it's almost been 150 days now since I left the 'Shire' to discover what's beyond - time for a little retrospection: my journey took me to Canada and the United Arab Emirates before reaching my new home - Sydney, Australia. It was almost exactly six years ago that I was able to catch a first glimpse of Sydney: back then, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge were behind the windows of a landing plane and all that I recall from then is the hustle and bustle while transiting through on our way to Brisbane. The innocent small town kid that I was, I couldn't really picture myself living in such a metropolis. Six years later - SHAZAM - here I am, once again exploring the unknown, dreaming the impossible and discovering what life has to offer. And I'm tempted to say - there's not much life cannot offer you in Sydney and Australia.
In May, rumours spread among Sydney Uni students that his Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama would pay Sydney a visit. A few weeks later, we received a student newsletter confirming the rumours: indeed, the 14th Dalai Lama had accepted the invitation to speak at the University of Sydney - and Sydney Uni students could get free tickets.As you can imagine, the tickets "sold" like hotcakes but I managed to get one:
For about an hour and a half, the Dalai Lama talked about the value of education, the responsibilities that come with it and how education can enhance each and every individuals pursuit of happiness. A key point that he made, however, is that education has to follow a holistic approach of cultivating an individual with all their facets - or as he put it: "Some education of warm-heartedness I think is necessary." and "Those people who have received love from their parents in early childhood - much happier inside."
|His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama at Seymore Centre, Sydney|
In general, the Dalai Lama was indeed a very humorously inclined and surprisingly down-to-earth person who did not refrain from ridiculing the professor that had welcomed him as "a living Buddha" ten minutes earlier. Although the professor did not look that old, his Holiness was straight forward: "Sometimes I wonder - you go first or I go first?" In the end, he concluded his speech the Australian way: we should always make an effort and look more into things that we're interested in - "If it troubles your mind - f**k it!"
Now that all my troubles of mind have come to an end - for the time being all assignments are handed in and my mid-year break is in full swing - I have time to turn to more interesting things. Discovering the "wintery" side of Sydney has become quite an enjoyable undertaking (despite all the rain - yes, believe it or not, it has been raining for about ten days straight!). No pressure, no obligations - having the time to do nothing has become a luxury good that it is not easy to make use of.
|Sunset impressions on the Manly Ferry|
|Sydney's CBD at night|
|Cloudy sky near Coogee|
|The Old Man and the Sea|
|The Young Men and the Sea - Coogee Beach with Duong =)|
Speaking of free time - I will use the mid-year break to travel a bit around Australia with Franzi, visiting Uluru / Ayers Rock and Alice Springs in the Australian Outback (July 5th - July 8th) as well as Darwin and the tropical North around Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks (July 9th - July 15th). The weather forecasts are good - so fingers crossed that 33°C / 92°F are waiting for us towards the end of our trip.
After this Outback Adventure, my brother will visit me in Australia and besides showing him around Sydney, we will travel to the Pacific Islands of Vanuatu, some 2,600 km / 1,600 miles north-east of Sydney and roughly 1,300 km / 800 miles west of Fiji to discover the land of the happy people and their volcano Mount Yasur.
Needless to say that many interesting stories and beautiful fotos are yet to come!
Greetings from Australia!
Greetings from Australia!