Alrighty, so I am back, and sorry again it has been a while but I have just been busy and still having a blast and learning so much on this experience of a lifetime!
Last I wrote was Friday of Easter weekend when I went Parasailing and that was incredible. So Saturday of Easter weekend I spent some relaxing time at the beach during the day and then went into Sydney for an all night adventure. Steph, Mike and I caught the 9:45pm ferry and met up with our friends Ashley and Pete at a place called Bar Century. We hung out for a while and then make a quick stop at McDonalds before heading over to Jacksons on George to go dancing for a while. Around 4am we headed over to the famous and delicious Pancakes on the Rocks restaurant for some breakfast. Steph, Mike and I then proceeded to walk up and across the Sydney Harbor Bridge just in time to catch the sunrise. It was one of my favorite sights I have seen since I have been here. An absolutely gorgeous sunrise, a beautiful setting of Sydney, and my dear friends Mike and Steph as my great company ... it was an excellent start to Easter morning. After watching the beauty of the sunrise we stopped by starbucks for a drink and then caught the 7:15am ferry back to Manly. We slowly climbed the hill and then sleep for several hours during the middle of the day. Easter evening was dinner at ICMS and then Steph, Kaleigh and I went to church at St.Marys in Manly. Overall it was a nice, relaxing and enjoyable Easter weekend.
No class on Easter Monday and then back to classes on Tuesday. Wednesday was class in the morning and then the Wow Factor that night. The Wow Factor is a talent show and dinner where the money raised from the event goes to Bear Cottage. The theme this year was Mad Hatter and was held in the Great Hall. The event was put on and run by students here at the college and they did a very nice job. It was nicely decorated, had a delicious three course meal, and provided a very entertaining talent show for the guests. I sat at a table with eight of my close girlfriends and had a great time!
And the fun did not stop there ... Thursday Steph and I went to Wicked in Sydney! After lunch here at ICMS, we got dressed up and caught the ferry into the city. We walked around and did some window shopping before making our way to the Three Monkeys Bar and Grill. We had a very delicious dinner and sat and chatted for a long time, it was great bonding time for us. And then the big show began. I have so fortunately and luckily been able to see Wicked in Chicago twice. It was fabulous both times and I fell in love with the show and the music. I was so pumped when I found out that it was playing and Sydney and even more excited when Steph said she would go with me to see it. It was again a fabulous show with amazing music, props, setting, and was held in a incredible theatre called Capitol Theatre. Overall, another amazing and fabulous experience to add to my time here in Australia.
Friday had come before I knew it and Steph, Mike and I had made plans to meet up with a friend of ours Matt in the city that night. We went and visited him at his hotel room, hung out watched tv, got something to eat, and ended the night by going out and dancing in Sydney. It was a lot of fun, another great bonding experience for me and my Albion buds :) and it was really great to see and hang out with our friend Matt.
Saturday and Sunday were not too eventful, just some more time spent at the beach and enjoying the beautiful place we live in. I worked on schoolwork over the weekend including my last couple of major assignments and a group project. My classes are still very enjoyable and have taught me a lot. Different assignments have challenged me in areas I have already covered but in a different way, or in areas that I have never worked with before. My ICMS academic experience thus far has been pretty positive and extremely beneficial to who I am.
And just like that another weekend past and we were back to Monday classes. This past week of school flew by as our "week 10" of classes has ended. We only have one more week of official classes and then our exams are held in week 12 and 13 depending on your class schedule. This past week was not too busy, my time was mostly consumed with finalizing some school work and spending time with my fabulous new friends. I am so amazed and happy with the special bonds I have made here with my friends. It is pretty crazy to know that I have not known them for very long but I have developed such a deep connection and love for many of them. I will greatly miss them because of not only who they are, but also for what they have made this experience for me :)
Friday of this past week our school and some of the hospitality students put on an Asian fair in the CYC area. They had different booths, decorations, food, and games. Some of my friends and I headed down to check it out, got some dinner, and then watched the karaoke competition that wrapped up the event. The karaoke show was awesome! There were several very talented acts, some not as talented singers but great entertainers but overall very enthusiastic and outgoing people who put themselves out their to raise money for a good cause and have a good time. Another fun and memorable experience at ICMS!
And now, after the long summary and wrap up of the past couple weeks I have finally made it to today. This morning I woke up early and was dressed and ready to go for the day by 7:15am. About 35 other students and I meet downstairs and loaded up on the bus for a day trip to Hunter Valley for a wine tour. It was about a two hour drive there and then we reached the first winery. Now I have to admit, I am from Northern Michigan as many of you already know, but I have been pretty spoiled with the beauty of the area especially in the Traverse City areas where the wineries are. So I had a great time today and found the area and the wineries to be beautiful but not quite like home. It was such a awesome opportunity to compare the different experiences I have had. The first winery we went to, our group sat in a back room and had two guys explain wines to us and then serve us about six different ones for our tasting session. After our first wine tasting experience we had a "sausage sizzle" bbq outside and had some lunch. The next stop the Blue Tongue Brewery which had beer and wine. My friend Jackie and I shared a beer sampler and also had a chance to try some of their wines too. Next stop we had another back room private session with some of the workers. Throughout the day we got to try different sparking wines, white wines, red wines, and some beer. At our third stop we also had a cheese tasting with some interesting cheese. Some of it looked funky and smelled weird but I convinced myself to give all of it a try and to my surprise liked most of it. Our final stop was the Golden Grape Estate with some different flavored wines and liquor's. Some of them were very sweet but the final tasting we had was called Dragon's Breath and it was hot, spicy and extremely flavorful hence the name "Dragon's Breath." It was a gorgeous day, sunny, blue skies, and so much fun. I had a great time hanging out with my friends and getting to experience a part of Australia's culture as we drank, ate, and meet and talked to different people from the area. I am so glad that I am taking advantage of this experience to the best of my ability and I am still in shock that I only have three weeks left ... In some ways I feels as though I just got here, and others it seems like it has been 'forever' since I have been home. Leaving Australia, Manly and ICMS will be an extremely bittersweet experience. I am very excited to see my family and be home again, but I have loved almost every single minute I have been here and I cannot imagine leaving it all behind. Well enough of that talk about leaving for now, I still have lots planned for my last three weeks. Not too many big events or trips but rather just taking the time to spend with my friends, enjoy the area, and appreciate the experience as a whole as I wonder to myself ... is it the truth when they say "all good things come to an end?"