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.
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.
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?”
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.