Day 1: 23 Jul
I’m writing this post a day late because I didn’t get a chance yesterday so here we go:
My troop arrived as the sun was setting on the 22nd, and management to set up most of the tents before the rain started. It was a relief to finally be here after the 7 hour bus ride and months of waiting, but our excitement was somewhat quenched by the pouring rain and the campsite that quickly turned into a swamp.
The next morning I woke up early and went to the global ambassadors meeting, where I was privileged enough to meet some amazing people from all over the world.
The rest of the day was filled with trading, friendships and fun; as well as an icy cold shower- it’s incredible how this site is sustainable and all, but I would really appreciate a nice warm shower!
I’ve discovered that lots of people really want to trade for Australian things- badges, bags, pins and especially scarves. The other thing that people really want are our akubras, but we’re unfortunately not allowed to trade them.
In the afternoon I headed over to the Scott summit centre, which seems to be our main meeting point, for our instructions on the flag carrying during the opening ceremony.
The Australian Contingent team has already decided that I would carry the flag for the opening ceremony and Toby, the other Australian ambassador, would do the closing.
Because of this, I was absolutely terrified but also incredibly excited and honoured to be representing Australia at such a large event.
As we waited I met some of the other ambassadors from around the world, and it’s honestly amazing to realise that this is finally it- we’re finally all here, in America, and we’re going to carry our country’s flag in front of forty five thousand people. I never could’ve imagined in my wildest dreams that any of this was possible.
When we marched through the stadium the crowd cheered, and every Aussie troop I passed cheered and shouted, but all I could hear was my own heartbeat.
I don’t remember actually being on the stage waving my flag, except for the roar of the crowd. When I took my place standing next to Yemen and Bhutan, and I stared out to the massive crowd and watched as all of the countries cheered, my eyes filled with tears. It was the most amazing, exhilarating and beautiful moment.
When I finally rejoined my troop and watched the rest of the show, I was greeted with hugs and congratulations. I have never been as proud of my country as I was that night, and I am so absolutely grateful to everyone who made it possible.