Thursday, September 13, 2007

life is a highway...(or a great ocean road)

well. so i would have updated a long time ago but the only time that i had to sit own at my computer for an extended amount of time was given to my 2500 research paper that was due today. so yes, finally I am DONEZO and can unofficially begin my "holiday" (how the aussies refer to as mid-semester break or what we refer to as Spring break). you have NO idea how relieved i feel and how excited I am for the next two weeks. i will eventually get to that but first, i am going to walk you through the end of last week leading up to the amazing weekend.

so on thursday, i took my test for bio which went very very well and that was really exciting. it was only worth 10% of my grade, but it was good to do well on my first graded assignment of the semester (which is weird, seeing how it was the 7th week of class...and there is only 12 weeks). so that was pretty much thursday...the girls came over and we made a latenight run to safeway before tucking in and watching "must love dogs" which was ok. friday was typical...a trip to the market, girls came over again, watched another movie, should have written my paper...but then i packed for the weekend.

on saturday, 11 of the 13 IES kids (and 13 other kids) headed off with the International Students Outdoors Program (the same group that took us to Phillip Island) to the world reknown Great Ocean Road. i have been anticipating this trip since i read Bill Bryson's "In a Sunburned Country", and so i was unbelievably excited to finally get the chance to do it. so, our first stop was in the beach side town of Torquay (try to pronounce that one, you'll fail) for a surfing lesson. sooo pumped. surfing is definitely one of those things that i always wanted to do, and was definitely on my list of things to do while in australia (separated by oceans from my parents). it was unbelievable. we put on our full body wetsuits (the most flattering thing ever), got our boards had a lesson by our awesome instructor Rose and then started catching some waves. well, it wasn't exactly like that but you get the drift. a random fact is that although australia is the most deadliest continent/country/island on earth in terms of wildlife, they never have shark attacks. Or so they tell us...but yeah, so once i got over the fear of sharks and stingrays it was just me and the waves. our lesson was only 2 hours long but i could've stayed out there all day. it was such an awesome experience...i was even able to get up a couple of times which was...i don't even know how to explain it. but yes, i am in love with surfing and am thrilled that i am going to "surfer's paradise" for the second week of spring break because all i want to do is get on a board and get out there again.

then it was lunch time. we brought our lunches with us and we stopped at this really cool beach town, Lorne, and had a wonderfully nice picnic lunch with the IES family. we also walked on the beach (Lorne Beach) for a while after lunch, took in the gorgeous coast and the sand that is SOOOOOO soft and just basked in the beauty of australia. we then headed off to erksine falls which was pretty sweet waterfall in the rainforest. that is why everyone needs to come to australia because it's pretty much the most insanely beautiful country ever. not only one minute can you be taking in beautiful coastlines and the deep blue ocean, but then next minute you can be in a rain forest...and in a few hours you can be in the dessert. its a little insane. but the rainforest was pretty sweet. and the waterfall was gorgeous.

following erksine, we headed out to teddy's lookout. unbelievable. its really hard to explain the beauty that teddy's lookout was because even pictures can't do it justice. however, i do recommend that you check out my pictures to kind of get a feel of what i am talking about. but teddy's lookout from a hill on the great ocean road which you see the unbelievable coastline combined with this gorgeous green hills and valley. it was breathtaking and it is just one of things that you don't really believe your experiencing because its so unbelievable. its hard for me to imagine not being here right now because everyday my life changes just a little bit more and always for the better. so yes, teddy's lookout= God's glory.

it was then off to see more koalas. koalas are pretty cool but i am definitely koaled out but it was cool to see them in the "wild" and i saw one that was awake and also had a baby koala which was pretty sweet. i mean koala's sleep 20-24 hours a day so, you're extremely lucky to catch them awake.

we then headed to the hostel for the night...we had a "camp" shower session which consisted of the 6 of us girls (i love us, by the way) in our swimsuits showering. ahh, those are the moments you live for. we then went into town (Apollo Bay), got some dinner and ice cream and then hung out at the "happening" pub in town that really wasn't happening but it was nice nonetheless. i had fish and chips for dinner which was delicious, by the way. that night, the girls went for a nice midnight stroll on the beach which was an interesting turn of events. we obviously went the wrong way to start off, and ended up at the "southern drop off " point which lucky for us, we had cell phone lights guiding our way. but we eventually made it there and it was unreal. i have NEVER seen stars like this in my entire life...even in the middle of nowhere new york. never. i think it has to do with their thin o-zone layer here (which is also the reason why you burn and tan easier), and overall environmental consciousness. there isn't a lot of pollution in the country, even living in the city...but those stars were absolutely unbelievable. that is something that i can't really explain and can't just have to come to australia and see it for yourself. the stars reflected off the ocean which was...well, you kind of get the picture.

the next day, we headed off to the main attractions of the trip the twelve apostles. but before getting there, we took another stop over in another rain forest that was pretty cool. but yeah, it was pretty much just more trees. then we finally arrived at the twelve apostles (there are only 7 now--> erosion) and it was more beautiful then the postcards can even capture. the twelve apostles were initially twelve large monoliths off of the coast but over time, some have eroded and collapsed. the last one to collapse happened in 2005, so the base of it is still there crumbled in the ocean. but yes, it was beautiful. look at the pictures, please. oh, and it also made you think that god is just brilliant to create things with such beauty. we then proceeded onto Loch ard gorge which is another monolith type "structure" a little further down the great ocean road. the story to Loch Ard gorge is pretty sweet but pretty much all you want to know is that along with being the great ocean road, it is also shipwreck coast. so i think you kinda get the picture. but loch ard was really cool beause its almost like a little bridge off the coast and the arch looks very small from the side view but once you are parallel to realize how massive the arch part is. you really need to look at the pictures to understand what i am saying. but, the water is also absolutely stunning. the ocean here isn't really a crystal clear but its more of a deep turquoise/coral blue. its absolutely stunning. a really cool part of the gorge was that we could go down on to the beach by it, and we played in the sand. then, that was it.

i was a little dissapointed because we didn't get to go see the lighthouse and "london bridge"(another famous rock formation...also has a cool story) but i was still very pleased by the weekend. we stopped for lunch in apollo bay on a it was pretty lame before heading home. all in all it was a pretty unbelievable weekend and i could definitely see myself buying a beach house one day on the great ocean road.

well, this week has pretty much consisted of me writing my paper. but i have officially decided to take part in Uni games which i am pumped about. i realize that this is the ultimate once in a lifetime opportunity, and so i don't want to live this experience with any regrets. on a maybe sadder note, i think i'm going to not really row while i am here anymore. although i love the coaches and the team, its really not fitting into my schedule and because i am going to be gone for the next two weeks, then my mom, yvette and bishop are going to be who knows. maybe, maybe not...i think i've made my decision but i usually stay on the fence with these things. but yeah, this week was pretty uneventful.

however, saturday marks the turn in everything. off to TASMANIA!! i am sooooooooooooo pumped. i can't even begin to tell you. i would tell you all of the cool things that we are doing but i will leave it for the posts while i am there doing them. just know, i will be going to the cadbury factory which is both a good and bad thing. good because it will be unbelievable. bad because i need to not eat all week up until that point...just kidding. but not really. so yes, soo excited. but i wont spoil the surprise for all of the cool things that i will be doing.

so tomorrow will consist of going to my last two classes...wooohoo and then getting everything ready for tassy. oh and its been a while since i gave you a australian vocabulary here is something interesting...they don't call running sneakers here "sneakers" or "running sneakers" but they call them runners. pretty sweet, huh? and they call sunglasses "sunnies"...i am pretty fond of that one. and something really strange but awesome is that they don't have skunks in this country. i was in my chem class the other day and my professor was talking about how in north america they have an animal called a skunk which gives off an awful sulfur odor...and i was taken back that they don't have skunks or even know what they are.

well. thats enough for me right now. i'm blogged out but i will most likely be writing tomorrow at some point and hopefully at least once or twice while in tassy. until then...cheers!

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