Aussie Slang Lesson Week 13: Esky = Cooler

I have reached the end of the semester. My finals concluded early, so I had the last week as well as this one to relax and enjoy my dwindling time in Australia.

Bond University has a “reading week” the week before finals. There are no classes during this time, so students have time to study for their finals. As I was finished, some friends and I took off to the Whitsundays for a few days. The Whitsundays are islands off of the coast of the Northeastern end of Australia. They are known as some of the best beaches in the world!

We spent our first day in multiple locations, starting at Cedar Creek Falls. Normally, the large waterfall would be quite impressive, but it has not rained much up there. Despite the lack of large falls, we trekked up the side of the rock formation to the top of the waterfall. There, we found a smaller waterfall to splash in as well as another pool that streamed into that smaller waterfall. I quickly taught everyone that the rocks were slippery as I tried to get closer to the waterfall and crashed down, slicing my foot open. The rock cut through two layers of skin, so my DNA is all over those rocks. Despite that minor inconvenience, we enjoyed playing in the waterfall and swimming in the water above it. One of the Australian girls there compared the water to “Shrek’s swamp”, and she wasn’t entirely off the mark there. We were more worried about crocs even though these falls are croc free.

Cedar Creek Falls, AKA Shrek’s Swamp

We spent the following day on a boat exploring Whitehaven beach and snorkelling. It is currently “stinger season” (jellyfish breeding season), so it is necessary to wear “stinger suits” (lightweight wet suits) to protect yourself while in the ocean. The suits do not cover your hands or feet, though, and my friend and I were both stung by baby jellyfish: her on her toe and me on my finger. The trick here is to pour vinegar on the sting!

Post snorkeling
On the boat going out to Whitehaven beach

We started the day hiking to the other side of the island from the drop-off point to the popular lookout. From there, we made our way down to the water. The sand here is 98% silica, making it some of the softest sand in the world. It is so white that the sunlight is reflected off of it. This means that when you walk on it, it is not as hot as regular sand would be. I also learned that the incredibly blue water is a trick of the light. The suspended sand particles diffuse the sunlight as it shines through the water. Fun fact: a Pirates of the Caribbean movie had scenes filmed here. When Captain Jack Sparrow is chased by the crabs, he is running on this beach!

The famous Whitehaven Beach

We sat in the water and rubbed the sand on our hands and feet. The sand acts as an exfoliant, so our skin was incredibly smooth after touching it. An added bonus was seeing a couple of sting rays skimming the sand a few meters out from us. These graceful creatures were unbothered by us and didn’t cause a ripple. It was a quiet moment of wild beauty.

A female stingray
All smiles when I’m on the water

With the final countdown commencing, I am doing all of my “lasts”. We had our last night of Avenue karaoke this week, my last iced chai at Morena cafe and the last night of our program being all together. It’s an impending ending filled with too many indescribable feelings. I have reached the point where I miss things from home – American food, hugs from my dad, driving my car, and walking my dog. I also am not ready to leave – night walks on the beach, chatting with my housemates, and having new places (mostly beaches) to explore every week.

I am restless, my body in a state of in-between. I feel pulled between my two homes. Going back to the states will be wonderful and rejuvenating, but leaving Australia will be sad. Neither one is right, and neither one is wrong. I need to remember that it’s okay to have conflicting emotions with an event like this. I choose to give my anxieties to God and let myself feel all the feelings. I can rest in the reassurance that He will provide for me, whether it be in Australia or in the U.S. I shall celebrate all of it.

Many blessings friends,

Maddy B

Published by Maddy Baughman

Class of 2024 English and Language Arts Elementary Education Major TEAN Gold Coast, Australia

Leave a comment