© April Meads, 2016
My adventures in Australia got off to quick start; all international students had a meeting time of 7am on Monday February 22nd. We packed up and headed for Lorne Beach along the Great Ocean Road. We were put into groups that were separated by different color wristbands. At this beach we would have a variety of activities to participate in over the span of the three days we would be there. Our transportation from the hotel to the beach was a cute little VW van.
The first day in Lorne resembled a day on the Oregon coast: rainy, cold, gloomy and cold ocean water. Dealing with a bit of homesickness, this environment helped me feel a little at home.
My group basically had free time the whole day, so I walked the beach and soaked in the fact that I was actually in Australia. Being pretty jet lagged still at this point, having just landed the day before, I didn’t have the energy to play beach volleyball or ultimate frisbee with everyone else. However, I enjoyed watching and meeting new friends.
Pictured with me above is Alyssa, who’s from Massachusetts. She’s one of the first people I met and we instantly clicked. We met the previous night and it turned out that we were both in the red group so we were stoked.
My group’s activities didn’t start until Tuesday, which was fine because the sun decided to come out that day. To start off the day, we had the choice of either mountain biking or hiking. I chose hiking, which ended up being a walk through the city and the rainforest but there were some beautiful viewpoints.
We reached the rainforest and were told to stay on the path because inside were likely snakes because it was more than 100 degrees. I hate snakes so I was a little freaked out but it quickly passed once we entered the significantly cooler rainforest.
As we walked through, I kept hearing a bicyclist coming up behind me but every time I turned around, no one was there. You know that noise a bike makes when you stop peddling and coast and the chain ticks? That’s what I was hearing. I thought it was so weird that someone was riding a bike through here but I just forgot about it and kept walking. I eventually put everything together and realized that that noise was definitely not a bike, but SNAKES. I’m so glad I didn’t think of that until we were out of the rainforest or else I would’ve ran away.
We had a couple hours of free time again for lunch. I needed some comfort food so naturally, being an American, I bought a cheeseburger. I then took some time to walk around the shops and purchase/write postcards to send back home.
My group’s next activity was surfing. Sounds fun, right? I was really excited about it but after watching some of the other groups surf, I decided that since I can’t swim, I shouldn’t do it. I was pretty bummed but I took the time to go for another small hike by myself, which was very relaxing.
Since the sun was out this day, I got a good look at the beach and the beautiful water. It was so fascinating how one day it could be so gloomy and cold, and the next so bright and cheerful. The water was bright blue and like nothing I had seem before.
At the end of Tuesday, I was tired and ready to go back to Deakin (my school). Wednesday morning, we had breakfast, packed up our stuff and headed back to Burwood. I spent the rest of that day unpacking my suitcases and making it look like someone actually lived in my room. I was tired, hungry, cranky, hot, but most of all, I was excited for what the next four months in this beautiful country had in store for me.