It's been a busy week in Melbourne with the Australian Open now half-way complete, and with the long weekend catering to thousands of local, national and international visitors. It's also been a busy week back home. Apparently on Tuesday we got a Black president. Did you know that? I was in New Zealand at the time, but according to every single person I met during the last few days, it's true. One Finnish backpacker said he could no longer hate Americans because of it, which is as nice a compliment a European could bestow on an American.
Last week I dusted off my trusty backpack and traveled through the northern island of New Zealand and Sydney, meeting many backpackers from all over Europe, Australia, the U.S. and Canada. It was great to meet and inspirational to chat with young kids fresh out of college and older professionals taking breaks in their careers, all to spend months away from home to see the world and gain new perspective. The trip itself was also fantastic.
After I left boring Auckland on Wednesday, I spent three days in the Bay of Islands, sailing, boating and speed boating. I also took two ferries and a cruise, spending as much time on the water as possible. There are 144 islands in the Bay of Islands, and the famous Hole in the Rock is among them in the northeastern part of the bay. One could sense the amazing originality in naming their landmarks ("Wow this is a great bay, with many islands"/"What should we call it"/"I know, 'Bay of Islands'"...), while sailing through the picturesque location. It was beautiful and the weather was fantastic. I even hung out with dolphins!
Following my four days in New Zealand, I spent 22 jam-packed hours in Sydney, touring Kings Cross, Lane Cove and walking from Bronte to Bondi Beach. It was great to see different parts of Sydney and I have to say, I'd definitely be keen to live there as well as Melbourne. Perhaps I'll get that chance.
Traveling with open-minded and big-eyed backpackers have again made me appreciate the situation I am in, knowing that it's a rare opportunity that I've been blessed with to live in a different part of the world and embrace the various new cultures. I'll do my best to find something to keep me here, even if just for a few more months, so I can go back to the States having fulfilled my time abroad. I'll have more clarity by the end of this week.
Well, Wednesday I'm off to the Australian Open quarterfinals and on Thursday I head over to Alice Springs and Uluru. I'll be back in time for the Super Bowl. Arizona 20, Pittsburgh 17. Twenty-two weeks down, 30 to go...??
Week Twenty-two Summary:
Week Twenty-two Summary:
Weather: It was as perfect a week weather-wise as possible. This week, however, will likely blow.
New observation: Aussies abroad are LOUD. It's a wonder why people think Americans are annoying...
New activity(ies): Speed boating, Australia Day
New food: New Zealand barbecue
New word(s): "yo it's sweet as bro" & "Haere mai" - two traditional Maori phrases, according to a Maori tour guide."
New people: all of the randoms on the Bay of Islands bus tour
What I miss: making fun of Jameson Bull, Fisherman's Wharf on a foggy winter morning, Arrested Development, my feather queen-sized comforter, air conditioning