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Twenty-Two and Much the Wiser

AUSTRALIA | Monday, 25 August 2008 | Views [958] | Comments [2]

As my e-invitation read, yesterday was a day-long festival of "food, friends, film... and good ol' fashioned fun!"  Around noon, my friends Maxime (my best girl friend here; French), Leif (Vancouverian) and Adrien (French aussi) and I set up a blanket at the Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens and so began our five-hour Picnic in the Park. 

To go through the four "F"s mentioned above...

On Saturday, Maxime and I made over thirty crepes; they were devoured throughout the day accompanied by Nutella, sugar and lemon, avocado and salt, or toute seule (plain).  (Maxime was good enough to make them with rice milk.)  We also brought tons of veggies and dips, apples, wine, chocolate, peanut butter, and other munchies.  We were going to go out for dinner, but everyone was so stuffed so we just lounged around afterwards, digesting and feeling happy.


I invited almost everyone I knew in Melbourne and told them to bring food and friends and games.  In all, I think about twenty-five people stopped by the picnic, most of them being backpackers from Pat's hostel.  Off the top of my head, there were at least two Japanese, two Mexicans, four Frenchies, one Italiano, one Canadian, one Cameroonian, one Englishman, and two Americans (including me) present.  My homestay family, Sally & Steve Ahern and their daughter, Pheobe (and Archie the dog!) came as well; they brought wine and hung out for an hour, meeting my eclectic assortment of friends.

Certainly, a highlight of the day was when my friends Hiromi (from Japan) and her Italian boyfriend Tori brought brownies, and then proudly announced in front of everyone -- including my homestay family -- to be careful because they were pot brownies. (Also known as "space cakes", I learned.)  Thankfully, Sally and Steve are pretty easy-going... I laughed as Maxime and Adrien looked at Hiromi, horrified!

Ahh.. but all in all, we ate, talked, napped, played Uno, and tossed a frisbee at every opportunity we had, including over our terrified blanket of picnickers, and in side streets and parks during the twenty-minute walk back to the Lodge.


At 7:30pm eight of us trekked to the Astor Theatre for a Charlie Chaplin double feature -- Modern Times and The Great Dictator.  We watched the original physical comedy film genius on original 35mm film, from the balcony of a 1930's original art-deco one-screen theatre, complete with overstuffed cushions and a grand curtain.  That's pretty much as close as you can get to experiencing Mr. Chaplin as the people of his era did seventy years ago.  Incredible.

It was a great day and I think everyone had fun.  The sun actually shone for a good portion of the day, and it was actually warm.. certainly the warmest day we've had in a long while.  (About 58 degrees F.)  And the day was very "me" -- some people suggested going out to a bar or having a traditional party, but I'd prefer a picnic and Charlie Chaplin any day!  Woohoo!

And now, for the..
...the hidden "F"!  This Thursday, Sally (the family friend I'm staying with) invited Maxime and I to her parent's house in northern Victoria.  It's along the Murray River, the longest river in Australia, and we'll be passing through wine region (wink wink) to enter a historic town called Echuca (eh-CHOO-kah), the "paddlesteamer capital of Australia."  Seems like it will be a hootenanny and a half.
After that, I'll head back down to Lorne along the Great Ocean Road, where I visited just over a week ago.  I'll spend a week or more working for room and board at Qdos, a potting studio/art gallery/cafe/sculpture park owned by a friend of Sally and Steve's.  (Check the place out at www.qdosarts.com.)  It will be a bit strange to leave Melbourne, especially since if I go for two weeks, I only have a week back in the city before I leave for New Zealand.  Even so, I'm really excited to get my creative juices flowin'...

Check out photos of Philip Island (a day-trip to southern Victoria), Maxime et moi, and Lorne at: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2092790&l=2c916&id=1705228

(birthday photos coming soon)



Hey Laur!
I just discovered your blog! I hope you are doing well, sounds like you're having a wonderful time.
I'm trying to remember if I sent you my theses... e-mail me, let me know what's up and if you need any good reading on bike-sharing (not my theses, they're boring, but some other sources- good stuff out there!)
Take care, and there's no reason to tell you to enjoy yourself. It's obvious you are doing so!

  Britt Aug 26, 2008 6:37 AM


Laur, Laurey, Lauren,
HAPPY BELATED B-DAY!!!!!!!!!! Sounds like you're having a great time in the Land Down Under and mingling with a very international crowd. We missed taking you out for your b-day in Boston this year. We're just back from adventures in the beautiful Pacific Northwest -- Vancouver Island, Vancouver, & Olympic Park in Washington. Kayaked, rode horses, biked, and whale-watched. Tofino on Vancouver Island is a surfing mecca. Thought of you and wondered if you had taken up surfing again. Now it's back to work and school routines.
Hugs from all of us.
Happy Trails!
Aunt Meryl, Uncle Neil, Hana and Jonah

Hey Laurey, It's Hana. I miss you soooooo much. I hope that you can come to my Bat Mitzvah. I've already started studying. Love you sooooo Much.

  Hana, Jonah, Aunt Meryl, Uncle Neil Aug 27, 2008 10:18 AM

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