Farewell classmates, hello friends and family

Yesterday was full of frustration, melancholy, intrigue and absolute joy. At three a.m. I was awoken by classmates and professors preparing to leave on the four a.m shuttle. Most were quiet but one failed to pack and decided the best way to do so was with a flashlight. Now if the room was completely dark I would be slightly more forgiving, however the room was lit relatively brightly with exit signs..so by four a.m I was wide awake and very cranky. Hence the frustration.

The absolutely fabulous Jacquie Berting, and Misty Brawner walked to my hotel where we did laundry, kibitzed and saw tv for the first time in nine days. Then it was time to go…herein lies the melancholy. I have traveled with Misty for the past two years and she has made every trip delightful. She is an amazing human being, and I take great joy from knowing that she is in this world. Jacquie, is one of the nicest human beings I have ever known. I instantly developed a high level of respect for this fun and gentle spirit..she’s pretty darned cool. Saying goodbye to these women is particularly difficult.

With saying goodbye comes a special hello. I was able to spend the day with Katie Grenchik…one of my Maryland Zoo buddies, who is studying for her Master’s degree at James Cook University. We spent the whole day together seeing her lab (jealous) and then enjoying a lovely snack and some incredible gelato on the strand. I really see why she came here to JCU. It is one of the loveliest places I have ever seen combined with some of the nicest people on Earth. This is the perfect place for Katie. I am very happy for her and a little envious. Tomorrow, she is taking Travis and I to Billabong Sanctuary. I am so looking forward to spending another day with her.

And then the happiest moment of my day. Travis and I finally met up!!! I am so happy to be able to sleep next to him again. Although I did wake up in the middle of the night thinking someon had snuck onto my air mattress with me. I was very relieved to realize that I was no longer sleeping on the floor and that the person next to me was supposed to be there.

Today, after enjoying some much deserved sleep in time, Travis and I went to the Queensland tropical museum, and had a great time. Our favorite exhibit was the human body exhibit where they exhibit body functions through interactive game type exhibits. One that we couldn’t believe was the, “pull my finger game” about gas. Just as predicted it seems that that exhibit was frequented by boys and their fathers.

Following our time at the museum, we went to Molly Malones for a very deep fried lunch, I had crumbed steak and Trav had fish and chips…we also sampled the Aussie treat chips with sweet chili sauce and sour cream…pretty yummy…but too much deep fried for us. Food is unbelievably expensive here..one lunch was about $45.00 aussie dollars.

Off to improve our health and spirit we walked the strand and gazed out on picnic bay watching ibises, mynas, lorikeets, sea gulls, pigeons, and the truly awesome black cockatoos who repeatedly tried to drop palm seeds on our heads. There are a lot of dogs that get walked along the strand, and it really made me miss home. Every smiley dog that walked by I couldn’t help but think of my Ginger girl…every little old dog made me think of my Harvey, and every friendly dog made me think of my Katie. I miss my Norman too, but I don’t see many cats getting walked on leashes. 3 more days and I will be home having Dixon pile-ons with everyone. can’t wait!