Nina, Me, Emily, Jacqui, Karl, Morris, Dad, Emma, Jodie, Debs
Arriving in Australia was mad, as we had nowhere booked to stay and no idea really of where to go . . . plus it was about 5am so none of the hostels we were calling were open. Due to this we spent a few hours at Sydney airport, somewhere that would later become a regular haunt to say sad farewells to friends that were leaving to go back home, after their travels had come to an end. Eventually we found a hostel with a twin room spare – we weren’t quite ready for dorms yet!! This was in Coogee, right by the stunning beach and not far from the famous Bondi.
This place was recommended by Debbie’s cousin Scott as he was staying there at the time, so a familiar face was definitely drawing us to this option over any other. We got to the hostel and were totally daunted by the fact that people actually speak to you and ask how you are, even Brits who at home wouldn’t usually so much as grunt at you! This should have been a good thing and was in the end, but straight away I think we were a bit daunted by it so got to our room, unpacked a bit and then just kind of sat on our beds quietly before braving going to find the showers for a much needed freshen up. Once we got chatting to people in the hostel (an American girl and couple of Irish lads if I remember correctly) and met up with Scott, this apprehension was all soon in the past and we went on to meet some fantastic people and life long friends. Within days of being in Coogee we ended up moving into the flat where Scott lived, where we ended up staying for about 6 months. The best description of this place was crossed between a pig sty and a flee pit (sounds like the perfect Australian dream right?) but for us it was where we had some of the best times of our lives – we were no longer naive 18 year olds and now young adults, the other side of the World from home and we had to look after ourselves for the first time. We weren’t lazy and motivating each other both got jobs within the first month to make sure we could support ourselves and save for a bit more travelling around the country. Don’t get me wrong though although willing to work we also partied very hard and the jobs we had seemed like a very small part of the whole experience! We loved it here and were having an amazing time with some fantastic new friends (namingly Kelly, Jodie, Jody and Emma as these were the girls we lived with and I’m still in touch with them regularly now, but also heaps of other people along the way, again some of whom I still see.
|Debs, Me, Jodie, Jig, Emma, Cath, Jody, Claire|
However this Sydney fun had to come to an end at some point so it got to the end of April, the lease on the flat was ending, the rest of the girls were leaving Oz and we decided we needed to move on, so me, Debs, Nina and Liz (who had both joined us from the UK by this point) bought a car to explore some more of this vast country . . . When I say vast by the way, it wasn’t until we were in Australia that we realised how big it actually is! To give you an idea Australia is 7.6 Million Square KM where in comparison the UK is just 244,104 Sq KM – you can fit England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland into Australia 31 times and still have a bit left over! Absurd isn’t it?!!
Almost 11 years on now and still not a day goes by when I don’t think of Debs. The feelings I have about the situation have eased over time and more often than not I think about the memories we shared together rather than that terrible day. The pain and anger I feel in terms of the actual accident is something that will never leave, although it has softened a little through time healing. However, the pain I (and I know all of her friends and family) still feel when I contemplate her not being here and never seeing her again causes feelings I just can’t begin to describe. She was a friend in a million, more caring than anyone else I knew – she would do anything for anyone she loved and if there is a heaven she is most definitely in it. Love you always Debs!
I feel like the bump has got a lot bigger since last week but the photos don’t really show it. I feel a bit silly putting them on here weekly when it looks like nothing but I am in my 20th week now so something has to start happening soon! 😉