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  • Day350

    We got to call Australia 'home' for the last 350 days and now our last day in this vast country had begun.
    Bente and I treated ourselves with some delicious breakfast before we were picked up by a shuttle that drove us to Melbourne airport.
    We both had two pieces of luggage plus one carry-on backpack and it was such a weird feeling to know that we were carrying everything we had had for the last year with us. We were basically carrying our whole Australian lives to the airport.
    The flights itself and the journey home went smoothly and we spent the 26h watching movies, eating or attempting to sleep. Sleep didn't really come and we were incredible tired by the time we reached Dubai.
    It was now time to say goodbye to Bente but since we knew it was only a week until we would see each other again it wasn't so hard. πŸ’•
    It is still weird not living with Sophie and Bente anymore. We got along so well and those two have become more than just my friends. They are like my sisters and I'm so grateful that I got to spend this amazing year alongside them. πŸ’•
    On my last flight to Frankfurt the excitement took over and I wasn't as tired anymore. Even though it was incredible sad to leave Armidale and then Australia I was so happy to go home and see my family and friends again. πŸ’•
    They waited for me at the airport and when I arrived home the first thing we did was make waffles because that's what I had asked for.
    I'm still getting used to being back but I believe that Armidale and Australia will always be home and we will be back one day. Until then I have got a million photos, stories and memories from the last 360 days that are truly unforgettable and this adventure was better than I ever imagined it could be. Again thank you to everyone for a magnificent journey and let's see what the next adventure will be. πŸ’•
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  • Day349

    We spent our last days in Australia finally finishing our souvenir shopping (I hope I won't get in trouble with customs for basically importing a whole souvenir shop) and joining a 3h walking tour through Melbourne.
    The weather was great once again and we did get to see some streetart as well as some of Melbourne's iconic buildings.
    We went out for dinner since it was our last evening in Australia which is again both really sad because this is the country I got to call home for the last 12 months but also exciting because I get to see everyone back home again. πŸ’•
    Our bags are packed with souvenirs and memories as our time in this stunning country comes to an end. πŸ’•
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  • Day347

    No vacation is complete without a visit to the local galleries or museums, especially if they are free.
    There are actually heaps of those in Melbourne and we started the day of with a visit do. the Australian Centre of the Moving Image. The centre contains a lot of information on technology regarding video games, global broadcasting, movies and moviemaking in general.
    They have a few games that you can actually play when you visit and of course Bente an I just had to play Mario Cart against each other. After eight races (oops) Bente came in first place and I in second and we continued our journey through the exhibition.
    A lot of the things on display were interactive such as the lightbox that turned your shadow into a monster or the really dark room where you could "touch" the beam of light.
    We walked over to the National Gallery of Victoria which had a really interesting exhibition on Bill Henson's photography. Apart from that we enjoyed the contemporary art especially the chair that resembled a killer whale (come on IKEA you can do it).
    For dinner we got picked up by Robyn (so nice to see her againπŸ’•) and we drove to the Vegie Bar in Fitzroy. I am going to miss all the amazing vegetarian restaurants here. It was quite hard to decide on what to get but in the end I decided on a Buddha Bowl which was really yummy and after that we shared a Nutella Donut from across the road.
    After dinner we went to a rooftop bar (Naked for Satan) to get some amazing views of Melbourne's skyline at night.
    It was definitely worth it and such a great ending to the evening. πŸ’•
    Thanks Robyn for taking us to those great places πŸ’•
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  • Day346

    I took so many pictures in the last 12 months that look totally unreal and I wouldn't believe they are real if I hadn't been there.
    This phenomenon happened again when we reached the shoreline of the Great Ocean Road. We stopped at many spots and all of them where just stunning.
    The weather was actually great for it being winter in Australia right now and when we reached the Twelve Apostels the sun was just beginning to set which made for some amazing photos.
    It was a magnificent sight and we were happy to have done it in our last week here. πŸ’•
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  • Day346

    There are certain things that will never get boring no matter how old you get.
    One of them is bird's best swings or swings in general. We were more than happy to spot one o those on our morning tea spot during our Great Ocean Road day trip.
    The next stop was equally exciting but for different reasons. We were lucky to see heaps of colourful Australian birds and also quite a few Koalas.
    It is always special for us to see some Koalas even though we should probably have gotten used to it by now. I am really gonna miss those little balls of furry cuteness.
    Our last stop before we got to explore the coast was yet another Australian rainforest. Some of the trees were over 70m tall which makes you fell quite small in comparison.
    I'm gonna miss the rainforests too but to be fair I'm going to miss nearly everything about this country. πŸ’•
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  • Day345

    When we (Kate and Kate) were looking for things to do in Melbourne (preferably free things) we read about the St.Kilda Pier. The pictures looked really nice and when we heard about the penguins we were set on going.
    It took us about 30min by tram to get there and since we wanted to see the penguins who are best to spot at sunset we arrived only an hour before that.
    We walked to the end of the pier and found a comfortable spot to sit where we thought we had to wait for a bit. We were lucky and actually heard penguins straight away.
    They nest and sleep between the breakwater rocks and we couldn't see them at first but soon we spotted two just next to us. πŸ’•
    They were so cute and even though we had already seen penguins in a zoo it is way more fun spotting them in the wild.
    Now I can add fairy penguins to my list of Australian animals I've encountered in this amazing last year. πŸ’•
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  • Day343

    Goodbyes are exhausting.
    After leaving Armidale we all felt a bit empty and emotionally drained. It didn't help that we had to say goodbye to Soph that day too (even though we will see each other again in a month). That was why Bente and I spent our first days in Melbourne quite relaxed.
    We went for a stroll through the botanical gardens and had a look at the Shrine of Remembrance on the first day.
    Our second day was spent at the SeaLife in Melbourne and with a visit to the Queen Victoria Market where we went Souvenir shopping. Other than that we didn't do much except eating and sleeping.
    It is actually really nice to have such a relaxed little holiday between leaving Armidale and going home. It gives us time to recover and adapt to the changes that are yet to come. πŸ’•
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  • Day342

    "Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be so hard, oh take me back to the start..." -The scientist by Coldplay.
    I really never imagined it to be so hard to leave. It was really heartbreaking.
    The hardest part was that there are no words to express how grateful I am for everybody I got to meet and everything they did for me. Nothing seemed to be enough after the absolutely perfect year we had here.
    We did lots of baking for everybody and wrote countless thank you cards and walked around handing them out and crying all the way through. I guess that shows that we had an amazing time but in that moment and yet still it is just way to said knowing that the people that have been with us for a year are soon going to be over 16.000km away.
    We got so many goodbye gifts and everyone of them was yet another reason to make us cry because they were all too beautiful.
    One of the hardest goodbyes I had to do was saying goodbye to my Transition kids and the best teachers in the whole wide world.
    We had a surprise goodbye party with lots of food and the kids told me what they had enjoyed while I was around in the room. I lost it again when they sang their special goodbye song and gave me the best (most heartbreakingly beautiful) presents.
    Again there are no words to express how much I'm going to miss these kids which I was lucky enough to get to know.
    I learned so much in my time in the Transition class room and I'm leaving with more fun stories and memories than I will ever be able to tell. I guess all the tears I shed are the best proof of the amazing time that l had.
    I want to thank everyone (you know who you are) for making my Gap Experience better than I ever dreamt it could be. I wish you all the best, you deserve the world and I hope I will be back one day to see you all again. πŸ’•
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  • Day340

    Germany doesn't have school uniforms which is probably why we find them so interesting (they probably aren't for an Australian).
    One of the last things we did while we were at NEGS was going to the Uniform shop to try on the winter and summer uniform of our school.
    We had heaps of fun and got some photos that make truly great memories. πŸ’•

  • Day336

    Socials in Australia are a special phenomenon.
    Normally it means one or more boarding schools visiting another to have a party for their students with social interaction (hence the name).
    Especially when the boys visit our girls or the other way around everyone gets really excited.
    And because we live in a country town and basically everyone is a farmer we hear a lot of songs about tractors, cowboys ("save a horse ride a cowboy" no joke) and other weird country songs you have never heard before. Australian also loves its themed parties so every time the girls and boys get to dress up with the boys usually wearing less than our girls.
    Anyway we only have one week left so we decided to host our own "Gappie Social" for our girls.
    We decorated the assembly hall with balloons and set up a photo booth for the girls. Of course we all had a theme for the girls it was "Leave a little sparkle wherever you go". πŸ’•
    The girls came as their sparkliest self and we handed out glowsticks as an added bonus.
    Since it was our social we finally got to play some good songs that you can actually dance to.
    We played games like musical statues (when the music stops you have to freeze), had dance battles and sang karaoke. πŸ’•
    It was heaps of fun. πŸ’• We danced all night and our last song was "Castle on the hill" as it is our coming home song.
    The girls were really cute and made a tunnel for us to walk through as well as giving us three cheers. πŸ’•
    We will really miss them all. πŸ’•
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  • Day331

    After four amazing days in Sydney it was time to say goodbye. Goodbye to this extraordinary city which we visited so many times in the last year and if it was only as a stopover at the airport.
    We left heavy hearted because it will probably be quite some time (I do plan on coming back one dayπŸ’•) before we will see Sydney again.
    Next week we will fly to Sydney but only to change planes and fly to Melbourne so that wasn't much of a help.
    Those last four days showed me a new side of Sydney (not quite as crowded as on New Years Eve and somehow more relaxed than usual) which I've come to love and I think I can say that Brisbane and Sydney are now equal at first place in my top Australian cities ranking. πŸ’•
    It was not only our last time exploring Sydney, it was also our last time flying home to Armidale. The place we got to call home for the last year.
    I still can't believe how fast time has flown by and that we only have 8 days left (it is the 15th as I'm writing this) until we have to leave this place and all our friends here behind.
    Two days ago on Tuesday we had our farewell at the school assembly (one week early because the last week tends to get quite hectic).
    We were praised by the girls and got a goodbye card from the people we worked with and a NEGS sports bag with our names embroided on them as a gift (quite handy because I needed a second piece of luggage anyway and they really are beautiful). πŸ’•
    Heather also said a few words about us and we gave a short thank you speech to the school and everyone we worked with. πŸ’•
    It was one of the hardest things we had to do simply because it meant recalling all the wonderful friendships that have formed and all the amazing experiences we got to make with the knowledge that it will soon be over and we will have to leave.
    Anyway I'm immensely grateful for everything and everyone that has happened to me during this year and I'm so lucky to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. πŸ’•
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  • Day331

    What better way to end a stay in Sydney than with watching a show at the Sydney Opera House? πŸ’•
    We had managed to get tickets for the world premiere of "Mountain". It is a cinematic and musical odyssey and a collaboration between the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the director Jennifer Peedom. It evolves around the people's fascination with mountains and the beauty and danger that comes from them.
    We spend the morning with shopping for souvenirs and when it was nearly time we enjoyed a glass of wine at the Opera Bar in the sun. πŸ’•
    It was a dream come true when we finally got to walk into the Opera House to find our places right at the front in the third row. πŸ’•
    It is such a beautiful and impressive building both from the outside an from the inside. Before the actual performance began Jennifer Peedom, Willem Dafoe the actor who did the voice-over for the movie (he played the joker in Batman and also the author in the Fault in our Stars and in many more movies as well) and the musical director came on stage and said a few words about the movie and the journey they underwent to make it.
    The performance itself was magical and the best way to end our trip. We were enchanted with the amazing live performance of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the movie on the big screen. πŸ’•
    Everyone visiting this amazing city should definitely take the chance and see the magic that performances in the Sydney Opera House hold within them. πŸ’•
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