Day 27: Farewell, Cairns.

Goodbye, Cairns.

My last day was spent pretty actively.

First the day began with a visit to the wildlife dome & a chance to play with the koalas.

I held a koala named Kiah and, I don’t know, I could die happy. She was beautiful and soft and cuddly and perfect and wonderful and I smelled like eucalyptus afterwards. It was most likely one of the best things I’ve done abroad.

Next we headed over to the ropes course & zip lining. It wasn’t as high as the Elks course we did at mini boot camp (an NJROTC thing), but definitely as tough. It was individual as opposed to with a team so you rely solely on your own. There were 3 zip lines throughout, one right above the crocodile! Definitely worth the money.

Afterwards I spent the afternoon finishing all my packing and just relaxing.

At night we had a study abroad goodbye dinner at one of the top rated restaurants in Cairns, Ochre. There we sampled true Australian cuisine, including kangaroo, wallaby, crocodile and bush feed, which is native plants and fruits. We also had pavlova and ice cream made from bush feed as well!

I’m a huge fan of kangaroo in more ways than I can describe. It’s prepared rare and is very similar to a lean steak. Yum!

I didn’t go to sleep last night, as I knew waking up at 2am to get ready for the airport would be rough. Now I’m downstairs, checked out of my last hotel in Australia and I can’t believe it’s all over and I’m sad and happy and excited and every feeling under the sun.

Study abroad has been the best experience of my life. I am so blessed to be here and to have this amazing opportunity in another country.

I will post more later, but for now, off to flight 1: Brisbane!

-EA

Sending Sydney off with some Vegemite

Vegemite, Vegemite, we eat Vegemite! Come and we’ll sail ya to Australia!

That song from my childhood has been playing in my head this entire trip. As a send off to Sydney, I decided to try it. The outcome was not good.

Vegemite is salty. But not good salty, like that chicken you ate one time with so much salt your lips purse. That salty.

I tried it though, and that’s all that matters.

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Day 19-Saying Goodbye to the town I love

Sydney, je t’aime. 

I guess that works more so if I was saying “Paris” but we’ll let it slide for now. 

Today was a beautiful goodbye to Sydney. We spent the morning at Paddy’s Market and The Rocks, seeing the Opera House for what I hope and pray won’t be the last time. The hotel put on a movie & dinner for us as a send off and I spent a good amount of time packing.

I can’t believe this is it. 

This is the last night I’ll spend in Sydney.

Tomorrow at 6:30am we fly out to Cairns, Australia. I am so excited to begin the next (and final) chapter of this trip, but I’ll miss Sydney. 

I’ve always thought that I would feel as though study abroad was a long vacation with some assignments thrown in. But it’s so much different than that. 

Not to be “that” study abroad girl, but it’s so much more than visiting Sydney. This isn’t a week long vacation with mom & dad or family where they pay for your meals and plan every moment of every day. This is living in Sydney, eating where the locals eat, learning how to work public transportation, studying culture, navigating the streets. I had to budget everything and live as an Australian. I visited their universities, sat in on their classes and really learned what being Australian was all about.

This trip was nowhere near the experience of those who study abroad for six weeks, a semester or a year. But it was something. I did this. I went to a brand new city where I knew no one and nothing and I did it. I navigated the train and city by myself the second day I was here. I set up meetings with professionals here. I didn’t sit idly by and go to the beach and be a tourist. I went where locals sent me, tried what they liked and didn’t become “that American.”

And I’m pretty proud of myself for it. 

The night before flying out, I got food poisoning and cried for a very long while. And here I am, only a week left, traveling to another city and braving it all. 

This experience is one I’ll absolutely never forget.

If you ever have the chance to go abroad, even if for a week, do it. Please. 

But try not to stay in the Red Light District as I did. It makes going out after 5pm a pretty daunting task. 

Tomorrow: Cairns!

Tuesday: Great Barrier Reef!

-EA