Several months ago I made this website to serve as my digital resume and portfolio. Since then I have been racking my brain and didn't know what could possibly be worthy enough of writing first, until today.
A 4-hour commute to a chocolate factory, a giant bird attack, a ride in a strange man's car and almost being stranded at a vineyard in the middle of nowhere later, and I'm alive to tell the story. So here it goes...
Part I: Morgan vs. the Train
The day started out pretty normal. I had planned on having an early day and going on an adventure up to the Yarra Valley. Note: this journey should be about a 2-3 hour commute from the house in the form of a bus, 2 trains, another bus and a mile walk.
In an effort to have a great day, I woke up early, had some coffee and breakfast and got myself together. Continuing this amazing feeling of not rushing or worrying I decided to treat myself to an Uber that would take me from the house to the train station, eliminating the first bus of my journey. My Uber driver was pleasant, I made it to the train on time, and all was good in the world.
Until it wasn't.
Not only was the 35-minute train ride standing room only, I was soon about to find that this was the last train going into the city on that track for the rest of the day. It. Was. Packed. And it smelled. And enough people had their headphones so loud that the whole car sounded like an obnoxious buzzing of meaningless noise.
Naturally, since it was the only train left for the rest of the day, it was delayed. And when I say delayed, I mean I arrived to the station 10 minutes after my connecting train had left. The next train wasn't for another hour, but somehow this added another hour and a half to my already two hour journey.
With my extra time I naturally found $4 to waste on a cappuccino while I waited for my next train.
Part II: Morgan vs. the Magpies
The second train ride was an hour long, but it was pretty chill. To put it into perspective how chill, there was an old couple in their 70s riding the train up only to ride it back down for the view.
By the time I got to the final stop, I had to wait 20 minutes for a bus that would take me closer to my final destination (but not quite there). It was an absolutely beautiful day and there were hills and trees and vineyards for miles, so I was pretty excited about the mile walk the rest of the way to the chocolate factory (yes, I am a child and wanted to go to a chocolate factory sue me). I got off of my bus, and started walking in the direction Apple Maps led me...
Along. A. Highway.
As sketchy as I found this walk, I didn't let this phase me. I was going to have a good day and nothing was going to ruin it. I made it just over half way and then a bird started swooping across the highway into my space. It kept getting closer and closer, and more and more aggressive, and I was really starting to get concerned about it. So naturally, I ran to the other side of the street and started walking on that side foolishly thinking that the bird would leave me alone. It didn't.
As the giant black and white bird continued to get more and more aggressive and swoop closer and closer to my head, yelling at me with its crow-like screech, I decided to walk into a random driveway of a ranch just off the highway. I made uncomfortable eye contact with a horse who looked way too intrigued by what was going on. I tried one more time to walk in the direction of my destination, swoop came the bird, and back towards the horse I went, who at this point, did not look too excited to see me. In a panic I decided to stand still, unlock my phone, and Google wtf this giant bird could possibly be. Because knowledge is power, right?
Types into Google: "black and white bird flies close to humans australia"
Conclusive results: Magpie
Types into Google: "magpies humans australia"
First news result: Fear Descends Over Australia as Magpie Swooping Season Begins
Clicks on link to find that Magpies are the most intelligent, most aggressive part of the crow family and that the large birds will swoop at you and often hurt you.
These birds are not playing around and the first thing I think is I'M TOO YOUNG TO DIE!
Not taking any chances, I stay in my spot near the driveway, still being watched by the horse, not moving, eyes on the bird, and try ordering an Uber... I'm in the middle of nowhere and get nothing. Next, I try calling the cab company. No answer. Then notice their 1-star Yelp review for never arriving or answering... great.
About 30 minutes pass of me trying to order an Uber or reach the cab company and I'm still staring at this bird. Nothing. I start to have a panic attack on the side of this random highway in the middle of nowhere as people drive past me and DO NOTHING. So, what do I do? I call the local police department mid-panic attack and a nice, understanding policeman tries to calm me down and says he'll send someone over to my location. Not without laughing at me first of course, but I don't care. I just thought: THANK. GOD.
5 minutes later and the minutes feel like hours... still no one. But another magpie comes to join the party.
About 5 seconds into his arrival, he swoops down at me and I put my purse over my head in a panic. Hanging out on the telephone wire right above me, he dives at me. Swoops from the tree behind me, HITS ME IN MY HEAD and I lose my shit.
Still being swooped at, I moved closer to the actual road and realized I was probably near his nest because he stopped swooping for a couple of minutes and finally, the tow truck driver sent by the police comes to save me from the worst fear I've ever felt in my life. Crying and trying not to throw up from all of my nerves, I get into this strange man's car because in this moment, this stranger felt safer to me than being a prey to psychotic birds.
In the longest 45 minutes I've ever known, I never wished I was in America more, nor did I wish I had a shotgun more than in that moment. Let me tell you, if I see that bird ever again, after the trauma it caused me, I wouldn't feel the slightest bit terrible about blowing its brains out.
But that's not where the day ended... we're only at 1pm.
Part III: Morgan vs. PTSD
Still crying in the "off-the-clock tow truck driver sent to rescue me by the local police chief"'s car, the native-Australian asked where I was headed and I responded: "the chocolate factory." For those of you who know me, I'm not much of a crier, but when the hysterics start, it's hard for me to get out enough words to form complete sentences.
The driver, laughing at my distressed state, asked me if I was sure I wanted to go to the chocolate factory or if I wanted to stop by his place for a drink instead. Suddenly I felt safer being attacked by the magpies than in this man's car and I calmly thanked him for the ride but said that I was really only interested in getting chocolate after what I had just endured. He responded by dropping me off at the factory and leaving me his card in case I changed my mind about the drink. (I threw that away real quick).
Once I got into the factory I had so been looking forward to seeing, my stomach was so turned around that I couldn't even enjoy it. It was really quite sad.
Instead, I sat outside and enjoyed the view for a while.
It didn't take long before realized that what I really needed was a drink, and with all the vineyards around, I knew I'd find one close enough to get to. The closest one was a mile away but post-magpie attack I wasn't trying to walk anywhere in this town. I decided to stick around and wait for an Uber. Luckily, Milos just dropped off a lovely group at a winery in the area, so he was close by and saved me. He was a nice guy (or so I thought), and we had a great conversation; we even laughed about how much we both hated LA. I was certain that my day was looking up at this point.
Milos dropped me off at the winery and the second thing I did was order a glass of wine. The first thing I did was request to sit inside because I saw a magpie flying over the vineyard and I didn't want to be ANYWHERE near that thing. I have become hyper-aware of birds in the last few hours, let me tell you.
I thoroughly enjoyed my 2 glasses of wine and bruschetta and even called my mom to tell her about my day as she Googled magpies and in the background of our conversation added commentary like, "oh my god!" and I was just like, "yeah mom, you're telling ME." After almost 2 hours in the winery I thought I should probably head out and started looking for an Uber... this is how my next HOUR went.
*requesting UberX* "Oh hey, look, Milos again! That's funny."
*checks app 5 minutes later, there's no driver enroute* "That's weird, my phone must be glitching..." *requests new Uber and gets Milos again*
*gets phone call from Milos* "Hey, you're at the winery right? Ok, cool. It says I should be there in 20."
*checks app 5 minutes later and there's no driver enroute and no UberX available* WTF MILOS!?
*tries calling taxi company and gets nothing so spends 20 minutes downloading the taxi app advertised in the taxi company automated recording* NOTHING.
After freaking out for an hour about how there's a chance I will not be able to make it to the train station without re-encountering magpies, the nice lady at the winery offered a ride once she got off if I was still unlucky. LUCKILY, a random guy, we'll call him Paul, finally pulled through on Uber and gave me a ride, but boy was his stench potent. *insert wide-eyed emoji here*
As thankful as I was for his upbeat attitude and magpie-free ride to the train station, the smell got rid of my wine buzz entirely.
Part IV: Morgan vs. the Rest of the Day
The rest of the day wasn't as bad. I met two strange boys on the train because the Canadian one sounded American (my mistake) and talking to people on an hour long train ride didn't suck so bad. We got happy hour beers and then I met up my bestie and her boyfriend, the only reason I came to Australia in the first place, for more drinks. We got ramen for dinner (my favorite) although the place we went to had WAY too much seaweed and not enough flavor in the broth for my taste (if you're ever in Melbourne don't go to Little Ramen Bar).
Getting home wasn't a cake-walk either. Since the train was down we had to take overcrowded replacement buses to get home and I had a guy elbow me in the head a few times but it didn't phase me. At this point I was just rolling with the punches (or elbows) because elbows to the head were much less terrifying than birds to the head.
All in all, I survived the day. Made it home in one piece. And had enough energy to stay up and write this.