Retrospect whale sharks

As promised, here’s some whale shark pictures.  The first one is of Matt and I fulfilling my Aussie fantasy of jumping off a cliff into the marina.  It was taken by this awkward and adorable little boy who’s countdown began with “ten” instead of “three”.

Longest ten seconds of Life.

And the whale sharks? Every picture is more stunning than the last. If you’re wanting to see more, let me know and I’ll post a couple others. I have more snorkeling shots too

Still groovin’, and here’s why;

Evening at this weird junk-yard place near my mom's.

Dear Reader,

oh hey, you’re looking good today. We should hang out more. I’ve missed you.

How was Australia? Oh, it was good.  Played with kangaroos, swam with whale sharks, met awesome people, the ushe. What are my plans now? Oh, well I’m moving into a condo in Tempe and have interviewed at Starbucks and Herb’n’Flavors. I think I’ll take the Starbucks gig and find a high-volume breakfast restaurant so as to be rich again.  I think I may change my major (again) to Nutrition Communications because I like healthy food and I like talking. Next stop? Oh, I’d like to meet my Australian friends in Japan next year and learn how to snowboard with them.  I’d also like to tramp around South America, but, you know, who knows?

Am I going to keep blogging?

See, I was having a hard time with that.  I felt, coming back, like I am Just Another Person here. I’m not that interesting and I’ve certainly not got a lot to inform you about.  I firmly believe a blog should be either entertaining or informative, and would I be enough of either to keep this going?

So I was insecure.

Your attention spam, dear Reader, is probably much like mine own, so I will spare us both the tedious recap of the last two weeks in America and the inner turmoil of deciding the blog’s fate.  I’m going to do it bullet-point style using the categories already in place.

~Finances~

Well, obviously I need to afford my life. Not only that but I need to be a good steward of my finances, and how does one do this as a college student living in Tempe, anyway? Finances pertains to the making of money, the spending of it, the saving and the tithing of it.  I’m actually more excited for this topic than you’d think I’d be; money is incredibly interesting and powerful and it matters how we interact with it. Also, I’m basically starting from scratch again, having blown all my dollars on another continent, so it’ll be fun to see how this pans out.  If you’re down to explore this area of Being Human with me, I’d be honored that you keep reading.

~Food~

God I love food. It is my favorite. I’m eating a vegan tamale from Tempe Farmers Market as we speak. The philosophy of eating and the substance itself is insanely interesting to me, and something one cannot help but interact with on a daily basis. Not only what tastes good, but how our eating choices affect others, the environment, our physical and mental health…it is fascinating and hugely important. So how does one maneuver through these young adult years and make wise food decisions? Beneficial to herself and to the community at large?  Want to find out with me? I’m excited to learn and share recipes and thoughts on food and if you’re interested, well shoot, keep on reading.

~Life~

Really? Is that a real category? This must be for when I have no idea how to categorize something. Life is all-encompassing and the greatest cop-out. You don’t even have to think to label a topic as Life. Moving on…

~Relationships~

Its all relational. Our culture emphasizes fancy meaninglessness over relationships and you know what that causes? It causes people who talk to their cats, that’s what it causes. I want to have friends. I want to be authentic and feel at ease with my friends. I want my brothers to know how much I love them, and not because I tell them every once in a while but because they just know. There are some exciting relational shenanigans in my life right now, and if you’re breathing you can say the same. I’m stoked to write about it, to take pictures of it, to hear your thoughts on it. This is a big one. This is my focus, actually. I’m craving a new community. I’m going to a new church.  I’m going to be living with two other girls. I’m living in the same 4-mile radius as my big brother. I’m in one of my best friend’s wedding in two weeks. I’m twenty-one and can order a margarita at Fuzzy’s whenever I want.  How does one build and maintain authentic, caring relationships? Let’s find out.

~Spirituality~

We are spiritual beings. Can’t get around it. There’s no one more spiritual than you and no one less so. Some people are more aware, I guess. Reader, my thing with God keeps getting more refined. I’m learning, I’m growing, I’m hoping to share and learn from you as well.  I’m excited that I’m a spiritual being.  Are you?

~Travel~

I’ve caught it.  Bad.  That pesky travel bug that turns the rest of life blurry and into a Means to and End.  I don’t want a job I can scrape by on; I want a job I can make bank at to afford my next trip. In this section I will include travel deals I become aware of, my current out-of-town obsession, and general thoughts on the topic. Traveling is not my life’s purpose or goal, its just an element I would really like to pursue, as God made this amazing world and it’d be nice to see it.

~ Un-Categorized and WWOOF~

Well, I’m not currently wwoofing and may not be writing much about it, unless I’m remembering something and want to tell you about it. Un-categorized? Why is that a thing?

So, there you have it. I’m going to keep writing for those reasons and because I like the accountability. My original intentions in blogging are the same as four months ago. The Australia part ended, but nothing else did. Life’s still beautiful and quirky over here in Arizona.  I love your comments, I love that you’ve read this far.  I love posting pictures and I love noting the fun little things that go on in life. Thanks for reading.

Sincerely.

On being wild.

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Good lord, today was a dream. I feel the way I felt journaling that night after Rottnest. I’m awed that I’m here. I’m giddy that I did what I did today. Everyone’s getting grinned at right now. (your welcome, YHA members.)

I swam with whale sharks!

WHALE SHARKS!!

This elusive gentle giant. I swear pictures are coming, plus the “free” (em, nothing’s free on a $400 whale shark diving tour, excuse me) DVD of the day. For now be satisfied with the upcoming links on whale shark info and this picture of my sunnies:

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As I may have told you, things got weird for a minute there in Perth. I started really stressing about going home, about buying a car and it’s insurance policy, about gasoline and dog food and moving into an apartment in Tempe. (oh please oh please oh please) I got all jittery and sick-feeling in the pit of my stomach because there is Real Life stuff to do back home. I even have a bridesmaid dress to buy.
In this anxious state I decided to sit around watching Friends, not spend money, and wait to go home. Security!

…is for pansies.

I was like, ohemgee, I totally did not spend like two thousand dollars to come to Australia and sit on my ass.

I’m not here to save money. I’m on vacation, not a diet.

So I gave my panic the finger and booked a whale shark diving tour in Exmouth. And subsequent plane tickets to and from.

http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/species/sharks/whaleshark/index.html

Three Islands Whale Shark Tours (http://www.whalesharkdive.com/) picked me up form the hostel at 7:30. We drove around collecting more eager, albeit a bit sleepy, tourists and headed out for the boats. I was assured I would have special food in my own special lunch box, but that if I decided I wasn’t allergic to gluten and my conscience failed I could help myself to what the others were eating. Winning.

We first snorkeled at the most amazing reef. I’ve gotten over those first gasping, mistrustful breaths I used to take when first jumping in the water. I’m a pro now. I just waddle to the deck and plop into the water, and I’m off. And I get tapped in the shoulder multiple times to come closer to the rest of the group. You guys, please go snorkeling. It’s another world down there. I’ve never seen a forest so alive. I saw two manta-rays! I saw Dory!

En route to open water (shale shark water) we caught a glimpse of a turtle coming up for air, freaking out at our boat, and diving out of sight. I almost wept. Who sees sea turtles?!?

The spotter plane let the skipper know where the shark was spotted, and we made a beeline for him. By now I was best friends with a lady form England and a girl my age from Perth, and the three of us sat wide-eyed and tapping our heels. Anticipation is deadly.

Here’s what happens; they pull the boat way in front of the animal, in his path, and ten of us jump out and swim forward. It’s deep blue, and you can’t see anything. You’re just trying to stay near the group because, conceivably, they know what they’re doing. You hope the school of jellyfish you just swam through play nice. Then out of nowhere, silently, shape takes form in front of you. Spotted and wide-mouthed and getting massive the closer it gets, and you gurgle “holy shit on a stick” and kick to one side of the giant to let him pass. You can’t take your eyes off him.

It is so beautiful. So passive. Unthreatened and unthreatening. And it is silent, because your ears are under ocean and you aren’t breathing heavily, if you’re even breathing at all.

Once he’s passed you swim beside him as long he let’s you keep up. You watch him bob in the swells and fan his gills. You know his tail could knock you unconscious if he wanted. He doesn’t want. The other nine swimmers fade and you feel naked and alone in open water with a peacefully ancient creature. It is very much like a dream. Multiple times, you get in and out of the boat to catch up and swim with the shark. To see him coming toward you, all mouth and dorsal fin rising up behind him, is almost terrifying, except you know you’re perfectly safe. You can see his eyes, his lips, his spots, the stripe by his gills, his impossibly tall tail fin swaying in the water.

Back on the boat, you can’t explain why you feel like crying and laughing at the same time, so you just stay quiet.

I think His attention to detail is stunning, don’t you? I think he’s a divine madman, a creative genius with a flair for the unexpected and exotic. He’s probably tickled that His biggest fish is harmless. He probably can’t wait until we figure out what the pyramids are about. He probably loves watching us swim with His whale sharks and throw sticks for our dogs.

Wild. I’m reminded of that friend of mine, the one who things got so messy with. I’m reminded of him shaking his head at my misplaced defiance, telling me I needed to stop being so resistant to things I feared would settle me.

“You’re so scared of being tamed, you miss out on living. You wanna be wild? He’s the wild one.”

And isn’t He?

Denmark fun.

I’m going to be receiving pictures from travel friends I’ve met for some time. One girl at Uralla took heaps she’s going to send as soon as she gets home to Holland.

My other Dutch friend, met at the hostel in Denmark, recently flew home and emailed me these. I’m actually stoked to receive pictures (or be tagged in them on FB) long after the event. I get to relive it all.

Anyway, here’s more of Denmark plus the treetop walk in Walpole.

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One week left

Well friends, the final countdown has officially begun. In a week I’ll be suspended in the air somewhere between Australia and Burbank, Ca.

I’m not sure how I feel about it. I realized last night that, as real and present as everyone around me seems, and as perfectly I hear their voices and can watch movement on their faces, in a month’s time they will be memories. They will be Facebook likes and one-dimensional instagrams. Draw Something will be my most consistent form of communication.

I wont hear them anymore. How weird is that?

The trade-off? Frick, I miss my friends back home. I see how I’ve taken them for granted, how I sacrificed my relationships with people so as to save money for this trip to Oz. I see how I’ve taken my state for granted. How often do I take advantage f the natural beauty and free Fun in Arizona? Why the hell don’t I talk to my sister on a regular basis?

And I actually am excited to be in my own space. I’m excited to walk into a room and not have an accent. I’m excited to not have to explain myself to anyone in the room. I’m stoked to order an iced coffee and receive an iced coffee. I’m excited to rest and not look so haggard.

Although…and more on this later…but I do, in fact, hope to look tired by the end of my life. I’d rather be used up than wasted. I’d rather be tired than bored.

Update;
I stayed over at Matt’s house the other night, and the next morning his mother and I got to talking about what traveling is really like. We talked about how no one back home has the attention span to listen to the things that actually meant something, and how it doesn’t matter since those experiences don’t translate anyway.

I’ve done a lousy job of keeping you posted. I was busy. I was learning. I am still growing. It wouldn’t have translated anyway.

My last week in Oz is packed. On Saturday we had a pre-Easter party that involved and abandoned train tunnel in the forest, and on Easter I shared a bike-ride with the fore mentioned friend into Fremantle. We sampled organic fruit and then jumped off cliffs into the marina. We met our friends at the park for a chocolate Easter egg hunt and then a few of us went to a house (the one I’m currently crashing at, actually) to watch Iron Man 2. Then there was church and dinner, and today (Monday) was for building tepees for Janet and Alex’s combined cowboys and Indians birthday party. We then got a group and saw the Titanic, in 3D.

And tomorrow? Pete is bringing me to the airport for my flight to Exmouth, and on Wednesday I am snorkeling around Turquoise Bay and swimming with whale sharks. (impulse tour buy) I fly back to Perth on Friday and am peacing out for Margaret River until Sunday. Sunday is Brittany’s going-away party (girl’s moving to Fiji for a year) and that’s the last time I’ll see them all. (in the foreseeable future).
I’m staying at Janet’s and she is hugging me goodbye at the airport by four am.

See? I can’t make it translate. I can’t make it more real than it is.

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