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After the flood, the town of Lismore has really come together. From what I have heard and what little local news I watch while I’m at the gym, people want to help the community get back on its feet. A lot of residents and businesses have lost everything because flood insurance is so expensive here. There has been a lot of help from the surrounding region, non-profits (like the Red Cross), and Southern Cross University. I think the Zest (part of the unibar) is still being used to shelter people who have been displaced by the flood. It seems like the town is making somewhat of a speedy recovery because they have been through this before. The Square reopened, Mary G’s is lively again, and the water was pumped out of (or just naturally left) the Central Business District quickly. I saw that small business owners are having trouble getting government assistance. They want grants to be able to replace assets lost during the flood, but it seems that the government is only offering unaffordable loans. Apparently, the prime minister showed up here a few days ago, along with some other fancy officials. It is very sad to hear that there has been some loss of life, and it is unfortunate that this natural disaster occurred.
Also, CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL, Y’ALL. And this flood is just one small sign of it. Wake up and smell the rising sea levels because we are killing mother earth.
Anyways… back to my life. On Sunday, Alex and I had an adventure to Goonellabah (G-Bah), a neighboring suburb of Lismore. I tried my luck on a scratch off lotto ticket.
They have Target Country, which is like the clothing, toys, and homegoods sections of normal Target. We walked to the Goonellabah Tavern and had a good dinner.
When we got home, we watched The Big Short on Netflix, and I was reminded why I am a Finance major.
On Monday, I got to video chat with my best friend from NCSSM, Kelly! For those of you who don’t know, she is one of the most amazing people I have had the joy of having in my life. Afterwards, I took a quiz for Managing Organisations and then took the shuttle to go grocery shopping in Goonellabah. They were out of milk and bread (due to the flood and everyone panicking), but everything else was pretty well-stocked. I did some school work, laundry, and cooked dinner for the rest of the day.
On Tuesday, I watched the ENTIRE NCAA championship game at the Rec Deck. In case you didn’t know, Carolina beat Gonzaga after a pretty tight game filled with fouls. GO TAR HEELS. (Stealing from Sierra’s tweet:) I am not tar heel born, I am not tar heel bred, but I will tar heel die. I heard from some friends at UNC (Judith, Ben, Alex) and lived vicariously through Facebook posts of Franklin St.
Now I understand why some people still think I go to UNC. I’m surprised that only two other guys came to watch the game in Orion (and they only watched for the last bit). Afterwards, I went to class, where we did a survival skills activity that was pretty interesting. Then I went to the gym, worked on a group project, and had some food.
Wednesday, I had school all day. I find it really weird that my sociology class is now an hour earlier because of daylight savings time (which occurred on Sunday night). It might be because the lectures are live streamed to Gold Coast, which is Queensland time. Because of this, I got to have free Wednesday lunch in the plaza for the first time and then went to my next class.
I worked on an essay and then convinced my friend Abby to go to cheerleading with me. Although it was just her, Charli, and me, it was a lot of fun! I got to be a base for the first time (I was one of the people lifting the flyer, instead of being lifted as I normally am).
Just like every Wednesday, it rained. I then learned about elections for my fraternity and talked to friends from App. I registered for classes for Summer Session 2 and for Fall 2017. I had to send a bunch of emails to straighten everything out, but I have the class schedule I want, which means finally getting into my major classes and taking Modern Dance!
Today, I went to the gym, cleaned, finished and turned in an essay, and packed for New Zealand! I will not write another blog post until I get back from this ten-day trip, so get ready! Alex, Hailey, Meghan, Kayla, and I will be taking a bus tour of the south island. We start in Christchurch and go to the Franz Josef Glacier. Then, we head to Queenstown (“the adrenaline capital of New Zealand”) to do outdoorsy stuff. The five of us have also decided to do a day at Milford Sound. Then, we go to Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo, which has beautiful turquoise water. All of the pictures of these places look amazing, and I am so excited. We get to stay in “boutique accommodation” and get brekky (breakfast) included every morning. Alex and I will be spending another three days in Christchurch after the tour, and the other girls will spend two. I am so fortunate to be privileged enough to experience such an adventure. I am eternally grateful to my parents for financially and emotionally supporting me through all of my adventures.
Speaking of money - side rant: transportation is expensive here. I am paying 72 AUD (about 54 USD) to get from here to the Brisbane airport (a two hour car ride away). Outrageous! Rental cars are crazy expensive. Even public buses cost more than at home. Lismore also does not have the best public transportation system, so I have been pretty reliant on taxis. So much so that the operators know me by name and can guess where I need to be picked up.
Update on App things: I will be the service chair for Walker Fellows next year! I am also running for a few leadership positions in Pi Sigma Epsilon. Next semester will be packed, but I am actually pretty excited for it, especially marching band season!
Written by: Alia Dahlan
Follow her blog: https://aliainaustralia.wordpress.com