A Travellerspoint blog

Studying is Overrated Anyway...

sunny 85 °F

Friday night began with Anthony picking me and my laundry up from the village.
I knew he had plans of watching footy on TV with friends so I had made alternate plans. From Seaforth, I took the bus to the city and met some girlfriends who were eating dinner at Jackson's. All I wanted was dessert, so Anita and I went to the Guliyan Chocolate Factory for some belgian waffles and ice cream. From there we met up with the girls at Lowenbrau, a German pub in The Rocks...(near the opera house). The place was alot of fun. They serve everyone huge drinks in steins and the staff is mostly German. I wound up chatting with two guys, an Aussie and the other from New Zealand. Why does everyone assume I'm from Canada, not America? I got pretty offended when they said I looked knocked up. Seeing the look on my face, they immediately recovered..."No, I'm sorry, you look like the girl from Knocked Up" haha.
A few hours later, the girls and I went for 50 cent cones at McDonalds, which was packed at midnight. They went home, and I got picked up from Anthony and Rich who were already in the city.
Saturday morning, Anthony and Steve had a house full of girls; Kim and her friends had also spent the night. Steve cooked us all breakfast as we sat around the table in James' and Anthony's clothes we had slept in haha. I'm excited for Kim to see James again. He is getting home from traveling abroad for almost a year this morning!
In the afternoon, Anthony came in, "Harry's picking us up on the boat, wanna come?" So we walked down to his dock and met Harry and another guy. We drove across the harbor a little bit to Liam's house (more like palace) and picked him up as well. Just, you know, driving around, picking friends up in the boat from their houses on the harbor, hanging out...standard way of life, right?
After getting dropped off, (you know, from the boat) we sat on the dock and watched the sunset. Earlier in the day, they had been burning the bush a couple miles off of the harbor. They do this when it starts to get hot...fire prevention. The hazy sky made the sunset extremely vivid...Easter egg-like.
Anthony took me on a date that night. Hey, I love dates. I love them so much. We went to a beachfront restaurant in Manly...he let me order whatever I wanted.
On a side note, I received my third letter from Adam. He's looooving Taiwan. Struggling some with Chinese but he says it's coming along. He thanked me for being his only friend who consistently wrote and told me I'm allowed to come back until I've ridden a kangaroo.
Sunday morning, I chose to stay and be a study slave while Anthony went out on Harry's family's yacht. I know huh...I felt soooo swamped that I turned down a yacht day.
I called mom. I miss mom. "You know I'd be totally supportive of you if you took winter term off and stayed on Maui with me. Between Costa Rica, the Olympics, and Liz having her baby, I think it would be less stressful for you to just take the term off". Just when I thought I had my mind made up, here she comes bribing me with banana pancakes, her new jungle house with an ocean view, and free fresh mangoes.
An hour later, Steve came home and said, "what are you doing?"
"Uni work"
"Yeah, well, that's about to change. You're coming out on the yacht and I've got strict instructions from Anthony to bring you with me"
So we packed some towels and drinks and got picked up in the yacht.
Holy yacht.
It is such a nice yacht.
Harry, Harry's parents Gram and Kay, his sister Nikki, Kim and her friends, Steve, Anthony, and me spent a good five hours out in the harbor. We anchored off of Manly, got our tans on and they served us lunch. Not just regular sandwiches but you know...kalamata olives, crackers and dip, tons of sandwich fix-ins, prawns, and whatever we wanted to drink. I learned how to peel prawns...ended up with shrimp brains spewed all over my leg. Anthony threw me in the water which was about as cold as Titanic water.
The boys put up the sails ("swing the jib starboard" and all that silly stuff) and we sailed outside of the harbor looking for some dolphins...which yes, I saw!
It was conveniently the nicest day Sydney's had since I've been here.
Aw, it was just an amazing day...I am so lucky to know the people I know here. Without them, my experience would be completely different.
Anthony's always swore that Sydney is the best place to live and that he doubts he'll ever live elsewhere. I'm starting to see why.
Back home, we waited for Judy to get back from her weekend golf trip and then we all had dinner together. There was a show on all about the wonders of Hawaii. Was it meant to be?
Monday morning was get up and get out the door. Anthony took the next two weeks off of work to study for his exams. A bit before 8am we left the house and went to the UTS library in Kuring-gai. "We can't sit on the same floor, it won't work, so you stay here and I'll go upstairs". 8am til noon...estudiamos. He packed both of us lunches and so we took an hour lunch together. I even got a juicebox...cute.
1pm-6pm...study study, and I still feel unprepared. He took me by the grocery store in Epping. Anita had given me a small shopping list so we could make stir fry together. I always get a little sad when he drops me off in the village. My room is still not homey and my roommates are still not my mates (not to mention someone drank half my milk while I was gone). Lucky I have next door. I spent the whole night over there eating stir fry and enchanting them with my tales of boats and yachts.
Tuesday morning now...back to reality. I'm up before 8am, ready to go on a run followed by hours of study; exams tomorrow.
I'm obviously reconsidering staying in Hawaii until March. I not asking for input anymore...I need to make up my mind for myself I think. When I'm here, I want to be in Pa'ia eating banana pancakes with mom. When I'm in Hawaii, I want to be in Oregon, floating the river with Sara. When I'm in Oregon, I want to be in Sydney, going to Manly with Anthony.
And between exams, sailing on yachts, and being treated like a princess, when do I have the peace of mind to decide what I want to do and where I want to do it?
Mid semester break, here I come.

Posted by ChristinaC 13:58 Comments (1)

Break Decisions

Please help!

sunny 72 °F

I'm leaving Sydney for our mid semester break trip in 11 days.
We've organized definite dates of where we will be. Six of the nights are lacking plans for accommodation...but we are planning on showing up at hostels or camping. I know, that's gotta worry the parents but apparently it's "part of the experience"!!
I'm writing to ask your opinion of what activities I should do. Mill, Brendan and I have decided not to book the same activities all the time as we will probably want to do different things.
So the options are...

BYRON BAY
5 hour fishing trip ($88)
3 hour kayaking trip ($60)
1/2 hour hang gliding ($140)
9,000 feet skydive ($200)
Zorbing ($145) ...(rolling around while in a huge plastic ball)
...theres more activites like mountain biking and surfing but the ones above are the ones im interested in

SURFERS PARADISE
half day kayaking/dolphin tour ($85)
24 hour farmstay ($145) ...Activities can include :

  • We are a "Genuine" farm, of 128 acres.
  • Sheep shearing (for groups 15+)
  • Horse,Cattle & Dog Show (for groups 10 +)
  • We have 40 horses for trail riding.
  • Ponies for pony rides.
  • We feed native animals, such as possums, (they will sit on

your lap) and lorikeets, (these will also feed from your hand)

  • We feed baby animals
  • Milking "Dolly" our cow.
  • Fresh water fishing, and yabbying.
  • Whip cracking
  • Boomerang throwing
  • Star gazing
  • Campfires
  • Spotlighting
  • Bush walking
  • Swimming pool
  • Clay pigeon shooting ($1 per shot)
  • Optional extra - "Winery Visit"

Sea World or Warner Brothers Theme Park (each $50)
Wet & Wild Water Park ($50)
Skydiving ($214)

CAIRNS
1 day snorkeling cruise on great barrier reef ($170) DONT WORRY ALREADY DOING IT!!!!! :)
Bungy Jumping ($125)
Half day crabbing/fishing trip ($90)
9,000 feet skyding ($214)
AREAS SURROUNDING CAIRNS: PORT DOUGLAS, CAPE TRIBULATION ...
there are a couple wildlife sufaris....we will do one of them just cuz i feel obligated
also a few crocodile reserves i'd like to see
2/3 of queensland's population is aborinigal people so i won't have to go anywhere special to see them

Comment on the blog if you have any input. Or facebook/email me. I'd love to hear what you guys have to say.
I'll try to eat cheaply on the trip so I can put more money towards activities. When I say eat cheaply I mean baking my own breakfast muffins before I leave Sydney and using free bbqs on the beaches :)

Posted by ChristinaC 20:11 Comments (4)

To life, to life, la kayim

La kayim, la kayim, to life

overcast 67 °F

Paddy's market on friday was a huge success! Lots of cheap fruit...really fresh...and a variety of free samples. A little like Costco for fruit only. I got some grapefruit and oranges for Steve...a little disappointed I didn't find pomegranates which is why I went there.
After fruit shopping we got some 50 cent ice cream cones from McDonalds and layed around in a park off Darling Harbor. When the girls decided to go, I found a starbucks and ordered some tea...my reflective alone time had begun. It got kind of rainy and gloomy outside and then I felt hungry. I tried calling Judy, the Bennett house phone, and Anthony but none of them answered. I was calling to get Kim's (Anthony's brother's girlfriend) phone number. She lives a few blocks back from Darling Harbor and I thought it would be nice to get dinner with her. (Especially since she read the bit on the bbq from last weekend! Haha, embarassing. But hey Kim, really, I thought you were sweet and funny and everything. The conversation was just loud and intimidating is all. So lets get together so I can stop feeling like a bad person haha :) ) So anyway...
No Kim so I walked to QVB (Queen Victoria Building: a old historic building turned into a high end shopping mall. QVB is also a major bus station) and was going to catch a bus to Anthony's house. He had told me earlier "yeah you can just come over. I might be at basketball but we can hang out when I get home". Lucky he called me before I got on the bus to tell me he was going to his friends after basketball.
So, I went back to Macquarie via bus.
Yeah, okay, I'll admit it, I was a bit cranky that I got shafted for his mates.
I made some cookies and invited some friends over. The girls didn't end up going out so Rachel, Jess, Jordanna, and Miller came over. We were going to watch a movie but got sidetracked talking, watching The Break Up on tv, and eating cookies. Miller calmed me down about Anthony and assured me I was just being a moody girl.
Anthony actually ended up coming out around midnight to pick me up:) All the way to North Ryde and back to Seaforth. It's a long drive so when he does it, I really know how much he wants to see me!
Had some talk in the car about him coming to Hawaii in between Christmas and New Years. Loose talk...it's an idea. Liz and Mom okay with him crashing at your houses? I don't even know why I'm asking...Liz is dying to meet him/see him in a speedo on the beach...and Mom likes him because I like him...maybe she is secretly attracted to his accent and keds too? Anyway...
We woke up Saturday and I guilt tripped him into watching Office Space with me. "You can go surfing on Saturday mornings at Manly for the rest of your life...but you can only watch office space in your pajamas with me for three more months". It's funny...but kind of depressing. So of course we watched it.
Then he went for a surf while I layed on the beach. Almost time to start putting on sun screen. Aussie sun is intense.
Back at home, he made me a BLT before I went home.
I went home and saw ANITA! She was back from Cairns and had her boyfriend with her! I went on a run, and then we all got ready to go out in the city. Claudia, Jess 1, Jess 2, Rachael, Lindsay, Jordanna, Anita, Andrew and I. It was a blast. The bus ride in was a bit hectic. The Muslim driver had a FML 30 minutes...driving a full load of college kids who were using their flash on their cameras after explicit instructions not to do so.
Oh wait, stop, Andrew dared me to ask for a free Krispy Kreme sample so I did and ended up getting a whole free donut which we all shared like angry seagulls.
We went to Jackson's on George Street. This is a really cool place. The dance floor was open this time:) I dared Jordanna to talk to a group of cute Aussie guys and her and a few of the other girls ended up spending the rest of the night with them. Hey, youre welcome for making your night a success.
After Jacksons I walked to Wynyard station with plans of bussing to Anthony's. I ended up getting followed around the station after I asked an Aussie where the bathroom was. "Hey Miss America!!! Wait! You look beautiful! Can I see you again sometime?!" ..."I just need to find the bus to my boyfriends". Anthony agreed to pick me up from the stop in Seaforth. I fell asleep on the bus. When he called me he said,
"Hey aren't you on the 151?"
"Yeah"
"Well, it just went past..."
"Oh that's weird cuz I'm still on it"
Haha, anyway, he got me and I felt taken care of:)
I went back to uni early the next morning (Sunday). Sunday was Father's Day here. I thought I'd duck out while the Bennett's had their massive family activities. Not that I feel uncomfortable...they always make me feel at home...just thought I'd let them have family time. I'd kill for some family time myself.
At home, I made tim tam chocolate muffins.
Jordanna and I got dressed up. Last night was the first time I've crashed a wedding.
This event was pre-planned. Earlier in the week, I had called the Four Seasons hotel downtown,
"Hi, I'm suppoed to be attending a reception on Friday however I've lost my invitation and forgotten the time"
"Oh, no problem, let me check for you...actually nothing is scheduled for friday"
"well, I did lose the invitation, it could have said saturday"
"nope...nothing saturday either"
"um...sunday?"
"yes, theres a reception at 5:30 on sunday in the grand ballroom"
Hahahahaaaaaaaaa.
So we went...met Anita and Andrew at Lindtz chocolate cafe in Darling Harbor, and then walked to the Four Seasons. We sat in the lobby and tried to feel out the crowd. We saw the bride and groom arrive in their rolls royce. When it looked good, we made our way into the ball room.
Jewish.
Everyone was Jewish.
Jordanna is a Jew so she told me what was going on and why people were being carried on chairs.
The appetizers were gourmet...sushi, a brushcetta bar, seared steak, smoked salmon, on and on.
All the tables had placecards so we couldn't sit down. We migrated around, looking awkward no doubt, for about 45 minutes. When we decided it was getting suspicious, we made for the door. Just then we were confronted by the wedding planner, "Can you tell me where you girls are sitting?" and I quickly replied, "actually we are just on our way out and we don't know where to put our glasses". I forced my glass into her hand, smiled, and walked away.
Success.
Okay so not the kind of success Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson had but we did feast on a kosher meal.
Jo went home, and I went to Anthony's. I let myself in as they were still at a family dinner party, frosted my tim tam cupcakes (present for Steve), and just then Anthony walked in.
"Oh hey, you look cute!"
The rest of the night was spent watching CSI Miami with Anthony and his parents.
I went to bed while Anthony did uni work. When he finally climbed in he said..."Hey, next weekend lets hang out more instead of just sleeping". He doesn't even know when he's being cute.
Ahhhh so...back at uni...this week I've got to forget that I am in Sydney freaking Australia...Mid semester exams have crept up and are next wednesday. Work Work Work.
Well, at least until Thursday.

Posted by ChristinaC 17:13 Comments (2)

Healthy & Happy

overcast

Monday night, Judy sent me home with a plate of leftovers: Steak, sausage, potatoes, and salad. It's lasted me all week:) Thankful for that because protein is expensive. I really made a point to eat well this week. After Rich's email about training guys for PT tests, I got a new app on my iPhone. It helps me calculate what I eat, the amount of exercise I do and put it in perspective of what I should do.
So last night I was a little hungry before bed, but I was close to my calorie budget (thanks to Beach Burrito) so I had some tea and went to bed at ten instead of staying up. I feel good:) and energized.
I've had a pretty standard week of uni.
Tuesday I sat thru a three hour seminar on global intelligence. The guy who gave it rambled off all these claims, "well when I worked for the British intelligence...when I worked for the Spanish government...Russian spies..." and on and on. It felt like I was listening to Mike Smith..."yeah me and momma Cass jammed together in Canada..." and then he went on to show us you tube videos of old spy movies.
School work is catching up with me. Mid semester break is in a week and a half. This means mid semester exams (two on my birthday) and big assignments are due. The difference between US school and AU school is here, my grade is decided by one or two big assignment, a mid sem exam and the final. At home, I have opportunities for weekly assignments, participation grades, etc. Also, I'm pretty sure the exams are going to be more challenging.
Yesterday was my day off from uni. In the morning, Jordanna and I caught the train to Bondi Junction and then bussed to Bronte Beach. We did a walk along the cliffs (settle down, it's a paved path with some railings) all the way to Bondi Beach. The views were soooo beautiful. The water is really blue, surprisingly. It was kind of a dreary day...overcast and eventually it rained...made me miss Oregon a bit. From the cliffs we saw surfers, pretty flowers, people playing volleyball, and stunning panoramic views of the beaches we passed. There was also beautiful real estate along here.
Bondi Beach is my new favorite spot! I'll post a panoramic picture of it in the gallery. It's pretty upbeat. Lot's of surfers and little places to eat/shop. We walked the entire length of the storefronts until we got to Beach Burrito. Yes, I've been craaaaving Mexican food. I didn't consider that it wouldn't be popular/good quality here because of the distance from Mexico. Kind of like how there is delicious Thai food everywhere here because it's closer to Thailand. Maybe an obvious observation but I just didn't consider it.
From Bondi, we took the train back to school.
Last night I met up with Brendan and Miller and booked our flights for mid semester break! YAYYY! Devastating to my bank account however.
Then I did the usual and hung out next door. I knew things would get easier once I had settled into a routine. I have arrived at that point for sure.
Now, after dissecting an earthworm whose hearts (3 of the 5) were still beating with a nice Aussie boy, I'm going into the city with the girls to Paddy's Market (SUPER SUPER flea market/ farmers market kinda thing). They are coming back to uni, getting ready, and going out for a night in the city. I think instead of coming back with them, I'll stay in the city and walk around and come back and hang with Mill or something. I'm supposed to go out tomorrow night with Anita and her boyfriend so I can't have two money-spending nights in a row. Besides, I'm due for some alone time. I know some people hate alone time...especially when they are doing something exciting. I'm sure theres a phobia name for it. But for me, it's recharging. I really really love it. I love the freedom of being able to sit in the same place for an hour and just people watch if I want. I love that I don't have someone to say..."Oh I'm so cold...this is boring...why aren't we getting wasted right now". Don't get me wrong, I love my friends but I also am looking forward to alone time:)
Really enjoying life at this point.
I miss Sara more than usual this week.
And I hope that Ruth can stay alive until I get back. I petted a dog at Bondi Beach yesterday and didn't want to stop.

Posted by ChristinaC 18:25 Comments (1)

Swans, Sharks and Blondes

sunny 70 °F

After dissecting a snail in bio lab friday morning, I caught the train to North Sydney to meet Anthony. Yeah, and I thought snails were booooring when they're alive. He picked me up and took me to Freshwater (Freshie's) Beach for lunch. We got some burgers and drove to Curl Curl (Curlys) Beach to eat.
He had a black eye from the night before...a wedgie fight with the rest of his 21 year old guy friends. The seriousness of the fight was confirmed when I found the ripped underwear in the car, haha!
So, we're sitting on the beach and he says, "what do you want to do today? we could go chill at home and lay in the sun or i could take you and show you some beaches". Some? Understatement. We started from Curlys, which is the beach just north of Manly, and continued north, hitting around ten beaches in three hours. Dee Why, Longreef, Collaroy, Narrabeen, Mona Vale, Newport, Avalon, Whale Beach, and Palm Beach. Palm Beach is the last northern beach in Sydney. My favorite was Avalon. Hardly anyone was there, it's not commercialized like Manly at all. Woolworth's was right across the street so it would be an easy place to spend the entire day. Also, at every beach was a man made pool. How do I explain this...the pool was in the ocean. When waves came in, the water would rush in through vents on the side. The bottom was sand. Just something I've never seen or heard of before.
So after the beach tour, we drove back to his house in Seaforth where he cooked me some eggs and we watched Hook. His parents went out on a cute little date so we got Dominoe's. Haha...overall it was a really really good day.
Saturday he dropped me at the village. I hung around with Brendan and Miller and then went with everyone to the bbq. Then we all took the bus to the city to watch the Sydney Swans play footy! My first footy game! Like 100 kids from Macquarie went. The game was pretty long...three hours...but we had fun. Starting to pick up on the rules.
From there we took the bus to Darlinghurst and went to a bar called the Gaff. The Gaff is kind of a sketch place but we all had free entry cards so we went to check it out. I danced for a bit and got leied and then we decided to go. The girls changed into going out clothes and then the boys escorted us to Darling Harbor. Anthony's friend Jono was having his 21st at a posh place called Cargo Bar. The plan was to introduce my American girlfriends to his Australian mates. We got there only to learn that the party was being held in the VIP section upstairs and only I was allowed up because Anthony was there. So I stayed downstairs for an hour or so and then spent the rest of the night upstairs. I'm still laughing at Anthony dancing. It wasn't head-turning outrageous or anything...it was just silly. He was really energetic and silly and confident. He would pull me close, twirl me, then have his own spotlight, aw it was just a silly time. I hung around with Jaimie and Holly and some other girls I got introduced to before we left around 3.
"I don't like when you wear heels that make you the same height as me" haha.
Yesterday, sunday, was anything but a lazy sunday. Judy, Anthony, Nick, and me went to Manly in the morning. Anthony and Nick went diving with sharks at the aquarium. While they were doing training, Judy took me out to breakfast at a beautiful place on the beach. "Now this is a fabulous place and you can have absolutely anything you want on the menu" Huevos Rancheros! "Oh there you go! Mexican food finally!" It was a good breakfast, not awkward at all.
We went back to the aquarium and watched the boys swim with the sharks and rays. Pretty cool thing. It was a gift Anthony got for his 21st.
Back at the house, Judy had two of her girlfriends and their husbands over for lunch. Judy pulls out all the stops when she hosts, it was really nice.
After lunch I tried to do uni work but fell asleep in the sun while the boys fell asleep watching the footy on tv.
Kim and two of her friends came over. A few more people came over also for bbq dinner. I didn't say more than like 20 words for the whole 3 hours. The girls were pretty loud and talkative and sometimes talked about things that meant nothing and its just hard for me to contribute to conversations like that.
Anyways, its monday morning. Anthony is at work. Judy is cleaning house. And I am staying here to try to get some uni work done before I go back to school tonight.
EHHHHHHH school work is the worst here.
I've been making plans for what I'm going to do when I come back to Oregon. I'm pretty set on moving back into the cabin. Sara, Natalie, and Katie are going to move in with me. A combination of girlfriends, school, and snowboarding should keep me busy and distracted when I get back.

Posted by ChristinaC 16:23 Comments (1)

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