Saturday, March 28, 2009

Salsa Dancing

I had the internship Tuesday through Thursday this week, with the highlight being going to a screening of Knowing with Nicolas Cage, who lived up to my low expectations of him. It was a strange film, with a huge religious undertone, but it was surprisingly scary. I went with Rhiannon, and helped her at the beginning, because FILMINK was hosting the screening. I had to hand out the “prizes” to the people who answered some trivia questions before the movie (the prizes, not so great – the best one being Mr. Mom).

Thursday night, I went out with my future roommate Isabel in Sydney, which ended up being a lot of fun. We danced and laughed a lot. Friday, I headed to Newtown, one of the artsy suburbs of Sydney, for a poetry performance by one of the guys from “Fall Out Boy.” Unfortunately, I had looked up directions to the wrong Brown St., and had to ask a few different people before I found directions to the library. When I got there, all of the lights were off, and no one was there. I was so frustrated. I heard music coming from behind the library, and decided to check it out.

I poked my head in the door, and heard, “…1, 2, 3… 5, 6, 7…” A salsa lesson! The teacher poked her head back out and asked if I wanted to join them. I thought, “Why not?” and went inside. I jumped right in and did a lot better than I thought I would. Everyone asked if I had taken lessons before but I said only swing dancing lessons (thanks Jul!). I found out from one of the ladies that the poetry reading had been cancelled, which explained the empty library. The lesson was a lot of fun, and definitely proved my new theory correct, that some of the best experiences abroad are the ones you don’t plan. I walked back to the bus stop feeling completely satisfied. There are definite moments that I am always going to remember from my abroad experience (even if I don’t have pictures of them!) and that was definitely one of them.

An update on my living situation: On April 9, I’ll be moving all off my things out of the Thompson’s and into Isabel and Petra’s homestay before I go to New Zealand and the Great Barrier Reef with my mom and Julia. When I get back, I’ll be living at their homestay for a while, and then moving into my internship supervisor, Rhiannon’s apartment (or flat, as they call it here) for the rest of my time here. It is in a really neat part of Sydney called Glebe, and I think it will be a really great experience.

Memories in Melbourne

I had the opportunity to travel to Melbourne last week for a long weekend to visit my friend Maxine from Marist. I booked an inexpensive flight on JetStar, packed all of my things for 5 days into my bookbag and purse (including Twilight borrowed from one of my host mom’s friends, Kara – I really didn’t want to give into the fad, but after Julia recommended it, I figured it must be good (verdict: excellent, page-turning story line, below-average writing)) and headed off to the airport for the 1 and half hour flight, directions all ready for when I “alighted” from the plane (as they say).

However, when I got off the plane and asked directions to the first road I had listed, the man I asked looked at me like I had 12 heads, and then came to the conclusion that I had gotten myself directions from the wrong airport (I still can’t figure out how that happened, because I knew there were two airports and thought I chose the right one… oh well). He pointed me in the direction of a shuttle bus that would take me into the city. On the bus, a very friendly German traveler sat next to me, and we chatted the entire way into the city. Our bus driver, who thought he was also a tour guide, gave us a little history on the city of Melbourne as we drove, which I tried to listen to while carrying on a conversation with Marcus (I think that was his name anyway – I have learned that I am awful with names; as soon as they say their name, it goes right out the other ear because I am too focused on what I am going to say next).

We arrived in the city about 45 minutes later, and I made my way to Flinders Street Station where I would be meeting Maxine.

It happened to be 6,000 degrees in Melbourne that day, and I had to walk pretty far to find her, but seeing a friendly face was well worth the trek. We grabbed smoothies and proceeded to explore the city. Because she lives so far outside the city (about an hour away), she had only been twice before, both times at night, so we were both new to it. We explored some laneways, which Melbourne is famous for, and sat by the Burra? River for a while. At 8:00 on the dot, flames erupted from five gray stone pillars behind us. We could not figure out why anyone would think, “Oh yes, in Melbourne, where bushfires run rampant, we should have a fire display on Thursday nights at 8, even though the pillars the fire will be coming from are right next to potentially-flammable trees.” We were much more petrified than entertained, and decided that was our cue to find somewhere to get dinner. After much searching (neither of us are capable of making decisions), we opted for an Indian restaurant (Maxine is vegan, which tents to rule out some restaurants). I ordered chicken curry, and Maxine vegetarian. She is also allergic to nuts, and as she started eating, she thought she spooted one. She asked the woman who rang us out, and she said that there were no nuts. Luckily, Maxine was still skeptical and opted to eat the rice first. Then, the chef came out and said, “Oh, you don’t like nuts?” Maxine nervously responded, “No, I’m allergic,” and the man said, “Oh, well I did throw some nuts in.” Cue: minor freakout by Maxine. We quickly finished our meal (what she could eat of it anyway) and then, as potential hives were forming, we went on the search for Benedryl at 9:30 p.m. on a Thursday night in Melbourne. No luck. Luckily she didn’t end up having a serious reaction, but it was quite a scare for a while.

The next morning, we had to wake up at 5:30 in order to make sure I would make it on time to the Holiday Inn where the “Go West” tour bus would be picking me up at 7:45. I got there, found the bus, and then ran to go grab breakfast and a drink, as I still had a few minutes before the bus was due to leave. When I got back to where the bus had been waiting, though, it was no where to be seen. I started to panic, as I didn’t even have any contact information for the tour company with me, and was not too keen on losing out on a $100 AUD all-day trip. Just as the panic was mounting, I saw the bus come around the corner and flagged it down, hopping on as the last passenger on the bus.

The trip was excellent. Our tour guide, Paul, was very laid-back and funny, and I ended up making friends with tour girls, Melissa and Helen, from Perth, who are travelling Australia for about 2 months; they are actually going to be in Sydney for the next month and asked if I wanted to hang out tonight). Our first stop was an Aboriginal exhibition in which a man spoke to us about Aboriginal weapons and played the billabong quite skillfully. Very impressive. We then started on the Great Ocean Road, a scenic highway, similar to the one along California. It was very hazy and gray in the morning, not making for the best pictures, but it cleared up as the day went on. Then we stopped at a koala sanctuary, where we saw lots of birds, and a very koalas sleeping in the trees.

Too adorable. We stop for lunch, and I grabbed fish and chips. After that, we stopped at one of the few temperate-climate (maybe?) rainforests left in Australia? Or Melbourne? The facts escape me. I saw some of the crazy plants that I had seen in the Botanical Gardens in Sydney in their natural habitat, which was pretty cool.

And then, finally, we made it to the Twelve Apostles. The view was fantastic, and it was so cool to be at the place where all of the postcard pictures are taken.

We also stopped at Shipwreck Cove (or is that the name of the miniature golf place in Lake George? Maybe Lockhead Shipwreck? I’m not sure…), which was also very beautiful, and I got to put my feet in the Antarctic Ocean for the first time. As Maxine said in her blog, it made me realize that we are VERY far from home. From there, we went on to the London Bridge, which actually no longer looks like a bridge anymore, as it has broken off from the land.

We stopped for a quick dinner on the way home at KFC (my first American fast-food since I’ve been here – I made it past Amanda’s one month rule), which very disappointingly did not have honey mustard sauce. On the way home, they gave us PSPs and I finished watching Rabbit Proof Fence, which we had started to watch in class, and then started March of the Penguins. I made the trek back to Maxine’s, and she met me at the tram stop near her house at 10:15. Longest day ever. We stayed up too late talking, and woke up a little late the next morning, but that’s what vacation is all about.

We met up with Katey (Alex’s sister who is our age) and Dylan (her boyfriend) in the morning for coffee (well, a banana smoothie and crepe for me) near the Queen Victoria Markets, which we never actually made our way into. Dylan lives in Melbourne and Katey in Perth, but she is considering moving to Melbourne. We had a lot of fun talking to them, and then Dylan took us back to the Holiday Inn, where we would be meeting the bus again for our tour to Phillip Island. The bus was very late, which was realy nerve-wracking, but it finally came and we grabbed two seats together.

Our first stop was a winery where we did a wine tasting (even though Maxine and I both hate wine). We tried a few, mostly with scrunched up faces, and then took a few minutes to take in the view. Our next stop topped my list I think. We got to feed and pet wallabies and kangaroos! They were SO adorable. There were also koalas, donkeys, horses, geese, sheep, peacocks, talking birds and emus (SO freaky).

At one point, while I was crouching down to feed some kangaroos, Maxine said, “Uhh… Amy… there is a kangaroo hopping at you, really fast.” Despite being completely adorable, they are pretty large, have really heavy, big feet, and when they are hopping at you, it is a scary thing.

After that, we stopped at the beach, and finally made friends with the boys from the Netherlands who we had been trying to talk to the entire trip. We ended up having dinner with them and joked about our not-so-friendly tour guide. As we were driving to our next stop, we saw my favorite sunset I have ever seen. As Amanda said, it really looked like God was coming down through it.

We took a million pictures of the waves crashing on the rocks, and then one of a dead penguin (by accident, which we quickly deleted from our cameras once we realized it). These penguins, which would soon be the stars of the trip, are called Little Penguins, creatively named because they are the smallest penguins in the world.

They hang out under the boardwalk of the spot we were at, and other ones come out of the water during the “Penguin Parade,” which would be our next stop.

The bleachers where you watch the parade from were packed. We found a seat and settled in to wait for the penguins to appear. It was pretty hard to see them, but it was still cool to see. Then we walked along the boardwalk and saw them headed, each to their own separate spots. We couldn’t believe how far they walked just to find their nesting spots. Before we got back on the bus, we grabbed the boys’ phone numbers because we were headed to St. Kilda the next day, where their apartment is. The tour guide gave us PSPs again for the way home and I finished watching March of the Penguins and watched a show about Tasmanian devils, which was extremely scary.

The next day, we met up with Maxine’s friend Ayla from Canada, and headed into the city. We stopped at a street-side market, where I found an awesome journal from a stand called “Rebound Books.” They take old books and turn them into journals, photoalbums, etc. I found one that was called “Stories of Australian Exploration,” and thought it was just too perfect to pass up, so I’ve been using that as diary for my trip. We hopped on a tour bus that took us all around the city, and dropped us off in the botanical gardens, which, much to our surprise, were right across the street from where the bus had picked us up. As we walked into the gardens, we realized that there was a Greek festival going on, so we decided to eat our sandwiches while watching the festival.

The gardens were fantastic, and of course I got a thousand shots of flowers.

After the gardens, we headed to St. Kilda, a beach town outside of the city. We walked around, window shopped a bit (mostly looking at menus for restaurants we could eat at later), and walked along the board walk where the vendors were just packing up for the night. We got a hold of the boys and agreed to meet up with them at 7, and then found a restaurant for dinner. I finally got to have pasta, and it was fantastic. Ayla and I got the same kind, fettuccini with chicken and spinach, in a cream and alfredo sauce, and both finished everything on our plates. After dinner, we killed some time, and then went on the search for the Dutch boy’s apartment (Maxine had forgotten the number of the apartment building number, and the number of the apartment). While contemplating what to do, as we waited in the lobby of what could have been their apartment building, a boy came in behind us, and, as we looked completely lost, figured out who we were, and asked if we were the American girls. He was Nigel, the nephew of the man whose apartment the boys were staying at. He brought us up to the apartment, and we stayed and chatted with the “old man”, as they called him, Jim. He was the nicest, funniest old man, and kind of reminded me of Grandpa Veet. Sometimes he would forget and start speaking in Dutch, which was met with blank stares from all of us. He happened to LOVE Canada, which Ayla was so excited about. After a while, we headed out with Bas, Mark, Nigel and Ruben and found a pub where a band was playing. We chatted with them for a while, went to go grab a gelato, and then headed back home.

We had another early morning ahead of us in order for me to get to the airport for my flight back to Sydney. My flight went fine, and I spent the night getting unpacked and ready for the week.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Speed posting

Not much time to write -- have to get ready to go to Melbourne tomorrow and get to bed early, but I figured I would post a little something to hold mom over until I get back from Melbourne on Monday ;-).
Back to last weekend. Sunday, I went to Maroubra Beach with Isabel and her Brazilian friends... who mostly ended up speaking in Portuguese the entire time, meaning Isabel and I had NO idea what they were saying. It was a very pretty beach, and looked like you were looking to the end of the world.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I had my internship again, with exciting bookends of days. On Monday, I got to go to see the premier of Under the Sea 3-D: IMAX, with an introduction by the director/cinematographer who took us through the making of the movie. Dad would have loved it. The film itself was AWESOME, with the cutest seals, and crazy, delicate underwater creatures, with an undertone of environmentalist messages. The kids in the theater were eating it up, reaching out to "touch" the 3-D images. Wednesday, I got to interview an Israeli actress who is going to be in a new movie with Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner. The movie looks kind of stupid, but this actress, Noa Tishby, was the most down-to-earth girl, and was a pleasure to talk to. She recently married the host of Australian Idol and lives in L.A., but travels to Australia and Israeli often. She met her husband on Bondi Beach, right near my work! She did not have even a trace of an accent... sounded like she was born and raised in the U.S. For a first interview, I think it went fairly well, and I'll work on that article when I go back to work on Tuesday. When I left work Wednesday, I stopped in the gelato shop (where last week, the girl gave me a free gelato because she felt bad for me because I'm so far from home, and her boyfriend is also studying abroad), and got my favorite gelato so far - chocolate fudge. And she gave it to me for only $2. She is the nicest girl... maybe I'll ask her to hang out some time... she seems pretty lonely because her boyfriend is gone...
This week I found out that Alex is coming to visit on May 29th, which is really exciting, so I've been working on planning things for when he's here. And I also was planning my trip to Melbourne this week. I leave tomorrow afternoon and am there until Monday afternoon. I'll be staying with Maxine, one of my friends from Marist, who lives in an international house outside of the city. On Friday, I am doing all all-day Great Ocean Road Tour, including Bells Beach, Otways rainforest, rock formations at the Port Campbell National Park (including the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and London Bridge), the Narana Creations Indigenous Cultural Centre, and a chance to spot koalas in the wild. I am so excited for this tour. Then, on Saturday, Maxine is coming with me to do the Phillip Island Day Tour and Penguin Parade. The tour covers everything from kangaroos to koalas, and parrots to wombats, with an opportunity to feed kangaroos and emus, get up close to koalas and hold a baby wombat. We stop at a winery (yippee...), and then make our way to Summerland Beach, wehre, as night falls, the penguins make their appearance at close range to make their way across the beach to their homes. I am definitely worried about running out of space on my memory card. These things have photo op written all over them!
I'll be sure to post lots of pictures when I get back on Monday!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Blue Mountains

Well, now that I'm exactly a week behind on posting, I guess I'll try to catch up! Last Sunday morning, we woke up bright and early to catch the train to the Blue Mountains, a national park to the east of Sydney. Tyler, Eric and I made it on time, but John and Steve missed it by a few minutes, but it didn't end up mattering. We slept on the 2 hour train ride, and Lew, a teacher from ACU who owns Silvermere Guesthouse, picked us up at the train station. The guesthouse was SO nice, and when we arrived, Lew's wife, Cath, had pastries ready for us, which were fantastic. After we got organized, we headed to the trail.

Before we even started the hike, we saw one of the best views we would see the entire time.

On the 5 HOUR hike (yes, I, Amy Wheeler, hiked for 5 HOURS) we saw a few waterfalls, put eucalyptus leaves up our noses (apparently they help clear up colds), climbed down 7 steep ladders, some with cages around them, and the boys went swimming in the freezing cold water.

Cath packed us bagged lunches to take with us, which boosted my energy back up. And then, about 3 1/2 or 4 hours in, I was about ready to die. I was slightly dizzy, my legs were dragging, and I was exhausted.

But, needless to say, I made it, and took a nice long bath once I got back to the B&B (which, by the way, made me remember how fantastic baths are -- I don't think I've taken one since we found out the upstairs bath leaked when I was in 4th grade).
After my bath, we all had dinner together, with Lew and Cath. She made kangaroo stew, which was great. For dessert, we had some type of pastry with ice cream, which was also great.

We just hung out for the rest of the night, and went to bed fairly early in order to wake up for adventures the next day... which ended up essentially being rained out. For breakfast, we had stewed rhubarb, which was really good, an assortment of fruit, and tea. Then we headed to an Aborginal site, which was particularly eerie in the fog and mist.

We went back for lunch, which was avocado salad, sausage, and a tomato and onion dish, and then headed back to Sydney on the train. I was incredibly sore for the next 3 days.
Tuesday I was back to work at the internship, transcribing an interview the editor did with Hugh Jackman! Wednesday I worked all day, and then went to a book launch for one of the writers at the magazine until 8:15... such a long day, but the book launch was pretty fun, and my bosses loved me because I kept the wine table full and people happy the entire night. Thursday I went into work late because I had stayed late the night before, but ended up getting on a bus with a new driver, making me even later, and when I got to the train station, and announcement came on saying the train to Bondi Junction would be delayed. Just wasn't my day... or so I thought... turns out, Friday the 13th REALLY wasn't my day.
I keep my computer right near my bed, and usually wake up at random times and check my email or IMs. I did this at like 8 am, and everything was fine. When I woke up at 9, my computer was frozen, and CTRL ALT DEL would not work, so I just shut it down. When I went to go turn it back on, it came up with an error message. To make a very long story short, my hard drive was faulty. I just got this computer in DECEMBER! I was so frustrated. And when I talked to the computer guy, he said they most likely would not be able to save what was on the hard drive... aka all of my pictures and homework assignments from this trip, including a power point presentation that was due at 5:30 that day. Cue: minor breakdown from Amy. It was one of those days that would have really sucked if I had been home, and sucked even more because I was in a foreign country, and having to dial 6,000 numbers before I could reach someone at Dell. The Dell guy ended up being super nice, telling me he could totally relate to my feelings, and then telling me that unfortunately they would not be able to have a hard drive shipped, nor was I covered under warranty because I was in a foreign country. Yea... so... good day.
But then, this morning, the computer store people called me back, said my computer was fixed, and that they had been able to recover EVERYTHING from my hard drive. I was SO excited... totally made my day. So I went to go pick it up, kissed the ground he walked on (not really... but pretty close), and went to Manly beach. I grabbed some fish and chips (as suggested by my guide book), and lounged on the beach all day, reading and napping. Tomorrow, I am headed to Coogee beach with Isabel, my Spanish friend, and some of her friends, if the weather is nice. And now -- job/internship searching for the summer and fall. :-/...

Monday, March 9, 2009

A long one... sorry!

So much to blog about, so little time. Since I wrote last, I have seen and done so much more that it will be difficult to write about it all, but I'll give the highlights, and vow to not get so behind on blogging again. On Monday night after my internship, I killed some time, got some pizza, and then went to go see A Midsummer Night's Dream preformed by the symphony, choir and actors. It was a unique version, which was fairly enjoyable, but I enjoyed The Magic Flute better.

Tuesday and Wednesday I just went to the internship and then crashed here, did homework, etc. They are such long days.
Then, Thursday, I set out to do my interviews for my online class. I chose to interview people at the ANZAC memorial in Martin Place, which is where I get the train from every
day. It was really interesting to get to talk to people, and the first two people I asked were willing to do the interview, so that was fantastic. And then, my iPod totally froze, and I could not fix it. So I decided to not stress out, and I would just come back the next day to finish the interviews. After grabbing a delicious crepe, I decided to make the most of the day, and explore the parts of the city I hadn't seen yet.
First, I headed to Hyde Park, passing the Sydney Hospital on my left and St. James church on my right. The park was really beautiful, and I would love to go back there and just read for a day. After leaving the park, I discovered that the building I had been taking pictures of was in fact St. Mary's Cathedral, which was on my list of places to see.

It was beautiful, inside and out.

After giving myself a tour of the cathedral, I headed to the Botanical Gardens again, to explore it some more. When I went the other day, I knew that I had only gotten to see a small portion of it; turns out I hadn't even seen most of the "garden" part.

I took tons of great flower pictures, of course, and was happy as a clam. I have decided that if I could be paid to take flower pictures, I'd be pretty happy with my life.

I love the signs at the gardens: "Please walk on the grass. We also invite you to smell the roses, hug the trees, talk to the birds and picnic on the lawns." And if I wasn't happy enough, then along came two cute little girls and their mom, stopping to drink from an intricate fountain.

I saw thousands of species of plants and flowers, many that I had never seen before in my life.

And then -- my worst nightmare. For those of you who know me well, you know that there is practically nothing that could ruin a day of taking pictures of flowers and cute kids. Nothing, of course, except for the beings of my worst nightmares -- BATS. I heard a bunch of sqwaking, and looked up, expecting some sort of exotic, colorful bird. Instead, HUGE fruit bats, hanging from the trees.

Not only were they huge, and ugly, but they were flapping, sqwaking, and occasionally flying at 4 p.m. Broad daylight. Bats. Hundreds of them. It took all of my personal restraint not to scream, or run, or cry. I just took pictures of them instead. And then I started taking some more pictures of flowers. And then, another worst nightmare. I found about 4 spiders in webs on my walk.

Not as bad as the bats, and much more photogenic, but still, quite scary. By this point, I was a little disoreinted, and wasn't quite sure how to get out of the park. A guy asked me to take his picture, and we got talking, and he headed me in the right direction. I headed back home, calling it a day.

Friday, I headed back into the city to finish my interviews, ran into some iPod trouble again, ran to the Apple store, had them reset it for me, and then interviewed the rest of the people. The interviews were all really interesting. I ended up talking to one guy who was a first fleeter, meaning his family came over on the convict ship, at the very beginning. After I finished my interviews and a little shopping (2 zip-ups for $4.95 AUD EACH!), I headed back to the ACU North Sydney campus for class. Our class, which counts as a 3 credit Lit class, that day included a walk across the Sydney Harbor Bridge, complete with John snapping pictures of random people, a tour of the Rocks, a visit to the oldest pub in Sydney, the Lord Nelson Hotel, and dinner at a different pub, where I had chicken snitzel, which was fantastic.

Saturday, I spent the morning working fast and furiously on editing my podcast, and then met up with Isabel and Petra, my new foreign friends, to go to the Mardi Gras. We took a detour through Circular Quay to kill some time, and got some pics with the bridge.

Mardi Gras was a spectacle. It is the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and everyone comes dressed up in crazy outfits.

We waited forever for the parade to start and tried to find the best place to stand so that we could actually see. Isabel's friend, Kim, met up with us, along with two Colombian boys. They also had a friend there, who happened to be wearing an Adirondacks t-shirt... what a small world! Sunday morning, I woke up early and headed to the train station for our Blue Mountains trip. I'll save that story for the next post, because it's getting late and I have the internship tomorrow. I'll write more and add pics to this post later!

Friday, March 6, 2009

To hold you over...

Lots to update on, lots of pictures to show, but I'm too sleepy now. Teasers:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


“Friendship doubles our joy and divides our grief.”
- Sweedish proverb

I found a friend, maybe two. This is the fifth time in my life when I have needed to make new friends, and one of the hardest. In preschool, I just asked Lauren if she wanted to be my friend, she said okay, and that was it -- best friends for 16 years.
In kindergarten, I think my teacher was my best friend. I cried my eyes out on our kindergarten graduation day (foreshadowing perhaps?) because I didn't want to leave her. In fourth grade, when I moved, I was lucky enough to be handed a best friend -- Sarah, another shy girl, in my grade, in my class, who lived down the road, and had also just moved to Galway, who I met at oreintation and we've been friends ever since. Then I had the same friends for the next 8 years. Some new ones along the way, and some left behind, but the same core group; I'm sure we'll always be close. Which was why making new friends in college seemed so unappealing. Why would I want to make new friends? I already had best friends. And then, again, a best friend was put in my lap. Well, not quite my lap, but in my 10x10 college dorm room, so yea, essentially in my lap. Not only was Kelly the best freshman year roommate anyone could ask for, she introduced me to some of my best friends at college. The rest of my best friends came from the decision to join the Literary Arts Society and snap my fingers on Wednesday nights. So I made a whole new group of life-long friends (if you're catching on... I tend to keep friends around for a while)... And all of this time, I've had my sister as a built-in best friend.
And now, I'm here, in a foreign country, in the hardest friend-making situation I've been in yet. I'm here with a group of four guys, zero girls. Which is why, when I met Petra and Isabel, it truly made my day. I overheard them speaking in accents (not Australian or American) at the bus stop near my road on Tuesday morning on the way to work. Something made me think, "Hmm... I should talk to them!" So I casually butted into their conversation and asked if they were studying at Uni here. It turns out they are foreign students, from the Czech Republic and Spain, and are here for an intensive language course to learn English. They are staying in a homestay together, on my road, with other foreign students! We talked the entire way to our stop and exchanged numbers; after talking to them this week, I'm going to hang out with them on Saturday and got to the infamous Mardi Gras parade with them! Who knows if we'll end up being close friends, but at least I know I have the capability of making friends. I almost felt like I was back in nursery school again, and simply asking someone to be my friend. It really should be that simple...