’ fan section is Pompeii. They just don’t stand a chance. But this can be said about a lot of student sections. What makes Knights’ Hall and Bellarmine basketball so unique is that it isn’t just the students who come back every Thursday and Saturday from December to February; it is the entire Bellarmine community. While you are red-faced screaming at the referee about your prowess in killing zebras the professors who you spend four years called Dr. Last Name are standing four seats over doing the EXACT SAME THING. Maybe not about zebras, but you get the point. Professors, faculty, administrators, alumni, and students’ families are all packed into the yellow-brick building like a can of sardines. Swing your arms in a circle when you are in the line to get in and you will hit at least one person from three of those groups. You can argue that a massive football stadium is more intense than Knights’ Hall but outside of the fact that your comparing two completely different things you would also be completely wrong. Sheer numbers don’t make for better fans, die hard fans make for better fans. For those still focused on the falling ceiling, it would fall on me because the noise from a Knights Hall home crowd would literally bring it crashing down. But only after we got our chicken sandwich.

I keep saying that there is something better than what I just said but I promise this is the last time. The only thing that beats watching Bellarmine basketball play in Knights Hall is the fact that we don’t care about the result. I have already admitted to loving it when the team wins because its fun and I love to see the guys succeed. Not to mention that it gives us the opportunity to go to places like Massachusetts and Knights Hall North when the team starts to dance in March. But we just lost a few hours ago and, while I wasn’t there due to obvious circumstances, I heard our fans until the very end of that buzzer and beyond. BUZZ LIGHTYEAR! The point is that when we win we rally around our team for winning and when we lose we rally around our team for playing with all their heart. A Knights bucket will bring cheers whether it is extending a lead, tying a game, or hopelessly fighting a deficit and we stand behind the team no matter what. In fact, I think we rose up even MORE for the guys after this loss than we did when we won the championship. To see the looks on their faces as they gazed up at the score board, to watch the body language as their season came to a close, and to listen as the announcer listed off the day and time of the championship game we wouldn’t be in knowing that they were hearing the same thing… all of that was unbearable. So Knights’ Nation did what any self respecting fan base would do. We sang out fight song, gave the guys a standing ovation, and called out optimism and love as our Knights disappeared into the locker room. We took to social networking sites to let the players know how grateful we are for them giving us such a great season and to let them know that they have nothing to be ashamed about. We showed them that no matter what, we are proud to be their fans and will always be proud to be called a Knight.

In an effort to make a positive out of everything, we also won’t feel obligated to spend all of our money on National Championship gear for the next 12 months. Although I could use another Bellarmine shirt…

Bellarmine basketball is not being able to decide which black shirt you want to wear to the Black Out even though you will get a new one at the game. Bellarmine basketball is the walk through the Quad jumping up and down as you and your friends make your way to Knights Hall. Bellarmine basketball is seeing your family come down to Louisville just to see one game. Bellarmine basketball is seeing your History teacher throwing his hands up for free throws. Bellarmine basketball is watching as everyone in Knights Hall, from the toddlers who can barely stand to Grandpa with his cane, jumps to their feet during a close game. Bellarmine basketball is wishing for just… one… more… point… so you can get that beloved Chik-Fila sandwich. Bellarmine basketball is Knights’ Nation punching the ground, win or lose, as the Pep Band descends into the last stretch of the fight song. Bellarmine basketball isn’t back.

We never left.

The Australian Grand Prix

The week after the Great Ocean Road was relatively uneventful. Classes went as good as they could go. Lectures are becoming more bearable as we move into actual subject material but I simply cannot get over how informal the entire system is. It is luring me into a false sense of security about how difficult the classes will actually be. It doesn’t help that for the entire semester I only have two tests, two presentations, and four papers which is practically nothing compared to what I would have in a semester at Bellarmine. The papers themselves will be a lot different, as well. As an Economics major, I usually don’t have many papers but the ones I do are usually 6-10 pagers or even longer and are strictly formatted with a required number of sources, etc. But here at Swinburne my longest paper will be 2500 words and there is practically no guidelines or rubric. In other words, the word count and basic formatting is all I get. I am completely paranoid about these papers, the first of which is due right after my Spring Break, because I have no idea what they are expecting for them. It is this paranoia that has led me to already gather (some) of my sources for my International Business paper a full three weeks before it was due. If I was at Bellarmine I would probably be writing it the morning it was due. Due tomorrow = do tomorrow. AMIRIGHT? Tuesday I (re)broke my toe at footy going in for a tackle so between that and an impending $180 player fee I may end up dropping out of that little group. I really don’t want to but it’s just not worth the money to never play and walk like a duck week after week.

Saturday I went to Brighton Beach (but forget my camera, like an idiot) with Ben, Zoe, Olle, and Rachael. Hadn’t been to the beach in Melbourne for awhile so it was nice to finally have the time and weather to bust out the volleyball. It was St. Patrick’s day so before we caught the train to the beach we stocked up on some beer and rum. It sounded like a good idea at the time. Volleyball was a bit harder to play that afternoon for some reason. I got back to the apartment with just enough time to demolish a Subway pizza sandwich before heading to the Castle with Olle, Ben, and Zoe. We introduced the Swedes and everyone there to some drinking games and hung out for a few hours. When they all went into the city I walked back to my apartment. Didn’t want to deal with the St. Patrick’s day crowds nor did being hungover for the Grand Prix sound like a very appealing option.

Sunday was the final day of the Australian Grand Prix in Albert Park. The actual Grand Prix would be held later in the afternoon but there was a full day of races and entertainment at the park. The gates opened at 10:30am but Matt, Olle, and I didn’t head into the city until around noon. We caught a train and tram to the park, which functions as a golf course when it isn’t hosting the Grand Prix, and joined the crowd as we made our way through the gates. I was a bit surprised at how the race was set up because I thought that F1 races took place on roads instead of tracks but the entire course was an permanent, enclosed track. Of course it had much more than the jaw-dropping, adrenaline pumping four left turns that NASCAR has and we would end up sitting on the back third of the track while the race was on. But before the gentlemen started their engines, we walked around the grounds to the various booths and stores. Racing gear is fucking expensive, in case you were wondering. A tshirt was about $50 on average and if you sprung for a polo it was gonna cost you three digits easily. Absolutely ridiculous. We walked through some future tech building where there were some great looking cars on display but the real gems were in the historic area where old Ferraris, Aston Martins, and Mercedes were set up down the aisles. A joy ride in one of those would be priceless.

We stopped at the Renault tent to get some free goodies and of course I was the first person the man decided to start asking questions to over his mic. He asked me who I thought would win and I just deadpanned him and told him I had absolutely no clue. He seemed offended but gave me my free hat and poster anyways. BaBoom. Not quite ready to eat and find our seats for the big race the three of us walked over to the Action Zone where a company called BagJump was letting people jump 7 and 10 meters into one of their, you guessed it, giant inflatable bags.

With nothing better to do, we got in line and waited for over an hour and a half for the opportunity to jump. We watched a Cage of Death show where a bunch of motocross riders drove around inside this huge metal sphere and right before we did our jumps the qualifier for the BMX jump competition started so the time passed kinda of quickly. The jumps definitely took too long though and we once we were back on the ground we found that we were about half an hour behind the rush to get food and seats. We grabbed some sandwiches and drinks before sliding our way to the outside of the track and looking for a good spot to view the race. There was a hill close to the halfway point of the track that we dropped our stuff on and as the race progressed we moved closer and closer to the track. Before the race started there were three flyovers; one by a group of front prop planes, one by an Australian military jet, and a final one done by a Quantas 747-700.

The sound was deafening. I hadn’t bought earplugs and don’t really think I needed them but there was no way to hold a conversation or follow the announcers so I spent the entire thing wondering what was going on and if we had missed anything exciting. About halfway through the race, which was an hour and a half long, we went searching for a different and better vantage point. We found one just on the far side of the second to last turn which gave us a great view of the cars entering the turn and speeding away into the final turn. There were actual seats here as well so that made it more enjoyable. The entire time I attempted to capture the cars on my camera as they zoomed past but it was practically impossible. When I did manage to get them in the frame they were always a blur. I snagged a few videos as well but neither of them do the speed or noise of the place any justice.

All in all, the Grand Prix was a ton of fun and completely worth it. If I went again I would definitely be a bit more prepared or even splurge to get seats in one of the grand stands, but it was a lot more interesting than the Indy 500 experiences I had done before. This is coming from a guy who has absolutely no appreciation for what he experienced, too. I’m not an avid racing fan (I didn’t even know who was racing) and am not a brain child about cars so for me to enjoy spending an entire day with both of those things speaks volumes at to how exciting the atmosphere was.

The Great Ocean Road

The above picture pretty much sums up what I did last weekend. As some of you may know, one of the most well known Australian landmarks and tourist attractions is located just a few hours outside of Melbourne. The landmark is the Great Ocean Road, a 243-kilometre (151 mile) road that runs along the southern coast of Australia between Torquay and Warnambool, and I had the immense pleasure of traveling it this past weekend.

My traveling buddies this time were 9 other international students; Matt, Olle, Elliot, Spencer, Cody, Beth, Rachael, Meagan, and Bronagh. Between us we represented four different states and three different countries. We had heard from our friends that the trip was absolutely beautiful and relatively easy/cheap to do so we all got together (at the last minute of course) and planned everything out. Since we were trying to book everything just days before and it was Labor Day weekend, we soon found out that we wouldn’t be getting many of our first choices as far as car rentals and campsites went. And of course, nothing ever goes the way it is planned to…

We were scheduled to leave at 10am on Friday morning. Two days before I had finalized our two car rentals through Thrifty and Cody, Elliot, Matt, and I went into the city center at 8:00 to pick them up. It was an early morning but we were all so excited about the trip that we hardly noticed it. Our first deviation from the plan occurred about 30 minutes later when we got to the Thrifty office and discovered that we had only one eligible driver… for two cars. See, I had forgotten that my driver’s license expired when I turned 21 a few weeks back and no one else was 21 or over. So technically, we had NO drivers for the cars but somehow Elliot got away with being a registered driver even though he was 20. So while Elliot, Cody, and Matt left in the first car to start packing I sat in the Thrifty office and waited for Olle to come and drive the second car back to Swinburne. Thankfully I had been given some free breakfast at the train station so the wait wasn’t too bad. Once Olle got there it was a matter of minutes before we were pulling out of the parki- “HOLY SHIT OLLE YOU’RE GOING THE WRONG WAY! …… Oh, nevermind. You want to turn left at the next light.” It was SO weird getting into the passenger seat of the car on the left side and I could never quite shake the feeling that we were going to run into whatever curb, rail, mailbox, or post we passed by.

We got off a little later than we thought we would as it took longer for people to gather themselves from their respective classes, naps, and showers than we expected. Pretty much everyone (including me) overpacked for the trip but we managed to get everything into the two cars with room to spare. I ended up in a car with Cody, Olle, Beth, and Bronaugh while the other five crammed into the second car. With our TomToms on and way too much excitement for our own good we set off towards Torquay and the official start of the Great Ocean Road.

It took us a little under an hour and a half until we arrived at Torquay and we stopped in the exact same parking lot as our bus had on the surf trip. We split up to find lunch having no idea that this would be the last time in hours that we would see each other. Subway and McDonald’s in tow, we climbed back into the cars and set off. By the time Cody had pulled out of the parking spot Matt had already disappeared so we just assumed that we would catch up to them at our next destination. Too bad we didn’t have a destination to meet them at. Apparently we drove right past them while they were taking a picture with a sign but no one in our car saw them and just kept cruising past. About an hour later we decided to pull over onto Point Roadknight beach where we walked around and ate lunch. The weather had cleared up wonderfully so we did a bit of exploring along the beach. If anyone is curious as to what a headless seal looks like, the one we saw lying in the rocks might still be there if its something you’re really interested in. The picture of Roadknight beach is below…

After lunch we continued West until we came across signs directed us to the Split Point Lighthouse. An awkward gravel drive and angle parking job later and we were off wandering around the lighthouse grounds. It was very disappointing to discover they wanted $16 just for the opportunity of walking up into the lighthouse but the trails that wound their way around the Point were so beautiful. This was the first spot where we really got a great view all the way along the Road, which was running near parallel to the beach at this point. For almost as far as you could see the beach stretched out to the West of us. It had been a few hours since we last saw the other group and we had presumed them to be way in front of us until they called and said they were actually BEHIND us and would be coming to the lighthouse shortly. While we waited, Olle and I got some smoothies and got our tan on. Suns out guns out, baby. Once the other car had arrived and explored the lighthouse for a bit we all set off together back down the Road. We weren’t in the car very long before we decided to pull over hoping that the Sheok Falls would prove to be beautiful and swim worthy. We were wrong. After we parked the cars and changed into our swimsuits we set off into the park in search of cool, clear pools at the bottom of cascading waterfalls. What we got was water you couldn’t see two inches deep in and slime wherever the water collected before tumbling over more rocks. So much for that swim. The clarity of the water did very little to take away from the beauty of the falls though and I joined in on some manly waterfall climbing before accepting defeat due to slippery rocks and the fact I would be going for a swim in said narsty water if anything went wrong. But I could have gotten higher if I tried… (had to say it, to protect my manliness and all). Once our rock climbing was over we went in search of the cave we had seen on the map at the beginning of the trail. There was a view point along the trail that made the cave seem much further away than it actually was and so, dismayed, some of us turned back to get to the cars while the rest trudged on in search of adventure. From what they told me, my understanding was that the only adventure they had was trying not to eat shit on the slime covered rocks. Doesn’t sound like I missed too much. By this point it was late afternoon and we still had an hour or so drive until we reached Apollo Bay where we would be spending the night. Since we were trying to get a spot at a free campsite we decided it was best to get to the camp early and explore later. When we got to Apollo Bay we quickly discovered that our definition of early was not nearly early enough and that the site was completely booked up. Desperate to find a campsite I walked over to the Information Center (5 minutes after it had closed) where I went down a list of campsites all of which were completely booked except for one and it just so happened to be at the bottom of the list. Walking back I had a strong sense of deja vu from when I had booked the car rentals and wondered just how poorly we had planned this trip. Matt and I drove to the camp to book our two sites and when we got back to town we went into the grocery store to find food for dinner. Armed with sausages, burgers, chips, and alcohol we returned to our sites where we set up the tents before taking over the covered barbeque area in the middle of the camp. Preparation of dinner was fairly uneventful aside from the grease fire I started and everyone had purchase way too much food so we were all stuffed by the time the drinking games started. The weather had taken a turn and become very cloudy with intermittent rain so we all huddled in the middle of the shelter and started banging away at the table, drinks in hand, to various tunes and chants. Since we were obviously the life of the party our group was soon joined by a heavily intoxicated kid from England (I think) who even sober probably wouldn’t have been able to grasp the extremely simple games we were playing. His incompetence and drunkenness made him extremely entertaining though so we continued to make him pay, drink by drink, for attempting to play our game. This may or may not have been the cause for the next sequence of events. After realizing he was hopeless, our English friend returned to his group of travelers where certain words must have been said that resulted in his friend stripping completely naked and then a fight breaking out between the two of them. Nothing ever physical happened but had either of them been worth the time to listen to I could tell you their complete life story. There altercation caused such a raucous that the live-in warden of the camp had to come to the shelter after he received several complaints from the families close by. The countdown to when the cops would be called got all the way past 1 before the two called it quits. Not wanting to see the countdown get down to zero we packed our gear up and returned to our sites. At this point, Matt was beyond himself and would become quite humorous as people got ready for bed. Determined to sleep outside, he drunkenly turned down sleeping in both a car and a tent. The situation only proved to be more funny when it began to rain right when he laid down outside. Several minutes passed before we finally convinced him to sleep in the entry to my tent and we all called it a night.

Saturday was a good day. The storm had left the morning overcast for when we broke camp and headed into town for a market Elliot had seen ads for. It was small and we got there a bit too early so it wasn’t long before we were back on the road. We did have the forethought to book our campsite in advance to avoid what we went through the night before but this would actually turn out to be a bad idea (of course) but I will explain that later. We set off immediately to a location known as Cape Otway, which is the site of a historical lighthouse along a point where the Road cuts inland. It was about 20 minutes out of our way but we were rewarded with koala sightings out the wazoo. One minute we were driving through pastures and the next there are about ten furry gray basketballs sitting in the trees above us. Welcome to Australia. Our wild koala fix satisfied, we continued on to the lighthouse where we were once again disappointed to find that there was a charge to gain access. This time it wasn’t just for the lighthouse though it was for the entire grounds so we took the Great Ocean Walk path for a few minutes to the lighthouse cemetery and back before leaving. Bit anticlimactic but what can ya do? Before we left we decided that we would look for lunch at two towns, Glenaire and Laver’s Hill, along the Road before going to Shipwreck Beach. Little did we know that Glenaire would turn out to be no more than a shoddy restaurant and pasture and that Laver’s Hill would up Glenaire by throwing in a gas station. If you blinked you would never have known you had gone through a ‘town’ in the first place. The cars got split up during this stretch of the Road and it wasn’t until we were both practically stranded that we would meet up again. In order to get to Shipwreck Beach, we turned off of the Road onto a dirt drive that led us up into the forest. As we went down this drive the forest gave way to smaller vegetation as we got closer to the coast. The drive also became very rough and split at several different points, some very well marked and others not marked at all. By complete chance both of the cars made the exact same turns at these splits. As we rounded a corner we were greeted by the second car parked in the middle of the drive with everyone standing outside and around the vehicle. Very confused, we pulled up and saw what the rest of our group was staring at. Just ahead of the cars was a 15 meter stretch that was nearly impassable. Pot holes almost a foot deep and ditches up to your knee had been formed in the dirt and proved to be a jigsaw of a puzzle to get the cars across. We did it though and were happily on our way until *forehead smack* we came across another section of road. This time there was fresh mud added to the equation and try as we might there was nothing we could do to get the cars over. Besides, we had already spent almost an hour trying to get to Shipwreck Beach and it was quickly becoming a disillusioned venture. Although we were done with Shipwreck Beach, Shipwreck Beach was not done with us. Somewhere between turning off of the Road and turning around to make our way back the other car managed to lock their front left brake (or at least we think thats what it was) and this caused one of the most annoying sounds I have ever heard. If nails on a chalkboard and William Hung had a baby, locked brakes would be their demon spawn. From inside our car with the windows up, A/C on, and music playing we could clearly hear the brake as the second car did its best to find and solve the problem. This went on for a good half hour before we decided to just get back to the start of the drive as quickly as possible where there was more space to investigate the issue. Shortly after, Matt decided to take matters into his own hands and apparently accelerated the car fast enough that it dislodged the brake. Don’t ask me how, but it worked. Despite the sound being gone, we still jacked the car up to make sure no damage had been done. When we were confident that the car was drivable we set back out onto the Road. Since we were pretty far behind where we thought we would be at this point we just decided to get to the main attraction of the Road as quickly as we could. It was such a cool feeling to watch the signs for the Twelve Apostles as we approached and that first glimpse we got from the Road was so exciting. We drove to the main building first where we walked under the Road and out onto the viewing platform. The weather had improved astronomically and so when we looked out onto the Apostles it was like a postcard. In the afternoon sun the formations were absolutely breathtaking. Despite all the awkward Asian tourists throwing up peace signs everywhere it was still a stunning experience. 

After we looked at the western Apostles we backtracked to the stairs that would take us down to the beach in front of the two eastern-most Apostles. This was by far the best part of the trip. The sand was fantastic, the sun was bright, and there was nothing but beautiful beach and ocean as far as you could see. It was humbling to be on the beach, which

was a narrow sliver situated between the sheer rock cliffs and tumultuous ocean. The waves were so much fun though! I never quite got used to how cold the water was because the current was so incredibly strong. When the water was receding back into the ocean it was almost impossible to walk out of the water. Kinda freaky, but really cool at the same time. We all took a long, romantic walk down the beach holding pinkys and staring longingly into eachother’s eyes. Haha, no we didn’t. We did walk along the beach though and came quite close to the two Apostles and of course we all managed to take as many touristy photos as humanly possible.

To all you CREW and CISV members out there, you would be so happy to know that multiple games of ninja were played on the beach before we returned to the cars. Because you always have time for ninja.The Apostles were only a short drive away from Port Cambell, where we would be staying the night, so we hopped back into the cars and headed West. When we got to Port Cambell we did a quick scan of the grocery store before going to the camp where we had reserved two sits. This is when we realized that shopping around may have been a better option. We thought that the sites would be $100 together but were $100 a piece and when we got them they weren’t even next to each other. Sigh. But it was a place to sleep so we set the tents up and made our way back into town to find dinner. Some of us sprang for fish and chips while others of us decided to give the barbeque another go. This barbeque was not nearly as successful as the night before though. There was no seating around it this time and the damn thing shut off every 10 minutes or so and it had to wait 10-12 minutes before it would turn back on. I’m all about Smokey the Bear but damn that was annoying. Of course it took us 15 minutes to realize we had to wait 10 minutes before we turned it back on so what should have been a 20 minute dinner ended up being an hour long process complete with marshmellows, Cody showing us a ‘special’ way to do the Cupid Shuffle, and of course, beer. YAY BEER! With nowhere to go and the night getting cool, the group migrated into my tent where we commenced a game of never-have-I-ever. I would tell you about it, but what happens in the tent stays in the tent. People were pretty tired though so we dropped pretty quickly.

Sunday morning was a cool one. I woke up and immediately went to take the hottest shower I could before taking down the tent and packing everything into the car. Our destination was Warnambool, which is where the Great Ocean Road ends. We had no idea what was between us and the city when we set out and were quickly separated. We stopped together at the Bay of Islands but ended up losing each other when we backtracked to go see London Bridge and Murname Bay. By that time we were practically in Warnambool and we pulled over at Logan’s Beach where there is whale watching in the winter. Even though there were no whales the beach was really cool to see with almost completely white sand. We managed to ahold of the other car while we were there and they told us they were a little ways behind us at a place called Cheese World so, in an effort to get the group back together, we hopped back in the car to see what there was to see at Cheese World. When we got there and called them to see where they were we were a bit miffed to discover that all we had done was switch places and that the other car was now at Logan’s Beach. Tired of driving and hungry, we just decided to stay at Cheese World where we grabbed some food, looked at lots of cheese, and did a cheese tasting before going into Warnambool. We got there before the other car and waited at the Information Center for about 40 minutes before they arrived from the beach. Since our timing was basically completely off, we decided that our car would go to the beach while the other car went and got gas/food. We found our way to the Flagstaff Hill Surf Beach where we ran around for an hour or so. Cody and I attempted to body surf but had very little luck and we all helped to bury Olle and give him some nice sand boobs and seaweed pubes.

Classy, I know. After we washed the sand off we met up with the second car at Macker’s (McDonald’s in Australian) where we met our drunken English buddy from two nights ago. Of all the places along the Great Ocean Road, we ended up in the exact same restaurant as the intoxicated English ginger and his naked friend. Small, small world. After a good laugh and fifty cent (G-G-G-UNIT!) ice cream cones we climbed back into the cars for the second to last time to head back to Melbourne. See the one thing about our plan that managed to stay relatively intact was our idea to take our time going West along the Road and then to do the drive back to Melbourne in one long haul. We decided that it would be better to take the expressway back so we waved goodbye to the Great Ocean Road and took A1 back West. A bit of confusion took place about an hour in when our TomTom told us to go one way but the second car went another. We made a pit stop at a gas station to switch drivers, eat some snacks, and relieve ourselves before clambering into the car one.final.time. I was the driver for this final leg and when we lost the second car (ironically because they chose to follow the GPS this time) the race was on. Yes, Mom, I drove safely and under the speed limit the entire time. We managed to meet up with them as we were going into Melbourne but were once again split when we took a tunnel to the Eastern suburbs and they exited into the city. We arrived a few minutes before they did and then we all unpacked the cars, found our belongings that had been strewn about backseats and trunks all weekend, and headed back to our apartments. Elliot and I parked the cars in the grocery store lot right by our building and agreed on 9am to take the cars back into the city.

Monday morning was uneventful, thank God. We had no trouble finding a gas station to top the cars off and the drop off at Thrifty was quick and painless.

Well, that is the Great Ocean Road for ya. I apologize if it seems like there is a lot of bitching in this post because that in no way suggests the feeling I have about the trip. There were some frustrating parts, yes, but you can’t always plan for anything and life wouldn’t be exciting if it didn’t throw you a curveball or two every now and again. The trip was a really great experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I think I got pretty good at driving on the other side of the road, too! The group was made out of some really great people and I know that we all will find some other road trip to go on together before we leave Australia. But next time, we will plan more than three days ahead of time 😛

 

Sorry for the delay in posts as of late. I got caught up in Lost, travel plans, and attempting to be productive so I don’t have to write papers at the last second. More to come very soon! Love and miss you all very much!

 

Kawabunga, dude

So it has been a week since I last wrote to my beloved readers about my shenanigans (bad word choice, now I miss Louisville) in Australia. I don’t think that I will ever wrap my head around where all the time goes. It doesn’t feel like an entire week has passed since I last wrote and definitely doesn’t feel like I have been here for two months already. Makes me scared to think how quickly the next four will go.

My first week of class was nothing to write home about (yet here I am writing about it anyways). My politics class is more of a government class than anything and my ‘tut’ (remember toot? hehe) goes against every part of the phrase, “Never talk about politics, religion, and money in public.” That is literally all we do and the results can be pretty intense. While this dynamic makes the class interesting I remind myself that even car wrecks are a hard thing to take your eyes off of. I signed up to introduce one of the topics to the class but already forgot which week I was doing. Oh wells, I’ll find out one way or another. Too bad Phil won’t be there to watch my reaction as I simultaneously walk into the classroom and remember I was supposed to be presenting like that fateful day in AP US History. Lawlz. 

Tuesday was a lot like Monday in that I worked out before class (it feels so good to be back in the practice of lifting, two months was a loooooong time) and then found my way to my Practical Ethics course. This is another car wreck of a class but now instead of arguing about what the best form of government or policies are we get to talk about right and wrong. Woop-dee-freaking-doo. I’m being cynical because writing about the first week of classes is forcing me to think about the second week of classes… so please take that into consideration before you think that all Australian classes are awful. I am just simply in the middle of a very big transition from not having any responsibilities and spending my time traveling to being a student and having to carefully plan everything in advance. So bear with me. The ethics course will not be that bad and I openly admit that I am intrigued with where the instructor goes. To be honest, he is kind of a jackass. He spent the entire first class saying a lot of very controversial statements that even had my sarcastic and ill humored self taken aback. Hopefully he was just trying to get a reaction out of us on the first day because if he wasn’t it is going to be a very long three hours every Tuesday. After class I rushed home to eat dinner (made sure not to eat a piling heap of spaghetti this time though) before running to footy practice. While I was eating I got a text message that said to bring my mouthguard and despite knowing it was a mass text that was sent to around 40 other guys I still felt so special and badass. I got there in time for the warm up (always improving) and even got to start in the match simulation. Enter ego boost stage left. Even though I literally had no idea what I was doing, I ran around out there until I was subbed out. Before that happened I touched the ball once or twice and both of them ended pretty badly. The first I completely whiffed on the pass and the second I got the piss hit out of me. And when I say I got the piss hit out of me, I mean I got wrapped up and thrown to the ground like a ragdoll. Just absolutely destroyed. I have no idea how I held onto the ball but the biggest mystery is that even though I landed (read slammed) on my head it was my big toe that got broken. Maybe it has something to do with the toilets spinning the other way? Land on your head and your toe gets hurt? Eh? eh? EHHH?! After practice we all rushed back to our respective showers and second dinners before gathering at my place for the predrink. It looks like it will be a Tuesday tradition and I am beyond stoked. The lot of us ventured out to the Hawthorn after that and danced the night away.

Thank God for no Wednesday morning classes. I was absolutely exhausted this morning and spent most of it Skyping and eating some impostor cereal that has the balls to call itself Honey Nut Cheerios. Errands, a workout, and a late lunch were all that separated my morning from my evening International Business class. This class is going to be either really awesome or the bane of my existence. No dramatization. It is the only class that I will have tests of any kind in (the other two are all essay and participation based) and there is what appears to be a very significant group project as well. The instructor is a younger guy who probably enjoys his power just a little bit too much. The class that I went to was the ‘tut’ so it was a smaller group and all we did was go over the unit outline and discuss the project. It was during the project discussion that I began to really question whether or not I should just get up and leave. Not only do I have NO IDEA what the topic is going to be or when it will be due, but the rules for this presentation are just downright stupid. First, I understand it is a business class and that looking professional for the presentation is a reasonable expectation. But sorry man, I didn’t drag a suit across the Pacific Ocean with me for a 20 minute presentation. And you’re high on crack if you think I’m going to ship it here or buy a new one. I’ll be rockin’ the denim and you’ll like it, dammit. Second, did you seriously just say overhead machine? Look over your shoulder. See that black box that lights up when you press that circle button in the center? Yeah, that’s what we call a computer. The box hanging above it is called a projector. Say it with me, p-r-o-j-e-c-t-o-r. Put the two together and you can do Powerpoint (its really cool, TRUST me) presentations really, really easily. Wait, you know what that is? THEN WHY THE FUCK ARE WE USING THE OVERHEAD MACHINE?! Thats right, folks. My instructor will not let us use the modern(ish) equipment in our classroom and is forcing us to create, print out, and use overhead slides during our presentations. Now if this was his way of breaking us away from dependence on the machines that will one day destroy us all, I’d be down for that. But it isn’t. It is because he says the equipment is unreliable. My mouth was open in disbelief the entire time this little schpeel was going on. In what crazy world does this guy live in where he thinks that overhead projectors are a legitimate part of international business. The world doesn’t operate like that anymore and instead of letting a few computer malfunctions relegate you to the Stone Age of presentation technology why don’t you simply teach us how to deal with such malfunctions when they happen? Unbelievable and I hope with every fibre of my being that the lightbulb explodes in a fiery ball of technological justice when he turns it on for the first time. You can’t reboot a lightbulb, jackass. After going around and talking about our strengths (felt like I was in the Shawnee library reading circle again) we formed our presentation groups, wrote each other’s information down with stone and chisel, and were dismissed. Now if I was in Australia to become valedictorian of Swinburne I would have gone to my next class which is the lecture part of the International Business course but I am not so I went to the last night of the Victoria Night Market instead. Before you get your panties up in a bunch let me explain that the Night Market is a really amazing experience and something that anyone who comes to Melbourne needs to do. That night was the last night it would be running while I am here so I made the choice to go experience a huge part of Melbourne’s culture over sitting in a classroom for two hours. And I don’t regret it because the market was fantastic. The weather was far from ideal and it actually rained towards the very end of the night but I lot of exchange students were there and I met up with Sarah, a French exchange student at Melbourne University who I had met at the infamous Turf Bar, which was really great. The week before I had gone for the unique Australian food that was at the market but tonight I went for whatever looked good. I hadn’t ate dinner before so I was in absolute heaven walking around to frozen lemonade, South American barbeque, Mexican chorizo sausage, and dumpling stands. The rain cleared the market out a bit early so our group actually managed to grab chairs and tables, a very rare occurrence indeed. I was very happy with my choice and after meeting Sarah’s friends I went back to my apartment with the rest of the group.

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Thursday was a good day. My school week was over and I took the free day to go to the gym and talk with Coach. I haven’t gotten to talk to a lot of people via Skype because of schedule conflicts and the time difference but I was so happy to see and talk with a friendly face. Truth is, I miss you all. I am having the time of my life here in Australia but don’t let that make you think I don’t still think about you or wish that you were here to share the experience with me. I’m not homesick and I won’t be coming back early but not a day goes by where I don’t wish I could go to that basketball game, sit around that dorm room watching HIMYM, or go have a beer at Shenanigans. My toe was still giving me a really hard time so I decided not to go to footy practice that night and went to life with Olle instead. It was his birthday that day so I told him whenever he started to have people over to let me know and I would be there. The party started around 9 and it was pretty packed because it was both Olle and his roommate Lucas’ birthday that day. We moved to the Hawthorn for awhile and when that closed the group split between going back to Olle’s room and Mackerz (McDonald’s, and I don’t really know how to spell the slang word but I’d like to think it has a ‘z’ in it). Since I am so awesome I managed to do both but my return to Olle’s room ended up me fiercely defending my fries from everyone else.

Friday was another splendidly lazy day. The weather was shit and I had nothing of immediate importance so I spent most of the day researching trips to the Gold Coast and Great Ocean Road. People had gotten pretty rowdy the night before so there wasn’t much nightlife happening within my group of friends but I did go to the welcome drinks the SwinMates were having at the Hawthorn to hang out and eat some dinner. Ben invited me to come watch a preseason footy game with him and his roommates at a bar down the road so I joined in on that for the first half before going home. When I returned, Matt explained to me that our roommate Marco had apparently taken all of his stuff out of the bathroom and kitchen. We hadn’t seen him at all that day and even though that wasn’t exactly out of the ordinary I called him to see where he was. This was when he informed me that he had moved out of the apartment that morning. I would be lying if I felt any sort of remorse upon hearing this news and after wishing him a good semester I promptly hung up and moved on with my life. He hadn’t been the most inviting of people and to be honest I thought he was incredibly sketchy so I was glad to have his awkward presence and disgusting refrigerator etiquette out of the apartment. 

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Saturday was nothing short of spectacular and the inspiration for the title of this post. The bus picked us up at 10am to drive us to Torquay beach on the other side of the bay from Melbourne. It was about an hour and a half ride that I spent battling my iPod against the awful music our guide was playing over the bus speakers. When we got there we dropped our stuff at the top of the beach before picking up our wetsuits and boards. An awkward squirming of skin into cold, damp neoprene ensued and when that was over we were onto the sand learning all the super special, extra secret hints about how to surf. In reality our teacher gave us a 30 second tutorial on how to paddle and stand up before throwing us into the waves. As far as my competence in surfing goes, I am not the worst but am definitely not the best. I can somewhat discern when a wave is a good wave to catch and when I succeed in this I am quite skilled at ‘catching’ said wave. What comes after is inconsistent and sloppy at best, but I did manage to  get to my knees and even stood on the board a few times before being thrown off by poor balance and innocent bystanders paddling in front of my aqua fueled speed board. My success only came on my second trip into the ocean though as my first session was cut short from frustration and saltwater beaten eyes. I could hardly blink when I was walking up the beach but it was nothing a peanut butter and nutella sandwich couldn’t fix. Nom. My lunch break also included the adventure of trying to hit seagulls with my boomerang. Report me to PETA if you must, but I have no accuracy with the thing and the seagulls moved much quicker than I could throw. After lunch I went back out to surf and, as I said before, had much more success. We quickly ran out of time though so my trip to the ASP World Championship will have to wait until I can practice some more. I’m coming for you, Kelly Slater. The bus stopped at all the surf outlets for about an hour which was just enough time for me to stock up on non-Bellarmine tshirts and return to my iPod for the ride back. I was absolutely exhausted when we got back (surfing was a lot more physically draining than I thought it would be) so I stayed in once again and walked to get pizza with Matt. Awwww, roommate bonding time. The pizza kept me up long enough to read a few chapters of the Lacuna but there wasn’t much that could have kept me awake after such a tiring day.

Sunday (today) was one of the more productive I have had the entire time I have been here. I woke up early to run errands at Target and Woolworth’s where I picked up everything from toothpaste to all the cleaning supplies I would need for the rest of the semester. I made breakfast for lunch (breakfast always tastes better when you are eating at a time other than breakfast time) before wiping the kitchen and bath areas down spotless. My lack of vacuum was all that kept me from cleaning the rest of the place so hopefully I am as motivated tomorrow as I was today. In between cleaning I caught up on emails and Skyped for awhile. Leftover pizza was my date for the finale of Season 2 of Lost and now I am here writing this post for you. That was my week, how was yours? 🙂

Now for a few very important side notes!

To my cousin, Melissa. Congratulations on your marriage! I am so happy for you and Michael and wish you the best in everything. I am sorry I couldn’t be there for your special day but cannot wait to see you when I get back.

To Coach, have the time of your life this week. I know it will be different from last year and summer, but keep your head up. You may not be doing the same things or be with the same people but you are in the same place for the same reason as before. Focus on being back at CAP, not on anything else. It will be an amazing experience and I cannot wait to hear all about it when you are back. Do you remember what you are supposed to forget? 😛

To Bellarmine sports and Knights’ Nation, I will always be proud of you all. It has been unbelievably hard for me to not be there for the games and festivities. I would like to congratulate the Women’s Track team on a GLVC Conference Championship and support to the Men’s Basketball Team who may have been knocked out of the conference tourney but will come back with a vengeance in the NCAA. To Girlfriend, sorry I couldn’t continue my streak of attending home games 😦 and to all you ladies on the soccer team I hope that the rings fit! 😛

 

 

That’s all from this side of the world. Love and miss you all. Thanks for reading.

If you really love me…

So, I have been in the Land Down Unda for 54 days and this has given me a lot of time to think about everything I should have brought with me but didn’t and everything that has turned out to be a complete and total waste of precious suitcase space and weight.
Why on Earth I thought I needed three pairs of jeans is beyond me. There is no way that I will end up needing that much denim while I am here and that shit is heavy, too! I also heavily doubt that outside of being extremely comfy that pair of sweatpants will not see the light of day for many months to come. The hoodies fall into this category, too. I think subconsciously I felt guilty for leaving Bellarmine when I was packing my tshirts, too. I guess I thought that if I packed all Bellarmine shirts then good ‘ol BU wouldn’t think I was cheating on her with that hot Aussie chick Swinny. The upshot of this is that a good 80% of my shirts are directly related to Bellarmine and Knights’ Nation. Its not that I want less BU gear, I will rep that shit erryday, but I just wish I had more non-BU gear. I have to be very tactful about when I wear it because there just isn’t that much to go around.

But now we get to the fun part! This is where I make a huge list of things that I wish I had here in Australia and you all, being such amazing friends who miss me incredibly, send them to me in a rush of cardboard boxes, packing tape, and bubble wrap. Mhmmmm, bubble wrap. This probably won’t work, but if you were already inclined to send a care package here are a few tips…
+ A Chipotle burrito, yes this is honestly on the top of my list. No beans, double chicken, hot and tomato salsa, extra cheese. Chips at your discretion.
+ My Sperry’s… they may make the entire box smell like a fur seal colony, but they would go perfectly with my tan
+ My high top Nike’s… because I miss them
+ Movies… the economical way of going about this would be to send me a big USB full of VLC rips (Sara and Tom, take note)- since a ticket to the movies is almost $16 here, any and all of newly released films would be splendid for both my procrastination and wallet, Season 6 of Dexter so it can break my hear all over again, complete series of HIMYM (if you don’t know what it is, you don’t deserve to watch it), the second (and first!) season of Game of Thrones (if you pull this off, I will give you the best present you could ever wish for, a handshake from Ben Rubenstein), the new season of Shameless would be pretty rad too, and finally I have an odd urge to watch Peter Pan and Pinnochio.
+ A washer and dryer, because at $6 the most expensive thing in Australia is laundry
+ Real Honey Nut Cheerios.
+ Contacts (-2.00 and -2.50), I know I can get them here, its just a process I don’t feel like going through.
+ Pizza Rolls
+ Anything you see or hear about that makes you go, “Oh, Ben would really like that!”

If any of the items listed above actually make it to Australia, I will be speechless and unimaginably appreciative. There is no expectation, just wishful thinking.

Thank you for reading and as always I love and miss you all