17th of May in Australia

This is my 3rd 17th of May away from home, and if I am honest I am getting pretty sick of missing out on the great day with my friends and family! Maybe next year I will take a trip home for a day or two! I had thought about going into Sydney to mark the day a bit more, as there was in fact a parade and celebrations happening in the city, but unfortunately I was unable to go due to classes and assignments. My 17th of May technically started still awake until 2.30 am that night, doing my rocky shores assignment. I then woke up again at 7 am, did some final touches to the report before I flew into uni to do my presentation on sea Anemones on 4 and a half hours sleep. After my presentation I had lab until 12, where I handed in my report. It wasn’t until I was filling out the cover slip with my name, student numbers and dates that I actually remembered what day it was. I even asked my classmate what date it was, as I was so consumed by the handing in of the assignment. I felt a bit stupid for not actually remembering that, in the stress of it all! After some tiresome (although I will admit it was pretty interesting learning about fish physiology and taxonomy!) I was so tempted to head back home, fall into bed and resume the sleep I didn’t get to have that night because of my super organisational/procrastination/anxiety skills that lead me to having to sit up with the report. I forced myself to do otherwise and arranged with Shawnee and Max to go to North Gong beach and do some swimming and tanning in the nice weather (it was exceptionally hot on that day). I went back and got ready for the beach and coloured myself a Norwegian flag to mark the occasion. I also made time to harass my fellow flatmates with over enthused decelerations of it being Norway’s national day, sang the National anthem to them and explained Norwegian traditions associated with the national day. I arrived first to the beach, and I enjoyed a few moments by myself, taking in the crazy beautiful view that still takes my breath away every time (even after a year). The ocean was calm and it dazzled in beautiful shades of blue and green. I watched the gentle waves crash into the sand where guys who look like they permanently live outside in the sunshine (I mean, THOSE tans) were playing volleyball. Families were enjoying the calm waves, the children running back and forth as the water crept up and down the sandy bank. Others were chilling out and enjoying delicious food and coffee at Diggies, whilst sporty joggers passed them by on the footpath. The atmosphere was just incredible; no worries in sight, everyone just enjoying the sun rays and the sound of the ocean. It really calms your soul.

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Not long later Shawnee and Max arrive, and we head down onto the beach where we set up camp before taking a dip in the “freezing” ocean. It was definitely noticeable how much the ocean temperatures had dropped since the summer, but it was still far from unbearable (Aussies just can’t handle the cold like us ol’ toughies from Europe)! After a bit of sun tanning we headed over to the rock pools for a spot of snorkeling, as I insisted they should have a go after my incredible experience last week. Again, the rock pools did not disappoint! This time we spotted tiny little cuttlefish curiously swimming close by us, wiggling their tentacles, suspending effortlessly in the water column by waving their mesmerizing fins in a beautiful flowing motion. We also saw large crabs, cornetfish (?) and all the others I saw last time! Such a thrill, I think it’s my favourite spot in all of Wollongong! Mum, I dare you and Carolyn to have a go in the rock pools one morning when you are here (it is like nothing you’ve ever seen before!). It will be like a mini-Great Barrier reef experience!

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