G'Day Fellow Fish,
First, let me apologize for the 5 month hiatus we have taken (I assure you that there was not much being missed out on). However, in light of the fact that it is the 1 year anniversary of being away from home, I was feeling sentimental and decided it was time for an update. Officially speaking, our trio isn't officially at 1 year until June, but we will give more on that when the time comes.
Since arriving, and living in Sydney life has been unbelievably busy. Since our last post we have all found jobs. Ariel is still working in the restaurant job he secured when we first arrived. He works long hours and still enjoying it very much. Jeff got a job doing what he was trained to in graphic design for a small start up company. He is on salary and making good money while doing a job he loves. On top of that, he works weekends at a bar nearby to provide spending money for the week. After weeks of searching and interviewing i finally got a job as a financial services advisor for an Australian Bank. Work is easy and the pay is good. So its hard to complain. In my spare time I was coaching Sydney University Lions Football team as well as the NSW (the state team that competes nationally). Both seasons ended too early. For NSW, we got to the National Championship and lost. The Sydney Lions (equivalent of High School football age) had a tough time this season and just lost our last game this past week, mostly because a lot of the kids were playing for the first time. But I found that to be the most rewarding group to coach despite our losses. Seeing them do things and be successful, things that I taught them, that they put in practice and do well with. I'd imagine, its the type of pride a parent would feel when they go to the pop warner games. They were like my kids.
|Under 18 Sydney University Lions|
|National Championship Coach|
As per the heading of this section, our lives have been just a big blur of mundane routines that we likely could have had back home, only we're in Sydney. There has been little time that all 3 of us have actually been in the apartment at the same time, so when we are, the conversation always ends up, "how was work? good. great." etc. To break the monotony of everyday life, we find time to get out and about for a drink or two in the city, or venture out to the mountains and still enjoy the fact we are living in Sydney, which has truly become home to us all.
|Family Photo of Trip to the Mountains|
Here, we have our own circle of friends, our own jobs, and our own routines that resemble that of any regular working person back home. But in the end, we are all doing what we came to Australia to do and that is make money and save for the next leg of our trip which is rapidly approaching.
Tuna School of Thought Bed and Breakfast Accommodation
Since living in Sydney, our apartment has literally become a hotel by which people come and go so that they can experience the Tuna School of Thought (which is not for the weak minded or faint of heart) and of course get out and see Sydney. At one point we had 8 people staying in our 2 bedroom apartment. To date, we have probably had about 15-20 people stay at least one night. It keeps things lively, and we certainly always enjoy the extra company.
|Mitchell's Birthday Cake|
|Triple Decker Courtesy of Brandi|
|From Left: Jeff, Brandi, Colin, Mitchell|
A few notables Brandi, our friend from college, came out to stay with us for a few weeks. Mitchell, my brother, is still here and plans to stay after we leave to live and work. Colin Carroll, who some of you might remember I met in Queenstown, went to my high school, is living here as well. People we had met all through our travels have come through here to bless us with their company, and it was always a blast and always sad to see them leave. It has become a small family, and every time someone leaves, its like watching your child leave home.
The next leg of our journey starts at the beginning of July, when we go up to the Great Barrier Reef for a SCUBA diving excursion. From there, we split up for a short amount of time. Ariel, goes home for a few weeks, I go to Japan to see some family, and Jeff works our the remainder of this contract at work. We reunite end of July and travel Japan going south. Taking a ferry to Korea, another ferry to China, then work our way down to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, India. Thats as far as we have planned for the foreseeable future. It also depends on how far our money takes us.
Our journey to Asia will be the first true test of our wits when we are in a place that none of us speak the language and we are in a truly foreign place. This prospect is exciting.
Reflections on the Last Year
In all honesty, the last year has absolutely flown by. It feels like just yesterday I was updating this before I boarded the plane to Hawaii. We have all been fortunate enough to get this far, in one year. We all agree that some of the best people we have met have been in the last year. Its a strange concept, because a lot of the time these new people we only spend a short amount of time with. But in the extenuating circumstances they come under, or the things you do together really make put that relationship on a fast track and each person we come across, we hope to leave a lasting impression, one where they can say, "those three were awesome people." Or, "I guess not all Americans are annoying." And most importantly, "Wow, there really are people from New Jersey, who are NOT from the Jersey Shore." We like to think we are rebuilding the reputation Americans and Jerseyans have abroad, one Aussi Bogan, Kiwi, Fijian, Local at a time.
Along the way we have definitely had some of life's highest highs and lowest lows. I truly believe that we have all changed and grown as people and friends, and could not have asked for a better bunch to be out on the road with. In the times when we were down and out like when Vome died, or when we had no money and no jobs and were eating out of garbage dumpsters (the lowest lows), those are the times that truly make you appreciate the highs like, when we first bought Vome, when we got out apartment, when we were on the beaches of Maui with literally not ONE care in the world. After this year it makes me think that maybe another year is possible.
No matter how much more time is spent out and away from home, even though there are people we miss, and seemingly everyone getting married, or having kids, there is not one of us would ever make the decision to not do this. Gives me hope moving forward and hopefully inspiration for anyone sitting at home, and wondering what else might be in the world?
With that, we leave you until next time which hopefully won't be as long as this last hiatus. Our sincerest apologies for making you wait like we did, we'll do our best to have it not happen again.
Until Next Time,