Painting, beaches, sunrises, rocky shores and cocktails

Okay, so I haven’t updated for a while, life has just not allowed for any time to blogg! Luckily, there has still been some time to do some noteworthy things amongst the stress of uni! Last Monday I got in touch with my creative side and got the opportunity to paint with my Arts friend Liz (from across the hall) and Amy. I painted a painting of a dead kangaroo next to a footprint, inspired from the painting I saw in Cairns Gallery on the brutality of nature and the circle of life. I decided to add the footprint to emphasize the human impact on the natural world too, hoping to illustrate that dysfunctional relationship between us and the natural world using Australian road kill as my subject. A grand idea indeed, but as you can see, my painting skills are somewhat lacking and I think a child could have done a better job than me! Non the less, Amy and I’s paintings are now on permanent display in the living room of flat 147 on Campus East (Adult Entry: 10 dollars, student discount: 20%. Pizza and goon may be used as valid currency).

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Later that week Hannicke and I finally got round to have the wine and cheese evening we have been talking about doing for such a long time! We had Camembert, Edam cheese and a apricot cream cheese with a bottle of red wine from her local town in Griffith that is a big wine region. We (mostly me) ate way too much cheese and enjoyed a movie together. So needed!

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Later that week I went out plant collecting with Kris for my project, and we went to more beautiful beaches. We set off early in the morning and headed to our first beach, Seven mile beach! It was funny to go back to the spot where I broke my leg. I had forgotten how beautiful the beach was, and it was uplifting to go back to it in full health, on two functioning legs again! The second beach was called Werri beach, which was equally as gorgeous.

Beaches in Wollongong

Beaches in Wollongong

Beaches in Wollongong

Beaches in Wollongong

Beaches in Wollongong

Beaches in Wollongong

Last Saturday Hannicke and I got up at 5.30 in the morning and set off towards North Wollongong Beach were we planned on taking photos for my portraiture assignment in the beautiful morning sunlight. I literally rolled out of bed after my alarm went off, grabbed my camera and a jumper and headed down to Hannicke’s car in the pitch black, the campus deadly silent. We drove off towards the beach, still completely in darkness. I was shocked to see people already out jogging BEFORE the sun rise. Truly mad people. At North Gong Beach we sat in the sand and watched the lights from the boats on the horizon twinkle in the night sky whilst we talked to pass the time until the sun started rising. Slowly the darkness faded and the sky turned from shades of deep blue to purple and then pink. For the finale the sky said it’s grand good morning in a explosion of golden yellow before settling for a bright blue. Taking photos of Hannicke was a dream. It turned out she was a natural born model which meant I didn’t have to worry about directing her and could spend most of my time fiddling with the camera settings. I won’t include the photos of her from that day yet, because I have decided to leave it for a “end of the year” post where I can show my best ones from that class! After we had taken sufficient photos we walked round the corner to Diggies café where we had coffee and a delicious breakfast of poached egg on toast with avocado and salmon. I was super tired from waking up so early and managed to spill most of my coffee on my arm, to the amusement of everyone around me (and myself). We ate and talked from our usual spot from inside the café, on the benches looking out on the beach and the ocean. We watched the early morning surfers catching a wave, eager joggers stretching out, and people doing peaceful yoga on the sand. It was quite a wonderful moment in retrospect, so uplifting and energizing.

Sun rise in Wollongong

Sun rise in Wollongong

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The following week, on Monday, I stuffed up and ended up doing an “all nighter” to finish a report for my “Biodiversity of marine and freshwater organisms” subject. I only had some sleepless ours of rest between 2.30 and 4.30, so it was safe to say I was pretty tired in the morning. Non the less I finished it off and headed into uni to hand it in before jumping on a bus and heading out on a morning field trip to the rocky shores of Bellambi for the same subject. Despite being chronically tired I really enjoyed the field trip and the company of my two friends Marina and Chantelle, two girls I share classes with this session and got to know quite well! We sampled gastropods along the shoreline using transects, and the data we collected will be taken back to lab and analysed for differences in community composition between high and low tidal regions. On the rocky shores we saw tons of other cool stuff in addition to the gastropods, including sponges, sea slugs and sea anemones. We watched the sponges spit out filtered water in the intertidal zone, when the wave had retracted and exposed it to the air. We watched the sea slugs spit ink in defence when we picked them up to get a closer look, found beautifully coloured sea anemones among the vegetation and on the rocks, and stepped between shapes in the tessellated pavement in our bare feet. Exploring on the rocky shores and looking in the pools for wildlife was such a throwback to great childhood memories, and I find it so lovely that I enjoy doing it as much now as I did back then! There was something pure and simple about the activity that gave me so much joy.

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 Later that week I made time for some sunbathing with Marina and Chantelle. It was lovely to finally get back to the beach, and even more so to read a couple of pages in my book which has been miserably sitting unopened for weeks on my bedside table! At the weekend I went for food with Shawnee at a Lebanese Restaurant called Harbour street, where we enjoyed the best sweet chilli fries I have ever tasted, Lebanese finger food and chicken wings! We indulged ourselves with some fancy (yet reasonably priced) cocktails too, and I enjoyed an orange infused gin and tonic and a Martini espresso. We decided to go for one more drink at some bar in town and settled for His Boy Elroy where we had a Big Apple cocktail made from granny smith apples and whisky. I wish I could live that luxurious every night! It was so divine drinking some nice alcohol and not just 13 dollar goon and voddie as we do most of the time. It was also nice to sit and talk whilst drinking, instead of just drinking and then going to a loud club where talking is impossible and the only thing you can do is communicate through sign language. Am I getting old?

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