Week 5: Mildura

Monday morning I woke up still in Colignan, so the clock said 6:30. It was freezing cold that morning, and the first bus was also cold. After two buses in total, we got to the school which was the same as usual. We bought Lunch from the Cafe across the street, but everything else was quite ordinary. We had dinner without Mark, who had stayed in Colignan, and Maaike went back there after dinner. Maddie baked cookies for the three of us, which we ate and went to bed. A very nice and quiet day, which I enjoyed all the little aspects of.

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Today was another school day. I read a book Emma had lent me called “every day”, and it is pretty good. I have already read half of it. Today I was pretty tired, so I pretty much layed on my bed until it was dinnertime. We had a very delicious stew, and me and Emma made chocolate pudding afterwards. I went to bed early.

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Wednesday was yet another school day. I finished the book Emma lent me. For dinner we had pies, which Maaike and I had made. I don’t think I ever mentioned it again, but yes: the moons phases are different in the southern hemisphere! When I last saw the moon, it told me that it was about to be new, but later it was full! So by a little bit of observation, I conclude that the moons phases are opposite down under. Instead of going from D to O to C, it goes from C to O to D – which makes sense to me…

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Today I did not go to school. I woke up a bit before 8 and had my breakfast. A bit later, I did yoga with Maaike and Maddie which was fun (especially when I fell over during a very daring headstand). I did hindbærsnitter once more, and we all had lunch. Afterwards, I made kammerjunkere, which we are going to have tomorrow along with homemade koldskål. Very proud of myself.

Kammerjunkere

Hindbærsnitter

We brought the hindbærsnitter to Venturers, where we had an international night. Everyone brought food from different countries (Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, England, Spain, China, Japan and Turkey) and we ate those in between games. We played a danish game (enlig mor fra Høje Taastrup), and some other games involving languages. It was a very good night, and we all laughed a lot.

International spread

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Emma had no school on Friday, so we went with Maaike to Mildura. We went in a couple of “op shops”, looking for a dress for Emma. We didn’t find one, but we did try on some old-school wedding dresses and had a bit of a laugh. We had a cup of tea and a bagel on a little café, went in a book store, and finally we picked up Maddie from the Arts center. After some afternoon tea, we went to Colignan.

Sunset at Colignan

Rie and her host family came over for dinner, and we sat around the campfire. Ries host mother, Denise, had made something with bread and dip and stuff, and it was really delicious. For dinner we had a lot of different meat cooked on the barbecue, potatoes, couscous and salad. For dessert we had koldskål with kammerjunkere and afterwards we had self-saucing pudding. We went back out to the campfire, and looked at the stars. They pointed out the scorpio, the southern cross, a couple of galaxies that can’t be seen from the northern hemisphere, and some planets. I also saw a shooting star, and was very happy with the ending of that lovely day.

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Before lunch, we went out to see Ries host family’s paddleboat, Impulse. It was build in ’83, but it sank four years ago so now it is being restored.

Afterwards, we went on a little Australian safari. We drove out past the vineyards and citrus trees, to a property belonging to some of the family’s friends. They have a huge area, where they have made the landscape as natural as possible, after having sheep on it for years. We saw a couple more kangaroos, and also a confused emu. Then we went to some sand dunes, a bit into the wild. Maaike showed us all some stones that the indigenous people had been using, so you could see the sharp edges on them. She also said, that if you walked barefoot in the sand dunes, you would be sure to return to Australia. So that is what we did.

Kangaroo

In the afternoon, me and Emma went sailing on the river in a kayak with pedals. We only went for about an hour, but it was a very nice and peaceful trip.

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Sunday the 31st of July was National Tree Planting Day. So after going for a walk with the dog, we planted a tree in the garden. I planted a Gold Dust Wattle. The rest of the day was spent crocheting and making a fire for the camp oven that night.

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International Scarf Day today, so we wore our scarfs to school. The teacher in Enviromental Science is some sort of wildlife saver, so she takes care of little joeys. Because I was there, she went home in the middle of class to get them. She came back with four little ones, and we got to cuddle them. So now I have seen kangaroos in the zoo, in the wild and in a box.

We got lunch at the café again, and it was pretty good. We also got a little raw cake-thing, not really sure what it was but it was very good. We had Dutch pancakes for dinner tonight, some with apple and some with bacon. It is my last night of my entire exchange, and I can’t believe that it is already coming to an end. I am insanely grateful for everything that I have seen and experienced on this trip, and for the people who has made it even more interesting by telling me the stories you wouldn’t normally hear as a tourist.

And now I realize how lucky I have been, to have experienced both the city and the countryside of this fascinating country.

I might do an update on how I am feeling about being home again, but let me know if there is something else I should rather write about. Thanks for reading all of my rambling posts!

Week 1: Sydney

Monday and Tuesday were my travel days. I flew to Dubai first. I didn’t really expect to experience anything special in Dubai, because I was only there for 2 hours. But I think I did. It was a very beautiful airport, with a big wall with water running down and colored lights shining on the water. Even though the airport is international, there were colorful and sparkly shops, and in the bathrooms you had the opportunity to wash instead of wipe. Not going to say anymore about that. Fascinating place.

Next I flew to Sydney – a loooong flight – and was greeted by Emma, Helen and James. Then we drove to their home, and talked a bit. I arrived at ten in the evening, so by the time we were there I went almost straight to bed. Slept the whole night, except at one point were I dropped one of my blankets and got cold.

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Today is Wednesday, and I got up at 10. Me, Emma and Helen went to Liverpool to get a sim-card for me and a couple of other things. We got back, and when we had had lunch, me and Emma took the train to Sydney. We got of right next to the Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. I liked the bridge a lot – because I like water – and the Opera House was quite pretty too. Maybe it is a bit overrated, but it was not too bad. After that we went to the Botanical Gardens, and looked at trees and bushes and flowers. It was all very different, but still the same (I mean, I have seen a tree before).  The most different thing was probably the birds. They all looked very exotic, and except for the pigeons I didn’t see any birds that I have seen before. One of them was an Ibis, which I have only heard of but never seen.

Sydney skyline

Sydney Opera House

After that we went to Hyde Park. From Hyde Park we went to a cathedral, it was really pretty. Right next to the cathedral there was a winter market, though it looked more like a christmas market (they had christmas trees). We walked through the park once more, and saw a War Memorial and the library of New South Wales.

Public Library of NSW

Then we went to (get excited) the Queen Victoria Building, once build in honor of Queen Victoria, now a shopping center. It had too many floors to count, and loads of fancy stores. We went out again, and walked back to the station. Helen picked us up and drove us back home.

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In the evening I went to Oliver Brown Belgian Chocolate Cafe in Beverly Hills with Emma and her friend Michelle. We had hot chocolate, it was good.

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Today I got up at 11, because I had difficulty sleeping (jet-lag woke me up at 3 am). At 12 I went with Helen to pick up Emma, and we all went to Bondi Beach. Apparently it is a really famous beach, and it was indeed very pretty.  We had fish and chips, and walked along the coast. We drove home in the sunset, it was beautiful.

Bondi

Bondi

In the evening I went with Emma and Lily to a zumba class at the school nearby. I can definitely feel that it have been a while since I have done any exercise, because I have been so busy sleeping when I should be awake and be awake when I should be sleeping. Even though I feel alright, my body is really slow at getting into the new rhythm.

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Had a pretty relaxed Friday. After I got up, I went with Helen and Emma to vote. It was actually kind of interesting to see how it works here, because it is quite different. A while after we got back home again, two of Emma’s friends came to pick us up for the scout camp. On the way there we stopped at a Thai restaurant to get dinner. When we got to the camp we putted up our tents. I shared a tent with Lily and four of her friends. We made a campfire, and went to bed at around 11.

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Saturday morning we got bread with eggs and bacon. Quite unusual on a scout trip in my opinion, but it was pretty nice. Then there were a opening ceremony, which was also quite different. We all got in our uniforms in a circle (pretty normal), and then they had all sorts of weird signs to do a different thing (move your legs and so on), and I followed along one move behind the others. After the ceremony there were a couple of activities and games. For lunch we had toast with cheese (and an apple). When we had eaten, we all went on a scavenger hunt. We had a list of things we needed to take a photo of (such as ‘a team member doing exactly what the sign says’, ‘Entire team on a boat’ and ‘a team member shaking hands with a bus driver’) and then we need to follow some clues to get around. That was so much fun. At five o’clock everyone got out their snacks, candy, crackers or chips, and we all sat down and ate most of it. For dinner we had pulled pork burgers, and apple crumble for dessert. Afterwards, there was a disco and a campfire. Big surprise that I joined the campfire.

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The next morning we had pancakes and hash browns. We cleaned up the entire place, and went home.

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That was a week. Wow, I can’t believe that I have already been out and about for a week. So far I am really enjoying everything. This week, I have spent most of the time getting used to everything, but I have still had time to explore. I love how I can slowly do more and more, and talk more and more as time goes. Australia keeps surprising me, by being either so much like what I am used to and then suddenly so different.

Favorite things:

  • The birds! I love birds, and birds here are particularly beautiful.
  • Being able to experience a campfire so much like in Denmark, just on the other side of the earth.
  • In general exploring the cultures little interesting differences, and how people here look at those things. Not that they see it as differences, but that is exactly the point. They think it is completely normal, what I might think is totally strange.
  • Experiencing a winter so unlike the Danish. At night it is almost as cold as in Denmark, but in the day it gets almost spring-like. Not that I am at the point where I wish I had shorts for the middle of the day, but it is definitely not cold.

Thank you for reading, and feel free to leave a comment (English or Danish). This is what I have  experienced in a short description, but I figured that you would not want to read more anyways. I will try to have more pictures in the next post, which will be next Sunday.

Sneak-peak: Next week I will be going to the Blue Mountains.