- First things first: I'm safe, it's 90 degrees (I'm by the pool right now), and the people here are wonderful.
- Secondly: The Boston accent lends itself very well to picking up the Aussie accent. They also typically ignore their R's, so I'm in good shaped and won't be mocked for my pronunciation of the word "drawer".
- Thirdly: Lesson one. Australia. Ignore the first A. The second A in the middle is short, not long. Ignore the L. And IA is not like in the name Olivia.
We say "Aw-str-ale-ia"
They say "'Strahya"
I have a lot to learn.
Anyway, the flights were actually very tolerable! The first one, from Boston to LA had about 40 fellow AustraLearn travelers on it, so that was cool. At just over six hours, that was officially my longest flight... until later that evening of course. I sat next to a rather interesting character - your stereotypical Italian American with a massive family and super-friendly. He was 38, has 9 kids and works in LA during the winter months (because he does asphalting). It's so funny how much you can learn about a person after 6 hours, haha. We literally talked about everything; family, work, his kids, his divorces, movies, Jesus, politics... everything. His first name was Dean and middle name was Martin. Quite a character. The company was so delightful that I didn't even open either of my two carry on bags! Only for chapstick, of course. I read my Fitness magazine for twenty at the very end of the flight when Dean decided to take a snooze. So flight #1, big success.
Then we had a three hour layover in LA. It was fine, but we were just antsy to board and get started on the 13 hours that laid before us. Once we were on though, it really wasn't that bad. I had a window seat which was a blessing and a curse. Nice when you wanted to sleep, but a pain when you wanted to get up and avoid blood clots or deep vein thrombosis. Is that the word? Thrombosis? I may have just made that up. Something scary that can kill you on long flights.
So here's my story of how I decided to escape death. My seat neighbors, middle and aisle, were both zonked for a long time. Like over 3 hours straight. I didn't want to be that person and wake them so I could pee and also save myself from the threat of thrombosis. After about ten minutes of deliberation, I decided to make a bold move. I slipped my shoes on, and got on my knees to scan the area. No stewardesses or flight crew members in sight. All passengers within eyeshot, asleep. I was at the end of a section near an emergency exit, so I had about 8 feet between my seat and the one behind me. So I decided a climb for escape was in order. I grabbed the handle conveniently located diagonally above my seat and pulled myself up. I was never good at pull ups, but I hoisted myself up over the back of my seat, swinging my leg ever so carefully as to not kick my neighbors. I dangled for a second before it was safe to gently lower myself quietly to the landing. But the first landing was unfortunately part of the emergency exit with a "do not sit" sticker on it. Oh well. Desperation was setting in. It held one foot and half my body weight for a split second, no harm done. I was free. However I did need to repeat this process on the way back over, a little trickier.
Anyway, the 13 hours went by pretty quickly because I slept sporadically for about total of about 8.5 hours. Then I passed time by playing with the fun TV screen! I watched a documentary on BASE jumping (awesome) one on storm-chasing surfers, and watched some of The Time Traveler's Wife. I'm in the midst of reading the book, so I stopped as soon as I saw a scene that I haven't read yet :) More plane stories, of course, but I won't bore you with that.
Landing in Brisbane was amazing. It felt so incredible to know we were finally there! So many stories to tell, but my battery is about to die so I won't risk it!
What's to come next time I have free time:
- How we almost missed our flight to Cairns
- Arriving at the hostel
- Orientation begins!
- Jet lag sets in : /
- And orientation day 1: Rainforest day! Amazing skylines, trees, plants, snuggly koalas, my new favorite animal, the wallaby, kangaroos, dingoes, crocs and more!
Miss you all and wish you were here. Thanks for your prayers, emails and comments! You're the best.