Archive for the ‘Emma in Australia’ Category

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Emma: Taking it all in

March 14, 2010

I have now successfully completed my second week of classes and find myself wondering  where the time has gone. There is no possible way I have already been in Sydney for a month!?

I don’t have class on Mondays, so some friends and I trekked to Coogee Beach for a nice relaxing afternoon. We found some rocks to climb on and an amazing wading pool type thing and had fun jumping in the water, getting pounded by waves, and soaking up the sun. I could not think of a better way to spend my Mondays.

On Tuesday, I started my internship at the Brain and Mind Research Institute. I am working on a project involving youth mental health and sleep patterns. The internship should be relatively interesting once it gets rolling and the people I work with are a ton of fun. As of now, I am only working there 2 days a week so I am still able to have my 4-day weekend.

Every Tuesday a bunch of people head to a bar called Scruffy Murphy’s, so this week we decided to try it out. It’s an Irish Pub but reminded us so much of the bars back at home. On one floor there was a live band, and in the basement was a regular DJ (not like the DJ’s back home—all they play is techno dance music here.

This week we successfully planned our Easter Break trip. We will be flying into Surfer’s Paradise staying there a few days, taking a bus to Byron Bay, visiting Nimbin, and then ending up at our friend Simon’s holiday house.

I am sure you can tell by now I have been spending heaps of time at the beaches, but when you live so far from the ocean at home, I feel the need to take it all in. This weekend was filled with an extremely long walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee beach, visiting all of the beaches in between. There is path right along the ocean that takes you to all these places with different landmarks along the way. SO BEAUTIFUL. Everywhere I go I am still amazed at the fact I am living in such a gorgeous part of the world. We also went to a Surf Competition at Bondi Beach. It was so amazing to see something like this in real life.

My friends and I also kept with tradition this weekend and did our weekly run to the market for fresh food. We are also trying a new breakfast café each Saturday because there are so many cute little ones everywhere you look. We have also enjoyed finding parks to go and have picnics in. While we were walking to a new park last week, we ran into a store called British Sweets and Treats. When we went inside, they had heaps of candy from the UK and also the US. The only problem: a bag of reeses cost $55.00. You did read that correctly, $55.00 What a joke! And Hershey Kisses were not much better at $65.00 a bag.

I am flying out for New Zealand on Thursday and cannot even wait! Look for a blog coming about my New Zealand Adventures.

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Emma: busy week out & about

March 7, 2010

What a week it has been. I spontaneously booked a flight to New Zealand for March 18. One of my friends from MN is studying in Auckland so I am going to go visit him for 5 days. I am so excited and it really should be an adventure.

On Friday we walked to the Fish Market for lunch. There is basically a ton of seafood for sale, literally anything you could imagine. They will prepare any seafood for you, so one of my friends and I split this platter with a ton of different fish, shellfish, octopus, crab, and so much more. It was so delicious and the whole time we really had no idea what we were eating…

Saturday morning my friends and I woke up early to head to the farmers market. We got there, saw how overpriced everything was, and then decided to go to Paddy’s again because it is so much cheaper there. We also decided that we are going to try a new breakfast café every Saturday on our way to the markets. It’s pretty standard to be able to get an egg sandwich or toast and coffee or tea for $5.

That afternoon we ventured out to Bondi Beach and after taking a bus, 2 trains, and another bus we made it. There was a huge group of us and it was fun just to lay out, jump the waves, and soak up the sun. I am not kidding when I say I literally could do that every single day of my life! I was definitely born to live on the beach. There is actually a TV show similar to Baywatch only real life that is filmed on Bondi and also the surrounding beaches. We didn’t see any exciting rescues, but it’s still crazy to see the amount of lifeguards out on watch.

Saturday night we had our first college experience… We had met some guys in St. Johns College earlier in the week and they invited us over to hang out. When I we walked through the college all I could say was “True Life I live at Hogwarts.” Their courtyard is legit—straight out of a Harry Potter Movie. One of the guy’s rooms had all built in wooden shelves and rounded windows on one whole wall. The whole inside of the building was just so old and beautiful I could not believe my eyes.

View of Sydney from Darling Harbor

Today we ventured out to Darling Harbor, making a pit stop through China Town, and went to the Maritime Museum. It was interesting to learn about all the Nautical History of Australia. Darling Harbor is such a cool upbeat area with tons of modern restaurants and bars. There are also fountains everywhere and tons of people were just jumping in them and swimming. Nothing you would see at home, haha.

My new favorite thing of the week is Picnic candy bars. I have also been drinking a lot of chi tea, and I drink tea every morning and every night. Yummm…

Something else random here is that your allowed to take shopping carts from the stores and push them around the city. This means there are literally shopping carts left everywhere, but it is completely normal. HA!

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Emma: Heaps!

March 3, 2010

Yes, even though class has started I am still sitting here smiling.

My first class was on Tuesday: Abnormal Psychology. Lecture was just like a lecture back home—huge and where you’re a number not a name so it wasn’t very different at all. In this class we have one paper, one quiz, one final exam, and one presentation. Pretty comparable to home.

When I was walking to class the first day it was super weird because I felt like a freshman again… not knowing where anything is or hardly anyone on campus. A little intimidating because most of the classes are in “theaters” so they don’t have room numbers just names. So once you get to the building the “theater” is in, it’s up to you to find it without room numbers. HA what a joke.

My other observation is that everyone here wears skinny jeans or leggings… nothing else. And I am not kidding when I say absolutely no other types of jeans. And yes this includes a good majority of the guys too. Not leggings but skinny jeans. HA! So first this means shopping for me and second this means me thinking in my head about my guy friends back home wearing skinny jeans. Makes me laugh literally everytime.

My second class was today (Wednesday) it’s a sports leisure and youth culture class and should be a lot of fun. We basically learn about the Olympics the whole time and how to prepare the youth culture to compete in the Olympics. There is also an option to do a presentation on beach sports, i.e surfing. Perfect! The lecture hall this class is in is the most awkward thing I have ever seen in my life. They have benches instead of chairs with tables in front and the angle the auditorium is on is at almost 90 degrees. Weird… It is also full of athletes, which I am pretty sure means the same thing as MN—an easy class.

Random side note: Instead of having “dorms” they have “colleges” here. So you go to uni and live in a college, if that makes sense. The “colleges” are like frats but with boys and girls, and the people who live there tend to live there all four years of uni. But to get to the point, as a first year in college you tend to get hazed. So today while walking to class I saw random girls wearing huge harry potter type robes and carrying a brick around. I just looked at them confused and went on my way. I later asked my Aussie friend what that was all about. He told me that in one of colleges as freshman for the first week you have to wear your academic robe (the harry potter thing) to class and carry a brick around. You also must name the brick and introduce it to everyone that you introduce yourself too. Other people in the college then go around trying to steal your brick. If your brick gets stolen that means you have to carry around 2 bricks and if your 2 bricks get stolen then you have to carry 4, etc. Ridiculous, sooo ridiculous, but so funny at the same time!

The exciting news of my life right now is that I AM GOING TO FIJI!!!!! Some girls and I are going the beginning of June when we have our “study vacation” I am seriously so excited and even called mom at some random hour of the night to tell her because I needed to share my excitement with someone.

For our mid-semester break a group of us are going to our friend Simon’s Holiday House about an hour north of Sydney. We are then planning on going up to Byron Bay, The Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise, Brisbane, etc. Sounds like a nice break to me.

This weekend I believe we are going to Sydney Olympic Park to see the site of where the Olympic games took place!

Hope all is well. I hear it’s been 30 degrees at home. It’s also 30 degrees here… Celsius.

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Emma: Lovely

February 26, 2010

Today marks the end of what has been the best vacation of my life haha… Uni starts tomorrow and even though the fun will continue I am sure things are going to begin to calm down a little. Surprise surprise I don’t have class on Mondays or Fridays so I am going to continue to live the dream with a four day weekend!

This past week my friends and I did some more sight seeing events around Sydney. On Wednesday we walked a good 8 miles round trip to The Botanical Gardens and Opera House. SO beautiful with so many exotic plants and trees. At one point in the park there were bats EVERYWHERE! Sooo disgusting and you all know about my fear of rodent type things so I was so creeped out. But hey the good thing is that they do not have squirrels here.

I finally felt like I was really in Sydney once I saw the Opera House. I have decided that by the time I leave here I will have eaten dinner at the restaurant there. I don’t care what it takes.

On our walk back we found a store called Cotton On, and I am not kidding when I say none of us could stop smiling the whole time we were there. It is like the Forever 21 of Australia so all the clothes were super cheap. It felt so good to finally see something I could actually afford.

The next day called for another afternoon at the beach! I went to Coogee with Joey and Bernie my friends from MN. This time was a little more relaxing and it was an absolutely gorgeous day! That night the director of SUV (Sydney University Village) had a Spanish Fiesta party. We got free pizza, Coronas, and sangria! After the party a bunch of us went to Kelly’s Irish Pub for Karaoke..interesting to say the least!

I am now fully stocked with fresh fruits and veggies. Yesterday we went to Paddy’s Markets and I got SOO many fruits and veggies for only $8 it was amazing but a little overwhelming at first. We are going to make this a weekly event to buy fresh food!

Yesterday we layed out at a friends pool and I had my first meat pie. Delicious, but hard to eat. We have been told we cannot leave the country until we are able to eat a meat pie without any utensils. The challenge is on.

My new food of the week is 100’s and 1000’s they are like sprinkles and you are supposed to put them on toast with lots of butter. I am actually going to go and try now. yummm

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Emma: G’day mate!

February 23, 2010

2 weeks later and I am still living the dream, smiling non-stop, and wondering what exciting adventure is about to happen next!

Right now it is O-Week on campus (Orientation Week) so there is a ton of free food and events going on. At Sydney University Village (the place I am living) we had a free BBQ on Sunday including sausages and burgers. After the BBQ we walked down to Victoria Park where the start of Mardi Gras Festival was taking place! The Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras here in Sydney is the second largest Mardi Gras in the world! The festival was pretty interesting to say the least…drag queens, music and food everywhere. Fantastic! The parade is next week so if we venture down to that, I am sure there will be plenty of interesting stories….

Monday Feb 22 was a pretty lazy day, did some laundry which is outrageous..$4.50 a load just to wash and not dry. Sooo I hung my clothing all over my room to dry because I am doing all I can to save money. HA!

Last night we went on a pub crawl all around Newtown, which is the part of town that I live in so all the pubs were within walking distance. For a Monday night there were a good amount of people that went out. It was a good mix of people from OZ, the US (saying that 70% of the people who live where I do are Americans) and a few from Europe.

The next day called for what we thought would be a lazy day at the beach. Our friend Xan took us to Coogee Beach in the afternoon, on the way the way there we drove through Centennial park, saw the blue line that traced the route for the Sydney Olympic Marathon (obviously I thought this was cool) met up with one of his friends and headed to the beach. It was very windy day and a little cool (okay not as cold as home but still cool) so the waves were a little intense. We went in the water for ohh about 2 min got rocked. Lost both my contacts, was on the verge of drowning with my friend Lindsey (not really but still) and then our friend got stung by a jelly fish..sounds pretty relaxing hey!?

After the events of the beach we went back to Xan’s home (where I was blind for the about the next 6 hours because I was an idiot and didn’t take extra contacts to the beach with me). His mum invited the girls and I to stay for dinner. The dinner consisting of curry, bananas with coconut, cucumber salad, so many sauces and so so much more was absolutely delicious. It was nice to have a good home cooked meal! Xan’s family are the kindest and the most caring individuals ever. They are so funny and sometimes I wish people in the US could laugh and joke as much as people do here.

Today we are walking down to the Botanical Gardens, seeing the Opera House and doing all that good stuff!

I have also decided that I will be bringing home an entire suitcase of Tim Tams(amazing chocolate cookies). They are my life and I have already gone through 2 packs in a week! I was also taught that if you bite off alternate corners put it in tea or hot cocoa and suck like a straw until you taste the liquid and then put it the whole cookie in your mouth you will be in heaven. Mmmm

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Emma: No Worries

February 20, 2010

It’s so crazy to think that I have already been to Sydney for almost a week. Everyday just seems to get better and better. This past week has just been filled with a ton of orientations for school and just learning my way around my new home.

Starting with campus, which is honestly the most beautiful campus I have ever seen. I thought Minnesota was huge and beautiful, but it really has nothing on the campus here. All the buildings are so old and it looks just like Hogwarts. There is this tunnel going through part of campus called the graffiti tunnel and it is just basically a huge tunnel with graffiti on the walls, ceiling, and floo. Pretty cool to say the least. There are also so many restaurants and stores around campus. All of them are super healthy with nothing fried ever…which also means no Panda Express HA! Oh and there is also a bar on campus and apparently a lot of students go for a beer between classes…

I don’t start class until March 1, but as of now I am planning on taking abnormal psychology and also an outdoor learning class. With the outdoor learning class we get to go on field trips all around Australia sooo I am kind of excited about that.

This past week a ton of people have been moving in from all around the world. A good majority of the people are Americans, but a good number of Australians too. My friends and I met a guy named Xan who lives in a suburb outside of Sydney. He took my friends and I back to his home and then drove us literally EVERYWHERE around Sydney. His house is amazing with the most gorgeous view ever…such a lucky guy. We had dinner on Bondi Beach, went to The Sydney Harbor National Park, drove over the Harbor Bridge, saw the opera house, went to Luna Park which is like Coney Island, went down the strip of Kings Cross, saw all the good shopping on Oxford St and so so so much more. He is the kindest young man ever and is always so willing to help us out.

The next day my friends and I went on a walking tour to Darling Harbor, got free drinks and learned a lot about the ins and outs of Sydney. There is just so much to see and do.

Yesterday I went to Manly Beach. SO amazing. It’s a small beach town with tons of surf shops and restaurants. We took a ferry there and relaxed on the beach all day! Last night was my first experience in Kings Cross. There are just so many parts of town that every night something new is going on!

Today we went to Glebe St Market, just like a straw market with a bunch of stuff for sale. We figured out this would be the cheapest ways to buy clothes, and they are all made by the people selling them so they are 100% original! We also went to some of our friends water polo game…such an Australian thing to do haha.

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Emma: arrival in Sydney

February 14, 2010

WOW! That is all I can say about anything and everything going on in my life right now.

On my last day in Cairns we took a 2 hour boat ride out to The Great Barrier Reef and I am not kidding when I say it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. The water was GORGEOUS and so blue. Everyone got to scuba dive and I actually did it and now I am obsessed. I was super nervous at first but once you go it is the coolest thing in the entire world. We got to see so much stuff and all I could think about the entire time was Finding Nemo! ahhh

We then got to go to this beach that was then infested with birds haha but the sand was super soft. We had to wear these really hot blue stinger suits so we didn’t get stung by jellies, but it was cool because we could touch them without being stung!

The next day we boarded an early flight to Sydney! We arrived in the afternoon and I fell in love immediately. It reminds me SO much of NYC and as you all know I have always dreamed of living there. King St runs parallel to where I am staying and it is filled with internet cafes, cute little boutiques, and so much more! I will for sure be spending a lot of time here!

My room is absolutely amazing! I have a queen size bed… Yes that made me happy because I knew I was going to miss that from home. I have my own bathroom with a shower, a huge wardrobe thing, desk, and shelves. AMAZING! A lot of the people I met during the week in Cairns are in the same building as me. After we set all of our stuff down we walked to Broadway Shopping Center where there is a Target, Kmart and Grocery Store. We bought pretty much everything we needed and it was relatively inexpensive so that was awesome! I bought TimTams which are these amazing chocolate cookie things yummm! The shopping center is only about a 15 min walk.

We then left the mall with SOOO many bags and went outside to find it pouring…sooo I set my bags down  and ran up the street to the corner and hailed a cab in the pouring rain. HA! When we got back to Sydney University Village where I am living a few guys and a girl were outside and started yelling AMERICAAA! So my friend Betsy and I naturally said hi. They were from Australia and New Zealand and helped us carry all of out bags upstairs. Then invited us to come to the bars with them later. I learned last night that Australians love Vodka lime and sodas and that a Toohey’s beer will never be more then 5 dollars a glass.

Other then that I am so happy! We had a BBQ at “The Village” today and I am making so many Australian friends. One of the girls is so sweet, Shona, and said she was going to make us a guide to Sydney about how to get everywhere and what busses to take! And we also already met a boy with a car who said he would drive us to Ikea and other places!

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