I have to first start off by saying that I have loved it here thus far and things just keep getting better. I definitely had high expectations for coming here and have enjoyed myself. But I have to admit everything is continuing to amaze me. Whether it is the different places I have visited, the people I have met, or simply the feelings that I have while here, almost everything has been, for lack of a better term, "above and beyond," what I was expecting. :)
Classes are going well, I am still enjoying the material and learning new and different aspects of classes like these that I have never had before. I have met so many new and awesome people and feel so blessed for this experience. Much of my time lately has been spent exploring. My friends and I have been walking all over Manly finding all kinds of places to take pictures and learn more about our surroundings. A large group of us recently took a walk up to North Head after dinner to watch the sunset. North Head is a national park that overlooks all of the Sydney Harbor and much more. It is an absolutely breathtaking view and although I took many pictures, the picture really does not do it justice. I have realized this on numerous occasions that while taking so many wonderful pictures to capture my time here and remember things, the feelings, experience, and personality of the people I have met thus far is not describable with just a picture.
After realizing North Heads amazing beauty, Olivia, Beattie, and I decided to go up there again and walk around for several hours to the various look out points to take more pictures. We had a great walk, took lots of pictures, and bonded. As the time is passing here, quite quickly since we are already in Week 3 of classes, I am getting to know all of my new friends and classmates better and really appreciating it. There is a variety of ages here at ICMS and people from all over the world, and here we are in Manly coming together for an education. We are learning so much in class and from the people around us and from ourselves. It really is unique and amazing experience I am having here that I would highly recommend to anyone who ever gets the chance to.
Yesterday was a big day, I took my first ferry ride into Sydney! It was so spectacular. I took tons and tons of pictures and just had such a great day. I woke up and had brunch here at school then seven of us walked down to the ferry. The ferry ride alone was so great, getting to experience all of the amazing views I saw from North Head but this time much closer. I of course took more pictures and had a great day with my friends. We arrived in Sydney and some of our group was craving Starbucks so we headed their first. I personally am not much of a coffee drinker so I stopped at a small fruit stand on the street and had a nice chat with a local Australian man. I bought a peach and a water and sat on a bench in this quaint little park area and waited for the rest of the group. We walked around the markets for a while and stopped to see a variety of items on sale. Our group took a little break to stop and have corn on the cob and a drink from a local vendor, and it was delicious. Next we headed over to Darling Harbor and the Aquarium. We continued to have a great time as we looked at the large variety of fish, coral, sharks, sting rays and plenty more underwater life. After the Aquarium we had dinner at a cafe' restaurant called Blackbird. We had some fish and chips and pizza and sat on a balcony overlooking Darling Harbor and the boats. It was a beautiful day to be in Sydney. It was hot and sunny and lots of people were out and about. We headed back on the ferry and headed down to Collins Beach to have a little Beach Bonfire with some friends. Overall, I was a little blown away by my first day in "the city" because it exceeded my expectations and I am looking forward to returning there this weekend to celebrate Mardi Gras with some friends.