Thursday, 10 March 2011

Welcome to Australia

G'day mates!

Well I've been in Australia for about a month but I just figured out how to make one of these things, so bare with me.  I have heaps of things to tell you to get you caught up and what I've been doing for the past month. There are so many things I want to get out, so don't mind me if I go on a random tangent, or seem a bit random at times.  I'll try to make headings, and stick to them as much as possible so here it goes...

I arrived in Sydney on February 9th after being on an airplane or in an airport for about 28 hours.  I met up with my group and started getting to know everybody. There were about 22 of us, 6 being male including me. Can't complain there. Anyway we all got along really well and had a great time. We spend 5 days in Sydney getting accustomed to the culture and learning about how things work around here.  We did a lot of really cool things including the Sydney Harbor Bridge climb. We spent an entire morning climbing to the very top of the bridge and the view was amazing. We got our picture taken and learned all about how they built the bridge, most of which I can't remember. Except that when they were building it they didn't have any safety harnesses, or protective barriers, so if somebody fell...that was the end of them.
We also went on a dinner boat cruise around the harbor. Although it was raining (as it has been quite often since we got here; it is the wet season) we had a great time. This is why:

I also got the chance to eat some kangaroo for dinner one night. And no, it didn't taste like chicken. It was very lean, a bit chewy, but overall...not bad.
We visited the famous Bondi Beach and met a star of the show "Bondi Rescue", except none of us had ever heard of the show so we really weren't that impressed. It's basically a reality show about the lifeguards saving lives on the beach.
We visited an Australian zoo and saw almost every imaginable Australian animal, and even got to feed some kangaroos and emu's. We saw Dingo's, Tasmanian Devils, Wombats, crazy looking birds, a huge crocodile, and of course koala's.  That was basically it for Sydney.

We then flew up to Townsville which is on the northeast coast. We got here on a Sunday right before "O" Week. (orientation week).  I moved in to my "college" (dorm) on campus and started getting to know people. Then proceeded to get initiated much like an American frat house...but not near as bad.
I've been in class for 3 weeks now and I think I'm really going to enjoy my classes. I'm taking Children's Literature, Youth Deviance, Australian History and a class about Indigenous Australians.  Indigenous Australians are very comparable to our American Indians in the way they were treated.  The best part is, I don't have class on Friday's!

The campus itself it set upon a "wildlife sanctuary" so there are plenty of animals around, although it is illegal to touch them.  There are Turkey's running around campus and I've also seen Wallaby's which are basically smaller kangaroos, and there are very obnoxious birds all over. Cane toads are everywhere too. And at night there are bats. Huge, black, vampire-ish, blood-sucking bats flying all over. Actually I think they're fruit bats, but these things are huge. We're talking at least a 18-24 inch wingspan.  And they're not scared of humans, but will fly right in front of you. I hope to get a picture and show you one day. or night.

Yes they really do say "G'day Mate" but no they do not say "put another shrimp on the barbie". Although they do say Barbie for Barbecue, and shrimp are called "prawns".  I've noticed they like to substitute an s where a z should be as well. For example they would write civilisation instead of civilization. It's very subtle but very annoying when you're trying to read your textbook and be a good I've heard :).  More important phrases I've heard is to "skull your beer", as in chugg it. Lollies are candy, "swimmers" are swim trunks, "Sunnies" are sunglasses, the "bush" is the outback. They say "how you goin?" as in..what's up/how are you doing/how's it going. And I've gotten quite accustomed to wearing thongs..err...flip-flops.  Oh and rooting means...well on second thought, I'll let you look that one up yourself. I've also picked up some East Coast USA slang too, since it seems 90% of the Americans here are from the East Coast.

Most of the Americans I've met are from the Boston, New Hampshire, Jersey area, however I have met 1 girl from Iowa, 2 from Wisconsin and 3 from MN. They're home universities range from UMD, St. Thomas and the U of M, but I think I'm the only one from Iowa...go figure.  Anyway most of the Australians are extremely nice and inviting and are willing to do almost anything for you even if they've just met you. They are some of the nicest people I've ever come across.
Most of our American group

Plain and simple, it's HOT. Around 30 degrees Celsius which is about 90 degrees F, and wicked humidity upwards of 90%.  This is considered their summer, or wet season as they call it here. And boy has it been wet.  They had flooding in Brisbane and a Cyclone just north of Townsville right before we arrived. And ever since that it has rained almost every other day. They say it should be letting up here around the end of March so the humidity will go away and it won't rain at all.

Well I reckon that's about it for now. I'm keen for my bed as it's already 1:30am here Friday morning. That makes it 9:30am Thursday morning for those of you in the Midwest. Check back soon for more updates!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome to hear from you. what an amazing life you are having!Your future students will enjoy your stories SO much!Keep that in mind as you are there. what should you take photos of or bring back that you will be able to share with kids. meanwhile stay safe and have fun!