The Australian Adventures: Week Four (The Last Week)

Sun, 2007-08-05 15:31 by hanna

(I've added some more pictures to my second Australia album that I linked to in my previous post).

I'm back home safe and sound in Ohio after a nice couple days spent with Tini and family earlier this week, and now I have time to write about my last week in Australia.

Last Monday night was where I left off...that night, after reading Harry Potter, the four of us made éclairs. Jesse made ten times the recipe, so we had lots of left over dough, which kept us in stock with éclairs for the whole week = )

On Tuesday afternoon Jesse went to her second day of classes at Sydney University (or, "Uni" as people call it), and Kirsten and I accompanied her for a linguistics lecture on phonetics and phonology. It was interesting, but not something that I would personally want to study, as far as I could tell from one lesson. The lecture was much like the first day of class at Grinnell, except there were about forty people in that one class. That evening we made more éclairs and relaxed at home.

Moreton Bay Fig
Moreton Bay Fig at the Royal Botanical Gardens

On Wednesday I took the train with Lucy and Kirsten to Circular Quay, and we went on a longer stroll in the Royal Botanical Gardens. We walked along the harborfront, sat under beautiful, huge Moreton Bay Fig Trees, went through a Japanese garden, saw a cool sundial, walked through a tropical planting area, and stopped in the gift shop. We had lunch on the Domain, another park area right next to the gardens, where we had a funny chat with an old lawn caretaker who thought Kirsten and I came from Idaho when we told him we were from Ohio. Next we walked west to George Street, a main street in Chinatown. We stopped into strange little stores selling lots of knick knacks and browsed through aisles and aisles of everything from incense to tea sets to samurai swords. We kept on walking west to Redfern, where we met Jesse, who was finished with classes for the day. We went shopping one last time in Newtown as Lucy wanted to find some shoes (Kirsten and I got shoes too, actually). We headed home in the evening again and relaxed at home. I think one of Jesse's friends may have come over that night for a while.

An amusing anecdote from that night: the leaf-tailed gecko was out in the basement again, and I decided to inspect it closely. I touched its tail gently to see if it would move a little bit, because it had been completely stationary every time I'd seen it, even with people running up and down the basement stairs. It didn't move, at least at first, but suddenly it puffed up its tail, raised its head, and hissed at me. If you've ever seen Jurassic Park, it strongly reminded me of the dinosaur near the end that ends up spitting in the eyes of the fat computer programmer...needless to say, I wasn't expecting such a reaction from the little guy, and ended up jumping back and shrieking in surprise.

Thursday was another stay at home day for Kirsten and me. I caught up on pictures and email and burnt some CDs, and Kirsten took me on a short little bushwalk behind the house in the nature preserve there. It was really beautiful, this wooded gorge in the middle of suburbia with a little creek running through the bottom. That evening we watched Help! and did some planning for the Harry Potter party Jesse had organized for Saturday.

On Friday, Jesse and I went shopping for the Harry Potter party and started cooking while Kirsten and Lucy went to school. We mostly ended up hanging out and talking until the evening, though, when we went to the city to watch an amateur theater production that Jesse's friend Jono was in. It was a series of small pieces written and directed by young and upcoming people in Sydney theater, therefore, some were very good, but some were very odd and hard to understand. We went out with Jono's parents afterwards to a pub briefly, but caught a train back in time to be home by midnight.

Harry Potter Party
Enjoying food at our Harry Potter party

On Saturday morning Lucy had work and Jesse began cooking in earnest for the party, and Kirsten and I went to watch Harry (younger brother) play soccer, which was fun. We came back and drove to Parramatta again to watch King Lear at the Riverside Theater. It was a good play, pretty gory, of course, with eyes being poked out, but still interesting to watch. We got back in time to finish up cooking and decorating and getting costumes together for the Harry Potter party, and just as we were done putting the food coloring in our "potions," the first guests arrived.

Everyone was required to dress up, and almost everyone did. We had Fleur, Mrs. Longbottom, Trelawney, Rita Skeeter (Lucy), Luna (Jesse), Hermione (me), McGonagall, and even Hedwig (Kirsten). There was lots of great food- polyjuice potion spinach soup, cauldron cakes, licorice wands, pumpkin pasties, dragon dung brownies, and other assorted dishes decorated to fit in with Harry Potter. We all discussed the new book and movie for a long time, and then held a scavenger hunt for the Horcruxes. Finally, Jesse and I held a trivia competition with questions we had written from the seven books. It was a really fun time, and I got to see a lot of Jesse's friends one last time.

Beach
The beach on our last day

On Sunday, we went to the beach one final time. It was a national park, so we had to walk about 2 km down a steep trail to a beautiful, secluded beach. We walked up and down the shore, ate lunch, climbed up on rocks, and Lucy and I ventured into the waves for a bit, even though it was a chilly day. Then we hiked back up the trail and headed home, where we had dinner and packed.

On Monday we left fairly early and took the train to the airport. We sat around for an hour, talking, and then Kirsten and I left to board the plane. The flight was long, of course, and they didn't get our bags to us until the next day in St. Louis, but it all turned out alright in the end. Tini's house was fun and relaxing with the pool and seeing everyone again, and the drive back to Ohio yesterday was uneventful. I've been home for two days, adjusting to the heat and the new look to the kitchen and downstairs area in general, unpacking, and beginning to get ready to go back to Grinnell.

It was a wonderful trip, both because I got to see dear friends again, and also because we got to explore some of Australia and get a feel for life there.

Australien

Wed, 2007-08-08 16:29 by daniel michna

Hallo Hanna !
Vielen Dank für Deine schönen Berichte und Fotos.
Es ist eine Freude für uns sie zu lesen und die Bilder anzuschauen. Ich habe sie auch schon meiner Kollegin gezeigt, denn sie will im nächsten Jahr mit ihrem Freund für 6 Monate dorthin. Sie waren im letzten Jahr schon 4 Wochen dort und sind total begeistert. Sicher war es nicht Dein letzter Trip nach DOWN UNDER!!!

Viele liebe Grüße an Dich und die Familie von Claudia und Daniel !!!

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