This weekend proved to me in so many ways how much I adore Sydney. I think all of my negative feelings I have toward Melbourne come from my living arrangements here at the village, but with that said, Sydney still has a lot of amazing things to offer. I absolutely love their botanic gardens and Hyde Park – two areas that are located right in the heart of downtown; the two harbors I was around, Darling and Circular Quay (where the Opera House is) are such neat, alive areas; the beaches that are either a short ferry or car ride away are beautiful sights to unwind at and soak in the sun; I loved all of it. While getting to go back a few months after my first trip there was sort of nostalgic without my parents, I already had such an appreciation of the city that I think it made me enjoy the time there even more.

Our group of about sixty left Melbourne around 8pm, crammed onto a bus that made sleeping in any comfortable position almost impossible. After struggling to fall asleep for about two hours, I finally resorted to sleeping in the aisle. Call me crazy or dirty, but I had my backpack and scarf as a pillow to rest my head on, and I was able to fully stretch out my legs; trust me, it was the best and most comfortable option. I enjoyed that position for about three hours and then I realized people had to use the restroom and unless I wanted them to stomp on me, I had to get up. It was also at that time I realized our bus had broken down. Yup, we were stranded in a tunnel and then in a parking lot for a combination of about three hours. The fan belt got ripped to pieces after a freak rock did some damage, so the bus was overheating which meant we were stranded until another bus came to our rescue. The positive out of this situation was that it was only 8am, so there was nothing else we really could have been doing.

After being rescued and eating breakfast, we spent the rest of the day walking around the city, enjoying the sights, before arriving back at the hostel to get ready for our Halloween cruise. Long story short, Friday night was a lot of fun. The Tigger outfit was a success and I was asleep at my normal time of about 12:30.

Saturday while everyone was up in the Blue Mountains, I met up with a long lost friend, Jesse, and spent the afternoon with him. It had been two years since we had seen each other and the last time we hung out was on IU’s campus, so it was extremely strange seeing him here in Australia. He was able to show me another part of Sydney that I would not have been able to appreciate or even know about if it wasn’t for him. I learned he had a barista job at a café where Justin Vernon, the lead singer of Bon Iver, often orders his coffee and that Hugh Jackman has been spotted walking the very street I myself was that afternoon. I mean, I think that’s the closest I’ve ever been to a famous person, so I was pretty stoked.

Yesterday was a beach day, so we visited Manly Beach – the birthplace of surfing in Australia – as well Bondi beach. At Bondi beach, there was an arts festival called Sculpture by the Sea taking place. We learned that artists as well as art lovers from all around the world come to this festival – aka it’s a big deal – and I could totally understand why. The artwork is all a part of the landscape, so the beach, the cliffs are all a part of someone's piece. If the wind wasn't busy exfoliating my skin with the constant gusts of sand, I would have stuck around a lot longer to enjoy and appreciate all of the unique and creative pieces of art.

So after a full weekend in Sydney, we arrived back home this morning in Melbourne around 4:45am, tired and freezing. I have two finals left, two weeks until my trip to Cairns, and 29 days left until I come home. After Skyping with my family this morning, it seems surreal that in such a short time I won’t have to talk to them through a computer screen anymore.  


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