To the Other Side

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When I was young someone told me that if you drill a deep enough whole on the ground, you’ll reach China. That was a lie. China is not even near to Finland’s antipode. Closest country would be New Zeland and then Australia.

So if I say that I will be going to the other side of the world while talking about Australia, it is almost correct. So I will say that now: I will be going to the other side of the world.

I have been accepted into our University’s exchange programme for next spring. University of Sydney will take me in for a semester to study. What a change! Sydney University is a pretty well regarded university, so that alone is exciting. But if I am going to fly to the other side of the globe I am going to take everything out of it. I will be a good girl and study, because it is interesting and reason why I go there in the first place, but I will make sure that I get to explore the continent and travel as much as possible.

The university emailed me their exchange information packet by accident already, which is why I am researching everything already. Courses at the university, accommodation, the buildings… the city of Sydney, the Outback, diving sights… Pretty much everything.

The Great Barrier reef has been on my bucket list ever since I started scuba diving. I have to see it before it destroyed. Not only human activity threaten it but also natural phenomena; right now El Nino is speeding up the bleaching http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/parts-of-great-barrier-reef-face-permanent-destruction-due-to-el-nino/article28994091/. Corals, ocean, diving and surfing are things to look forward to but I am interested in dryer conditions as well. I want to go to Outback and camp out in the red rock desert. The whole island is full of interesting things even though right now I only know of the famous tourist attractions. I have to do lot more research to learn of other, less known places and adventures.

And since I will be on that side of the world I might as well visit New Zeland as well. Hike a bit and find more out about the culture and history. Too greedy? Big plans and even bigger dreams. It just means I will have to start saving now.

It is a quite while before I will actually get there, but I am excited. Planning is part of the journey, right?10409731_10205385758273048_195660637261113530_n

Dancing Down to Liverpool

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Do I need a passport to cross the border?

The thought hit me on the back seat of a minivan after 50 minutes of driving.

No, surely they would not check who crosses the border of England and Scotland, they are practically one country anyway. But then again, I never checked if they would.

After driving by the sign that announced I was now in England without even having to slow down let alone being stopped by border control, I stopped worrying. This was my first time crossing the border. First time in Northern England. I had visited London several times before, but London is London and England is lot more than that. It was high time for me to see some more of the country.

I was going to spend the weekend in Liverpool with my University’s dance team. It was a competition weekend and we were buzzing.

After 5+ hours of sitting in the car we arrived to Liverpool, the city of Beatles. The city where the most famous boyband grew up. That is where the Strawberry Field and Penny Lane can be found. Indeed I heard that the city is full of Beatles related tourist attractions. Unfortunately all I saw was a picture of the four of them hanging in out hotel room. And on the corridor. And on the wall in the reception…

As our purpose of being in the city was dance competition, we spent the most of the time at the competition venue nearby Chinatown. Decorative and colourful gate of the Chinatown, asian shops and Wok and Go noodles surrounded us. However, inside the competition hall we were isolated from everything that was happening outside. We enjoyed the excitement and nervousness while we waited for our turn. We cheered for other teams and admired those who really knew how to dance. And when we were on the stage, we did our best. By the time the competition was over, it was late and we were tired. Too tired to tour the city, but not too tired to go out. So it happened that colourful Chinatown changed to loud and flashing nightclub. Nightlife of Liverpool. Strange faces and lots of fun. It is true that dancers can always dance. Even after competitions it is possible to dance until 4am.

The day of our departure brought the tiredness. It was cold but bright day, and the thought of fresh air felt appealing. We got an hour to walk around the outdoor shopping mall that was very much more interesting and stylish than generic shopping streets in big cities. Glass walls and water, white and steel. Modern. We walked down to piers, where the wind was strong and people zipped their jackets and tightened their scarfs. When I saw ice cream stands on the pier I wonder who on earth would want to buy anything cold right now. My friend did. She drunk a bright blue slush while I shivered and tried to smile at camera that another one of my teammates was actively using.

Liverpool was positive, I thought afterwards. I am sure there is lot to see and do for visitors and maybe it is a very nice place to live. I think I have to go again, with more time and no competitions.