Wednesday, 27 February 2013

An update

Back home, slowly shifting back into normality! back to work at my favourite little jewellery  store, on the bus everyday and catching up with people. It's all a little strange because I feel like I should be heading back to school, yet I'm not. What should be my 'holiday' is now over. Gap year life, I guess.

The hardest part of being on a gap year is definitely the period before I'm travelling, where all my friends start uni and get busy with all the new things happening in their life, and I'm just, not. My entire friend group from school, bar one, is going straight to uni, and mostly to USYD. So it's easy to feel a little left behind. 

Having said that, the gap year plans are in full swing! Our flights are officially booked! My best friend Bridget and I fly out of Sydney on May 30th, to LA (via a stop over in Auckland). We have a week on the west coast before camp starts, and I fly to Minneapolis. Then CAMP is June and July, with August filled exciting travel through the US, landing in New York, where we have a flight booked out (a VISA requirement above all things). Then, we flight to Iceland for a couple of days because well, Iceland is the best, and then we're in Paris! Then Europe happens, before we fly home from London, via Dubai. In Europe, we've bought a flexitrip Busabout ticket, which will take us from Paris up through Belgium, through Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, back to Germany, and then down into Rome, with our final stop being Rome. The loose plan its to then work our way up through Italy, into France and then head over to the UK for a while before heading home. It's a gigantic adventure and I'm so excited and so petrified!

My US working VISA got approved this week after the huge hassle that is the US consulate. That shiz is legit let me tell you. But hallelujah, it got approved and i can legally work on my camp!

Other things that have happened since we've been back, are some exciting opportunities for me to make some mulla, and OnSTAGE, that was pretty fun.

OnSTAGE is the showcase of the top HSC drama major works in NSW. It has a concert, where the performance Individual Projects and Group Projects perform, and it also has an exhibition of the design and critical analysis Individual Projects. Getting into OnSTAGE was definitely a big goal for me during the HSC and I put ridiculous amounts of work into my IP so when I found out it was accepted, I was beyond excited!! I did an Applied research Project, about the influence of Ralph Myers' design background on his role as artistic director of Belvoir Theatre. It was also really interesting to read the other ARPs that were in the exhibition. Literally each one was completely different in format and ideas. It just shows that no-one who did ARP really had any clue what to do and just made it up as we went along (or at least I know I did). I'm so glad the markers appreciated that we all did it a bit differently! but it was a great night and it was great to see the two performance IPs and two GPs that were selected for the concert from Newtown (NHSPA pride forever).

So it's strange and good to be home. But I know there are many good things coming my way this year and I will definitely be using this blog to keep track of my adventures, for the pleasure of anyone who feels like reading it. In fact, I've got a photography project in the works which will be revealed very very soon...two weeks to be exact, and that's not the only thing that's happening in two week (hint hint).

Hawaii and Home

We've been home three weeks today. It's strange to think that I was in New York City this time three weeks ago. Or at least I was in Hawaii. Or I had just got back. We flew out of New York, the long, painful trip across the country. Domestic. Ugh. And we landed to a setting Hawaii sun. 

I fell head over heels for Hawaii. I absolutely love the atmosphere of the place. We stayed one night in Honolulu but I wish I'd had more time. After getting ourselves set up in our hotel room (we get a free room upgrade and Amelia and I slept in separate beds for the first time in a month) we wandered down the street, through markets where we bought a few Hawaiian treasures. A ring, which I will keep with me for the rest of my days if I can help it. And then suddenly, Waikiki beach. There is a reason this place is famous. How it took our breathe away.

We stayed to watch the sun sink down bellow the horizon, spraying shades of orange, pink, purple across the beach. The water was warm and the place felt like one big relaxed sigh of relief. We followed the main road along, and found a fresh food markets with stalls selling cookies and pineapple and coconut peanut butter. We ate our very last American meal, complete with huge chocolate sundays. IT was necessary. Our final hurrah. 

And then we tucked ourselves into bed in our big king beds with squeaky clean sheets and slept like little babies. The next morning, blueberry muffins for breakfast and we were off to the airport.

It was sad to wave goodbye to Hawaii and New York. It has been the most wonderful trip for me. So many adventures. I have loved sharing these memories with my family and my best friend. I have loved all the special moments I've had in the city of dreams. 

I feel blessed to have parents willing to take me along to a big city and provide me with the opportunity to see so many sights and make so many memories in the first place. January 2013 will be a month I will treasure for the rest of my life. Furthermore, this year I will spend six more months away, and I have loved to start this adventure overseas with my family by my side.

If you have been following our adventure on this blog, thank you for reading. It has been a pleasure to be able to write here and record the memories, and be able to share them with our friends and family. 

Thank you New York, I'll see you again in August.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Last Day in NYC

Today (3rd) , was our very last day in New York. We spent the morning testing whether we would be able to fit all our stuff into our six suitcases. Success. After we'd packed, we caught our NJ bus into the city for the very last time.

We went on a final shopping trip and walked through the streets of the city for the last time. I know I'll miss the constant buzz of times square and the lights that make 9pm feel like 7am. I went off on my own and wandered down to 34th Street. It was so cold and I was in tights but I couldn't help but smile to myself, the cold reminding me that I was walking down Broadway in New York City.

The Empire State Building glowed in red and purple hues, a final spectacular view. I met back up with the family and we had our goodbye dinner at a fabulous Italian Restaurant La Masseria. The best gnocchi I've ever ever had and flawlessly cooked fish.

After dinner, it was time for our final bus ride home. Our bus was strangely empty, which was a bit of a weird last ride, but we were able to relax and enjoy the trip home.

I always used to roll my eyes when I heard people return from trips to this city, chirping about how they'd fallen in love with it. "How do you fall in love with a city?" I would ask myself. But I guess I've been converted. Because now I'm one of those people. It's hard to understand unless you've been here, but New York has an energy unlike anywhere else. It's electric. It makes you want to do something, change everything. I know that this city will call me back one day. I'm returning for a short while later this year, but I feel like this is a city that I want to spend a lot longer in. New York is the windy city, the big wide city, it's a lot of things. But it truly is the city of dreams. Thank you for the memories that I've made on this trip, New York. Thank you for the people I've met and the sights I've seen; the tastes I've tried, the sounds I've heard, the countless breathtaking moments. Thank you for every minute. You are forever flawless, forever fabulous.

Washington D.C.

Today (2nd) we were up at the crack of dawn (no seriously the sun wasn't even up, to me that's a sign that I should stay in bed), into the city, to Penn Station, to board a train to Washington D.C! The train trip there went surprisingly fast which was pretty great.

Union Station was pretty damn impressive for the record. So fancy.

We had booked a hop on hop off tour bus which grave us a nice tour around the city, and we could go and explore different sites as we chose. We took a bit of a tour of sites that were nice to look up but we didn't have the time to get off at.

The bus had an open top. We ventured up top, but it was so incredibly cold when the bus was moving that you could barely smile without your teeth aching from the temperature.

We got off at the Lincoln Memorial. We had a column lesson via Dad and explored the amazing structure.

After soaking up the sights, it was back on the bus. We decided to check out the National Museum of American History.

We didn't really have time to see much, but we had lunch and visited a couple of exhibitions quickly, including Julia Child's kitchen (eeeeee)

Back on the bus!

We had a few issues with the bus company, but overall it was a pretty good way to see the city on a speedy trip! The bus took us through Georgetown, which I would have loved to explore on foot! It was full of the most amazing houses. Every single one was perfect! The area of Washington where all the government buildings are is creepily like Canberra. In fact, Canberra was mentioned by the tour bus commentary because like Canberra, Washington D.C. is a city built for the purpose of being the country's capital. It's a district, not a state!

Also, Obama.

So soon, it was time for the train trip home! Thank you Washington D.C. for our lighting speed visit of sights and sounds!

Our train randomly stopped for ages and ages, but we did finally get home!

AND, it started snowing while we were training it home, and when we got back to New York it was snow covered!

Central Park and the Guggenhiem

Today (1st February) we slept in while Amelia escaped early to revisit the Met. When we did finally emerge from our warm cocoon of an apartment, we ventured uptown. We walked across Central Park, along the shore of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.

Despite the lack of leaves on the trees, Central Park is such a beautiful area. It's pretty surreal to walk through and think to myself, "I'm walking through Central Park in New York City". But then again, I feel like almost every moment we spend in this city is special.

When we reached the other side of the park, we ventured to the Guggenhiem.

It's a pretty amazing structure!

Unfortunately, the museum was undergoing an upgrade so most of the exhibitions were closed. We wish we had known there would be so few exhibitions to see before we went in! But it was still an experience, and now we can say we went to the gug! (even if we saw about 10 artworks in total)

The inside of the building had really interesting architecture, with strangely shaped spaces throughout. They were pretty nasty about taking photos literally anywhere inside, which is a shame! (I will never understand why you're not allowed to take photos in museums).

We met back up with Amelia inside, and then we all decided to head home as it was a pretty miserable day! We got pizza and watched a movie inside our toasty home. I will be sad to leave this central heating let me tell you.