Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The End is Near :(

April 14 – 16, 2014

By Jess Valeta

Hello lovely people!

Sadly, as I am writing this blog entry, our program has now ended. The last few days we spent together in Australia were great ones, though a little bittersweet.

On April 14th we had the great pleasure of taking exams. These tests were for our natural history course, and split up into separate terrestrial and marine exams. It was a bit difficult to get into the mindset of needing to study for a final while at a resort on a beautiful island. However, the Portland-esque rainy weather (caused by nearby cyclone Ita) coupled with the piled exhaustion from the past couple of amazing weeks, helped us to buckle down and study. I must say these exams were under the classiest circumstances I have ever experienced during test taking. The testing took place in the ballroom of the hotel and there were glasses of water and mints provided on crisply clothed tables. Three hours of testing later, when I emerged from the ballroom with a very sore hand and a mind still preoccupied by characteristics of specific venomous marine animals, I realized that I had just completed my junior year of college. I can now consider myself a senior in college... pretty awesome and scary at the same time. Post-test, most of us indulged in some celebratory drinks and spent the rest of the day lounging by the pool and in the lukewarm hot tub. That evening, we hit up the local bar/club to continue our celebrations. Needless to say, because it was a Monday night, we brought the party to the otherwise dead bar. We did some much needed dancing on a sticky floor to the music videos projected on the wall. 
Post-Finals Bliss
The next day we were free to do whatever we fancied. A tour around Fraser Island carried a large price tag, so I spent my time hanging out and reading by the pool and spending some more quality time with people. We were all definitely glad to have some time to just chill out with no timetable as a relaxing end to our amazing and jam-packed semester.
One of the Last Hangout Sessions

On the 16th, we caught the ferry back to the mainland and spent the morning and a good part of the afternoon driving back to Brisbane. That evening I went to my two favorite places in Brissy to eat: Beach Burrito Company for Mexican food and The Three Monkeys for a scrumptious caramel slice. YUM.

The 2014 Lewis & Clark Australia program is officially over, but I still cannot get over how wonderful, amazing, fun, challenging, awesome, hilarious, crazy, and beautiful my experiences have been these past few months. I love this country and I love the whole group who have been here with me since day one. This has hands down been the most fulfilling and incredible journey of my life thus far. 


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