Thursday, December 13, 2012

Crossing the Country

I made it to the Gold Coast!  Well, I’m currently in the “Sunshine Coast,” but on the east side of Australia for the next little while.  So much to share… where to start?!

Last weekend was the weekend that I worked for “Monsterball” – but I didn’t realize exactly what the weekend event was until I got there.  Monsterball was just the company that supplies the blow up castles and mechanical bulls and the huge water slides, and they were hired by Variety – The Children’s Charity. Variety – The Children’s Charity is a national not-for-profit organization helping Australian children who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs.  The even this weekend had presents for the kids, and a visit with Santa set up in the pavilion.  There were magician acts, singing, puppets, rides, water parks and slides, fair games, blow up jumping castles, mechanical bulls, and food.  Had I have known where and for what I was working, I wouldn’t have asked for a cent.  I was happy to be a part of the weekend, and would have done so voluntarily!  Having said that, the Saturday proved to be rather stressful, since there were over 10 000 kids through the pavilion over the course of the day, and their mothers often assumed that we were watching their kids.  “Where’s my son/daughter? Where’s my son/daughter?!” was an all too common question this weekend, while the mothers would be texting or talking to a friend and lose sight of her kids – but I was apparently the one responsible? All in all, an easy day, but standing on the huge jumpy pirate ship that I was in charge of for the Saturday made for a tiring day, while balancing on the entrance while rotating the numbers of children on the ship and helping those that couldn’t get down!  The Sunday was a little different.  There were far less people there, and I was in charge of the mechanical bull for the majority of the day!  HUGE win!  It was one joystick that controlled two bulls simultaneously, which got more kids through the ride in a day than just one.  It also meant some competition was present, and kids would pair up between the two lines to see who could stay on the longest.  The joystick and speed controls for the “buck” and “spin” functions meant you could make it an age appropriate ride.  You could throw the kids that really needed it, or give the little kids a nice slow ride so their parents could snap a few pictures.  The youngest bull rider would have been about three, and the oldest would have been a 50 year old dad.  The best was when two teens would come up and tell me they could stay on for a minute, and I’d just laugh.  Challenge accepted.  Pay me an hourly rate to throw some kids off a mechanical bull?! Yes please.  That day was much longer.  It was a six hour day standing on concrete, and I felt so old saying that my feet hurt and my back hurt – but I learned that it’s true!  A day standing on a concrete floor really does make your feet and back sore.  That night, I was invited to the Sticca household for another dinner!  I’m just a lucky girl… It was a full house, as the two younger boys were home from Bali, and Dan and Angela each had a friend with them.  Dinner was delicious, as was the home made apple pie and whipped cream for dessert, with cappuccinos!
Since I was due to check out the next morning, had yet to really “pack,” and was flying to the Gold Coast on the Monday, I needed to get home in good time to pack.  That didn’t end up happening, since when I got home around 10pm, over half the people in the room were trying to sleep.   So up early on Monday morning, I gathered my belongings, left a few behind as I do every “re-pack,” and checked out.  Luckily I was able to keep my bags in the room for the day, since I wasn’t being picked up by the Perth City Connect Airport Shuttle Service until 9:10pm. Monday, I was treated to lunch with the Sticca ladies and Lisa!  We went out to that lovely café near the hostel called Breaks.  Another tasty burger and caesar salad for me!  I just love the company of these ladies, and will miss it! 
Paul Flood, or “Floody” (a friend from Ireland) and I went for a swim in the afternoon, to cool down from the 38 degree day.  No jellyfish, thankfully!  After the swim, I made my way to a pub restaurant in Fremantle called The Monk, where I met up with Lucy and Gemma (friends from the UK) for a drink, and were later met by Lauren!  So many new friends, it’s incredible!  We tried the ginger apple cider – YUM!  We visited there for just over an hour, then made our way back to the hostel where I showered and rechecked that I had everything, before going out back behind the hostel to visit everyone out on the patio before my shuttle came.  It was strange leaving the hostel, as it had become a “home” for me over the last two weeks.  So many friendly faces and laughs!  I’ll miss the Old Firestation!

So I was picked up at exactly 9:10pm! – WELL DONE, CONNECT!  I waved goodbye to a crew standing on the sidewalk, and then chatted the whole way to the airport with a girl named Amy from England who was also picked up from a hostel, about two blocks away.  She gave me some good insight into regional work ideas and gave me a number for a fruit farm.  Still figuring that out.  I arrived at the airport, and luckily found an abandoned luggage trolley, which made life a lot easier while standing in the excessively long line to check bags.  No joking, the wait time was nearly an hour – the time I was planning on eating, buying a magazine or two, and relaxing for a bit before taking off was eaten up by inching my way down a long line to check my bags for a flight that ended up being almost an hour delayed.  We took off closer to midnight than 11pm, and the seat buddies I had this trip trumped most others I’ve had – on the weird spectrum.   Originally, two men sat down in the aisle and middle seat.  I lucked out with a window. Although not traveling together, these guys started talking like they’d known each other for years.  They talked about their divorces, kids, new girlfriends, financial situations… everything.  We hadn’t even reached our cruising altitude, and I felt I knew the latest on these two men’s lives! Then, out of no where, the one in the aisle, who I learned was drunk on bourbon and cokes, asked the guy in the middle seat to switch places with a lady friend of his from further back in the plane.  Then I had a new seat buddy!  …  Even stranger than mister middle man.  The couple acted like young adolescent love birds, flirting and joking together.  They were both drunk!  I tried to fall asleep several times, but they kept tapping me to talk, from everything about how nice my glasses looked on me to where they each went on vacation last year.  Seriously people, it’s a midnight flight, let me sleep!  The finally passed out, likely due to the over consumption of bourbon and red wine, and I managed to sleep a bit.  The plane landed shortly after 7am on Tuesday and I met Ron around 8am.  Ron and Trish are the couple who I will be house/dog/cat sitting for while they’re away traveling!  Ron was kind enough to show me a gorgeous beach and a few main areas around where he lives, before taking me to his house so I could drop my backpack before I headed to the train station, to go to Noosa for a few days.  The train and bus ride was a lot longer than I had expected, but was good for dozing off a few times along the way and catching some rest before getting to Noosa.  Ron and Trish leave this weekend, so I figured I’d stay out of their hair for a few days and travel up the coast to meet a friend Lindsey and her boyfriend and stay in Noosa for a few days!  Noosa was originally the plan, and I LOVE it! Lindsey and Mitch are renting a room in a beautiful house near the bus station in Noosa, within 10 minutes of the beach and close to all necessities!  It’s fantastic.  The Tuesday afternoon, Lindsey and Mitch took me surfing!  What a hoot!  They kept assuring me that the board I was learning on was a hard board to learn on since it was much smaller than a beginner’s board, but I was happy just to be in the water trying something new!  The waves were 2-3 feet high, which doesn’t sound like much – but they sure seemed huge!  I loved it.  It’s much more difficult than you’d think, and is definitely something that uses muscles you’re not used to using.  It is also something that I will be trying again, and again and again!  It’s very popular along the east coast.  That evening, we chilled out and had some dinner – delicious healthy turkey and sweet potato meat balls and a spinach and beet root salad, then we headed out to a bar downtown for a few drinks!  It was all in all a great night.  Wednesday, Mitch had to work early, so Linds and I slept in a bit before having some breakfast, then spent a few hours by the pool before she headed to work for the evening.  When Mitch came home from work, we rented a few movies and chilled, and watched another when Lindsey came home around 10:30.  

This morning, Mitch got to sleep in, and Lindsey and I went to a Bikram Hot Yoga class!  Trying hot yoga was on my bucket list, so I was happy to check that off!  One of my best friends Julie Johnston does hot yoga from time to time, and loves it.  She has always been my inspiration for trying new things, but I never really had the facilities to try hot yoga, or much desire being in London.  Lindsey has started going recently, and says the benefits of it are incredible.  She really intrigued me!  Initially, the thought of 90 minutes of intense yoga in a 42 degrees Celsius room was beyond me.  I couldn’t have even imagined the discomfort, or copious amounts of sweat you’d leak out.  The instructors even warn beginners to just try.  If you can’t hold a pose, or find yourself having a hard time, then just sit down.  The least they want from you is to stay in the room, get used to the heat, and work on your breathing.  The first portion of the class is standing poses, and the second portion is based on floor poses.  The way you ask your body to move, and the muscles you're asking your body to use to pose certain ways is hard!  The amount of time you're required to hold your arms up has your shoulders buuurrrrrrnnnnnniiinnngg! Anyone who hasn’t tried yoga, or thinks it’s silly… you get your ass to a yoga room and try it and then tell me you didn’t enjoy it, or that it was a walk in the park!  It’s not as easy as it looks, and is something that is challenging, and is so beneficial to your mind and body in so many way.  Hot yoga is a more intense version of yoga, and there are slightly different types of hot yoga.  We did Bikram hot yoga – and will be quite honest – even though there were times my heart was racing, or I’d have sweat dripping into my eye and wonder how this could be considered enjoyable, I LOVED IT!  You walk out of there feeling so refreshed and healthy, and alive.  I am so competitive with myself that I did the whole class and even the instructor said I did really well for my first class!   This is definitely something I will be doing again, and hope to turn it into part of my healthy lifestyle.  The picture isn't fantastic, but you get the hint... 1127 cals burned.  Boom. Thank you Lindsey for taking me, and helping me cross yet another item off my bucket list!

We ran a few errands, and Lindsey and Mitch bought a new Canon camera for each other for Christmas!  It’s gorgeous!  They got a steal on it, and proved that you should really do your research before making a big purchase like that!  They saved hundreds by doing a price match and by shopping around!  They are at work for the evening, returning later on.  So I am taking a few minutes to myself on the deck at the house… typing out a blog and fighting with the internet to post it, reading my book, and relaxing, listening to the sounds of the beautiful birds here and enjoying the breeze we get up here on the hill, watching the rain mist the mini mountains in the distance.  Tomorrow I’ll be venturing back down the coast to the Gold Coast, to Varsity Lakes where I’ll be house sitting.

Will be in touch again soon!


This is just the most love-filled shout out possible via internet and blog to the love of my life, Kinley Ann.  I miss you so much it hurts, and think of you every single day.  The pictures and updates I receive make me wish I was home, but I can't wait to share my life stories with you when you're older.  I love you so much it's indescribable. I miss you so much, little martian! xoxo

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