it seems that a lot of this mess is getting sorted out quickly. the strike has been lifted and planes should be in the air by midday on Monday (aka midday today, with the time difference). I would be ecstatic to have my flights confirmed and ready to go. it would give some certainty to this whole thing actually coming to an end. my parents and my sister should be relieved to hear this, as they had been working on helping me find flights when the strike first happened, and my parents have been calling Qantas what seems like non-stop. I'm lucky to have a family who is so willing to help.
in the meantime, my stay in Orange County hasn't been half bad. the bed in my hotel is the most comfortable I've slept in in a long time (the pillows are so amazing, I want to smuggle one of them in my luggage). the hotel has been great - we have vouchers for every meal and the $13 internet fee has been waived for all Qantas passengers. the hotel itself is beautiful. all the rooms have balconies, and mine looks over the pool. I've met some great people, including a crew member who very graciously gave me some hope that the strike was ending last night.
all seems to be looking up. *knock on wood*