Niihama: The Final Weeks

So it has been over a month now since I have left Niihama, but I feel that is not until now that I can actually put into words what those last few weeks were like.

What can I say? Leaving a place behind, moving on to a new place and saying goodbye to some of the most awesome people I have come across is never an easy thing or pleasant thing to do. I knew that leaving would be hard but I didn’t know that it would be THAT hard.

My last few weeks teaching went really well. All my students were very appreciative of the work I had done in the 16 months that I taught them and I got some of the most beautiful goodbye presents from pretty much all of my classes. I had goodbye dinners with my adult classes and of course I shed more than a tear or two, and I definitely felt the pain of leaving them all, but knew that they had enjoyed their lessons and that meant the world to me.

My friends were incredible and I would like to take this time to say Thank You to ALL of you. In my last few weeks in Niihama I visited some places I had never seen before (the big tree), spend some lovely, fun dinners with some of my Niihama friends and everyone put up with my requests which included: purikura, karaoke and a sayonara get together at mines… you guys are awesome. A BIG thank you goes to Tricia too, who put together the picture frame for me and all of you rest assured that I read all of your notes on my plane ride to Australia. I actually felt terrible for the girl sitting next to me as I went from sobbing, to full out laughing while reading those notes.

Also a BIG thanks needs to go out to Thomas, who was most wonderful and patient with me during those last few weeks. I was an emotional wreck in the weeks leading to my departure, but he just somehow had enough patience to keep me as positive as I could and always kept reminding me that I had had a great year and that I just needed to keep thinking about the good times that I had. Saying goodbye to him was one of the most difficult things I had to do, but he knew that I wanted to do the season in Hokkaido and full out supported me, and when I doubted pretty pushed me to go do what I needed and wanted to do. Also I have never seen anybody clean a kitchen that fast!! It would have taken me forever to do all that cleaning, and I would not have been able to leave the apartment in the condition that it was left it it wasn’t for him. Thank You! xo

After leaving Niihama I headed for a 3 weeks holidays to see some of my girlfriends, spend time at the beach and just relax in sunny Australia.

Sydney!

While in Australia I spent 2 weeks in Brisbane, then flew to Sydney for 4 days and back to Brisbane to catch my plane back to Japan. This was my trip to Sydney:

Sydney has been a city that I had been wanting to visit for quite some time. I’m not quite sure why, I would hate to say because of ‘Finding Nemo’ but it probably is, so I was very excited when I arrived to Sydney. However I had the shock of my life soon after arriving when I came to the conclusion that Sydney has got to be one of the most expensive cities I have ever been to!

 

Yet, I knew that chances were that I wouldn’t be back for many years to come so I had to take advantage of my time there. On my first evening I met up with my friend Sarah, who I admire very much as a friend. We always have great conversations, she somehow has an incredible ability to be positive and to be aware that things will work out in theend, and most importantly (and I wish I had this quality) Sarah is amazing at keeping her stress to herself. So it was great to see her again. We walked around Sydney and went to have the most delicious Chinese dumplings in Chinatown.

The next couple of days are hard to remember but I went for a run along the beach every morning,  went swimming, laid down on the beach almost every day (life was rough) and just took advantage of the beach culture of Australia. I wish I could go to work and then go to the beach at the end of the day! Sarah and I also took a ferry ride to Manly Beach where we spent our lunch scaring the seagulls away from our fish and chips. Those things have no fear, one of them totally swooped and stole a chip from my hand and another almost landed on Sarah’s head, which made her shriek and I think that’s what scared the seagull away.

I also went on a tour of the Sydney Opera House. It was really interesting and I was glad I was able to go because I got a glimpse of  the Australian Ballet Company practicing for their Christmas performance of The Nutcraker. I enjoy ballet very much, so I was in awe for the 3 minutes that I was there. Some fun facts about the Opera House: the tiles are actually not white but off-white because if they were white one would not be able to stare at the building during sunny days because of how bright it would be. The carpet on the stairs leading to the main hall are purple so when Luciano Pavarotti was there for a photo-shoot he refused to step on the stairs because purple is the colour of death in Italian society, so the photo-shoot had to change to a different location. He also charged the most expensive ticket for a performance in the history of the building. Coldplay recorded one of their albums there and the only time the tiles have been washed was when a Green Peace demonstrator wrote an anti-war slogan on the tiles.. he was of course, arrested soon after.

Another day I went to Taronga Zoo! I don’t particularly like zoos, but I have to say Taronga zoo is quite beautiful. To begin with all of the animals have been bred within the property of the zoo, so it made me feel slightly better to see the animals in closed spaces, although the tigers need WAY more space. Also the animals in there had to be some of the most clean and beautiful animals I have seen in a zoo. My sole reason of going though was so that I could touch a koala. Before going to Australia I thought Koalas were adorable, but now I might have changed my mind. To begin with they have some scary looking claws that look as though they could take your eyes out. Also they don’t do, or move for that matter, a heck of a lot. They pretty much just sat there, sleeping in  that uncomfortable position, on the same tree branch all day long (the reason is that eucalyptus makes them way too sleepy). Most disappointing was the fact that I simply couldn’t touch them. To take pictures with them was way too expensive and even then, you still can’t touch them, so I just took pictures of them instead. Even though they didn’t live up to my expectations koalas still have adorable faces and if it wasn’t for those terrifying looking claws I might have tried to steal one. My favourite animal was the Australian pelicans.. those guys were awesome! They have this HUGE neck and they wobble around and are pretty tall! I had never seen one before so I was a little freaked out when I first saw them, but they were by far one of the coolest animals I saw there. Overall, I was quite pleased with my visit to the zoo and I felt like a little kid all over again, which is a good feeling to have every now and then.

On my last evening I went to an Indonesian restaurant with Sarah and after many goodbyes and promises to see each other again in the near future, it was time for me to say also goodbye to Sydney before heading back to Brisbane for a few more days before heading back to Japan.