Hey Milieu Pals,
I’m finally home, but read on to find out what happened before I arrived… there is quite a bit! Hope you enjoy the last post of the Aussie Files!
Peninsula and Berwick
As you all know the main reason for me being in Aus land is because I am part of the SRC at Monash South Africa. However, that is not the only reason for our visit. Apparently we are the pioneering group of International students to have been a part of the Future Leaders Program, which Monash wishes to Internationalise. We were actually accepted into the Leadership program via a Scholarship (cool hey) and have even received a certificate for our participation. It will look really good on my CV and I have been very privileged to be part of such an endeavour.
Well during the week we visited two other campuses of the Huge Monash University. On Monday we went to the Peninsula Campus and then on Wednesday morning we went to the Berwick campus. Each of the campuses is very different yet each is very similar to the South African campus. The reason for the similarity is because each of the aforementioned campuses are still relatively new. The Peninsula Campus has been around for about 15 years whereas the Berwick campus has only been in existence since 1994. Each of the Campuses have Unique architectural designs, just like the SA campus. Obviously the campuses here offer greatly enhanced facilities even though they are only a few years older than the SA campus.
I have photographs of all of the campuses, so you will be able to see everything. Ultimately though, of the campuses I have seen, I would like to stay at either the Clayton or Caufield campuses with my creative side leaning slightly more towards the Caufield Campus. Unfortunately we were unable to go and have a look at the Gippsland Campus, but we were told that if we really wanted to know, we should consult the internet as it is basically empty at this time of the year.
Overall I have had a brilliant time, which gets better and better, and more than ever before I am very proud to be apart of the Monash Family.
I mentioned before that I was trying to see my family who reside in Aus land. Fortunately I was able to, all be it for only a day and a half. I was not able to change my ticket home because it was apparently bought at a special price and because it was a group booking… yeah I know… that sucks! Regardless, I purchased my tickets to see them and so my Aussie adventure continued!
At least I was able to see both of my cousins, Dominique and Michelle, because Michelle decided to visit Dominique in that same week. That made life much easier for me as I was thus able to fly only to one place and see all my family in Aus land. Now, getting there was full of problems, let me explain.
Late Wednesday night (1 Dec) I started packing my bags for my trip to see my cousins which would take place on Thursday (2 Dec) at 11am. Needless to say, there was a lot to pack and my luggage was bound to be heavy… really heavy!
Early Thursday morning, after trekking around the Clayton Campus (which I must reiterate as being huge) to get my laundry from the dry cleaners, I finally made my way back to the residences. Time was running short and I needed to be quick. SO I scrambled up to my room, shoved the rest of my clothes in my bag, attempted to shut it and made my way to meet Mileena and Pierro who took me to the Airport. Once again, they are such lovely people and I was so glad that they were around to help me.
After arriving at the airport, Mileena accompanied me to the check in counter. It was there that I was greeted by a really stuck up chick! She weighed my bag and… ‘shock horror’… it came in at 34.5kg. She promptly told me that they do not accept any luggage over 32kg… I simply looked at her and thought: What the hell, how can you NOT accept luggage…. Anyway, after arguing with her for a bit, I took my bag and opened it right there in the Airport. Luckily I had a smaller cabin bag. I took out my toiletries, 2 shirts, 2 pants and some underwear. I then left my big bag with Mileena and took the smaller bag back to that chick. I said that I would take it as hand luggage. She weighed it… and what a surprise, she said I couldn’t do it because it was 9kg and they only accepted 7kg in the cabin… by now you can imagine how I am fuming! I just looked at her… one of my infamous death stares… and coldy told her to check that luggage in. She looked at me and said "What about the other bag?"… this is where I lost it a bit and said "What do you think? How could I possibly take both bags?!". She just looked at me and then checked me in. I tell you… some people! Anyway, I left poor Mileena behind with my bag, but she insisted I go otherwise I would have missed my flight. Thankfully she managed to get all my stuff back to the car… LOL!
After the mad baggage rush, I was feeling rather down yet filled with adrenaline. Well, it was time to fly. The flight seemed good at first. I was flying on Virgin Blue, a part of the massive virgin empire. However, there was hectic turbulence for most of the flight. Think the Coco-Pan from Gold Reef City (A theme park ride that often resembled a huge ship that sways from side to side) and the feeling you get from it. That funny ‘butterflies in your tummy’ feeling when you drop. That is what we all felt during that flight and one too many times for my liking. When we neared the Maroochy Dore airport we were notified that we couldn’t land because of bad weather… just great. So we circled for about 45 minutes before the pilot declared that we were going to be diverted to the Brisbane airport. The problem with that, was that Maroochy Dore is 2 and a half hours from Brisbane by bus… oh joy! So 20 minutes later we landed. Just when we were about to get up and leave we were told that the weather was clearing up and that they were just going to refill the plane and take us back… how crappy is that. We could have just stayed and circled a bit more around the other airport. The other main reason was that we couldn’t catch a bus because the roads to Maroochy Dore towards Noosa Ville (where my cousin lives) were closed due to flooding. Anyway, after 45 minutes of waiting we made out way for take-off. Then, just as we were about to leave… we were called back by the tower to the parking bay… you know, I mean really?! We were then notified that the pilot’s shift had ended and he was to be replaced… just think of the irritation on board of the plane. After his replacement we made our way, for the 3rd time, to Maroochy Dore airport at the Golden Coast… finally! Upon arrival it had taken me almost 5 and a half hours to get to a place that should have only taken me a maximum of 2 hours. Regardless I was just happy to have finally arrived.
Chad, Dominiques husband, was there to pick me up. After 30 minutes of driving we arrived at their house. The house is beautiful. Most of you don’t know this, but my cousin is an artist. With that in mind I was not surprised to find her house looking like something from a catalogue. She had also put all her art up to create a ‘mock-gallery’ which really worked. After walking through the door, I was greeted with: "What are they feeding you, you’re so tall. Have you been standing in Manure?"! After all, they had not seen me for almost 5 years, so that was to be expected. I was then showered with hugs and kisses… family, it doesn’t get better than this. I also got a chance to meet 4 new cousins, cousins bore from cousins! LOL!
Dominique and Michelle each have 2 children and since they are my cousins their little ones are also my cousins. I had not seen three of them before (saw Michelle’s son Ried a few years ago when she visited). It was great to finally meet them all. They are all beautiful and so loving.
The weather in Noosa Ville (the area in which Dom lives) is incredibly hot and humid… I was drenched from sweat even though it was overcast and raining! LOL! We all had a large family dinner that night, then sent the kids to bed, played video games and stayed up until the early hours of the morning chatting about family, love and life. It was brilliant!
The next day we decided to go to the beach. Granted the weather was fairly miserable (an often unique concept to that area of Aus land as it is often incredibly hot and sunny in that location) but we made out way to the beach anyway. Once there we set up base camp and watched the kids take a dip in the sea. After a short while, it started to rain… and rain it did! While debating about whether we should leave, a blinding white light lit up the sky… that simple act of nature allowed everyone to quickly make their decisions… it was time to leave because ending up like fried chicken by lightning was not on anyones wish list!
We eventually made it home whereby we all relaxed a bit, played with the kids (who kept running after me and chanting "Hansie, Hansie, Hansie…") and had lunch. The time for my departure was nearing and we could all feel the anxious anticipation.
The time had finally come and I was to leave. Honestly, I filled up with emotion. I had only really been there for about a day and a half but I loved the contact with family, especially with my cousins who i so dearly love and their beautiful children. I teared up and so did they (only after seeing me… yeah I know… LOL) and we all embraced one another for the last time. Kissing, hugging, sharing an incomprehensible bond which even the little ones joined in… but it was time to leave. After the sorrowful goodbye, Chad took me to the airport and helped me check in. After he left I went to the boarding gate… only to find out that this flight had been delayed by 40 minutes… why me! LOL!
After finally arriving back in Melbourne, Pierro and Mileena picked me up. I made my way to their house and spent over 3 hours packing my bags. We ended up separating all of my clothes from my other ‘goodies’ into a box that weighed bout 15kg’s… this way I would not get too penalised for weight and could thus send the additional package back home should I have needed to.
After packing my bag, Pierro took me back to the University whereby I made my way back to my room and slept. Early the next morning I got up, triple S’ed and went to the Airport Shuttle Bus! Everything went as planned and my luggage went through without a problem… why? Because it was a group booking, thank goodness for that!
All of the flights were great, especially the final flight home. Why? Because the flight was essentially empty and were all able to take as many seats as we wanted and could sleep like we were in first class! LOL! I never slept, I never can on flights! LOL!
Home Sweet Home
10 and a half hours later, after leaving Perth, I finally arrived back home in South Africa on Saturday 3rd December 2005. Obviously nothing in SA had changed… unfortunately. After getting my bags and making my way through customs… I saw my parents! They had missed me so much that my mom was crying her heart out when she saw me! I was glad to be home, even if only for them. We all embraced one another and slowly made our way back to the car, still kissing, hugging and showering one another with love!
I have finally reached the end of my Aussie Land Adventure. I hope you have all enjoyed reading about what had happened, and even though this last post may have seemed a little rushed, I’m sure you were all able to gather what had happened. If not, use your imagination! LOL! All 400 odd pictures are now up so if you want, you are welcome to browse through them all!
I will obviously continue to write in Hans Milieu, so keep checking back when you can. Before I finish this post however I just thought I’d update you all on my XBOX 360 status… unhappy and greatly disappointed. The company I ordered through fell through, which was to be expected, and now it looks like I will not be getting one. I will be searching everywhere on the web though, but reports have it that the world is out of stock until February-March next year. But please, if there are any International people out there who would be willing to help me obtain a console (the Premium Edition, not the CORE), please leave a comment with your e-mail address and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Well Milieu Pals, my adventure is at an end, but my life is only at the beginning!