Saturday, June 20, 2009

The End

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be."

- Douglas Noel Adams

Well, this is it. I can't believe this will already be my last post from Australia. As I was waited for the bus at Central after dinner at a Turkish restaurant (complete with belly dancer) tonight for my final bus ride, it hit me.
This was it.
And all of a sudden, there was a complete half of me that did not want to leave my new country, my new city, my new home.

I hope that I succeeded in taking everyone's advice: enjoy every minute, try new things, be brave, take advantage of every opportunity, keep an open mind, live it up.
This week I fit in lunch with our abroad coordinators, bowling with the boys in the coolest bowling alley I've ever seen (managed to pull off a 91 -- pretty good for not playing for months), one more trip to Lindt chocolate cafe, Roof Bar with Hiroko and Mayana, Japanese dinner with Hiroko, Ryoko and Christina, meeting a cool French guy, breakfast at Le Petit Tart, Yum Cha (Chinese restaurant where they come around with carts of food and ask you what you want and you choose many dishes for the table) with the flatmates, packing, laundry and reminiscing.

From playing Wii with my host family kids, to tending to the chickens, to nights out with the boys, to beautiful beach days, to the New Zealand adventure with my mom and sister, to laughing with Isabel, Petra and Hiroko, to deep frying Mars bars with my flatmates, to grabbing Spanish churros on my last walk down Glebe Point Road, I have loved it all. While it hasn't always been easy, it has always been fulfilling.

Some highlights in photos:

“Beginnings are usually scary and endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts. You have to remember this when you find yourself at the beginning.”
- Hope Floats

My trip in numbers:
- Hours it took to fly to Australia: 20
- Photos in my "highlights" folder: 330
- Times I've wandered around the Botanical Gardens: 7
- Houses I've lived in: 3
- Haircuts I've gotten: 0
- Movies I've seen in the theater: 8
- Movies I've seen on film: 20
- Times I've driven on the wrong side of the road: 1
- Pictures of the opera house: 41
- Gondolas I've riden: 3
- Different countries I've eaten food from: 9
- Times I've walked across the bridge: 2.5
- Books I've read: 8
- Times I've ridden a horse: 1
- Times I've cried: 5
- Bats in the Botanical Gardens: 1,453
- Times I drank an entire beer: 0
- Umbrellas I've bought: 3
- Ferry rides: 12
- Performances I've seen in the opera house/symphony hall: 3
- Tim Tams I've eaten: 107
- Times I was fairly significantly late to work: 6
- Pieces of nutella toast I've had: 56
- Times I refrained from buying a gelato: 2
- Sea turtles we saw (much debated): 21
- Pieces of banana bread/pear and raspberry bread I've eaten: 254
- Total pictures: over 2,400 have made the "cut"
- Times I've wanted to kill the birds: 658
- Blog posts: 28
- Articles/reviews for FILMINK: 26
- Hours at FILMINK (approximately): 300
- Times I've used the 131500 transport info site: 752 (true fact, I checked my Foxmail history)

My trip as a Mastercard commerical:
1 piece of banana bread: $3.50 AUD (about $2.80 USD)
My favorite Lindt hot chocolate: $4.50 AUD (about $3 USD)
One Royal Copenhagen single scoop: $4.80 AUD (about $3.50 USD)
The best dumpings in the world: $9.50 AUD (about $7 USD)
Bowling at the sweetest bowling alley ever: $14 AUD (about $10 USD)
One night out: $20 AUD (about $14 USD)
A game of indoor mini golf in NZ with my sister at the coolest mini golf place in the world: $16 USD
Trip to Taronga Zoo: $28 AUD (about $20 USD)
Breakfast for two on Glebe Point Road: $30 AUD (about $21 USD)
Seeing an opera in the Opera House: $80 AUD (about $65 US)
Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef: $100 USD
Swimming with the dolphins: $120 USD
Phone calls and texts: $350 AUD (about $260 USD)
Trip to Melbourne: $400 AUD (about $300 USD)
Transportation: $680 AUD (about $530 USD)
Trip to New Zealand and the Great Barrier Reef: $1000 USD
Total experience: $4,300 AUS (about $3,700 USD)
Seeing the first sunrise in the world, my first glimpse of the iconic Opera House, learning a new city, losing my fear of spiders, walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, taking the best flower pictures I've ever taken, hiking in the Blue Mountains, learning to be friends with people I never imagined liking, petting a kangaroo, making friends with the gelato girl, sharing a drink with my sister on an island in the Pacific, seeing the smallest penguins in the world, lounging on the most beautiful beaches in the world, laughing at goofy seals, driving on scary one-way bridges, going outside of my comfort zone, working for a real magazine, exploring Watson's bay, jet boating on the Dart River, eating gelato with Dutch boys, laughing with Japanese girls, having girl talk with my Spanish roommate, dancing with Brazilians, discussing politics with Frenchmen, taking a random salsa lesson, learning about myself, seeing an elephant dance, wandering in the Botanical Gardens for hours, watching random fireworks with friends in Darling Harbour, listening to champion slam poets, reading back-to-back with one of my best friends in Hyde Park and seeing a baby joey in its pouch: priceless.

Closing time - open all the doors and let you out into the world... Closing time - you don't have to go home but you can't stay here... Take me home... Closing time - time for you to go back to the places you will be from... So gather up your jackets and move it to the exits - I hope you have found a friend. Closing time - every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end...
- Semisonic


Julia said...

Well done sister.

Ash said...

I second that. :)

Mrs. O said...

just perfect!

Anonymous said...

...boy am i glad thats over!!

love, dad

Tonya said...

Okay, so you made me cry. Why do you have the power to do that? I love you and I'm so glad you had such an amazing experience and I'm proud of you for trying new foods and for getting over your fear of spiders and I can't wait to see you! :D