Saturday, March 27, 2010

No Worries!

Urban Dictionary: The most common phrase in the Australian vocabulary. Used in situations ranging from benign endings to conversations to matters of earth shattering importance.

No worries mate!

Hello all!

I think one of the major lessons I have learned in my time in Australia is to not stress so much over the little things. In time everything will get done and work out, so there is no use worrying over it! Put your faith in God and just live! 

Also seize the moment. Don't sit waiting for tomorrow when you can do so much today! I realized this when I looked at my calendar and saw that my weekends are already filling up for the remainder of my time in Australia. There is so much I want to do and see. I have learned to take advantage and enjoy everyday!

Weekend Adventures:
Friday: Was a cloudless 85 degree day. My friends and I spent the whole day at the beach, napping, swimming, and chatting with some other students who are studying in Melbourne but visiting Sydney for the weekend. A truly relaxing day at Bondi Beach! To end the day I went for a run then went out with some friends around Newtown (The suburb where I live) for the night.

Saturday: I went with some friends on a Hunter Valley Wine tour. We caught a bus at 8 am from central station for a little under 2 hour bus ride out the The Hunter Valley. Surrounded by mountains the valley is home to 120 vineyards. It is Australia’s oldest and one of its most well-known wine regions. One of the wines the Hunter Valley is best known for is their Semillon. Because it is situated in the basin of the mountains all of the heat is trapped and on average the temperature is 5 degrees warmer then Sydney and humid, which is a good climate for grapes to grow in.

Before leaving the bus our tour guide gave us a crash course on the proper way to sample wine. Hold the glass by the stem, hold your glass up to the light, swirl the wine to get it on the sides of the glass, smell it, and then sip it. 

On our tour we stopped first at Drayton’s Family Wines, one of the oldest family owned Hunter Valley Winery (est.1853). We had a bbq after our first tasting then headed over to Blue Tongue Brewery.

At Blue Tongue Brewery we sampled a few of their original brews outside while listening to live music.

Then we went and walked through the famous Lindeman’s Wines vineyard. 

Our next stop was McGuigan Cellars for another wine and cheese tasting. 

Our last stop of the day was the Golden Grape Estate. This vineyard was surrounded by rose bushes, because if there are any diseases in the soil the roses will die before the grapes and they will be able to treat the grapes before they are infected. I felt so sophisticated and grown up going to all of the wineries! I also learned a lot about the different kinds of wine and how they are made.

Cafe of the Week: 
 Clippers Cafe on Glebe Point Road. The inside of the cafe has a garden type feel and lots of neat old photographs and antique tea pots as decorations. They have the best iced mocha’s ever!!!

New Experiences:
I watched bits and pieces of the Australian film The Castel on commercial breaks while watching another movie and from what I saw it was ridiculous and off the wall. It’s one of those movies that are so pointless it’s funny. Apparently it’s about this Bogan (Australian slag for hillbilly) Australian family that loves their house, but the airport next door wants to extend their runway and demolish their house. I think I will rent it so I can watch the whole thing...I’ll let you know how it goes.

My friend Ankur and I got up at 6:30 am to run 3 miles down to Sydney Harbour to watch the sunrise at 7am. It was neat to see Sydney streets so calm early in the morning and the view of the harbour was beautiful! We took lots of pictures and walked around the opera house and the rocks. The run home we had to weave in and out of people on their morning commute. I was exhausted by the end, but it was well worth it!
The Rocks- where the first convicts were brought into Sydney.

Other News: 
Emma and I successfully made the eggplant parmesan! We had to get creative because of lack of ingredients and cooking utensils but it was delicious!  

My friends came into visit me at work and took a picture of me hard at work!

Well I believe that is all for now. One more week until our mid-semester break! Lindsey, Emma, and I will be flying up to the Gold Coast next weekend, but I hope to update before we leave. Until then, everyone have a great week! 

Cheers, Betsy 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sepo in the City

Urban Dictionary: Sepo
American. (Australian cockney rhyming slang.) From: Yank> Tank> Septic Tank.
Happy Late St. Patricks Day!
I was surprised to learn that Australians do not make as big of a deal about St. Pats day. I said “Happy St. Patricks Day” to an Australian in one of my classes and she was like “Oh, its St. Patricks day?” Some friends and I went out to an Irish Pub in Newtown called Kelly’s to celebrate in all green attire! I also got to open my monthly letter from my Dad and received a St. Pats card from Papa and Pepe in the mail!

Weekend Adventures:

This past Friday I had my first field trip for my Outdoor Education class. I went with a group of 20 other classmates which included students from England, Chile, Sweden, Israel, and the US to Royal National Park. Located an hour south of Sydney, it was nice to get out of the city bubble for a day. At the park we did a 5 mile hike through bush and coastal sandstone cliffs. Half way through the walk we stopped at a beach for lunch and a swim. My favourite part of the day came at the end when we went swimming in a fresh water pool overlooking a valley. The water felt so refreshing because it was a scorching hot day!

For my Sports Leisure and Youth class I needed to interview 3 kids between the age of 8-14 in who participated in swimming, field hockey, or athletics (Track and Field). The Little Athletics New South Whales state championship was being held at Sydney Olympic Park. So on Saturday, my friend Michelle and I got up bright and early to go watch the meet. I interviewed 2 girls and 1 boy, all 14 years old and members of the previous year’s national team. After spending some time at the meet we checked out ANZ stadium where the opening ceremonies were held. Outside of the stadium were polls that had names of people who had donated money towards the Olympics and I found a few Reedy’s. I had my first Australian Subway, and I don’t know why but I couldn’t get over how good it was (sweet onion chicken teriyaki ha yum!). Ok enough about the subway. After lunch we went swimming at the aquatic centre and then walked around the sporting centre where events such as gymnastics were held. Near by the Olympic Park is an outlet mall called DFO where we went to shop, but got there close to 5 and it was closing at 6. I will definitely need to make a return trip there...I love bargains!!! Later on I went out with some friends in Darling Harbour, which was beautifully lit up at night!

Since we went to the track meet on Saturday we had to postpone our cafe/market trip till Sunday. This week’s cafe was the Broadway Lounge. I had pancakes with strawberries and whip cream and of course coffee! Another successful trip to the markets, I got to open my Sunday letter from my Mom, had some free bbq, and went to Coogee Beach...great day!

Other Stuff:

I had my first few days of work at Cold Rock. It went well and each time I got a free ice cream...this could be dangerous!

Later this week I plan on making eggplant parmesan...I’m not really sure how to, but I’ll Google it. Anyone have tips?!

My friend Emma went to New Zealand this past weekend. She went sky diving and climbed mount doom (the mountain in Lord of the Rings where Frodo needs to go to destroy the ring). Her pictures were beautiful! I really hope I can make a trip out there!

I submitted my first paper today. It was a film review of the Australian film, Looking for 
Alibrandi. The movie is set in Sydney and it was neat to see places I’ve been on screen! It’s about a 17 year old Italian girl who is searching for her identity in her final year of High School. I enjoyed it and would recommend it if you’re looking to watch an Ausie film!

Alrighty..I think that’s all for now! Love and miss everyone!

Cheers, Betsy

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Is this reality?

First of all I want to wish Andrew a happy 21st Birthday!!!

I have successfully made it through my second week of classes at USYD. Tuesday was a beautiful day so a friend and I decided to go to the beach for a couple of hours after class. It’s hard to believe I can just jet out to the beach after class after growing up in Ohio where the nearest beach is 9 hours away. This past week I added two new classes and dropped two old ones. My schedule is as follows:

Monday- Australian Theatre, Film, and Learning (We watched clips from several Australian films this week including Mad Max which stars a young Mel Gibson. I am looking forward to the field trips associated with this class, plays and a tour of the opera house.)
Tuesday- Fitness Training: Theory and Practice and then Learning in Outdoor Education (my longest day but two of my favourite classes)
Wednesday- Sports, Leisure, and Youth (sports history/sociology)
I don’t have class on Thursday or Friday!

Weekend Adventures

Last Weekend: 
 There is so much to do and see just around the city. My Australian friend Shona took me and Emma down to the fish markets for lunch last Friday. We ordered a fish platter and I tried my first octopus. It did not look appetizing, but it was good, aside from being really chewy!

On Saturday we got up bright and early to check out a different Farmers market in Camperdown. It ended up to be way more expensive then Paddy’s Market so we left and went there instead. On our way to Paddy’s we stopped for breakfast at a little cafe on the corner of Abercrombie and Ivy St., Bobby’s. While at Bobby’s my friends and I decided from now on each Saturday we are going to try a new cafe for breaky (breakfast) on our way to get our fruits and vegetables from Paddy’s Market.

Saturday afternoon a big group of us went to Bondi Beach to relax in the sun! Ah lovely lovely!

Sundays are one of my favourite days here. Every Sunday I get to open a letter from my Mom and my apartments have a free bbq! I love my Mom and I love free food! After last Sundays bbq my friends, Emma, Michelle, Ashley, and I decided to walk down to Darling Harbour and go to the Maritime Museum..which was also free woo! The walk down to the Harbour was enjoyable because of all the live street music and we cut through China Town. At the museum there were tons of neat exhibits on Australian water culture and I learned a great deal about the RAN (the Royal Australian Navy).

This Weekend:
Friday I went to Bondi Beach with some friends and we did a coastal walk that spanned from Bondi to Coogee Beach. The whole walk was 6 km (3.75 miles) and took us about 2 hours to complete because of all of the picture and swimming stops. The pictures speak for themselves as to how pretty the scenery was!
Cemetery we passed on the Coastal Walk

 This mornings cafe was, Pausa, located on Harris St. right off of George St. It was another great day of bargains at Paddy’s and I got some dried strawberry’s to put on my cereal this week...yum, anything to jazz up the corn flakes!

This afternoon, Emma and I walked down Glebe Point Rd. to a park that I had discovered a few weeks ago on a run, Bicentennial Park. We laid out a blanket, wrote in our journals, and soaked up the sun.

Not Better, Not Worse, Just Different:
It is the most peculiar thing here, they do not have folders. This past week while shopping for school supplies my friends and I searched high and low for normal folders. All we found were manila file folders and $4 normal plastic folders. I needed four folders so I opted for the manila file folders. I always thought folders were so practical, how do they live with out them? Ha ha.

A month in and I am just now getting to know how to order a coffee. Their coffee here is thicker and stronger with froth on top. I have learned that if you want a normal coffee you say, “I’ll have a long black.” And if you want to add cream to it, you do not ask for cream because they will give you whip cream. Instead you ask for milk on the side, and if you don’t want to be shaking, you add a lot of milk! It’s very flavourful and delicious!

On our walk to the park today, Emma and I passed a specialty store that imported American and British sweets. A bag of candy kisses the size of a soccer ball was $65.00. OUTRAGEOUS!

Travel Plans:
This past week Emma and I booked our flight to the Gold Coast for Easter break. We will be in the Gold Coast in Surfers Paradise for a few days before heading down the coast by bus to Byron Bay. From Byron we are going to take a train to our friends Beach house for a few days before returning to Sydney. While at the Gold Coast we may venture up to Brisbane for a day as well. Should be a great trip!

Job/Volunteer Update:
I got a job this week! I will be working at Cold Rock (the Australian equivalent to Cold Stone) serving ice cream. The shop is close to my apartment and I will be working around 10 hours a week. It will be nice to have a little cash in-flow! I didn’t have as much luck with lining up a physiotherapist to volunteer with. Apparently students observing Physio’s here is uncommon because they believe it invades patients privacy. This was disappointing to find out, but I’m not going to give up on it quite yet.   

WOW that was a long post. Sorry I am so slow to update! I hope to update more often in the future!

Cheers, Betsy

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Back to School

Hello Friends!

I just finished my first week of class here at USYD! To celebrate a successful first week my friend Emma and I went to a chocolate cafe. Yes, a chocolate cafe... they have those all over here. I ordered a chocolate soufflé (a warm chocolaty cake with gooey chocolate in the middle) with vanilla ice cream and Emma had a white chocolate, cookie, and caramelized pecan shake! It was DELICIOUS enough to take up a paragraph of my blog ha ha!

School: Anyways, school here is very similar to Ohio State with big lecture halls and smaller tutorials (or as we call them recesitations) a few times a week. All of my class assessments are papers and presentations. Unlike what I am used to, which are quizzes, midterms, and finals. I also found out that in between finals week (which is 2 weeks here) and the end of classes is something called a StuVac (Student study vacation) where you have a week off to study.

Along with going to classes I have been visiting Physical Therapist (or as they call them here Physiotherapist) and trying to line up some sort of internship or volunteering. Living costs and travel costs are pretty pricey here so I have also been looking for a part time job, a task that has proved to be harder then I expected. Cross your fingers that those two things work out!! 

Future Travel Plans: My friends and I have spent the evenings this past week looking at travel guides and trying to decide what we would like to see this next semester. There is so much to do around Sydney and some of the things on our list include: The Sydney Olympic Park, The Rocks (where the first convicts were brought to Sydney), The Hunter Wine Valley, The Sydney Aquarium, Taronga Zoo, and the Australian Maritime Museum. I also plan to take full advantage of the local beaches while the water is still warm!

Since I do not have finals to study for and travelling costs are lower (because it is their winter in June) Emma, Lindsey, and I decided to take that weeks vacation and go to Fiji. Originally we were planning to go to Fiji for autumn break (spring break), but it would have cost double to go then. So for autumn break one of our new Australian friends volunteered to let us spend a weekend at their holiday house that is 2 hours north of Sydney. From there we plan to travel up the coast to Byron Bay, the Gold Coast, and Brisbane.

Miscelaneouse Goals: Learn to play an Australian Sport, learn to surf (Xan volunteered to teach us over autumn break), run a road race, meet lots of locals, earn all HD and D’s in class (HD=A D=B’s), eat new kinds of food, and attend different kinds of church services each Sunday. Also my apartment complex is having a rec soccer league and running club that I may join. That is all I have so far. Any suggestions?

Other news: I tried my first meat pie! While lying out by the pool at Xan’s house his Mom brought us home some meat pies from a local pastry. Apparently you are a true Australian if you can eat the meat pie with out making any crumbs and without a fork. They also suggest that you smother tomato sauce (ketchup) on top for the best flavour.

I feel so fortunate to be on this trip of a life time and thank God everyday for this amazing opportunity! Sorry for no pictures this time!  I promise there will be some next time.

Cheers, Betsy