So much has happened since my last post.
I've finished Uni for the year, and whether I pass or not is yet to be seen. If I need to resubmit anything, I'll be overseas when I have to do it, which will be slightly problematic. I don't think they usually let you do that anyway, so here's hoping I pass.
Nic and I decided on Friday night last week (08/10) to go to the Grampians that weekend, totally smashing any of his plans for a trip to the Peninsula, and leaving us with very last-minute plans to leave Mallei with my ex (ironic, knowing we were going to the Grampians to get engaged) and head up there Saturday morning.
But head up we did, in high spirits. We went exploring in the Southern part of the Grampians, where we climbed the Picanniny, went to Dunkeld and checked out the Arboretum and the Royal Post hotel which holds wedding (too fancy and expensive for us, but still interesting). We were going to try and climb Mt. Thackary but the gate was seasonally closed so we couldn't get there. We had to cross two little streams in my car and it did so well. It's a great adventure city car. More on the car later.
On the 'Picanniny'
Emu's in a paddock driving between Victoria and Serra Ranges
Beautiful Australian scenery
The first stream crossing
As we headed back toward camp, I was reading the maps and saw that Mt. William was recommended as a place for great sunsets. It was about 6pm at the time, and we thought we could smash out getting to the top and maybe catch the sunset, if the patchy clouds hanging around didn't spoil it. Mt. William is also the tallest mountain on the Grampians, and we hadn't been there before. It promised great views.
As we arrived, a chill wind blew, but the sunset looked somewhat promising so we grabbed our jackets and tea gear, and started the walk. The path was steep but easy- it's a maintenance vehicle track that goes right to the top. Nic said later that even when we're old and unfit, we can still pull ourselves up the hill without too much difficulty. I'll get to that.
As we climb, the clouds start to roll in overhead more and more...
Views from the hike...
Clouds start to roll over... no sunset for us...
We climb higher, and meet an Indian couple who have given up on the view at the top. They say:
"Are you hoping to get to the top?"
I think: "Well, that was the aim of the expedition, yes..." They tell us it's cloudy up there, and there's no chance of a view. We push on, hoping we'll get above the cloud line, or they'll blow over.
Nic trucking on, all around us is blotted out by clouds. White white white.
We get to the top. There's a cold wind and clouds all around, making it feel like we're in Apline Victoria, particularly in the early morning. It's eerie and quiet, though there are a couple of birds singing. Nic starts to set up some tea, while I get photos of the nonexistant view. I suspect he's planning on 'popping the question' when I get back to him. He's been strangely quiet on the walk up, and I wonder how long he's been planning on surprising me by asking today, instead of tomorrow as we'd planned. I figure he's rehearsing his lines in his head.
Great views all round..
Nic getting the tea ready from a shaded alcove.
I head back and we have some tea. Nic is sitting thoughtfully. He says to me:
"You know how you like numbers?"
I should explain, when it comes to house numbers and dates, some are just cooler than others. 10/10/10 is cool... 08/09/10, also cool. To live at 123 Smith street, would be cool, as would 365. Nic explains to me that 364 is a pretty cool number (number of days since we met up in Paris).... and although it's foggy around, like the future, the path down is clear, like it is for us, and would I marry him? As he gets on one knee. So it wasn't exactly what I had envisaged, we were drinking condensed-milk tea, there was no view and fog, but often these sorts of comedy-of-errors are what define our relationship, which makes it somewhat fitting. As he said, this place where we were, was the highest in the Grampians, usually has an amazing view, and we can drag our asses back here when we're unfit and old. We took some happy snaps and made some movies (I haven't watched them yet) and stayed up there for a little while longer until I got cold, then we sauntered our way back down the mountain.
Happy girl with a ring on..
Still cloudy... Nic made me laugh at something or other..
Our beautiful sunset...
We set up camp and made dinner, and had a camp fire. I gave Nic a book I'd written for him- it was our story until this point in 'Choose your own adventure style", something I'd started at about 1pm Thursday, and finished by 5pm friday, with work and class inbetween there. I'd probably worked on it for about 3 hours, and had written 47 pages, mixed them all up, and only managed to stuff up one link, go me. We read through that, then trundled off to bed.
Next morning we decided to go on three short hikes to various places in the southern section of the gramps. It took a bit longer to get to than we expected so we decided to do two instead of 3.
We went to these falls, I forget what they're called, and then to Paddy's Castle, both really nice places.
A wallaby friend at camp.
Little orange tent. You can't see too well, but there's a mountain in the background.
At the falls.
A stumpy-tailed lizard I swerved to avoid, then slammed on the breaks to go check out. He was in the middle of the road and I didn't want him to get squished, so Nic got a stick and pushed him to the side of the road. As you can see, he wasn't very happy about this treatment, but it was for the best.
Up on Paddy's Castle.
Both of us at Paddy's castle. Some elderly people had clambered up, and took this photo for us.
We decided to head home, it was getting late and we couldn't be bothered going on the last walk- we were getting pretty tired anyway. As we drove off, we came around a corner and there was a roo by the road. We swerved to miss him, and as the road was very soft, loose gravel, we spun, over-corrected (I think), spun the other way, and careened off the road. We missed crashing in to a huge gumtree by not much, but crushed some saplings. The front of my bumper is looking quite sad and sorry for itself at the moment, as it had saplings jutting out from under the car and through the wheel arch. The sad thing is, even as we were crashing off the road, about to die or injure ourselves or whatever, all I could think about was how Mum was going to be so angry with me because I've smashed up the car.
Isn't that stupid? It's still in her name, as is the insurance, but it's my car. And I wasn't thinking; I hope we're ok. I'm thinking: I hope I haven't ruined this car too much because Mum will be angry with me if I have.
But it was ok, I guess. It needs a new bumper, and new quarter-side panel, and a wheel alignment before I'll drive it again, but we got it back to Melbourne at least. It's in the driveway now and not moving.
Poor adventure car..
That being said, the car did really well to get us out of there alive, to not get smashed up too badly, and to still manage to drive us home on the freeways and not loose its bumper. I'll have to get it fixed when we get home from the trip, but I just can't do it right now. I wouldn't be able to book it in and get it back before we leave.
So that was my engagement weekend. And I've had thoughts and mixed feelings (not about being engaged to Nic, just about the whole institution) since we got back... I told my Mum (first about the car, then about the engagement), and she seemed surprised, but faked happiness (I didn't feel it was genuine but there you go)... and then I told my Dad, and he was great. He was actually genuinely happy for us. At the end of the call he said: "I love you", which he never does. Sally was also really happy, and called me back to say congrats. Nic's family was also really happy, and we just put it on facebook where a bunch of people have commented. One notable absence is my old 'best friend', who may not have checked/seen it (doubtful), or who just doesn't give a shit anymore. If he doesn't, good on him. In fact, good on him and Alex, and good luck to both of them.
More about my thoughts next time I have time. Lunch now.