|Joburg and its many many compounds!|
The last week and half of my life has been incredible, crazy, hectic, exhausting, exciting, sad, exhilarating, full of dancing, smiling, crying and wonder.
After spending a week with 60 of the most amazing people I've ever met, I had just over 24 hours to pack my life away into one backpack weighing approximately 19kg. I had to decide what clothes I wanted to wear for the next 6 months of my life, what were my favourite t-shirts, jumpers that must come with me and shoes that I couldn't live without. If you're wondering, all my Parks and Recreation t-shirts made the cut of course, I certainly can't live without them! My (actually my sister's, but shh) giraffe jumper made the cut as well as my favourite woollen spotty jumper.
As I dedicated very little time to packing and more time to sleeping, I was all packed with a little over 6 hours until departure time...plenty of time, and spent about 2 hours actually deciding what it was I should pack. Looking back now I could have brought more things and have probably forgotten many more things, but hey, living simply is the best way!
Saturday afternoon and Sunday before departure were filled with sleep, tears, goodbyes, food, massages, family fun, more tears, more goodbyes, checking my plane ticket about 30 times to make sure I hadn't missed it, more sleep and me just being downright exhausted. But as the day wore on, it dawned on me that I was in fact leaving extremely soon, leaving my life for 6 months to experience and new and different one half way across the world. Woah Nelly!
Being a studious traveller, I had checked in online, meaning that all I had to do was drop my bag par se with the lovely lady at the counter of Qatar Airways and then make my way to the departure gate, very slowly..stopping off for a hot chocolate with the family to pass the time and to spend some quality time with them for the last time for a little while. It was a pretty good hot chocolate for an airport cafe and being at about 9.30pm.
Slowly, I walked to the departure gate with Mum, Dad, Sarah and Rachel. It was time for me to pass through the gates, get on a plane, sleep, and get to South Africa. But this didn't happen without more tears, mostly from me, and lots of hugs, about 30 all up, and then with a final look behind, and a final wave, I was through the gates, on my way to the Rainbow Country.
Luckily on the plane no one was sitting right next to me so I could put my legs up on the seat and sleep. Score! Normally I don't sleep that well on planes but I was oh so exhausted that I think I fell asleep within 10 minutes of take off, hmm sleep is soo good! Unfortunately after a few hours of sleep, I woke up with quite a stiff neck. They really should attempt to make plane seats more adaptable for sleep, no one really sleeps upright do they now? And I also have to agree with my sister, plane food is really small...it's like a miniature meal, a bit cute! The plane trip from Melbourne to Doha was pretty uneventful and I think I watched one or two movies and tried to sleep for most of the 14 hour journey.
After that plane ride I hopped on another plane from Doha for the approximately 8 hour journey to Johannesburg. This flight was quite uneventful too, I slept a bit, watched a few movies, watched some Community (woo!) and fretted a bit that maybe no one would be there to pick me up at the airport!
At 2.15pm Johannesburg time (10.15pm Melbourne time) I arrived in the great city of Johannesburg and breezed through customs in about 10 minutes, they didn't even look at my visa! However, following that easy process, I had to wait anxiously for about an hour and a half for my ride to come and take me to Monash Uni South Africa. It was a very anxious wait as I was not entirely sure if anyone was there or was going to pick me up. After a few texts to Mum and Dad back at home they informed me that indeed some one was coming to get me. Phew! At 4.30pm, Laurence arrived with a placard saying 'Monash University- Libby Toovey'. A great sigh of relief passed through me.
We jumped into Laurence's Toyota hatchback and made the journey through peak-hour traffic to Monash Uni, normally about 30 mins from the city but took us just over an hour. I've never seen so much traffic lined up and for so long. And I thought Melbourne traffic was bad. One funny observation is that people do not stick to the speed limits, not that my driver would know as the speedo didn't work but was stuck on zero the whole time. At least we had a full tank of petrol!
After more than 24 hours of travelling from one side of the earth to the other, I arrived at Monash University at about 5.30pm, where I was greeted by a beautiful sunset and hugs from my fellow aussie room mates.
Ah I made it, bitchez be crazy!
Day 1 complete.