The worldwide Augustana College experience

Blessings from Down Unda

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Dear Sydney,

I guess it has already been almost another 4 days since I last updated you on my adventures, and for one of the few times in my life I can honestly call this an adventure now. Since the beach this weekend, I have truly started to learn and appreciate so much more about Sydney and Australia. I believe I left off on Sunday the 5th? Well anyway, I am going to start with Monday anyway.

Monday : Yay Bus tour of Sydney! I wasn’t  originally very stoked for this, I’ll be honest. I thought it was going to be one of those super touristy type tours. However, we actually got our own bus for the trip and a very knowledgeable bus driver who showed us new bay, beaches, houses, cliffs, neighborhoods, and even a little history of the city itself. I got to see $40 million mansions on the harbor, as well as the highest most beautiful view of the city from a cliff about 40 miles outside the city.I have tried posting photos here but not all of them have loaded. Soo.. go to my facebook! I will friend you if we arn’t already. :) Anyway, after this tour was our water safety class on Bondi Beach.. SOOO intriguing… except for the parts in between the beginning and the end. =X I happen to have been around water and tides since I was like 2 so I would be lying if I said I really listened at all. It definitely didn’t help that I there was a B-E-A-utiful beach right behind the instructor that was calling my name. Bondi Beach was probably more beautiful than Coogee. It had clearer water and softer sand, but it was DEFINITELY over populated and that kind of killed it for me.

Tuesday : Oh My Gosh. The Blue Mountains. Hands down, the best day yet. I have put a lot of pictures from this day up because I was literally obsessed with everything we did that day. We started by visiting the Sydney Olympic Park which was pretty neat and obscenely large. Then we moved outside of the city to go visit a place called the Featherdale Wildlife Preserve. IT. WAS. AWESOME. I got a to hold a Quokka (small little furry animal related to the kangaroo), an owl type creature that was so still I thought it was fake, a Python, a Koala, and a KANGAROO! Omgsh if I was not freaking out and sending pictures home every 5 minutes. I got to see a massive alligator,  a Tasmanian Devil, an emu, fruit bats, Australian snakes, and even a Dingo. It was seriously so cool and much better than a zoo back home because you got to play with everything! After the all too short of a time we got to spend at the preserve, we moved on to the Blue Mountains which were phenomenal.   Out of no where on the bus ride we came upon this amazing view of a valley about 10,000 feet up. We got to look down over miles upon miles of RAINFOREST! So very very cool. After we took altogether too many pictures there, we moved farther up the mountain and got to take a hike through the rain forest. :) Again you can see TONS of pictures on my facebook. The hike was really neat and had tropical trees, flowers, plants, and birds. We also saw waterfalls and HUGE rock outcropings. The hike ended with the steepest railway in the world to take us back up.. It was scary steep and freaked me out at first, but provided really cool views. After all the excitement we had a long ride home where we watched an Australian movie called ‘Red Dog’ which I actually really liked.

Wednesday : Not too much of a crazy day to be honest. We kind of needed a day off to recoup from the exciting last two. There was a walking tour of Sydney that we got to go on. It was pretty neat because it provided TONS of new information, history, and tips about the city. I think my favorite park the map they gave us with cheap eats and deals around the city, because damn if this city isn’t expensive as hell. After about 4 miles of walking around the city, me and some friends went to a place called Paddy’s Market. Its a MASSIVE indoor market full of locally grown produce, souvenirs, t-shirts, tanks, hand made jewelry, etc. It’s all much better priced than the shops and they are willing to bargain which is a college students best friend. I got Strawberries and an Australia Tank for Australia Day which is like our Fourth of July. So it was a successful trip. Wednesday was great day for getting more into the culture and learning ins and outs of the city.

Thursday: Woohoo for Internship Orientation.. not. We had to travel a total of an hour and half to North Sydney and back for a 45 minute presentation on our internships. Which at this rate of excitement.. I’m not sure many of us are looking forward to starting work. However, it was extremely useful and we got treated lunch afterwards! Great news because I am already feeling the fiscal hurt here. It was even more exciting because I got to try new foods on normal pizza. I got to try alligator, pumpkin, Hawaiian, margarita, emu, and kangaroo pizza! All very cool, but I think I will leave the alligator and pumpkin here.. not to my liking. Afterwards, one of our CAPA program directors gave us a try of an Australia dessert that had angel food cake covered in chocolate and coconut. I actually loved it despite the coconut and ended up eating 3… =X Anyway, after the lunch a friend and I explored the Rocks (older cooler part of down town Sydney) and then went home for the evening.

Friday : Oh the second best day of the week! I FINALLY got to go out on the water today. We were treated to a lunch cruise around the harbor and bays. :) Our whole group got dressed up in our finest yacht attire and got to eat a fancy meal of Australian seafood. On the Menu was prongs, Thai curry fish, calamari tempura, green lipped oysters, buttered chicken, and bread. Wow did I eat well and damn if I didn’t try 5 new foods in one day. I am actually really proud of myself because I am usually not very adventurous with my meals. And to reward me for my outgoingness, I got to have a luscious chocolate cake covered in raspberry sauce and whipped cream. :) After the great meal, we got to cruise around the harbor for another 3.5 hours just taking in the city, the suburbs, the beautiful houses, the bridge, the opera house, and definitely the sun. It was a fantastic time, especially because I can’t think of anything better then floating on the water. I could do it all day honestly. Considering the tour got over around 4 pm. I am now enjoying an Iced Chocolate at the local internet cafe while I reflect on a week of blessings.

To wrap up what you are probably hoping was going to be done 3 paragraphs ago, I would like to acknowledge just how lucky I am. I got to hold a quokka, a snake, and an owl. I got to pet a koala and kangaroo. I got to hike through a rain forest and smell the tropical flowers. I have explored a city half way around the world inside and out. I have been given the opportunity to cruise on a beautiful yacht and see one of the most amazing cities in the world on a beautiful 80 degree sunny day. With all this in mind.. I have been given the blessing of doing so many things that some in this world will never have the opportunity to do, and things I may never get to do again. I have been extremely blessed and I could not be more thankful for this opportunity and all those who are supporting me at home. Especially my sister Sarah, my parents Kelly and Steve, my Aunt Julie, my friends and sisters at school, and most definitely my boyfriend Austyn who spends hours talking to me everyday and helping me with the transition. <3 So with that, I let you all rest your eyes from such long reading. :)

Goodnight Australia

6 Responses to “Blessings from Down Unda”

  1. megan, it’s great to hear from you in “almost” real time. It’s hard to believe you’ve been gone only a week and you’ve had so many experiences already. Keep the pics coming, we really enjoy them. I’ll try to make sure to keep them so Grandma Gayle can read them. Lots of love from Grandma Cele and Papa Monk

  2. Awh thank you so much grandma cele! It am trying to keep up with it but there is just so very much that happens all the time! I am keeping a journal as well so hopefully that is helping. The pictures though are already too numerous to count though. lol But it is my hope that after I get back to Augie, Austyn and I can come spend a weekend up there and see everyone. :) I love you so much and I hope you are doing well! <3

  3. Sounds like a great deal of excitement for one week. Kangaroo pizza. Not sure I could, but admire your adventuresome spirit. Love the koala! Thanks for the cool pics and explanations. Talked to your mom today. We will get together soon and talk more about you! Hugs from Bing too. She liked the animals pictures.

  4. Yes it really was! Pretty overwhelming for only a few days. But the experimenting with food is all new to me, if wasn’t half way around the world it probably woulnd’t have happened. lol But I loved the animals too! Hands down the most amazing experience yet. But keep talking to my mom, helps keep her sane I’m sure. ;) Anyway, tell Bing I say Hi and I hope the second half of kindergarden is going well. :)

  5. WOW! Such experiences! Your pics are awesome. Can’t wait to help you put them in a photo book to preserve for many years to come!!!

  6. Yeah I have had a few experiences I guess. :P

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