Thursday, December 11, 2014

Storms, Volleyball, & BBQ

Ay, ay, ay... I haven't blogged much recently, I just don't always have the time to sit down and think about what to share.  It's been a bit of an emotional roller-coaster the last few days, but hopefully things will be a bit more even-keeled now.  I survived my first storm in Cairns.  It had been overcast all day on Saturday and threatening to rain.  It was still dark and the clouds did look rather menacing by the time I was heading to volleyball, but since it hadn't rained all day and I had nothing better to do I decided to take my chances.  Besides, maybe playing in the rain would be preferable to playing in the heat & humidity.  Due to the ominous clouds there weren't many people there, but we had just enough for a game of 6-on-6.  The clouds kept getting darker and covering more of the sky and eventually it started to lightning.  We played on, it wasn't even raining and there was no thunder.  Sadly, that didn't last long.  It soon started to sprinkle and I decided that since I had to walk so far to get back, and really would prefer to not get caught in a downpour, that I should leave.  I made it half-way and then the heavens opened up and gave me a shower.  I ended up running down the sidewalk in my bare feet holding my flip flops and phone.  Running didn't keep me any drier, but it did get me home faster.  It was a crazy storm and when I talked to Ruth at church Sunday night she said her brother's house had lost electricity for about 10 hours (which means no A/C!!!); and I saw in the paper that some trees had come down as well.

The next few nights at volleyball were packed, everyone was "fighting" to get on the court.  You don't usually have to wait too long to get in on a game and most everyone abides by the rules and waits their turn, but with so many people and only three courts there was definitely some tension. On Monday night it was so incredibly hot & humid, I can't even remember the last time I was sweating so much.  I had played until the lights went off and was sitting on the steps drinking some water and cooling down a bit before heading home, when Louis said, "Don't you have to work tomorrow?" It had totally slipped my mind...  All the fighting to get on a court and then trying to win so you didn't have to get off the court seemed to take precedent.  Caterina, Pukari, and I decided that we should plan a BBQ on Tuesday night and then go to volleyball afterwards (most of our mutual friends are all from volleyball anyway).  In the end Pukari couldn't make it, but Cat and I were able to save our spot at the BBQ area right next to the volleyball courts, so we got to chat while we waited for everyone else to show up.  Emma and Shinobou came (they came to the Pancake Palooza I hosted), along with Jordan, Max, Rith, Louis, and Neils.  It was actually a lot of fun - the only people I didn't know that well were Max, Shinobou, and Neils; but I've played volleyball with Max and Neils many times before so it wasn't a big deal.  Once we were done eating and had cleaned up we all headed to the courts.  There were lots of people already playing, but since we had enough people to make our own team it wasn't too bad.  We might do another BBQ again next week, or just before Christmas, and hopefully Pukari can make it this time.

My student this week was from a suburb of Tokyo and I ended up getting three days of teaching instead of just two.  Romey was busy with her photography business and asked if I would like to take one of her days.  Since Chiho left early on Tuesday because she was sick, and then cancelled the last lesson today because of a tour she'd booked it worked out perfectly because I ended up getting almost exactly the same number of hours I should have originally had teaching on just Tuesday and Wednesday.  I don't know if that makes sense or not, but I'm just glad I got some hours. Yesterday I took her to the Wildlife Dome and we got to see Goliath up close.
  She got to cuddle a koala and see lots of birds and ducks, so it was a good afternoon.  Today was also the last time I'll see Rei (my student from 2 weeks ago).  She leaves this weekend after being here for a month; she has been doing one-on-one lessons with Anne all week.  I also realized that next week will be my last week at Nova because we don't have any students in-between Christmas and New Years...

Oh, and in other news, I found someone to travel with me!!!  Rith is a Melbourne native and he's heading back home this weekend.  He heard that I was traveling to Melbourne and Tasmania and said he would love to visit Tasmania, but didn't want to do it by himself.  I told him he was more than welcome to tag along, it's always more fun to travel with someone else.  Plus, despite living in Melbourne his whole life he hasn't really done any of the touristy things.  He has a car there and he said he'd be more than happy to do the Great Ocean Road highlights and maybe visit the Mornington Peninsula as well.  He said I can pretty much plan anything I want for Tasmania, he doesn't like to plan.  Kaylee & Ben, and Tom (other friends from volleyball) recently moved down there as well, so maybe we'll meet up with them and play some volleyball!  I was really dreading moving on from Cairns (even though I am definitely up for some different weather), and was incredibly tempted to just stay here until my visa expires.  Talking with Stephanie at volleyball last night she said something about how us regulars are like a little family and the new people have to pay their dues before they can be included.  I guess I've paid my dues by showing up nearly every day for the last five months, getting hit in the face, and putting up with everyone's teasing.  But she's right, if you come consistently and are a nice person, the regulars will include you into their group and help you play better.  While making popcorn the other night Matthew (poor guy was trying to clean the kitchen and I was in the way) asked me if I knew a guy named Jason from volleyball.  Matt just got a job at a mechanics shop and it seems Jason had come in to get some work done on his car and as a courtesy they were taking him home, but he asked them to drop him off near volleyball since that's where he was headed.  Matt knows I'm there nearly every night so he asked if Jason knew me.  It seems that almost every person I know in Cairns is from volleyball, or that's how we first met.  Anyway, Rith wanting to travel is a nice surprise and will hopefully make January not seem so depressing (since even though I'll be leaving everyone behind, I won't be traveling on my own just yet).

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