Monday, July 9, 2007

a kangaroo...what?

well. i love it here. i'm obsessed is pretty much what it comes down to.

so, on Sunday morning before we were to depart for our orientation trip, siobhan and I went on a mini adventure to find some coffee and breakfast. it was a nice little adventure that pretty much taught us that Melbourne is one of those cities that is pretty much shut down on a sunday morning. however, we did find this nice little cafe on Erroll Street which is a pretty popular street in north melbourne (where "the village-our apartments) is. so this cafe had absolutely delicious looking omelettes, french toast, waffles and everything but we were a little pressed for time so we both just had a spinach and ricotta cheese filo. A filo is sort of a a triangular wrap sort of thing...its a little hard to describe so the next time i have one, i'll take a picture to show what i'm talking about. we also learned some important lingo in the wonderful world of coffee. This was an important lesson because lord knows that i need my coffee. so here, a cup of black coffee is a "flat". a cup of black coffee with milk is a "flat white" and if you want skim milk, its a "flat white skinny". so, thats that. the coffee and a filo were both delicious, so we will definitely be frequenting that cafe and next time hopefully for one of their delicious omelettes.

when we returned to the village to be picked up for our orientation trip, i dont think anyone knew what quite to expect. however, the entire orientation trip was the most amazing surprise ever. i learned many things over the past couple of days including that i absolutely love my IES group. i'm glad that we have a small group because that has allowed for us to get crazy close in only three days. everyone is so chill and down to earth, up for anything and just wants to have a good time.

for our orientation trip we were going to the Grampians national park in the middle of the state of victoria, about 3 1/2 hours west of Melbourne. on the way to the grampians, we stopped for lunch at this winery in the Australian Pyrenees mountains. the winery was absolutely beautiful and the food was amazing. this was the first of many pleasant surprises. after an absolutely delicious lunch, we went on a short tour of the winery and had a wine tasting. Luigi, the owner of the winery was the cutest old italian-australian man you will ever see. not only was his accent adorable, but he was very interestingly knowledgeable about the process of making their wine and all that. so, not only did i find myself so intrigued in the process of the wine making but just taking it all in that i was at my first wine tasting in australia. i mean, who knew?

that night we made it to the hostel that we were staying in for the next couple of nights. we were all pretttty exhausted and jetlagged by the time we got there so we ended up just having delicious burgers and such for dinner and then passing out pretty early.

the next day we got up and many people were up early to enough to go and hang out with the kangaroos. unfortunately for me, i was in the shower during these kangaroo adventures so i missed them. sad day. we ate breakfast, had our first orientation meeting with liz and luke (who are awesome), had lunch and then went off on the days adventure. after 30 minutes of riding in a pretty uncomfortable bus on dirt roads in the mountains, we finally arrived at our stop for the day in the grampians national park. we met earl( who is awesome) and he ran us through the beginnings of how to rock climb, boley (i dont think thats how you spell it) and we got harnessed in our gear and such and set off to find the mountain that we needed to conquer.

i'm not gonna lie...i was FREEKING OUT. i dont rock climb. i never have. and when i've tried, it was up one of those malkin climbing walls at hotchkiss not under my own choice. so, the idea of me, climbing a real mountain was proposterous. when we arrived at the climbing spot, i was like NO FRIGGIN WAY, but of course i was going to do it anyways...because come on i'm in Australia for goodness sake. I pretty much let everyone go before me before i attempted to climb up the "easiest" way but I made it and it was awesome. the view from the top was unbelievable and I had a great time getting up there. I think that i actually really like climbing a lot more than i thought i would. it was really awesome because everyone climbed more than once and made it to the top. i mean usually in a group like this you would find one or two people who would be uncomfortable in doing something like this but everyone was up for the challenge and everyone was supportive throughout the whole thing, it was awesome. after the rock climbing, we all took turns to go abseiling (rappelling) down the mountain. now, that WAS AWESOME. we hiked up that same mountain that we had been rock climbing up and the view was...breath taking to say the least. i will definitely post pictures later. we were rappelling about 6 stories down which is a little less than the floor i lived on this year in munson. unreal. at first when you're getting ready to step BACKWARDS off that cliff, you are freaking out. i was going a little crazy. but once you get that jump its awesome. like a roller coaster awesome...except better. i started swinging around and everything but when you get to the bottom, you're sad because you just want to do it all over again. ah, it was the best day ever.

that night when we got back, we chilled out for a while before going out to dinner to this really nice restaurant in the middle of nowhere grampians mountains. many people had the kangaroo (which i was interesting) and just continued to get to know each other. i sat at the smaller table at the restaurant so when dessert time came, we had the best idea. there were 6 of us at the table, and 7 dessert naturally we all chose one of each dessert and then when around the table counter clockwise. BEST IDEA EVER. (we left our the vanilla ice cream, for those of you wondering).

when we got back to the hostel, we just hung out for a while before hitting the sack around 11 (which was a huge deal in our jetlagged minds...)

this morning, i finally got to see my kangaroos. we got up early and went to hang out with them and it was awesome. i will definitely be posting more pictures later but they are definitely a really SWEET animal. before setting off back to melbourne, we went on a bush walk (which was basically a hike through the woods) to a waterfall. it was absolutely gorgeous. i'm pretty convinced that this is definitely the most beautiful island that is a country that is a continent on earth. we took tons of more pictures (obvi), hung out in town and then got back on the bus to melbourne.

this weekend was awesome. i couldnt be more excited for the semester. although i know that things might not be as adventurous when school starts, im still pretty in love with this place already and am just so excited for what the next 5 months has to offer. G'day Mates!

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