Monday, December 04, 2006

Happy Holidays!

Time flies! It's already been one month since my last post, and I just don't see where all this time went.

The big thing at the beginning of the month was when all of the inbound exchange students from this district came to Warren to experience the bush! (picture above) Rotary had organised for us to stay at the Warren Racecourse grounds, in "indoor camp" style accommadation. It was so funny to see how the other students reacted to all of the flies and the desolation of this are of the country (most of them are on the coast). Unfortunately, we didn't get to demonstrate how hot and dry it is here, because for the 3 days that they were in Warren, it rained! This was the most rain we had gotten since I arrived in Warren in July.

We had a great time just hanging out the first afternoon and night, and the other days we had bush tucker, went to various sheep shearing/merino studs, and climbed Mount Foster, which is the highest point near Warren. The walk up the "mountain" was very degrading and moods were pretty low after the flies and ensuing heat took their toll.

On our final day together in Warren we went to Auscott Macquarie, which is an absolutely huge plot of land (tens of thousands of acres) that is utterly flat for kilometres in all directions. The idea was to see wildlife, but most of us have already seen kangaroos and emus, so it was a bit of a waste of time. We were travelling on the back of utes in cages, and it was pretty fun, especially when one of the drivers tried to get back onto the dirt road and nearly flipped the thing over with 10 exchange students on the back!

We went on to spend a night in Dubbo and go to the Western Plains Zoo the next morning before parting, and it was heaps cool. The sad thing was that I had to go back to Warren, and they got to go home to the coast. I will join them soon, though!

The next weekend the famous Australian Cotton Cup was held at the Racecourse in Warren. This is the big horserace of the year for Warren, and the whole town gets out in all of the finery and has a big party. Boarding school students came home for the race weekend and it was great to get to know them. The party after the races were over was a big shock. Now Warren isn't the most sophisticated place on earth, and this was demonstrated by the dozens of broken glass bottles strewn across the floor, the large amount of clearly overintoxicated people staggering about, and the occassional fight. However, it was a really good experience and I shall never forget dancing to the music of the really good band that was playing, carefree amongst people of all ages.

Not long after Cotton Cup, I moved in with Kevin and Bernadine Taylor, and their son JT and daughter Sandy. This family is heaps active in the community and is so nice. I think I'll really enjoy my last few (very, very hot) months in Warren with the Taylor's.

And here we are in December. Let me begin by telling you how hot it is. The leaves in direct sunlight burn. A candle left in the shade of the verandah melts. The flies that once hoarded you to frustration have been heated and burned to death. The wind does nothing to cool you down. In fact, when the wind blows, it's like somebody opened a fan-forced oven right in your face. And this is just the beginning. It gets hotter. The hottest it's been here while I've been here is 44C, or 111F. In the shade. But 120F, even 130F, in the sun, is certainly not out of the question, especially on Christmas Day. It's not just one day of heat that gets under your skin, it's the prolonged week of non-stop heat that takes every bit of energy and concentration out of your system and the only thing you know how to do is slap sunscreen on and jump in the pool.

What a relief it was to go to Maitland this weekend. Maitland is just west of Newcastle, and it was another briefing for the inbound and outbound exchange students. We stay at Tocal (picture of group above), which is a quaint little college on a hill outside of Maitland. And was it ever cold. Rainy and cold. You could have said I was in England and I would've believed you. I was so excited to see everyone again, and then I found out that this was our last get together before the Brasilians leave to go back! Even though we've only known each other for a few months, it's going to feel like there is something missing from our group each and every time we meet from now on. Our exchange still feels like it's just in the beginning, not even having reached the halfway point, and for these students its the end of their exchange journey in their host country. It really makes you think about how you should make every day count.

Besides the sometimes boring meetings, it was awesome to be with each other, and we had a very fulfilling time, and heaps of laughs.

I missed Thanksgiving, and Halloween for that matter, and I wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas. Enjoy the snow if you have any, enjoy the cold! Christmas will be so different for me, and I will miss everyone dearly during this time.

Season's Greetings,


Post a Comment

<< Home