Monday, June 27, 2011

These Days

Hellllo out there! It's been a while since my last post and A LOT has been going on...

I feel bad that I didn't get to document my last, I would say, month in Australia, but as you can probably understand I had a lot going on. After the Quicksilver Pro (my last post) I was able to make my way to Sydney for Mardi Gras, and to the Whitsunday Islands in the great barrier reef. The Whitsundays is the most beautiful place I have ever been/ think I will ever be. The water was crazy blue and the islands were all so mountainous. I can't really describe it in words and give it justice. After the Whitsundays I spent some time at school and around Surfer's Paradise, doing the last of my sightseeing and beach-going. I had finals and then before I knew it I was on the plane home to the United States.

Coming back here was bizarre. I felt really out of touch with most things and all I wanted was to be in Australia with my group of friends who were all still there. Even when I stayed at St Mikes for the last 2 weeks of school, things just weren't the same. I am not the same. It's a hard realization to have while you're right in the thick of it, out in the 3s and seeing everyone after 3 months of change. I though I could just jump back in, but I was really wrong about that. I discovered some things that happened while I was gone,  that I didn't know about with some friends that changed the way I have always looked at friendship. It was a super tough thing to get through, but it forced me to think about the way that I trust people and the way that I carry myself. Being home has been a constant life lesson. 

Fate took me out of that situation soon enough, when I came down with pneumonia right before graduation. I was really pissed that I couldn't go to graduation and all my friends' parties, but I think I truly needed more time to adjust. Although I was confined to my house, it was a good time for me to chill out and get used to my life again. About a week and a half after I got pneumonia I was offered a job as an intern at an asset management company in Burlington. I was SO relieved. On top of being stressed out about being home, I was even more stressed about being unemployed for the summer. This offer changed the path that my summer was about to take.

Since the internship is in Burlington, I started looking for an apartment for the summer. I have always wanted to live in downtown Burlington and I was so pumped that this summer was finally going to be the one I could do it. A lot of my friends who graduated (and didn't) are living up here this summer, so it was going to be a blast...and I am turning 21! So, finally through a bunch of different apartment options, I found the one, just a block from one of my best friend's house. I live with 7 other girls (I know), which I thought might be a little tough, but it has actually turned out to be awesome. I love all of them and there is always someone home in the house you can hang out with and talk to, it's like a little family. On top of that, I have been making all my dinners with my friend Hannah who lives right down the street. I am having a great time, but I am going a little stir crazy. I need something exciting to happen in my work everyday from 8-5 life. So, I am really hoping that that something will happen in the next couple of weeks.

This Sunday I turn 21!! So, maybe this year will be a great year filled with new and exciting things... but I doubt I could ever beat being 20 in Australia ;o) So there ya have it, finding out who your friends are, pneumonia, moving and wisdom teeth removal (the worst thing in the whole world) I am back in action living in Burlington. Everyday I miss Australia and what I had there, but at the same time, everyday I get more and more used to loving my life here. Its all about adjustment. Some people take longer than others, but eventually it happens. One way or the other your former life feels like a dream. I feel like Australia was a blip of craziness in a dream I had, however, when I was over there my life at St Mikes didn't feel real either. I guess it is all perspective. I feel like I might be talking in circles, but maybe someone out there will understand this craziness of a life I live.

I love my life now, but I miss my life 3 months ago... it's a tug of war, but someone's gatta do it. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Quicky Pro and Mojo Surf

So continuing to update you on my adventures has been a little bit tough. Until last weekend I had traveled every weekend for a straight month while going to classes and getting assignments done in between... to say the least I have been a little busy. Now that things are winding down though I am planning to start reflecting more on what has happened in the last month. I have 10 days until I am home and I can not believe it is already over... Australia has been a wild ride/ emotional roller coaster, but it has changed my life. Anyways, sorry to get a little sappy here's the beginning of my month of traveling...

The weekend after Cairns the Quicksilver Pro started in Coolangata, which is a beach on the gold coast. Technically it is only about 30 minutes from school, but having to use pub transport it took us about an hour to get there. If you don't know, the Quicky Pro (what the aussies call it) is the biggest surf competition in the world... I am pretty sure haha. All the best surfers from around the world were there competing for the title that world famous surfer, Kelly Slater, has held forever. We went to see the comp on the first day it started and to say the least... it was crazy. There were people everywhere, camera crews all along the beach and obviously hot surfers everywhere. Who wouldn't be happy? We watched the competition for a couple of hours from the beach and even swam in the water getting about 10 feet away from the actual surfers. I don't know a lot about surfing, but I think one of the coolest things I have seen here was Kelly Slater's heat. I really can't describe it, but he was just amazing to watch. Anyways, here is a couple pics...

Coolangata Beach


Everyone standing on Snapper Rocks

After that weekend Jackie, Taylor, Maya and I headed to Sydney for Mardi Gras... Although I would love to include that in this post, it needs one all to itself... I took 400 pictures in Sydney, enough said. Anyways, the weekend after Sydney I continued my new love for surfing and went to Mojo surf camp with Jackie. We left on Friday night and we were under the impression we were going to get to camp around 11 so we would still have time to hang out with everyone at the camp... oh how we were wrong. The drive was 4.5 hours!! We didn't get to camp until 2 a.m.  and we had our first surf lesson at 9 so we went to bed. The camp was a little sketchy when first looking at it... we pretty much stayed in shacks that had bathrooms and aircon in them, but whatever they worked. There was a dining area outside, which was really cool... it was in the middle of NOWHERE, and I know about being in the middle of nowhere, this was the worst ever. But, it was also so cool to just be immersed in this culture. Everyone who worked at the camp was obviously all about surfing, and they basically taught 3 hours a day and then got to chill with any girl/ guy they wanted, because who wouldn't want to hang with a hot surf instructor? Anyways, our first day was pretty cool, the first lesson was basically just getting used to being on the board again (it had been about a month since I went surfing) and I started learning how to do some turns.. still in the whitewash though. The second lesson was a lot better, the waves were bigger and our instructor Mitch started bringing Jackie and I out where the waves weren't breaking.

The excitement happened on our last day and last lesson.. I was on a shorter board and going outside where the waves were breaking.. and I dropped in! Dropping in is a lot harder than it looks (dropping in is when you catch a wave and basically ride it downhill... not sure how to describe it but oh well!) and I was so pumped when I finally got it. I was so excited about it I stayed out for a couple more minutes w Mitch to catch one more wave. He ended up catching one while I wiped out... This would have been fine, but I could not get into shore for the life of me. I was stuck in the rip. So as I am struggling to get out of this rip, Mitch is signaling to me to swim out w my board. After getting pummeled about what seemed like a million times and getting my leg rope wrapped around my leg and finger (sprained it) I got back out past the break. I was sooo tired, but I had to paddle down the beach about .5 mile in order to get out. I finally made it back in...wahoo! When I told my parents my mom was concerned (for good reason), but my dad told me it was good for me! At first I was like ummm what do you want me to do, die? But now thinking about it, I know how to get out of a I guess its a good lesson. So yeah after that we caught our 4.5 hour bus ride home. Mojo and the Quicky Pro were really cool experiences, because it is a culture and a sport I have never really seen or been apart of before. I think it is awesome that I got to learn and see so much surfing and I am planning on going a couple more times while I am here!! Unfortunately I dont have any pictures of me at Mojo, but here are a couple from my first surfing experience in Byron Bay. I am not too good, so don't laugh at me, but at least I can stand!!! Until next time when you hear about Sydney...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cairns... the best weekend of my life thus far

Okay so here is the next post I promised a while ago and it is all about my trip to the great barrier reef and white water rafting! Cairns (pronounces Cannes like the French city) is up in northern Queensland and it is one of the most popular places for people to dive on the great barrier reef. This weekend (March 24) I am going to another part of the great barrier reef, but it is at the bottom of the reef, whereas Cairns is at the top. Anyways, I left on Thursday afternoon w my friend Maya and we met Jackie and Taylor at our hostel called Gilligans. Getting off the plane we got a complimentary shuttle service to gilligans, so we started looking around for someone who looked like a driver...little did we know we were getting picke dup by a pirate... literally. This guy with a sign with our names on it comes strolling up to us with a missing tooth smile, no shirt on, a bandana and leather pants. I thought it was a joke. But anyways, we made it to the hostel and found Taylor and Jackie soo tired in our room (they went skydiving). So, Maya and I decided to go look around the town and grab something to eat. We stumbled upon a little mexican place, which is exactly what we wanted bc we have been searching for somewhere to get sangria! So after some of that we went back and chilled in our hostel for the best we could. Our hostel also happened to have a night club underneath it that was the place to be in town, so our walls were constantly vibrating to the sound of the bass. Luckily I brought headphones and it was fine. Oh I also forgot to mention we were staying in an 8 person hostel. So the first night we stayed w some Danish girls, the second night an English couple, an italian and a guy from belgium and the third night the couple left and we got an englishman and a guy from the netherlands. All of them were super nice and really fun!

Okay so anyways, on to the more interesting part, we woke up pretty early and walked down to the harbor where we were catching our cruise out to the reef for the day. The boat was pretty big and was awesome for snorkelling etc. I was going to try scuba diving, but it kind of ended up being too much money and I wanted to see as much as I could on my own. So after getting all our gear set up we headed off to the reef! The ride out was really pretty, here are some pictures!

So, As you can see there were mountains all around as well as the crystal clear water... it was amazing. Once we got out to the reef they set us up with some jelly fish suits... they were probably one of the goofiest things I have ever worn. There are jellyfish out on the reef around Cairns called Erikanji (Sp?) and they are super super small. If they sting you, you basically have an hour to get to a hospital before you die. So wearing them was kind of necessary. Here is a picture of the group of us in them!
So as you can see they are NOT flattering. Anyways we dove at one reef first and it was pretty cool... tons of fish and really big coral. The reef was pretty deep so it was fun to dive down and get really close to things. Ill post the pictures after I am done talking about this part. After that reef we boated over to another section, which was very very shallow. I got a little nervous at this reef, because there was a HUGE barracuda right where we were all getting in. The guys on the boat thought it was hilarious that I was so scared and kept telling me it was fine, but I didn't believe them for a second. Anyways, I finally got in and swam really fast past the barracuda, to see the most beautiful reef I think i will ever see. It was first of all so so shallow and the colors were amazing. The pictures I took don't do it justice at all. There was also a huge drop off (yes like in finding nemo) which was unlike anything I have ever seen. In this reef I saw fish I have never seen before and really cool coral that were very different than what I have seen in the Caribbean with my family. After this reef we headed back into the harbor while having a wine and cheese party (I was pumped). Here are the some pics...

So Attractive...

Neon fish in the shallow reef

The Cuda... you can blame me for being scared

So once we got back into the harbor we got dinner and chilled out, because we had to wake up at 6 the next morning to go white water rafting! Waking up was a little difficult and none of us were too thrilled to sit on a bus for 3 hours and drive into the depths of the rainforest, but I don't think I will ever have an experience like that one. Driving in (after sleeping a little) was actually really interesting. I don't know how many of you heard about cyclone Yasi, but it went right through where we drove and you could definitely see the effects of it. There were houses torn down, banana fields were torn to shreds and even the rainforest was pretty bare. Our guides to us that the rainforest is usually a lot more full, but considering we went only a week after the cyclone, it was still pretty damaged. We were put into groups on the bus and then were told to get equipment etc.. It was just us 4 in a group with our instructor. But we warned him...we are not a bunch of girlie girls. White water rafting was and I think will be one of the best experiences of my life. At first I was a little nervous, mostly bc I had no idea what animals lived in the river, but I got over it and had the time of my life. The river we went down was smack dab in the middle of the rainforest and again, because of the cyclone the rapids were huge! Our guide also loved us and taught us how to flip the raft and other things that the "extreme" group was doing. I seriously can't even explain how excited I was/ still am about the whole thing. The river was 10km long and we did it in two parts. It took about 5 hours, but I could have stayed on there forever. Here are some pictures of that... check out my facebook for actually pictures of us rafting that the photographer took- theyre pretty awesome.

Some rapids

Waterfall shot

Jackie holding the raft on the rocks we jumped off of

my hot gear

Cairns from the air
Us girls at the beginning..
So, as you can see we had a pretty good and wild time in Cairns... That night we went out with our Belgian and English roommates and they were so fun! I was really sad to leave :( One last thing about Cairns- there is an extremely large aboriginal population, so when walking down the street we saw tons of homeless aboriginals. This was kind of a culture shock to us, because where we are living (the gold coast) I haven't even seen a homeless person or an aboriginal at that. It was horrible to see that everything we have been hearing is true- these people are truly oppressed, which as we saw, is leading them to alcoholism. It was really sad to see, but it really opened my eyes to a part of Australia that I would not have even seen. Anyways, that is kind of depressing, but it made me realize how luck I am and it made me actually see what everyone is talking about over here. So, yeah that was Cairns, the best weekend ever in the history of my life. The next place I travelled to was Sydney for Mardi Gras... which was wild. But, you're going to have to wait until next time!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Byron Bay- forever ago, but AWESOME

Hello! I know it has been like almost a month since my last post, but I have been ridiculously busy. In the past 3 weeks I have travelled to a couple of different places in Aussie, studied A LOT, had mid terms, and saw the beginning of the Quiksilver Pro surf competition that is going on right down the road! It is crazy to think that I am over half way done with my semester here... I  can't believe I have to fly home to the cold United States in 45 days. It's nuts! But anyways I am going to write 3 separate posts describing the last couple weeks of my life here, it has been pretty cool/ eye opening, so bare w me if it is a little lengthy!

So, the weekend of February 11th I went to Byron Bay with my program provider, Arcadia. It was a free trip, so everyone on the program came, which was the first time we had all been together since orientation. It was weird being around everyone again, just because we have definitely formed our little groups and stuff, but none the less it was fun! We left on a Friday and drove about an hour or maybe a little more, south to New South Wales, which is a new state! NSW is the same state that Sydney is in, if that helps anyone out. But yeah, so we drove down there and we got settled in what was like a summer camp type place- there were a bunch of little cabins that had multiple beds in each room. We walked around the grounds a little bit, had dinner there, hung out together and then went to bed- it was a pretty low key night, because the next morning we got up at 4:30 am and went to see the sunrise at the Byron Bay lighthouse! It definitely was not my cup of tea getting up that early, but seeing the sunrise over the ocean was pretty priceless. Here are a couple of pictures...

Climbing up to the lighthouse at 4:30 am

Sunrise over the Pacific

Hot air balloon over Mt. Warning at sunrise

So those are just a couple of some of the amazing pictures I got to take that morning- it was really beautiful! The hot air balloon is definitely my favorite :) But anyways, after that we went to this little cafe and had breakfast (s0 good) and then we went back to our "camp" for our surf lesson!! Surfing was so so much fun, we had a little info session on the beach before hand just about waves and surfing in general, and then we got ot go into the water! At first i was on a super super long board, so it was really easy to get up, and then I switched boards w another girl in our group (a shorter board) and tried that out, and I actually didn't do too bad! On my facebook there are a bunch of pics of me surfing, but for some reason facebook isn't letting people take pictures off it anymore so I am not able to post it to my blog :( oh well though, if you have a fb check them out! But yeah so after our lesson we had a little break and then we got bused into the town of Byron Bay. Byron is a really laid back awesome town. The beaches were beautiful and it just had a really friendly vibe to it. We were free to kind of so whatever we wanted there, so a couple of friends and I got some lunch and then we headed to the beach for the afternoon. It was SO nice out that day. We took my underwater camera into the ocean and played around, it was just a really fun/cool day. Here are a couple pics from the day....
Byron main beach

Justin, Mark and I jumpin' the waves

making Felicia a sand mermaid

After being at the beach all day we headed back to "camp" and hung out for a while before having a BBQ. My friends Justin, Ang and I all went swimming in the lake next to the camp- it is supposed to have "healing powers" because of the tea trees that live on the edge of the water. For those of you who don't know, tea tree oil is very good for your skin and is supposed to preserve your skin and make you look younger. I didn't necessarily feel "healed", but the water made my skin really really soft and it smelled like tea tree oil which smells so good! We had our BBQ and then went out to this hotel/bar thing down the road that had a live band. It was pretty cool, but I definitely like the Gold Coast night life better! The next day we were up early again, heading back up to the gold coast for a day of kayaking with an aboriginal and an aboriginal tour guide. When we got back up to surfers we took the kayaks across the canal to a little island were we got to go snorkeling- we didn't see many fish, but it was cool to finally snorkel a little bit. After snorkelling we had a snack on the beach and listening to a story about the aboriginal people who used to live there. After that we got back on our kayaks and headed to another island not too far away. This island (I forget the name) is famous for its surfing beaches and for its native history. There, the aboriginal man (Jordie) performed an aboriginal induction ceremony on us, where he painted our faces with watery clay and welcomed us in the native language. It was a really cool experience seeing that side of the Australian culture. The aborigines are very attached to the earth and all that it brings to the human population, and it was really nice to hear about their thought processes regarding the sacredness of animals and the earth. One thing that Jordie said that really stuck in my head was "Take only what you need", which is very true and a lot of us don't think about today. After that we walked around the island for an hour or so looking for wildlife, but it was high noon, so it was super hot and not a very good time for sightings. After we were done we took a swim and kayaked back. I will post a couple pictures of that part of the day at the end of the post. SO yeah, that is an abbreviated version of Byron Bay, I definitely am interested in going back there, it was a lot of fun! The next thing i will be updating about is Cairns, which is where the great barrier reef is. Cairns is definitely my favorite trip so far- so much adventure and fun! It is kind of late so I am not going to do it now, but be on the look out in the next couple of days!!!
Taylor and I in our snorkel gear

Kayaks on the beach

The group "bush-walking" on the island

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Big Day Out

Hi everyone! Its been a little while since my last post, I know, but things here have been getting ridiculously busy. School is kind of starting to become a real thing and I have a lot more work to do since mid-terms are only 3 weeks away... scary. Anyways, I can not believe that I have already been here for over a month. Time is going by wayyy too quick.

Last weekend, as I talked about before, I went to the Big Day Out music festival... it is going to be really hard to explain this to everyone, bc it was nothing like I have ever seen before. Basically it was at like a fair-grounds type place and there were 6 different stages that all had different themes. Also, there were 30,000 people there... it was WILD.

My friend Jackie and I flew out on Thursday afternoon not knowing what to expect at all... except for maybe the best day of our lives haha. Anyways after a 2 hour plane ride (not bad) we were in Adelaide! We went to the hotel, which was actually pretty nice and then we changed and went to look for somewhere to eat/ go out. Before I forget though here is a picture of the room we were in... no lie, it was for ants. It was the smallest room I have ever seen.
And what you see here is what you get. There was a bathroom to the left that only one person could fit in at a time... kind of stuggs but it was all we really needed. After having dinner we walked around Adelaide a little bit. It kind of reminded me of Church Street at home, there were shops on both sides and a road type thing that was just for pedestrians... but obviously it was wayyyy bigger than Church street. It also kind of reminded me of it too, because there were people all up and down the streets playing musics and doing street performances, it was really cool to see. Our plans of going out kind of failed- we were both tired and knew we needed to be on our A-game for the next day. So we went back to the hotel for ants and chilled. We were watching the news as we were falling asleep and there was a whole section on the big day out and we got soooo excited!

Ok, so finally the day of the showsss! We caught a free bus to the showgrounds, got our "tokens" for drinks (they didn't want people using money so you bought tokens and gave them to the people working at the beer booths) and then we headed in.
This was the first stages we went to. Earlier in the day there weren't really any bands we knew very well so we kind of wandered around taking in everything in. At 2 we went back to the stage in the picture and we saw Lupe Fiasco! For those of you who don't know him, hes a hip hop was SO MUCH FUN. After 2 we had shows we wanted ot go to that were all back to back. So basically we would leave one, go to the bathroom, get a beer/water, and then go to the next one. It was crazy but the best thing ever. At around 5 (i think it was 5?) we went to see Matt&Kim, they are my favorite band right now. It was the best concert ever. I went to see them in November in VT and they were good, but here was so cool. Here are some pictures. The stage was called the Lily Room and it was just like a psychedelic awesome, open area.

Yeah, so that's how close I got to Kim... Matt actually grabbed Jackie's boob... it was ridiculous. At the end of this post I will try and post a video... not sure if it is possible, but we will see. Anyways the next show we went to was Bloody Beetroots, which is like hard-core electronic music. I think that this was by far the most insane thing I have ever been to/ seen. We went in and basically got sucked into a mob of clashing bodies, sweat, and dancing. Sounds gross, but it was so awesome. At one point I had to put my hair in a bun because it was getting caught under people's arms and it got caught on a girl's nose ring (so happy no hair was caught on mine). It was so wild. Here's a picture from that...
So yeah just insane. At this point we had a little while until we saw the last one.. MIA. so we went and saw Ratatat, who is also electro, but kind of in a more "chill" way than bloody beetroots. Finally it was MIA. I don't even know how to explain how that went. We were smooshed together just like a bloody beetroots, but people were actually going insane. She was an awesome performer, but I think I definitely liked Matt&Kim and Bloody Beetroots better. So yeah, after MIA we went back to the hotel and then the next day we went home! Once we got home (all I wanted to do was die in my bed) we had to go out to the clubs because it was our friend Maya's 21st bday!!

So yeah Big Day Out was like nothing I have ever seen/done before. I am having SO MUCH FUN here I seriously can't explain how happy I am that I am doing this. I am starting to never want to come home... but I miss everyone, so it has to happen haha In about 30 mins my orientation/ program group is leaving to go to Byron Bay! There we are taking a surf lesson, taking a tour of an Indigenous tribe and going swimming in a lake that has "healing powers". It is going to be really cool and I will post after I get back!
Jackie and I
 ^^^^ Matt&Kim singing one of my fav songs

<<<<<Blood Beetroots... Just to give you a sense of what I was talking about.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

On the magic bus to Nimbin...

Hi everyone! I have to debrief here after another awesome weekend on the gold coast and in Nimbin which is in New South Wales (a different state, the one Sydney is in). New South Wales is actually really really close to the gold coast, it only took us 2 hours to get to Nimbin on a magic bus that didn't roll too fast.. here is a pic
So yeah... we travelled on this bus for two hours, getting a honk about every 5 minutes. I wish I could have taken a video of inside the bus. The music was playing so loud, but it was reggae (obviously) it was really relaxing and an awesome ride. I also went with people who I haven't had the chance to hang out with too much here so that was really cool to be with them. As we were coming up to the town of Nimbin our bus driver Tim (so cute) pulled over and gave us the deal about Nimbin. Apparently, in the 1970s there was some kind of festival that was similar to the United State's Woodstock, except with wayyyy less people. After that, there was a large group of youths who decided that they didn't want to go back to their normal lives, so they decided to stay in Nimbin forever. Ever since then Nimbin hasn't changed, and you can definitely tell, it feels like you are walking into the hippie era as you go through the haze of people smoking on the streets and the offering of "cookie" every block. Now you might be all thinking "oh my god! Sammy is doing illegal and bad things!" but I promise nothing bad was done or happened. Also,  although weed is obviously readily available in Nimbin, it is not legal. So every May (when weed is harvested apparently) they have a huge festival/ reform rally called Nimbin "Mardi Grass". haha I think the name is pretty clever, but yeah so Nimbin was definitely an interesting place. After being there for almost two hours we got back on the magic bus and went to a little cafe for a quick lunch. Then, we headed to a little swimming hole in the rainforest where there was a rope swing for us to go on...

The first picture is just a little glimpse of the swimming hole and the picture just above is of my friend Taylor getting ready to do the rope swing! It was a really awesome trip, I had so much fun... it is getting me so excited for the other trips I am about to take! I fell asleep really early last night, so I got up early and headed to the Cannebara (spelling?) market by myself. My friend Maya got sick last night so she didn't end up coming with me. I kind of had fun wandering around by myself and trying to figure out the bus system on my own. I met this older man who was also waiting around for the bus at pacific fair (the main bus hub near us) and he was really nice and chatty, after a while he started creeping me out so I kind of made an excuse to get away for a little. I know he was just being friendly, but I was alone so I couldn't take any chances. Anyways the market was alright, I kind of expected things to be more genuine, but there was a lot of junk you would expect to find at a flee market. I did however find something really cool to buy my mom- can't tell you what it is bc she reads this! And, I bought myself a didgeridoo! For anyone who doesn't know what they are... here is a pic of mine
You can't see the bottom part but it looks exactly the same at the top.. its basically an open ended pole type thing, but made out of wood. You are supposed to blow in it some special way- I haven't figure out how that works yet- and it makes the coolest low, vibrating noise. A lot of people play them on the streets here and I think they are sooo cool sounding so I figured I would buy one!

One last thing before this ends- sorry for how long these posts are, I just have a lot to say- tonight I went with some of my friends on my floor to this sushi place where you can buy an all you can eat buffet of fresh sushi for $16. The deal is, if someone can finish 60 pieces they get their picture taken and put on the wall at the entrance of the restaurant. So, of course 2 of my friends John and Justin decided they had to do it... they were close! Justin got to 50 and John did 55, it was pretty hilarious, Justin looked so worried the whole time like he was about to explode and when john hit like 30 sushi pieces he started staring each one down ready to take it on... it was probably one of the funniest nights I have had here. Pretty simple, but I am learning that is really all it takes here. I am so unbelievably happy that nothing really has been phasing me, the homesickness is gone and now I am just ready to have a good time and embrace where I am to the fullest. Next on the list for travels is this weekend in Adelaide. Jackie and I will be leaving on Thursday afternoon and coming back Saturday night, just in time for our friend Maya's 21st birthday! In Adelaide we are going to the big day out.... check it out! it is going to be insane, but more on that next time. Here are some more pictures of Nimbin- most from the museum there, which actually was a thrift shop, but the hippies didn't end up wanting to sell anything, so they turned it into a museum. Pretty Cool. Again, sorry if this post was a little too "drug infested" for you, but it is apart of the town and culture so I really couldn't give Nimbin justice without writing about it. Again, nothing bad happened to me there, so everyone relax haha. Until my next adventure see ya later!
My Favorite sign/ quote

"Land of the rainbow gold"- Australia

Ang and I before the bus take off!

Back of the bus: "No Cookie Monsters"
The "garden" in the Nimbin Museum

Nimbin thought process? haha

The streets of Nimbin

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cockroaches, Beaches, Pub Crawls...

Hello Everyone! These pictures at the beginning are of Burleigh Heads Beach.. I am struggs and am not too good at this blog thing yet, but they are a nice opener I think! (I will talk more about Burleigh in a minute). So since the last time I wrote TONS of things have happened. I feel like in order to adequately summarize my life here I would have to write about it every 5 minutes. So, I am now starting week 2 of classes, last week we only had our lectures and this week tutorials have been added. Before coming here I had no idea what that was all about, but basically for every class you have a large lecture (about 50 ppl) and a smaller tutorial (about 20 ppl). Today I had my Australian history tutorial, which was fine, but I am sure things are definitely going to get a little bit harder as time goes on.

So in the title of this post, I had to say something about my little friend that had been living with me in the room the first week...and I am not talking about my 5 foot roommate. As I was folding laundry, sitting on the floor one night, I felt something weird on my leg. I look down and there was a cockroach crawling up my leg... naturally I screamed and swatted him/her away, but then I had to go on a hunt to find it, because obviously I would not be sleeping that night if I didn't finally I found it and killed it all by myself! Usually in these cases I would find a boy to do it for me, but I was very proud of myself for doing it on my own haha. Now, I don't want you all thinking I am living in some gross dorm 10,000 plus miles away from Vermont. Our program leader told us that there may be some roaches in our rooms until they "debug" the place... I thought she was just giving us a warning and it wouldn't happen... apparently I was wrong. On to less disgusting topics, I finally ventured down to the beaches the past two weekends! The first weekend my friends and I went to Broad Beach, which is just down from the world famous Surfer's Paradise. Broad beach was great, but definitely a little crowed. The town around it was pretty cool though and I had a great time in the water (it is so warm)!
This past weekend we had a pub crawl that was sponsored by school. Like any other pub crawl they bused us from bar to bar and we got to see all the different places around the city. I had SO much fun. I met a lot of really cool people and had a great time with all of my friends. Here is a picture of me and my three closest friends here- Maya, Jackie and Taylor.

For the pub crawl there were two groups, one starting at 3 and one at 4. We liked the shirts better (Where's Wally theme) so we decided we would go on the 3. The 4 shirts were black and yellow and made everyone look like bumble bees haha. That being said, after drinking for 12 hours we decided to take it easy on saturday night. Sunday I went with Maya and Taylor to explore a new beach called Burleigh Heads. It was seriously the most beautiful beach I have seen here so far. It was really cute and little and had a local feel and even though it was sunday it wasn't too crowded. After being there for a couple hours with Maya and Taylor I met up with my friend Justin who I met through orientation (he goes to UVM). With Justin I walked down the beach about a mile to a different beach called Miami and we met up with more kids from school and hung out.

Over last week I was definitely battling home sickness. I felt like no matter what I did could distract me from missing my family and friends. I also was talking to all my friends multiple times a day which was not helping me at all. After a very dramatic phone call to my mom, I realized that I needed to stop thinking about everything and everyone at home and live my life here. I know that may sound selfish, but it is seriously making me so much happier. I have also been starting to do more things on my own and not relying so much on everyone else's schedules. I love the girls, but sometimes everyone needs a little alone time to keep themselves in check. It is unbelievable how much better I feel about everything and how much more FUN I am having. This coming weekend I am going to a town called Nimbin. I don't know a ton about it, but I do know that it has a hippie feel and that people love going there. Not only am I going there, but I am also traveling on a bus that has psychadelic colors and flowers painted all over it... its going to be pretty wild, I will no doubt be posting tons of pictures of that trip. The weekend after this one (the beginning of february) Jackie and I are heading to Adelaide. Adelaide is west of Melbourne and I have heard it is a pretty cool town. BUT, we are going to go to this music festival called The Big Day Out. It basically consists of 50 different musicians and I would have to say that I LOVE about 20 of them... I am pretty amped for that and so is Jackie. It's going to be an amazing weekend. Basically from that weekend on through the end of March I am traveling somewhere every weekend. Here's the schedule:
Weekend of:
Feb 4th- Adelaide- Big day out
Feb 11th- Byron Bay- Surf lessons and aboriginal village tour
Feb 17th- Cairns- Great barrier reef scuba and white water rafting
Feb 26th- Here at school- Quicksilver Pro Surfing competition starts
March 4th- Sydney- MARDI GRAS!!
March 11th- Noosa/ Fraser Island- Fraser is an all sand island
March 18th- Mojo Surf weekend- more surf lessons and staying at a surf academy!
March 24th- Whitsunday Islands- staying on a boat all weekend and snorkeling the lower part of the reef
Then I have 3 weeks to go until April 21st when I come home. Most likely I will go somewhere in those three weeks (traveling is becoming an expensive obsession). So, as you can all see I am going to be ridiculously distracted the next two months, which is going to be pretty awesome. I love everyone at home, but I need to start becoming comfortable with being without you guys! I am so excited for what is to come and I will definitely be updating this blog after every trip. Anyways, longest post ever, but here are a couple pictures to leave you with of my campus!