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05/07/18

The epic finale. Australia, Part 12.

Posted by bostonki on May 7, 2018 in Uncategorized

11:36 PM Auckland time.  Sam checks her email and bursts into tears.  Our 7:20 AM flight to Sydney has been delayed until 3:30.  In a rush, we hastily call the shuttle company and arrange a new pickup time.  Arriving at the airport around 10, we check to see if another flight was available.  After all, we only had 48 hours in Sydney before our flights home!  To no avail.  Once we arrived at the airport, we waited.. and waited.. and waited..  Since our airline was budget, we had to physically take a bus out onto the distant tarmac to board the plane.  We finally finally finally made it to Sydney at 6:57 PM, 8:57 PM Auckland time.  Whew.  Customs in Australia seemed pretty suspicious as to why we left the country for four days and then came back (probably thought we were a part of a bustling drug trade) but nope, this was the cheapest flight configuration.

Our first night in Sydney was great.  Once we landed, we dumped our stuff at the hostel (conveniently located right underneath a train station with DIRECT access to the airport) and were picked up by one of Miakela’s family friends who lived in the area.  She and her wife were amazing, as was her adopted sixteen year old daughter.  They lived in a traditional brownstone right in the middle of the Darlinghurst neighborhood and fed us our first mom-like homecooked meal in over a month.  The houses were SO STINKIN CUTE!  House GOALS.

So tiny.. but so cute!  Google Street View any Sydney residential neighborhood and you won’t regret it!

Since we only had one day to explore Sydney, we really had to prioritize.  Meaning, we spent all day at the Opera House, Royal Botanic Gardens, and the Rocks neighborhood.

Our first stop was the Opera House.  I squealed so loud as soon as I saw the iconic white sails… and THERE I WAS!  AAAH!  We took plenty of basic pics in front of the House and the Harbor Bridge, before venturing underneath.  There is a whole array of cafe’s and restaurants beneath the Opera House that you can’t actually see, which is pretty cool.  Pixar even got the birds right.  They weren’t saying “mine, mine, mine” but BOY were they after our food!

Along the water, you can kind of get a glimpse of the restaurant seating areas.

We took a guided audio tour of the inside about an hour later (only $30!) and that was probably one of the highlights of the entire trip.  They have tons of theaters, dance studios and prep space, and The Concert Hall.  The history was really interesting, and it’s sad this this is a surprisingly underutilized space.  Plus, they still have some of their retro purple velvet carpeting.

The Concert Hall.

After this, we walked around the waterfront and hung out in the Botanic Gardens.  There are some great views from there and it was so relaxing!  Also on the walk, Sam got pooped on by a bird wearing her brand new dress!  (This seemed to be a theme).  Some woman stopped and offered her wet wipes.  It was great.  (Sorry, Sam).

The last stop that day was the Rocks, a neighborhood I was particularly interested in visiting.  A little Australia history lesson – it was first settled as a penal colony by the British, and the neighborhood of the Rocks was where these people were housed.  The cobblestone streets and buildings date from the mid 1700s.  That day, there just so happened to be a market going on over there!  There were a ton of food trucks and I tried some sweet little pancakes (maybe Dutch?) and we window souvenir-shopped while admiring all the architecture!

Dinner that night was less impressive.  I ate at one of the chain places across from the hostel.  Let’s be frank, at this point I was so ready to go home.  I was so tired of airplanes and living out of a suitcase.  It’s actually pretty tiring.

The next morning, we hopped on the train and took it to the airport.  The whole plane ride back to Los Angeles was pretty uneventful, with the exception of the “helpful” woman sitting next to me who, upon seeing me take my shoes off in prep for takeoff, warned me that “I should put my shoes back on because when there’s an emergency, I’m going to want to be the first one out the plane”.  The entire time we were descending into LA (which was awesome actually because we flew right into the sunrise and I got to watch it progress as we cruised), she wouldn’t shut up about how she was from Vegas and she loved their new highway system.  Okay, lady, let me listen to my Fetty Wap and please respect the fact that my earbuds are in.

There was a problem boarding in Los Angeles and that was delayed too.  I asked to switch to a window seat because my body thought it was daytime flying over the Pacific, so I was awake for ALL fourteen hours.  I basically hadn’t slept in a day.  I curled up right away and when the flight attendant told me to put up my window shade, I vaguely remember begging for mercy because I “didn’t sleep for the last 24 hours”.  I later woke up as we were cruising over Philly.  Easiest flight ever.

I said goodbye to Mikaela and Sam at JFK, but I still had one leg left (and a six hour layover to sit through).  I remember watching the whole boarding process for three or four consecutive flights before Buffalo popped up at the gate.  It was around 11 or midnight when I finally boarded.  20 minutes up, 20 minutes cruising, and 20 minutes down and I was home.

My parents, along with Mike and his parents, greeted me with the cutest homemade signs ever.

Funny thing was, when I woke up the next morning, my jet lag was nonexistent and I wanted to go back.

Ladies and gentlemen, how to study abroad 101.

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