Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pretty Flowers

I have been accumulating pictures of cool flowers I have seen around campus, and I have posted them up to facebook. Also, Heather and one of her friends from uni down in Wollongong are up to spend a bit of their spring break in Brisbane, so we went up Mt. Coot-tha, which is a mountain from which you can see all of Brisbane, and to the Botanical Gardens at the bottom of Mt. Coot-tha, which are really pretty. So there isn't a whole lot to say about any of these things, but you can look at some sweet pictures I took.

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

American Dinner

You may recall me mentioning that every Tuesday we have formal dinner, which the entire college attends wearing academic robes and involves some kind of presentation. Well this week was American Dinner, at which the 7 Americans staying at college got to select the menu and present a little bit of their culture to the Aussies. Well, we decided to go with a Thanksgiving theme, so we asked for turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, cornbread for the bread and pumpkin pie for dessert. As a bonus, we go to ask for Coke and Sprite (7up) on the tables, which was excellent. We also asked for pigs in a blanket and chips and salsa for appetizers. Then we did a presentation about Thanksgiving and a little bit about each of our hometowns. Here are the amusing parts of the evening:

-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

Stradbroke and more Cricket

Yesterday I took a semi-spontaneous trip to Stradbroke Island with two other Americans. It took all eternity to get there (well, about 3.5 hours, but thats a long way to go for a day trip) but it was totally worth it. We walked on some trails and took pictures (link below) of the waves crashing into the giant rocks, and we saw a group of dolphins, which I tried desperately to get a picture of but it was kind of hard. After we walked along the beach for a bit, went swimming, and then laid down for a while before beginning the 3 hour hike back (not literally a hike, it was a bus to a ferry to a bus to a train to a bus).

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

Horses and Cricketers

hello friends and family!

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:
Maroon 5
Savage Garden

Monday, September 1, 2008

Interesting Cultural Tidbits

In Australia, jell-o is called jelly. Jelly as we know it (ie grape jelly) is called jam. As a result of this confusion, the concept of 'peanut butter and jelly,' when first conceived, is repulsive to most Aussies. I haven't actually encountered this revulsion because most people I know have figured out the jam/jelly connection long ago. I just thought it was interesting. Also, peanut butter and jam is not that common of a thing to eat here either. Peanut butter and honey is much more common. There is also one girl in my college who eats banana, butter (not peanut butter, regular butter), and sugar sandwiches, but I think she's just weird.

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?