Last This, Last That

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” -Helen Keller

Everything in AUS is coming to a quick, screeching halt. We blinked twice and the past five months passed before our eyes. However, it has been such an amazing trip and I have become a much better, more worldly, and more well rounded person because of this experience, and I am so thankful for the opportunity.  I have improved my water polo skills and coaching techniques, along with discovering a love for “everyday writing” and blogging, making “mates for life,” and having a blast. 🙂

Yesterday, the three of us drove out to the airport to meet Nicole’s college coach, Barry, who was flying from the US to Perth to watch and recruit at the Junior World Champs. It was so great to see him and to learn that he remains very up to date on our AUS activities through reading my blog. (Hi Barry! 🙂 ) Also, I received UCD swim caps in the mail from Kandance! I can’t wait to give them to all of my players. As she said in her note with the caps, my 16s and 18s players will truly be swaggied out. 😉

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Today was my last AUS lunch with Perry and Steve. We had a great season debriefing and I ate a delicious bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato, and avocado sandwich. Yum. It’s so awesome to see how far the MC women’s program has come over the past few years, and to know that I am a large part of it. The Summer 2010 season, MC had a 16s, 18s, and SL2 team. Last year, they were able to create a SL1 team with the help of the first round of American girls. This year, we had four teams, 16s, 18s, SL2, and SL1, all four team teams made it to finals, three teams played in Grand Finals, and 16s won. That is amazing, if you ask me! I am excited to say that Steve invited us back to play for MC and hopefully National League next year! It will be fun to see what 2013 brings and to explore the option of returning to good ol’ Kingsley Street.

Tonight, we are going over to Alli’s house for a Christmas dinner! I am so excited, but sad at the same time, because it will be the last time that I see her for a while. However, that is how all goodbyes are. It is cliche, but I like to think that it is not a goodbye, but a see you later, because I really will see everyone later. It will be fun to show everyone around CA at some point or another and to come back to Melbourne to visit in the future.

As for now, the three of us are off to sit down for coffee at Jimmi Jamz, our favorite (and cheapest) coffee shop with the most delicious muffins! 🙂 I am enjoying every second that I have left!!

Alicia’s Aussie Phrase of the Day: fair enough. Meaning that the topic of conversation makes sense and is neither a huge positive or negative. Usage:

Alicia: “On my return flight, I will have to pay for 2 overweight bags, but it is cheaper than paying for a third bag”

Chelsea: “oh, fair enough

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#yoliao

A handful of months back, I tried to explain hash tagging phases to Ben. Essentially, it’s popularity is linearly related to that of Twitter and the # symbol is a way to bookmark important phrases. So, my title today is #yoliao or #youonlyliveinaustraliaonce, and #yolo goes back to a popular song called The Motto by the rapper Drake. And this is quickly becoming way too complicated for a six letter title. Whew.

The past six days, including our Grand Final game, Presentation Night, and our trip to Sorrento, have passed so rapidly that I am not sure that they even happened. I think that it might give me metaphorical whiplash to recount these days, but here it goes.

Thursday, Grand Final day: Our first true Australian summer day where it was too hot to stand outside in the shade. It was the first time that I really appreciated that our apartment seems to remain several degrees cooler than the outside air temperature. (Trust me, when we first arrived in July, it was the pits.) I believe that the day reached 40 degrees at one point, and that’s HOT! Chelsea had to work during the day, so Nicole and I ventured to the beach to catch a few rays for a limited forty minutes. It was so hot that I did not want to be outside for much longer than that anyway. 

Our 16s team played first against Essendon. They were winning the entire game, but the other team tied it within the last minute. So, they played Golden Goal overtime, where the first goal scored wins the game. Emily, a player who plays for our 16s and 18s team and with us in SL1, scored a beautiful center forward shot on the third overtime possession. Chelsea and I did not even have time to properly celebrate with them. Instead, we dashed into the team room to change into our bathers and hopped into the pool to start our game.

Our SL1 game was a rough and tough match. Footscray did not by any means roll over and allow us to trample them. In fact, they scored the first goal. After that though, we remained up for the rest of the game and were up by a goal going into the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, the final score was 11-12 and we lost by one goal. 

Our 18s team, nor the men’s SL1 team did not fare any better than us, with both teams also losing by one goal. 

I cannot believe that water polo is over. How did the season go by so fast??

Friday, Presentation Night: On Friday, I had the pleasure of joining Nicole and going to her last school aged boys coaching gig. These twelve year old boys simply adore her and love her accent. They played two short games, and it was fun to see the boys, who could hardly swim just a few weeks ago, win both games, and pass and shoot very successfully.

ImagePresentation Night was very enjoyable. I’m pleased to report that Nicole (bottom right in the picture) won Best and Fairest (AUS version of MVP) for SL1; Asher (to my right) won the award for SL2; Emily (second from the right, top) won the award for U18; Tess (not present at Presentation Night) won the award for U16; Katie (not pictured) won Best Junior Player; Amelia (not pictured) won Most Determined Player. 

It was a great night! The three of us gave short summaries on our teams and were able to hand out the MVP awards to our players. The club president and several other important MC figures, including Steve, talked about the program, and we were given MC History books as a thank you for coming to play with them. I’m really going to miss the team and everyone involved in the MC club.

Saturday-Monday, Sorrento: We had a very lazy start to our day and did not do much before 2 PM. Sometimes you just need those days. 🙂 We eventually rallied and walked down to a new restaurant, Turtle Cafe, in Elwood in search of brekky. However, by the time that we walked down, it was 3 PM and the kitchen stopped serving breakfast. Fail. We still got food and then hit the road to drive to the Stott’s beach house in Sorrento. 

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The Stott’s house was absolutely lovely. It was so good to simply get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and trade it for the calm of the sleepy beach town waiting for true summer to come out. While there, we ate delicious food, jumped off of rocks, went hiking along the beach to the old military base at the entrance to the bay, and just relaxed.  Charles, Ellie’s dad, introduced us to the game Liar’s Dice, which is a specialized dice version of a game that I’ve played with my Dad at our lake house. It was so, so much fun, and I can’t wait to play it some more when I return stateside.

It is crazy to me that my trip is coming to a rapid, screeching halt. The three of us have made a list of things to do before I leave and hopefully we accomplish most of the items on the list, including eat at Elwood Food and Wine (check!), eat at Dining Haul, have lunch with Steve, visit the Queen Vic Market for last minute souvenirs, have a night out at the Ice Bar, eat at Grill’d one last time, and a few other miscellaneous items. After all, #yoliao. 🙂

 

Alicia’s Aussie Word of the Day: windscreen. Meaning windshield. Usage: When it rains, make sure you turn on your windscreen wipers, or you will not be able to see the road through the windscreen.

 

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MC Finals

MC Finals

Tomorrow marks the finals of VIC Polo Summer Comp. Out of the 9 of the 11 divisions will feature MC teams. Go Team!! 🙂

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Turkey Hangover

Daniel texted me the day after Thanksgiving to say that he was still completely full. He now understands the full meaning of a Thanksgiving Hangover, where someone is not at all hungry the day following Thanksgiving. 🙂 However, Nicole and I didn’t seem to experience such issues this year. Instead, we went for a long walk to Balaclava and Chapel Street. It was a gorgeous day outside, and we just cruised around going from store to store window shopping. I even found a cafe called Ziggy’s!

Ziggy’s Cafe!

Along the way, we beat our Thanksgiving Hangover and tried out the new Ben and Jerry’s. I got mint chocolate chunk, of course, and chunky monkey in honor of my dad. 🙂 It was delicious!

Yum!

The rest of the weekend has been quite good. Saturday was the first round of playoff games for water polo and 15 of the 16 Melbourne Collegians teams played throughout the various leagues. Pretty good if you ask me! 🙂 Our 16s team had an unfortunate loss, but the way that the fixtures work, the top seed plays the 2nd and the 3rd plays the 4th, then the winner of 1v2 goes straight to the grand final and the winner of 3v4 plays the loser of 1v2 on another day and that winner plays in the grand final. (I hope that makes some sense!… 1v2&3v4, L(1v2)vW(3v4) plays then the winner of that plays W(1v2). haha complicated!) Thus, our 16s team will play again on Tuesday for a second chance at a grand final slot. It is a game that we should win. Our 18s team gave Melbourne Uni their first defeat of the season with a definitive 7-0 win! Our SL1 team played Richmond and won 15-8 (or something like that). It was a good win! I was majored in the third quarter, but before that, I made a few goals. Everyone played awesome! Now 18s and SL1 play Thursday in respective grand final matches!

On Sunday, I worked a ton, but now I at least have some extra padding in my wallet for my last handful of Australian days. 🙂 At training, one of the guys rocked up with a Joe Jost’s tshirt on, which is my Dad’s favorite bar in Long Beach. It just so happened that as I was running late to training, I grabbed my Joe Jost’s tshirt to wear because I could not find a UCDWWP shirt in my rush. It was fate! Of course, We snapped a photo! 🙂 I was thrilled.

Joe Jost’s Australian style and American style

 

Alicia’s Aussie Picture of the Day:

Swimmer Lady

Each Wednesday, I bike around 12k down to Sandringham for work with RSG. On the way, I pass this statue, and I have always admired it. Finally last week, I stopped to take a picture. I really like it! 🙂

 

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AUSome Thanksgiving this year

Like I said the other night, our Thanksgiving was one for the books! And now, I have my first “Thanksgiving List” to create Thanksgiving binder, just like the one that my mom’s binder.  You should see it! Every dinner that they have prepared has a sheet that includes details of what was served, how heavy the turkey was, how many people attended, what time dinner was served, and so much more. Additionally, all of the needed recipes are included behind those sheets. Check out my first one!:

My First List!

My Thanksgiving day was a lot different than usual. It began with morning practice (5:30AM) and our usual Thursday morning brekky. The three of us and Alli went to Chez Dre, an adorable french restaurant in St. Kilda. We all got french toast and it was absolutely delicious. Then, due to a suggestion by several teammates of where to find pumpkin pie, we took two trams to reach Costco. There, we were able to snag the last authentic, American Thanksgiving pumpkin pie for only $8. We also bought whipped cream, which was almost as much as the pie, but totally worth it!

Successful tram ride home, complete with a pumpkin pie

Once we got home, Nicole and I stated the food preparations while Chelsea made a last minute run to Coles. Our dinner was complete with turkey, Chelsea’s family recipe of potato filling (a cross of stuffing and mashed potatoes), sweet potato mallow, Grandma Thomas’ apple sauce, peas and onions, and deviled eggs. I took tons of photos to remember our epic cooking experience and share with everyone!

Aussie eggs are all brown and they make delicious deviled eggs!

Prepping Applesauce

Our frozen turkey, which turned out to be delicious

We completely rearranged our living room in order to host our guests!

Thanksgiving cheers with Alli’s Tasmania wine

Sweet Potatoes and Potato Filling

Looks like a pretty typical Thanksgiving plate to me 🙂

The whole crew: Trav, Alli, Daniel, Dylan, Rob, Nic, and Chels!

Delicious dessert plate including ice cream, apple pie, jelly (jello in US terms), pumpkin pie, and berry pie

It was a fantastic way to celebrate the holiday with my home away from home. On Friday, I was lucky enough to video chat the entire family while they were eating Thanksgiving dinner at our house! I took a screen shot! 🙂

Zack, Ash, and Bri at Began Thanksgiving

Alicia’s Aussie Word of the Day: mate. Meaning friend, or more generally a person. Usage: I called up my girl mates to go out to dinner.

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