It's finally here! After months of frantic work trying to be ready for missing a week and a half of University, and the paniced last minute packing of a a seasoned teenager desparate to irritate and stress out her parents, today was the day. We woke up, bleary eyed, at 4am and arrived as bright-eyed and bushy tailed as we could be for the hour. The delegation is awesome, eight delegates and one supervisor. Yindi, Talia and Matt are all still in high school, cramming for their HSC in a couple of weeks. Liam and Megan (who was meeting us at Tel Aviv due to her living in London) are taking gap years, experiencing the world outsitde Australia's education system. Lachlan, Nicole and I are all in University, studying a variety of science-related courses.
COOL FACT: Nicole and I competed against each other in 2008 at the UNYA Junior Public Speaking State Final.
A few not-so-teary goodbyes later and we traversed security, with Yindi, Ruth and Matt all being selected for random bomb screening, lucky them! As a group we took a team photo (see below) and grabbed a quick breakfast-like snack (I indulged in an iced chocolate – getting into the swing of the warm weather we were about to encounter.) before we jumped onto the plane for the first leg of our journey to Hong Kong.
|The team at Sydney International Airport|
It needs to be noted here that none of us would be on this trip if it had not been for our ability and passion for science. With the exception of Nicole, all of us competed in the Rio Tinto Big Science Competition last year and achieved a High Distinction. Nicole completed an exam and was selected to attend a training camp for the preliminary selection rounds of the Australian Science Olympiad Biology team.
What has been most amazing so far is the wide variety of futures that are a part of this team. Liam is currently spending a year surveying, but aims to study Civil Engineering at Newcastle University. I am currently studying Mechanical Engineering at Newcastle with an aim of focusing my career on biomechanics (eg. Prosthesies and equipment for people with a disability.) Nicole is working her way through a biomedical degree at UNSW to become a surgeon in the future. Megan wants to become an architect. Talia wants to focus on biology, researching neuroscience. Lachlan is studying biomedical technology. Yindi is tossing up between biomedical and mining engineering and Matt seeks to almagamate his love of humanities and love of science when he attends the University of Queensland next year.
|The team at a cafe in Hong Kong Airport.|
The food cost 300HK! (Only about AU$43)
Hong Kong airport provided us with a long waiting time, five hours. It was exciting and nerve wracking. Yindi was chosen for a random security pat down and our interview with Israeli security before we could check in had us all worrying about nothing. As we were all sitting around in the departure lounge, Yindi was pulled up by one of the security men and asked about an item inside his bag. It was only his power-board thank goodness, but that made for the fourth time he had interacted with security that day. There must be something shifty about the baby of our bunch.
Finally we boarded the plane to Tel Aviv, beginning the last leg of our 23 hour journey to Israel and catching up on some much needed sleep.