Memories in the Making

By Amy, Cultural Embrace Work Participant in Australia

It’s incredible how quickly time is going by and yet at the same time it feels as though I’ve been living here forever! This entire experience has been incredible from the exotic wildlife, festivals, and beaches to the sometimes foreign English language! All of this has been made better by the fantastic group of friends I’ve made in my short time here. It’s been about a month since I’ve updated my blog (as some of you have kindly pointed out to me);) so I’ll just update you on what I’ve been up to in the past few weeks.

A few weeks ago one of my many English friends, Ceri, from work told me about Rhys Darby performing in a local suburb. He plays the manager, Murray, in Flight of the Conchords and is absolutely hysterical. Being the poor low-budget travellers that we are, we went back and forth as to whether or not to splurge on the tickets. We decided to be rational and resigned to putting our funds toward future travels, until Ceri’s boyfriend got her tickets for her birthday. That was all the rest of us needed to immediately log online and order tickets!…the show was definitely worth it! I had never been to a live stand up comedy show and now I’m sure they will pale in comparison as he had us in stitches from start to finish. The best part was getting to meet him after the show. It was a moment that you wait for, hoping you’ll get to meet him and say something brilliant and memorable, but when the time actually came I was just all smiles with a stuttering “you were great, so great!” WHAT?! ah well, I’ve never been known for my coolness! haha

A new experience that I was very excited about was getting the opportunity to play the part of an extra in a short film, “Second Face.” It’s a story about a guy and a girl who go online after being fed up with the dating scene and each pose as the opposite sex. The twist is that they are both confessing what they’ve done to their friends in the same coffee shop only to run into…(spoiler alert!) 😉 Anyway, I had to quickly overcome my giddy”ness” each time I heard “action!” and focus on my role. That role being spending the day in a coffee shop pretending to chat with complete strangers who I believe to have convincingly portrayed to be my closest of friends. As if just being on a real live “set” wasn’t good enough, we ate cake all day long, take after take after cake, err take. It was a day I will never forget, as now permanently added to my hips!

Onto the races…the race that stops the nation to be exact. So I took a day off from the phones to work as a bartender at one of the biggest events in Australia–the Melbourne Cup. This is similar to our Kentucky Derby but consists of races held all over the country and literally the whole country stops work to watch the races. It was so great to be a part of such a massive event. To be honest I was more intrigued by the hats and fashion being paraded on the lawn than I was by the racing! I made an attempt to place bets prior to race day but due to mine and Sarah’s inability to work the OTB machine, race day passed without our money on any horses. Oh, and Americain was the winner of the day!

I went to my first show (aka the movies, aka cinema) in Sydney and it was quite an experience. Tickets to the show are $20 and that’s before you get your popcorn and icee! The interesting thing is that you reserve seats like you would at a concert so you can ensure the perfect seat and still walk in right before the previews and not have to crane your neck from the leftover seats in the very front row. Once you get inside the theater you completely forget about what you’ve paid because it is as though you have your very own recliner with arm rests…so very nice! It’s probably a good thing that tickets are pricey because my love for going to the show could get the better of me here in Oz and I’d have nothing to blog about but movie reviews!

An interesting event that we just attended was the Redbull Flugtag annual competition. This is where anyone that wants to can register to build a flying contraption and compete to see whose creation will fly the furthest off the platform into the Harbour. Although there were a number of really elaborate designs and coordinating costumes, I don’t think there were many engineers in the group of contestants! Most of them just dropped off the edge with the teams jumping off the ledge behind it. There was an obvious winner whose design resembled that of a hand glider…ingenious concept! ha Needless to say it was a good day and the sun was finally out. I will never underestimate the Aussie sunshine again though, as I got a pretty good sunburn after only a few hours. Lesson learned!

One of the more difficult parts of meeting all of these wonderful traveling friends is that we all move in our different directions sooner or later. We had to say goodbye to Ceri and Mark just last week as they set off on the tail end of their trip before heading back to England. We sent them off in style properly with a good night of food and drink and made Ceri’s night with a book of crossword puzzles all to herself that didn’t have American answers like the book she had to share with me! haha Ceri also gave us each a Christmas ornament to place on our orphan Christmas tree to remember her by. We will miss y’all! xo

On a lighter note, we celebrated Sarah’s 30th birthday 80’s style! I was a bit concerned that not everyone who saw us realized that we were actually costumed. Maybe it shows their accepting, nonjudgemental culture or maybe it is a sign of poor fashion sense…but who am I to judge?! Regardless, we had a blast and didn’t just leave it at the outfits, we brought back the Roger Rabbit and any other horrific dance moves we could muster. Good times were had by all!

And to save the absolute best for last, and to share what is a bit of a confession. I have become a bit obsessed with the reality talent show that is X-factor here in Australia…not only do I have a crush on one of the hosts, Boyzone singer Ronan Keating, but am absolutely crazy about one of the contestants, Altiyan Childs. I’m convinced we’ll all be saying “we knew him when…” one day in the near future. Well, with my partners in crime (and fellow X-Factor addicts), Liam and Sarah, we made the hour long trek across town to see Altiyan perform live in his hometown before the grand finale. We were relieved to see that we weren’t the only crazy adults so we weren’t surrounded by only teeny-boppers, though there was a close call between Sarah and a determined 10 year old in an altercation about getting to the stage..thankfully it didn’t get too ugly! We’re all still a little starstruck and are planning a party for the grand finale!—It sounds a bit sad when you put it in writing, but it’s ‘what’s on!’ so I must report honestly, despite my dignity. 🙂

Hoping for some good beach weather this weekend and then preparing for my Thanksgiving away from home. I’m in charge of Thursday’s dinner with my non-American family after work–will do my best. Then on Saturday I’ve been invited to celebrate with some American families from church at one of their homes so that should be really nice. Between the warm weather & no family around it won’t feel much like Thanksgiving, but I’m also more aware than ever before that I have plenty to be thankful for.

Hope everyone is well, sorry again for the long delay between posts!
Take care! 🙂


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