You're in Australia, Now
Woke up in the country (I just love saying that) after the coziest night of sleep. You forget what a good night's sleep really means until you trek it out to where the nearest neighbor is a football field away (Not sure about the accuracy of that statement but it sounds right?). It's so dark and so quiet, you can't help but fall into a deep sleep. Anyway, I woke up in my cozy blanket nest feeling equally refreshed and famished. Conor excitedly informed me that he was going to cook me a hearty country brekky, so I hopped into the bathroom to get ready for the day.
Jess popped her head into the room and started saying something about tea or coffee. I walked out to chat her and saw her eyes focus above my head and widen to the size of saucers. I knew instantly in my soul of souls there was only one reason for a reaction like that and I couldn't bring myself to turn around and face it. Instead, I grabbed her shoulders and shook her, screaming, "What!! What is it?!?!!!!" But I knew. When she finally squeaked out, "Spider!", I bolted to the other side of the room to catch my breath and finally face my new enemy.
Given my conversation with Conor's dad the previous night, I was somewhat prepared. Not to mention over the entire course of knowing Conor, we have discussed Australian spiders upwards of 8 million times. You know when you have such an intense fear of something, you kind of become fascinated with it? That's what this is for me. Except let's just clear something up real fast: I'm not scared of spiders; I don't actually think they'll hurt me. And the little ones, or any that you'd find in the States, would be hard-pressed to get a reaction out of me. But Australia is infamous for their furry, eight legged inhabitants because they're HUGE. Honestly, American spiders don't even deserve to be called spiders. Anyway, the takeaway from my convo with Papa Davison was that 1. You don't kill them because they aren't poisonous and they EAT the poisonous ones, and 2. They will stay put in the same spot for like 3 days. So I knew exactly where to look when entering the room each time and I just made sure to keep tabs on him the entire time I was in there.
After The Encounter, I gave an Academy-award winning performance and shocked Conor by catching my breath and returning to the warm, peaceful state I woke up in. My reward was this delectable brekky he whipped up, complete with FRESHLY BAKED bread. (His mum baked the bread, but he served me two perfectly toasted and buttered slices so credit is due). In addition to full tummies, this particular brekky also gave us the answer to the age old question, What can't freshly baked bread cure? Obviously nothing, since it eradicated the spider scaries. Well done, Con.
I can't get enough of this country home! I want to hang all my pots and pans and have a little kitty cat snoozing in the corner at all times!
The weather behaved better than predicted, so we took our tea outside to entertain the pup and admire the scenery.
And then we went for a little drive! Conor spent his formative years in Orange and wanted to show me around. So we hopped in the car and drove the 10 minutes into town. We saw his school...
Fun fact: "School" always refers to grades 3-12; "Uni" is college. Also, you go to the same school for grades 3-12. And you have houses, like in Harry Potter!
Here he is on his old stomping grounds, really feeling like a big man on campus now ;)
We grabbed some coffees, and walked all around the "main street" of town, stopping of course under this sign for a pic! Conor's dad is a jeweler and his parents run this shop together :)
It was a big sports weekend. It was the National Rugby League premiership game - literally their superbowl, and Conor's team, Cronulla Sharks, was in the finals! A really Aussie thing to do is sports betting. There are little betting centers in every city; several in Sydney. In an effort to give me the full Aussie experience (rugby, check, spider, check, kangaroos, not yet), Conor gave me $5 to bet on "a multi". I chose three American football teams I wanted to win this weekend: Oakland Raiders (my boys), Los Angeles Rams (I'm from Orange County so trying to get on board with the whole LA football team thing), and New Orleans Saints (I've just always had a thing for New Orleans). A "multi" means all three teams have to win or you get zilch.
If you watch American football, you'll know that I won! And the Saints had to come back from a 2 touchdown lead to beat the Chargers in the fourth quarter! $132 bucks, baby!!
Also, speaking of kangaroos, they are apparently little pests. They are a dime a dozen and they come on to your land and you have to shoo them away. What's even worse is that they come all the way up to the highway and get themselves killed... eeks. On our drive up, I was SO excited to see a kangaroo, I hadn't seen any yet! I had my eyes glued to the window and Conor kept assuring me I'd see one, so I patiently waited. Tons and tons of cows, sheep, and horses, blahh been there, done that. But I saw plenty on the side of the road... so, so sad :(
Once back home, I of course had to check on he-who-shall-not-be-named's whereabouts. He moved, but only about 3 inches. I think he saw how unbothered I was and wanted to get his gross little bod in full view...
After visiting with the fam for a bit, we hopped back in the car to meet an old friend of Conor's for lunch in Bathurst. On the drive over, I finally saw a kangaroo!! Head still attached and all limbs in tact! He even had a buddy; there were two! It happened too fast and I was too excited to get a pic, but really - there's nothing like seeing a kangaroo in the wild to really make you feel like you're in Australia.
In the evening, we visited with a group of Conor's "schoolies" (friends from school) to watch the NRL Grand Final game and Conor's team, the Sharkies won! They hadn't ever won a premiership, like literally ever, so it was a super big deal and a fun night to celebrate. No pics because I was one girl amongst 5 Aussie guys, so thought it best to leave my phone in my purse and pay attention to the game :)
Driving back home from watching the game, it was pitch black dark. Just vast blackness on either side of the road, a little spooky! But I was happy to sink into bed and feel like I was going to sleep with the rest of the world. Another lovely day in the country!