Excerpt from Hannah Matthew’s personal blog “Mainer Gone Aussie”. Hannah is a Fall 2016 ASC student from Gordon College. Reproduced with permission.
That’s right folks, I am officially out of Australia. To end the amazing (almost) four months of living Down Under, the wonderful ASC staff took us to Sydney! Three days there was short yet packed with memories that’ll last a lifetime.
Arrive at CHC at 5:30am to say goodbye to all host families. It was difficult for some, not so difficult for the emotionless (or those who keep emotions inside). We eventually got to the airport with the usual security and luggage hassles and after our short two hour-ish flight we made it to Sydney! We stayed at the YHA in the ‘Rocks’ and we discovered the most amazing view from the rooftop terrace AKA the floor our rooms were on!
First thing was first, a walking tour around said “rocks” with our first stop at a church. It was a really cool church with big things going on to meet the likes of the larger metropolitan millennial generation of Sydney. We then walked through this super cute historical neighbourhood with all kinds of shops, museums and cafés to end up at the harbour! I was blown away by seeing the bride and opera house so close!
The night ended by going to an outer neighbourhood Newtown where we went to help Newtown Missions. We heard from a very smart and wise economist names Trevor first. While many were drowsy from the busy day and not intrigued by the dull content of economics, my attention was grasped. In case you don’t know, I’m a nerd. I love to learn and I love business. Trevor spoke about how to invest our money for the greater good of the world in the smallest of ways to the largest of ways. I could go on forever about how much I loved hearing this but I won’t dwell on it.😉
We then led a chapel service. I got the opportunity to stand among some great musicians among our ASC group and sing. This service was very laid back with some worship and sharing of the congregation and some prayer and communion. The congregation was full of people of all ages, on all walks of lives, some first timers and some regulars. It was so cool to hear these people’s stories as most of them were homeless and have had many life events that completely pulled a 360º on their lives.
I got to talk with this guy. I don’t know his name, he didn’t know his name but I do know that he was around 17 when he ran away from home (New Zealand) to Australia and hasn’t left sense.
Newtown Mission offers a meal afterwards and we got to fellowship some more with these people over their meals. There was a good issue of running out of food for the volunteers (us) we ended up getting pies. I know I say pie and you think desserts but no. Meat pies. They’re an aussie classic and this pie place was SO good. Anyways, I’ll miss those meat pies.
Woke up early to head to the Art Gallery of New South Whales. We met an Aboriginal lady, Jen, who took us around to see some art that was by Aboriginal artists or that had aboriginal people in their art. It was a wicked cool gallery and I was glad to see some art. It was also a very long morning.
That afternoon/night was free time for us. A friend and I started it by walking through the Botanic Gardens. We stopped at a cafe to get coffee and then sat under a tree by the water for a solid hour or so and just got to hang out. So much reflection has been going on for most of us and it’s always good to process it with someone who went through the same thing. Anyways, we continued through the gardens and ended up at the Sydney Opera House!
After our lovely walk, we walked back to the YHA, hung out and enjoyed the view and then headed to dinner. In Chinatown there was a dumpling place recommended to us by ASC staff which is great dumplings for a great cost. My type of eating out. I’ve never had them before, so we got a little of it all.
This is the most embarrassing picture that sums up me, I guess.🙂 I learned how to use chopsticks while there… well kind of. Needless to say, they were some good dumplings.
The night consisted of a long walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge! It was absolutely gorgeous! On the other end of the bridge was Luna Park. An iconic park within Sydney and we had to check it out. You can get into the park with no charges, yet you cannot go on any rides without purchasing tickets. So we went in and fooled around a bit.
I was suppose to wake up and see the sunrise but I slept through that. I did however go on a tour of the Opera House! It wasn’t as extravagant as I expected but the backstage tour was way more than I was willing to pay. I did go into the theatres and learn about the history of the building and all that good stuff!
That afternoon I walked around the local markets with some lovely people and then met up with the rest of the ASC group for our final activity in Australia. We took the ferry over to Manly and walked the outlook and enjoyed a night in each other’s company.
Up early again the next day, and we all went our separate ways. I don’t know what time it is in AU, or in Maine, but I know I have been up for I think over 20 hours now and on 3 hours of sleep. So close to being back in Boston! I also don’t think I will be flying again for a LONG time !🙂 Now, to ‘relax’ in LAX until the final 6hr flight.