This blog is written by Hannah Herrold. Hannah is a Spring 2018 student from Taylor University.
The rural countryside of Toowoomba was the setting in which I had anticipated living during my entire time here in Australia. Although all of the Aussies laugh at me when I explain this, the view that Americans get of Australia revolves around the movies of red dirt roads and Steve Erwin. Now, I have to clarify that in Toowoomba the dirt is black NOT red, which I was ridiculed over by the Yarrow family whenever I forgot. Anyways, you might be thinking, “This is pretty random and the title is “Happy 21st”, so why is she talking about Toowoomba?” so I will get to the point.
Last weekend, I was invited to my Aussie (CHC) Friend Emma-Lea’s 21st birthday party at her place in Toowoomba. There we go, there is the lightbulb! In Australia, a 21st birthday is a huge celebration that includes not only close family and friends, but practically the whole neighbourhood. So, in case anyone in the audience is unaware, the drinking age in Australia in 18, unlike the drinking age in America which is 21. This leads to the question of why is the 21st birthday so special? No one actually seems to know… Emma-Lea’s mother explained it as a celebration of someone’s life but either way, I was invited to this party 3 hours away with an expected 80 people long guest list and enough food to feed about 302 people.
During the party, there were many speeches given, a lot of stories shared, too much delicious food (meat-pies included!), card games, and chats by the fire. However, my favourite moment was after the festivities had ended and the majority of the guests had gone home. Emma-Lea’s family owns a beautiful cotton farm that spans across a couple hundred acres. Since there were so many guests coming, before the party, Emma-Lea’s dad had started the cotton-picking early so that the boll-buggy was full.
What is a boll-buggy? It is basically like this giant metal container full of freshly picked cotton that is attached to a tractor and, after being commanded by Emma-Lea and her friends, you jump into this mess of cotton and ride around under the stars. The ride was my softer and fluffier than a hay ride and the view was incredible. I am still picking pieces of cotton off of the sweatshirt that I wore in the pit, but it was worth the few minutes we rode around looking at the stars. If you are ever given the chance, give it a go, and you might make some life-long friends while you are all jumping with a leap of faith into a huge bin of cotton.
(Also, Happy Birthday Emma-Lea!)