Tuesday, August 28, 2007

don't tell me melbourne that i never gave you anything...

so my morning was so interesting that i couldn't even wait to post what happened. the following story is pretty much my # 1 most embarassing moment ever, so enjoy friends. laugh it out.

this morning at practice, it was finally decided that i needed to learn how to scull. for all of you non-rowers that means rowing with both arms by yourself in a small boat. i was excited to finally learn how to do this because it is a very useful way to train. now, in the states from what i gather, usually when you first learn how to scull its very hands on. you have people helping you, directing you what exactly you need to do in order to not fall in and actually move the boat. well, australia is not an individualistic culture but they are definitely not hands on in regards to sculling.

so, ian (one of the coaches) told me what boat to get, what oars to use and such. but then...he was gone. he had left down the river in his speed boat coaching his 4. I then gather that I am supposed to just figure it out on my own. thank god for really nice old men at the boat club who helped me put the boat together, and get off the dock because i probably wouldn't have even made it on the river without them.

i'm on the river and have absolutely no idea what i'm doing. not only am I zig zagging every where but I am incredibly off balance and i'm scared for my life. my goal was not to crash into anything...which i succeeded at, so that was a positive of the morning. but yes, back to the horrific sculling. all i was thinking when i was barely creeping down the river was "if I had someone teaching me what to do right now, I would be so much better off". however, that was not the case so i decided to suck it up and figure out how to do this. i started with arms only which ended up being not that bad and i started getting the hang of it a little. i slowly added my back into it, and i eventually even made it to quarter slide but then thats where things turned ugly.

as i have slowed down again (numerous times) to regain my balance and stability in the boat, i see a quad coming rapidly towards me. once again let I remind you that I was told NOTHING. at this point i am thinking "you know what would've been great karri, if ian would've told you what to say when another Boat is HEADING TOWARDS YOU". hmm yes, that would've helped. by the time i yelled "sculler", it was all too late. they didn't crash into me but we got a little tangled up. so as we were trying to push away from each other, it all ended. somehow someway, i ended up in the water. oh yarra. trying not to panic because i am a little fish, i realized that it would be impossible for soaking wet karri to maneuver herself back into the boat. lucky for me, the shore was quite close so i was able to swim to shore(with my boat), and with the help of two amazingly friendly aussies empty out my boat, regain what little composure i had left, and head back up the river.

although i finally sorta kinda not really got the hang of it, i was freezing. i was able to actually successfully cross the river twice without hitting anything or anyone and make my way back to the boathouse. phew.

i hope you have laughed very hard because despite my incomplete embarrassment of feeling like a stupid american who didn't know what she was doing...i'm finding much humor in it. i'm sure that i will be telling this story for many years to come. i mean its a great story. and NOW this makes two rivers, one on each continent, that i have inadvertently gone for a swim in. maybe i can get in some sorta guiness book of world records for swimming in the most rivers on the most continents or something. who knows.

the crazy thing is that i can't wait to get out there again. it might sound ridiculous but learning how to scull is like being able to go for a run. there is a certain amount of independence that is involved with it and it is about 98 THOUSAND times better then erging. now, i hope the second time around i have a little more direction but i will definitely have more experience. oh, and i pretty much am guaranteed to only go up from here.

oh and on a side note...in the process of falling into the yarra, i managed to lose my socks. sweet. my socks (new socks, might i add) are at the bottom of the Yarra River. so melbourne, australia don't ever say that I didn't give you anything. you have my socks and they will be forever yours.

Monday, August 27, 2007

adios winter! bienvenidos summer!!

ahh yes. so these past few days have re-assured me of why I came here (although i never really needed any reassurance). and this recent re-assurance was purely due to the weather. we are still officially in winter and this past weekend it was 70 degrees +. granted, spring officially starts this upcoming weekend...but i mean really, what more can you ask for?

so thursday night we went to puggs and that was cool. pretty much your standard thursday night; however, we have all decided that we need to venture out of the puggs scene and really explore the nightlife of melbourne.

friday, we headed to the gardens to take a gander at cooks cottage. it was an absolutely gorgeous 70 + day and we (me, monica, kristen & alycia) took a nice stroll around the gardens. we first stopped at the treasury gardens before we got to fitzroy gardens and took a look at the pretty sweet treasury building.we then headed to the famous cooks cottage and i'm not gonna lie, i was pretty underwhelmed. i mean, it's pretty cool that he had his cottage moved from england to australia but yea, that was about it. he had a cute little garden behind it and i guess its cool that it was actually the place where THE james cook, the founder of this great nation of australia lived.

but yea. we then headed to sinclair's cottage which was kinda random but cute nonetheless before meeting up with siobhan and her family. we just hung out with them for a while and talked and stuff before heading off to the tudor village. when you think of a tudor village...you think of a mock up of tudor england, correct. in life size form. correct? well, thats not quite what it was but it was really interesting. i felt like i was in zoolander when we approached because all you wanted to say was "what is this, a center (village) for ants?". however, it was an interesting experience. here it is:

we then ventured around the rest of the gardens for the day and just enjoyed the beautiful day and the melbourne weather. we found the thomas jefferson rotunda...haha and then obviously took numerous pictures.

we also went to the conservatory which had some gorgeous flowers and that was pretty chill. lastly, we ended up by going to the parliament on the way home which was pretty sweet. they had some awesome rocky like steps and really really sweet lamp posts. it had a very roman architecture feel to it and it was a pretty outstanding and gorgeous building. that night, we were all pretty much exhausted so we didn't really do much.

saturday was another gorgeous day. i was able to get out and go for a run in princes park which was awesome and was pretty successful in getting work done and such. all the girls came over saturday night and we watched "you've got mail" and just hung out. solid night per ususal. i think that has definitely just became a part of the weekly schedule because on the weekends, all the australians go home so its pretty quiet around here.

sunday was very productive as well (which it needed to be because i have a paper and a test coming up), but the highlight of the day was definitely church. so i finally found an awesome church in the city and i am so pumped and excited to be going there now. its basically a perfect church for me especially because they cater to youth my age and have a special "uni" ministry. i am really excited to be getting involved with this church and am really excited to befriend more aussies. that is going to be my goal for the next few weeks is to befriend more aussies...because thats what i'm here for. so between rowing and church (and i might pick up basketball too), i will be able to get all over that.

rowing was really good this morning except the whole idea of my back breaking further and further each day. the pain has not only came back but become worse and i'm not quite sure what exactly to do about it. i'm going to go to student health tomorrow because the pain is awful and i really just need to know whats wrong with it...once and for all.

well thats it for now...these next couple of weeks are going to be pretty jam-packed with work as mid semester break is rolling around. at the end of this week, i will be half way done with classes which is pretty absurd if you ask me. but true. oh and exciting news! alycia, monica and I all booked our plane tickets for brisbane! so yah!! we're going to brisbane for the second week of mid-semester break and i couldn't be more excited. i am so excited to be able to go sit on beach somewhere and just bask in a new city and such. they call brisbane "brisvegas" so VIVA BRISVEGAS!!!

until next time. cheers!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

walk like an egyptian or talk like an australian

well well well. i think i am going to run you through a few of the MANY differences between australian english and american english. a lot of these differences are not just a result of the accent because i am convinced that either we say the word completely wrong or they do...but both of us are not right and thats a fact.

i have previously enlightened you on the wonderful world of alu-minimum and sayings such as "good on ya" or "how ya goin" and "its aright". however, what i am getting ready to let you in on is some top notch stuff. so, according to the aussies, there is no "L" in australia. the country is not pronounced austraL-eeee-a, rather austra-ya. where the "y" came from, i have no idea but thats the name of their country...and don't you try and convince them different. i'm sure all of you know the Melbourne is not prounounced Mel- Bourne but rather Mel-bin. there is no "r" there is no "orn"...just a random "bin" at the end.

recently when any of my professors say anything remotely different i have been jotting it down in my notebook so i don't forget the pronunciation. so here are a few of those darling words that are honestly...phonetically ...completely incorrect. kristen actually brought this word to my attention but it wasn't until i heard my genetics professor say it that i fully gained the appreciation of what she was talking about. so my genetics professor (who i really like, by the way) was talking about "phages" is class the other day except she didn't pronounce it as we would...ph-aaaaa-ge. but rather, she made me hungry because she prounounced the word equivalent to our word "fudge". where do you get fudge out of "phage" i have no idea. amusing, nonetheless. the other day in genetics (not to pick on my professor), she was talking about skeletal muscles. except, the word she said was not skeletal. it was "ske-leeee-tal". um, yea. and "liver" (yes, the part of your body) is "liiiiiiiiiiiiver". i think that word, however, is more so how they emphasize their "i". that i believe is part of their accent...so i'll give her that one.

alright, so the next one is not an accent thing but rather just a different word. so, we have "questions"...but they have "queeries". interesting, huh? another thing that is not a word thing, but it really throws me off...is the whole interchanging of a "z" for an "s". for example, the word globaliZation is globalisation. that is a completely different word that doesn't even sound the same when you say it. aussies are right about most things...but that is one thing they should re-think.

so i will continually update with my little vocabulary lessons but let me get onto my week. after that amazing day on sunday, it was just back to the wonderful world of classes on monday. monday & tuesday were pretty blah. alycia and kristen came over and monica came up and we had a little "memory card" party. yea, how cute. i mean, i randomly really wanted to go out to the turf club (let i mind you is NEXT DOOR) but we ended up staying in which was fine. i mean, you can't always get what ya want...haha.

tuesday was pretty lame. so yea. thats that. yesterday was a little more interesting. classes were long but then i went to dracula's with the wonderful hartigan family. dracula's is australia's version of a "Jekyll and Hyde" restaurant. It resembles a horror/cabaret/restaurant type place that really wasn't scary after the "ghost ride" rather just funny and entertaining. i had never been to a cabaret dinner show thing so it was a really interesting and new experience. although im not into that whole death, demons, hell stuff (completely opposite, as you already know), i still enjoyed myself because of the people who I was with! aww, sappy. i know. the humor was very very very very very crude but you'll have that.

after we got back from dinner, i was determined to make my way to PA's after not going out on monday. it ended up being fun once we got in but we had to wait outside for 20 minutes (i've never REALLY waited at P.A's before). i was really excited because kristen had never came to PA's with us before than and im pretty sure she had a really good time so that was awesome. all the boys were there when we got there so it was obviously a lot of fun to just be hanging and dancing all crazy with them. i did feel bad though because siobhan had beer spilled on her which ruined her night (it would've ruined anyones) so she ended up leaving early and going back to the hotel with her mom & sis for the night. so that was sad.

today was today. thursdays are pretty nice because its pretty much the start of the weekend. classes occur sparingly and i think everyone is going to puggs tonight which should be a good time. its been a couple weeks since puggs. i'm not quite sure yet what the rest of the weekend has in hand but i will be updating frequently so don't you get too sad on me! so its been a pretty solid week and i am very excited about the weekend except for the part that entails me doing copious amounts of work. eeeek.

oh, and one more interesting observation about australia is that they are the most environmentally conscious country ever. i say this because when people going shopping at the grocery store here, you don't see people often walking out with plastic or paper bags rather you see everyone with their re-usable green Coles/Woolworth bags or any cloth bag they own. cloth bags are the way of life to go shopping here as all of the stores sell them for $1.00 and most clothing stores give you your clothes in them for free. even when you go to queen vic market, everyone has their cloth bags. its an awesome thing that i think the US needs to work on adopting into the country...its one of those small things that is definitely going along way. way to go australia. way to go.

so thats it for now but until next time...cheers mate!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

oh, heyyyy best day ever.

so sunday was the best day ever, but i'll get back to that.

thursday night all the girls came over and we had a wonderous movie night. alycia made her famous haystacks (lots & lots of fiber) and we just chilled out and watched "rumor has it". although we should all probably never watch a movie together again (because all we did is talk), we will have many more to come because hanging out with the girls is always a great time. friday and saturday i spent pent up in my room writing my first paper. eeeek. but i handed it in today, yay and i think it was pretty good. oh, on friday before i locked myself in the room...i had lunch with anna which was great. i love that the friendships that i have with my ies group is real.

a couple of interesting differences for you to dwell on...
so first, some of your classes switch professors...actually most do. and some switch more than once! its crazy! i guess the thinking here is that you have the professors teach their specialty...its a really interesting system and its actually much better because you know that whoever is teaching/lecturing to you...they actually really really really know what they're talking about. but yea, thats different.

secondly, this one isnt really a difference just something insane. so last week at uni, was prosh week. i still dont know what it means...but what it means to me, is a lot of naked people. lots and lots of naked people. in the beginning of the week, i was just sitting in my genetics lecture and all of a sudden the doors slam open and here comes "borat". there was a huge intense skit (that they were taping) of borat and there were naked guys at some point. it was a little insane. hilarious, but a little insane. the craziest part, is that the professors are used to it (i guess it happens every year), so they just go a long with it. after the skit left, my genetics professor told us how during one of her lectures, an entire boys footy team came down the aisles, in their birthday suits and proceeded to surround her and sing songs (drunk). so yea, stuff like this would never fly in the US. not only would you get suspended, but you would get arrested. but they don't care here...i guess there also much more secure with their sexuality or something? oh, but yea. the nudity didn't stop there. there was nude chocolate wrestling, the nude olympics, lots and lots of nude streaking (in the library and all around campus). so yea.

now onto the best day ever. so yesterday, we went to phillip island which is about 1.5 hrs south east of melbourne. it is known for its penguin parade at night, when hundreds of fairy penguins come out of the water and onto the beach. so that was our primary reason for going but the day ended up being much more amazing then that.

so before we got to phillip island, we stopped at San Remo (the town right before you cross the bridge). our guide, Stephan, told us that we had 50 minutes to do whatever...and we were all a little confused to why we had so much time but he knew what he was doing. San remo is right on the port phillip bay and by the water there were tons and tons of pelicans. it was awesome. they were huge and you could get soooo close to them.
we also a saw Steve Irwin's killer, the sting ray and that was insane as well. it was probably 4-5 feet wide.

so, then we crossed the bridge and went to the island and went to this awesome beach. the beach was called warribee (?) beach and it was gorgeous. the coastline was unbelievable and the swells were awesome. if i surfed, it would've been ridiculous. there were lots of surfers out there, but they told us that there are great white sharks in the ocean but supposedly, there have never been any attacks. so, we went on a hike up and around the beach and saw some amazing views along with these insane rock formations. unbelievable. however, we also understood that if we had a bad weather day (ours was perfect), it could have been an unpleasurable experience.

after the beach, we went to the koala sanctuary. we hung out with the koalas for awhile which was pretty sweet. do you know they sleep for 20 hours a day. that means that 5/6 of their lifetime is spent sleeping. crazy, huh?

then we went to Cowes, a little townships by the beach on the island to eat lunch. we found this awesome spot with great views right next to the ocean and it was another opportunity to take tons and tons of pictures. it was gorgeous. our ies family was so cute because we all sat at this picnic table and had lunch together. how cute, i know. we then went down to these cool rocks that were on the beach and took more pictures. obviously.

following lunch, we went to the wildlife sanctuary which was AWESOME. we basically got to run and around and feed the kangaroos and emus which was insaneee. the kangaroos were a little greedy but they were really cool and adorbale. there were hundreds of them (and wallabies too), and they just kept coming up to you. there were also tons with joeys so that was cool too. so yea, we did that for at least an hour. amazing. the emus were pretty vicious...more so with each other than with us. once you would feed one of them, the others would come out of nowhere and attack the poor guy. but there a pretty intense animal. pretty ugly too. we saw a bunch of other things...but those were really the coolest and most insane experiences.

after that, we headed to the place where the nobbies (seals) were supposed to be...but unfortunately we didn't get to see any. however, the view was unbelievable and the sunset was like nothing i have ever seen before. it was unbelievable. words can't really do it justice.

then it was off to the penguin parade which was pretty cool. we didn't have a lot of penguins...not as much as we wouldve hoped for but it was still pretty sweet. they were so tiny (the size of your forearm) and were so cute. we weren't allowed to take pictures because we heard that the flash burns their retina? not sure of how true that is, but we weren't allowed to take pictures. but all in all, i wasn't dissapointed.

on the way home, we sang numerous songs to Stephan's amazing playlist and it was great. it was the perfect ending to the perfect day.

thats it for now...i will probably be posting something tomorrow or wednesday. im not quite sure what we are doing tonight...maybe just next door to the turf club at some point. siobhan's mom and sister came in today so that has been very exciting. i haven't rowed in a week and a half so that sucks because my back sucks...but i'm going to try really really hard to get down there on wednesday. i need to get down there on wednesday.

well until next time. cheers mate!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

alu- minimum

haha. so today during my chem lecture, my professor is talking and what not and he goes...alu-minimum...pretty much he pronounced the word that we americans know as, aluminum as two separate words. it was hilarious. i wished there was another american in the class with me, so i could have given them a side glance when it was said, but there is only little ol' me, so i had to store that one away and share it with you all. because i know it would be appreciated it.

so this past week has been full of many interesting things. on saturday, we finally got to the aquarium which was definitely worth the 17.00. it was pretty sweet. i'll put up some pictures from those adventures. then, siobhan & I trekked our way over to Newman to hang out with Alycia and Kristen. we proceeded to watch 5 episodes of top chef which was absolutely wonderful. they don't have the wonderous channel of bravo here, so thank god for alycia's sister TIVOing shows for us and then sending them. thank the good lord.

sunday was pretty uneventful for me. i pretty much just got work done. so yea, that was sunday. monday was monica's birthday and that was a lot of fun. we (the girls) went out to dinner at this thai place which was DELICIOUS and then we went to Max Brenner's Chocolate Bar which was unbelievable. i shouldn't use this word because i truly don't have a grasp on the meaning...but if must say, it was orgasmic. haha. the thai place was delicious although the service was lagging behind the serving curve. monica, the birthday girl, was not only the last person to get her meal but she also didnt receive her meal for a solid 20 minutes after our first meal was delivered to our table. so yea i guess you win some and you lose some with this whole not tipping thing. oh, that is another huge difference between the stats and australia. they don't tip waiters and waitresses here. at all. its not customary because the minimum wage here is so high ($18.00/hr) and its just not apart of the culture. they don't even include anything special in the check...it just doesn't exist. strange, huh? but yes, dinner was delicious and they included a delicious slice of chocolate birthday cake. however, dinner was good but dessert was OMG. lol. yea, the chocolate bar was delicious and extremely reasonable. supposedly, there are two max brenner's in the NYC, and i will be frequenting them upon my return to the states. but yes, it was unbelievable. i had a belgian waffle with chocolate syrup and bananas. the description can not do the meal any justice. we then went to the turf club afterwards and that was a lot of fun. the boys met up with us at the turf and it was great per usual.

tuesday was blahh. i should've been much more productive than i was but then wednesday was also very good. classes were class BUT we went out last night and that was awesome. first, siobhan, alycia, monica and I went to this place called bar-nothing which was in north carlton and is known for their 7 cocktails for $20 and they were very excited about that. i was obviously just down for going out, socializing and meeting more people which was very successful as well. the bar was a little bit of a hike but it was a really cool venue which i think will become the wednesday "pre-drink" to P.A.'s. so we met these two aussie boys (twins!) and they were a lot of fun. bar-nothing closed at 11 which was great because it was prime-time for PA's. the heartstopping moment of the night was when we were getting ready to get off the tram stop and the ticket catchers came to ask for our tickets! eeeeeek!!!! so, we get off and all of us have tickets but we just didn't validate them (because, thats what you do to save money), but they knew our scam so we pulled the americans who aren't used to this "validating system" and they weren't buying it. so, thank god for our twins. one of the twins came through and saved the day and was able to talk us out of getting written up (awful $150 fine) and we were free to go. my heart literally almost jumped out of chest during this whole debacle but thankfully, we are fine free.

so we got to PA's and it was so much fun. it was good to obviously see people who you dont get to see on campus during the week and just hang out, dance and have a good time. it was a solid night. so, tomorrow although i would love to take an adventure, i will unfortunately be stuck in my room writing this paper that i have due on monday. my first aussie paper!!! eeek! so yes, only 1000 words...but i want my H1(an aussie translation of an A). perhaps on saturday i shall take a personal adventure or something because a bunch of my friends are going on a field trip from friday-saturday to an indigenous community for their class. but we shall see!

one major positive about australia (they're really aren't any negatives) is that they don't allow smoking in any of their clubs, pubs, bars or restaurants. so unlike in DC, when you go out you dont have to worry about having the gross smell of smoke in all of your clothes and hair and such. so that is a major major positive. another positive, is that there is no humidity here. its wonderful. i don't even know if they know what humidity is or if it exists below the equator(doubtful) but maybe it has to do with this whole island-country-continent thing. but yea, no humidity= great on the hair. a negative about campus is the enormous amount of wind tunnels! the uni is built with all of these interesting but architecturally crazy buildings that give you the most insane wind tunnels ever. its 10 x worse then academic center (for all of you gdub folks).

until next time (which will probably be tomorrow)...cheers mate!

Friday, August 10, 2007

late night dinner or early morning breakfast?

so. i just thought i would drop a few quick notes on some observations i've had throughout the day before i forget.

so today, we went on our infamous friday adventures and today we went to St. Paul's Cathedral and the National Gallery of Victoria. we had originally planned to go to Cook's Cottage and the Fitzroy Gardens but the weather didn't look promising, so we decided to save that for a more pleasant spring day when the flowers will be in full bloom (a few weeks). so, the cathedral was gorgeous and I will post pictures as soon as I upload them to my computer and the NGIV was pretty sweet too. we really wanted to see the Guggenheim exhibit at the NGIV but it costs money...so we decided to opt out of that and just explore other parts of the museum. architecturally, the museum is similar to a MOMA but the art is more of a cross between MOMA and the Met on a much much much smaller scale than both. But, it is their pride & joy here and its a very nice museum...if I do say so myself.

last night, we went to puggs and it was a blast. it was great to see a bunch of friends who I hadn't seen in a couple of weeks and it once returned to the perfect crowd where you could dance around with your friends but not awkwardly rub up on people who you didn't know by simply walking on the dance floor. awesome night.

so tonight, siobhan & i just got back from seeing SICKO which I definitely recommend everyone going to see no matter how you feel about Michael Moore...its just a good movie. much better than Farenheit 9/11 and it definitely doesn't have those biases...its just the facts...witty and amusing. so go see it. but as we were walking back on Lygon street(Little Italy of Melbourne) at 12:00 pm, the street was still bustling with people (which is expected) but there were also still people eating dinner. at 12 pm. its very odd. very very odd. it wasn't even that people we're packing up and getting ready to go home, people had just received their entrees and some had just received their appetizers. at midnight. it is very different from DC because at this time, everything in DC besides fast food/delivery places are closed but i'm talking about restaurants...very very good restaurants are open and don't look like their closing any time soon. i'm now intrigued to find out when these establishments do close...if ever. so yes, people eat full meals at very strange times here. i know in Europe and other countries around the world its custom to eat dinner at 10 pm, but midnight i personally think is pushing it a little. how do they sleep after that? if you eat dinner at midnight, then you would at least have to wait until 2 or 3 pm to go to bed...because aussies are very a very thin people so im sure that they aren't going to bed on full stomachs. you cant help but to ask if they're having a late night dinner or any early morning breakfast. it almost makes sense because if they don't eat dinner until midnight, then you don't have to eat breakfast in the morning and can just skip onto lunch at noon. but either way you put it, its different and i think its a little on the strange side. i'm sure as i am writing this post there are more people hanging out on Lygon, sipping their long blacks, and indulging in their italian entrees. so yes, eating in general is much different here...because i wont even get started on Vegemite.

because honestly, how does a country come up with the most delicious cookie known to man in a TimTam and the most awful tasting yeast paste in Vegemite. its a strange strange world we live in...

so thats it for now. i think i'm going to post like this more often because there are always differences that i observe and store away in my mind to write about...but then i forget what they are. so as soon as i think of something i'm going to post it. get ready. its going to be insanee. until then...cheers!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

i saw a UFO but nobody believes me...

i'm pretty awful at this thing. pretty awful because i have been telling myself to write in it ALL WEEK long and i have had time to write in it all week long and i just didn't. so today, i make a vow to write at least every three days. i shall do it. i shall be successful. i promise.

so the title of this post comes from this awesome Aussie Song "UFO" by Sneaky Sound System. Download it. its awesome. maybe this is a good point to delve into the wonderful world of aussie dance and song. well, music wise they are very into american music but they are equally into the european and their own aussie sound as well. as you may already know, the electronic/house/trance/techno scene has taken over the european and thus also the australian dance scene. so when you go out anywhere...be prepared to dance. be prepared to dance hard. now dont you worry, i have definitely spent enough time "under my umbrella-brella-brella" and i have definitely bought enough "drankss" and they are by no means behind in the american music scene either...i've also never felt "stronger" but you would also be surprised of all the american songs that I have never heard of that are crazy popular here...ie the good charlotte song - "i dont want to be in love" (download it too. its great). so, yes. they love to dance in this country. its actually very amusing when you are out at any pub (which are all equipped with dance floors), that you are continually reminded of Dane Cook's "I just want to Dance" sketch. because here, guys actually do get in circles and dance around with each other and they are most definitely straight. its just a different culture. they dont grind here (which i think I talked about in a previous post), they just go crazy with you and their fellow male friends just like girls do back in the states. its pretty awesome. however, due to this insane dancing comes insanely smelling and sweaty people, so thats never any fun...but you learn to deal. aussies dance very hard and very faced paced. even if the song is slow, their legs are moving a mile a minute. its kinda strange because their upper bodies don't move nearly as much in comparison...its interesting. I think its something that i am going to have to video clip and post it because its definitely something to see. well, i'll leave that for now and get on with whats been up with me for the past week.

so last weekend, we didnt end up going to the aquarium but we went to brunswick street in richmond (one of many suburbs of melbourne). brunswick street was pretty sweet...its one of those crazy cultural streets that melbourne is known for...full of clubs, restaurants, cafes, boutiques, stores..etc. so it was a nice little walk to get there and an enjoyable walk down the street as well. we only got halfway down the street (thats popular around here because their streets have sooo much stuff and go on for quite a while). so that was saturday in a nutshell. sunday was pretty much of the same. we had sunday night dinner for the second week in a row with the IES Family and everyone was able to make it and it was a success so that was awesome. its nice to spend some quality time with familiar faces.

this week was our third week of classes and i cant believe how fast its going already. classes are good but i definitely already have some papers that are slowly creeping up on me so i shall get on top of those this weekend. its been a pretty uneventful week just filled with class, rowing and working out in general (which has been very successful, might i add). i think we have all definitely hit our groove now, so going out everynight isn't necessary to have fun. we actually did go out monday night to the turf club which is the bar/club next door and it is the place to be on monday nights. so that was fun...especially since i had to walk all of 40 feet to get back to my room. sweet, i know. it was good to see some old friends from melbourne welcome that you don't really run into on campus. i guess that is another big difference here compared to GW. at GW, i can count on running into at least 3 or 4 people i know at any point walking outside throughout the course of the day, but here...you're lucky if you run into 1 person despite being on campus for 6 hours. i definitely think that is when you begin to feel the 40,000 people of the school. you always see new faces. ALWAYS.

some more interesting differences between the states and aussie land is that australia is behind in terms of TV and movies. they are just finishing season 3 of greys and lost to get the jist of the difference...but it is the same for most of their shows such as House and Law & Order: SVU. oh yea, and we have 5 channels. 5. its awesome...but thats cable here. you dont really find many places with much more than that. but the good thing is that among those 5 channels...my favorite shows are included such as greys, house, and Law & order:SVU and CSI. im praying that Traveler and Brothers & Sisters come here so hopefully God will answer that one. yes, and movies...pretty behind. oh, dont worry..the big ones come out on time...or at least Harry Potter and The Simpsons did but Live Free or Die Hard has yet to come out and Hairspray doesn't come out until october...so freetvonline.com has become our best friend. and one complaint about "the man" is the whole zoning system on DVD's. look it up. i'm too lazy to explain it...haha.

so, this weekend looks to be promising. we're going to puggs tonight which should be a lot of fun because MUSEX! (Melbourne Uni Student Exchange) is sponsoring the night so everyone from melbourne welcome should be there...im excited. tomorrow, we're going on another field trip...to where has yet to be determined but I made a huge list of things to do in melbourne (im a loser, i know) so we have numerous things to chose from. its supposed to rain on saturday, so we're 85% sure that we're going to go to the aquarium. for real this time. oh and SUNDAY, i think im going to a rugby game! at olympic park! woohoo! i know, be jealous. envy me. you should...but yes, i love this place and im having the time of my life (despite the actual work that I am doing for uni). until next time...cheers mate!

Friday, August 3, 2007

how ya goin

hmmm. yess. australia. well, sometimes it honestly does not feel like i'm here. despite the numerous people who speak with a different accent then i do...i always have to remember that I am across the world. in a completely different country. in a completely different continent. i mean, i honestly look at a map sometimes to remind myself. its pretty crazy when you actually think that oceans separate me from home. however, there are many things that make you realize this. with the recent current events that have been going on in the US (the minnesota bridge crash and the NY steam explosion), i still find myself innately linked to the US. this past year at GW, i got myself into the habit of checking the washington post and cnn.com with an over zealous habit, so ive been doing the same while im here which has definitely paid off for me. its good to know whats going on at home because it wasn't until that i called my friend (who is here abroad with me) who is from minnesota and told her about the bridge collapse that she had any idea. she immediately phoned home and everyone close to her was ok but she did eventually find out that a mother of one of her friends from high school died. so innately linked we are to the US. no matter the physical distance between us & the states, there is always something to bring you back there.

anyways, on a lighter note...this week was good. i really look forward to not having any necessarily bad weeks while im here (although, i am prepared for the occasional homesickness to set in). classes were classes which i am actually enjoying going to. honestly, i like school when im at home despite my constant complaints about it but i am really intrigued by the subject matter of all of my classes and how they are so different. its just nice to be in a different type of educational environment...its definitely what i needed this semester. my decision to study abroad was partially because when i am going to get this chance again with the 7 years of med school looming over my head after undergrad, but also because as much as i love GW, i needed an out for a little. i needed something different...not something to make me appreciate GW more than i do...because i appreciate it a lot but something just different.

i was worried that coming to Australia wouldn't be as different as i wanted but it has. its a completely different place. a lot of similarities but so many differences. here are more things that i've observed here:
1) in tutorial (discussion class), you just talk. there is no raising of hands opposed to most classes in the US you rather just speak whenever you want to and although you might think that it would get out of control at some point...it doesnt at all. everyone is very civil. haha.
2) there are strange differences in discourse here. such as when you apologize for anything...say bumping into someone in the street...they say "you're aright (all right)". a random difference but isnt that weird. i've also heard from some of my new australian buddies that they say that we (americans) apologize too much. also different. especially when you're used to being a rude american...they say we apologize too much?
3) its ok to eat non breakfast foods for breakfast. i think its almost just a cultural difference here. they have breakfast, lunch and dinner but its much more culturally acceptable to eat any meal at any point of the day. i see people at 10 am eating pizza or sushi or noodles like they're supposed to. no problem. and just as easily, you could find someone eating a "breakfast entree" for dinner. all day breakfast is common at restaurants here. i'm going to stick to my cereal, toast and coffee for breakfast though.
4) everyone is nice. you think that they exaggerate when they say that australians are nice? but they're not exaggerating. its true.

i'm sure you're wondering of what interesting things i've done this week besides go to class. well, i rowed again on wednesday and it was far much better than monday. monday was good just because it was nice to return to the water but our row was extremely crappy. but wednesday was much better. i was in a girls 8, so it was much nicer. and the girls are soooo nice. i'm really excited to be rowing here.

we went out to dinner last night to taco bill's which is a mexican place here in melbourne. it wasn't bad...but it was no lauriol (for all of my loyal Gdub readers)...or even alamo for that. but it was nice to just go out to eat with some of the girls and explore some of this amazing food that melbourne is known for. we stopped for gelato on the way home (surprise, surprise) at our favorite place...gelatissimo. soo good. yea, its amazing actually. I don't know if i've ever mentioned Lygon Street but it is one of the big restaurant/cultural streets in Melbourne. its the city's "Little Italy" and its really a nice street. and the gelato is sooo good. there are also quite a few stores and such on this street...its one of the very busy roads in melbourne that you must go and visit. maybe i'll take some pictures the next time we're there (which is all the time...its close to campus). oh, and white chocolate hazelnut gelato= perfection.

today, after my two classes...we went on another adventure. it was me, siobhan, alycia, kristen and monica (per usual) and we went to bridge road. bridge road is probably the biggest shopping road outside of CBD (central business district) in melbourne...and its in the suburb of richmond. it was a nice adventure. we definitely need more time because we didnt even make it half way down the strip when we had to turn around because it started getting late. i'm really excited that we are taking a lot of adventures throughout all of melbourne because i think that it is very easy to get stuck in downtown melbourne and think thats it. but there is sooo much more to this city...and more of what this city is known for is outside of CBD. so adventures have become a staple of friday/saturday/sundays for us. its great. oh and to understand the layout of bridge road...think georgetown (except, overall much cheaper). there is an outlet mall, but its mostly known for the tons of boutiques, stores, cafes...etc. its a place that will be frequented over the next 4 months.

oh and about that whole thing of me being here almost a month already is a little crazy. i'll just leave that there.

tomorrow, we're going to go to the melbourne aquarium (most likely) and maybe catch a movie from the melbourne international film festival. gosh, im such a tourist and i LOVE it. so im excited about that and i will give you an update following the weekend with our latest adventures. until then. cheers mate!