Thursday: So this past Thursday, February 13, the Brown-Forman office had their monthly brand awareness party in the office. As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, at the beginning of February I changed all the decorations in the office to Jegarmeister. Apparently that also means that there is a “Building Brand Awareness” party for the brand of the month. I got to start the day festivities by attending lunch at a local New Zealand restaurant with the Jegarmeister team. I got to have a great BBQ pulled pork sandwich with thick cut bacon and the most flavorful mayonnaise. I even got to try New Zealand Organic Cola, which I actually fell in love with. Best part though? It was free. Best word to a broke college student in another country. I learned more about the people on the team, where they came from, what their roles were, and why they were so passionate about the Jagermeister brand. After that, Ashley, Kim, and I got to get the party favors ready for all the guests who were to come late that afternoon. They might have been the coolest gift bags ever because they had 3 Jager branded, smokey double shot glasses and an ice cold Jager bottle (because you should ALWAYS drink Jager ice cold I learned). After that we got to set up the bar area for the Jager ice luge (an ice sculpture that allows you to poor the alcohol through it in order to make it ‘ice cold’), the Jager DJ stand, all the German (Jager is from Germany) finger foods, and the giant Jager game of Jenga. Once we got everything set up, the party started with the ‘Jegarettes” (hott girls in Jager outfits to get people excited and try the brand) rounding up the office and getting everyone into the main area where our fully stocked bar is. Then the head of the brand, Micheal Bouda, gave a 10 minute little speech about the brand, it’s goals for the year, their target market, and their plans for the brand and how they were going to bring it to life this year. It really helped pull the whole atmosphere together and encouraged everyone to try the food, grab a free cocktail, and play Jenga with the Jegarettes. Micheal Bouda played DJ for the day and everyone really had a great time. I got a free bottle of Jager, 3 shot glasses, and German food, was a great day! (I attached photos below)
Friday: I got to go on a tour of the Sydney Opera House! Finally.. Oh my gosh it took ages to finally get to see the inside, but I wasn’t disappointed. We only got to go into 3 of the 4 main halls because the Concert Hall was being used for practice, but the three we saw were still really neat. (I attached photos of some). I learned a lot more about the Opera House itself too. Like that it was commissioned int he 1960′s by the Queen of England and there was a world wide design competition for the architecture of the building. A man from Switzerland names Jorn Utzon had the winning design and was one of the only architects to submit a design that had the two major halls next to each other on the pier instead of in front and behind each other. They actually began digging the hole and pouring the foundation before they even knew how to build the structure. It took years for them to figure out how to build the sail like shapes that are what distinguish the building most and they ended up at a 7 year project that cost $104 million instead of the budgeted 3 years and $7 million. Only by Utzon’s breakthrough on piecing the ‘shells’ together to form the roof was the project able to be completed. However, all the money and time invested really did pay off. What they learned and created for acoustics had never before been researched to such a level. It was ground breaking and the concepts discovered are continually used today. It was an amazing tour and I am so glad I got to go on it. After the tour ended we went back to the apartment and made a late lunch before we packed for Surf Camp. At 6PM that night we left from the middle of down town Sydney for 3 hours south of the city. We came to a small town of 500 people right on the coast next to our private beach for the weekend, 7 mile beach. We got there pretty late at night and upon arrival we were shown the most stereotypical view of a surf camp ever. (Photos below). We were given the rules of camp, the schedule for the next couple days, and then were shown to our ‘rooms’. There were 6 or 7 of us to a room each and we got to enjoy something I would be flatteringly referring to as a ‘cot’. There was unknown pieces of something on the bed, there were spiders on the ceiling, and there was no heating or cooling. I was off to camp in every sense of the word. Most of the group immediately dropped off their belongings and went to the beach to get drunk. I’m not a huge drinker and I was also exhausted so I attempted to get over my mental block of how dirty the bed I was going to lay down in was and tried to go to bed. Given the blanket grossed me out and most of camp came back hammered, I didn’t get much sleep.
Saturday: Time to surf! We were separated into two groups to go out for our surf lessons since there were so many of us there. My group was smaller so we got to be group 2 and went second, meaning I got to sleep in more in the morning since I got almost none during the night. I’ll admit, the weather was much less than perfect for surfing. It was spitting rain and only about 72 degrees Fahrenheit, not to mention the tide was low, there was no wind, and the waves were pretty small. However, for learning conditions, the waves were perfect. The instructors started us on the sand with a lesson about the board itself, our position in the board, and how to catch a wave. The first practice was only how to spot a ridable wave, when and how to paddle to catch it, and how to feel for the wave to catch you. Once we got the hang of it we were all catching waves and riding them in on our stomachs, which was fun all on its own. Then we went back to the beach and he taught us how to stand up on the board once we caught the wave. After a few practices on our ‘sand boards’ we went back into the water to practice. It took about 3 three waves and an instructor pushing my board up to speed for me to catch a wave strong enough to stand up, but I did! Ashley and I were the two to get up most on our boards and it was so much fun once we got up. I think our athletic background and low center of gravity helped a lot (yay shortness!). After our 2 hour period was up I was completely exhausted and ready to go in for a break and get lunch. After rinsing off the salt water, putting on clothes, and having a pretty basic lunch of turkey sandwiches and salad, I took a little nap in the hammock outside our room for a bit before the second round. It was pretty nice and relaxing, however it was a little hard to get up and go back out again because I had already gotten stiff from laying down. But we shoved back on our wet suits and walked back out to the beach. The weather really hadn’t let up yet and the waves hadn’t gotten much bigger, but we still got a few good runs out of it before the waves got too small to ride. Since we were the last group out we had to carry the boards all the way back to the trailer on the road. My arms were already falling off from paddling so hard that suddenly carrying one surfboard 500 meters was much more than I was able to do. It was a struggle the whole way, but I made it and then headed back for a much needed hot shower. Ashley and I were the first to get back and claim the showers, which was awesome! Although I didn’t feel very clean after since the showers were spider and dirt ridden with a poor excuse for a shower head. I got on clean (damp from the humidity) clothes and put on lotion for my dried out, salty skin. We were served the second round of dinner after the first group. They made us a pasta bake, salad, bread, and both sausages and chicken on the Barbie. It was a pretty great dinner and during the meal they played the slideshow of pictures they had created from the day. It was pretty entertaining to see all the creative wipe outs and rewarding to see how many of us were able to get up the first day. Afterwards, the surf party began. Everyone grabbed their drink of choice and hung around the main area of the camp playing card games, giant jenga, or playing instruments. I only had some the free Jager pre-mixed drinks that my supervisor had given me, and they were pretty good. Around 9 PM the instructors told us that quiet hours in the park were going to be in effect at 10 PM and that we either had to go to the nearby ‘pub’ or head to the beach to continue the party. I went to what they referred to as a pub for about 45 minutes and left. A) I was exhausted from surfing all day B) the ‘pub’ was only a glorified supper club with a bar that served alcohol in it. There were children running around and a ton of older men out with their ‘old boys club’, so I didn’t stay too long and ended up walking home. It was another night up until 3 am though between all the drunk people running around, banging things, yelling, and laughing. So heading back for sleep was a rather fruitless endeavor.
Sunday: Day two of surfing. I got up at 9 AM because breakfast ended at 9:30 and we had to be at the beach by 10 for our last lesson of the weekend. I was soooooo sore. My triceps were screaming at me from paddling, my ribs hurt from laying and pushing off the board, and my head hurt from getting rocked in the head a few times by my board following me into the water on some of my less graceful attempts. It was also pouring outside, so that left my encouragement a little low for how the last session would go. When we got out to the beach for our third lesson there was good news, and there was bad news. Good news, the waves were bigger for us to learn on, bad news, the waves were bigger for us to crash. The wave height had increase from waist high to head height since the day before and were coming in much stronger than before. We were taught on the sand how to direct our boards and either speed up or slow down depending on where we were in the wave. It was a good lesson, but a little wasted on us because more of us got wrecked by waves than we did actually stand up, leaving the point of turning moot. However, I did get a hand of the large waves eventually and it did make catching the waves much easier when they were coming in harder, especially for my little weak arms. However, I ate it pretty hard a few times and even got rocked in the head by one of the instructors boards as he went by on a wave, leaving me a little disoriented. After that I got up one more time and called it quits for the day. Between the rain and the pounding waves, I was more than ready to get warm and sooth my aching muscles. After we brought our boards back to the trailer again we made our way back to camp and took another less than impressive shower in the camp shower stalls. Then came the 3 hour wait for the bus to come bring us back to Sydney. I was a little impatient given I wanted to get home and shower for real as well as sleep, but I got the time to pass somehow. After leaving around 3 PM and returning to our apartment in Sydney around 6:20, I was more than ready for some relaxation. I grabbed a hott shower, good food, and watched the room reveal of “The Block”, my favorite Australian show. (I invite you to google it because it’s really awesome). Then I went to bed. Finally.
Monday: Oh back to work.. I honestly considered taking the day off because I was so sore, overtired, and needing of rest, but it was a crappy day outside anyway and this was supposed to be a fun day where I got to work with the marketing interns for the first time. So I went with them to an Advertising agency called “The Sound Campaign” which does a lot of advertising, event planning, and PR for Brown Forman Australia. It was pretty neat and I got to do some cool stuff for the Jack Danial’s White Rabbit Saloon which will be a feature at the Future Music Festival in Sydney come March. All the same, I came home, worked out in order to ease out my sore muscles, watched “The Block”, and passed out. What an awesome day right?
Anyway, I will leave it at that for now and get back to you in a few days. This weekend I hope to go to Manly Beach as well as go on our Wine Tasting Tour of Hunter Valley which is the Napa Valley of Australia. I am really excited and I’m looking forward to bringing home some great Australian Wine! For now, I love you Mom, Dad, Sarah, and Austyn and I can’t wait to see you in two weeks at the O’Hare airport. <3
Posted on February 17th, 2014 by Megan Funke
Filed under: Megan Funke