You know how sometimes your alarm clock goes off at 5:30am and you want to attack it with a gigantic hammer shaped flamethrower? Well, when I set my alarm to wake up in time The Big Lift (TBL) I knew it would be different. I would wake up with enough excitement to gush glitter out of my ears and shoot streamers from my nose. I was wrong. Waking up sucks. Always. However, I wasn’t wrong about my expectations for TBL. It’s only been one day and I’ve already met some awesome people/pineapples, travelled to parts of NSW that weren’t Sydney, re-enacted Lion King, and even engaged in some TBL introspection. I might have suspected it before but now I know - this week is going to be amazing.
It started at our rendezvous point in uni. Boom! The energy of the participants was so tangible that I felt hit me in the face like a surprise frisbee (which also happened in a more literal sense later). We formed circles and played some questionable ice-breaking games that would make the most people cringe - I’m looking at you PappaSharkGoesSnapSnap. But it didn’t matter, it was fun.
It was around 9am when we boarded the bus and met our other bus members (#bluebusrulez), a pair of Spanish pineapples called Juan and Latifa, and Kermit, our plush-frog-huggable-somewhat cross eyed bus mascot. Latifa’s great. Kermit's okay I guess. I also met Michael who was from Macquarie University. ‘A spy!’, I thought with suspicious incredulity. Whilst plotting how I would expose Michael the Macquarie mole, I learnt that his participation in TBL was part of his master plan to bring it into his own university - YAY! TBL expansion! Turns out Michael’s pretty cool. He can juggle. No dramatic exposure necessary.
Boom. We’re on the bus. The blue bus (#bluebusrulez). I still didn’t really know what I was getting myself into but a stranger walked onto the bus and gave us all lollies. Things were looking good.
It was after the noon when we reached our first town of Canowindra. It was also cold. So very very cold. To give you an idea of how cold it was; several witness reports identified a local Yeti shopping for some spare jumpers - probably true. We were, however, determined to give frostbite a decent fight and, upon the discovery of balls in a bag, proceeded to warm ourselves with sports! Now I’m not saying that my team was the best at dodgeball, but my team was the best at dodgeball.
Our impromptu sports session was followed by another activity our amazing crew members had organised - a scavenger hunt! I have decided that the grandour of our team’s scavenger hunt adventures can only truly be captured in poetry:
It was a quarter to five when Team 4 left base,
On a scavenger hunt, an amazing race!
They acted out film scenes so well it left the impression,
That the original Titanic had not reached perfection.
They explored the town, its nooks and its crags,
In search of an elusive Australian flag,
They journeyed and chased cars,
They planked on sandstone bars,
They met merry Marg from the shop,
They ghosted a stranger for a mile non-stop.
But still they simply could not find,
An Aussie flag to score big time.
They did indeed the Harlem Shake,
They jumped airborne with swanlike grace,
They met a cat and a family of three,
But the white starred flag they could not see,
They saw a fish, they jumped on a rock,
But no flag meant it would be for naught.
They went to the pub to drown out their sorrows,
They almost gave up,
They almost accepted defeat,
They went to the pub,
They sought a retreat,
But lo and behold what should they find there,
An Aussie flag all splendid and fair!
Team 4 left base at a quarter to five,
And they returned at six, a triumphant sight!
Translation: Scavenging happened. Canowindra was great! Flag found. Woooot!
I must say that I enjoyed the quaint vibe of the town - vastly different from the hustle, rustle and bustle of Sydney and gave a starting insight into the smaller communities that we would be working with. I think that’s important; being able to appreciate and perspectives and lives of others is often easy to forget, but through TBL we had this opportunity and I honestly believe that we would become better people because of it.
The back end of the day was spent in the school hall that the Canowindra Public School so generously let us use. We started off with some activities to help us learn a bit more about the other bus members. There was lots of noise, laughter and strange pineapple impersonations (Juan was impressed so I guess it counts). We even received a designated bus buddy! My bus buddy and I have an epic secret handshake. I’d tell you about it but you know, it’s difficult to articulate such sheer levels of absolute class (WARNING: May contain hyperbole).
In amongst the activities of constructed lunacy there was also one particular one that seemed to define TBL. Three questions about ourselves and what we would like to get out of this journey. I’m not going to share my answers here but I will say this; in just one day I’ve already ticked off a list of firsts. I’ve already explored communities (and temperatures) I hadn’t even known before. I’ve already met some awesome people. And I know that I’ll make some amazing friends. In one day I’ve had a taste of what an amazing week this is going to be. And I can’t wait.