Wow, it's been a pretty crazy week and a half since arriving in Australia. Internet connection was hard to come by until recently so I haven't had a chance to create this and post on it yet! If you're reading this, you probably know who I am, but I'll introduce myself anyway. My name is Andrew Mearns, and I'm a junior at Gettysburg College double majoring in Math & History (or, in Australian, Maths & History!). I'm studying abroad at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, which is located about halfway up the eastern coast of Australia.
The semester doesn't officially begin until February 28th, so I did some temping at the Party City corporate headquarters about an hour from my home in Neshanic Station, NJ. I t was a pretty eventful break, as my sister got married on January 8th to a bloke from around Melbourne, Australia, and I had to say goodbye to my girlfriend Megan on January 11th as she was leaving to study abroad in Vienna, Austria. It was quite the rollercoaster of emotions, but I'm confident that we'll make it through these five and a half months apart stronger than ever. Fortunately Skype will be there to make things a little bit easier!
Anyway, after saying goodbye to friends and family in early February, I got to the airport in Newark, NJ at around 6:30 AM East Coast time on February 9th to meet my friend Katherine, who also goes to Gettysburg and is studying abroad at UQ this semester. We waited a couple hours for our flight, buying expensive airport food and killing time by taking pictures of random things, and by 9:30, we were in the air on an American Airlines flight to Dallas. It wasn't very remarkable and we only got a couple refreshments on the three and a half hour flight, but we made it safe and sound, so that's got to count for something right? The layover in Dallas was not long at all, and we were boarding our AA flight to Los Angeles about half an hour after we landed and bought crappy expensive airport sandwiches for lunch (noticing a trend here?). This flight was very similar to the previous one, and it was not very long, only about three hours. We landed in LA around 3:30 West Coast time. From there, we had a lonnnnng wait before our 10:15 flight to Sydney, Australia. Fortunately, Katherine and I met a few people from St. Joseph's University who were also in our program studying abroad, so we hung out with them in the time that followed. Though the wait seemed to take forever, we finally took off on our Qantas flight to Sydney! The flight was of course also long because you can't just apparate in Australia in a matter of seconds (though it'd be wonderful to do so). It was 15 hours, but Qantas did an excellent job providing mid-flight entertainment- we each had a little TV screen in front of our seats and headphones were provided by the airline. We could watch some of their movies, TV shows, and even catch glimpses of the plane in the air through a camera on the tail! We were also given pretty good food, so that was also a plus.