Wednesday, October 10, 2012

London Mixed with Santa Monica with a Side of Chicago Summers

After a two-leg 18+ hour journey from Chicago to Brisbane, I finally made it! To be completely honest, the 14 hour segment from LAX to Brisbane was not nearly as terrible as I anticipated. The only unnerving part of it was the fact that I was traveling entirely over the Pacific Ocean the entire time. Even when I had traveled to London, we flew close to the Canadian coast, then Greenland, then Iceland, then Ireland. Whenever I checked the map portion of the touchscreen during the plane ride, all I could see was the slow-moving airplane making it's way across a large, never ending blue mass.

Something I learned on the flight: Aussies are very well-traveled, even kids. Due to the extended time they have off from their jobs throughout the year in addition to the fact that they have to travel far to get anywhere, travel tends to be a large part of their lives.

So Eileen picked me up from the Brisbane Airport just before 8am this morning, then we headed to her apartment in Northgate, which is around a 20 minute train ride outside the CBD (central business district). I unpacked some of my stuff, took a shower, then we headed to a nearby shopping center so that I could get an Aussie phone number and bank account as well as stock up on some groceries. It was so exciting to become an (un)official Aussie!

One of the biggest realizations I had today was based upon something Eileen said. She said, "Americans are too busy worrying about what they look like; Aussies just care about the character of the person." I love this! Why can't it be that simple? For the rest of the day, I made a mental note to look at Australians' physical appearance and came to find that a majority of the people I met or saw were not fitness-obsessed. They had everyday human "flaws." And I have to say- the character of these people definitely outshone their looks. Each that I interacted with was helpful, genuine, and friendly. Another thing I noticed was that Aussies looked a lot less stressed than Americans. Nothing was that important that they let it affect their overall easygoing demeanor.

Later today, I ventured out to the South Bank by myself to check out its man-made beach called Streets Beach. As I walked around the Brisbane River that splits the city, I saw the Wheel of Brisbane along the beautifully lined Arbour in the Parklands. The Wheel of Brisbane reminds me of the London Eye. It was a gorgeous spring day (southern hemisphere), a memory I wish I could capture in my mind forever. These photos don't do justice to the beauty of this part of the city.

Biggest success of the day? Not letting jet lag get the best of me! I made it past 8pm without even a tiny nap. Point, Christina!

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