Friday, November 21, 2008
My flight was (thankfully) uneventful, if almost unbearably long. The second leg from LAX to JFK was delayed a bit due to rampaging storms in New York, but it wasn't too bad and apparently I missed some even bigger scarier storms right after I left Brisbane, so all is well. My dad picked me up and when we got home I had good food which was excellent. The next few days I unpacked and shopped and was really really jetlagged. I am still a bit jetlagged now but I think I am starting to get over it. Hopefully it doesn't last too much longer it's really inconvenient getting super-sleepy at weird times of day. As for reverse culture shock, when I first got back it was kind of weird - like things that were different stuck out at me (like the way the moon looks and the ketchup saying ketchup instead of tomato sauce), and I kept going to do things I had to do in Australia but not here, like switch my outlets on and off. But I pretty much got over it after about a day. It wasn't that hard of a transition I guess because this is where I lived my whole life, haha. Now I am in DC back at AU for a couple of days, which I am really excited about and am enjoying and am happy to see everyone. Michael came as a surprise and that was exciting.
So I guess this will be the end of my blog because I am back from Australia. I feel like I should put down some profound final thoughts, but I'm not really a profound kind of person. Maybe I will say this: there is a lot of talk in Australia about whether or not their culture is being swallowed up by our culture. I mean, they watch our TV and our movies and listen to our music, etc etc. And I have to say, once I stopped thinking about how convenient the quality coverage of the American election was, I started thinking that really it was kind of weird. I mean, how much do we know about Australian politics? But really, I'm pretty sure Australian culture still exists in full force. If you go there from here you can just tell. Even though they have a lot of our stuff it isn't like little America over there. At least, I don't think so. Maybe people can comment on the influence of American culture in the countries that they are in. It would be interesting.
Okay that is all.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Later in the week I went to the Gold Coast for a night with Kailey and Kimberly, and Lauren was with us for a little while also. We stayed in Surfer's Paradise and it was really nice. The Gold Coast is basically your standard touristy city, but the beach that it is on is amazing. It's just huge, with white sand and nice waves. I enjoyed it immensely, even though I am now a teeny bit sunburned. One other downside is that the skyscrapers make shadows in the beach as soon as the sun starts going down. Unfortunate. In the night we went to this thing called Infinity, which was also pretty cool. It was like a maze of different rooms that was all based around lights and lasers and mirrors to make all kinds of weird illusions. It was really trippy and really fun. We explored some other aspects of the city too, but the beach was definitely the best part.
You may be interested to know that the Women's College is now decorated for Christmas, and we had Christmas dinner the other day (on Halloween, oddly enough). At first I thought I was really weirded out by all the Christmas stuff just because it was so early (I never realized how important Halloween and Thanksgiving were in limiting the length of the Christmas season). However, now I realize it's especially weird because it is so hot out. It is pretty much summer here. I can't quite believe I will be home in two weeks, or that it will be cold when I get there.
I have two things to say in closing: one is to ask Jenelle's Mom, who I know occasionally reads my blog, where she gets her secret American supply of TimTams from?
The second is to tell everyone to make sure they VOTE on Tuesday!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Basically, the Aussies don't do halloween as kids, its not a part of their culture or anything. But they are aware of it as something the Americans do, and they appreciate the excuse to put on costumes and go to a party. So halloween parties are around among people our age, although they aren't nearly as common as in the US. Also costumes are a bit harder to come by and substantially more expensive. As a final note, the lack of 'halloween' as a holiday means that the halloween party doesn't follow strict guidelines regarding date. I have seen three happen since I got here, spread out over the last few months. So there you go.
In case you are interested, I myself will be going to a halloween party thrown by one of my Canadian friends (Canadians do celebrate halloween, in case you're wondering). She's going pretty all out, and I'm pretty excited. I'll let you know how it goes.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Sorry for the lack of post-spring break update, I was kind of hoping to put pictures up along with the entry, so I was waiting to see if I could get my camera fixed (it broke on the second to last day of the trip), but as that is not looking like it is going to happen any time soon I thought I would go ahead and update anyway.
I had an AWESOME time. I started in Sydney, where I spent the day by myself hitting up the major tourist attractions and just generally exploring and getting a feel for the city. Parts of it reminded me a lot of New York City, which is a pretty high compliment in my book. Also, the water was actually blue, which I was totally surprised by (I was expecting that brownishgrey color that is way more typical of high-traffic water). Possibly my favorite part of Sydney was at busy intersections, where it said on the ground "LOOK RIGHT" with an arrow pointing right, for poor people like me who get confused with the traffic coming from the other direction. It was quite funny. I also met a couple of very nice people at my hostel and had some fun with them too.
The next day I departed on a three day bus trip (during which we spent over 20 hours inside of a bus...ugh) that was really fun. Along the way we stopped in a lot of really small towns for bathroom/snack breaks, and most of the way we avoided the big highways and took back roads, so I feel like I saw a lot of Australia this way. Or at least, a lot of the area between Sydney and Melbourne, which is a really really big area, but Australia is really, really, really big. Anyway, we started off going to Canberra (the capital of Australia), which is very pretty and quiet and has lots of trees. Honestly, though, it isn't that interesting of a city lol. I have a picture of Parliament House that I will share with you one of these days. Then that night we went to Jindabyne, which is a little town up in the Snowy Mountains, and could rent stuff for going up into the mountains the next day (ie ski stuff, sleds, or bikes). There wasn't going to be much snow, so most people opted for biking or hiking rather than the skiing. I went biking, and right after we got our bikes we rode around the lake by our accomodation, which was nice. The biking the next day was really really nice (despite the fact that it was WINDY and quite uphill). The views were gorgeous. I swear I have nice pictures lol. And at the top we got to play in the snow.
Sometime in early afternoon we were off again, going down to the coast along a very pretty road. So we had a morning in the mountains, and that night we had a fire on the beach. It was really fun, and there were a lot of stars - I saw the southern cross! (I think). So that night was basically spent hanging out down on the beach, and then the next day we were off AGAIN to go to the southern most point in continental Australia for a hike around some really big rocks (big rocks are my FAVORITE). At this point my camera was already broken, which was disappointing, but I am hoping to acquire some pictures from facebook friends one of these days. Then it started raining while we were eating lunch on the beach, so we were off again to Melbourne, which was where the trip ended.
I spent my night in Melbourne at a bar with some other people from the trip, and the next day the four of us who were staying in the city just went around and explored Melbourne. Okay, people don't really talk about Melbourne much outside of Australia, but it is a seriously cool city. If you are going to be around this end of the earth anytime soon, make sure you hit that up. Its just a really nice city, with some really cool architecture, and some really nice areas along the river, and a really big market, and some other things. I had a really great day there and wish I could have stayed longer.
Overall I had a great break, and met a lot of really cool people, and am utterly exasperated that I have no pictures to share with you lol.
Sorry that was so long.
At this point I have two weeks of classes left, then a week off, then it is finals time, and then I leave. I am going to Moreton Island in approx 10 days, and am hoping to get some other traveling wedged in there too before I leave. Yay.
Send me emails, I would love to hear some news from home : )
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Pictures of flowers on campus are at the end of this album:
Pictures of Mt. Coot-tha and the Botanic Gardens are at the end of this album:
I am off on my Spring Break trip tomorrow (hurray!!!) and will tell you all about it when I get back!!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
-Curly fries and salsa, because chips are french fries here. Possibly the hardest I have laughed since I got to this country.
-Pigs in a blanket were mini hot dogs wedged into dinner rolls. Almost as funny as the chips and salsa.
-Stuffing: more or less, croutons.
-The principal of the college surprising us by having everyone stand with their hand on their heart for our national anthem.
-Mini-cornucopias on every table full of lollies. Apparently America is associated with candy.
-Oreos served after the meal. Not amusing but really exciting (you don't really come across oreos every day here). hurray!!!!!!!!
-Listening to girls in sororities try and explain differences between their sororities and the show Greek.
-The Aussies unexpected fascination with the Amish.
Unrelated: we just did the film unit in my Australian Pop culture class. Movie I didn't know was Australian: Moulin Rouge.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
As it turns out I DID make the cricket team, mostly as an extra but I still went to the matches and played a little. I did some research on wikipedia to find out how to play, and I have learned that it is a very bizarre game and a very slow game. I learned the slow part even more today. It is kind of like baseball in that there is a lot of standing around in a hot field involved. I bowled one over, and found out that I am a really terrible bowler, but I am not too stressed out about it. Anyway it was fun to go and watch and we won both games we played, so that was good. Hurray!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Sorry it has been so long since an update, I haven't really been up to much. School has actually gotten a little busy so its just been uni, uni, uni. Last weekend I did find time to go on a horse-riding adventure that I booked when I first got to Australia with a couple of my friends, and that was really fun (picture of me and my horse, nugget, are below). We had billy tea and damper, which are Australian words for tea and bread cooked on an open fire. I bonded with my horse nugget, who was fidgety like me and very old and stubborn, but unfortunately I don't think he bonded back with me. We got to trot a little, which I had never done before and was great fun. We went through the forest and the mountains and even through some water. It was a good day.
In other news, I have tried out for my college's cricket team for a tournament this upcoming weekend. I am mostly trying out for a laugh, since (a) I have little to no hand/eye coordination (b) I don't have the slightest idea how to play cricket. However, just appearing at the trials appears to have given me a relatively high chance of getting on the team, so you never know. Also, they never actually asked whether or not I knew how to play lol. So I'll keep you informed. Things I have learned about cricket:
1. the ball is made of red leather, and it is very heavy and hurts a lot when it slams into your body.
2. games can get really really long (based on the fact that games in the tournament are being limited to two hours)
3. the bowler (ie pitcher) can't bend their arm when they throw the ball
4. the bowler is trying to hit the wicket (i think); the batter is trying to get them to not hit it...and at some point the batter gets to run...I haven't figured that part out yet.
5. there are only two bases.
My spring break is about a week and a half away. I have booked myself on a sort of hiking adventure type trip that starts in Sydney and ends in Melbourne, as well as an extra night in both Sydney and Melbourne so I can hopefully get out and see the cities a little bit. The trip also goes through Canberra, which is (believe it or not) the capital of Australia, so I will get to see that too. I am really excited.
In Australian popular culture class we just did the music unit, so as a final note I leave you with a list of bands I (sadly) had no idea were from Australia:
Monday, September 1, 2008
Another tidbit I want to share is recovery. I came to Australia during ball season (each of the colleges has a ball - my college had theirs last week). Although I haven't actually attended any balls, as the tickets run about $100 plus I would have to get a pretty nice dress somehow, I have heard the basic outline of the event. Basically you all go to the ball and then you get bused to the afterball event, and then everyone goes home and the next day they have recovery (ie drink more to recover from your hangover from the night before). The cost is a part of the ticket, and it is basically a barbecue. The interesting part is that as far as I can tell everyone dresses up in funny outfits (think 80s workout outfits) and brings food dye (this is the interesting bit). The food dye goes in the beer, and then everyone spits beer at each other all day, and everyone comes back blue. Bizarre much?
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
The weather is pretty much the same, but I can tell it is spring because all of the birds have gone crazy. Plus, ducklings!
Anyway, it is hard to believe but I am just about halfway through my semester abroad (already??). I thought I would take a minute to reflect on my classes thus far. Although not so much on microeconomics because micro is pretty much micro, wherever you happen to be.
Australian Popular Culture: This course has proven to be fairly interesting. We did a unit on 'Sport' during the Olympics, and we learned about how Aussies have a tendency to identify themselves as being naturally good athletes and how representing themselves that way to to the rest of the world during the Olympics is really important to them. We've also had units on the beach and the bush and tourism and the way that these things factor into the Australian identity (Austrialanness, a word I still cannot pronounce). Downside of this class is that it's one of those classes that encourages you to think critically of common ideas, to the point that you tend to focus a LOT on the less-common view of things and pay little or no attention to the more common perspective. That kind of thing makes me crazy.
Ecotourism: This class is pretty educational but a little intense and a little circular (because there is only limited literature about ecotourism available). I know more about tourism than I ever wanted to know, and I am developing a fantastic guilt complex about any tourism that I ever have taken or will take part in, ever. Not to say that I don't like the class though lol, it is one of my favorites.
Developmental Psychology: ...is pretty much what you would expect, but I just wanted to point out that I think the study of pyschology in Australia is much more focused on looking at empirical research studies, and also more directed towards students who are going to become research psychologists. This is only in my very, very limited experience though.
As a final note I want everyone to know that I ate kangaroo for dinner last night. It pretty much tastes like steak, but a little chewier. That is all.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Another type of syrup which is pretty scarce around here is corn syrup. No matter how many processed foods I read the ingredients of, I have yet to find any that have high fructose corn syrup. This is another thing I would have known before getting here if I had bothered to really think on it, but America just has more corn than other places (more than we know what to do with apparently). I have seen a variety of other sugary type syrups in things like coca-cola, but there is definitely a distinct lack of corn syrup.
There, you have all been educated.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Here are some of the pictures...Sunshine Coast:
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Tomorrow is the Ekka holiday, a day off for the whole city to go dress up and enjoy the horse races. I have purchased my ticket and will post about that after I have been.
Hope everyone is well : )
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Our shoddy s'mores ingredients:
The view from Bartopia:The big green thing that takes up most of this picture is one of the weeds we were destroying:
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
My classes are also different, because the university is so big and because it is just different. With rare exceptions, classes usually have an hour or two of lecture or week, and then smaller meetings for various purposes, like tutorials (tutes) or practicals (pracs-australians abbreviate everything, honestly) where you are able to actually discuss what you learned about in lecture and go into it in more depth, and ask questions. My microeconomics class has something like 400 people in it, but the tutorial is only about 25, so you can see how these sessions would be helpful. Another thing that is different to me, but probably not to some other people, is that I have a class on the 8th floor. This is an absurd idea to me. I have never had to take the elevator to class before.
My classes themselves are moderately interesting. Australian Popular Culture is a lot more in-depth and a lot more intense than I was anticipating, but not in a bad way. Developmental Psychology is a lot lamer than I was anticipating lol. Environment, Sustainability, and Ecotourism is going to be really cool I think. That class is actually quite small, and at the end we will get to go to an actual ecotourist location and perform a full environmental audit on the place. Microeconomics is microeconomics.
I realize in retrospect that this post may not have been that interesting. Sorry for that lol.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Also, does anyone know why my 10 Things I Hate About You case doesn't have 10 Things I Hate About You in it? Instead it had Sweeney Todd, which is odd because I don't own Sweeney Todd and I don't think I know anyone who liked it enough to buy it. Also, I watched 10 Things right before I left. Is anyone missing their copy of Sweeney Todd?
Monday, July 21, 2008
PS australian funfact: most of the lifeguards here are volunteers.
PPS i got growled at by a bird yesterday. it was scary.
PPPS there was a gecko in my room this morning. actually he is currently MIA so he might still be here somewhere.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Sorry for the lack of updates, but I haven’t felt like I had much to say. This is supposed to be a travel blog, but since I haven’t really been up to much besides waiting for classes to start, I haven’t really had many travel adventures to mention. But here I will assemble a list of some interesting information I have encountered in my days going around
1. There are crumpets in my dining hall. No, seriously. Crumpets.
2. There is an abundance of tropical fruit here (for obvious reasons I guess). Kiwi, pineapple, and passionfruit are commonplace in my dining hall, and I’m pretty sure the filling in my pastry earlier was guava.
3. Australians cannot dance. Now I’m not judging, because neither can I, but it really is funny. Picture a room full of Americans dancing in the way they do when they are kidding around, except picture them all doing it, and being serious.
4. Australians listen to an awful lot of American music, apparently because theirs is too mellow to dance to.
5. One nickname for a redhead is an abbreviation of orangutan (because they are orange): Rang-er.
6. During the song “Eagle Rock” (or something like that) it is traditional for the men to drop their pants. I have no explanation for this.
7. All schools, even public schools, have a uniform in
8. They drive on the left side of the road here. This may seem like basic information, but I was certainly surprised.
9. A timtam (which is a chocolate cookie) is ten thousand times better when dipped in a hot beverage and used as a straw for a second (to melt the inside). The whole thing collapses into a blob of melty chocolately amazingness.
10. Junk food is really expensive here. Like a soda from a vending machine is about 3 dollars, and a bag of chips from a vending machine is like 1.50, and candy from a vending machine is even more than that. Apparently this is intended to fight obesity. Also the candy is different. I won’t go into all the different kinds of candy, but I tried something called a ‘musk log’ the other day. The clever among you may have noted that ‘musk’ is like perfume; this candy was like solid, sugary perfume. It was disgusting.
11. Because the city I live in has a giant river running through it, part of the public transportation system is ferries, called the CityCat (or citykitty, as I heard it referred to today). It is really cool.
12. Australian people think University in
That is all that is coming to mind right now. Uni starts tomorrow, so hopefully I will have more going on with my days and more to say. It has also occurred to me that I will be watching the Olympics from another country, which could potentially be an interesting cross-cultural experience. Finally, pictures in the next post, I promise.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
So I have been busy orientating (well busy might be a little strong). But I have a little bit to report about my College (Women’s College), which is like my dorm, and about the University. Mostly the orientation stuff has been basic stuff you would expect from any orientation, although there was one memorable session about safety in
PS this whole entry was very grammatically and logistically confusing, so props to anyone who understood everything I said.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Sorry for the complete lack of updates; I had to wait until Monday to get internet in my room, but now that I have it you get three for one because I have been writing blog entries in Word. I have been exploring the campus, which is gigantic and very pretty. There is a lake right in front of my building, with all paths and bridges around it, and birds EVERYWHERE. I need to take a minute to talk about the birds in
I arrived at my school last night and moved into my dorm, Women’s College. It is, not to be mean, a little on the ghetto side, but it is acceptable, and I have my own room, and they serve three meals a day. We had a very entertaining driver from the airport who told us a lot about the city (she was 72 and quite a character). She told us that we are 10 years into a drought in
My address is:
So when I first arrived in
Anyway, during the two full days of our orientation, we went to the rainforest (actually a tourist place called Rainforestation) and the
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
"bring me a [koala, duck-billed platypus, kangaroo, etc]
"take a video of the first time you flush the toilet"
"there is a lot of interesting biodiversity"
"don't get eaten by aborigines"
"don't they have a poisonous variety of everything?"
"if you get stung by a jellyfish, let someone pee on it"
(that last one is actually true)