only in australia…

Story of the week: The perpetrator, once again, is alcohol.  I was merely an innocent bystander.  Let me explain.  Rowing is an influential sport in Brisbane and a regatta was held amongst all the colleges over the weekend.  Naturally this became another excuse to engage in morning goon drinking.  At the regatta there was a drinking section enclosed with ropes and complete with bouncers.  Let me emphasize these two facts: it was noon on a Sunday. We stayed and watched a few races before heading back for a well-deserved lunch.  The rest of the day was spent in peace until dinner.  Unbeknownst to most of Union College, dinner began an hour earlier.  In hindsight I should have known something was amiss.  Forty minutes into dinner, I was informed via the beloved Union Facebook group, Rangas, that a food fight would commence.  Sign 2.  We laughed it off as the usual and familiar drunk mannerisms of Union residents.  No no. This was a planned food fight.  Normally we can eat inside but tonight tables were propped up in a line suggesting otherwise.  Outside it is…  All food items were in take-away boxes and only plastic silverware was provided.  Sign 3.  Our college not only prepared but encouraged this epic food fight. Making the safe choice, we decided to take advantage of the convenient take-away boxes and high tailed it back to our rooms.  I prefer my food in my stomach, not on someone else’s face.
Here are some more crazy adventures that you’d experience only in the land down under…
ADVENTURE #5: Recovery
Saturday August 27, 2011
Recover from what? Ball! Union hosts a formal ball where gals and guys dress up prom-style, take lots of pictures, and party like it’s 1999.  Since I am a poor exchange student, I decided to save myself the $60 and put it towards another weekend trip.  However, recovery was never an option. Or so I was told.  Now how do you recover from a night of drinking, dancing, and partying the night away? More drinking of course!  A $25 recovery ticket guarantees you a rowdy bus ride to a seedy city club, unlimited spirits (only from ten to two), two slices of pizza, a decent live band, and the lovely experience of someone spitting a mixture of food dye and alcohol on your face.  The hours at the club flew by with the usual partying activities: drinking games by the benches, incessant chatter and free flowing alcohol at the bar, and unnecessarily loud music on the dance floor.  Don’t worry kids, the party still ain’t over.  After terrorizing the public transport system, we arrived back at Union and headed straight for the sports oval, food dye and cheap beer in hand.  Think of a time when spitting in people’s faces was socially acceptable. Can’t do it? I’ve got your answer.  Now! Food dye, beer, and grass covered everyone by the time any single person crossed the oval.  Needless to say, recovery from recovery was not nearly as fun. All good things must come to an end.
 
a taste of the festivities

 

Union College at its finest

 

what happens at the oval stays at the oval
 
ADVENTURE #6: Riverfire
Saturday September 3, 2011
Before you think everything I do involves drinking, I want to share my wonderful night out celebrating the artsy side of Brisbane.  An annual arts festival is held presenting its most anticipated event: Sunsuper Riverfire (a choreographed fireworks show).  Arriving just an hour before the show, we snagged some seats on the lawn at South Bank and waited for the magic to unfold.  Firework stations lined the Brisbane River and sat on top of several skyscrapers.  Marked by the swell of the public music speakers, the fireworks shot into the sky.  This fireworks show was in a class of its own.  With so many different fireworks launching simultaneously, the sky was filled with brilliant colors and sparkling lights. It was one of those moments where you take it all in- grinning from ear to ear.  I’m in Australia surrounded by awesome people and living an incredibly blessed life.  I count my lucky stars to be where I am today and I know this experience, the fireworks show and my study abroad, will stay with me for the rest of my life.  After the fireworks, three friends and I ordered hot chocolates from an elegant chocolaterie.  Great chocolate, great conversations, and great friends.  What more could a girl ask for?
the internationals… and Jasmine 🙂

 

finale!

 

happy with our Max Brenner’s waffle bowl hot chocolates
 
ADVENTURE #7: Lamington National Park
Friday September 9, 2011
The second of my three educational field trips began quite ominously with a gloomy forecast of thunderstorms.  Nevertheless the field trip commenced.  Our twelve kilometer hike began with lots of vigor and excitement.  We saw several great Antarctic beech trees (important because they provide support for Gondwana’s existence), a small waterfall, and a cave with a beautiful but sadly cloud-covered view of a valley.  Today of all days, the weatherman got it right.  Four or so kilometers into our hike, the heavens let loose and never let up.  Luckily the rainforest canopy provided a natural umbrella, but by the end of the hike my group was shivering and soaking wet!  The last few kilometers were a struggle but when we made it back to the great indoors, I took off my wet rag of a sweater and sat by a fully appreciated fire.  Taylor and I however did have a ‘we-are-in-a-rainforest-in-Australia-and-it-is-raining’ kind of moment which sounded a lot more exciting then than it does now.  Despite the weather’s best efforts, we still saw a great deal of the park and I learned a lot about Australian flora.  I might even be able to name some of the native trees now.  Every day Australia is starting to feel more like home.
 
little waterfall
 
With mid-semester exams under my belt, I’ve settled into a routine here in Australia.  I’m enjoying my classes and going to my biweekly beach volleyball games and (free) gym classes.  I’ve even begun recognizing different streets within the city.  This week marks the beginning of the second half of my stay here in Australia and I cannot believe it’s almost over.  I’ve got a busy weekend ahead of me with a trip to the beach (my first one to date) and another QUEST trip to Stradbroke Island for a cultural taste of Australian aboriginal life.  Soon (t minus five days) I’ll be in New Zealand visiting my fellow study abroad mate Dahlia.  We’ve already planned two major hiking trips for my stay but I’ll keep you in suspense about where exactly! I guess you’ll just have to keep reading if you want to know…
Well wasn’t that cheeky of me,
Lena

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