FA(ustralia)Q

The other day I heard someone say, “Having your own blog is probably as conceited as it gets.”

So I, a huge advocate for changing yourself to please others, thought to myself,  What can I do to be less conceited?

After hours, upon hours, of thought, I had a genius idea. Why not write a blog post about my time in Australia- answering questions that really no one had explicitly asked me?

I mean what better way to show how humble I am than by talking more about myself?

Who are we kidding? The world revolves around me.

  1. How was Australia?
    Alright, people. If you ask me this, I genuinely have absolutely no idea how to answer you. Now, I’m not trying to call anyone out (because literally everyone has asked me this), I’m just trying to give you all a heads up. Look at that, consideration for others- that’s not conceited…right?
    The fact of the matter is, I still haven’t, and probably won’t ever, figure out how to condense five months of my life into a short span of time.
    And the truth is, everyone wants to hear something different. Some people want to hear about my travels, some people want to hear about ~romance~, and others of you really don’t care at all. Seriously, if you actually think I can answer this question in the .5 seconds it takes for you to walk by, you have seriously overestimated my conversational abilities.
    In the month or so I’ve had to really think about this question, the best I’ve got is “It was amazing.” Let’s see how far that gets you.
  2. What was your favorite thing about Australia?
    The people. Oh my goodness, I could go on and on about how incredible everyone was. From the people I only talked to once, to the people who probably wished they were so lucky, I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to meet every single one of them.
    ihUnfortunately, for those of you trying to live vicariously through my words, I have none that will truly do them justice. All I know is that I have met, and loved, some of the most phenomenal people this world has to offer.
  3. What was your favorite experience?
    This might be the biggest movie cliché of all, but I was in a band. No, not your flute playing, band director leading, band- but a rock (I use that term very loosely) band. We sang the Foo Fighters, Two Door Cinema Club, and Sam Smith- so what I’m saying is that we were a pretty big deal.
    botbBut in all honesty, it was an incredible experience to perform with a band- drummer, guitarist, and all.
    The wannabe singer in me (who still exists, thank you) got to live her dream.
  4. Of all the places you travelled, what was your favorite?
    New Zealand, specifically Queenstown, has my heart. Who knew it was possible for one place to be so breathtakingly beautiful?
    S01202096_Church of the Good Shepherd.jpgThis picture looks fake. In that moment, when I was standing there, looking at this view, I was convinced I was having a dream. The colors were too vivid, too vibrant to be real.
  5. Is study abroad basically just a really long vacation?
    Yes, and no. I suppose it depends who you ask. Unfortunately, as I learned while abroad, I have no chill.
    The first few weeks, I spent a huge chunk of time sleeping- I got about 10 hours a night and napped often. I also watched several episodes of Brooklyn 99, which is apparently available on Netflix in Australia but not in America…rude.
    Some people might enjoy such an opportunity and really squeeze out every inch of “vacation” that they can, but as it turns out, my brain is wired to reject any form of relaxation.
    About one month in, I got tired of sleeping all the time. So I got up and committed myself to as many things as possible. Here I was, taking two, third year mechanical engineering classes, working (at a real job) twenty hours a week, getting myself elected to a position in their student government, joining a committee or two, singing in a choir of sorts, working out twice a day, and definitely not sleeping (or eating…yikes).
    You try taking a final exam with a 103.5 fever because your body finally decides it’s going to give up on you.
    Lesson- kind of -learned.
  6. Have you changed?
    You know, at this point, I’d like to think that my character has developed into what it’s going to be for the next few years. And if not that, I’ve at least got all the basics down.
    I’ve learned a ton of things about life and about myself, but I don’t think that’s really changed who I am as a person.
    So for those of you hoping that I’d come back a new person, tough life. I’m still the same obnoxiously loud person I was when I left.
  7. What did you learn while you were abroad?
    Hah. Wow.
    When I was younger, I thought that by the time I was twenty, I’d have everything figured out. As it turns out, I’m probably more confused now then I was way back then (S.O.S).
    This could probably be a whole list in itself:

    • Confidence. Someone once told me that I walk like I’m going to take over the world. For the longest time, I felt anything but that. As forward, and as loud, as I am, I actually do have moments of self doubt. This may come as a surprise to some of you, but talking to new people (or really anyone I’m not friends with) gives me a lot of anxiety.
      If you were to peek into my thoughts pre-conversation, you’d hear someone prepping herself for something as simple as a “hello.” I was always second guessing myself and worried about what kind of impression I was leaving. The people-pleaser in me was absolutely terrified of being disliked.
      Then I went abroad. And you know what? I am to some extent (and I think I always will be) very cognizant of how others perceive me, but at this point I’m not sure that I care all that much anymore. Being in a new place, and having to put myself out there, forced me to be more secure in who I am. I know that I’m a little too much for some people, and that’s fine. That carries no weight against who they are or who I am. We’re just not going to be in each others lives; and that’s fine.
      I’ve learned to be proud of myself and the person that I have become.
    • Independence. This is the big one that every student who goes abroad talks about. Even though I traveled with a program that helped me get through a lot of the nitty-gritty stuff, I still had a lot to do on my own.
      My time in Australia was absolutely amazing, but it was also one of the most difficult times I have ever had. In my time there, I faced hardships that I never in a million years could have anticipated. I could sit here and list them out, but that’s more of a one-on-one conversation in my opinion.
      Point is, I had to deal with a lot of things on my own, and answer questions that no one knew the answer to- and I survived.
    • Body Image. I suppose this one goes along with confidence but I decided to let it stand on its own because this was actually a huge change in my life. Back in the beginning of high school, I used to be incredibly unhealthy. I ate whatever I felt like, and never worked out. Then after going through a period of weight loss, I began eating healthier and working out. Unfortunately, the fear of becoming who I used to be took a huge toll on my mental image.
      When it came to buying clothing, I refused to buy anything that wasn’t a size small or a 0/2. Truth is, I stopped being a 0 a while ago, but I associated so much of my self worth on that size that I subjected myself to years of thinking that I needed to lose more weight to be a better person.
      But in Australia, they don’t have 0s or 2s. In Australia, a size 6 is as small as it gets. So here I was, shopping with my friends, and realizing that if I was going to buy anything, it was going to be a size 8/10.
      Five months of looking at clothes and ignoring the size teaches you something; it teaches you that the number on your price tag has should have nothing to do with your self worth.
      Now, I am the proud of owner of jeans that actually fit.
    • Limits. The most unfortunate lesson I learned was that I’m not invincible. I always try to take on everything I can and push myself to give 110% in everything I do- but that’s not sustainable. As much as I’d like to pretend that I’m superwoman, I have to face the facts. There are some things I just can’t do.
  8. Was it really dangerous there?
    Possibly the number one question I get asked.
    I’m going to be honest, I did not encounter anything dangerous. One time we had a mosquito infestation (and then there was my own moth infestation…See: Lord of Moths), but other than that I feel like I was pretty safe. Thankfully.
  9. What’s it like being back?
    This is going to sound really melodramatic but being back was not exactly the beautiful reunion some people anticipated it being.
    The way I pictured it, pre-exchange, we were all going about our lives together. I had my niche within the Rice community and with my friends. Then I left, and the gap where I once stood closed. And when I came back, the gap did not do the same.
    I know that sounds incredibly dramatic, and I know no one intended to make me feel as though I didn’t belong, but I felt that way anyways.
    In five months a lot can happen. And as much as you may think things haven’t changed, they have. People grow up, relationships deepen or fall apart. And while I was busy having my own life, everyone else was too.

Studying abroad was simultaneously the best and worst decision I have ever made. Best, because I had experiences that I never would’ve dreamed of before and met people who have made huge impacts of my life; worst, because it was temporary and saying goodbye has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

Heartbreak aside, I had an incredible time and am immensely grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given in this lifetime.

It’s not every day you go to Australia.

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Vacation Abroad

After three months of off and on editing, I’ve finally finished processing all the photos I took during mid-sem break…only to discover that once I’ve exported them, the photos are all over-saturated. Am I going to fix it? Absolutely not.

Anyways, once upon a time I went to Cairns and Bali and it was wild.

Let me preface this by first saying that I am absolutely grateful for the opportunity I had to go there (and really for all the travelling I did) and am completely aware that this is an experience that most people don’t get to have.

I have to say that because someone out there is going to half-read my blog and come to the conclusion that I’m a spoiled brat because the fact is my trip wasn’t entirely all that great.

It’s one thing to go to a completely different country and have the resources to successfully navigate as a local would handed to you on a silver platter. It’s another to be thrust into a new situation and have to figure it out on your own. But if anything, I suppose this whole trip has been about learning to do things on my own (which, FYI, is not as exhilarating as you might think).

Now if we’re being completely honest, I didn’t really do anything on my own since I had Cici with me there the whole time- and she actually took care of everything.

The interesting thing about this trip is that Cici and I decided to go on it together without really knowing each other. And by that I mean that I decided to go on a week long trip with a girl I had only ever spoken to (for a solid five minutes) once before. Some might’ve questioned a decision like that but I never gave it a second thought.img_9319-84Here we are after hiking for two hours to the top of a mountain in Bali to watch the sunrise; an event that was punctuated by the fact that after watching the sunrise, we both were overcome with the need to pee. That’s true bonding.

First we went to Cairns, which by the way is pronounced “cans” and not “care-ns” like I had so foolishly told everyone. We stayed at a hostel that happened to be party-central, emphasized by the fact that people lined the streets drinking every hour on the hour. It’s not necessarily a bad thing until you’ve had a really long day and get off the bus and run into a guy who drunkenly decides it’s a good idea to say “I’d whack off to you.” Pro-tip: not a good idea.

It also turns out that in Cairns, the whole crocodile thing is a real problem, as in when they say “Don’t go swimming because there are crocodiles in the water,” you should actually listen to them.img_8506-29But maybe not when they say “Try and feed the spider, it’s huge but harmless.”IMG_8405-1.jpgOr “Eat the ants, they taste like lemon/lime.” Or maybe do, that’s up to you.

But the biggest fare, and probably the only reason most people go, was getting to see the Great Barrier Reef. C004600-R1-02-0.jpgA star-fish that was much blue-er than it appears in this photograph. When you buy a $12 disposable underwater camera the day before, this is about as good as it gets. C004600-R1-06-4.jpgWe swam with a turtle and it was super cool. And by swam with, I mean, I tried to get closer to it but flippers are much harder to swim with than I anticipated.

Cairns, however, was only a short part of our trip, the rest of the time we spent in Bali.

We split our time in Bali between Kuta and Ubud. And in both places, we learned that what you give is what you get.

To Air BnB for one whole week between two people cost us a total of $100. That’s it. So the accommodation we got, was just that.img_8831-12In Ubud, the place we stayed at was located in a difficult-to-find alleyway. If it hadn’t been for the driver who pointed it out to us, we probably would still be there trying to find it.

If I could describe Ubud in one word it would be humid, or maybe damp…moist? You get my drift. There was never a moment where I didn’t feel sticky, like every inch of clothing was plastered to me. This might sound like an exaggeration but I assure you, it’s not. img_8951-39I have never before seen a happiness as great as seeing Cici feed elephants. 15621829_1213867882000903_2629763851547617927_nMonkey’s are cute until they try to steal food (that you don’t have) from your bag and poop on your camera. It’s fine, I’m not bitter. 15672744_1213860015335023_7232252545199039710_nWhat better way to celebrate not sleeping than to continue the trend by getting up at 2AM to hike for a solid two hours (on a very steep hike, mind you) to the top of a mountain. The view is worth it but coming down is such a struggle. Did I wipe out? More than once.15672783_1213861885334836_2141239877651082010_nAs it turns out, the monkeys are everywhere and they will jump at you at any moments notice. If you can make out the look on my face, I’m enjoying every minute of it.15590217_1213870802000611_50341242617665335_nThe Holy Water Temple where you pray, then cleanse yourself with the water. It’s important to note that you do this at every spout EXCEPT for the one for cremation. Unfortunately, that’s not written anywhere in English (we’re in Indonesia people), so unless someone tells you (they usually don’t) you’ll end up washing yourself with the wrong water. Luckily someone told us.15621762_1213873235333701_1850088067046241608_nSometimes I feel good about my play-doh sculpting skills. Other days, I do not.

Then came Kuta, a place with beautiful scenery but also arguably the worst experience I have ever had.

We stayed in a hotel located, again, in an alleyway (what’s with all the alleyways?). To get to the mall/beach and the main road, we had to walk through millions of vendors and rude people who seemed to solely exist so they could harass us.

Unfortunately, by the time we got to Kuta, all we wanted to do was to sit down in the A/C and sleep. So after grabbing lunch in a seedy bar, we made our way to the mall and watched a movie. And I know you’re thinking, “You went all the way to Bali and watched a movie?” And you know what? Yeah actually, I watched two, and I don’t regret it.

The mall/movie theater became our new home. Go anywhere else, and you risk having to be on guard every second. There’s nothing like walking down a street and having people whistle at you, call you darling/beautiful/sweetheart, or yell “Taxi” and then follow you while they try to guess what ethnicity you are like it’s going to change the fact that you do NOT want a taxi.

Or maybe I’m just not thick-skinned enough. Maybe being asked by a taxi driver what we were doing in pick-pocketing central was not a cause for worry. Maybe having a security guard try and hit on you while he’s checking your bag isn’t that annoying. And maybe being grabbed on the beach by a complete stranger is as they say “no big deal.”

If anything, the most I can say about this place is that we survived.15697384_1213869648667393_3924875812772017157_nDrinks from the seedy bar where we watched each other throughout the meal for signs that someone’s drink might’ve been drugged. 15622027_1213870068667351_1354607408708843728_nThe beautiful beach that is, unfortunately, only nice for a split second at sunset before the locals try, inconspicuously, to take photos of you at uncomfortably close distances. The same beautiful beach where guys think they can come up and GRAB YOU WHILE YOU’RE JUST TRYING TO LOOK AT THE WATER GIVE ME A BREAK.15578594_1213870205334004_640295155927633848_nTanah Lot Temple, a beautiful temple perfect for all those sunset pictures you all know I love to take.
15672637_1213869198667438_2486157469774751838_nTold you.
15589532_1213871165333908_7153404016255291469_nWhat they don’t tell you is that while you’re painstakingly trying to get the perfect picture at Uluwatu Temple, the perfect view is actually on the complete other side.
15585197_1213873442000347_99190412102188602_oAnd then by this point we were too tired to try again.

Would I do it again? Maybe.

Lord of the Moths

If I had my own news network, it would be the worst news network in the world. The problem is, I take all these pictures and do all these things, but by the time I get around to writing about it or editing photos, months have passed. Maybe my specialty can be old news with extra emphasis on the old.

So in old news, I moved out! And moved in…to another building within IH. The reason why is actually a pretty long (and entertaining) story, but I only have so many words in which I can keep everyone’s attention so if you want to know all the nasty details you’ll have to ask me directly. But anyways, the short version goes like this: my room was infested with moths/moth larvae.
14459024_1118290701558622_1047827870_nYum. (Hint: the little white speck slightly off center is one of the many beautiful discoveries I made that night).

The best part of it was that this all happened while I had a week of assignments due and a midterm.

I’m not actually sure how much sarcasm is loaded in that statement because I think the stress actually kept me from freaking out. Either that or I’ve become a really, really chill person (stop laughing).

On the bright side, my new room is really nice and I CAN FINALLY OPEN MY WINDOWS. Not that I wasn’t allowed to before, but the windows in my old room didn’t have screens which meant all the bugs could get in. It’s the little things that count.
14454668_1118283311559361_386267397_nWho needs blank wall space anyways?

Actually, now that I think about it- life’s been pretty hectic. I made the mistake of going and getting a little too involved in everything and may or may not have all the regrets; which is funny considering the last time I wrote a blog post I complained about not being involved in anything at all.

We had IH day, which is like college night- bouncy castle (and the classic sumo suit) and all.
img_7406-20Who doesn’t love these things? Confession: when I was a kid (haha), my cousins and I would hold pillows against ourselves and run at each other. Same concept right?img_7470-48Being the logical students we are, we decided to add water to the bouncy castle because who doesn’t love being on a makeshift slip n’ slide when it’s 40 degrees out?

The thing is, I really love IH; more specifically, I love the people at IH. And when it comes time for me to pack up and leave, you’ll probably be able to hear my heart shatter into a million pieces from the other side of the world.
14429158_1118293568225002_1611229346_nMy one goal in life (before I leave) is to get Martin to smile in a photo with me. Mr. photographer over here loves to photobomb and get pictures of everyone else but refuses to smile when the camera is purposefully trained on him. How rude (also shout-out to HeeJoo’s super cool sunnies I wish I was as cool as them/her).
14445362_1118294521558240_1228222552_nYou know some people are just genuinely good people and Rob here is one of those people. Everyone needs a Rob in their life.
14429248_1118291008225258_1613645628_nThis is Jun Kit. He’s the apple of my eye. I love him a lot because he lets me run at him to hug him even though he’s only woken up five minutes beforehand.
img_7366-4Honestly, 50% of the reason why I put this photo here is because it’s just too cute. But also because Stacy is great and she helps me pick out what to wear because I’m 20 years old and can’t dress myself.

And obviously there’s thousands more people I could talk about, but I’m currently lacking a bit in the selfie department and there’s still tons more blog posts to go (hopefully).

I wish there were a way to bring all these people home with me. In the cheesiest way possible, my life has been made infinitely better because of them and I think everyone else should have the opportunity to experience how wonderful they are too. Sharing is caring right?

14407970_1118289108225448_104571729_oI also finally got around to Skype-ing my friends…and then didn’t ever do it again. Moral of the story is I really need to get it together. 14454069_1118294548224904_781373335_oThe worst part about being abroad is being away from Muna- no lie. 14446294_1118290898225269_1551754855_oI think Perry is a model for Skype. Just look at him. What a guy.

Also speaking of getting it together, I went on a road trip instead of watching lectures and I now dub myself “Queen of not getting it together.” Look, there’s a theme.

But I got some killer pictures so that’s got to count for something right?
img_7503-7This is one of those “Proof I went to Great Ocean Road” pictures. Unfortunately, when we went, it was raining a ton so the 12 Apostles kind of turned into half an Apostle. img_7548-25We went hiking in Lorne and I ate some leaves and didn’t die. img_7557-29So there’s this place along the road where you can stop and feed the birds and it is simultaneously the best and most horrifying thing I’ve ever done. The birds are really beautiful and it’s pretty cool to have them landing on you…but the process of getting them on you (AKA watching them fly straight at you) is actually quite terrifying. img_7729-82Australia has my heart. How can you not love a place that has so much beauty? img_7818-106Proof I was there. Not that any of you really believe I stole the pictures before but I also just like this picture. Am I a narcissist? Maybe. 14442646_1118283528226006_894720720_nWe also got to learn how to surf and I finally get the appeal. As uncoordinated as I am, it was a really great time- despite all the nose dives.

All these pictures are just reminding me of how long it’s been since I last wrote. Past me would be so ashamed.

I’ll keep with the news show concept (because I feel like it and it’s a little too accurate) and I’ll drop some hints for “What’s on next” so you have something to look forward to. Because as we all know, life is truly meaningless without all these constant reports.

  • I’m Fresher Rep (even though I’m super old, I know)
  • I got a job
  • I was in a band and it was #sick

Tune in next time for more juicy old news.

 

 

 

 

Home

home
In case you couldn’t tell, Monday was not my day.

As it turns out, I’m actually not a robot and am capable of missing home. I’ve been away from home for long periods of time before (OCAC 2010) but never got homesick. In fact, I’m notorious for getting so wrapped up in whatever it is I’m doing that I tend to go MIA.

But here we are.

See, what I’ve come to realize is that big schools are really not for me. Rice has a little less than 4,000 students. Meanwhile, the University of Melbourne has around 42,000- more than ten times that amount.

This means huge classes where, apparently, you don’t make friends. Trust me, I tried. The first few weeks I sat down next to people and tried to hold a conversation. But since the classes are so huge, you end up sitting next to someone different every time and it’s kind of difficult to maintain a friendship with someone you’ve only ever seen once.

Story time!

Now I’m sure you can imagine my horror when one of my professors announced that we had an assignment due that could be worked on in groups of three. Giant class, no friends (in the class, not in general don’t be rude), talk about panic.

Being my aggressively social self, I went up and asked a bunch of random strangers if I could join their groups. Unfortunately, the answer was no every time.

Then on Monday, I overheard a pair talking, in Chinese, about how they desperately needed a third member. So I went up and asked them, in English- didn’t want to seem like I was eavesdropping even though I definitely was, if I could join their group. The absolute look of disgust on their faces was honestly a work of art. But instead of just telling me no, like any other self-respecting person would, they looked at their friend and begged him (still in Chinese) to say that he was in their group so they wouldn’t have to be in a group with me.

My American accent and language of choice apparently don’t indicate that I can in fact speak Chinese.

And that’s about when I decided it was time for me to go home.

A little dramatic? Maybe…but only a little.

Of course, everything worked out, but I got to have my moment of homesickness and now it’ll just be uphill from here (love that positivity).

In all though, it’s pretty great over here. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of the university, I’ve really enjoyed my time with the people at my college and that’s the part I don’t want to leave. Everyone here is so nice, I’m sure there must be something wrong with them. 13873148_1073376242716735_5464634110174909431_nMy O-Weeker (or as they would say at Rice, advisor), Jonathan, who puts up with my shenanigans and tries to motivate me to be a good student. He fails every time. 14034985_10154580778269162_6518214805918011203_nSarah- the cutest and one of the most loving people I’ve ever met. Can’t you feel the love in this picture?
13895238_10209798858679214_7179962480595405721_nDid you know that there exists a person out there with just as much (if not more) energy than me? Cindy and I are basically twins: we share a love for working out, cake, and intense hugs. But she’s also the president and I’m a lazy exchange student so I guess that’s where we differ.

I could probably go on for days about how much I love everyone here. In fact, you’ll probably catch me talking about it more than I talk about school which is only slightly concerning.

To be honest, I keep forgetting that I’m a student and that I’m here to study- it is called study abroad. It’s hard for me to get in that mindset when the structure of things here seems so relaxed. I’ve never been more “chill” in my life and it’s very overwhelming (or is it underwhelming?).

I’m currently taking three classes, two of which are mechanical engineering related. The other is a class about Australia and it require little to no effort. Furthermore, as it stands now, I am a member of zero clubs. You read that correctly, zero.

For anyone who knows me, I’m very much the kind of person who has to be involved in everything. If I’m not doing something every five seconds, I think a part of me dies.

So consider me dead.

I’ve gotten in the habit of doing things that I never would have done before:

  • I sometimes wake up at noon
  • I once had my alarm go off five times before getting up
  • I’ve skipped one too many lectures
  • It takes me thirty minutes to find the motivation to work out just once a day
  • I eat after 8:00 PM
  • I have fallen asleep without getting ready for bed beforehand
  • I’ve spent more time on this blog than I’ve spent studying

And my all time favorite:

  • I sat in the wrong lecture for a solid 30 minutes before realizing I was in the wrong one and then got up and left

Meanwhile, my vacation life has been thriving.
13912377_1084209911633368_5229489929392007433_nWe saw a game of footie (AFL) which has too many rules for me to explain (think of all the sports combined) and I had the very strong urge to get my whole face painted. If you couldn’t tell, I’m kind of what you call a sports fanatic. IMG_7069-1Some of my program friends and I went on a road trip to Mornington Peninsula where we went hiking and got incredibly dehydrated at a hot spring. IMG_7142-28This was a cliff. I was sitting on a cliff (okay, tall rock). I am an hardcore adventurer.IMG_7306-79We rented a car, stayed in a house, and made ourselves dinner. It’s almost like we’re real adults. And by almost, I mean everyone else is a real adult because they did all the work and I just stood around and took pictures.
IMG_7303-77Pretty sure my job was to eat the food.

I’m trying really hard now to find the balance between enjoying my time here as well as making sure I’m getting the work done that needs to be done. Hopefully I’ll figure it out soon, we’re already 1/3 of the way through the semester.

Gotta Troy Bolton it up and get my head in the game (I love myself).

 

 

 

 

 

Falling in Love

Emphasis on the falling. If you’ve been following me on social media (10/10 would recommend), you’ve seen that I’ve completely messed up my ankle- or in the words of the hospital doctor I have “a really, really bad sprain.”

She also told me I shouldn’t be walking around, but being the crazy rebel that I am, I’ve done tons of walking, and possibly running, since then.

The status of my blog is kind of unfortunate at the moment; I thought I was going to be writing a lot more but two weeks have passed and still no post.

Honestly, it’s been really hard to find time. We’ve been through orientation after orientation and I’ve found that I like to use my one hour of free time to breathe.

Granted, I have had moments to write but I’ve since written and trashed three different drafts of my time here so far. My fear is that I’m going to end up writing a post that comes out sounding like Dear Diary, today I did x, y, and z, and what fun is that?

So instead of going through and saying all that we’ve done, I’ll just toss in a few pictures because I’ve spent a disgusting amount of time editing them and then just fill in with whatever commentary I feel like having. If you really want to know what I’m doing, you can dig through the millions of photos I’ve uploaded on Facebook. Good luck.

The first few days we spent in Sydney which was really nice. It seems to be more of a tourist destination in comparison to Melbourne, at least in the area we were in. With all the activities we had, I now understand why our program costs as much as it did. We got to go on a dinner cruise from crying out loud, definitely not your normal cheapo thing. But the sights were great and I got some killer pictures of the many animals we got to see  (is it wrong to have killer and animal in the same sentence?).
IMG_5949-31This koala kind of felt like a sheep. Not sure if anyone else felt that way, but I’m always right so let’s just go with it.
IMG_6033-40Me ft. really cute wallaby…or is it the other way around?
IMG_6116-49The name of this had something to do with a face but I don’t want to look like an idiot on my own blog so I’m not about to go saying what I think it’s called. It looks like a crying man to me though.
IMG_6334-90Honestly this picture looks pretty fake but this is what I feel like I saw when I was taking the photo. All photography is fake anyways so just deal with it.
IMG_6404-100It actually costs a ton of money to go into the Sydney Opera House. So guess who didn’t go inside? Me. But you know, when you’re on a boat taking pictures of the outside, there’s not much you can really complain about.

And then we left for Melbourne (which, pro-tip, is supposedly pronounced Mel-bin).
IMG_6588-55.jpgDarn Americans.

Here we began another round of orientation, although this was with an even bigger group. Our first group was about 35 people from a bunch of different places, with a pretty significant chunk from Emory. This second time around there were about 180 people from all over the world.
IMG_6548-35.jpgMy super cute orientation week group and our amazing building. You’d think a group of engineers and architects (and a few other majors I don’t remember) could do better than this, but you’d be wrong.

These orientations don’t really feel quite so orientation-y…they remind me more of summer camp; I even got that really gross end-of-camp feeling when we had to leave. But if you go to Rice, I guess I’d say it’s pretty similar to our O-Week.

I think what really amazes me is that everyone here is so friendly and so open to meeting new people. It’s really easy to plop myself down at a table and just start talking to someone.  And if I don’t initiate the conversation, they will.

Surprisingly, after only two weeks of being here, and spending only one week (in most cases) with people, I’m already afraid of having to leave them. I suppose having to see one another 12 hours a day will really bring you closer together.

It’s also given me the opportunity to get closer to Taryn, someone who goes to my school and lives in my college but was still just some other girl to me before we came here. She’s actually been my saving grace, and I’m going to take a moment to really publicly acknowledge how amazing she has been.
IMG_6762-109.jpgDid we both plan to wear black? No. Black clothing is just the best kind of clothing; it’s been scientifically proven.

Being here in Australia has actually given me a greater appreciation for the people and the things we have at Rice. Honestly, we are so, so spoiled. Not to say that things here aren’t great, because they are. The people are all really nice, my room is huge, and the food isn’t going to kill me.
IMG_6450-7.jpgThe alcohol might. This picture is actually really irrelevant but I thought it looked snazzy so here you are.

Somewhere inside of me, there’s more that I want to say about my experience thus far in Melbourne, but I’m currently sitting in bed with my ankle strapped to a freezing cold bag of ice, so I’m not really thinking of much else.

I’m torn between being frustrated that I can’t do much because of the sprain and feeling guilty for being irritated because I’m in freaking Australia and my problems are incredibly trivial.

Also, in case anyone is wondering, I sprained my ankle while crossing the street. On a completely flat surface. Yes, I know- ridiculous.

What’s most frustrating, in my opinion, is that I can’t really participate in as many things as I would like to. I’m the kind of person who wants to try everything (i.e. run around Melbourne and dance like a madman) and the fact that I can’t is really irritating.

But I’m also really stubborn and may or may not have forced myself to run for a solid chunk of time when I knew I really shouldn’t have been. So I guess it wasn’t really much of a problem. Maybe my ankle will never heal and I’ll be limping around for the rest of my life.

Let’s hope not.

I also told myself I’d be in bed by 11 P.M. for class tomorrow (first day what what) but here I am writing this darn post because it’s about time I put something up.

So here’s to a hopefully survivable semester and becoming more prepared because if not this might be the last post you see (while I’m in Australia, stop being so morbid).

Australia

Someone tell me how I’m supposed to shove what I need to survive (I use this term loosely, I could probably survive without my four pairs of shoes) into two bags that have to weigh less than 50 pounds?!

The worst part about traveling is having to pack- no doubt about it. There’s no way of knowing until you get there all that you’ve forgotten, or in my case, unnecessarily brought. Now you tell me that’s not stressful.

In fact, if I had to sum up my whole experience so far it would be this; stressful. Granted, I say that about everything, even something as mundane as picking out what cereal I’m going to eat for breakfast…but nonetheless, I am stressed. Who knew going abroad would be so nerve-racking?!

There’s just so much I don’t know- and won’t, until I get there.

I’m going to be 8,000 miles (and a 15 hour time difference) away from home. Isn’t that just wild?

Obviously, I’m not saying that I’m not excited or anything, because I am. But still! This is crazy.

It’s going to be winter there, which I think is actually pretty hilarious. Coming from the 100 degree weather we’re currently facing, 40 degrees is going to be kind of a shock. The question is, are we the ones who are backwards, or are they?

It’s probably in my best interest not to answer that question.

Originally I wanted to write something so that I could have something to go back and reflect on. This, of course, was with the hopes that I’d have grown a little from this point to December.

Unfortunately, there’s not much I can say right now. I have absolutely zero expectations and know absolutely nothing. A smarter person would have looked into the place they’re going to be for the next few months. But not me (because I’m super smart).

Mostly I just feel nervous…and kind of sad. Having to say goodbye always sucks, regardless of all the things I know I’m going to get to do. It’s only human to miss people. And again, I have yet to experience those things so all I have right now is the icky sad stuff (ugh, I miss my family).

I’m sure it’ll all be fine when I get there. If I keep telling myself that it’ll come true right? Right. And we all know it actually will be fine and I’m just stressing about unnecessary things- like whether or not I’ll have time to go to the gym before orientation starts (absolutely necessary actually).

So here goes nothing- or in other words, I’ve already paid for everything so there’s no going back now.

Pro-tip: all my posts regarding Australia can be found by clicking the nifty “Australia” tab when opening my blog menu. You’re welcome.