With only one week left in Perth, Sunday brought the opportunity to do something that usually I can only do at home on the lake. Davea (Dave and Eva), Eric, and I used a Groupon deal to go wakeboarding on the Swan River. Have you ever heard of a better study break?! We met two Aussie men that were as laidback as they were fun. Of course, that comes with many inappropriate jokes and degrading humor, but that just seemed to make the experience even more suitable. The water was pretty chilly and rough from the wind, but I enjoyed the adrenaline of being pulled behind the boat. Teaching the others was not as much of a thrill, but watching the guys eat water a few times before they got the hang of it was quite entertaining. In addition, the view of Perth from the water was definitely the strangest skyline I’d ever had on a wakeboard.
Monday I had my last exam – biochemistry. I really had thoroughly enjoyed learning the content of the course, about each and every step of our bodies’ major metabolic processes. Nevertheless, I was NOT complaining to be done with studying, stress, and exams!! The rest of the week I would be able to completely focus on all of my friends and our last experiences together.
So on Tuesday, Margaret, Brandon, Jen, and I headed out to spend a little time in the city, something we truly hadn’t done enough of during the semester. We shopped for souvenirs, took some pictures with the Christmas tree in our shorts with the hot, summer sun shining in the background, had a delicious lunch, and shared Brandon’s bubble tea, which was “summer love” flavored. I was right when I had warned him that it was going to taste like a rose. When we got back to Murdoch, we headed out to trivia night at an Irish bar. It was my first time going. Unsurprisingly, I was not very good at trivia, so I talked half of the group into leaving to go get milkshakes instead!
Wednesday a few of us headed out for one last day on the beach with the dogs. Unfortunately, the water was filled with seaweed. So instead of relaxing in the waves, I decided to go on a run – barefoot. That may not have been the best decision as the sand, pavement, and most substances I ran on were radiating the summer heat, but nevertheless I made it to Cottlesloe Beach, used the facilities there, and turned around. I had no clue our puppy permeated beach was so close to the much more popular and touristy beach. Wednesday night we then made the most out of our last traditional Wednesday activity – Newport.
Then, THANKSGIVING rolled around! My first completely American holiday in an Australian setting! THANKfully, we have the best advisor ever. I’m pretty sure I have not talked about Paul enough in my blog, but really, he is the best. All semester I’ve enjoyed getting to know him, and just going to him when I needed someone to talk to. Anyway, he and his wife Kate (our other amazing advisors) invited our little CIEE family of 14 (Josh had already left for New Zealand) over to his house for Thanksgiving dinner! To prepare for this feast, we all made different dishes. Margaret and I started cooking her pumpkin bread around noon that day, and then started on sweet potato casserole (with a delicious brown sugar coating) and corn pie. While these items were in the oven, we made an excursion to the pool, as we had to enjoy our first hot Thanksgiving in the sun! We laughed, splashed, and took jumping pictures with some of our friends. Then, after our pool dip, we got ready for the evening, and then gathered to make fried okra and Brussels sprouts. As we were getting the veggies together, we realized we only had about 15 minutes to chop, prepare, and cook them. We began working fast, but became more rushed when we heard that Paul was outside! We hurried to complete and cover our dishes, and then ran to the bus!
Arriving at Paul and Kate’s house, we started to look over everyone’s creations. In addition to Marg’s and my creations, there was macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob, asparagus, stuffing, spinach dip, vegetable salad, rhubarb pie, chocolate muffins, ice cream and more! As we examined (and sneakily tried) the lineup for the feast, we realized that something was missing. In our rush, we had left our delicious sweet potato casserole in the oven, which was thankfully turned off! Nevertheless, it was still going to be a great feast. But before any food was eaten, we had a blast in the front yard with Paul’s three kids, jumping on the trampoline, playing cricket, and going on imaginary vacations in the bus with his daughter, Freya, driving. I wish I had been able to babysit these kids. However, Paul and Kate let us know that if we ever needed a chance to live in Perth again, that we could nanny for them. Oh, how I would love to put off grad school for a year to enjoy some more fun in the sun…
After we sufficiently stuffed our faces and lived up to the American stereotype of overeating on these occasions, we all gathered in the living room lazily. We used that moment to give Paul and Kate a picture frame of us from the semester, and let him know how much he meant to us. Then, we walked out to the Swan River and looked out on the Perth skyline at night. It was officially the last time we would have our group together, and I was already feeling wistful with wanting to stay here forever. I was so thankful for one of the best Thanksgivings, and best four months, of my life.