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Trip Start Jan 09, 2004
Trip End Jul 14, 2004

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Saturday, January 3, 2004

I'm starting to get excited.

My visa came late last week, so I have all my essential documents organized. I just have to sell my car (or leave it to mum - thanks!) and wrangle with Telstra over my mobile phone contract, then I can channel all my energy into psyching up for my trip!

I can't get over how disorganized UofC is. I haven't received any information whatsoever from the university. I've trawled the web site for tidbits of useful information and emails of people who might care, you'd think they could at least send me a welcome letter or something. Luckily my housemates seem to be a bit more friendly, they've offered to pick me up from the airport. I leave Adelaide at 8am and arrive in Calgary at 8pm, excluding time differences (I'll be 13.5 hours behind home). They're expecting me to be up for a pint (amazingly beer terminology is the same as Adelaide. In Melbourne they call them pots or whatever, so that's lucky. One less cultural adjustment), but we'll see.

I'm flying with Virgin Blue Adelaide to Melbourne, so I have to change my luggage in Melbourne. Then the part I'm dreading - transit through Los Angeles. Why, oh why am I flying through the US instead of Singapore? I'm going to have to get all my luggage off and go through all the security, probably wait in a huge queue and get fingerprinted, just for a stopover. What a pain in the ass. I know it's all in the name of safety but really. I'd much prefer to just go through Singapore on a civilised airline and take the miniscule risk. I haven't heard anything good about United Airlines. Oh well. It's booked. Hopefully I'll have a pleasant surprise.

The weather here is heavenly at the moment. I hate leaving in the height of summer. I'm going to be trading in my summer holidays on the beach with my friends for the deep winter of Canada and the unknown. When I was living in Northern Italy I missed the ocean so much, we took trips to Liguria or similar sporadically and these were a lifeline for me. Just seeing a glimmer of blue in the distance from the car window made the weight of homesickness and stresses of adaptation wash away. Of course now that I am home again, living on the beach, some days I look out at the ocean and think "meh... looks choppy. Can't be bothered. I'll stay inside."

I'm down to my last week and I'm trying to make the most of it, swimming every day. I'm trying to appreciate everything - friends, family, great food, great climate, having a car. For New Year's Eve Ian and I went up to the Adelaide Hills to Kim's mums house with a few other people, which will probably be my last experience of the bush until I return. We sat out on the deck looking down into the valley, thick green with eucalyptus, tipped with ocean blue on the horizon. Apparently you can see Kangaroo Island on a good day. After dark it was mostly black until midnight, when the horizon lit up with fireworks from different coastal towns. Most New Years, given I live at Glenelg, are spent with the 30,000 drunken revellers on the foreshore, so this year was a nice change.

I'm trying to pack as much in this week as possible so I have great memories to take away with me.
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