Sunday, August 25, 2013

"Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats."

It's been forty days, and classes are still going good. I can't believe we are already on week five. I had to drop my drawing class unfortunately; it was a much higher level and faster paced class than I wanted and the professor wasn't much help. So now I'm in only three classes, which is actually turning out to be pretty awesome. For the entire semester, I only have four essays, two projects, and one final exam! This is especially great since finals start November 9th and I leave November 30th, so I'll only have one exam during that period, the rest of the month is for travel!
the Sygna shipwreck site
Stockton Beach
This weekend, we took a bus to Stockton Beach, which is like an hour away. Nine of us all decided to go on an ATV tour at Quad Bike King through sand dunes to a shipwreck site. The ship was a Norwegian freighter that lost its battle with a 1974 cyclone that hit the shores of Newcastle. It was such an awesome experience! At first, it was difficult to drive and you actually go pretty fast on the tour; it was a good thing no one can hear anything because of their motors and helmets because I would actually scream at some parts! But about a quarter of the way through I got used to it and started to really enjoy it. I got gutsy towards the end and started actually hitting the jumps and things; I'm pretty proud of myself! I kind of really want to do it again...we'll see.

Back at HPU, my home university, all my friends have moved in and classes have begun. It hasn't really hit me until now that I really miss everyone; and it feels strange how life just goes on fine without me being there. Despite these feelings, I'm so incredibly happy and grateful to be here. I can honestly this is probably the best decision I've ever made. If you ever get a chance to do something like this, do not let it pass by!
The countdown to Melbourne is closing in- we leave in three and a half days! It'll be our first trip flying somewhere; we'll be leaving out of Sydney airport. It's much cheaper that way, rather than flying out of Newcastle. Our flight leaves at seven am on Friday so we have to catch the train to Sydney around midnight on Thursday night, and either sleep on the train/flight or just not sleep! Ah! But it's worth it to have basically all of Friday in Melbourne. I'm so excited!
It's finally starting to warm up, which is fantastic! (finally!!) An aussie told us that once it hits September, it'll pretty much be hot for the next 6 months. Well, that's exactly what I need to hear, because who comes to Australia to wear jackets and pants? No one. No one, that's who.
Anyway, I just want to take this chance to say I miss everyone! Enjoy your heat right now!...and don't forget about me :)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A month gone already?!

It's crazy to think it's been a little over a month since I landed in Australia! I just can't believe it; where did the time go?! I'm absolutely loving my experience so far and don't want it to end anytime soon. Three and a half more months might not cut it....but it'll have to I suppose. Although, I know I'll make the most out of them.
So we went to Oakvale Farm last weekend and that was amazing! I cannot believe how well mannered the kangaroos are. They just hang around and let you do pretty much anything with them, especially if you have food (check out my pictures tab to see my smooch with a roo). We also got to pet koalas, which was sweet; they're so soft and adorable!
koala bear
sleepy koala
Other animals we saw were miniature horses, camels, llamas, goats, sheep, wallabies, turkeys, a peacock, and a dingo. It was very neat! My favorite part was probably hanging with the kangaroos; they kind of reminded me of my dog Kirby, whom I miss very much!
feeding the kangaroos!
Newcastle Beach
On Monday, we explored another beach, and it's actually even closer than Bar Beach, called Newcastle Beach. It's beautiful! The weather was actually decent for once and we laid out in our bathing suits and everything. We stayed for a few hours and then went to class- we are living the life!

Yesterday we went into Sydney again, and we pretty much just shopped all day; ergo, a pretty good day. Our main goal was to hit up this market in Chinatown, Paddy's Market, which just has booths and booths and more booths of random discounted stuff. I got a bag, a makeup bag, a cool aboriginal music thing, and a couple authentic boomerangs that were painted by actual aboriginal tribes. The market was so incredibly crowded and overwhelming since it's literally just rows and rows of booths; we plan to go back another time soon so we can shop there in a more organized and prepared fashion- clearly, we are very serious shoppers!
Paddy's Market
We just booked a long weekend trip to Melbourne, which is a large Australian city that is a short plane ride from Sydney. We are going in two weeks, from Thursday August 29 to Tuesday September 2. I am so pumped! I have heard it's even better than Sydney; we'll just have to see about that...
Even though it's only been a month, I feel like I've known my housemates for a lifetime. I love every single one of them and am so grateful to share this experience with them. Here's to many more months ahead!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Venturing out

Can it just be warm already? But really. The weather has been sort of terrible; cloudy, rainy, windy, blah. August showers bring September flowers just doesn't quite sound right, does it? Missing the states a little, especially every time I look in the mirror and see the ghost of a person I am. I'm ready to go tan at Bar Beach with a hat and a good book.
Sydney Opera House
On one of the nicer days last weekend, we went into Sydney. It's everything I thought it would be and so much more. I'm dying to go on a date there. Any takers?
Sydney Harbor Bridge
We went to a market and did some shopping and then, since the sun goes down around six pm, saw Darling Harbor sparkle at night. There was a street performer from Japan swallowing balloons and eating fire and such, and that was pretty neat. When he was done I gave him a dollar; he deserved it. We also stopped by this famous store that's only in Sydney and Melbourne, which is called Culture Kings; apparently Snoop Dogg and Justin Bieber and cool kids like that shop there. There's a barber shop and a DJ inside; it was over the top, but it was over the top done well.
Darling Harbor at night
I've officially attended all my lectures and tutorials now. The first week of school is only lectures so I didn't get to experience much of interaction with other uni students until this week. The tutorials are great, I feel way more comfortable in them.
This past Wednesday night was an absolute crazy night...both Brittany (my roommate) and Marcus had the same birthday, they turned twenty, and we are definitely a bunch that knows how to properly celebrate. We had a big pot luck family dinner and then hit up a few clubs downtown. It was great!
An incredibly exciting piece of news is I've officially booked my "spring" break trips for September/October (it's two weeks long). For nine days, I will be traveling around New Zealand and then immediately after, for four days, I'll be in Cairns, Queensland, Australia, which is where the Great Barrier Reef is. I have never been so excited for a break before; it's, quite literally, the break of a lifetime. I'll be going to New Zealand with a bunch of the girls and then I think Cairns will be just Brittany, Kate, and myself.
auto day
Yesterday was the uni's Autonomy Day, which is like one of the biggest days of the school year. The tradition is you get to the bar on the hill at like 7 am ready to drink and go crazy (they provide free breakfast too); I heard most people just don't sleep Thursday night and start raging at like 3 am. This, however, did not appeal to me in the least; I woke up around 9 am and just had a few drinks at the bar, nothing insane. It was really fun though; hundreds of people went! It's interesting how the uni actually plans days where they want you to just go crazy; that would never happen in the states. The Aussies definitely know how to have a good time. The lifestyle here is so relaxed. Probably the most common phrase I hear is "no worries," if that's any indication at all.

Tomorrow, we are going to a zoo type place with tons of Australian animals that just walk out and about and you can touch them as you please- I am very excited!
I'm finally getting into the swing of things and it feels great. Even though it's kind of a hassle to have to carry your groceries a mile or so home, walking everywhere is a refreshing lifestyle and I absolutely love it.