It has been 6 days since I landed in Australia and I've already fallen in love with the land Down Under! After a few days of orientation in Sydney, I arrived with my host family on Friday and spent the evening enjoying a meal of fish and chips on the beach as I got to know my new mum, dad, and brother beneath a starry night sky. The next day, January 26, was a special occasion: it was Australia Day, a day full of celebration, barbeque, and true Aussie pride. I started off my first full day in Mountain Creek with a drive up to Mooloolaba and a short tour of the quaint little shops along the esplanade by Rachael, my host mum. Our feet sinking deep in the soft, pure sand, we wandered up and down Mooloolaba Beach for 2.5 kilometers before running down into the warm water.
A quick tip for y'all--Do not, I repeat, DO NOT inhale saltwater, it is not a very pleasant experience! Rachael and I had a good laugh about my (accidental) attempts to become a mermaid as we shared Anzac biscuits on the way home.
Later Saturday afternoon, I headed off to a barbeque with my host mum and dad and was immediately blown away by the friendly openness and cheeky smiles that greeted me. Every single Aussie I've met since arriving has been sociable, easygoing, and always willing to help with whatever needs to be done. I'm excited to experience such a laidback environment for the next 6 months! My favorite moment of Australia Day happened soon after dinner. Rachael, Mel (Rachael's best friend who hosted the barbeque), and I drove 2 mins over to the University of the Sunshine Coast, where a mob of kangaroos roam the grassy, tree-flecked campus. After a bit of careful searching, we stumbled upon 5 'roos happily eating the rugby field. Seeing such beautiful creatures in their natural habitat instead of behind glass made me realize how powerful they really are! Two little joeys hopped alongside their mums while the dad watched us vigilantly, focused on keeping his family safe. I was left marveling at Australia's diverse wildlife as night fell and we watched the sun set behind the hastily retreating kangaroos. It definitely seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I'm glad I got to experience!
An Australia Day filled with laughter, Aussie slang, and Lamingtons was a perfect first day on the Sunshine Coast. Until next time, cheers!