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.
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.