The last seven days of my life have been, in the best possible way, crazy. Last Sunday at 5am I drove with my Japanese friends to Parkes in rural NSW where my friends Faith and Yudi now live.

Functioning on only a few hours sleep, we watched the sunrise from the Blue Mountains and complained about how cold it was.

On the five hour drive to Parkes we stayed alert and focused by counting the animals we saw (including dead ones). The tally is as following: 4 dead kangaroos, 2 dead wombats, 1 red bird, 1 alpaca, 27 bulls (pictured), heaps of sheep and cows and one carpet that we thought was a dead kangaroo at first glance. 
I was also kept very alert when I allowed Suguru to drive part of the way.Suguru and Shi said that they had never seen such open land without buildings on it in Japan.These guys are too much. Soooooo cute.After we arrived and met up with Faith and Yudi, they took us to Faith's family home where we got to meet the animals they have on their property and Faith's dad, Steve. Meeting Steve was a huge highlight for my Japanese friends. I think in a way he embodied a lot of the qualities they imagined an Australian man would have. Plus, there was the whole appeal of a real Aussie family man who hunts, has cattle, a dog and a giant pig (whose name is Pig) living on his property.The following day Faith cooked us a delicious breakfast and we had a walk around the little street that is the shopping hub of Parkes.Afterwards, we drove out to another property and Steve took us around on his ATV. We saw kangaroos jumping around and it felt like a Tourism Australia ad. Suguru took a video on his GoPro.. Shino compared it to an Indiana Jones adventure.Faith and Yudi, two special humans who I love. This photograph was supposed to include their feet (annoying).
Steve then proceeded to cut up a fallen tree with a chainsaw, put all the logs and branches in a pile and then light them on fire using a single firework. My Japanese friends were very excited. That night we sat by the fire and ate jaffles and roasted marshmallows.
It was pretty perfect.

The day I got back from that trip, I got in the car again with Naomi and we started our journey to Melbourne!

On the way we stopped in Ulla Dulla, where Naomi's mum lives. She stayed up and waited for us to arrive and had tea ready for us on arrival. As soon as we got there I was introduced to Tabitha the cat! This cat was seriously weird but adorable. She was very cuddly and friendly. I still can't believe how many cats I have met this year. Incredible.

After this, we got in the car and drove drove drove drove until 4am the next morning all the way to Melbourne! It was a pretty fun drive albeit tiring.Naomi's first day of life in Melbourne! Lyn, Naomi's mum, thoughtfully booked ahead a place somewhere not far from the city for us. It was amazing to 'come home' to after we had driven for such a long time. It smelt like onions but it had a bath and an amazing heater and weirdly lots of beds (four singles in total). I had the first shower of the morning and five minutes in, after I had really soaped up, the water went cold. It was just a one off though, because Naomi hasn't had any problems since. While I was waiting for the water to turn warm again I could hear the neighbour upstairs singing to Indian music.We slept until midday and then went out to ooh and ah at the city.
Look at this! A whole pizza just left on the park bench with no one in sight!

Then I went and bought a box of donuts plus this ridiculously huge one which I still haven't finished yet.
And now I'm home again for a few days.