An action packed month!

October 17th, 2008 - 12:03pm by Rabbit
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Holy cow what a busy month! When I last left you I was going to the school Ball. The Ball ended up being great! I had rented a suit for the occasion. One of the people I came with worked at the place I hired it from and I ended up getting the entire package for only $70 (should've been around $200). I went to the Ball with people I work with. Once there, they served us dinner, free drinks, and of course dancing. It was a blast! Afterward, they carpooled (or buspooled) all of us to a club for the after party.

After the Ball, we had a day to recuperate before I head out to the Kimberly (outback) for a week. All study abroad students are required to take Australian History. For part of that course, you have to live with an aboriginal family for a week. So they fly all us way up north to Broome then we drive 5 hours into the Kimberly. Read the captions in my album for a description of what I all did.

The trip was amazing. It gave us a new perspective of aboriginal people. Many you see in Fremantle and Perth are either drunk, huffing, or begging. That small minority gives a bad rep for the rest of the aboriginal population. It reminded me a lot of the Indian situation in the States. The Kimberly was REALLY warm. It was about 40 Celsius (105 Fahrenheit) the entire time. That was a splendid change considering the day we left broke a new record for the coldest day for that season (32F). Each day there we got to swim. While we were in the Kimberly, we couldn't swim for long and always needed a lookout because saltwater crocodiles are very numerous and like to eat humans.

Most of what we did was connecting with aboriginal people and their culture. They told us about the bush and how they live off the land. They told us of plants and berries that can be used to kill people. They showed us how to make spears. They told us how they know where every single water hole is in a 20km radius. These people are so knowledgeable and live so simplistically. It was easy to get lost in the simple pleasures in life.

When we came back, we had spring break. Almost everyone in the dorm went somewhere during it. I stayed at home in hopes of relaxing and to pick up some extra shifts at work. I ended up not having to pick up any extra shifts because when I came back I noticed they had scheduled me to work 8 days in a row. I didn't mind, it gave me something to do, plus I made a lot of money that week. It kept me busy as well, and the week went by fast.

At the end of spring break, my workplace sponsored a poker night. I enjoy playing poker but don't claim to be really at it. When I got there, I soon realized that I was favored to win because 1) I was American so I obviously watch poker on TV (since we have it on TV) and 2) know how to shuffle cards. Clearly these guys didn't know much about poker (which was great news for me!) Out of about 20 people I got third, first and second place received prices. I was surprised at how well I did and had a lot of fun.

After that, the next two weeks have been hell. That first week after spring break, we had a group project due for my Australian history class. I hate group projects because it's hard to collectively write as a group (one person always ends up doing it). On top of that, my other group members weren't coming home from spring break until 2 days before it was due. So those two days were very stressful. I also had another project due that week which added to the stress.

The next week (this last week), I had two 2500 word essays due. It has been especially hard because it is FINALLY starting to get warm outside. The average temp is nearing 75 (but feels 85-90 when the sun is on you). It is especially hard to try and do homework with the beach so close. I managed (somehow) to get both of those essays done. Thus explains why this post has been so delayed (School first!). Next week I have another 2500 word essay due then the week after I have to act for 10 minutes in a play and do one more final project.

Only two weeks of school left! It went by so fast. I absolutely hate the school system here. You are basically only graded on 1-2 essays or projects which are all due within 3-4 weeks of each other at the end of the year. There is no homework or midterm tests which test you on anything beforehand so you are expected to remember everything you did for the past 13 weeks solely based on what we talked about in class.

After these next two weeks of school we have a week of "studying" then two weeks of finals. During those two weeks I have 3 finals the first 3 days and 1 final on the last day. After that last day we fly out and begin our traveling! We have been trying to plan the trip afterward for sometime now and have almost got it all arranged.

We start off by flying to the Great Barrier Reef. Once there, we will rent a car and drive to rain forest to do a jungle tour. I'm not too sure on all the specifics but apparently the cape we are going to is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. After that tour, we'll drive back down to the reef and spend two days on the ocean. After those two days, we'll fly back to Sydney to spend 2 days there seeing all the common attractions (opera house, bridge, beach). From Sydney, we leave to New Zealand. In New Zealand we are taking a bus tour around the island. We will be climbing on glaciers, seeing Milford Song, a day in Queenstown to go skydiving and/or bungee jumping, plus many others). After 7 days, we fly to Fiji where we are staying in an all-inclusive resort to relax for the last 4 days of the trip. Then we start to trip back home and arrive in MPLS on Dec 9th. So far we only have Fiji and New Zealand booked, so the plans for the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney are still subject to change.

In between class, work, and homework, I've still been playing a bunch of guitar. It's been a great way to pass the time. During the past few weeks I've been itching to come home already. It's been fun and all here, but it is really becoming apparent at just how similar everything is compared to the USA. It feels as though I'm just living in another part of America. Everything I'm doing here I do at home except here I'm without most of my friends, most of my belongings, paying double for everything, and away from things I've gotten use to. I'm so glad I came here because it gave me a chance to be independent and experience something totally different. Now that perception is falling off. Hopefully a few days at the beach with this new found weather will clear the mood. I also can't wait until school is done. I quit work on Oct 30 (2nd to last day of school). That means I have the next 3 weeks (disregarding my 4 finals) to spend relaxing and enjoying what little time I have left here.

I'll be sure to update again before I head out on my travels afterward (or holidays as they call it here). Thanks for reading, I can't wait to see you all when I get back.