I left Winnipeg on July 28 amidst a lot of chaos. I, of course, left everything last minute, and struggled to get all my packing done. It wasn’t so much the packing for my trip, although there was some struggle with that as well (it’s always hard to pack light when you’ll be experiencing so many different temperatures and seasons), but I also severely underestimated how much stuff I still had left in the apartment and my sister wanted it all gone when I left (she’s taking over my lease). It doesn’t seem like that much when it’s all scattered across different rooms, but once you start trying to pack it, the molehill quickly becomes a mountain. In the end I didn’t get it all done, so I had to leave quite a bit for my sister to pack up for me and drop off at my aunt’s (Sorry sis! Love you!!!).
I finally managed to get going and made it to the airport in time, said goodbye to my mom and caught my first flight, to Vancouver. The flight was good, although the man next to me kept hogging the armrest, which was really annoying. From Vancouver I headed to L.A. and this time I was determined not to make the same mistake I made the last time I flew to Sydney and completely miss my flight. I caught the shuttle at the weird gate/non-gate (literally just a hand-made sign beside a door, with one airline staff member sitting in front of a table), was brought to the correct terminal and went to check in. Things were going great! And then I was told that I needed a visa to visit Australia (I was completely floored, it had never crossed my mind that I might need a tourist visa for Australia) and couldn’t check in until I applied for one.
Luckily I was able to do it quickly online and was approved right away (note to self, always double check the visa situation before leaving, don’t just assume). Of course, by the time I went to check in again, I was the last person and was stuck in a middle seat, but it wasn’t too bad (better than not being able to fly at all). The two girls beside me were nice and we slept most of the flight. And then finally on the 30th, I arrived back in Sydney!!!
My friend Kathy was in Melbourne that week, so she wasn’t there when I arrived, but luckily I had stayed at her place the year before and so her roommates let me in. I spent the day napping and talking to my sister, then felt like I should probably get out of the house and do something, so I headed down to Sydney Harbour to walk around. I was hungry, so I bought a sandwich and I was eating it as I walked along the harbour, when a seagull dive-bombed me and stole a chunk of my sandwich!!! Omg! I was so annoyed! So I kind of walked away a bit, and then continued to eat my sandwich while walking along, when ANOTHER seagull dive-bombed me (or maybe it was the same one?) and stole another piece of my sandwich!!! Seriously! I was pissed now and kind of scared, so I had to put my sandwich back in the plastic container and go to inside a building before I could finish it. THIS is why people need to stop feeding animals and birds, because they get used to people and they start getting aggressive! This was that squirrel chasing me in the park all over again!
So after my traumatic seagull encounter, I went to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. The admission is free, which I love! I went last year when I was in Sydney and I really enjoyed it, so I was excited to see all the new exhibits. I was not disappointed. If you have a chance, definitely check it out, they always have great exhibits and you can’t beat the price.
The next day I went to visit the Powerhouse Museum, which was okay. Some of the exhibits were really interesting and were well done, like the Space exhibit, but others were disappointing. There was a whole interactive section, but a lot of those didn’t work. It wasn’t really worth the $15 admission price.
That evening Kathy came home from Melbourne and we had a great time catching up! On Saturday, Kathy’s parents took us out to lunch at a Greek restaurant Kamari (they had free wine!) at Brighton-Le-Sands, then we went next door to this fantastic dessert restaurant Bay Vista Dessert Bar, yum. That night we went out with Marta, a friend of Kathy’s that I met last year and we went to this place called Frankie’s Pizza. It’s this cool underground bar with really good pizza. Afterwards we went to this hipster bar called The Barber Shop. By day it is a barber shop and by night a cocktail lounge, so it was pretty cool, and the cocktails were good.
Sunday, Kathy and I went to the Sydney Jewish Museum, which has free admission on the first Sunday of the month. We also got a free guided tour, which was great and very informative. Afterwards we wandered around looking at the exhibits, and ended up listening to Eddie Jaku, a Holocaust survivor and a volunteer at the museum, tell his story. It was fascinating to listen to him speak and to see the numbers that are still tattooed on his arm, 70 years later. I’ve seen lots of movies and documentaries about World War II and the Holocaust, but having someone standing in front of you describing the hell they endured, the pain they suffered and the family and friends that were lost, is beyond words and so completely powerful. It was hard not to get emotional while listening to him speak. If you have a chance to visit the museum and to listen to one of the volunteer survivors, please take the time to do so, you won’t regret it. With everything that’s happening in the world today, these are the stories that need to be told and should never be forgotten.
Monday, I spent the day re-packing then headed to the airport for the next adventure: Volunteering at an orphanage in Soweto, South Africa!
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