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!