Wednesday, November 30, 2011

One Year Ago...

The time has come! My exams are finished, my last assignment turned in, and the last days of my first year in Australia are in full swing. Stress free and in company of old and new friends; it's the perfect end to a near perfect year- but I'm skipping ahead a bit- let's rewind a few weeks...

To say this last semester has been a struggle would be an understatement. Classes and coursework continually challenged me and final exams were no exception. After 2 weeks of migraine filled studying and late nights of cramming, I completed my final exam on the 28th.Naturally drinks and celebrations were necessary (as I said- we will celebrate nearly anything) and went out to a backpackers bar in the city stuffed full of other uni students celebrating the end of a stressful year.

My friend from back home in the states, Nick, has been studying this past semester in Fiji. His semester ended on the 25th and decided before he made his trek home, he would swing by Sydney and wait to fly home with me. I went to pick him up at the airport last Friday and enjoyed a full hour of watching emotional airport arrivals at the international terminal. At one point tears were rolling down my face as a father ran to greet his 3 young sons- the pure love and emotion was undeniable. Naturally, Nick and I made quite a scene as I yelled and ran to meet him at the gate.

Our week has been filled with many typical Sydney tourist sights and late nights of getting caught up on the past year of our lives. Between showing him my favorite restaurants (pancakes on the rocks and max brenner, of course!) and getting lost in the city due to my awful sense of direction, we have covered nearly every part of the city. We spent a rather full day wandering around Darling Harbor, Circular Quay, the Opera House, and the Royal Botanical Gardens. We topped off the late arvo by taking a ferry to Manly and having a drink while enjoying the sights of the locals ( I think it was just me who enjoyed the surfers...)

The Botanical Gardens

Nick eating at the infamous Max Brenner

As promised- and I would never break a promise to my loyal blog followers, Nick and I successfully went skydiving. After getting up at 4 am, making an hour trek into the city, and another 2 hour trek to North Wollongong, we arrived at the skydive station, put on the most attractive skydiving suits I have ever seen, got fitted for harnesses and then......waited for an hour for our instructors to come back from their previous jump. We then received instructions which I incoherently listened to as I was so nervous and then jumped in a van to make the 15 minute drive to the airport. Literally the longest 15 minutes of my life. We then crammed 16 people into a plane the size of my bedroom and soared up to 14,000 feet over the ocean. The plane door opens, and next thing I know, I am being shoved out of the airplane, in a pure freefall. I honestly cannot describe the feeling or the thoughts that were going through my head- it's only something you can experience to know how it feels. After the free fall, the parachute is  let loss and for about a minute I was floating above the most amazing views I have ever seen. The crashing ocean, the skyline, and city skyscrapers all mashed into a panoramic view. The adrenaline, amazement, and delayed nerves all came rushing to me and I was in total awe of what I had just done. If it wasn't so expensive to skydive, I would hop in the plane tomorrow and do it again. Best experience yet.

North Wollongong

As I prepare to go home for the holidays- it is a bittersweet time. I am more than excited to see my loved ones, and I know that I will be back to Sydney in a short two months, but I know that when I get back, Marianne, my Norwegian flatmate, will have returned to Norway permanently. The bond I have formed with my flatmates during this past year is indescribable and she will truly be missed by all the girls in the house. But, the silver lining- I now have a legitimate excuse to visit Norway- and it will happen in the near future!

Well, this is my last blog post of 2011 and of my first year in Sydney. It has been a great year filled with amazing experiences and wonderful people. Can't wait to see what 2012 brings!

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