Celebrating the Melbourne Cup at school
Yesterday was my first "Melbourne Cup" experience. This spring carnival event is celebrated throughout Australia and is similar to the United States' "Kentucky Derby." On this day people bet on a horse race that takes place in Melbourne, with the 24 top horses running for a big trophy, and even bigger prize money.
It's also a day to dress up. At school the staff and students dressed up in formal dresses and suits, and wore "fascinators" on their head. These whimsical hats/headpieces are extremely bold, creative and usually match the wearer's dress or suit. I stuck a modest flower/feather combo in my hair and called it a day. After our regular classes, students and staff gathered in the common area for champagne and strawberries. We had a fashion show complete with red carpet, and I even walked it with two fellow teachers.
At 2pm sharp (3pm in Melbourne) the horses were off. I entered the teachers' sweeps with the horse named Big Orange. Big Orange was a dud and didn't earn me a thing. The whole thing was over in less than 5 minutes, so within 10 minutes I was back in the staff room to finish my lesson plans.
The most interesting thing about this whole experience was the proximity to our Halloween celebration. Just two school days prior, the same students who now showed off their high heels and crisp suits had been covered in fake blood and face paint.
The next school celebration will be the Christmas party. This will be my third warm Christmas (my first was Egypt and last year was Miami) and I'm not complaining one bit. I won't ask for snow.
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