Thursday, March 22, 2007

Singleton Rodeo and Rotary Conference

Another two weeks and things are busy!

Not this past weekend but the one before I went to the Singleton Countryfest with Jade and Mitch. A nice relaxing weekend, the festival comprised a rodeo and also the National Wife Carrying Competitions (World Championship to be held in Finland). It was truly a quirky Australian thing, with husbands (or partners) throwing their wives over their backs and navigating an obstacle course, culminating in a run through a deep pool. Also at the rodeo we picked up a little Kelpie puppy who we named Cougar, and is this ever a cute dog! Unfortunately we had to give it away as our neighbours wanted it, and we already have four dogs. We can still visit it, but!

Another boring week of school, blah blah blah, and then on Friday we had the Rotary District 9670 Conference held also in Singleton. On Friday night we stayed at a Singleton Rotarian's house (all the boys) and we got to meet the three new Brasilian inbounds! We should all have a great time together on the big trip!!!

Saturday morning we drove down to Myuna Bay which is on Lake Macquarie (so we pretty much went back and forth from Singleton to Newcastle) to just relax, enjoy each other's company, practise for a skit we were to put on the next day, and review things for the big trip. It was very humid and warm and we got some good rain, and the karaoke was fun as well!

Very early Sunday morning we drove BACK to Singleton to put on our presentation, which went extremely well and was enjoyed by all the Rotarians. Li Cunxin was the guest speaker as well, and he presented his emotional story compellingly.

Then on Tuesday I went into town and spontaneously decided to go surfing! It is not as easy as it looks, and I must admit I didn't even get up on a wave, but I will try again!!! Next time with a rash shirt on....

Its so hard to believe that I have less than four months left. I have no idea what it's going to be like to go home, but it does not feel like I've been here that long at all; even memories of living out west seem disconnected from me - like my time in Warren and my time in Newcastle are separate exchanges. I'm in the midst of brainstorming what to do after my final year of high school at home, and doing university overseas is looking really promising at this point, preferably in Europe, although there are quite a few factors that will contribute to my decision. The way I see it is that my further education is an investment I'll most likely have to make, so I mine as well earn that education in an environment that interests me and one where I can see a new part of the world as well. I'm so excited about my future!

I have a few busy weekends coming up, what with birthday parties (including my own), and I hope to get out hunting eventually, hopefully sooner than later. And I haven't been to Sydney in a while.....

Thanks for tuning in! If anyone reads this from home, please email me or myspace me or something so I can be kept updated! It does get lonely sometimes, and I haven't heard from many people from school the whole time I've been here....

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Allyn River Weekend

Great Success! (Borat, anyone?)

This past weekend was sooo amazing.

On Friday I went into town to meet up with Kristian, an exchange student from Denmark. We planned on going to the Allyn River, near Barrington Tops, in the Hunter Valley, to go Bush camping early Saturday morning, and luckily the rain held up for us and we did just that!

Kristian, Linda (from Austria), Aleah (Wisconsin), Mum, Jade, and Mitch (Jade's friend) and I came along and did we ever have a great time. As the pictures illustrate, the Allyn River and Ladies Wells have some amazing water falls, rapids, and deep watering holes, perfect for swimming, jumping, and thus climbing. Almost the entire weekend was spent in the water. We pretty much got right into it, jumping first off of an approx 3 metre cliff into the water below, Jade of course showing off his diving skills, and I well, just jumping and hoping I hit the water. Being the intelligent human that I am, I thought I'd ask Kristian how to dive. "Just jump in but with your head first!" Right. I failed to put my hands over me head, and consequently ended up with a bloody nose.

Moving on to bigger things, literally, we climbed up some very slippery rocks to the larger jumpable cliffs, the smaller of which is 8 metres. Fair enough. I managed that one fine, albeit with some nice pains on my feet for hitting the water flat footed, and we promptly climbed even farther to the 10+ jump, in which you have to get a running start or else you, well, die. Quite a bit of coaxing was needed, but the fall was indeed amazing - you spend so much time in the air it's unbelievable.

More of jumping, using a rope at another well, and some sliding down the safer waterfalls ensued. On Sunday we needed water for hot dogs and the dishes, so me and Kristian walked the short distance to the waterfall closest our camp. I had the bucket, Kristian the saucepan, I removed my thongs, leaned over the waterfall, and as the bucket began to fill, I lost my balance and began the descent down the waterfall to the rocks below. Yes, it hurt. My tailbone, or coccyx, specifically. I still have a bruise. At the same time as I fell, Kristian stepped on a bee. Smart. The falls were so noisy that no one heard me fall or yell for help, so I just gritted my teeth, retrieved the bucket, and had the walk of shame back to camp. The fam's been getting a LOT of mileage out of this one. "We though someone had fallen in! HAHA." "We never catch the funny action on the vidcam!" Yeah.

More swimming before we went home, and as I was climbing up the on of the moist rock cliffs to have another go, I just peaked over and saw my friends, and lost my footing, sliding down the rock face, rather, falling, and again landing on rocks below, this time on my hipbone. Expletives ensued. HAHAHAHAH from everyone else.

Bruised, battered, dirty, I think it was the best weekend I've had in Australia so far.

Remember to check my web album, linked on the sidebar, for more pictures!