Student Reflections – Eric Wilber

Gidday Mates!  I spent the last few free days in Melbourne with friends.  When my mom was in high school, she had a foreign exchange student from an hour away from Melbourne live with her, named Pauline.  While they drifted apart after Pauline came back to Australia, we reconnected, and my parents and I came across the pond in 2009, staying with Pauline and her family.  Pauline has 2 sons, which are a year or two younger than I am.

This time, I went to Melbourne for only a couple of days.  I was greeted at the airport by Pauline, and we made a beeline for a pub near her husband’s work.  We then went about an hour south to her son Dan’s caravan.  This is basically a camper near the water.  He has a boat, and we went out fishing the entire night over a few (several) Melbourne Bitters.  It was a fantastically clear and calm night.  The stars were breathtaking, especially since I hadn’t had a chance to look up much while in Sydney.  I caught the only keeper of the night, a King George Whiting.  My mate did get a poisonous puffer fish, so he had to give up his hook to not get poisoned.  I stayed the night in the caravan, which was rather cool, a much needed break from the largely non-air conditioned hostel.

The next morning, we went to Pauline’s home in Maryknoll and fried up the Whiting, which was delicious.  From there, I went to her radio show.  She works very much with Aboriginal students and integrating them into Australian culture while still respecting their own. She does a radio show at the Aboriginal Co-op with several of her mates.  Unfortunately, there were technical difficulties, but it was cool to see how it all works.  I also tried sushi for the first time, which wasn’t terrible but not my favourite food (the prawns were good).

I then went with her son Eugene (Eug) to set up the sound for a concert for a family friend, Jenny Biddle.  Jenny is a great singer, and just released a new album.  We stayed at the theatre most of the night for the concert, and her rendition of Halleluja sent chills down my spine. The encore was a lovely bit called “Roo Poo,” which I’ll leave to your imagination.  After the concert, we stayed in Melbourne a bit before grabbing a kebab and going back to Pauline’s.

Finally, the next morning I woke up and went surfing with Dan.  It rained on the way there, but once we got to Phillip Island, it was sunny and perfect weather.  This was the first time I surfed, and am pretty rubbish at it.  However, I had a lot of fun for a few hours before heading in because of a storm.  After that we had fish and chips, then headed to the airport.  Can’t wait to go back to Melbourne and chill with my awesome second family!  Cheers, mates!

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