Hi all! Since last time, so much has happened in my Australian adventure! I've been to Tasmania, quit my job, took it back again, met up with some long lost relatives, and even took up swimming. I didn't realise until recently, but being a member of Swinergy (Swinburne's gym) gives you access to Hawthorn Aquatic and Leisure Centre just across the road. As Swinburne students, we are able to use the pool for free. I never knew swimming was so difficult until I actually tried it! What a great workout. I got some tips from a friend of mine about the proper swimming technique, and with any luck I might be able to move out of the slow lane sometime in the near future?
I have some relatives who live nearby (very distant relatives) and we met up not too long ago. I didn't even know I had connections in Australia until I was already accepted and set on coming here. They are very nice people who took me out for coffee and even invited me over for dinner. We've all been busy since our get-together a few weeks ago, but I'm hoping to see everyone again before I leave.
So about my café job? I really was having a tough time trying to work with my boss. Unfortunately, he isn't the easiest man to work for. I was finally too fed up to continue working there after the latest of many things I had apparently done wrong and been torn apart over. I explained to my boss that I wouldn't be able to work for him much longer, but I also offered to work out a two week's notice. I wasn't going to leave on bad terms. He seemed fine with it. The next day when I showed up for work though, he seemed to have reconsidered for the better. He said he'd been too hard on me, and he told me I'd actually been doing a pretty good job at learning the morning routine for the café. He asked if I'd stay on a few more weeks to see if things were better. I was completely shocked, but decided to give it a chance. Since then, things have been better. Maybe I know what to expect from him now, or maybe he's become more lenient. Either way, I think I'll stay at this job for the time being.
Now on to the more exciting topic: Tassie! Over our mid-semester break (hard to believe the semester is over half-way through!), I went with a group of seven friends to Tasmania. We were all international students. Two of us were from The States, two were from The Netherlands, and three were from Germany. We rented two cars for the week, and two of the guys had a go at driving on the left side of the road. Overall, that part didn't go too bad. It was more the windy dirt roads and wildlife darting across them in the dark that we had to watch out for. We actually chose Tasmania because travel it is quite inexpensive to get there from Melbourne. (We were all on a low budget) I actually bought my plane ticket from Melbourne to Hobart for $69. The flight was quite early (6:00AM), but it saved my friends and me a lot. On the way back we took a ferry called The Spirit of Tasmania for about $100. We all stayed in hostels to keep the cost down, and they ran us about $24-$28 per night including linen.
Tasmania was so much better than I expected. In fact, it was beautiful. Everyone told me to be prepared for cold weather in Tassie, but I came back with a suntan! Now the weather wasn't exactly hot, beach like weather, but it was fairly mild most of the time. In Hobart we got to go hiking up Mt. Wellington on our first day. Staying in Hobart for a second day, we travelled to Port Arthur (a historic penal colony) and Remarkable Cave at the very southern part of Tasmania. I could have gazed at the view in those places for hours. (Especially at Remarkable Cave - I've included a picture so you can see why.)
We stayed in a backpackers in Swansee next. That place was honestly as nice as a hotel! We had great weather there and got to go to the beach. We spent most of the day playing on these huge rocks at Bicheno. It was like a play ground for "big kids". We had another two-night stay at Swansee Backpackers and went kayaking the next morning around Freycinet National Park. That experience was amazing. The water was so clear and beautiful. We also hiked over the mountain to Wineglass Bay afterwards. On the sand there, some wild wallabies came right up to us. We were able to hang out with them for about an hour. I think they smelled my friend's BBQ crackers and wanted some food, but we got some great pictures for it!
A couple of other things I'll mention quickly about Tassie are the Tahune Airwalk and the Marakoopa Cave. If you ever go to Tasmania, these are two other things you might want to check out. The airwalk is a tall platform walkway that lets you walk through the rainforest, and the cave has running water along with your stereotypical stalactites and stalagmites. Both were very cool. I'm so glad I decided to go to Tasmania for mid-semester break.
One other awesome thing happened here the day I got back from Tassie. Hawthorn won the Grand Final!!! (For anyone from the US, the Grand Final is for footy what the Superbowl is for American Football.) I went out with some friends to celebrate on Glenferrie Road, but everyone else had already beaten us to it. There was seriously a riot on Glenferrie! No hostility of course, just some very happy drunken Hawthorn supporters. There were so many people on the street that traffic could hardly get through. People just stopped their cars and got out to party with the crowd. It was great. Absolutely amazing!
All right. Well, I can't think of much else to say right now (and I'm running out of room), so I think I'll get back to some real homework? If anyone has any questions or comments for me, please post them. Cheers!