Monday, December 3, 2007

over already? it just began...

i've definitely had the time to talk about the past few weeks coming home and all...but when it has come to uploading the final pictures to facebook and writing in this actually makes it feel final. it makes it seem like it has actually ended.

my life has been a whirl wind of craziness for the past two weeks and it is difficult to believe that 2 weeks ago today, i was still enjoying the 80 + degree days of sunny melbourne, when now I am basking in the 34 degree snowfall of fishkill, new york. wow.

where to begin. i guess i will just start with my last couple of days in australia. they were pretty perfect. on sunday, siobhan was back and her, monica and I first went to the market ( i almost finished all of my souvenir shopping), we then headed over to Myer to see the christmas window's (similar to our Macys and Saks window displays). we then stopped at the big Christmas tree (see tagged pictures on facebook) and on the way to the Polish festival in Fed Square, we amazingly saw the Golden Tower. Now, you're probably like what are you talking about some Golden Tower? I've never heard of this before. well the Golden Tower isn't exactly what the name entails it to be but rather it is a restaurant. now why you ask is this restaurant so important. it is because this restaurant is owned by the Gauccis. who are the Gauccis you ask? the family of Natalie Gaucci, the BRAND NEW AUSTRALIAN IDOL!!!!!! well, siobhan, monica and I were extremely emotionally invested in australian idol this past season and before they named the new aussie idol (after we left), our two favorites from the season matt corby and natalie gaucci were the finalists. we loved it. we pretty much freaked out when we watched the results show the previous monday that revealed that natalie and matt were the final 2. we also knew that natalie was from melbourne and her family owned a restaurant but we didn't quite know exactly where it was so it was our dream come true to have just stumbled upon it. now it also sits on probably the MAIN street in the CBD, and we've probably walked past it so many times...but on that day...we finally noticed it. and we met her mom! it was fantastic! and now, natalie gaucci knows that she has an international fan base. wooo hooo. so then we went off to the polish festival which was a lot of fun...really fun for monica because she was able to speak polish with some people there...pretty sweet. we then stumbled upon this huge Macedonia/Greek demonstration. we assume that Macedonia wants to remain part of greece? i had no idea of that current issue in Europe so that was interesting. then monica departed to go back to study and siobhan and I proceeded to Brunswick street to the Hispanic festival. that was AWESOME. they were teaching various traditional hispanic dances and there was so much food. so much food. so much delicious hispanic food. from empanadas, to paella, to quesadillas, and tacos and burritos...ahh it was crazy. the unfortunate part was that siobhan and I were not really hungry at all...but we both got a little something here and there...i actually got gozleme (its turkish, i know...but its delicious and love it) and it was wonderful. oh, it was also 5 million degrees outside but nonetheless it was wonderful. we pretty much chilled out for the rest of the evening and continued to pack because all and all, we had walked over 5 miles around the city!

monday was more or less some of the same. packing and such. ran some errands, sun bathed poolside for a bit. but mainly packing if i recall correctly. siobhan and I took a walk to erroll street which was nice but it was a really really hott day once again. it was kristen's last day/night because she was leaving on tuesday so we met up with her late on monday night and said our goodbyes. :(

tuesday, i finished my souvenir shopping and then we headed to campus to return books, sell some books, helped a little girl who lost her dad, and hung out with liz and luke for a while before we had to say our goodbyes. we mainly got all of our last packing and such done before leah and monica were done with their exams so we could finally celebrate appropiately. so, after leah was done she met us at liz and luke where we hung out for a while before saying our goodbyes. liz and luke were probably the best IES program directors anyone could ever ask for and I miss them already. we are already planning their visit to the states next fall and our reunion! then the celebrations began. it was pretty much spent the way you should spend your last night abroad. guess. i wont even say. it was fantastic...originally it was just me, siobhan, leah and monica but then alycia returned from her trip and came to the village. we slept very little and said our goodbyes to the boys. we had originally wanted to see the sunrise but it was an awfully rainy day so there was no sunrise.

leaving was quite insane. and i'll just leave it at that. so after delays, an unfortunate $144 excess baggage bill, and 20 hours in the air i made it to NY with all my bags in tow!

being home is pretty weird. i dont think i have come out of that culture shock that you go through when leaving a country for a long period of time. thanksgiving was great but last week was pretty much a downer filled with insane amounts of jetlag which i think i am now finally conquering. i really dont have a lot to say yet although i have been very observant about all the differences...all i know is that i miss australia a lot. a whole lot.

Friday, November 16, 2007

which way is the beach? or the christmas parade...

its been a long time coming. this is going to be a nice and long update since i disappeared off the face of the planet for a few weeks. life has been definitely more than hectic could even begin to describe. so you might need to go away and come back to this blog entry. i'm sure i will be taking numerous breaks to finish this one out...but i have lots and lots of cool and fun stuff to say. i think?

so lets rewind a few weeks back. so meggie was here for about a week or so and we did some cool stuff. that sunday and monday were both pretty uneventful. i was done with classes but studying for my exams and doing work but meggie was able to get out a bit and go touring around the city. on tuesday (the day before halloween), puggs was supposed to be having a halloween party but it ended up being the lamest thing EVER, so we went for 5 minutes (i'm glad meggie was able to see it) but then we headed out to euro trash. it was me, meggie, siobhan, alycia and alcyia's friend jenna from st. mary's. we had an awesome time! it was a lot of fun just dancing around and although the crowd at euro trash is always very interesting (not sure whether in a good or a bad way), we danced our hearts out and i'm pretty sure meggie had a great time. which was key. on wednesday, i'm pretty sure i was back to the studying oh and on tuesday, meggie had went on th great ocean road tour and she had an awesome time which i was very pleased to hear. wednesday, halloween was pretty lame. i didn't go out and ended up just staying in and doing work. so that was that. thursday, meggie went on her phillip island trip and i'm pretty sure i was just doing work again. friday, we had an IES gathering for bowling and dinner which was a lot of fun. we went to kingpin bowling which was pretty sweet and i even had a couple of strikes...and then we headed to this greek restaurant for dinner. it was quite delicious. all in all, a night well spent. oh, and when we got back to the village everyone came up to our room because kristen had a surprise presentation for all of us. she made this awesome video of pictures and such from all of our various adventures since orientation and it was unbelievable. kudos for kristen for putting that together because its awesome and i'm so excited to show it to people once i get home. saturday...i think i studied some more. sunday, me, siobhan, leah, kristen and meggie set out to go to the market in st. kilda. unfortunately, the weather was really crappy and thus the market was canceled...after we had already went all the way there. so we walked around in st. kilda for a little before heading back. then, i did some work before going to church. it was meggie's last night in AUS (SAD SAD DAY), so we went out to dinner for thai at this delicious restaurant on lygon street, got gelato and gelatissimo before aussie idol came on. monday, i went down to meggie's hostel to say goodbye and it was so nice having her here so it was sad that she was leaving. it is so nice to have those friends that you know will always be there and you are sure will always be an important part of your life. i was sad that i couldn't have spent more time with her while she was here...but she said that she had a great time so thats all that mattered in the long run.

the following week, i had an exam and a paper due so i pretty much worked my life away. however, tuesday, was a national holiday for the Melbourne Cup. the only thing that didn't abide by the national holiday was the uni, so i had to take my bio exam that morning which was thrilling. really. thrilling. so that morning, siobhan, kristen and alycia had already left for the melbourne cup and i was still on the fence about going for after my exam. after my exam, i felt pretty good and leah and i decided to head to the cup. it was great! unlike the triple crown of the united states, there equivalent to the triple crown pretty much happens in only one week. the highlight of the week of races is the Melbourne Cup, in which is a public holiday, and there are literally hundreds of thousands people in attendance. All the women wear beautiful dresses, big hats or fascinators and look gorgeous...and all the men look extremely handsome chic in their suits. it was the most perfect day for the races...around 75 degrees, blue skies, sun shining and no sign of rain anywhere. oh, and also a minimal amount of flies (i will get those later). So, there is the melbourne cup, the crown emirate stakes day, derby day, and the oaks day....each of those days is titled after the biggest race that occurs on each day but there is a host of other races that also happen on those days. it is definitely one of the biggest days in aussie sports if not in aussie events in general. even in other big cities, everyone gets dressed up and goes and watches the races and gets trashed that night. but back to the melbourne cup. So, the horse "Efficient" ended up winning, and for the cup being my first horse race, i definitely want to go to more back home in the states because it is such a fun environment. there are many many drunk people, but all in good fun...and i love to get dressed its always an excuse for that. so definitely, a highlight of my time in Australia.

so after that afternoon break it was back to the books as i still had a paper and an exam. i pretty much locked myself in my room for about a week. but I did go out a few times to do some fun stuff. on that friday night, siobhan and I decided that we were finally going to go to perseverance which is the fun club/bar/pub that is known to play 90's music on friday nights. fun? ABSOLUTELY. it was definitely a great time and i am glad that we finally were able to go. on saturday, we had our Final IES gathering...a bbq at the village. spring/summer has definitely hit so the weather was great and it was a nice ending to a great semester of IES. i made potato salad (the first time i have ever made potato salad) and everyone said it tasted i guess i'll go with that but it wasn't mom' it couldn't have been that great! but anyways, a nice afternoon. it was also the last time the 6 of us were going to be we all just came up to siobhan & my room after the bbq and hung out for a couple of hours just enjoying our last time together as a 6. i dont think that i could have picked 5 better people to share this experience with. we are all so different but yet share so many similarities which makes us work. we don't really have any intergroup quarrels which is very nice and strange because usually with 6 girls, that is bound to happen. it wasn't until i was talking to meggie that i realized how lucky I was to have such a strong group of 5 girls that are always willing to do something with you. you never really have to go out and exploring on your own because someone is always down for it which is great. there has been so much shared between the 6 of us that no one else could possibly understand. we have too many inside jokes to remember and too many memorable quotes to forget. besides being in love with everything about australia and in love with the 6 of us. i am already dealing with the issue of how I am not sure of how I am going to go home and not come back to this place for at least two years...but i am also dealing with the realization that i also do not know when the 6 of us are going to be together like we are now. although we are already planning our reunion in the district...its going to be weird to not be able to call monica and leah downstairs every half an hour to procrastinate. and going to be weird to not have kristen and alycia come over to "do homework" or more likely just to watch a movie. but thats enough about that. we weren't just the 6. we are the 6. and we'll forever be the 6.

ok. so then sunday, monday, tuesday and wednesday was me sitting studying and doing work. all day every day. so that was pretty uneventful. on thursday after my final exam, alycia and I went to the immigration museum which was great. it is a very interactive museum and i will be putting up pictures soon. I actually learned quite a bit about australian and international history and all of the various populations of immigrants from different places around the world who live here. i definitely understand why they say that australia is one of the most diverse places. its because it clearly is. and it only gets more diverse by the day. and its wonderful. later on that evening, alycia and I went to Claire's (one of our Aussie friends from Alycia's college) art exhibit opening. it was pretty sweet. the other BIG university in melbourne is RMIT which is the royal melbourne institue of technology which is basically their equivalent to a RISD. so, all the pieces were unbelievable and i really loved claire's work. everyone was insanely talented especially only because most of them were first, and second years (more like a sophomore and a junior), but a lot of their stuff looked like it could be easily seen in MOMA. alycia and I then headed over to kristen's and we watched a movie...Sideways...not that great in my opinion but i did learn a lot about winetasting (which i am not sure how will really benefit me).

yesterday, i slept in way too late but i think my body hated me for not letting it sleep before and then alycia, kristen and I went to the Royal botanical gardens (yes, again) to just relax, read and enjoy the unbelievable 80 + weather. it actually was really hot. almost too hot if you ask me...because it was that kind of heat that if you sit in it for about 30 minutes you are sweating. and the FLIES. this is definitely something that i need to tell you about. the flies in australia are none like i have ever been exposed to in my life. in the states, once you a fly bothers you and you shew it a way, its gone. it leaves you a lone. well, not here. not only do they not leave you a lone but there are so many of them. everywhere. its awful. you can not walk down the street without being attacked by tons of them. eek and ew. they hover over you and are just a nuisance. so trust me, when i am back in the states, i will never complain about flies again because they have nothing on australian flies. last night, alycia and I met up with kristen to go to perseverance and kristen had gotten there much earlier and was in but alycia and I waited outside in line for about 30 minutes and didn't move anywhere...and then kristen came out so we ended up just heading back. but there is a huge festival down on brunswick street today and tomorrow so i am going to try and check it out.

today, kristen, leah and I went to the Myer Christmas parade. yes, a christmas parade in the middle of november in 80 degree whether. i have never been in a place where you could either go to the beach or to a christmas parade? all in all it was pretty awesome and i am really happy that i went. pictures will definitely b posted soon. then, i headed to the market to get some of my souvenir/christmas shopping done that i have been putting off for the whole semester. it actually went pretty well and i plan on finishing it tomorrow. tomorrow, tho, i have quite a few things on my schedule. not only do i want to go the market in the morning, but i also want to hit up the festival on brunswick street, the polish festival, st. kilda and go to church. boy oh boy. i do not know if it is all possible but i shall try. and i will get back to you on how successful i am. I'm definitely going to the beach on monday as I plan to have most of my stuff packed which is what i have been upto this afternoon. i can not believe that i am packing to go home. these months have flown by and an experience that i thought would never now ending an i don't know how im going to deal with it. i have seriously been considering coming back here for med school...because i do love it so much. as long as i have waited and been in anticipation to come here, i knew that i would like it but i didnt realize (i only hoped) that i would love it as much as i do. i definitely can see myself living here on a permenant basis....

ok. so thats it for now. i will definitely post before i head home. gosh, that sounds weird. but i dont think i will have my final post until after i get home so stay tuned for that too. until then, Cheers!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

who wears short shorts?

aussie boys where short shorts.

its true. its true. the aussie boys wear absurdly short shorts. i mean, I honestly have no complaint...because most of them you know. have nicely sculpted...well ya know. but i have come to the conclusion that it is from Aussie rules football. i know that i have talked a lot about Footy in the past but i am not sure if i ever mentioned that the men/boys who play wear very short shorts and tight fitting muscle shirts. it feels as though they are stuck in the sports of the 70's in the states. remember back in those days (well, i dont really remember but i have picture proof from my dad), when the pro bball players wore extremely short shorts. well thats how it is. except its 2007. its crazy. its almost like they are wearing the short spandex that girl volleyball players wear...except they are unfortunately not spandex. BUT getting back to my original point...the boys here wear these short shorts to class. yes, to class. its quite the contrast because the girls are pretty europeanly (?) overdressed, and the boys walk in with their short shorts, havaianas and polos. its actually quite funny because sometimes its only 65 degrees outside...and just because the sun is shining...they rock the short shorts. with pride. they keep rockin' em and i will keep watchin' em. haha.

well back to the rest of the week. tuesday was pretty much filled with work, errands and studying. not that interesting. wednesday was more of the same...except we had our last PA's wednesday evening. i cant believe how things are already becoming "last(s)". it feels like i just got here...and i'm getting ready to leave. it is pretty surreal, and i really don't want to talk about it. But wednesday evening was fun and thursday was more work and such and then we went to the MUSEX! party @ Puggs. it was most likely our last thursday @ puggs...but you never really know with that. it was a lot of fun though...a good way to end that tradition. friday, MEGGIE CAME!!! wooohoo! yah, so i just got a bunch of studying and work done before she got here (oh, and siobhan left for sydney on thursday), and she is in Melbourne until Nov. 5th which is really exciting. Friday night we just stayed in and went over to Kristen's and watched a movie...and a night off was definitely needed. on saturday, we went to the market in the morning, came back and chilled out, and then headed off to the royal botanical gardens. It was a beautiful Melbourne day and the gardens were equally as beautiful. Oh, and the gardens are was me, meggie and leah and I think we all underestimated the size of the gardens. but they were gorgeous and we saw at least three weddings (I would LOVE to get married here...haha) and just enjoyed the beautiful day. we then headed back to the village and relaxed before getting ready for the CASINO! woohoo! So, last night we went to the Melbourne Crown Casino which is one of the MUST DO things while you are here. so we did it. and it was great. but never needed to repeat...haha. it is absolutely MASSIVE and i have seen my share of large casinos especially in Atlantic City but it was HUGE and went on forever. The Casino is in the Crown Plaza Hotel on the River so it is absolutely gorgeous at night and packed and just insane. not only is there a huge Casino, but there are 2 big night clubs and at least 8-10 bars/pubs with live entertainment on weekends. oh, and did i mention, the MALL inside of the hotel and the largest interactive indoor amusement park, and the bowling alley? yup. well they are all inside of the Crown. I guess it is technically also known as the Crown Entertainment Complex...but its completely massive and i'm not sure it ever ends. CRAZY. but awesome. Oh! and highlight of the Casino was that we actually got to see the FIRE SHOW! the fireshow is something that appears on many postcards of Melbourne but it is rare that you actually get to see it and we did! and it was just as awesome as it looks in the postcards! i don't really need to ever go back to the Casino but it was something that was fun to do for an evening.

today was pretty lame. i am just pretty much swamped with work and such. so tomorrow will be much of the same but i do have stuff planned for she wont be bored with me! haha. but yes, i am enjoying my last days here. but i don't want to leave. and i'm not quite sure how i am going to deal with it. until next time...CHEERS!

Monday, October 22, 2007

you say aussie...i say open.

finally back on the game. not the blog game persay. but definitely the field trip game.

so i believe that i left off with a very un-interesting week. well it got better. so, on wednesday i just had classes and my last Prac! (lab) of the semester! wooohoo! that was definitely a reason for rejoicing. but it also hit me then that i only have a month left here. a month. where did it go. as much as i want to see my friends, family...etc i am not ready to leave here. the easy thing about going home in september was the fact that i was coming back to australia. but when i go home now, i wont know when i will be back (hopefully 2010) but yet. thats a ways away...and i dont really want to leave this place that i now call home quite yet.

so thursday was just more class and also we went to puggs on thursday night which was fun. it was just me and siobhan and we met up with alycia who was there with a party for one of the girls in her college. it was definitely a good time and i really just wanted to dance. and i did. and it was wonderous.

friday! finally a field trip! so spring in melbourne is finally SOLIDLY underway with consistent temperatures in the 70s-80s and it is absolutely wonderful. australians are always really happy...but they are even happier when the sun is shining. so our fieldtrip on friday, was a picnic to the RipponLea estate about 7 km outside of the city. the estate is some mansion from some guy...kind of like a Mount Vernon (not the campus, gdub...) type of place. it was an absolutely beautiful day so we took the tram into the city which was awesome because it was great to see everyone just enjoying the day. at the state library(in the middle of the CBD), everyone was sitting out on the lawns and the same went for federation square too. so the estate was south east of the city but it was only a 12 minute train ride once we got to flinders street station. none of us (me, siobhan, leah & kristen) had ever take the train before so that was an added plus to the adventure. so we got there...found our way to the estate (with the help of this adorable woman) proceeded to the lawn and had our picnic lunch. it was perfect. although the bugs are now out which is probably the only negative the nicer was great. we didn't take the tour of the inside of the mansion but we walked around the grounds of the mansion which had various lakes, gorgeous flora and fauna (yah bio) and scenery all around. so that was a really awesome field trip and you can check out pictures on my facebook photo albums.

friday night was pretty uneventful...troy was on TV so we watched that but nothing much really happened. lame. i know. but we did have a long but great day! oh and i almost forgot...we stopped at melbourne central (one of the big shopping centers in the city) to go to this store that leah bought a really cute dress at earlier that day. we all got something but then siobhan and i both bought our first pair of havaianas!!! wooohoo!!! for those who dont know, havaianas are THE international flip flop. they really don't sell them in the states but they are HUGE in australia and pretty much everywhere else. they really don't look like much but they are probably one the most comfortable pairs of flip flops...without having to wear them in...i have ever had (rainbows...once worn it might still take the cake). i bought a pair of pink ones...but i am already obsessed...and i think im going to get another pair of the special aussie ones before i leave.

saturday: so alycia and I were very excited for this day to come. for those who don't know, the australian open is not played in sydney but rather it is played in australia's sporting capital...Melbourne. so alycia and i have been saying that we were going to go to Rod Laver Arena (the center arena) of the australian open since we got here..and we finally went on saturday. we took a guided tour (only $ 9! was a steal) and toured the australian open grounds and got some amazing knowledge. there were only 5 people on our tour so it was really nice and personal (the earlier tour had 20) and we were able to spend more time and do cooler stuff. if i detailed everything that i did on the tour i would be here forever so i am just going to share the highlights. we were able to go into the pressbox...the pressbox that they WILL be using to question all of the players come january 14-27th. i sat in the seat that andy roddick, james blake, rodger federer...etc will be sitting in! we also went into the MALE changing room. AWESOME. it was actually a pretty modest place (the public locker rooms almost looked nicer) but i was in the room that the aforementioned super stars will also be in and have also been in. alycia and I like idiots went into a couple of the shower stalls...because perhaps just perhaps andy roddick and alycia's favorite, the aussie, lleyton hewitt were there. in those stalls. ahh! we also went into one of the VIP skyboxes...i'm talking $4000/match. sweeet. but the best part was definitely going onto the court at rod laver. granted, there is no court there right now...but to be standing where this wonderful championship grand slam will be played was unbelievable. unbelievable. so an interesting fact about the upcoming years australian open: we couldn't actually walk onto any of the "courts" because they have torn up all of the courts. you ask why? because this year, they are putting down a whole new type of court. the open was previously played on the Rebound Ace Court but now they are putting down a new WM Loud court which main purpose is to provide a more level playing "field". so they are moving from the standard to a dark blue. so currently all of the courts were just a layer of cement. but all in all, it was a great day! a great tour! gahh I WANT TO BE HERE FOR THE AUSSIE OPEN. they have already sold out the championship matches (aussies love their sport!). the coolest part is that because we aren't quite in season can just walk around the grounds without any worries. it obviously isn't like that once the open starts or in december...but now. yes. and it was great. supposedly, Jelena Dokic was at the park that same day but we missed her! sad day!

sunday- work work work. finals and papers just around the corner so that is what my life is now. BUT i had the best 2 hour skype conversation with my ENTIRE family...although it took away valuable studying time it made me realize all the great things i am going back home to. it also got me really excited because everyone is coming to NY for christmas this year. should be a blast. oh! and i've officially changed my ticket so i am now home for thanksgiving. although i would have rather had the extra time here...i'm going home for my mom primarily. my dad too (obvi). but my mom got really emotional about being away from me for the first thanksgiving ever. so i'm going home earlier. and i am happy about it.

that leads to today. classes. work. classes. blaahh. now-> aussie idol results show. so this week is the last week of classes!!!! CRAZY. i could go into greater depth about that...but i'm not going to. haha. so i will get back to you later in the week...have a good one! Cheers!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

can i have some tomato sauce with my chips please?

only if you want to pay 20 cents a package. yeah, thats right. tomato sauce (ketchup) costs twenty cents a package at most fast food restaurants. who knew that the rest of the world does not assume that chips come with tomato sauce? that is a very interesting observation that i have noticed in my recent adventures into various fastfood establishments to see the similarities and differences. you would think, that mcdonalds, an american company and KFC, another american company, would do the american thing...and not charge you for tomato sauce. wrong assumption. i have never lived/been to a country where tomato sauce was not automatically served with chips but here...they don't do it. for any of my friends studying in england, do they too not give you tomato sauce with chips? maybe its just the states that are different in this respect but need to hop on the bandwagon because chips are SOOO much better with tomato sauce than without. Point USA.

another thing about the fast food industry here...we have burger king, they have hungry jacks. same establishment. same owners. same whopper. different name....crazy huh? i think i actually like the name 'hungry jacks' a little more. at least, you can definitely create so many more fun jingles with that name than burger thing. i guarantee you have already started humming a tune in your head. oh and mcdonalds is obviously still mcdonalds...but their mcdonalds comes with this placed called McCafe. mmmhmmm. oohhh yeah. now McCafe doesn't just store the $ 1 hot delicious apple pies that we are all accustomed to but it has everything from chocolate cheesecake, to regular cheese cake, to a variety of pies, brownies, desserts and cookies. it is basically a bakery inside of mcdonalds and they also serve starbucks like coffee drinks and such. Come on US. catch up. australia is way ahead in this category. Point AUSSIE LAND.

maybe in the states we do have 40 cent and 50 cent cones...but if we do...i have never heard of it. thats right folks. both hungry jacks and mcdonalds both cell 40 cent and 50 cent ice cream cones respectively...and i'm not just saying that actual does include the soft serve deliciousness ice cream of your choice. 40 & 50 cents! its a steal. i pure steal. and it is QUITE delicious. and don't you worry does serve flurries here. but really. 40/50 cent cones! Point AUSSIE LAND.

unfortunately, a long with the rest of this expensive country comes the lack of dollar menu. how do you survive australia? how do you survive? so there is no dollar menu at the aforementioned establishments which leads to a very expensive fast food outing (goes against the whole point). Point USA.

oh. and there is no wendy's. god i miss those 99 cent chicken mcnuggets. Point USA.

but there is also no Taco Bell. good on ya Aussie Land, good on Ya. Point AUSSIE LAND.

however, although late nite food outings to occur for most people to these various fast food establishments. the smart ones know that your best late night munchy food comes from the coveted pizza/chinese/souvlaki/kebab/fried food deliciousness restaurant (sorta kinda) place. i know you must be thinking, can any place have all those different types of food. well, they do. and the places are usually not that large either. how they manage to pull it off, no one will ever know. but one does know that when you may have some munchies due to the consumption of a particular substance or just plain late night will find one of these places. at least a 2$ slice of pizza, a couple of dim sims, fries and a lamb kebab. yes. every last one of them in one night (just kidding...but you get the picture). oh, and they are cheap. it is melbourne's tribute to the lack of a DCsnacks program. 3 am non/fast food food. Point AUSSIE LAND.

no Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Point USA.

no Dunkin Donuts. Point USA.

Tim Tams & Cadbury Chocolate point AUSSIE LAND.

Little Italy open until 2-3 am on a weeknight...point AUSSIE LAND (this includes delicious Gelato places).

Starbucks/Gloria Jeans/Hudson's Coffee. no points allotted.

Pizza Hut/ Dominos. no points allotted.

oh. Delicious CHEAP Sushi. Point Aussie Land.

Paying for Soy Saunce, Ginger and Wasabi. Point USA.

as you can see, there are many differences and similarities between the fastfood nations of these various countries. some for the good. some for the bad. the problem is that although the people in Aussie land seem to eat smaller portions and appear to be smaller than the average american...supposedly (according to statistics and whatever), aussie land also has a major obesity problem. who knew? so i guess you have your pluses and minuses for both places. but all in all many similarities do remain.

so there is your guide to fast food in aussie land. good luck. but bring your own tomato sauce.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

lazy days

ahh yes. sadly enough, birthday week is pretty much over. well, not officially but pretty much. sad day. but the week as a whole was very solid.

wednesday: lots and lots and lots of classes. that pretty much summed up the day and i went and hung out with the family that night at the hotel. oh, and it was kristen's birthday!!! wooohooo!!! so we hit up PA's and had an awesome time and celebrated the 20th year of kristen berberich. but yes, that was pretty much wednesday. oh, and i somehow lost my AMAZING sunnies that i bought while i was home...sad sad day. perhaps i will be able to track them down around uni at some point. but doubtful.

thursday: not that interesting of a day! oh wait. just kidding. well in the morning after my class, i took the fam to the market which was an experience. we first stopped to get some breakfast and then they were overwhelmed by the amazingness of the market (as is everyone). we were there for at least 2.5 hrs and only made it through 2 rows of sheds (compared to about 20 total). they also regretted not listening to me, when i told them to wait until the market to buy their souvenirs. they still bought tons of stuff and i got a little overwhelmed just thinking about all the christmas presents and souvenirs that i have to get from the market before i come home (which is only a little over a month now...SAD SAD SAD DAY). i think i might have to start making my list and going each week and getting a few things at a time. well, then later that afternoon i had a few classes, came back and took a nap (was SOOO EXHAUSTED) and then headed over to the hotel to spend some time with the fam (last night in melbourne before going home SAD SAD DAY). so that was solid and then i just came back to the room and pretty much crashed.

friday: again...pretty boring. i went to the hotel before my 2 classes and saw the family off. i then went to my classes, and then the girls surprised kristen for her birthday present and took her on a gelato tour. so we stopped at 4 gelato places and gave her tasks to complete at each place. solid afternoon (although it was raining off and on all day). that night, it was nikki's birthday, so siobhan & i headed over to brunswick street (just for a little) to wish her a happy birthday at her 21st celebration. we were able to see her and hang out for a minute, but neither me or siobhan were in the mood for partying that night. however, we determined that brunswick street is pretty awesome ( a mix between adams morgan & georgetown...for all you district folk) and we would have to come back and create our own bar/pub/club crawl down it one evening.

saturday: it was pretty much a day filled with work. alycia and kristen came over in the afternoon to join us for work. actually, that morning...siobhan, leah and I woke up at 7 am and went and worked out! it was fantastic (i actually have skyrocketed myself back into working out). we did a very very intense sprint work out. solid. but yeah, we just did work that afternoon which eventually led us all to procrastination (duh) and then they left. we ate dinner. and got ready for our self made bar crawl down russell street (a main street downtown). it was a pretty chilly night but we had a good time. the highlight of the night was this place called trader bar. trader bar is a pretty sweet place because it is set up like the stock market and the prices of all the drinks, whether it be a cocktail, an american beer, a european beer...etc all fluctuaed every 12 minutes like the stock market. SOOOO COOL. i know your jealous. but yes. so saturday night was solid.

sunday: more work and we also had a bbq in the courtyard which was nice. i went to church this afternoon which was awesome as usual (i've missed it for about the past month since i haven't been here) and now that leads me here. doing pretty much nothing except watching tv and not doing work. well...tomorrow night should be a lot of is andrew's 21st birthday and we also have another bbq before that. so it should be a really fun night.

i have some observations...but i'm getting lazy. so i'll post them later. g'day!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

and with an element of surprise...

ahh yes. so among many things that have happened since i last posted, the most important is obviously the fact that i recently turned 20! woohoo! although i believe that even prior to the day, i was already having a quarter life crisis, and though i dont feel any different...its true. im 20. but more about that later.

sunday we went to the blue mountains which was great. it was absolutely gorgeous up there and although the blue mountains aren't "blue" per say, the mist that comes down over them is blue and it was captivating. it was nice to get out of the hustle and bustle of sydney (although i do want to go back before i leave), and just enjoy the beauty of australia for a day. the fam enjoyed it too which was nice. it was definitely worthy of the top 10 list of things i wanted to see in australia, and i think that if you come should definitely go check them out too. in comparison, for those of you who have been to the grand had the same sort of feel except it had trees?...if that makes any sense to you instead of just rock. it also wasn't quite on the same aspect of the grand canyon but i think thats the most similar thing to it (that i have seen) in the states. i got to see the three sisters, these cool rock formations off one of the mountains which was pretty awesome and also a pretty sweet waterfall. i think the craziest part about the mountains themselves is that they are very vast but not connected by sight? i'm not sure how much sense that just made...but in order for you to get to other parts of the mountains you have to drive every which way to see all the parts of it.

for lunch, we stopped in this really cool town called Leurna which on that day had a huge garden festival going on. it was very very very small mountain town (all of them were), but for the garden festival what happens is that all the members of the community have these unbelievably beautiful gardens and on that day...everyone opens up their back yards or whatever and you can just go in and out and see everyones gardens. pretty sweet/crazy ya think? we didn't go into anyone's gardens because i think thats pretty weird but there was also a huge market/festival going on in the main street of the town which we paroused for a while. there were various arts and crafts vendors, food and all that. this just added to my list of another cool market that i've been to in australia. i believe that they are very popular around here because i am pretty sure that you can find one anywhere in australia on any weekend. its a pretty cool culture though. oh, and one of the best parts of the market/festival was this turkish food vendor. they were selling these things called g
รถlezme which was delicious. it is almost like a very very very thin pita like bread that they put spinach, cheese and minced beef in and almost cook it like a quesadilla. DELICIOUS. if you are ever in turkey, or ever go to a turkish restaurant or whatever...get that.

after lunch, we headed off to the wildlife park. now, i have had my share of wildlife parks and the fam went to the zoo the other day so i wasn't sure about this part of the tour but it ended up being awesome. they got to get up, close and personal with the kangaroos and koalas which i believe they enjoyed and the highlight for me was the LITTLE PENGUINS!!! now, although i told you a while ago when i went to phillip island that was the primary reason. however, if you also remember i told you that we were not allowed to take pictures of them...but at the park we were so now i have pictures of the little penguins and they were adorable. sweet life.

on the way back, before we took the river cruise, we stopped at the olympic park which was awesome. i wish we had more time (i only had10 minutes) because i couldn't see everything...which was dissapointing but to just to be there was great. loved it (and i want to go back for longer)! oh, and i also decided that i MUST get to china next summer for the olympics. somehow, someway...i gotta get there.

monday morning we headed to melbourne and i was just so excited to have them finally come to my city. it was an early flight but i made it back in time for my classes which was good. i took them to lygon street for a little bit on monday but they were pretty exhausted and just relaxed for the day. monday night also began my & kristen's birthday festivities. the remaining four, took us on a surprise dinner trip to the Pancake Parlour and it was delicious! we all had pancake desserts for dinner and it was a swell way to begin the bday celebration. i had pancakes topped with hot apples with cinnamon and cream and it was AMAZING. we all decided that we would definitely go back there again sometime.

tuesday= BIRTHDAY!!!Wooohooo! the family wen't on a day trip to the great ocean road and they loved it which was great. i only had two classes so i went to them, had lunch with alycia and siobhan at st. marys, and then went into the city and had some karri birthday time. it was perfect. i bought myself a crepe which was delicious before heading back to the village to do some work. last night, we went out to dinner with the fam to this very good italian restaurant on lygon street. i had tiger prawns (shrimp) with risotto and it was delicious. but we definitely saved the best for last with dessert. i had STICKY DATE PUDDING (cake)...obviously and it was delicious. i made mom, yvette and bishop taste it as well and they enjoyed it equally. the biggest surprise of the evening was when siobhan and i returned to our room after dinner. i opened the door and was welcomed with a "surprise" from the remaining four with insane decorations and stuff everywhere. i had no idea! they got me! it was perfect though. i don't think that i could have asked for a better way to end my bday and for a better group of friends to end it with. ahh, i love the 6 so much and am already getting sad to think about how i am going to deal with not having them a mile away at any point during the day. they bought me a freddo ice cream cake which although i was stuffed from dinner, we still ate it and it was still delicious. but yes, so i had a wonderful bday and the bday celebrations aren't stopping because today its kristen's bday (surprises are in the works), tomorrow is george's and friday is nikkis. i guess you know what i'll be doing all weekend...muahaha.

well, i think that is it for now. i have some more important observations to share with you but i must be off to class now. until then, Cheers!!