Day 5 & 6. Blue Bus: Tenterfield to Brisbane

The afternoon was a particularly glorious one. Having completed our last service project in Tenterfield we were off to Brisbane for some well-deserved rest. I was half-expecting the hard work from our service projects during the last couple of days to make us feel exhausted, however the energy in the bus was the highest it has ever been.

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The bus ride from Tenterfield to Brisbane proved to be an eventful one. We were told to prepare for our upcoming performance in “Bus Idol”, where in groups or as a solo performer we were to showcase our talents through our (not quite angelic) voices. While preparing for our performances, the bus stopped at our surprise location, the famous “Granite Belt Maze”. The massive maze, which boasts as one of Australia’s highest mazes, would prove to be one of the most confusing places I have ever been to. Given the task of going into the maze and solving a word puzzle in our teams, we entered the maze pensively, not knowing if we would ever get out and half expecting to see corpses of past Big Lifters who did not have a knack for mazes.

Back on the bus and feeling accomplished for finishing the maze, we were told that “Bus Idol” would commence in a couple of hour’s time. Time passed quickly as the bus filled with a cacophony of rehearsing groups and soloist, until the moment of reckoning finally arrived. The performances began with Riarne being possessed by the spirit of Nicki Minaj, as she brought us to our feet with her spirited rendition of “Pound the Alarm”.

As we entered Brisbane, our theme song “One Way Or Another” came on and we all started dancing to the song, oblivious to the curious Brisbaners on the streets.

The serviced apartment in Brisbane was incredible. In addition to being located in an awesome location, the rooms were spacious and clean. I was surprised we managed to get such a good price on the apartment, clearly our sponsors were generous enough to help offset the cost of staying in the city. After the last few days of cold floors and quick showers, the prospect of finally sleeping on a bed and taking a long shower made me incredibly thankful. I realised how in our lives we take simple things such as beds and showers for granted.

The next day we were all eager to explore Brisbane to the fullest, which was convenient as the next game we were playing was an “Amazing Race” throughout the city. Starting from our apartments and in our teams formed by a mixture of blue and white Lifters, we went around the city doing tasks at various landmarks. I felt this was a great way to explore the city and enjoyed getting to know the White Bus Lifters a lot more.

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The night came and each of our teams were given some money to perform random acts of kindness for strangers. This activity proved to be the highlight of my time in Brisbane. My team decided to buy flowers and pass them out to people on the streets. The way people’s faces lit up as we handed them flowers brought a warmth to all our hearts and in my opinion was the perfect example of how the act of giving brings joy to the giver’s heart. Some of the other Lifters decided to give free hugs and give out paper planes to people. I especially remember Roy giving planes to a group of children and how they were extremely delighted; this brings to mind how the simple things in life can bring us so much joy.

By Jonathan Zhang