School, Vacation

My Trip to Sydney

When I was in high school I liked to sing. I still like to sing, but now I just do it in my car. I was involved in my school’s choir and we were competitive to say the least. Each year we traveled around the globe touring and competing. The last trip of my high school career was in Sydney Australia. The last venue that I ever sang in was the Sydney Opera House.

Props to me for thinking I could pull off a horizontal striped shirt.

Props to me for thinking I could pull off a horizontal striped shirt.

That year there were three different trips. I remember because I got to go on all three. I was one of the lucky ones. The most popular trip was obviously Sydney. Who wants to go to stupid old Austria and dumb old Italy when you can go down under? There was always a down side to these exciting trips and that was practicing. Every day during and after school we had to attend practice for hours on end. Even in the airport we would get into formation and sing our hearts out. For some reason I had no shame in high school.

Our days were filled with practice even when we arrived in Australia. We would gather and sing for four hours and then we were allowed to go explore. My teacher was a bit of a bully and she would threaten us not to sleep even when we were overcome with jet lag. We couldn’t play games or do anything crazy in case we got hurt and couldn’t sing. It was super Nazi style.

There was always some kind of activity planned during the day that we were forced to do but it was never anything super cool. Like, instead of climbing the Darling Harbour bridge, we went to the Featherdale Wildlife Park. Don’t get me wrong, I love little animals, especially little Australian animals, but I feel like we could’ve spent our time doing other, cooler things.

Me and a drugged wallaby. I think they drugged them so they would say still and not hop around.

Me and a drugged wallaby. I think they drugged them so they would say still and not hop around.

Me with the butt of an emu. I think they can be really mean, but he didn't mine me touching his butt.

Me with the butt of an emu. I think they can be really mean, but he didn’t mind me touching his butt.

I remember we were there on a Sunday night and my choir teacher forced us to go to mass with her and it was the most boring moment of my life. Every other night though, we got to roam around Sydney. Luckily, Australia’s drinking age was 18 and we happened to be 18 so we went into bars and danced in clubs and drank Smirnoff Ices. Super hardcore. Our choir teacher said we had to get a note from our parents saying that we could drink otherwise we couldn’t go out. I emailed my mom and she said no. I promptly changed the email to say yes, printed it out and handed it to my teacher.

We were also given a small amount of free time which my friend and I spent at the mall. Other people in our group took surfing lessons at Bondi Beach and we went to the mall. That’s how an 18 year old brain works I guess. We also went to the Sydney Aquarium which was the best aquarium that I’ve ever been to. I swear all of the animals there are on steroids. They have a sting ray that’s triple the size of me.

I’m pretty sure there was a moment when we went to an opal mine and I was super stoked because opals are my birth stone. I bought myself some tiny opal studs because that’s what you do when you’re traveling. You buy gifts for yourself and not for other people.

I remember one day they took us to a farm and I was convinced they were going to kill us. That year I had seen (and walked out of because I was so scared) the movie Wolf Creek which takes place in Australia. It’s about this group of kids that trust this guy to fix their flat tire and he takes them to his house and tortures them. I couldn’t handle it. In a way I was tortured that day because I had to watch a guy sheer a sheep in under a minute. We also learned how to crack a whip and throw a boomerang. Useful skills. Lastly, we watched Australian sheep dogs climb on the backs of sheep to wrangle them all together. It was one of those moments where I was thinking, “What am I doing here?”

Lily in high school. Complete spaz.

Lily in high school. Complete spaz.

Finally came the day when we got to perform in the Opera House. There wasn’t a lot of pressure because there was a total of 40 people watching us. The Opera House was cool, but it was slightly dated. It has a maroon color scheme which wouldn’t be my first choice in decorating, but who am I? I think we finished off the night by eating in a rotating restaurant at the top of the tallest building in Sydney.

You could say that I conquered that city. Actually no, you couldn’t really say that. But you could say that I conquered it’s mall.


42 thoughts on “My Trip to Sydney

  1. I honestly can’t imagine you being in a choir, it just doesn’t fit for some reason.

    You do look very sweet in those old photos, though. The cold, hard steel of blogger fame is nowhere to be seen in them.

    I laffed in several places at this one. Good job on the Smirnoff Ice.

    • Hah yeah it’s hard to imagine myself in choir when I think about it.
      I do seem younger in those pictures. Maybe it’s the short hair? I don’t look like an 18 year old though. I think I look more like 16. I know! I’ve become so mean and harsh in my blogger years.
      Hah thanks Michael. Smirnoff Ice is what all the cool kids drink, didn’t you know?

  2. Hah, I loved this post! Great to see you at my age, it reminds of how young I actually am… ๐Ÿ™‚ Great stories as well, and like the pics. There always seem to be a sort of ashamed feeling when thinking of yourself a few years ago. I even feel like I’ve changed a lot compared to September this year… Weird, isn’t it?

    • Hah thank you! Yes, you are still so young so cherish the good moments! Yeah, I think it’s fun to look at old pictures but it’s also cringe-y. I obviously didn’t wear makeup or know how to do my hair, but there’s something about that’s kind of cute about it too. ๐Ÿ™‚
      You probably have changed a lot in a small amount of time! I feel like I did the most changing from 18-21 for sure!

    • I know right? The clear glasses are super classy. I actually stole my pair and I still have them! I must have loved them.
      Yeah that emu was pretty chill, I must say.

  3. This post made me laugh! I remember those days so well – not that I was in Australia but just your funny little self. I love a post with lots of pictures. The horizontal stripe…OY!! haha!

    • Lol…I was such a young, innocent child. And bratty. I can’t forget bratty. Haha I think everyone makes the horizontal stripe mistake at least once in their life. OY is right!

  4. A choir? ffI’d picture you more in a Greek Chorus that comments on the hero’s actions.
    But then they wouldn’t have sent you to Australia…

    Fun story,great pics!

  5. “Our choir teacher said we had to get a note from our parents saying that we could drink otherwise we couldnโ€™t go out. I emailed my mom and she said no. I promptly changed the email to say yes, printed it out and handed it to my teacher.”

    This is why I love you.

  6. Marya says:

    Oh my Lily, let’s throw some shrimp on the barbie. I loved this post. It always sounds so cool to say that you went to all of these exotic places with your high school. And then, the real stuff comes out. One of my favorite high school trip stories is when a total mafia dad was the chaperone and took my friend’s group to the black market after hours to do some “trading.” Quite frankly, had I been in he group, I would have gone, and lived to tell the story.

    • Thanks Marya! It is always cool to say that you traveled the globe with your school teachers. But yeah, it’s way better than going to downtown Chicago or something like that!
      That’s amazing about the black market. So sketchy and amazing. I love bad chaperones!

  7. ZZ says:

    I’ve been to both Australia and New Zealand, and my impression was similar to yours, in that it was fun to go there, but as a tourist, once you get past the fact that they are kind of pretty places and they’re really far away but still speak English, you find there’s not that much to do. They don’t have cool European stuff like castles and cathedrals and flamenco and billions of cafes and people talking gibberish.

    • You’re so right. I just regret not doing a lot of stuff that I could’ve done. It’s weird how it didn’t feel very European because that’s what I was expecting. Other kids on the trip stayed later and went to New Zealand, I remember, and they got to go out to the great barrier reef. I was kind of jealous of that.
      But yeah, I never thought about them not having any castles or historic sights. They’re kind of just in the middle of nowhere hah.

    • Hah totally. Thankfully, when you sing with a choir, all the bad voices are concealed. Hah! It was a great time! I regret not doing more while I was there. I guess I need to go back!

  8. I can’t believe you went to the mall! Ahahahahaha. That’d definitely be the last thing on my list for a trip to Australia. Hahaha. Oh, 18ness. So blissful.
    SO jealous that you’ve been to Australia!

    • Hahah I know right? THE DUMBEST. Yeah it was the bomb. I really want to go back and do all the cool stuff and not stuff that I could do here…like go to the mall…haha!

  9. unfetteredbs says:

    you really are quite silly.. thanks for sharing that ๐Ÿ™‚ Now I know what is going on the minds of my 18 year old. Those poor wallabies.. what is up them?
    Love the pics.. you worked the whip and pink sweater quite well…

  10. I feel like I have to read and comment on this now because I made a reference to it elsewhere.

    Out of everything you did I think my favorite thing was changing the email. Choir teachers are such dopes.

    Were the Australians a lot like the English? They seem a lot alike just more attractive.

    • Changing that email was vital to me having a fun time. Otherwise I would’ve been the only one staying in the hotel. Our hotel was called The Vibe Hotel and I remember one guy who had graduated a couple years before me kept saying “I’ve got good vibes about this place!” ugh

      It doesn’t take much to be considered more attractive that the English. Zing!

      But yeah, pretty much.

  11. I go to Australia every year for a music festival – but I disembark at Brisbane. I have dim memories of visiting Sydney after the Olympics – it sounds like a trip I should make again.

  12. Pete Howorth says:

    You don’t even look like you’ve aged! This could have been yesterday when these photos were taken haha! I’m so jealous, I’d love to go to Australia, I’m hoping to move there to try and find work but I obviously need to get out of debt and save some money first. I want to work at an Aussie bar, that’d be the bee’s knees.

    • Ahh you should! That would be amazing. Then I would have an excuse to go to Sydney again, to see my good friend ‘Ard Pete!
      Aww thanks for the compliment Petey! I feel like I haven’t changed much, but now that I mostly hang around thirty year olds everyone assumes I’m thirty. Ugh!

      • Pete Howorth says:

        Ahah, lucky you, I still get ID’d for cigarettes despite being legal for ten years, same with alcohol. I mean come on, I have a bloody beard for crying out loud! I wished someone assumed I was thirty, damn my baby face!

        Yes when I move to Australia I’ll have you round and we can eat kangaroo anus and crocodile penis and whatever else they eat over there! ๐Ÿ˜€

      • I love getting ID’d! Baby faces are cute! be proud! Yeah lets meet in Australia for sure. They have the weirdest food there, you’re right. I remember eating kangaroo and buffalo. So weird. All I wanted was shrimp on the barbie!

      • Pete Howorth says:

        I’ve tasted buffalo before I think, what does Kangaroo taste like? It’s not even like any other animal either lol. Is it a white or dark meat?

      • Umm I don’t remember. Maybe dark? Yeah buffalo is just a redneck way of saying bison. Bison is classier I think. Kangaroo is really gamey tasting. You know what I mean?

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