So the IDC started out as a relatively stressful time. It's more about the unknown than being scared of the information. I've been working as a Divemaster at Crazy Scuba in Dallas for a little over a year now, just not as much as I'd like with all my elective surgeries. Carl made the IDC fun and over-prepared us for sure. I heard throughout the IDC that he grades harder than the examiner would so that by the time we get there everything would be second-nature.

Monday

So my first priority after getting to the hotel was to get a SIM chip for my phone so I could use Google Maps to find my way around town, and so I had a local number to give people. I asked Devlin for a recommended carrier because I needed it to be cheap since I won't have income until at least September. I ended up going with Amaysim, which offers unlimited Australian calls and texts and 4GB of "3G" data. I say put 3G in " because Australian 3G is U.S. HSPA...so it's not all that bad actually. And for $40AUD/month, it's affordable.

Ah, the wait. Man...this has got to be the longest period of time in my life! A lot of thought went in to choosing Sydney as my destination. I wanted to be somewhere tropical...somewhere gay-friendly...and somewhere not economically limited. Rachel and I had discussed Mexico, Grand Cayman, the Canary Islands, Malta, and many other destinations. She wasn't too fond of Aus because of it's distance from home. Once I left the U.S., all flights were pretty much the same flight so that didn't bother me; plus I was using miles for my flight.toungeIn regards to economic limitations, Grand Cayman is expensive for a lot of things because it's so small and everything has to be imported...let alone Little Cayman. A friend of mine, Justin, went to stay there and they sent a boat out once a week for groceries for everyone on the island...that's a bit too remote for me.

So the morning of...

The kids wanted me to wake them up at 3 with me so they would make sure they didn't miss the bus. Believe it or not, they actually got up pretty easily. We all uneventfully got dressed and sat in front of the TV together for what may be the last time. 3:45 rolled around, so we all started to head to the cars. Jeremy and Rhyon had stayed up all night since we only had like 6hr after we got home from La Hacienda before we were going to be getting up. We got my bags and bike loaded into Jeremy's Jeep, and started to head out.

So if you have been following along (in RL), You'll remember that I had decided I wasn't going to go to Australia because I thought the timing of my birthday and the rules of the visa would stop me from saving enough money to feel comfortable before I went. Well, a good friend of mine from working for Royal Caribbean suggested I apply and if I got it I'd have the option, if not then I was only out the application fee (which he mentioned was $160). At this recommendation...and with slightly over a week left before my birthday (the cutoff date)...I applied. Well, as it turns out, the VISA application fee was $420USD ($391AUD). Since this is where I REALLY wanted to go, and I didn't have much time to think about it, I went ahead and applied. I spent the next 3 weeks selling stuff I wasn't going to need where I was going selling things on eBay to pay for it all. September 25th, a week after my birthday, I received the email with my approval!