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Journals from Deakin University, Australia

2011-05-02 Easter Vacation

“Easter break, not spring break. Easter break, not spring break.” I had to keep repeating this to myself because even after 2 months in Australia I still cannot come to terms with the fact that while in my lovely home state of Washington my favorite tulips are blooming, yet here in Australia the leaves are turning color. It’s not spring in Melbourne, its autumn. It’s also not fall because as the Aussies have informed me “fall” is a verb, not a name for a season.  Though I was repeatedly corrected by my friends, I still managed to slip up and cause utter confusion when questioning people about their spring break plans.

My Easter break began on Good Friday and continued for the whole week after Easter. Even those not on uni holidays got an extra long vacation this year. Anzac Day fell on Easter Monday which extended the Easter weekend to a 5 day long vacation. Anzac day celebrates the union between the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and commemorates the members lost in Turkey during WWI. There are parades, candlelight vigils, and memorial services held around the country.

I expected business as usual during the Easter weekend and attempted to do some grocery shopping on Good Friday. Oddly enough, most shops are open on Saturday and even Easter, but EVERYTHING was shut on Good Friday! In the short few hours the shops were open on Saturday I was able to stock the kitchen with supplies for Easter brunch. Most of the Australians had packed and gone by Thursday night so the only few left on res were Americans. Together the remaining few of us prepared a hearty Easter brunch consisting of blueberry stuffed French toast, orange poppy seed pancakes, sausage, bacon, eggs, and fruit salad. It was a delicious and successful Easter.

My friend Jordan and I left Deakin at 4:50 am on Monday and made our way to the tram which took us to the main train/coach station in the city. We caught a shuttle to the airport and made it through the check-in and security process with lots of time to spare. Autumn in Melbourne means fog and on Monday there was lots of it. Arriving flights couldn’t land and had to circle until the fog cleared. This in turn delayed other flights so we didn’t depart for Canberra until 2 hours after our scheduled departure time.

It was a quick flight to the nation’s capital, only 42 minutes long. Canberra was only a stop-off on our way to our final destination, Moruya. Eliza, an Aussie friend from my time in Nottingham, and her sister met Jordan and me up at the airport. We headed south along the curvy coastal roads for about 2 hours before we reached Moruya and Eliza’s beach house. The town of Moruya is a gateway to the southern coast’s gorgeous beaches and parks. Eliza’s beach house is situated steps away from the beach in a national park. It was remote and isolated, but these qualities made the week even more peaceful and relaxing.

The first day that Jordan and I visited Eliza’s family was still at the beach house, concluding their Easter holidays. They left early Tuesday afternoon so for the majority of the trip it was just Eliza, Jordan and I. There was no car, no internet, and no cell-phone reception. Without these modern conveniences, our daily activities were limited, but enjoyable. We walked on the practically private beaches, collected shells, completed two 1,000 piece puzzles, ate way too many cookies, and read by the massive open fireplace. It was a perfectly rejuvenating vacation. The fresh and well rested feeling quickly disappeared after the trip back to Melbourne. Jordan and I determined that it would be more convenient and less expensive to take a bus back to Melbourne than to drive all the way back to Canberra and fly. I hate to fly so I was a huge fan of staying on solid ground. However, the convenience came with a price and the currency we paid with was time. Our bus departed Moruya at 9:30 on Thursday night. Eleven delusional hours later we arrived in Melbourne. I might be a proponent of air travel after all...

The first item on the agenda back at school was sleep since I think I had a maximum of 3 hours on the bus. Even with my power nap I still felt like a walking zombie but I had to stay up for the royal wedding! I expected that the Aussies would be keen to watch the royal wedding since they have a direct affiliation with the monarchy. However, it was estimated that the most viewers worldwide were actually Americans, even though the wedding was broadcast in the wee hours of the morning in the US. Lucky for me, the wedding fell in the evening here. The festivities commenced around 7 with food and champagne. My friend from South Carolina hosted a wedding party and cooked her idea of the most appropriate wedding food: sausage and grits casserole. I’m not sure if the Queen would have approved, but it was certainly delicious. Jordan and I made it through the “I wills” but couldn’t keep our eyes open long enough for the balcony kiss. We grabbed some cake and headed for bed to dream of our wonderful Easter break and maybe even our own Prince Charmings.

Happy May!


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