How Tara Got Her Mojo Back
Week 7 in Australia
Busy busy busy busy busy busy! So many things to do and so little time!
Monday the 23rd of March I woke up to find that i felt 100% better than the previous day when I has what I think was the stomach flu. Since that wasted a whole, day it was time to kick it in top gear and get rollin' with my schoolwork that I had been neglecting. I was pretty productive; I did a lot of cleaning and reading- i think I read three books that day... It was Richard Brautigan , though, so it was funny and absurdist, which is always fun. Not a whole lot else to report other than I had to kill two more spiders that day. They won't be back, but I hope they were the last of their clan that apparently had been hiding out in my room all this time.
Tuesday rolls around and instead of researching for and writing my History paper, I skip that lecture to go grocery shopping (mainly to get spider spray) and search for classes for the fall... not the best idea, and I paid for it, because I put that spray to good use and had SEVEN more encounters with those nasty eight-legged things. I'd spray a corner and all of a sudden they would run away from the infectant towards ME! I tell ya, i don't know how much more of this I can take. I am severely afraid of these buggers, but I gotta' do what I gotta' do I guess.
Wednesday comes and I start to freak out because I have a History paper due the following day that I not only haven't started writing yet, but I hadn't done much the research for it either. EEK! So I set our to be productive and crank it out when Twin tells me I should go on the 70s themed Love Boat Booze Cruise with her that night. I said no because of my paper and I didn't have a ticket, but I guess her roommate bought an extra and was trying to sell it. Very tempting. I said I might if I finish my essay on time... Well it turns out that I did not finish my paper that night and I did end up going on that cruise. Not the best choice, but I'm only in Australia once and when am I going to be able to go on another cruise with free alcohol and pizza? Not anytime soon, that's for sure, or at least that's what I told myself to make me feel less guilty. I didn't have anything that screamed 70s to wear, so I opted for this pretty floor-length dress I bought myself for my birthday before I left the country. I hadn't had a chance to wear it yet and I couldn't think of another time I would while I'm here, so it was perfect. I did my hair all voluminously curly and was trying to look like Jackie from "That 70s Show." View image I had so much fun that night! The harbor was beautiful as usual, the people were cool View image, I got my dance on, and I got fed free food! I had every intention of finishing my paper when I got back and to pull an all-nighter, but that didn't happen. I decided I'd go to bed when I got back and wake up early instead. I had until 5pm to turn it in on campus, so I still had time. I skipped History lecture Thursday morning to work on my essay and finally finished it at 4:15pm. Cutting it close, I know, but what can I say- living on the edge is what I'm all about! haha...yeah right. No matter how late I was at turning it in, at least I got it done and over with, just in time for Super Hero theme at U Bar that night. I went (as a female Steve Erwin/ Carmen SanDiego?) and had a great time. It was the start of my weekend and I was stoked for the next day when I'd be setting out to surf camp for the whole weekend!!!
Friday the 27th I woke up smiling, I was so excited. I got ready for the day and packed before walking to the train station (with pit stop at Hungry Jack's for din din). We were supposed to be outside of Wake Up! hostel by Central Station in Sydney by 5pm, and we were cutting it close. We made it right on time though, and got on the huge coach bus. I sat next to Twin, and we set off for quite the adventure by 5:30pm. I didn't know it would be a six and a half hour drive to our final destination, but it wasn't too bad. We stopped once for snack food and toilets, then once more for booze...haha at least these Aussie surfers have their priorities straight! jk. Once everyone was on the bus (we picked up some kids from New Castle), we started a Name Game; each one of us had to make out way to the front of the bus, one by one, and say your name (then the rest of the bus would reply in rehab style, "Hi, ____!" and clap), where you're from, and at least one turn-on and one turn-off. There were about 5 Minnesotans on the bus, so when I said I'm from there, they all cheered. It was great. I said my turn-ons were freckles and dimples, and my turn-off was when people don't laugh at my corny jokes, then everyone laughed (...get it?) haha. I probably slept for about 20minutes before they woke us up and we were there in Crescent Head where the Mojo Surf Camp is located. It was like 12:30am Saturday morning, so a lot of people went straight to bed while the rest of us went to the Humpy (a little bonfire place next to the beach) View image and broke in our glasswear.
The next morning it was rise and shine by 7:30am for brekkie. They went over the surfing rules and gave us our "wetties" (wetsuits with nicknames on them- I was Xtra Small Beav :O( View image) before we began the long walk down the beautiful beach to our surf spot. It was kind of gloomy-looking that day; overcast with clouds, but as we were walking, the sun suddenly shone through a few clouds, which sent sun rays cascading down the beach, and it was sooooo beautiful to see. View image I took pictures of it, but it doesn't even compare to how it looked in reality. The sun finally broke through the rest of the clouds within a few minutes and it was blazing sunshine. Once we all got to the site, they told us where to get the surf boards from and to meet back there. I did not realize how big and heavy those surf boards would be! View image Holy crap! My arms aren't long enough either to carry it under one arm so I tried balancing it on my head, but my neck gave out its strength too early and I was left to drag the end awkwardly through the narrow pah back down to the beach. That alone was a work out! I had heard from friends who went surfing on previous weekends that the day after I'd be really sore all over, but I didn't think I would be. After this one little walk with the surf board before I even got into the water, i knew they were probably right... Once we all got our boards, we gathered in a giant circle around one of our instructors, who showed us how to paddle and stand up. View image The surfing stance isn't hard, but I kept hopping up instead of dragging my feet like you're supposed to. I guess I tend to hop when I throw a bowling ball and when I get ready to swing a tennis racket as well...weird. Anyways, so we broke up into groups of about 11 kids and went for it. I am so thankful that I learned how to body surf st Bondi Beach a few weeks before this, because it helped me learn how to handle the waves: how to get over them without being carried too far back into shore, how to not get pummeled by them, and to not be so afraid of them. That experience REALLY helped me a lot, otherwise I knew I'd be freaking out about it.
I waded out a few meters and had to get used to the idea that this is the ocean, which means it's salt water, which means I couldn't accidentally gulp any down if I get caught in a rip. I was really worried about my contacts after my scuba diving experience in Cairns, too. I just told myself I'd be okay and that I just need to do my best because I can't surf in MN and probably won't be at another coast anytime soon after going back to the States, so this was it, essentially. My goal for the whole weekend was to at least get up on a wave, so all I had to do was try. There were a few good waves that i passed on because I couldn't turn my board around in time, but then there was a bit of a lull and I got ready for the next one. It helped that there was an instructor there and he told me when to get on and start paddling towards shore. I looked over my shoulder and saw the wave coming, getting nearer and bigger with every second while my paddling wasn't getting me very far. The wave was catching up to me, ready to hurl me into shore unless I did this right. My anticipation and adrenaline was building faster than my heart was pounding against the bright blue board when I felt the water brush my toes and the instructor yelled for me to stand up. I gripped either side of the board tightly as I pulled my legs forward into a kneeling position and then stood up in the sideways surfer stance. I was concentrating on keeping my balance so as to not fall off and get pummeled by this wave when I suddenly realized I was riding the wave!!! I smiled and screamed a few 'WOOO HOOO's as I dominated and rode that wave all the way into shore ON MY FIRST TRY!!! View image I was more than beyond thrilled and proud of myself, especially when my goal was to get up once, and here I was, pro on my first run. That shot my confidence level through the roof and I was rearin' and ready to get out there and give it another go.
It took me about four more tries before I got up again, and that time I only got up to my knees before i fell off. On the fifth, I got up again, and it was worth the troubles of tribulation. That feeling, knowing you are riding not just a wave, but a force of nature, and coming out on top is nothing short of amazing.
We all got out of the water, washed and loaded our boards into the trailer so that we could walk back to the camp for lunch. Overall, I'd say I did pretty well; I got up about 65% of the time, which I think is great for a first-timer. Lunch was good and we had two hours to kill before our next surfing adventure, so I laid out in the sun and tried to take a little nap. Surfing wears me out!
Round two, here I come! View image So now it was about 2:30pm and the tide had changed. It was higher and the current was much, much stronger than it was earlier that morning. They kind of freaked me out before that session because they wanted us all in this small space away from this rip, which can be deadly if you get caught in it. One of the instructors had a camera with him and started taking individual pictures of us surfing. When the guy came to take mine I felt rushed onto the wave I chose, and therefore had a shaky balance. I got up, but it was rocky and my facial expression mirrored my arms: all over the place. I'm sure that would've been a really funny picture, but i didn't end up buying the CD at the end of the trip. Oh well. These waves intimidated me too much and got the best of me during this session. I got hit in the head with my board, almost collided with another surfer, almost got ran over by another surfer, and lost a contact because the waves were tossing me around so much. No bueno. About an hour before we started heading back to camp, I had to get out of that water and take a breather. I was planning on going back out there, but I got to talking to some people who joined me on the beach and let my nerves get the best of me. My trade off: since I wasn't persistent this session, on the third time, my last time, I would go all out and give it my best shot because it will be my last chance to surf.
Din din was great- steak, burgers, sausage, baked potato, salad, and some wines...mmm!- then it was off to the Humpy again. I sat around the campfire and started taking to this cool girl and we had a great heart-to-heart before joining some friends for some stargazing on the beach. It's so cool to see the Southern Cross instead of the same constellations as the northern hemisphere. It was a beautiful night sky and I didn't get to bed until past 3am when we had to get up at 7am the next day.
Brekkie was good again and then it was off to the beach for our last round of surfing for the weekend. The current was still strong, but not as strong as it was Saturday afternoon. I told myself to not let it get to me and just keep at it. Balls to the walls. So I charged out there and it just wasn't happening; my balance was off because I was rushing it and I kept falling off my board after a few seconds. I got hit in the head with my board and someone else's board about three times and got some salt or something in my one contact that was left before I ran onto the beach angry with myself. I took out my contact, so now I was blind, but at least my eye didn't throb. I took a few deep breaths and calmed down before I heard a little voice in my head say 'go big or go home' and I charged back out there. Emily and I took turns taking pictures of each other surfing, so this made me more determined to do well and get at east one good shot. I guess that's all I needed, because that did the trick and I was fine. I wasn't getting up all the time, but I was doing heaps better than the previous afternoon, that's for sure. I was off to the side by myself so that I wouldn't run into anyone and vice versa, which must've helped me focus a bit. I had a great morning of surfing and was out there all the way until the instructors called us in for lunch. I was glad that i had stuck to it, and I had lots of fun!
Lunch was really good and then we all took lots of pictures View image
and bought Mojo surf stuff (I bought a t-shirt) before boarding the sweet-detailed hot pink and black Mojo bus. View image As we were leaving, the bus driver said we'd see some wild dingos, but they were actually our hott guy surf instructors streaking buck naked around the bus! It was hilarious! They were so goofy... We all slept for at least a good two hours before they put on two different movies, and we arrived back in Sydney by 8:45pm-ish. It was a long ride/walk back to the Village and when I got there at 9:30, I was ready to crash.
What a weekend! I am Australia's newest surfer chick :O) and now the next time I go to the beach, I can rent a surf board and go for it! I think I might next time I go to Bondi, and hopefully I won't be one of the "dumb Americans" that needs to be rescued and turns up starring on an episode of "Bondi Rescue." That actually would be kind of cool, but I think it would scare Mom too much, so who knows if I will.