The plane ride was fabulous and actually went by rather quickly with no problems. The people are truly friendly down under and made the traveling solo experience painless and great. I discovered that international flight food makes me happy, especially when you are given hot tea with cream and sugar in addition to a surprisingly fantastic caramel cream cake, followed by an extra offering of fresh hot cocoa with marshmallows. Sleeping quarters are tight but a wisely purchased neck pillow helped ease the discomfort a bit. I did effectively lose all sense of time while flying and decided that well, if the lights were off and everyone else was sleeping, I suppose I should be too!
If it hadn't been for Ameera, a super friendly South African/Australian girl sitting next to me on the plane I might have been a bit worse off. My phone for whatever reason was not picking up service once I arrived at the airport (and is actually continuing to refuse service at this point), so the detailed emailed instructions to find Laura's place were a mute factor seeing as how I had no way of accessing them. Ameera offered me her phone to call Laura before we deboarded the plane, and I was able to write down my navigational cues to reach my final destination. If it hadn't been for her, I might still be sitting at Sydney International Airport wondering what step to take next!:)
Simple jargon differences: 'give way' instead of 'yield' and 'way out' instead of 'exit'. The accents are rich and inviting. I laugh as Laura easily slips in several of her new Aussie terms in common conversation and smile as her voice turns up with the slightest bit of Australian inflection. Words such as keen, cheeky, clever, straight away, and phrases such as "Oh, I'm not fussed" make their way into regular chatting and amuse me. I've already spotted and heard at least three different birds that I don't recognize, one of which I was almost certain was a flying skunk.
My first night in Australia was spent sitting on Manly wharf, with my best mate and a 7-11 paper cup filled with red wine, musing over life as we listened to the waves crashing into the bay. I feel a tad guilty to report back to my fellow desertonians that the temperature was in the cool 60s with a light mist falling. The sky was vast and held different stars than my American night sky, but the moon remained the same. How incredibly blessed I feel to be taking this journey, to have this opportunity. We are each given one life to live. We have the power to choose to make it great. I can not wait to soak up all the beauty of the one I've been given:)