No Turkey, No Problem

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Writing this blog is taking every little bit of brainpower that I have remaining today, but I am excited to report on my last couple of weeks. Well, last week was not the most exciting of weeks, in fact it was rather mundane, so I’m going to skip it. This week however was far from boring. As all of you know, Australia does not celebrate Thanksgiving, so I was stuck going to class all week. On top of that, I had/have 4 final projects due, which has really made for an eventful Thanksgiving week. Luckily, as I type to you, I have completed and turned in 3 of those projects, leaving that dreaded last graded assignment of the semester yet to finish. This has been one of the tougher weeks in my academic career, highlighted by the fact that all of my family and friends back home are kicking back, enjoying the holiday. I will not take mid-semester breaks for granted anymore as they truly are rejuvenating and a great stress reliever.

Okay that’s enough of that little pity party. In between all of the research and keyboard pecking there were plenty of good moments. I have realized that no matter how much work there is to be done, there is always time for beach volleyball and swimming. I have played volleyball nearly everyday the past couple of weeks as summer is quickly approaching. It’s a great stress reliever and heaps of fun. Volleyball is always followed by a dip in the pool to cool off and catch a few more rays. No better way to forget about Uni for a couple of hours.

Yesterday a group of 40+ people from at least a dozen countries gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving. The non-American’s loved it just as much as we did, because in Australia you can use anything as an excuse to have a party. That being said, it was really neat to celebrate with everyone from different cultures. Dinner was a potluck style buffet with all sorts of dishes from each person’s home country. This was a fantastic meal and evening that was unlike anything I have ever been a part of. There was no turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberries, or mashed potatoes.  So what was there? Well, dishes from Australia, America, Nigeria, Germany, Sweden, China, England, Norway, etc… It was fantastic! I wanted to try everything, but it would have been impossible. A few items that stood out were kangaroo, African pasta, and my personal favorite, Sweet Potato Casserole! I also ate several mystery dishes and honestly liked each of them.

I was the lame American who brought pre-packaged rolls, only to be outdone by someone else who made warm garlic bread. I wasn’t too upset though. While we all crammed copious amounts of food in our mouths, people would stand on their chair and say what they were thankful for. The night was a fantastic and unique experience that will stick with me for many years to come.

Although I do wish I could have been in the North Carolina Mountains with my family, this was not a bad alternate. I hope that everyone had a phenomenal, relaxing, and fattening Thanksgiving! I also hope you all get some sweet Black Friday deals, as I’m sure Mark Wilson will be first in line at some clothing store. I swear my Dad has never bought a clothing item that wasn’t on sale. It is crazy to think that I will be on a plane home in less than a month. I seriously can’t wait to see everyone when I get back. Miss y’all!

There are a lot more pictures that other people haven’t uploaded yet, but these are just a few that I took. Oh and I rocked the mustache for 2 days for MOvember. It was hideous. 

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Cricket, Wicket, and a Train Ticket

Well, a few days ago when I promised another blog post, I assumed I would be discussing my recent trip to the Gondwana Rainforest. Unfortunately, the weather forecast prevented our group from going on our much anticipated day trip. Oh and did I mention, it ended up being partly cloudy and 72 degrees? You win some you lose some. Hopefully we will find another day to go, and I will in fact be able to tell you all about that trip. But since I promised all 12 of my readers, whom I appreciate greatly, a Sunday post, I could not let you all down.

Rainforest disappointment aside, this weekend was not too terrible. I have found that having no class of Friday is quite a treat, and I look forward to that same treat next semester. 3-day weekends allow for a lot more time (obviously) to have fun and get schoolwork done. This particular 3-day weekend, was spent watching sports, buying gifts, and writing essays. Friday, a group of us headed north to Brisbane, aboard the train, to watch day one of a 5 day Cricket Test Match between South Africa and Australia. Yes, you read that correctly, Cricket takes 5 full days to play. I will not fool any of you, Cricket is not the most adrenaline rushing sport out there. Frankly, it makes little league baseball seem fast paced.

This does not mean that I didn’t enjoy watching a couple of hours of the match. In fact, I took the opportunity to learn the rules and actually understand what was going on. I found that to be the most exciting part. We were lucky enough to see Australia make an out just after the lunch break, which is a big deal in a 5 day match. I can now officially say that I have been to an international Cricket match, so that in itself made the trip worth it. Apparently there are also 1 day and 3 hour matches that provide a lot more excitement, so maybe I will have to check one of those games out sometime.

After leaving the match, we headed for downtown Brisbane, which is a neat area. We spent some time just walking around town before we all decided to do some Christmas shopping. This is where the fun began. Honestly, I could have walked out of that store with one of everything. This was a nice change, as I usually struggle to buy family gifts, especially you Dad, but not this year. I wanted to buy it all. After spending a long time deliberating, I walked out satisfied.

Following shopping hour, we walked around a bit more and then headed back to campus on the train. You may remember me discussing a past experience on the train home from Brisbane, but this time we were able to dodge that nasty bullet.

The rest of my weekend was spent writing final reports and papers. It is crazy to think that in only two weeks I will be done with all of my semester’s work and exams will be the only thing remaining, which are two weeks after that. On another note, if anyone is feeling so generous, and wants to somehow mail me a fresh Chipotle chicken burrito, I will owe you big time. I miss American food quite a bit. I hope all is well wherever you may be reading this post. Happy November 11! It is a good day, trust me, I’m 15 hours in the future.     

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Brief Update

I apologize for not updating this more often, but things have gotten very busy with school rapidly coming to a close in a few weeks. I wanted to update you all on my last couple of weeks though. The week after my return from Sydney I received a nice little wake up call, realizing just how much work I had to do before the end of November (end of classes). I had a 40% presentation last Wednesday, which went well, along with several other little things I had to complete. Wednesday night was a lot of fun as I got to go to see one of my favorite bands, Mumford & Sons, here in Gold Coast. I had a blast seeing them for a second time.

Last Sunday my friend Kelli got baptized, which was really awesome. This baptism was not a “normal” baptism for me, frankly it was a bigger spectacle than any I have ever been to. In Australia they do baptisms big time. They are an all day event at the beach which includes soccer, rugby, swimming, rock climbing, hanging out, and of course a good ole Aussie BBQ. I really enjoyed meeting lots of new people and watching Kelli and several other new believers get baptized in the salt water. I did however slice my foot open pretty good on a piece of coral, but luckily the sharks didn’t attack. Oh and Jared got stung by a jelly fish. But what is an Aussie baptism without a few minor wounds?

This week I have a lot of work to do as there are 4 major assignments due in a weeks period, beginning next week. After that, 4 exams and several days off are all that stand between me and returning home. My time here has flown by, and I’m sure the next several weeks will be no different. I registered for my spring semester at High Point, which is always overly stressful, but I got all of the class I wanted. I do have a couple of fun adventures coming up this weekend, but you will have to check back around Sunday to read about those. Right-O, back to my studies I go.

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