27 February 2005

Story: Yay! Australia! - Prologue

The prologue for what was intended to be a series dedicated to Natalie's orchestra trip to Australia.

Yay! Australia! -- Prologue
by Breanna Carter

I yawned, throwing on a pair of pants and some orange flipflops. I probably looked like an inmate, but who cares? It was early -- fashion was the farthest thing from my mind. It was summer... who actually gets up before 2pm in the summer?? Apparently I did. Here I was, 1:26 in the afternoon, just waking up and grabbing a poptart on my way out the door. I was supposed to be at my high school by two and had promised Mom I'd run some errands on the way. Good luck with that.

It was one week shy of our departure date to Sydney, Australia. Talk about getting up early -- to go to Australia, we had to get up at the crack of dawn so we could drive to Dallas to catch the airplane. Nooooo, we couldn't just take a flight from Shreveport. Oh well, I assumed it wouldn't be too bad.

I finished up the errands then spent hours in a crowded room full of kids aging from 11-18. To me, it was weird. I was one of the 18 year olds and definitely wasn't used to being around with kids seven years younger than me. They have ways of testing my patience... It didn't bother me too much, though. I was sitting in the front next to Jonathan, a guy who I'd gotten close to on the last trip we'd taken, and I even got to have my own solo part in a song, where I sat next to a shy eighth grader named Alyssa. While the younger people annoyed me, it still had its ups. I'd be going to *Australia* where the drinking age was *18* instead of 21. Kick ass!

"Natalie!" my friend Katilyn screamed that afternoon after practice.

I looked up from grabbing the keys out of my pocket.

"This time next week we'll be on a plane to Australia!" she squealed.

I smiled. "Actually, we'll be in LA.." I said, referring to the nine hour layover we had on the west coast.

She rolled her eyes. "Same difference."

I unlocked my door still smiling. "I'm ecstatic," I said, though it wasn't apparent.

"Me, too!"

"Yay!"

Sometimes we get giddy... I'm sorry. You'd be giddy too if you'd never been overseas before. You should've seen me the day I got my passport... I literally DANCED.

My mom is a spaz. I think she has OCD. I swear, six days until Australia and she's *already* on my case about packing! I'm just trying to ignore it, but it's really hard.

"Natalie, you need to go ahead and get your stuff together. You know you have to work all week and you don't want to wait til the last minute to do it! You should get it over with while you're home."

I rolled my eyes. "Mom," I groaned, "Relax, I have a week."

She got pissed and stomped off and I just stayed on the computer. I did, however, go ahead and get some stuff together, just so she'd get off my case. Well, morely so I could go to my friend's house that night. It was Tuesday, and I didn't have to work on Tuesdays, so I wanted to get drunk while I still had the chance.

The days passed by slowly. The nearer Australia came, the more days I spent in a crowded, hot, schoolroom practicing with annoying loud kids. Finally, the day came where we got to just sit and talk about the trip. We got our complete iternerary, some guy from the travel agency place came and talked to us, and we got the final lists of who we were staying with. Uhm, host families. That idea made me a little nervous, even though I wouldn't be in a family alone.

"It'll be my luck," I was telling Jonathan after the meeting, "that I'll get some family with six kids and one bathroom. That would suck. I think I'd kill myself," I joked.

He laughed. "Yeah, that would suck."

I scanned over the sheet to find out exactly what was the room situation was. Katilyn and I had kind of gotten into a fight when we signed up for rooms, and, well, she put someone else as her roommate. We were sort of friends by this point (I mean, after all, it was June for Christ's sakes, and school had been out for a little over a month... if we were *still* pissed at each other, it'd be really immature), but we still weren't sharing a room. Thus, I had to look to see who I was with.

Surprise... it was Alyssa, the eighth grader I sat next to during one of the songs. We shared a room on the Gold Coast, a place north of Sydney where we weren't staying with a family, but rather, in a hotel room. And in Sydney, we were also in a house together. I figured I'd better start liking this Alyssa girl, because we'd be spending a lot of time together.

I saw that Katilyn was in a room with two other girls, Jane and Renee. Jonathan was sharing a room with two guys, Paul and Adam. Adam was an eighth grader, too, but Paul was the same age as Jonathan. I know this is getting confusing, but it was important! I finally decided that we would probably all hang out together. Even Alyssa if she wanted to join us. She seemed pretty cool.

My mom had been right -- but don't tell her I said that! I should've packed everything earlier than the night before, because by the time I got home that night, I was ready to sleep! I mean, I didn't have to work that night, but I'd hung out with some friends before leaving and I was so ecstatic about going to Australia that I didn't want to stay up and pack, I wanted to sleep so the morning (or rather, night) would come sooner. But I had to pack... so I killed about an hour shoving stuff into a suitcase. My mom and I talked for a ltitle while, not really saying much of anything important, just talking about the trip and how excited I was and how she wished she could go with me (yeah right! like I'd let her go with me!). Then I called my friend, Wendy, and babbled to her for about an hour before attempting to get some sleep.

How much sleep do you think I got? You're probably right -- not very much. By the time I actually fell asleep, I was waking back up again by the stupid damn alarm clock making that godawful noise. It was midnight... I had to be at school by one... had to be on the road by two. Don't ask me who makes these damn schedules. Whoever does is stupid. Why couldn't they have picked a later flight? Who in their right minds leaves at 10 in the morning? Or rather... who in their right minds gets to Dallas at six in the morning when they don't have to be there til 10!! I should be a travel agent.. I'm smarter than these people, I swear.

It didn't take much to get me out of bed, though. I mean, come on, I'd never been to another country before! This was the most exciting moment of my life! I had tons of ideas running through my head on what was going to happen. I was going to have an excellent time and I was going to make good friends with some sexy Australian guys and Alyssa and I would stay up all night talking and sharing secrets and stuff.

Katilyn met me when my mom and I got into the parking lot. "Yay!! We're going to Australia!" she chirped crazily.

I couldn't help but giggle a little, even though I was half dead. She waved to my mom and then we threw our luggage on the bus and headed inside. I waved goodbye to my mom and sat down, my heart steadily pounding. I'm terrified of airplanes, did I mention that??

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