Getting Used to Life in Oz
I am nearing my second week of classes and already I feel like I have been living in Australia for months now! Having adjusted to my city lifestyle, I have mastered crosswalks and walking on the left side of the sidewalk (this was hard to get used to!). Having said that, I look both ways twice when crossing the street with cars on the left side too! Other than these minor traffic acclamations, I am completely settled into my cozy little life right in the heart of Sydney. Since I last wrote, there has been so much happening on and off campus. To start, I was able to touch base with Fiona, my IFSA-Butler site supervisor and she opened my eyes to Max Brenner’s Chocolate, an Australian favorite that I’m not sure I should have been exposed to. It was delicious beyond words can say and I have to stop myself from going for a treat too often. The picture doesn’t do my chocolate pizza justice, but take a look at the pictures above.
This past weekend, I took a short train ride to Macquarie University where other IFSA-Butler students I met during orientation are studying. I certainly could not be happier with my situation in the city, but it is a nice change of pace to visit a campus with grass and trees! On Saturday, myself and the other IFSA-Butler students took a train back into Sydney (it’s great how easy public transportation is) for the 35th Annual Sydney Mardi Gras Parade. We had a BLAST and got to see people from all over the world. My sister had always told me that Mardi Gras was one of her favorite events in Sydney when she was studying abroad here and I can absolutely see it as being one of my favorites as well.
On Monday night, we were all lucky enough to go see a show at the Sydney Opera House, which was organized by IFSA! It was called “The Reef” and essentially was a silent movie accompained by an orchestra playing the soundtrack. Pretty cool, right? Not to mention we all got to cross “See a show at the Opera House” off our bucket lists! The footage of the Australian reef was incredible and the music was breathtaking. It was also a great opportunity to see familiar faces from orientation and ask how their experiences are so far.
After a night at the Opera House, my Australian friend Brittany and I decided to wake up early on Tuesday and go on the long walk from Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach. It took nearly two hours and was nothing short of priceless. From cliff to cliff and ledge to ledge, it seemed the ocean views just continued getting better and better. While we were trying to get a workout in simultaneously, I don’t think our heart rate ever got too high seeing as I could not help myself from stopping to take another picture every 30 seconds! Once we arrived at Bondi, we jumped in the water as fast as we could. It was the perfect start to an Australian day and we even have plans to go back next Tuesday to do the walk in reverse—Bondi to Coogee. This is definitely a must-do for anyone coming to Australia.
I am actually currently wearing my IFSA-Butler Orientation T-Shirt that says “Real Academics, Unreal Location” as I type this blog and the saying could not be more spot-on. “Uni” as the Australians call it is going amazingly well. It’s interesting because the courses I am taking range from science to nursing to finance to photography. In each of my classes, there are future engineers, nurses, business-men and women and artists. I have met a variety of people with different backgrounds, interests and future aspirations which makes me ask myself, “What are you trying to get out of this life?” I find that I have pondered this question often while I’ve been here. Something about this city is so vibrant and inspiring. I am thrilled to see where the semester takes me and I am open to wherever that may be. Perhaps my dreams will change, perhaps I haven’t even discovered what interests me the most, but one thing I know for certain is that I am growing into my own every single day…in a completely unreal location.
I have some exciting things planned for the next couple of weeks! This coming weekend is “Future”, a music festival in Sydney that I am attending with Brittany and some of her friends from home. Meeting new people has been my favorite part about being here. In just a few weeks, I will be heading a few hours south for Surf Camp Australia with the Macquarie students! Not promising any impressive surfing photos, but I will do my best! Stay tuned for a post I have planned for next week about more tidbits and differences between American and Australian culture!