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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dramatic Departure?

As the news that Europe is being hassled by a major storm it is not very surprising that Inken, Lukas and Hannah (all from Germany) were stuck longer in Singapore than initially planned.

Friday morning, 16 December 2011, Mattis and Elijah arrive in the early morning hours of a day that is going to be an interesting day at Perth's airport: We are going to spend the day farewelling some of our best international friends who are heading back to Japan, Denmark, Germany, France and Switzerland. First off we farewell Yurino who is heading on a Virgin flight to Sydney where she will spend some time before her flight leaves for Tokyo, Japan.
In expectation that this trip to the airport would be very emotional, Mattis and I do not exactly know what expects us. Our first goodbye to Yurino was surprisingly cool, just as if we would be farewelling her before a school holiday! Somehow the fact that connecting both nationally and internationally has been revolutionised by the internet leads to a decrease in the whole magic of farewelling  - we expect to see Yurino in a few years time. I was very sad when Koyo trotted off into the finger dock of the domestic terminal where he was bound to board a Qantas flight to Sydney, where he too would board an aircraft heading towards Japan's capital, Tokyo. Koyo would definatively be my best exchange student friend, despite the big distance between us within Western Australia, I wish he would still be amongst us.

After going through several security checks in the domestic terminal (here in Australia you can accompany friends to the gate) we also said goodbye to a handful of people heading towards Singapore, from where they caught their flight to either London or Frankfurt (Christoffer alias Doffel to London from where he has a flight to Copenhagen, Denmark), the 3 Germans Hannah, Lukas and Inken towards Frankfurt from where some will have connecting flights to their german destinations).

After all, most of the farewelling was not as emotional as we had expected them, but it really depends on the person being farewelled, their will to show emotions and their relationship to their host family and Australian / international friends....
Personally, I would have expected a more dramatic farewell, as this was just about the end of a year / half year that none of us exchange students will ever forget, and it just seemed so unspectacular, at least for us spectators....

What is extremely scary for me is the thought that I would arrive later this day in Switzerland, would I have arrived in Australia on time! It is absolutely scary to see how rapid time passes by!
I am know really afraid of leaving Australia. Would my Swiss friends be here, I would stay here, I guess. I love being in Australia and I am afraid of the routine in Switzerland! I am afraid that this year will turn into history. That's why my motto in terms of the exchange year when I get back to Switzerland will be

Don't let it turn into history, APPRECIATE IT, LIVE IT, LOVE IT.
 Otherwise there has been quite a bit happening here, update's will follow when I get my camera back - left it at my mate Felix place after having gone on a bush walk with him...

BTW: We were very amused with this fellow doing a job we consider rather unnecessary...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Far East Movement

Far East Movement is not only the name of a very comtemporary group of musicians, but too what both Koyo's and Elijah's bags experienced throughout the last week or so. And it was good. Really just a great time, meeting up with other exchange students from Germany, Japan and Italy made it even better. A great time. Full stop.

 Tuesday morning, our A330 is descending towards Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport. Now knowing why Aussies call the flights that leave in the middle of the night in order to arrive in the early morning hours of the nxt day "Redeye" flights, we rub our tired eyes and glance down on the beautiful surrounding of Sydney.
 Very quickly we notice that not only the weather and humidity are some of the quickly noticable differences between WA and the eastern states, but too the wildlife. These birds just fly around! Birds in Switzerland are a bit - being very very very diplomatic - less colourful. To be blunt: boring.

Perth, Melbourne and Sydney: The cities we visited
throughout these 8 days

 As you can see, Koyo and I spent quite a bit of time in Sydney's Taronga zoo, definatively one of the best zoo's in the world! It was great!
Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park was one of the most beautiful spots I have ever been! We were so happy that MaMA, the most incredible host whom we owe deepest gratitude, Koyo's host grandmother took us to see this great national park. Both in terms of wildlife (Kookaburra and Racehorse Goanna were spotted within our first ten minutes in this incredible park to the north of Sydney) and view definatively unbeatable!

No joke!

Us being silly with some of the AFS merchandise we recieved from the AFS Headoffice in Sydney 
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard this Qantas aircraft. Thank you for chosing us on your flight to Melbourne today"

Great views from Melbourne's Eureka Sydeck on the 88th floor which is the southern hemisphere's highest viewing platform! Too definatively a highlight of the city which, it seems to me, is Australia's most popular city. I personally enjoyed Melbourne way more than Sydney, not only the public transport beats Sydney's by far, Melbourne is indisputable Australia's most cosmopolitan metropole: Everywhere culture, great people, less stressful than Sydney, the allys lined with trees and small shops and cafés boost Melbourne's popularity even more.

 We visited the Melbourne Museum which was really really really good! We had great fun inside the big exhibitions and had great fun afterwards as we got the museum staff help us fool the very gullable Makiko from Japan! Telling her she could not possibly leave the museum without the ticket, which she had lost, and the personell telling her that they would have to call security was just the beginning...

As you can see, we came into a center of attention: The "Occupy Melbourne" group in Flagstaff Garden's had an uninvited visitor: The police. 

We were about to say bye to Penny and little Chloë, after having farewelled both Graham and Daniel, the other member of the Webb family which were our awesome hosts in Melbourne, as I walked to the aircraft and noticed that our luggage was being taken OFF the aircraft. In that second the speakers in gate 8 of Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport crackled and all passenger who were supposed to head towards Sydney on the Virgin Austraila flight DJ853 were informed that an aircraft downgrade was happening. Koyo and I were actually quite happy about this - we love when stuff doesn't go the way the plan had intentioned it to go - doesn't it just make so much things more interesting?! We were happy to spend quite a bit of additional time with Koyo's host auntie's family whilst the ground staff was desperately trying to find volunteers who would go on a later flight. Koyo and I tried to volunteer, as we would have loved to get a free flight voucher, but unfortunately all they did was assuring us that we would make our connection flight in Sydney. We tried to borad the flight as late as possible and were hoping that the flight would leave extremely late and we would therefore miss our evening flight to Perth from Sydney. But, did we make it despite all our actions to postpone the departure even further?...
Once again we got to see beautiful Circular Quay and the Sydney Harbour in general, as our B737 aircraft headed in towards Sydney, once again. As we land I point out to Koyo that it looks like our aircraft to Perth was leaving the airport. In fact the captain of our single aisle informed us that we had to wait because an A330 was in the way of the aircraft, but was it ours? Had we missed the flight? We weren't 100% sure so we made sure we got of the aircraft as late as possible, when the announcement that the flight to Perth could not await our arrival made our hearts jump! We had made it! We had something extremely exiting happening, which we surely would never forget!

We got informed that they had booked us on a flight which was supposed to leave Sydney at 8pm, but would be delayed due to horrible weather conditions in Perth which has caused the grounding of a whole bunch of aircraft (in fact, as we found out upon arrival in Perth, some people had been waiting in aircraft for 7 hours on Perth's tarmac) at least 1.5 hours. So we asked the extremely friendly Virgin groundstaff whether or not we could book on a flight for the next day, as we could not possibly organise a way to get home at 1am in the morning.We left the desk with a positive answer and even more food vouchers than we had already received (in the end we had almost $120 to spend on food and beverages; we felt as close as billionares as we would probably ever get - and we felt bad in fact, a bit). Soon after we found out that we could not spend another day in Sydney as Koyo had to be back in Kalgoorlie for an assembly at school, at which he was receiving an award, so we had to change the whole plans again! And we got even more vouchers. And more..
But finally at 10.40pm our aircraft arrived in Sydney and we were a bit unsure if we would make our flight to Perth, as Sydney has a curfew after 11pm But sure enough with 7mins slack we lifted of East Australia's surface on what was going to be an aircraft shaken by strong turbulences over the Southern Sea...

Well, if you would think this was the end of the journey, it wasn't. Of course I could write some rubbish about "the journey will never end as it is in my heart forever" (actually why don't I write cheesy stuff like this...?) but I mean it literally Upon arrival we waited quite a long time for the arrival of the now relative to the weight before departure to the East Coast had gained quite a bit of weight (we weren't the only ones, jupii!) after which we were trying to organise a way to get home at 1.30am or so. First we waited for I was unsure whether my host parents would pick us up or not, but then we decided to take a taxi. This decision was rapidely withdrawn, for the long line waiting for the white taxis was s h o c k i n g! A call on the AFS emergency phone followed our decision to ask whether our decision that sleeping at the airport amongst all the other sleeping people who we kept on stumbeling over would be the best decision (Koyo had to be on the train in less than 6 hours anyway), but sure enough right after this we got the news that mum had been waiting at the airport for an hour! Anyway, we got home.

This trip would not have been possible without Poppy and MaMa our perfect hosts in Sydney whom we
have locked in our hearts as well as Graham, Penny, Daniel and Chloë who hosted us two gents in Melbourne; they too have found a place in our lives forever. THANK YOU!


This is what it looks like outside right now:
Oh 2: I, sadly, saw how the police had to arrest a woman at the bus stop who had attacked another Aboriginal woman with a tomahawk thingie.. :(