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!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Aussie Land

I made it! I finally arrived in Australia after my 12 hour wait in LA on Friday morning. Surprisingly, the wait/ my flight really wasn't that bad. In the airport I met an Australian girl named Elly, so I was able to have dinner w her and chat in between my farewell phone calls and texts. Once I got on the plane I was in the same row as 3 other girls who were on my program and I really hit it off with them, which made the flight go by a lot quicker.

Once we got into the Melbourne airport, things got crazy. We were only staying in Melbourne for about 3 days, so we had to organize a different bag from our huge suitcases that we brought. Once everything was situated, we hopped on a bus and drove to a little suburb of Melbourne called Sorrento. At this point I was so exhausted it was hard to be excited about anything, but on the way there we stopped at an amazing wildlife sanctuary...where i saw my first Kangarro!!! They were in a huge "mob" (what aussies call a pack of kangies) and we got pretty close to them. After that we headed to the hostel-type place where we stayed. Sorrento was really a blur, but the area was beautiful and we went on some really amazing walks on cliffs that over looked the ocean. It was definitely a pretty cool place.

After 2 days in Sorrento we went back into the city for our final night of orientation. We walked around the city, popped into some shops and ate some really good asian food (there is lots of it here). Finally the next morning we were headed to Bond! I was so excited, as was everyone else, that we were making our way up to the Gold Coast. When we got here it was raining, but the campus is absolutely ridiculous. The buildings, pool, beach, trees, everything here is amazing. Another thing that is pretty cool is that all the double rooms (where i am living) have their own bathrooms attached, this is definitely the best place i have ever lived on a college campus.

The first night here was pretty crazy. Not only does my dorm have a bar right across from it, but my friend Jackie's appt also has a bar in it.. needless to say everyone was going crazy. We were at Jackies and then made it to the Toga party that was happening at the bar near me. After that we somehow made our way to Surfer's Paradise, which is the big city near us. It was a lot of fun. I really thought I was going to be a lot more homesick when I got here, but I am finding that I really don't even have time to think about home (sorry guys). There is always something to do or someone to meet, I am having the time of my life and it is only the first week! My friends and I are starting to plan our trips tonight, which is really exciting. Here are some pictures of the kangies and some other things, Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Long Wait

So, I am not waiting for what seems like eternity for my flight from LAX to Melbourne. It is currently 3:35 Cali time (6:35 eastcoast) and I am not leaving until 11:20pm.... ya forever. These past couple weeks have been crazy! I have never been in the position of not knowing what to expect in my life, but right now I seriously have no idea. I don't know anyone that is sitting around me in the airport, I don't know what the city I am going to looks like, I don't know what school is going to be like, I don't know who my roommate is... the list goes on.

 One thing I DO know is that what is coming for me is going to be something that I will never forget. I have been talking a lot to my friends who have studied abroad in the past and none of them have had anything bad to say about it, in fact they all wished they were doing it again! I am really nervous about making friends and missing my friends at home, but I keep trying to re-assure myself that whoever is there for me now should be there for me when I get back, if they are a true friend. I am so excited for my trip and the next three months of my life, but getting there is a little crazy. I am sitting in the airport for about 13hrs only to board a flight and sit on a plane for another 15.5 hours... it is nuts! But again, I know it will all be worth it. 

I hope that everyone had a great christmas, and I will write soon!