Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hello Sunday Morning

I travelled to Sydney two weeks ago for Mardi Gras and it was amazing.  Well let me restate that it was amazing, but the weather was terrible lol.  It was hard being in the city if only for the fact that I knew I almost went to school there and I was jealous of the people who actually lived there.  The hardest day for me was Sunday when we travelled to Bondi Beach which was where I wanted to live if I had actually gone to school there, and it was so beautiful and vibrant that I just wanted to stay there forever.  But anyways, we arrived on Friday and took a walking tour of the city and got to see the Opera House and climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon, which isn't as cool as climbing the actual bridge but had some amazing views.  During my free time that day, I explored the Chinese Friendship Gardens which were so beautiful I wish I'd had more time there.  That night, we went on a booze cruise around Sydney Harbour and got to see the Opera House and the bridge all lit up and also the theme park that was in the Mary Kate and Ashley movie Our Lips Are Sealed.  On Saturday, we went to the blue mountains which with the weather looked like a psychology experiment gone wrong.  The fog was so thick that when you tried to look out and take in the views you felt as though you were on the edge of the world and you were about to step off into oblivion.  One word to describe it: freakish.  That night we went to a bar to watch the mardi gras parade.  It was amazing, the people put so much work into costumes and routines.  Its funny that the first time I ever celebrated Mardi Gras was in a different country than my own, I would love to go and see what Mardi Gras is all about in New Orleans.  Apparently they are very different.  Aussie is all about gay pride, whereas America is about flashing your boobs to get free beads lol.  On Sunday, we visited the beaches.  We took a ferry over to Manly and walked along the boulevard.  The beach there was beautiful it rivaled Burleigh.  All white sand and clear waters with smaller waves.  Then we took the ferry back and travelled down to Bondi and did a cliff walk between two beaches.  The views were spectacular and there were all these small nooks along the way where I totally could picture myself doing homework or just reading.  It made me sad and full of longing, but then I thought if I had gone there, I would never have met Brynn or Cam or Chels or Kayla or my northeastern friends and my time in Aus would have been so much different.  I'm glad I came to Bond, that I met the people I did and had this amazing experience.  I hope that in the end I will be able to go home knowing who I am and what I want out of life.  Which brings me to my next point:

You know those days where you wake up and just feel awful - not physically, but mentally as if you want nothing more than to take back the night before? Well that's how I felt today.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't do anything stupid or get into any kind of trouble, but last night my friends called me out and it made me feel humiliated and angry at myself for allowing alcohol to cloud my judgement.  That is why I have decided to join Hello Sunday Morning.  This program was started by one boy who was sick of the drinking culture that rules our generation, and is basically a challenge to go twelve weeks being completely sober.  This does not mean I plan on being a homebody or hanging on the outskirts, I plan on being exactly who I've always been with the extra challenge of being sober the entire time.  The message speaks to me, and I feel like this is the perfect time to try it considering I have no money in my budget for alcohol lol.  I feel like it will be difficult especially since Australia is a place where alcohol basically rules almost every night of your week, but I hope that with some support I'll be able to hold back and create change in my life and hopefully figure out who I am.  I mean isn't that why everyone studies abroad? To find themselves? Well I hope that this exercise will be life changing and that I'll be able to do just that.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Impulsivity and Spontaneity

For most of you who know me well, I am a worrier.  I never just do anything, I consider the options and all the "what ifs" before finally making my mind up.  Yet, this week has been anything but usual.  It started on Sunday when some of my friends told me they were going to get piercings and asked if I wanted to join.  I normally would take more time to consider it, but I automatically said yes without thinking.  It was really fun going with a huge group, a couple of us got ears, while three of the girls got their noses done.  I know it wasn't much, but its not something I would normally do.  Another one of these moments came at 2am on Friday morning when one of my friends asked if we should go to Byron Bay to see the sunrise.  Both him and I were quite surprised when I actually responded in the positive.  Making a road trip in the middle of the night isn't normally my style, but seeing the sunrise was well worth it.  We left at 3am here, and with the time difference arrived at 5.  Of course, the sun then decided not to rise until 6, but we met some travellers from Germany, who thought we were super strange for doing what we had done.  Can you really blame them though? Middle of the night road trip during one of the wettest, most miserable night/day/mornings we've had in a while.  I think we were pretty insane also, I better not tell myself that though lol.  Alright well other than that the last couple of weeks have been kind of normal.  Oh wait, lets discuss midterms. Do you know that in Australia, midterms actually amount to a test? Bullshit! I have never had a midterm in my whole college career.  Oh and not only is it a test, its a freakin SAT type test, where you sit in a room for 2 hours and are not allowed to talk, or eat, or move without express permission. I mean for Godsake you can't even use the bathroom! What do they think I'm going to do leave a cheat sheet in there or something? So weird.  Anyways as always its super late and I will probably not go to bed for several hours and then tomorrow I'll be pissed at myself for not going to bed early, but thats just kind of my life story! Ta ta for now!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Of Magic Buses, Hippies, and Friends

As a collective whole, me and my friends started getting antsy about two weeks ago.  The rain wouldn't seem to stop and our options for outings were limited.  I was in a terrible mood, and all I wanted to do was get the hell out of dodge.  That was the main reason I decided to go on the school trip to Byron bay.  I just couldn't imagine another weekend stuck inside our house.  It was becoming my own personal cage.  I really wasn't expecting much out of the weekend, especially since part of it revolved around a hippy community.  I am so not that kind of a girl.  I like the way things are.  I don't need to get high and complain about whatever it is hippies are rebelling against.  Probably modern society - well hello I like modern society, mostly because I doubt I could live without a cell phone and a laptop.  Anyways, the trip began on friday morning and lasted until sunday evening.  Friday morning we all woke up at the crack of dawn, after spending the night before partying, to make our way to campus.  Brynn as usual was the first one to get outside, and when we met up with her we heard the wonderful news - she had seen the magic bus driving down the road to campus.  We had figured that we would be taking a school bus to Byron and the magic bus would pick us up while we were there to take us to Nimbin, but apparently we had no such luck.  Trust me, if you've ever seen the magic bus you would understand the mortification that we faced traveling on it. At first we thought she was joking or that maybe it was going somewhere else, but as we walked on to campus there it was in all its colorful glory.  We no sooner had checked in and found seats before the music started.  I'm not talking top 40s more like "dude give me a hit of some illegal drug so that I might endure this music" and it was not played at a reasonable level, but more like blasted through the sound system so that no ipod could help block it out.  We drove like this for about an hour and a half before we arrived at Nimbin, the city mostly known for its availability of illegal substances.  Within twenty minutes of getting off the bus, I had been offered cookies twice.  I'm not going to lie, I didn't even know what cookies were before I got there.  I had no interest in trying them, and I most definitely was not paying 20 dollars for 3 of them.  Sorry to disappoint.  After that wonderful experience, our bus driver Tim suddenly became a huge fan of the question "is anyone hanging on the edge of reality".  I almost wanted to lie and say I was just to throw him off.  You should have heard the lecture he had given us before we even got to Nimbin.  I'll fill you in - it included lots of facts on cookies and how if we were to buy them it would be "of our own free will".  I'm not joking he issued that statement about 50 times before the end of the conversation.  After we were finally made it to Byron with promises to not see Tim for a whole two days - almost all of deaf by this point from the increased music volume and happy to see him go - we checked into our hostel and tried to decide what we wanted to do for the rest of our time.  Friday night was rather uneventful, and ended with me, cam and marine gossiping on the beach and eating ice cream.  Saturday, we were supposed to go kayaking with dolphins, but that got cancelled because of the fact that the waves were too large.  I was really disappointed.  That was another reason I wanted to come on the trip.  I like dolphins and I like kayaking.  Also, they were going to give me free timtams and everyone knows I can't resist tim tams.  However, they made up for it with promises of surf lessons on Sunday.  So Saturday, me, cam and marine ended up going horse back riding which was a lot of fun.  That night we headed out trying to find something fun - we ended up going to a few different bars and then going to cheeky monkey, which was pretty awesome for the fact that we got to dance on tables.  On Sunday, we surfed.  It was kind of really difficult.  Also, I am one of those people who hates failing, it makes me upset.  When I couldn't get up like everyone else, I felt mortified.  I hated not being good at it, but that doesn't mean I'm going to give up.  I really want to try again and hopefully become better before going home.  Byron taught me a few lessons.  One never let Brynn drink hard alcohol or she will start talking to you about gay snowmen and throwing water at boys who say that if she went to Hogwarts she'd be in Slytherin.  More importantly it taught me that I have found friends on the other side of the world.  They may be a strange bunch at times, but I really enjoy them.  Byron Bay was an amazing place to visit, the beaches were sick and the people were laid back.  I hope to travel there again before I leave, but who really knows what will happen. Well until next week...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cuddling Koalas

Well I am an absolute fail at weekly updates already! Sorry.  Anyway last week was full of firsts: first class, first tutorial, first pub crawl, and first time holding a koala.  Let me tell you that the koala and pub crawl were definitely the highlights of my week.  We started class on Monday, and I'm not gonna lie, I loved every second of my first class.  Crime and Deviance in Australia has to be my most interesting class by far.  We are going to learn about stalking and cults, and much much more.  Tuesday, I had love sex and relationships.  That class was pretty awesome, I've definitely learned some things already.  Wednesday,  I had Applied Crime Analysis, which is kind of like criminal profiling combined with crime scene investigation.  For homework, we looked at pictures of dead bodies, which I won't lie disturbed me to no end.  I never really thought about my career before that day, but when I saw those photos I was like "omg this is what I'll be doing for the rest of my life".  Strange.  Thursday, I had motivation and emotion, which I definitely didn't find as interesting as I though I would.  That was also my first tutorial - its like an hour a week where you go over what happened in lecture and ask any questions you may have.  In my tutorial on Thursday we watched a movie about motivation and how someone becomes motivated.  The pub crawl happened on Friday so of course instead of staying in and preparing on Thursday night, we ended up going out and having a blast.  At least that's what I've heard... Anyways, Friday was mostly a slow day, until about 3pm when we got ready for pub crawl which was happening at 4:30.  That night was pretty fun and I met a lot of awesome people.  I refused to drink too much.  I did not want to be that girl.  The one who is so drunk she can't stand up and makes out with anyone who will have her so I paced myself.  I'm really glad about that decision because it was a long night and ended with me and Brynn having an awesome heart to heart as I cooked spaghetti.  Speaking of food, we have literally gone through so many groceries since I've arrived.  Collectively I think we have spent at least 500 dollars on groceries over the past one and a half week.  Since cam's a vegetarian we make a whole lot of pasta, which I think I'll be sick of by the end of the month.  Anyway, Saturday we woke up and made our way to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.  It was a hike.  We took a train to the Robina train station, then took a train to Brisbane, and a taxi from there to the sanctuary.  It was amazing seeing the animals up close.  We literally got to lay down next to kangaroos and hold koalas.  I couldn't believe how lucky I was to have that experience.  How much I appreciated my parents, and what they had allowed me to do.  They not only allowed me to leave the nest, but to go thousands of miles away and become my own person. I hope that I can live up to their expectations.  That I come home a changed person - a better person.  I want nothing more than to find myself.  Sunday was the first day I was truly homesick.  I remember I just wanted a hug, but everyone who usually makes me feel loved and shows me were literally miles upon miles away.  I thought that it would just be like a phase last like an hour, but it lasted for hours until I finally broke down and skyped my friends.  I won't tell you how I reacted to seeing their faces, but I just knew that they'd be the only ones besides my parents who got to see me break down.  They told me that they wanted to know everything - "the good, bad, and ugly" and I spent two hours on skype telling them all about my week and how everything here was going.  Brynn thinks that talking to them will make me even more homesick, but sometimes its good to know that they are still thinking of me.  That they haven't forgotten about me just because I'm far away.  I feel like I will always be able to rely on them, even when we leave college.  We won't leave each other.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Travelling Across The Hemisphere

So I have survived my first week in a new country!  Well I guess survived isn't the right word because I'm not stuck in some third world country without milk or internet.  Australia has actually held some amazing experiences for me only being here such a short time.  I know that in the long run that I will be such a different person when I get home, that being able to see new places and try new things will influence the way that I see the world.  So I arrived last Sunday and am still getting used to the time difference - falling asleep at 11 and waking up at 8 is so not the way I want to spend my time here.  The first day I arrived, I went to Surfers Paradise where we stayed overnight.  While there, we went to main beach and went shopping for the necessities.  That night we went out and witnessed the night life, which was good for a Sunday night.  On Monday, we moved into Varsity Shores an apartment complex which is about a five minute walk from campus.  Monday also marked the beginning of  o-week on campus or orientation week for new and study abroad students.  It consists of registering for classes, getting our student IDs, and some pretty fun events, such as the jungle party and tight bright party as well as a beach day.  I've met some pretty cool people - two girls from school, who I never met before coming here and my roommate Camille along with her friend Marine, who are both French.  They've taught me a few French phrases, I can introduce myself, say my age and that I'm from America.  I told them that I want to be fluent in French by the time I get back to America.  I had my first pangs of homesickness on Friday, its difficult thinking that I will be on a different continent from my family for four months.  I'm so used to being able to talk to them everyday or at least once a week, but I mean skype definitely helps.  We have already started planning trips - we want to go to Fiji and Sydney - and things we want to try while were here - we found three surfing lessons for a hundred dollars.  We're terrified that we'll be eaten by sharks or fail massively at it, but when in Australia...