So I have officially stepped away from my job for several months. Everyone was very nice, telling me I would be missed, and came by my office one by one on Friday to tell me goodbye. I have signed something pretty much guaranteeing that I will return in December, which is good, because I can't expect to walk off the plane from being in the southern hemisphere for 3 months and expect to find another job instantly. I am kind of looking at this as a summer vacation for grown ups. The only thing is, it's not like I am going to be able to do this every year, although that would be amazing. It's a once in a lifetime thing, most likely, even though I am already planning a second trip in the future to see things I will not be able to fit in the trip this time, haha.
As the 8th draws closer, I am feeling more and more pressure to get things in line. I am fighting an urge to start packing my bag, mainly because I know I will be packing and unpacking and repacking several times before I get it right, so there is really no point to start before I have everything I will need. The anticipation is kind of like this picture: there is a huge adventure ahead, but you can't quite see it, although you are approaching the beginning of it. It's always my least favorite part of roller coasters, that "klink, klink, klink" you hear, jarring you as each chain moves you closer to the top, you feel it pulling you closer, against the force of gravity, your stomach anticipating the horror of the drop that awaits at the top, even though the imagination of it is always much worse than it ends up being. It's that anticipation that creates thoughts in my mind when I find myself asking, "what am I doing? I'm going to Australia for 3 months? By myself? This is a little insane!" Of course, these thoughts don't fill my every thought, but seem to be bubbling up more recently. I am attributing to the "cold feet" syndrome that engaged couples feel right before the wedding. They love each other, and are dedicated to this step, but one cannot deny that it is not a huge step, and causes these feeling to come up, no matter how much they want to be married and love each other. I think it's a natural thing to happen. It doesn't change the fact that I want to do this so badly and am so excited about the whole thing, but I think it is healthy to be moving into such change with at least a little reflection and caution.
I am basically booked for the last two weeks of my trip in Alice Springs, Uluru, Cairns, and Sydney. Matt has bought his ticket and we have decided we will be renting a car to drive to Uluru from Alice, stay overnight in a cabin (the only economical way to stay at the Uluru "resort" area), then drive back to Alice and fly to Cairns the next day. I am so excited by the prospect of driving in Australia. That in and of itself is going to be a great adventure. The car will be on the other side of the road with the wheel on the other side of the car. Granted, we will be driving in part of the least populated land in the country, it will still be a weird experience. We have a couple more flights and rooms to book, but we have decided on dates and have that part of the trip plotted out (and my over-controlling and plan oriented spirit inside rejoices!)
I have been studying up on the Aussie lingo via my very informative book that I got on Amazon called the American survival guide to living in Australia. I realized that the Australia accent and word slang is closer to Cockney English than the regular English accent. This makes perfect sense when you think about the origin of most Australians. Since the modern Australian society started out as a penal colony for England to rid itself of an underclass, it would go to reason that Cockney was a common accent to hear in the early settlers living in Australia. Of course, the modern Australian accent has evolved and is distinctively different from Cockney, but the way they stretch words and the rhyming and shortened slang is a definite Cockney trait. Some of these slang terms seem like more work to me than just saying the actual word you mean. Remember the yank = septic tank = seppos from an earlier blog? A major stretch, in my opinion. Another one I learned recently: lie rhymes with pork pie, which is shortened to porky. So when someone tells you that you are telling a porky, you have to quickly make this rhyming connection that they are accusing you of lying. So lie = pork pie = porky? Seriously? Right now, this rhyming and shortening stuff is a little too cutesy for me. Maybe it will grow on me by the time I am leaving, but right now, just say what you mean and we will all get along.
Notice anything different about this map? I think Sal would appreciate this map too, since it has her country front and center. This is what google gives you when you type 'Australian centered world map.' I wanted a map to show my course of travel without having to draw a line of me flying off the side of one page and coming in on the other side. When you look at it this way, it doesn't look quite as far as everyone thinks it is right? It's not really on the 'other side of the world' now, just across the Pacific ocean from California, not too bad, haha.
This map is of the route I will be traveling in Australia once I land there. I will be landing in Sydney, then will go north to Brisbane, before heading down to Melbourne and then west to make a clockwise circle around the country. I wanted to create this map to let people see what would be next for me as I travel throughout Australia. I also gives me a more clear view of what is ahead.
I found this while searching google images of Australia. Heed The Simpsons' warning: do not try to ride in kangaroo pouches. It is not as fun as it might seem.
10 DAYS!!! (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?)