Monday, July 30, 2007

capsicum= pepper...

so i wasn't quite prepared for all the random different words in australian english versus american english...but many do exist and although they at first take you off guard, you eventually begin to get the jist and understand what is what. like a capsicum = pepper and a mandarin= clementine (because they dont officially grow clementines here...) so yes. small but yet important differences which become particulary useful when you are trying to purchase food at the market. oh, but this "capsicum" thing got me thinking. i guess they only refer to our equivalent of a bell pepper which is good...because then i started wondering, would there be such a thing as black capsicum (Black pepper) or would you have grounded black capsicum in your seasoning cabinet...they need to be more descriptive about these things.

anyways the past week has been pretty pretty good. wednesday night we went out to this pub called Prince Alfred's but the aussies just refer to it as dirty P.A.'s. it really wasnt that dirty for most of the was actually a lot of fun. we met some cool aussies and after we got there and for the duration of the night there was a long line to get in. it was awfully strange. it really wasn't a place that I would ever wait to get into...but what ya gonna do? oh, and it eventually did become a little dirty when the crowd shifted from uni kids to a strange older crowd. but the place was big enough that you only had to brush shoulders with the awkward crowd when attempting to make it to the bathroom. overall, a fun night. and who doesn't love new aussie friends...

thursday there was class. which was fine. and then we stayed in...monica came up and we proceeded to eat lots of cadburry chocolate (SO ADDICTING) and watch 6 episodes of sex & the city. it was a pretty awesome evening. and im not being sarcastic at all. friday i had 1 class which was fine. half way across the world and i still cant get rid of these friday classes. they just seem to be attracted to me or something. anyways...siobhan and I then went shopping and walking around the city for the afternoon. we both picked up a couple of things and found the 5th avenue of melbourne which was pretty sweet. we also found some interesting and cool alleyways (this city is filled with them) so it was overall a very nice little afternoon on the town.

friday night is when things sorta got interesting. so andy and louis found this club to go to and so we all trekked into the city to go there. now, if you know know that i dont believe in paying to go into clubs. i dont therefore i feel no need to pay to go anywhere ESPECIALLY in this city when mostly every other club, pub or bar is free. so, we get to this club which is in an alley off of an alley (its a little crazy, i know) and they want us to pay an $8.00 cover. now, this is fine...but i had no intentions of paying anything...i didnt even bring money out with me because i wasnt paying to get in anywhere. siobhan and i had the same feelings. so we left. the boys stayed (which we wanted them too) but we bounced and found our way to COOKIE, a sweet rooftop bar/club place. 'lo and behold we ran into some friends there and ended up hanging out with them for the night and went to this other club called Euro Trash (in which we pretty much just sat around, chilled out and observed the interesting style of Aussie Dance). but it was good night. solid.

saturday we went on adventure. it was great. so I'm all about seeing all the sites that this city has to offer because lets be serious...when will i be able to again? so we decided to take a field trip to the Shrine of Remembrance (the melbourne equivalent of the WWII memorial, washington monument...etc). it was me, siobhan, monica, alycia, kristen and andrew and it was an awesome trip. we walked there...a nice long 45 minute hike but it was definitely worth it and we took numerous pictures on the way there and once we got there. it was a gorgeous piece of history that everyone was stoked that we got to see. our parents would've been proud. saturday night it just ended up being me, siobhan and kristen chilling out at puggs just talking. it was a nice mellow evening.

sunday, i went to church. finally. although it was an interesting experience (it was VERY VERY asian), it was good just to be at church again with other people who believe what i believe. i really just needed that. so it was a successful sunday morning. i then proceeded to do laundry and work for the rest of the day before our wonderful IES family dinner on sunday night...potluck style. it was delicious and awesome. its going to be a weekly event.

yesterday there was school again. im thinking one of these days...i wont have to go to class anymore but school here is nice. im not complaining. but last night we had an event at the village so kristen, alyica and andrew came over and hung out for a while before and then we made our way downstairs...met some more people who live in the village and just hung out. it was a very nice evening that didnt require a lot of im always down for that. oh wow. i almost forgot the most exciting thing about yesterday. I ROWED. yes! finally. so i dragged myself out of bed at 10 minutes to 5 (yes, in the morning) and ran my little butt down to the river to find the boathouse. it was raining. but it was perfect. everyone seems nice sofar and although the row was pretty awful, it was nice to be back in a boat again...on the water. the aussies are fun and im looking forward to rowing more with them. its nice because rowing here is very casual so they only practice twice a week which is PERFECT for me so yea, im stoked.

alright. that leads to today. pretty uneventful sofar. and i think its going to be one of those days but im content with that. im very very very sore from yesterday but i will try and eventually make my way down to the gym later this afternoon. perhaps. but i'm going to get some reading and work done (aka probably take a nap) and see what the afternoon brings. so thats all for now. will post in a few days. g'day mate!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

and so it officially begins...

so classes started this week. whooaaa there. wasn't quite expecting those to actually happen...but they did and i think im becoming a better person for it. haha. but lets re track back to this weekend. i mean, honestly, it really wasn't that interesting. i went out originally to the Turf Club next door with everyone but then i got bored, so i left and came back upstairs and went to sleep. i was just burnt out from the week chock full o'stuff. on saturday, we went into the city...per usual...and explored some more but that was good. got some crepes that were delicious and found some nice little shopping stops for the future. saturday night, we all stayed in and everyone came up to our room to watch the footy game. it was a good evening. however, all of us were a little "p-o'ed" at andy and louis because they actually WENT to the game and didnt tell anyone. losers. but we all had a good time just chilling and capped our night off with some gelato on lygon street which wasn't as good as the other place we had went to...but at least we know that now for the future.

sunday is when the sickness hit me. not home-sickness...actually sickness. it was nooo good. i basically stayed in bed all day long and was miserable. i was really annoyed because it was the day before the first day of classes and i was sick. so, that was sunday.

monday the first day of classes hit and i was miserable. worse than sunday but i trenched my way torridly through my 4 classes...with a nice 1.5 hr nap in between. but all i wanted to do for the entire day was go to sleep. all day long. it was actually the most miserable first day of classes that i've ever dealt with because i was sick but im glad the last couple of days have trumped monday.

so tuesday and wednesday were alright though. classes here are really really really big. put it this way, my global politics class is in a theatre that probably seats about 300 people and there are still people sitting in the aisles and in the back of the theatre because there is no room. insane, i know. i really like that class, my european history class (my old professor is adorable) and im starting to kinda dig my genetics & the evolution of life course. i had my "prac" today (lab) which was very overwhelming when i got there. so i get there...on time and what not and im used to a lab with maybe 15 people max and there is about 100 people in my lab. LAB. a little crazy, ya think? but, i get there...and then everyone starts whipping out their white lab coats from their bags and i start getting a little worried. NO ONE gave me the memo that i needed to BUY a lab coat. i mean, really? we don't do that in the states. no worries though...i was able to rent one for the class free of charge...but you know where I went after my classes buy a lab coat. books are also cheaper here overall which is nice...but still expensive thats that. but i was really scared of "prac" and it ended up not being that hopefully it goes well this semester because its 25% of your grade! crazy. i know. i've also learned that for most classes you really dont have to go to lecture here. honestly, the professors dont really say much besides what they put online...but i'm going to go anyways because going to class here is kinda fun. i mean, classes are only 1 hour long and actually end up usually only being 45 minutes so its different...but nice.

i've also tried to be very observant about things know taking everything in. so here are some differences that i've noticed from the states. 1) its ok to eat by yourself here...its actually more than ok...its normal. i feel that in the states its basically weird and almost socially unacceptable to eat by yourself but here everyone does it and no one thinks your a loner or anything. 2) there building can be very deceiving. some of the academic buildings are gorgeous on the outside and inside...and then some are pretty standard and plain looking on the outside, but on the inside they are crazy hi-tech and gorgeous. its a little strange. 3) the price of eating here is actually least compared to DC. not only can you get a sushi roll for $2.00, yes 2.00 but also everything else is really cheap too. you can eat a full lunch for about 5.00 here but back home...its about 10.00. its actually really strange because things tend to be more pricey here in terms of food usually but then its cheaper? i dont really know...4) people get really really really dressed up to go to class. this was the shocker. they told us to be cautious of this when we were packing to come here but i thought they were over-exaggerating...definitely not. its a true statement. you will rarely find a girl wearing sweats (and if they do...they get strange looks). and not only do the girls and guys get dressed. they get dressed. skinny jeans, leather boots, sweaters, skirts with tights...the works. its intense. i thought that i got dressed up to go to haven't seen anything. i think its definitely more similar to europe in this sense and especially in the fashion sense.

alright. well, i think thats definitely enough for now. i really haven't been out in a few days due to my illness but i think im going to go hang out tonight. on a wednesday night? i know...scandalous. haha. so, hopefully that'll be a good time which i'm sure it will be because all the australians are here now! yay! i'll probably be updating on friday or saturday so until then...

g'day mate!

Thursday, July 19, 2007


so this week has overall been pretty chill. monday night kicked off re-o week which stands for "re-orientation" at the village. we had two live bands on monday, one who was a wanna be Linkin Park and the second was a cover band, who was awesome. its so much easier to dance and have an awesome time when you actually know the songs! so kristen, andrew, and alycia came over from their colleges to visit all of us at village and we had an AWESOME time. i love that we're a group of kids who can just have an awesome time together and really dont need other people. its great.

on tuesday, we really didnt do too much. we went to the sports club and societies expo because siobhan mainly wanted to sign up for horseback riding which was successful, so im happy for her. i got some information about the womens basketball club, so i'm going to see if its possible to fit in my schedule but Crew starts next i'm not sure how that'll work out. we also found out that their is a women's footy club, so if that is a minimal time commitment, then i might just learn how to play footy with alycia and kristen which would be awesome to say the least. yea, tuesday was not really an interesting day...we had the re-o week pubcrawl (whats new) but we(the boys and us) just met them at puggs because it started at 630 (WAYYY TO EARLY). we met our neighbors when we went to puggs so that was cool and some other kids at the village but it was their 4th pub so everyone was pretty plastered. tuesday was probably my first "ok" day in melbourne.

wednesday was a little more exciting. we registered for classes (i have class everyday which im not thrilled about) and then the 4 (siobhan, alycia, kristen & me) went into the city to target, big W, and safeway and picked up some stuff (a toothbrush holder) before we went on a 4 outing to see harry potter at the IMAX theatre. IT WAS AWESOME. so, melbourne is home to the biggest IMAX screen in the southern hemisphere so it was huge, and then the last 20 minutes was in 3-d!!!! it was amazing. i'm not really even into harry potter like most people but it was pretty sweet. oh, we also had got dinner at this spud place on lygon street which was delicious. De-licious.

yesterday, we finally were able to get all of our ID's...our uni ID and our student union ID (which has an amazing amount of perks). the 4 of us also figured out all of our tutorials and all that and I got my chemistry stuff worked out which is good. we then went into the city and just hung out and explored a little bit. it was a nice little afternoon. oh, we also went to Myer which is basically their huge department store. but its more than just a department store. its pretty much life. it has basically a foodcourt, a grocery, plus absurd amounts of clothes...its about 3 streets long and 4 stories high. its insane. we all ended up getting eye make-up done at myer which was fun! such girls, i know. we then went to dinner at the overseas christian fellowship meeting which i obviously enjoyed but everyone enjoyed the food. de-licious once again. it was asian food...very good asian food and everyone was crazy nice. it was good because although it was pretty much an Asian christian organization, i was able to link up with some people to go to church with on sunday which im pumped about.

last night we went to puggs (whats new) and it was INSANELY crowded. it was fun though per usual. it was good to see all of our other international and american friends who we havent seen in a few days and there was also a crazy amount of australian students there but it definitely wasn't really a night to make new friends. way tooo many people. way too many drunk people. haha. well, today is pretty much a nice relaxing day which is definitely needed. oh, and yesterday and i went for a run to the river! finally! it was actually very nice and it wasn't that far and im soooo excited to row on monday!

but yeah, today we're going to go to the QV market and thats pretty much all thats on the agenda. for the last night of re-o week (oh last night was casino night..and everyone was decked out in their casino royale attire, but we didnt get the memo so we were crazy underdressed when we walked in...even the boys were decked out)...but back to tonight, there is a DJ at the bar/club next that should be fun. per usual, all of our non-village friends are going to come over so it should be a lot of fun. well, thats pretty much all for now. i'll update after the weekend is over....g'day mate!

Monday, July 16, 2007

getting settled

well hello there. so quite a bit has happened since i last posted. back to melbourne welcome-> we had formal dinner that night and it was nice...the very important people at the head table had to wear robes so that was interesting. dinner was very good, they served us and wine was also included in the meal so pretty much everyone was excited about that. however, i heard that the wine was pretty i guess take it for what it is. that night, we went to puggs again and the previous night it was a lot of fun but the second night far surpassed the first. the second night there was a live band and american music (when the band wasn't on) so i was happy to just go crazy dancing with my amazing IESers. it was an awesome time...i really love that guys dont dance up on you here. they just go crazy with you. so much better then DC.

the following day, we went to the melbourne zoo and then to the footy game. the zoo was a lot of fun until it started raining which was completely lame...and even then it was still is a lot of fun. we spent a lot of time looking at the elephants and the orang-u-tans which was awesome. we saw a koala but he was sleeping so that was cool but kinda lame all at the same time. there were a lot of cool animals at the zoo so despite the rain that was a lot of fun.

later that night it was off to the footy game. it was AWESOME. its by far my new favorite sport. its basically a mix of rugby, soccer and football with no pads. although we went to see two teams that are basically at the bottom half of the was such a close game that it was awesome. i think its awesome that this whole country is so into this sport. there is nothing quite like it in the US, so im basically in love with this game and will be going to many more in the near future. oh, and the game was at the telestra dome which is an awesome arena that sits about 80,000 people...compared to most US arenas that sit 40,000. the telestra dome is sooo cool but im really excited to see a game at the MCG which seats 100,000 and that is where playoffs and finals are held, so hopefully we'll be able to get tickets to that.

a lot of the other stuff we did is all confused in my head...but we went to the beach just to see where it is and how to get there one morning. the beach is in st. kilda which is a suburb of melbourne and it was really pretty. we were a little unprepared for the 40 minute tram ride that it took to get there but when we got there it was definitely worth it to see the ocean again. a bitter cold but morning spent well.

i think it was that night...or some night we had trivia night. it sounds lame...but it actually it was a lot of fun! who knew that random facts about australia and its culture and all that could be fun...i sure didnt. i mean, i think it was a lot more fun for most people because they provided alcoholic beverages but for me...we just answered questions bizarrely and had a good time. oh, it was actually that night (the second time) that we went to puggs...but thats irrevelant.

fast forward i guess a couple of days...our last night of melbourne welcome, they took us out to dinner at an italian restaurant on lygon street (which is basically little italy in melbourne) and it was a lot of fun...then we went on a pub crawl which was cool. it ended up being a pretty early night which we were all fine with because we were pretty exhausted after the past couple of days. oh, we also slept back at the village for the last two nights of melbourne welcome because we all decided that our beds in the village were not only OUR beds but also much more comfortable.

sunday we officially checked out of melbourne welcome and then headed back to the village before going to Queen Victoria Market to pick up many groceries. queen victoria market is a world renown part of melbourne because its basically eastern market (in DC) x 100,000. its awesome. produce, meat, fish, souvenirs for SOOO CHEAP. its fantastic. i cant even explain how amazing this place is. sunday night we went to this MUSEX! dinner, which is the uni's study abroad/exchange group. so it was good chance to meet other study abroad/exchange students that i hadn't met before. there are alot of international students so its actually really great meeting all of these people from ALL-OVER the world. after dinner, we went to the Night Cat which is a really sweet lounge/bar place. when we got there, they were giving rumba lessons, so that was interesting but its definitely an awesome place (a little far from the village) but definitely a place that i would go back to. we also saw all of these awesome looking lounges and places with live entertainment, so those places will definitely be revisited in the future.

today, we had our first official university briefing. it was the normal stuff but it was awesome because we found out about a bunch of field trips around the country. pretty much, our entire group signed up for two to phillip island (which has koalas, penguins and all that amazing stuff) and the great ocean road which is a must see of the state of victoria. so i'm sooo pumped for those. i love that our entire group is so close and is going on all of these adventures together because despite all the awesome people i've met over the last few days, i definitely want to travel with my IES group because our bond is so special! haha, i'm so cheesy. this afternoon, we went into the city and got some stuff from safeway(yes, they have safeway here) and Big W(there equivalent of walmart). tonight begins re-o week in the there are activities and things going on every night, so that should be a lot of fun. they have a live band we'll see how that goes!

so, the next week is pretty much all university orientation things. a lot of optional sessions but also a lot of important stuff like registering for classes, and getting our uni ID's. i'm pretty in love with this place and everything. i'm so happy! ahh! uni is pretty laid back here so that is also nice...and i'm also happy because you dont have a lot of classes here, so there are chanced that i'll have close to a 4 day weekend...

so, thats all for now. i'm going to try and be more regular with this thing so i dont have to write about 5 days in one entry. g'day mate!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

welcome to melbourne

so after we got back from our insanely amazing orientation trip, we went out to find a place to celebrate alycia's birthday. after we all clearly looked American parousing the streets of melbourne we found an empty bar on lygon street (it was a tuesday night). it was fun because it was just us but then some of it was a little lame because it was just us. however, I do love my IES groupies so any time with them is amazing.

on monday morning, we departed for the melbourne welcome and the best part of the adventure is that the university is really only a 5 minute walk from the village. so when we got to janet clarke hall, which is a residential colleges (our version of a dorm) I ended up being very content with my decision to not live in a residential college. although it is nice experience for a couple of days, i would absolutely go crazy having to share a bathroom with however many people on that hall. also, i really like having a roomate which is something that ive recently found out. although, i do enjoy my personal space...i think that the set up in the village is perfect with the privacy of having your own space but also having a roomie right there too. i will post pictures of the room later (when im back in the village) on my own computer.

so, back to the melbourne welcome. melbourne welcome is the orientation to the city of melbourne for the international(american and non-australian) students that the school puts on. it is not the university orientation...more just an orientation to the campus, city and a way for us to know how to find our way around. however, the first day was pretty lame...lame enough that me, siobhan, monica, vijay and andy ended up bailing in the middle of the inappropiate 7th grade get to know you games. we definitely pulled a "do you have to go to the bathroom". so, we ended up crusing around erroll street for 45 minutes just looking into all the shops and cafes to see what was around. Erroll street and Lygon street seem two of the more busy streets in the north melbourne area around the university. lygon street goes all the way down into the eventually we will get down there. when we got back after our little adventure, it was dinner time (each college has their own cafateria...another reason im happy im living in the village) so that was good and then they rented out the top floor of the local uni pub called Puggs so everyone went out there.

puggs was fun...of course it was really just a social scene for me (seeing that i dont drink) but I like that here, its fine if you dont drink. it was a really fun night because we finally got to meet up with the other half of our IES group who was in a different college for the Melbourne welcome (so they were doing different activities during the day and we didnt get to see them). im utterly surprised how the fact that we are already so close in just a matter of days. i genuinely missed all of them throughout the it was definitely alwesome hanging out with them again. the melbourne welcome is nice, but not to be mean or anything...but im not really here to meet more americans. i love i'll take it for what it is but besides my IESers i dont really care to meet more americans...i do that when i'm home. so, hopefully some more australians are going to be coming back to the uni soon(they're on break) and then i will be more content.

sofar today we went on a tour of the campus, which is HUGE but very doable and nice. its weird actually having a campus now coming from GW where we dont really have a campus persay in the city. but the uni is definitely a campus. yea, oh and they call their university "uni" so i will be using that as the slang. easier to type too. after lunch, we're going on a scavenger hunt through the city which i am very excited about. we FINALLY get to go downtown and explore which is definitely what ive been waiting for. however, one thing that im not thrilled about is the 27.50 i had to spend on a tram card. the tram is DC's equivalent of a metro except it is above ground and more of a electric card. but basically its so much easier to get around the city using the tram opposed to walking (just like DC or any other big city). but 27.50 for a week? thats a little insane so my tram riding will have to be limited to some degree or im going to have to find a cheaper way to ride because its a little ridiculous.

so, thats it for now...i'll probably update on saturday or sunday after melbourne welcome is over. tomorrow, we're going to the zoo and to an AFL game (aussie footie...theyre crazy version of american football) so that should be awesome. oh, and tonight we have formal dinner...i didnt even have that at hotchkiss! but, it should be nice so we'll see. i'll talk to ya soon. oh, and i still love it here...if you were wondering.

g'day mates!

Monday, July 9, 2007

a kangaroo...what?

well. i love it here. i'm obsessed is pretty much what it comes down to.

so, on Sunday morning before we were to depart for our orientation trip, siobhan and I went on a mini adventure to find some coffee and breakfast. it was a nice little adventure that pretty much taught us that Melbourne is one of those cities that is pretty much shut down on a sunday morning. however, we did find this nice little cafe on Erroll Street which is a pretty popular street in north melbourne (where "the village-our apartments) is. so this cafe had absolutely delicious looking omelettes, french toast, waffles and everything but we were a little pressed for time so we both just had a spinach and ricotta cheese filo. A filo is sort of a a triangular wrap sort of thing...its a little hard to describe so the next time i have one, i'll take a picture to show what i'm talking about. we also learned some important lingo in the wonderful world of coffee. This was an important lesson because lord knows that i need my coffee. so here, a cup of black coffee is a "flat". a cup of black coffee with milk is a "flat white" and if you want skim milk, its a "flat white skinny". so, thats that. the coffee and a filo were both delicious, so we will definitely be frequenting that cafe and next time hopefully for one of their delicious omelettes.

when we returned to the village to be picked up for our orientation trip, i dont think anyone knew what quite to expect. however, the entire orientation trip was the most amazing surprise ever. i learned many things over the past couple of days including that i absolutely love my IES group. i'm glad that we have a small group because that has allowed for us to get crazy close in only three days. everyone is so chill and down to earth, up for anything and just wants to have a good time.

for our orientation trip we were going to the Grampians national park in the middle of the state of victoria, about 3 1/2 hours west of Melbourne. on the way to the grampians, we stopped for lunch at this winery in the Australian Pyrenees mountains. the winery was absolutely beautiful and the food was amazing. this was the first of many pleasant surprises. after an absolutely delicious lunch, we went on a short tour of the winery and had a wine tasting. Luigi, the owner of the winery was the cutest old italian-australian man you will ever see. not only was his accent adorable, but he was very interestingly knowledgeable about the process of making their wine and all that. so, not only did i find myself so intrigued in the process of the wine making but just taking it all in that i was at my first wine tasting in australia. i mean, who knew?

that night we made it to the hostel that we were staying in for the next couple of nights. we were all pretttty exhausted and jetlagged by the time we got there so we ended up just having delicious burgers and such for dinner and then passing out pretty early.

the next day we got up and many people were up early to enough to go and hang out with the kangaroos. unfortunately for me, i was in the shower during these kangaroo adventures so i missed them. sad day. we ate breakfast, had our first orientation meeting with liz and luke (who are awesome), had lunch and then went off on the days adventure. after 30 minutes of riding in a pretty uncomfortable bus on dirt roads in the mountains, we finally arrived at our stop for the day in the grampians national park. we met earl( who is awesome) and he ran us through the beginnings of how to rock climb, boley (i dont think thats how you spell it) and we got harnessed in our gear and such and set off to find the mountain that we needed to conquer.

i'm not gonna lie...i was FREEKING OUT. i dont rock climb. i never have. and when i've tried, it was up one of those malkin climbing walls at hotchkiss not under my own choice. so, the idea of me, climbing a real mountain was proposterous. when we arrived at the climbing spot, i was like NO FRIGGIN WAY, but of course i was going to do it anyways...because come on i'm in Australia for goodness sake. I pretty much let everyone go before me before i attempted to climb up the "easiest" way but I made it and it was awesome. the view from the top was unbelievable and I had a great time getting up there. I think that i actually really like climbing a lot more than i thought i would. it was really awesome because everyone climbed more than once and made it to the top. i mean usually in a group like this you would find one or two people who would be uncomfortable in doing something like this but everyone was up for the challenge and everyone was supportive throughout the whole thing, it was awesome. after the rock climbing, we all took turns to go abseiling (rappelling) down the mountain. now, that WAS AWESOME. we hiked up that same mountain that we had been rock climbing up and the view was...breath taking to say the least. i will definitely post pictures later. we were rappelling about 6 stories down which is a little less than the floor i lived on this year in munson. unreal. at first when you're getting ready to step BACKWARDS off that cliff, you are freaking out. i was going a little crazy. but once you get that jump its awesome. like a roller coaster awesome...except better. i started swinging around and everything but when you get to the bottom, you're sad because you just want to do it all over again. ah, it was the best day ever.

that night when we got back, we chilled out for a while before going out to dinner to this really nice restaurant in the middle of nowhere grampians mountains. many people had the kangaroo (which i was interesting) and just continued to get to know each other. i sat at the smaller table at the restaurant so when dessert time came, we had the best idea. there were 6 of us at the table, and 7 dessert naturally we all chose one of each dessert and then when around the table counter clockwise. BEST IDEA EVER. (we left our the vanilla ice cream, for those of you wondering).

when we got back to the hostel, we just hung out for a while before hitting the sack around 11 (which was a huge deal in our jetlagged minds...)

this morning, i finally got to see my kangaroos. we got up early and went to hang out with them and it was awesome. i will definitely be posting more pictures later but they are definitely a really SWEET animal. before setting off back to melbourne, we went on a bush walk (which was basically a hike through the woods) to a waterfall. it was absolutely gorgeous. i'm pretty convinced that this is definitely the most beautiful island that is a country that is a continent on earth. we took tons of more pictures (obvi), hung out in town and then got back on the bus to melbourne.

this weekend was awesome. i couldnt be more excited for the semester. although i know that things might not be as adventurous when school starts, im still pretty in love with this place already and am just so excited for what the next 5 months has to offer. G'day Mates!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

i'm here. really? no way...

i would be completely lying to you if I said that I cant believe that I am actually here. Am I glad to be here? I'm not quite sure yet but the future looks a bit promising.

as i boarded the plane from JFK to LA on Thursday afternoon, I teared up walking down the ramp onto the plane just leaving my mom. this was no ordinary departure, rather a departure from things known and comfortable. You would think that after being accustomed to leaving my parents for the past 6 years, it would be no problem for me this time. But this time, there was something different. There was the acknowledgment that I was no longer an hour or 5 hour drive away, but rather I was going to be a 18 hour plane ride around the world. my parents have realized this for the past 4 months while I have been deciding and preparing for this journey, but it wasn't until I was on my way down that ramp and on that plane seated with my carry-ons in stow and my book on my lap, that it finally clicked to me the absolute ridiculousness of what I was getting ready to do.

i began to tell myself that it was too late to turnback because i had begged my parents for this opportunity, and there was no way that I was going to go back...but then there was this feeling of doubt that I wasn't really ready for this journey. i doubted my level of responsibility. i doubted my ability to travel alone. i doubted my ability to live in another country. i doubted me. however, amidst this doubt i also realized that there was no way to turn back. as the plane began to reverse slowly in preparing for departure, i knew that this was it. i'm going and i cant go back now.

LAX. thank god for siobhan. i don't know if i would be able to make this journey without knowing that she was in it with me all the way. as we met up in LA, i think we both realized that finality of our decisions but we assured each other that this opportunity was worth the adventure. i'm so glad that Cavy came to see me at the airport even if we only got to talk for 5 minutes. just her being there for those 5 minutes, to see a familiar face and to give me something to work towards (for crew) while i'm away was perfect. it was the perfect way for me realize that everyone will still be here when i get back, so this is something that i need to do.

QANTAS AIRWAYS is definitely the way to fly, if you want to visit. basically, each person has their own personal on demand TV, in which you can watch whatever newly released movie, random tv show, play a game or listen to music. it was AWESOME. so besides friday not existing for me and me sleeping for probably 8-10 hours on the flight, i watched the 300, music & lyrics, 2 episodes of House and 2 episodes of Everybody loves raymond. gosh it was a sweet flight.
after those 18 hours from LAX to Auckland, New Zealand we deboarded the plane to stretch our legs, call home and see what the Auckland airport had to offer. it was a pretty airport but thats all i really have about that.

landing in melbourne australia. i think siobhan summed it up best when she said, "well, it definitely looks like Australia". as we descended into melbourne, you could see the beauty that the land of australia behold. you could see the city scape on the briskly 38 degree winter Melbourne morning. you could however not see any kangaroos, but hopefully they will come soon. ;) but i still couldn't believe i was there. really? its still pretty surreal that i'm completely across the world. even as tonight when we finally met most of our group and began to get acquainted with each other, it still doesn't feel like i'm here. perhaps the jetlag has something to do with this subreality that i am currently undertaking. perhaps.

tomorrow we leave for the Grampings which is our IES program's 3 day orientation trip. it looks like its going to be a lot of fun and i'm really excited about it; however, slightly saddened because originally we were supposed to go to Phillips Island to see the Penguins, Koalas and seals but I guess I will just have to make that trip on my separate time. The Grampings is one of the state of Victoria's hidden treasures but before we get there, we are stopping for lunch to have a wine tasting...jealous much? siobhan was very excited about this, as you can imagine. so hopefully, after these few days exploring some of the beauty of australia i will have many many pictures to show for and will be closer to the realization that i am actually here. until then...g'day mate! haha...

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

not quite there yet

back from vacation and flipping out that i'm leaving in two days for australia. what???