Friday, December 31, 2010

MMXI

Well 2010 begins to wind down and that's another year (and decade!) in the books. This year would have been a bust if it hasn't been for Australia. I've met amazing people so far and glad I went for it when I still had the chance. The year has been crazy with unsuccessful FBI interviews, AT&T, Stubblefields and who could forget Andrew and my trip to Canada. It started "Two Guys One iPhone" (TGOI) and while it sounded like a great idea, that was our only adventure. Which means Andrew needs to hurry up and get down to Australia so we can continue that series.... And lastly, the start of my Chinese teachings have also been a good response to the year. Come the end of 2011, I hope to be able to fluently carry a conversation in Chinese and then begin to re-learn the German that I lost years ago as well.

But all in all, it was a good year with good people and good memories. I'm glad to say 2011 is going to be even better with trips to Asia, New Zealand and finishing my masters degree at Bond University in December. From there, who knows wherever life will take me or the wind blows or the sun shines I guess. My tentative goals for 2011:

-Skydive
-Bungee jump
-Asia
-Tasmania
-New Zealand
-Drop down to 220lbs or lower (at 244 right now, started at 260 in Sept.)
-Graduate Bond University with a masters in criminology
-Watch the Seahawks, Mariners, Sounders and Cougs all go to championship games (ha)
-Just enjoy life overall

I sit here now drugged up on Benadryl since the weather and humidity have increased significantly. I think the fact of watching over two dogs is also contributing to it. But they keep me company so I can't complain! So wherever you are, or whatever you are doing, I hope you all have an amazing end of 2010 and ring in 2011 the right way: alive and juiced up on Jim Beam! Miss you all and here's to MMXI!

Cheers and 再见!

-H

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy holidays!

The other day, a mate of mine told me she didn't celebrate Christmas. When I asked why, thinking she was Jewish or some other faith unbeknowest to me. She stated she was atheist and found it hypocritical that people who don't practice a faith would celebrate such a religious holiday. Which made sense. But Christmas is also a marketed holiday with the creation of Santa Clause and such. But more or less to bring people together to reflect off of all that has happened throughout the year. So whether you're religious or not, Christmas can be celebrated not as a holy holiday, but a time to spoil others and hey, even yourself! So go get that iPhone that you've wanted all year just so you can play Angry Birds.

Another year under wraps but hey, even this time another decade. The holidays weren't too much this year. The absence of snow really takes away from the spirit. not to mention the lack of decorations, a tree or people to celebrate with! This year just me, the two dogs and Law and Order to pass the time. Not to mention I have to work at midnight until noon. So happy holidays! haha.

Whether you're a Satanist, Christian, a Scientologist or even atheist, I hope you all enjoy your Christmas, get what you deserve, and be thankful someone out there actually cares about you!

Miss you all!

Cheers and 再见!

-Hardy

Saturday, December 18, 2010

New address!

Hey there everyone!

New address for next semester and hopefully for the rest of my time in Australia (I don't want to move every semester if I don't have too). Feel free to send me love letters and hate mail!

Hardy Awadjie
unit 59/4 University Drive
Robina, QLD 4226
Australia

Cheers and 再见!

-H

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sunshine and holidays

The weather is hot, people are out on the lake and Christmas is a week away. Weird part about it is, it doesn't feel like it. Everyone is out shopping for last minute deals and I'm just trying to find a calendar to actually get my life organised.

On Thursday I packed up all my belongings and dragged it to my friend OJ's place for the next few weeks. I'll be house sitting for her and taking care of her doggies! Lucky for her though as she is going to Singapore and then the U.S. for holidays. All of my mates are already gone for the new years so it's just me Jakey and Missy! The weather has been crap lately with thunder storms and rain so it'll be a tropical Christmas indeed!

Her place is pretty nice. Spot on the lake, pool, internet, pool table, built in bar, TV and a lovely car in the driveway. Which is funny, because I JUST got my license last week, haha. But my roommate Steph mentioned that I am used to driving on the right side of the road and asked how long I've driven in Australia. In which I responded, "a day".

No plans for Christmas. Just me and the dogs. I'll also be working as much as possible to save up for future trips and such. The job is coming along alright. 20 hours a week, can't complain. So it gives me spending money in the pocket. Brainstorming my next big trip and where to head to for my April/May break. Any ideas feel free to shoot them my way! I am either contemplating New Zealand or Asia.

Overall, life is still good. Sort of in this limbo before I move in to my new place for the semester and hopefully the year. I don't want to move again if I don't have too. Plus the spot is prime and for the price, very good house. But more on that later when I move in!

Cheers and 再见!

-H

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

To whom it may concern...

“Penguins travel in groups. And when it comes to entering the water, there is always the first penguin that must jump in to make sure it is safe for all others…”

We are all like penguins. Or more exact, lemmings. We follow in the footsteps of others but dare not step outside of our comfort zone and be that first penguin. And so it makes you think for a second about the life you currently have. The places you have gone or the places you want to go. You remember seeing that special on the Discovery Channel or Travel Channel and thought to yourself doing something like that. But then you remember the boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife you have. The kid(s) screaming to feed them or take them to the park to play. Or even that mundane 9-5 job that you sit in traffic for 45 mins just to get to. When was the last time you were happy? The last time you were able to sit back, relax and say you are happy with all that you’ve accomplished in life? Better yet, when your 10 year high school reunion comes, who is going to have the better story? You, because you popped out a kid and got married and went on a hike last weekend, or the guy that just got back from China and is heading to South Africa next weekend?

To me and I assume many others, life is a book. And each step of the way we write a new chapter. To many people though, they assume once marriage comes along, that is the final chapter of their book. This “domestic” lifestyle was seen as the “normal” lifestyle until the emergence of the internet and cheap air travel. Many began to saw what was out there, new adventures and experiences that they wanted to set out on. Whether it was a cheap motel room with the female off of craigslist or conquering Mt. Everest, we all have our own dreams to pursue. And if we can’t pursue them, we give up and fall back on life with the 9-5. When you were 5 or 6 (or even 10 and 11), what did you want to be when you grew up? I can tell you right now it wasn’t a house wife or stay at home dad.

Do you have a passport? If not, why? If you do, why haven’t you used it? Is it because of family issues? Or maybe because you work a job that doesn’t allow adequate vacation time? And if your answer is because you’re too broke to go anywhere, how? You're still young, working that same job you had in high school or perhaps fresh out of college. Or is it because you have too many bills or just spent the last $20 you had on diapers? Do yourself a favour. Next time you’re mulling over Facebook while you get ready for bed to repeat your life all over again tomorrow, click on the profiles of those that are traveling, not fellow friends who have the same interests as you. Instead of gawking over their photos and how you wish you were there, actually TALK to them. Ask them about their adventures, the places they’ve been, the people they’ve interacted with, and ask them if it was worth it. I guarantee 100% of the time; they'll say it was well worth it. Talk to those who have travelled at one point in time or another and I guarantee you the best stories are those that took place outside American borders. Whether it was getting arrested by Canadian police or the ping pong show you saw in Thailand, the stories are always there and they are always repeated to those who want to hear them.

There are many out there who have not truly lived. Their idea of a good life is domestication. This horrible idea that from the age of 24 on, they will not travel anywhere outside the continental U.S. let alone, their own state. This horrible idea that they will never get their passport or to experience what being at the Great Wall of China is like. They say “why fly there when I can look it up on Wikipedia?” or “why go when I can live vicariously through you?”. But then again, these are the people who have no motivation in life whatsoever but to just work, eat and sleep. And unfortunately, these people have already written the final chapter of their book. Learn from their failures. Listen to the horror stories of them at work, taking care of the kid(s) or the outrageous bills regarding food, utilities and trying to squeeze in work somewhere. Many of my friends whom once thought they were happily married or enjoying life are now divorced or unhappy altogether. But they all share a common trait, they have NEVER traveled.

Now read the Facebook statuses and check out the blogs of those traveling. Ask them about the food, the people, even the night life. And the more you listen, the more you wish you there. The more you realise the furthest you’ve been was Montana for a wedding. Or the most exotic thing you ate was the red curry at that Asian place in downtown Seattle. While you’re contemplating how to pay the cable bill for 500+ channels that you don’t even watch, they’re contemplating where to fly too next or whether to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef or sky dive off the coast of New Zealand.

I challenge you to stop what you’re doing before you get caught up in the moment. It may sound great now, but I can promise you years or even months down the road, you will regret it. You will wish you had taken that trip. Even if it's to Canada/Mexico if you live in the U.S. or New Zealand/Indoneisa if you live in Australia; get rid of that which you don’t need, pay off the 4 credit cards that you’ve maxed out, and leave the country. Friends in foreign places are more than happy to help those traveling. Hell, there is even a site dedicated to it called couchsurfing.org. Live amongst strangers and share your American stories for their Chinese ones. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the weekend or have a cup of tea under the London Bridge. Kiss under the Eiffel Tower or walk the same trail Frodo and Sam did in New Zealand.

Make that bucket list now before it is too late. Before you have to scrap that one and create a new one consisting of Disney Land, the zoo and breakfast for dinner. Thrill seek and create that own adventure that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Going on Six Flags or sloppy joe Wednesdays is not an adventure. Do something that takes YOU outside of your comfort zone. Something that others will look to you in envy and wish they were you. Be that first penguin.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Driving

G'day mates!

Time is a flying and life is amazing. Life is SO GOOD, I can taste it in my spit. Finished my Chinese final and Epistemology essay yesterday and having said that, I am officially done for the semester. I have a nice long break until January 18th and in the meantime will be looking for a short term place to stay and then doing whatever traveling I can do before having to return to the grind of studying.

Because I was only here for 6 months in 2007, I opted out to getting a driver's license as I didn't feel the need to get one. I did however get my 18+ card which is basically a card that says you are old enough to buy alcohol and cigarettes. The 18+ card can also be used to gain entrance into bars and clubs. This is a far safer option than always carrying around a passport as well as cheaper too (passports are about $100, 18+ card is $20). This time around I figured I would go ahead and get an Australia driver's license just in case for whatever reason (good to always have it right?). What's amazing too is my 18+ card NEVER expires, so I am able to bust it out and continue using it from where I left off in 2007.

One of the great things about Australia is as long as you have an American driver's license, you can legally drive in Australia (as long as the license is not expired). However, because the Australian license can also be used for verification purposes in regards to age and address, I decided to get one.

The Australian system is a bit overwhelming. You start off on your learner's permit and then progress through 2 OTHER stages a provisional license before being awarded your open license. While under the provisional, you can only go a certain speed, cannot have passengers, cannot be driving at certain hours of the night, and the alcohol blood levels are .oo (.05 for open licenses). I was told applying for my license I would have to take the written and drivers test too. But, I spoke with someone else and they told me something different.

So I gathered my documents, headed to the Transportation office and in 15 mins was out of there with my open license! Easier said than done. I was looking towards getting a motorbike however, you must have an Aussie license for a year before you can apply for a motorbike license. So scratched that idea... Looking at cheap cars in the meantime!

Cheers and 再见!

-H

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Movember

Hey everyone! It's been a crazy month with the semester winding down, working and getting everything organised for next semester. Everything seems to be going smoothly as the holidays approach. While everyone is shopping for gifts, I am usually just trying to find some decent peanut butter....
Anyways, in the spirit of November, I took on no shaving once again. This time it was a bit different. Australia celebrates "Movember" in which you shave, but rock a moustache for November. For the whole month, I swore I was in a cheesy 70s porn. BRILLIANT! So to combine the two events of no shaving and Movember, I decided to take a picture everyday leading up to my moustache that I would rock on Day 30. Great results and am pleased with the video! So check it out! And to all the women out there who hate their man for not shaving or rocking a moustache for the month, cut us some slack. We put up with your pink and breast cancer awareness month in October so the least you can do is support prostate cancer and depression awareness among men!

Cheers and 再见!

-H


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