Semana Numero Tres

I haven’t done a ton this week as I’ve come down with a cold and I’ve just been sleeping a lot but I’ve still managed to do a few things ūüôā

Sydney is a great theater town, so as a drama major, I would be doing myself a huge disservice if I didn’t find something¬†theatrical to do while I was here. I originally wanted to take an improv class as I’m terrible at it but find it rather fun but none of the classes fit with my work schedule! After harassing several of the teachers about alternate classes or places they could recommend me to that might have classes, I was directed towards a guy in charge of a team. The guy said that while they didn’t have classes, they had practices and performances, which would ultimately be the better teacher in the long run. Uh, problem, I have very¬†little experience. I’ve done some workshops, small classes, read a few books but nothing really extensive. I am not cut out for any team whatsoever. However, the guy insisted I come as it wasn’t so much about the level of experience but my willingness to listen and “yes, and…” Ok. Fine. But you, sir, are in for a big surprise because these broad parameters do not make me ready to be performing! I was hesitant to go, but Tuesday night found me on a bus crossing town…When I got there there were 14 others, half of which I’m going to assume were high schoolers who all knew each other…We played a few minor games and then jumped into scene work. Now, remember that part where I said this guy was going to regret telling me to audition because I would probably be horrible? Turns out he probably regrets telling some of the other¬†people there…not me. I mean, I didn’t play my best but I definitely was not the worst person there. Some of the people were so bad that it was impossible for the good people to do well. If you need to understand what I’m talking about, please watch “The Office” Season 2, Episode 9 where Michael Scott goes to his improv class. Anyway, I walked away feeling pretty shitty about it since I hadn’t played well but figured it was for the best–I’m probably not ready for a team anyway! The next morning though I opened my email and found that I had actually made the team! What the…?? No really…? Is this real life? I’m mildly questioning the credibility of said team if they want me to join, but beggars can’t be choosers and I’ll probably learn a lot regardless. It’s nice too because I can’t do any actual plays because of my work schedule so at least I’m involved somehow theatrically.

This week was really nice for the beach so I did the coastal walk again with a friend who hadn’t done it yet and also went to the beach for a bit. I have never seen a more crowded beach in my life and it’s not even summer yet. I’m so glad I live so close to the beach. I’m pretty sure trying to park there is what hell is like so I’m really glad I can go by foot. Hell can wait. The beach cannot. Speaking of, have I mentioned how amazing the beaches are here?? I truly cannot get over it. One of the children I watch has a playdate once a week and this week we decided to go walk on the rocks by the beach. It was amazing. It was a really secluded little beach with one of those ocean pool deals and mini tide pools everywhere. The little girls were so cute as we walked along the rocks. They loved it! I always look forward to their little playdates–they’re so fun and so cute. After the rocks we painted a bit and I taught them about mixing colors. Of course they ended up just mixing all of the colors and making a lot of brown paint but they had fun so it was ok.

Since getting here, I’ve basically made a mini-UN of friends. Up until yesterday, I didn’t have a single Aussie friend (minus the ones that live in America). However, I have friends from the Netherlands, Ireland, France, Germany and I think somewhere else but I can’t think of it. It’s amazing. I absolutely love love love international friends and¬†it’s great because I have people to explore the city with. Last weekend we went out all over Sydney. Can you blame us? We’re young and more importantly, living in another country. The nightlife here is great. However, quite a few of the men here are absurdly creepy. I will have to write an entirely new post about that because I find it absolutely hilarious and it deserves its own post. I also went to the Australian Museum, which was awesome mainly because they have an exhibit on DINOSAURS. Yes. DINOSAURS. So epic. I practiced my raptor dance and was quickly hired on site byt the museum staff because they were so impressed. Now my theater education is paying for itself. Kidding. Obviously. In my head this happened though and it was the best day of my life.

THE WIND BENEATH MY WINGS.

Proof my friends aren't imaginary...or am I the only one who can see them?

Blissful Philistines

Let’s be real, some day I will probably be an expat. In fact, I aspire to be one. Don’t get me wrong– America is the land of opportunity. I’m glad I grew up with everything I had. There are a lot of advantages I have growing up American. Even though the job market is awful right now, what I’ve gathered from foreigners is that there are more opportunities to grow and do interesting things than in some other places. But like a bad relationship, I’ve learned what I can and now it’s time to move on. Plus, the more I get to know people, the more I believe that Americans are truly ignorant. When I was in talks with my host family, they were concerned about me meeting people since I really don’t know anyone here. I mean, ya my best friend grew up here so she can kind of introduce me to her friends via facebook, but other than that I know no one. The family was afraid that I would come here, not make any friends, be lonely/homesick, and leave after two weeks. That’s obviously not the case as I have met a lot of people in just two weeks of being here and even without others I have been able to explore the city and make my way around. Anyway, from this concern the mom sent me a link to a facebook group called “Americans in Sydney” or something like that. To be honest, I’m not really keen on meeting other Americans, which she figured but sent it anyway. There’s a reason I chose to come abroad, you know? I figured I might as well give it a chance because the more people I meet, the better. I joined the group and didn’t find any interest in it as most of the people are much older, here because their job or their spouse’s job relocated them here. The other day though someone posted something which caught my attention. This woman asked if anyone else found Aussies to be socially awkward.

Hold the phone.

My best friend grew up in Sydney. Her family was among many of my second families. They were nothing short of welcoming, gregarious, wonderful people and every Aussie friend of theirs that I met was the same way. And trust me, I met a lot¬†of Aussies. I’m pretty sure they know every single Aussie in Southern California and they’re all nothing short of fantastic.¬†Even within an hour of being in this country, I found everyone I met to be helpful and so kind to me! This woman posting this was obviously meeting the wrong people! I read some of the comments and another woman was saying that the connections she has with Aussies are nowhere near the connection she had with her friends back home.¬†WELL DUH, LADY. YOU JUST GOT HERE. She has probably known her friends from home for years. Of course she has a magical connection with them! I obviously don’t have a connection with anyone here yet that I have with people back home because I just got here. Friendships need time to cultivate and grow. Maybe if you spent enough time trying to reach out to people and actually put effort into your newfound Aussie friendships, then you wouldn’t find Aussies to be so “socially awkward” or whatever it is that you called them. I find this to be a really common theme with Americans, that they will travel abroad¬†and just expect things to be like they are in America. A lot of Americans go to other countries, without even a basic knowledge of the language because they expect them to speak English. In their own country.
Where they have their own national language.
Granted, learning every language before you go abroad is pretty much impossible and in a lot of places they do speak some english. I’m also ¬†not saying you have to be fluent, or even conversational, but you should at least attempt to learn basic phrases and even carry them around on paper so should you get lost or want to order food then you’ll be able to! I’m horrified and mildly offended at the actions of so many Americans when they go to new places. That is, if they even go to new places.

This brings me to my main point, something that I’ve been wanting to write about for a while. While I’m offended by a lot of the touristy Americans, I’m more offended by those who have no desire to travel whatsoever. And no, I am not exaggerating. I actually find this offensive. I know a lot of people who haven’t been outside of the country or even outside of the state, people who have also never been on an airplane and it absolutely blows my mind. I mean, I know traveling is kind of expensive. For a long time that was my excuse. My plane ticket to Australia cost a pretty penny and plane tickets to a lot of places can get quite pricey but there are ways to do it. A friend of mine once recommended a great book called Vagabonding¬†which talks about all the ways in which you can travel and afford to do so. Traveling is not just for the wealthy. There are so many ways to go abroad and afford it. Ya, it’ll se you back a bit financially–you’re spending money but it’s money well spent. Wouldn’t you rather spend money having an incredible night roaming the streets of Italy or wandering the ruins of Angkor Wat instead of on a wild night of happy hour at Fridays? I’m being serious. I know the image of a wild night at Fridays is humorous but let’s be real, people spend their money on stupid things. You can¬†travel and these experiences are incredibly worth it. You don’t have to take six months out of your life to go live in a new country like I am. You can go for a few weeks and cruise around a continent purely for vacation. However, I guarantee you will learn more about yourself and the world in those few weeks or months than you will ever learn by sitting in a classroom or staying in the same small town, doing the same small things day in and day out. I don’t understand why people have absolutely no desire to see even other places in America. I’m ok with people taking baby steps and starting out by going to other places in America if that means it’ll fuel their desire to see outside of what our borders have to offer but sitting around saying “eh” to the rest of the world is just ridiculous to me.

I think I have my parents to thank for my love of the world. Growing up first generation American, with two parents who were raised in several countries and are incredibly well traveled, parents who didn’t believe in needing to assimilate to “white” American culture (don’t mistake that for being anti-American–rather they raised me to be proud to be American but also proud of my diverse heritage). My parents came to America as teens but really grew up in completely different cultures, not just from America but also from each other so growing up I had the best of a lot of worlds. When they were young they traveled extensively, and to this day travel to no end. Now that they’re both retired, they have gone to more countries in one year than I have in my entire life I think and they’re planning more and more trips as we speak. They inspire me to travel and have instilled in me a love for other cultures as a result. They have supported my love for travel and for this I am extremely grateful. A lot of people asked how my parents felt about me taking off to the other side of the world while I was making this decision. To be honest, I had no idea. They hadn’t said anything other than, “how do you know the family you’re speaking to is a real family?” and “you’re sure this is what you want to do?” I think people asked this so much because most parents would freak out if their kid just took off to another state, let alone country, even if they are at an age when they’re on their own. I get it, parents worry and they should. I’m sure my parents worried some but they know I’m old enough to handle myself and figure it out. It’s kind of like throwing a baby bird out of the nest and hoping it flies–it’ll never learn by reading books about it (pretend birds can read) or watching. It has to do it on its own and so do you. At the airport while we were waiting for a shuttle, my mom said, “It’s your turn to go on adventures. We’ve all done it” and recounted stories of her adventures abroad when she was my age and even younger.

Is ignorance bliss? In this case, I certainly don’t think so. In fact, in most situations it’s not the case but that’s a different story. Traveling makes you a different person–hopefully a better person and I think everyone should experience it when they can especially when they’re young. Now is the time because we don’t have mortgages or other crazy bills to pay off. Most bills can be paid online anyway so it’s not as big of a deal as you think. Most of us haven’t embarked on careers and are just working shitty jobs anyway so what’s actually¬†tying you down? I’ve been talking to a friend who is interested in doing what I’m doing but had concerns about all of these jobs, bills, things¬†she had to leave behind. After discussing it some I think we came up with a lot of really easy solutions. We’re young. It’s feasible. Most of us also don’t (and shouldn’t)¬†care about being dirty and sleeping in some shady hostel like we probably will when we’re older. We don’t need fancy beds with back support and complimentary shampoo in the showers. Save that for when you’re old and have money. For now, go somewhere. Anywhere. I went to a presentation by the study abroad office at my uni before I left and they were saying most people, if they study abroad, wait until their senior year or after their senior year to go. They want people going as early in their college career as possible because they come back different people and add even more to the vibrant student life that exists at our school. It also changes the way they spend their remaining time at uni and how they view life afterwards. Even if you’ve graduated, it’ll change you as a person. Like I said in my last post, a lot of the girls I’ve met here are traveling for their gap year, something we don’t do in America. I think we should encourage this–it would change the mentality of our college freshman! Plus, I think everyone should be able to have time to do things like this at least once in their life.

I know this is a long post but if you’re going to walk away with anything it’s that you should just go somewhere. Save $100 and fly to San Francisco if that’s all you can afford right now. Just go!
I promise you will love it. And if you don’t, well, I have no money to give back to you so…you’re SOL I guess.

Week Deux

My first week went by so quickly! I’m glad I was able to get myself oriented and around to explore. I really enjoy going about by myself. Perhaps it’s a selfish tendency in me, but I like just being able to go and not have to worry about anyone else’s schedule or being late etc. With that said though, I have been meeting other au pairs around Sydney so I have friends to explore with. Most of them work days though and get off before I do so during the week I don’t really go out with them. Weekends, though, are going to start being a lot more awesome starting this week!

Thursday I went to the Underground Film Festival. Unfortunately the girl I had invited ended up having to babysit so I just went by myself. It was opening night so they had this big party with a great DJ and appetizers at which I made a friend who was also there by himself. It was nice to not be wandering around alone the whole time! Eventually we were ushered into the theater and before the movie there was this weird, weird WEIRD, magician? Illusionist? I don’t even know what he was. Basically he laid down on a bed of nails while his assistant walked on him, then she put another bed of nails facing down on him and walked on that. After that he swallowed a balloon, then closed their “act” by doing a tango on broken glass. It was just weird and I was fairly uncomfortable the entire time. My new friend and I were like, “WHAT IS THIS??” To top it off they then had a series of previews for crazy movies like, “Run Bitch Run” which was actually pretty funny looking, but the rest of the previews were weird. The short film before was also bizarre but mildly funny. Then¬†we were onto the main event, the movie, “Super” with Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page. I honestly don’t know how I feel about that movie. It was seriously as gory as a Tarantino film but then it was a comedy so it felt like one giant dead baby joke where you laugh but you feel terribly for laughing. Afterwards though there was unlimited wine, beer, and pizza which was fun for obvious reasons. The theater is in kind of a dodgy area but they have a lot of cool events coming up so I’ll probably be frequenting it. However my new friend said it’s really not as dodgy as it looks…so I think it’ll be ok. ¬†They have some other festival this weekend that I might go to again. We’ll see. So much cool stuff happening around here!

On Saturday I went on the cliff walk from Bondi to Coogee with a German girl, which was so fun and so beautiful. People talk about the beaches in Southern California, which I grew up on, and which I always thought were really nice too but after seeing these beaches those ones are ruined!

Bondi, which is just down the street from me!

There are all of these weird little pools with ocean water all along the walk. They're open to the public too!

Eternity with an ocean view. No complaints!

Probably my favorite part of the walk. And yes, I did take this. Legitimately. I know, I know, I'm awesome. What can I say?

The end of our walk! It was cloudy all day and then there was this little pocket of sunshine at the end. It was beautiful!

Sunday I went to a lunch for au pairs right by the bridge which was really nice. There were so many people there though and a lot of them were so shy that I didn’t a chance to meet a ton of them. Most of the girls were German. Apparently their agency likes to send them to Australia, which is why there are so many. A lot of them are younger too because they’re doing their gap year before university but there were also some my age too. ¬†It was cool to make some friends and finally have people to go out with. A few of us are probably going to go out this weekend so I’m excited for that. Sydney has great nightlife that I’ve been dying to explore so that’ll of course be really fun.

Today I finally conquered driving! I’m so proud of myself! I mean, I’m still a little nervous but the mom gave me her car for an hour so I could drive around by myself to get used to it. There aren’t really any freeways here, which is weird, unless you’re going to another city like Brisbane but otherwise it’s backroads. Even the “main” roads are nothing like El Camino or PCH–they’re windy and with like…one or two lanes on each side instead of 3 or 4. On top of that, the big road you take to the little boy’s school is a mess in the mornings so I have to take these crazy backroads that are even more narrow, windy, and full of roundabouts. I thought with my horrible sense of direction that I’d never figure it out but I went by ¬†myself today with no problems! I was so happy!

Anyway, I’m going to walk to the beach for a bit before I have to pick up the kids! Love my life!

Pictures Worth a Few Words Here and There

Since apparently you can only do slideshows if you’re a premium member, I’m going to do a gigantic post with pictures. I’m sorry for the overload, but I know you’re all curious. Also, if you want the full resolution just click and it should open a new window!

The beach at Bondi

Wednesday I went to Wynyard Park for Threatened Species Day!

The park was in the middle of the city like a mini Central Park!

A flying fox! It was climbing ALL over the guy the entire time he was talking. It was so funny.

The guy said the koala fell asleep on the way there and was now acting like a drunk baby. I don't know who this guy hangs out with, but apparently people who don't believe in a minimum drinking age.

One of the many dingos that were walking around. I got to pet them! And they didn't eat any babies ūüôā

The coolest bird I've ever seen! It doesn't even look real!

Loved the juxtaposition city towering over the marina.

Finally made it to the Sydney Opera House!

Gone Bananas

Apparently there were some major floods wherever their center of produce is and there are like no bananas here. The bananas they do have are like $2 each. That’s not a joke. ORGANIC expensive as shit bananas in America are like 30 cents each. I am going to feast on bananas and a grilled cheese from In&Out and marvel at how cheap food is when I come back. Airfare to Asia is also so expensive. Like I could fly for almost the same price from America. Pissed. I thought Asia was supposed to be cheap. With that said March can still take its sweet time getting here…

Right Turn Yields

I would like to begin by thanking the American education system for preparing me fully to travel throughout the rest of the world and being able to understand everything.

OH WAIT.

It didn’t.

To sum up how I feel about this please refer to this post from The Oatmeal.

Basically America decided at some point it had to be completely different from the rest of the world and not conform to the metric system so now I am confused 24/7. Fine. I get it. We want to be different. At least teach us about the metric system though! I google mapped a route to the beach from my house and was really sad to see that it was almost two miles away, then realized it was actually nearly 2 KM away. What the fuck are KMs??? No seriously. I hear about them all the time but have absolutely no idea how far that actually is. Luckily I’m good at math so I have conquered the conversion in my head, but it’s still annoying. Yesterday, for example, I was listening to something and the guy said, “It reaches up to ten meters!”

WHAT

I know, 1m= about a yard but liiiikeeee I’m always doing math. 24/7. This is out of hand. I mean, I used to really like math, and I’m actually pretty good at it, but come on! I have a degree in the arts for crying out loud! There’s a reason I quit math! Anyway this all takes some getting used to. I also have no idea what the temperature is. My computer tells me in the mornings in Fahrenheit but if I’m out and about and it says the temperature is like 5 degrees, I have absolutely no idea what that means! Not to mention, temperature conversion is a lot more complicated than distance conversion. This is the formula for C to F: multiply by 9, then divide by 5, then add 32. I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THAT. But let’s be real, there’s probably an app for that but I keep forgetting to download one.

Speaking of which, I’m not sure how I would have survived without my various map apps and a gps tracker thing that’s embedded. I’ve been walking everywhere to try to familiarize myself with the area. The neighborhood I live in is comprised of all of these windy roads and most of the time I have no idea where I’m going. The other day on my way back from the beach, my directions told me I had to turn on this one road. I couldn’t find it anywhere. Luckily I had picked up wifi and thus a gps tracker somewhere along the way and was able to see that I was standing where the street should be. After standing around and looking for a while I finally found a sign that led down this stairwell through some construction that brought me to the street I needed. Seriously a miracle. I can’t get anywhere without these maps and I’m so so grateful for it.

Another thing that’s backwards here is the driving. I have to drive the kids to and from school which will take some getting used to as we drive on the other side of the road. The mom took me to the grocery store the other day and it was unbelievably nerve wracking. Albeit my first experience driving on the other side shouldn’t have been at night…I’m taking a few driving lessons so that I can just drive around for an hour and get accustomed to it. Yesterday was my first one and it actually went surprisingly well. I just have to keep reminding myself that everything is opposite. It’s really hard getting used to the fact that I have to watch out for all of this bulk on my left side instead of on my right side and also remember that when turning left, I’m turning into the adjacent lane not onto the opposite side! It’s happened a few times when I turn right and almost get into the wrong lane but I always remember last second and correct myself. I think I’ll be ok though. I finally learned how to properly parallel park instead of just guessing and hoping it’s ok. Of course I learn this 6 years too late!

Anyway this week has been wonderful! My schedule is pretty awesome since I just work mornings to get the kids ready for school then evenings when the kids are home and need to be fed and put to bed so it leaves for a lot of time to explore during the day. So far I’ve gone down to the beach a few times, which is gorgeous and so close to me! There are also a lot of really cute little cafes and bars down there, which I will continue to explore as I meet more and more people! I’m trying to figure out how to post a photo slideshow so there aren’t just 8 billion photos in this 5 page essay. When I figure it out I’ll make a new post. Just know I’ve got a ton of photos full of badassery already

Yesterday during my hours off I went down to a park downtown for this free exhibition of animals for Threatened Species Day. It was so cool! There were these 15 minute presentations per animal and then there were booths set up where you could get more info. They even let us pet some of the animals so I got to pet a dingo (no it didn’t eat anyone’s baby), a koala and a baby kangaroo! There were so many cool animals! Afterwards I went for a walk and ended up at the harbor so I was able to see the Sydney Opera House and the famous bridge finally! I love downtown. The architecture here is so beautiful. I’m obsessed with this city. I legitimately might never come home. Sorry Mom & Dad!

Later tonight there’s an underground film festival that I might hit up with some other au pairs. I’ve been meeting a bunch and it’s super cool because they’re from all over the world. Pretty soon I’m going to have best friends from Germany, France, and I don’t even know where else! Sunday there’s a big lunch for au pairs downtown and I’m really excited to get to meet even more people. Sydney is amazing.

All in all, these first few days have been wonderful. I don’t even feel like I left to go anywhere really. I feel like I’ve been living here forever even though some things take getting used to. I think I adapt to things really well in general. Like I’ve just accepted that this is how it is and this is how it’s going to be and I don’t really have a problem with that!

[Insert Clever Title Here]

As I mentioned in the last post, I finally got here 17 hours later. After a long day of pretending to pack, but really just staring at the mess in my room wondering how on earth to pack for six months, I made some executive decisions, stuffed my suitcases, backpack and purse and headed off to LAX. I checked in with my bags, which were apparently 1lb over the weight limit. Good thing I’m cute and charming or the attendant would have charged me some exorbitant charge. We then ate dinner at Encounter, which was pretty cool. We were able to have a nice view of the airport and the 12 police cars that showed up towards the end that circled the building while we were eating…Not scary…at all. Anyway, it was a nice dinner. I was glad to know that if the plane went down my last meal would at least have been my favorite–steak with mashed potatoes and veggies. Afterwards it was back to the terminal so that I could start my journey. I was a little nervous but my parents kept telling me how proud they were of me and that it was now my turn to start my adventures, which was really comforting to hear. They sent me to the escalator that led to security and I was really truly on my own. I flew with V Australia which is pretty cool. Virgin is pretty gimmicky and tries really hard to be this “cool” service. I guess they are. The flight was nice. It was probably the biggest plane I’ve ever been on though. I usually fly 747s and I think this was 777 so there were 3 seats on the sides then an aisle and a middle section with like 4 seats. It was cool. I managed to score a window seat in a row where there was no middle person. Again, thanks to my cute and charming ways. The movies were absolute shit. Thankfully I brought a lot of books that I cared to read about. Side note: Can I just say I’m super tired of these try hard indie movies? I can’t read while I’m eating so I put on a movie and thought Happythankyoumoreplease might be interesting. 20 minutes in and I had to turn it off. It was such¬†a try hard indie movie. I also saw Nice Guy Johnny recently, another try-hard indie movie, and it was probably the most atrocious thing I’d ever seen. I kept watching thinking it’d get better but it never did. That is an hour and a half of my life I will never get back. I digress. Here’s how the plane went: I read, I ate food, I read, I slept. I timed it out perfectly so that I went to sleep around 8 or 9pm Aussie time then would wake up at 6:45 am when my plane landed in order to avoid jet lag. No such luck. I definitely fell asleep but I would wake up every two hours. Finally I woke up around 5 just in time for breakfast, which wasn’t that good but then again what do you expect on an airplane? However, I’m pretty sure at dinner they were handing out free wine…The girl next to me just put out her glass and got some and I’m pretty sure she didn’t pay for it. Something to watch out for upon return… Went back to sleep and woke up about 20 minutes before landing. I am so¬†glad I woke up. The view approaching Brisbane is incredible. We flew over this island which I figured out is called ¬†Moreton Island and it was seriously the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.

I couldn’t find an image of the entire island overhead, but as you can see it’s all forest except for the beaches and this one tiny part that looked like it had civilization on it.
It was dawn so it was still kind of grey outside as we passed over. There were a lot of clouds about and I’m pretty sure it was raining in some parts. It was really cool because you could see these pockets of rain on the North side of the island. It looked like those cartoons where it’s raining over only one kid and nowhere else. It was seriously one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen. I don’t know if you know this, but I love trees, the ocean, and rain so that image was perfect. I would have gotten a thousand pictures but they had already yelled at somebody near me to turn off their electronics.

Finally landed in Brisbane, which was cool. The airport looked like it was in some tropical farmland like in Hawaii or something. So different from the airports in SoCal which are all right in the city. Unfortunately, my stay in Brisbane was short. I had to run off to get my bags, go through immigration and then catch my next flight. As I walked towards baggage claim I saw the biggest mass of people I have ever seen in an airport. I wandered for a bit trying to figure out if I needed my bags first or what since there were no clear directions. After wasting like 10 minutes I finally got in line. Then I heard someone say that the line was in was for Australian passport holders. I even saw a sign right next to me pointing in my direction that that was the line. I got out of line and got in the next line. Turns out the sign was pointing to the line on the other side of me. The line I got in merged with the line I was originally in so I probably wasted another 10 minutes in my stupidity. The pair of American dudes behind me called it the line to the gates of hell. Then changed their minds and renamed it “Disneyland without the fun.” They had a point.

This photo doesn't even do it justice...

That line took almost an hour to get through. I overheard an employee tell a passenger that the line was so long because about half a dozen flights all arrived at the same time dumping around 2000 people. ARE U FURREAL??? 2000 PEOPLE???It was madness. Of course I got in the line behind people who didn’t speak english so it took even longer because they couldn’t communicate where they were going and how long they’d be staying…Once I got to the window it literally took about two minutes and I was through. Then I had to get my bags, thought one of my bags had gone missing since I was one of the last to get them from my flight. Freaked out for a second then realized I just didn’t recognize the luggage because it was my dad’s. Finally¬†after all of this I made it to the counter to check in. I had no idea what time my connecting flight left and couldn’t find my itinerary. They informed me it was probably the flight that left at 9 and I should just go straight there as it was now around 8:15. They directed me towards the shuttle and off I went. I was struggling a bit with two huge suitcases, a backpack, and a purse but luckily this incredibly sweet Aussie couple helped me get on the shuttle. After a drive that seemed like it took forever, we made it to the terminal. It was just my luck that there was construction so I had to get off before my terminal. However, it wasn’t too far of a walk, I was just annoyed that this was more time I had to take towards getting to my flight.

When I got to my terminal I found a huge queue for the boarding passes. I frantically ran to an employee and asked if there was anything I could do. She took me to the front of the line and got everything sorted out for me.
I had thirty minutes to spare…except 30 minutes is when they start boarding the plane…
I run to security and thankfully there is no line. I get through with no problems when an employee pulls me aside and tells me I’ve been “randomly” selected for an explosives screening. Really? Of all the things. He talked to me like I had a choice of this but really, I don’t think I did…Basically the guy used a little swiffer thing on my sides then on the inside of one of the flaps of my bag. Then he put it in a machine and it said I had no explosives. Right. Because that’s a really thorough search…I mean I don’t have explosives but it just seemed really silly.

After that mess I ran upstairs thinking my gate was going to be right there. No. It was clear on the other side of Australia it felt like…I ran like there was no tomorrow to that terminal and got there, sweating profusely, about fifteen minutes before takeoff. Once again, I had an empty seat in between my window seat and the guy at the aisle. It was smooth sailing from there. As weird as it is, there was a small part of me that wanted to miss my flight. I know, I know that would have been a disaster especially since my phone doesn’t work here and I wouldn’t be able to contact the family. I just wanted to see what I would do. I want to crash and burn so that I can learn how to be independent. My parents never coddled me but they’re incredibly smart people so I’ve always been able to go to them for answers. On the other side of the world though, I can’t just call them and ask them what to do. Though I’m with a family here, I really am on my own. It’s up to me to make my own decisions. I like that. I like that I’m finally becoming a real person so I stop feeling so stupid for not knowing things like how to deposit a check…That’s only a joke as of a year ago…

 

I got off the plane and saw the dad waiting with the two oldest kids at baggage claim. I knew what the family looked like from skype and photos but people always look different in person so I was kind of worried that I would miss them somehow. I spotted them right away though and I was instantly so happy! The kids are absolutely adorable. They were a little shy at first but the little girl is very talkative and took to me right away, which was great. She was all up in my business telling me her favorite colors and that she liked all of the colors I was wearing. Adorable. We headed back to the house and they showed me my room which is pretty cool. It’s definitely a lot bigger than my current room at home. It’s weird because there’s no closet exactly…there are just really huge cabinets like four feet off the ground where I can hang my stuff so I use one of those poles they have at clothing stores to get stuff off the top shelves. Weird. Anyway. It was Australian Father’s Day along with some birthdays so the family was out most of the day. They invited me but I decided to go unpack, shower and explore the town. Definitely exploded my hair dryer with the converter…Good thing there’s actually a Target here so I can get stuff!

After settling in, I headed down to the beach where a lot of the shops are. The beach and the shops are about a mile I’d say so it was a really quick walk down. ¬†I tried to go get a phone and exchange some money but everything closes so early!¬†The area is hopping with bars and restaurants but everything useful closed at like 4 or 5 which was so irritating but whatever. I grabbed a sandwich from a corner shop and walked around for a bit before heading back. The houses are all really cute here. It’s a little confusing because some of the roads wind around and there are all these roundabouts. The streets also aren’t super well lit at night once you get into the residential zone and there aren’t any clear crosswalks there either. Definitely got a little lost but luckily had a photo of a map to go off of and made it back safely.

All in all, this was a great first day. I am unbelievably happy to be here. I can’t believe this is my life. The family is so great. I’m so happy they’re so nice. I was honestly scared something was going to happen and we wouldn’t get along or something but they’re wonderful. This week I kind of have to settle in and figure out routine before really starting to work next week. I love it here. I’m glad this is the next six months of my life. I’m off to sleep now though as it is nearly ten pm here and nearly 5 am back home. Though I wouldn’t say I’m jet lagged, I definitely didn’t sleep enough on the plane last night.

Goodnight world!