After my pizza date with Wesley, we retired to our rooms to get some shut eye before our orientation the next day. I woke up, got dressed and walked to campus for our orientation. I into a small room where there were many students already seated. Apparently there were two groups of Americans that were studying abroad in Australia. I would later learn ours was the smaller group. We all enjoyed coffee and Tim Tams as we sat through the orientation. I have no idea what was said but I remember thinking how odd it was that they served us cookies for breakfast. Nevertheless, I ate them.
Once we were dismissed I believe we headed to the Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre (sic), where we witnessed a “Welcome to Country” ceremony. The “Welcome to Country” ceremony is performed by an aboriginal elder to welcome non-indigenous people to their land.
The ceremony we witnessed included burning of eucalyptus, creating lots of smoke, dancing and an introduction by the elder performed in his native language, as well as English.
After the ceremony we took pictures with the dancers, tried on the elder’s kangaroo skin cloaks and generally just looked like awkward Americans.
We also had lunch at Kulbardi and were able to meet some of our native Australian classmates. We dined on grilled kangaroo and kangaroo stew which was wonderful. The kangaroo population in Australia is comparable to the population of deer in America. Kangaroos are hunted, killed and eaten. While they are certainly very cute, they are also quite tasty. I ate my fair share of kangaroo while I was in Australia because, well why not? That may seem gross to some, but don’t knock it until you try it.
To be continued…