A Travellerspoint blog

Big Gulps huh? Welp, see ya later!

Today I decided that I don't know anything about anything.
You know how when you are talking with a group or an individual and someone starts talking about something specialized. For example, someone will spout off their knowledge all about the happenings of the Boston Tea Party or statistical projections for the global economy. When this happens, my contribution to the conversation turns into head nods of agreement which of course are just masking my confusion/frustration at having such an inept brain.
I am in my 15th year of school. I've had the power (to an extent) to choose my own courses/areas of study. I feel like I've been exposed to a ton of academic material...but how much of it have I retained? Little. I've learned about the structure and function of the United States Government but when asked something as trivial as how many senators come from each state, I blank. When an Aussie asks me what I think of Obama...I feel too uninformed to offer a concrete opinion. I still don't know for sure what's going on in the Middle East. I am aware of infinite concepts/events/things but somehow know only about 20% of what I should about these things. Have I spread my realm of knowledge too thin? Is it better to be aware of a ton of things but not know very much about them? Or be an expert on a limited number of things?
Most people I talk to seem like they know a ton about something specific. For example, Mom knows a lot about real estate and financial doo dads. When I analyze my own self...what do I know a lot about? The most effective way to thrift store shop? Baking? What to do when your car overheats?
As I blog, Anita's mom skypes her and Anita starts speaking fluent Polish. I took four solid years of Spanish in high school, got all A's (and dated a mexican) but probably couldn't hold much of a conversation.
So speaking of thrift shopping, it's the hardest thing to do in Sydney. Tomorrow, me and a few girls are going into the city to track down four op shops in Darlinghurst and Paddington.
Yesterday, Anita and I sat thru a three hour seminar on the "3 P's of Politics". I couldn't focus on what the white-haired lecturer was saying. Instead I was thinking, "He looks exactly like Batman's butler...but what was his name...?!" By the time we got our break in the middle of it, I was doing the sleepy head bob. I went with Anita to get coffee and she told me what was in each of them. I was daring and decided to get a mocha. It wasn't as good as hot chocolate obviously but it was surprisingly satisfying. I was way more alert through the rest of the seminar as well as in my four hours of stats class. This could be psychological I realize but maybe just maybe coffee can help me with school?
When I got home, I googled and remembered the butler's name is Alfred.
This weekend I'm meeting Anthony's brother's girlfriend, Kim. Kim is from Boston and is 21. She's studying in Sydney for the semester as well. I know, right?! Someone tell me why I have a problem with anxiety and meeting new people?
While waiting for the bus, I noticed a paper bag on the bench next to me. The contents? A blueberry muffin from the German Bakery in Macquarie Mall. Apparently someone just wanted to eat the top of the muffin and not the rest. Anita and I shared the rest of the muffin on the bus ride to the village.
And this is how I know we are truly friends.

Posted by ChristinaC 05:18 Comments (2)

Dear Queens of the Boxed Wine,

Shut the flip up

sunny 75 °F

Whenever I see my roommate Katie, she always boasts "omg, last night was so crazy, did you hear me come home really late? I've been wasted like pretty much every night since I've been here". I try and sound impressed, obviously the reaction she's fishing for and say ,"oh woah girl...that's crazy".
It's Monday night and her American girlfriends, her, and one guy (or one masculine girl) have congregated in a drunken huddle around the laptop in the courtyard singing at the top of their lungs, "what's looooooove, got to do, got to do with it..." and so on. I'm not being squarish, I like to have fun too but mainly on Wednesday-Saturday nights, not consecutively usually, and not Monday. For the love!
I haven't written in a while which was a mistake because a lot has gone by.
Making cookies last week was a challenge, even for me. The measurements on the sides of the butter were in grams, not cups. White chocolate chips don't exist. Baking soda isn't called baking soda...something else that I don't remember but it led me on a cranky rampage in Woolworth's. We don't have teaspoons. The oven temperature is in Celsius. Alot of these things only need sorting out once which is happy. I made both white chocolate chip and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, left half with the girls next door, and took a huge tub to Anthony's. My gesture of thanks is going to be weekly baked goods! The cookies were gone by Sunday due to Anthony, Steve ("delicious biscuits Christina"), Judy, but primarily Anthony's friends.
Also, I tried my hand at pasta primavera. It was delicious. When I got carb conscious, I just poured the sauce/veggies over salad.
Last Thursday I went on an organized pub crawl with 70 other kids from uni. The night started out early in Kings Cross, hooker district of Sydney, at a place called The World Bar. After a pit stop at Maccah's (McDonalds) we made our way to Circular Quay by the Opera House to a place called Jackson's On George. This was my favorite spot. It was pretty posh and I was disappointed that the dance floor was closed because it was Thursday. The next two spots were down the street. Just some bars where apparently adults unwind after work and little Aussie business men offer to buy little American girls drinks. There was live music though and we still had a good time. By 11:30 I was calling Anthony to tell him I was going to take the bus to his house. Without hesitation he said, "riiight, you're on George Street? I'll pick you up in twenty". So he did just that and also gave a few of my girlfriends a lift to the bus station. Awwwww! Right?! He even got up at 6:30am Friday to drive me back to uni for class.
From 9 til noon I dissected jellyfish, sponges, and sea anemones with my non-english speaking lab partner and wished I was still asleep.
Friday night the girls and I made a gourmet Mexican feast. Nachos made from doritos, homemade guacamole, and bruschetta. Then we did what we do best and sat at the table into the early morning laughing.
Saturday I took the bus to Seaforth and read the Manly paper in the sunshine with Cat til Anthony came home. The weather is getting nice. I'm loving being in the sun again. I actually will have to wear sunscreen here though. Something to do with how they have no ozone.
We walked down to the boat dock and played Rummy. His Rummy is different than grandma's rummy and I had to say the famous line to him, "lay down what you're going to play before you pick up from the discard pile". Finally, I get to say it to someone else.
That night Steve and Judy went out with their friends so Nick, Harry, Rich, and Steph came over to have dinner and watch the footy (rugby) game on the big screen. Australia vs New Zealand. Not only am I trying to understand rugby for the first time, but Aussie's have three different types of rugby which are all quite different. Union, Aussie Rules...and um, something else. Anywho, it was a good time.
As soon as his friends left he said, "I think there's something on that you'd like". He turned to The Notebook which yes, me likey very much and started quoting the lines before they came up. I know he'll be embarrassed when he reads this but you guys just have to learn what a silly time we have!
We ran around the house for a bit, Steve and Judy came home, and then we crashed.
Sunday was lay on the couch day. But Sunday night was date night :) He took me out to a Thai restaurant. So so so delicious. I think Thai might be my favorite in the world. Afterwards, we went to Cold Rock. It's exaaaactly like Cold Stone...just the copy cat version. We sat on the wharf at Manly Beach, ate ice cream, and no doubt looked really cute.
At 7am we woke up and I caught the bus with him to work in North Sydney. From there I came back to uni. I went on a run and then went to cycling with Anita. My gym membership is expired and I don't want to sign up for another month because I'll be on break for two weeks shortly. So, from now til I leave I'll just run outside.
Speaking of mid semester break, after our last meeting we have a good idea of what we're doing.
We're taking two weeks to travel up the east coast by bus. We're stopping off for a night or two each in Byron Bay, Surfer's Paradise, Brisbane, Rainbow Bay, Whitsundays, and finally Cairns for six days. Activities include white water rafting, snorkeling on the great barrier reef, and hugging a koala in Queensland as it's illegal in New South Wales:( Then we're flying back to Sydney to come back to school. I don't think Anthony's too thrilled that half of the trip will be just me and two guys but he hasn't made a fuss.
Today I made the greatest quesadillas. Simmered diced tomatoes, green chilies, red beans, garlic, and cumin and then broiled that inside the tortilla with cheese. Also had corn salad. After working all day on uni work, I spent the rest of the night next door.
What should I bake for this weekend for the Bennett's? I was thinking muffins...what do you think?
On Friday, Anthony is taking me to Taronga Zoo after school!!! Kangaroos, koalas, and the first baby elephant in Australia! Look for pictures.
On Saturday I'm going to the Sydney Swans footy game with a bunch of other kids from uni. My first footy game! I have to wear red and act like I know whats going on and that I'm passionate about the sport.
I feel relieved that I've blogged now but certain I've left some interesting details out.
The boxed wine party has dissipated and I am allowed to sleep now.
In the morning I'll go explore North Ryde on my run. Who knew the week I firmly decided to get healthy would be the same week Tim Tams go on sale.

Posted by ChristinaC 06:51 Comments (0)

My Future Children

Ha, got you Dad!

sunny 75 °F

My environmental sustainability class is my most favorite class of my college career aside from piano. Every week we read, write, listen to guest lectures, and discuss different topics.
Last week was why have all the mega fauna (big big mammals) gone extinct in the world and more specifically why in Australia?
This week's focus is on the world's population growth. Currently we're around 6.7 billion and expected to reach 10 billion by 2030. Our top soil for agriculture is disappearing (erosion etc) at five times the rate that new soil is being created. It's suggested that we will run out of room for farming before our energy resources are depleted. It's obvious that our population is too big, more so everyday.
I have a new (and first) opinion on regulating populations. Governments should put a cap on family sizes and tax for individuals thereafter. Did you know that Australia has a baby bonus?! $3,000 per kid.
Also the standard of living across global regions should become just that...standard. That means bringing America's down and raising oh I don't know...Tansania? It's a fact that if EVERYONE in the world had the same standard of living as Americans and also were granted the exact same freedoms, Earth could only sustain a population of 2 million.
If/when I have kids, I no longer think I want to have five or six. Two or three should do.
This class gets me excited...our tutorial leader actually called me outgoing because I was engaged in the discussion. Outgoing? Christina?
Tonight Anita and I are baking a tim tam birthday cake for Jordanna's birthday:)
Tomorrow I'm going to order my groceries online and have them delivered for free. I'm going to try to make spicy turkey chilli...mmm.
I'm missing the Clackamas County Fair and floating the river with slurpees.

Posted by ChristinaC 22:25 Comments (2)

If I was on The Titanic...

I'd definitely be dancing in my tap shoes on the bottom level

sunny 75 °F

After a few hours of throwing out crazy ideas for mid semester break (seriously all over the place: snowboarding in New Zealand, hiking at Alice Springs/Ayers Rock, driving the southern coast..) we have a rough idea of what we're going to do. We are going to start in Sydney and travel along the east coast by bus, stopping at some key cities along the way (Byron Bay, Gold Coast, Kirra Beach which is home to the Billabong surf competition, Brisbane, and some others). Our final destination is Cairns (pronounced Cans) where we will spend like 4-6 days. The time in Cairns includes taking a day snorkeling cruise out on the Great Barrier Reef! It's exciting because this is number one on my Australia checklist. Our accommodation along the coast will be a mixture of time share (thanks mommy) and camping in the spots we want to see but where there aren't time shares. Our break begins after mid semester exams which happen to be on my birthday :( and lasts for two weeks until October 5th. Anita is going with us for the first 5 days but then flying out of Brisbane to see her boyfriend is New Zealand. As of now, it will me just Brendan, Miller, and me. Don't worry...they're cool and keep me safe even when we're just in Sydney. They also both have girlfriends so it's a conveiniant arrangement where there's no awkward "Oh we're friends but secretly I want more) business. Once we're done in Cairns, we'll fly down to Sydney and start the second half of the semester.
On a different topic...
Anthony picked me (and yes, my laundry) up on Friday afternoon. We went to his house, lounged around, played xbox, and I met his Aunt Billie from Melbourne. She's originally from Wisconsin but moved out here thirty-some years ago, married an Aussie and had three kids. She's really American. She's really outspoken but I really liked her and she's pretty relaxing to be around. The kind of outspoken that makes you feel relaxed if you know what I mean? Well, everyone in the house got dressed to go to Harry's 21st party. His party was at his house in Mossman (yuppy suburb in Sydney). Since it was casino themed, they had a few tables and hired professional dealers to come out. I learned to play Blackjack properly but never attempted roulette...probably because the testosterone was overwhelming in that room. We weren't gambling with real money, just chips. At the end of the night the person with the most 'money' got a grand prize: an iPod touch. Haha...yeah, the party was unreal but also exactly what I expected it to be. Anthony gave me a tour of the house: four stories, on a harbor, with a pool, just really beautiful. It was catered and there were people in tuxes walking around with platters of calamari, cream puffs with raspberry sauce and cotton candy on top, bite size fancy quesadillas, and alot of yummy other things I don't know how to describe. Anthony, Rich and a few other people gave "21st speeches" which are customary at these things...they were pretty brutal and I was surprised at what was said considering there was a lot of family there. Well, brutal in my opinion but I guess it was standard for a 21st speech. Anthony and I kind of did our own things during the party which was off and on nerve racking. I didn't have a problem talking to people...I knew Jamie, Holly, Steph and Rich from the beach trip and I also knew a few more just from meeting them previously so I talked to them. I also met a ton of new people, both family and friends of Anthony, who all seemed to know who I was. Around one, most of the boys went out with Harry in the city for a few more drinks. Anthony is one of Harry's best mates and not to mention his cousin so I wasn't surprised that he went. I was invited but decided to catch a cab with Judy, Steve, Aunt Billie, and her husband back to their house in Seaforth. Aw, high heels are such a mystery to me...my feet felt like they changed shape. Steve said, "I know if you had you're way you'd be going around barefoot...a little Hawaii girl". The adults and I stayed in the kitchen talking mostly about the party, the speeches, and eating crackers, cheese and chocolate. Anthony came home not too long after that and we all went to bed...exhausted.
The next day was recovery from the night before. We met Rich and Marty on Manly Beach and layed in the sun for a few hours before getting lunch and going back home where we layed in the sun for a little bit longer. There was a big family dinner get together thing at Harry's so Anthony went but I opted to stay home. My nerves hadn't settled from being anxious the entire night before. I'm still not sure if this made a bad impression. I caught a bus into the city and met Anita and Rachel at Max Brenner's Chocolate Bar. Awww....this place is amazing. (I know, here I go with the food again). It's the ultimate dessert place. I had cinnamon hot chocolate and then we shared a chocolate-banana-marshmellow pizza and belgian waffles with chocolate, strawberries, bananas, and ice cream. I gave up dinner and only had dessert. Anthony drove in to pick me up, we watched tv with his fam for a while, and that was my Saturday.
Sunday morning Anthony dropped me off in Manly to meet 6 friends who came on the ferry from Macquarie. We all rented bikes and deliberated on where we were going to bike ride that afternoon. We decided to be adventurous, pay the extra $15 off-road surcharge and get mountain bikes. "It's a little hard but you should give it a go," said the guy at the bike shop.
Understatement of the century.
The bike path was ridiculous...a solid third of the path was unbike-able except to the professional bikers who kept passing us along the way. This was serious mountain biking. The views of the golfcourses, beach, and city were well worth the sweat though. Only one of us had a serious accident...there is a funny picture in the gallery so check it out. We got back to Manly around four. We overshot our planned lunch time by three hours and we were all a little cranky. We quietly ate Hungry Jacks (same a Burger King but different name), sat around on the wharf, and then Anthony picked me up (isn't he nice for saving me money on transportation?!) While I was gone, there was a huuuuge family lunch at the Bennett's and so everything was pretty low key for the rest of the night. We watched Yes Man, funny but not great. I fell asleep pretty early.
When I went to have breakfast this morning, the note next to the tupperware on the counter said "Christina, use these to take pasta salad and green salad (if it's still good) home with you. Judy". Awww...they take care of my so well. Any ideas of what I could do for Steve and Judy in return?
I did the dishes, got my stuff, and walked to catch the bus back to school because Anthony was at work.
And so begins another week...I really wish I wasn't going to school right now. My classes are interesting though which is lucky: Stats, Biology, and Environmental Sustainability.
I got an email from Mr. Schmiel asking what I was up to.
I got my second letter from Adam. He's in Taiwan and loving it.
I just submitted my application to PSU for winter 2010.
December is coming faster than I'd like but at the same time, not fast enough.
I miss my family.

Posted by ChristinaC 22:17 Comments (2)

Naps, Rain, and Wrestling

The weekend is for recharging

rain 58 °F

The Night in Oveido never happened. Well it happened, but we never went. Instead we had a girl party and made dessert crepes. These girls next door are so silly. It's three girls from New Jersey, Claudia from Australia, and Anita from Vancouver BC.
The next morning, Anthony came and picked me and my laundry up. He met some of my friends which is good because they were starting to wonder if he was real. I don't blame him for never spending time in the village...just look at the pictures that I'm about to post from his house. Anyway...
I'm trying to think of what we did this weekend...the weekends tend to be a haze. Not a drunk haze, a relaxed nap-filled haze. We hung around with his parents for a bit, ate lunch, and then had an ultimate wrestling competition. Family: we know I'm moving up in regards to the guys I date when I finally date one who I can't pin down. Haha, cracking myself up over here. Anyway it was pretty intense but ended with him throwing me on the ground on accident and then I walked away.
We hung around the house for a while longer and then his parents took us out to dinner! Judy is always asking where my 'proper' shoes are because I only wear sandals and its cold outside. The place we went to dinner was a bit fancy and she suggested that I should wear real shoes so I wouldn't be turned away. Then she decided that my sandals were fancy enough that they might allow it and if not she told me to just use my American accent. Well, I got in to the restaurant without even opening my mouth. Thai food, which I've been craving since Hawaii. I felt only slightly awkward. Come on, you know what I'm talking about...trying to be proper and worrying about your shoes and still meeting your SO's parentals. But they're not so intimidating anymore. They ask me all about how uni is going, and my roommates, and how I'm adjusting etc. Anthony says, "Why are you so worried about what my mom thinks?. And I said, "because I know how critical my mom and sisters are of my brother's girls" which made him laugh. We came home and went to bed shortly thereafter. And that was my Sunday.
On Mondays I have one Biology lecture for an hour in the mornings. I decided against making the trek back to uni to attend this. I woke up with Anthony somewhere around 6:30 and had brekkie with him before he went to work. For a while I owned the house so I did my laundry, lounged, and turned the music up. I left the house on foot a little before lunchtime and attempted to navigate myself towards a bus stop. The map online of Seaforth was obviously outdated and I got lost within a matter of minutes. When I asked a lady backing out of her driveway for directions she threw her dog in the backseat and offered me a ride. I got to North Sydney a few minutes before Anthony's lunch break started. While I was waiting I thought, "aw, everyone looks like they just stepped out of a magazine...all business suits and tights and briefcases and coffee cups...so different from what you'd see in Portland. No weirdos at all which was kind of unnerving". Anyway, we met and ate our packed lunches together in a courtyard (Anthony looked the part by the way, also a quality I'm not used to in my dating world). I got some cinnamon hot chocolate, he gave me a few suggestions for where to walk around in the city, and then he went back to work.
I walked down the street a few blocks to see his high school. North Sydney Shore grammar school...I think that's what it's called. Anyway, talk about spoiled. The first building I went in was the library (don't worry, they apparently don't get creeped out by people who aren't in school uniforms walking through their school midday). The view from the library was postcard material. The floor to ceiling windows showcased a panoramic view of the harbor including the harbor bridge, opera house, and Luna Park. The rest of the school was a lot like a mini college campus. Separate buildings for the chapel, dining hall, sports facilities, classrooms, headmaster's house (yeah, Harry Potter. I know right! Who has a "headmaster" at their high school?!)
After the school, I walked down a bit more off on to some side streets. The houses were sooo pretty with stained glass and victorian style architecture. It reminded me lots of Katie (Bounds) and I took some pictures for her. I went down a random stone staircase which delivered me onto a tiny little beach inside a tiny little bay. The view here was amazing (again the full view of the harbor).
After taking pictures of my feet, I walked back towards the buses, bought Judy flowers, and caught the bus back to Seaforth. Anthony personally drew me a map of the neighborhood at lunch and so getting back was like cake. I still had the house to myself so I streamed my missed lecture from earlier in the day and did some other school work. Yatta yatta, Anthony came home, went to play Monday night basketball, I chilled with Judy and Steve, Anthony came home, we all had yummy dinner, Judy loved her flowers :), I got custard pie and ice cream for dessert, and we went to bed.
I stayed a while at the Bennett's and got fed and looked after which I'm thankful for. I asked Anthony Sunday night to be honest and tell me if I stayed Monday night would I be overstaying my welcome? To which he said, "No no, you stay here whenever you want for however long you want." :) Being at his house just feels so good inside, you know? His mom turns on the heat just for me, makes sure I'm fed, and Anthony makes sure my feet are warm before he falls asleep.
Tuesday morning, I got up and had breakfast again with Anthony before I owned the house once more. I finished my laundry, set it aside in his room, got my school stuff, and caught the bus to North Sydney. I happened to pass through during his break so we saw each other again and then I took the train to uni. After a run, I went to four hours of Stats. Everyone is like, "yuck" but I find stats enjoyable...at least for the time being.
I came back and had a fondue night next door. Yay for dessert with the girls next door right?!
Anyways after class tomorrow night, Miller, Brendan, and I are going to make some serious decisions about mid semester break over pizza. And since I have all day Thursday off, a group of girls and I are going shopping to hopefully find a dress suitable for the Casino Night at Harry's on Friday.
Today it rained all day and there was lightening at night...the city is such a cool place to be when it's raining. I'll miss the fall in Oregon.
I'm 80% decided that I want to enroll at PSU and go to school in January. I'd love to chill in Hawaii but I'd also love to get my degree asap and get the show on the road.
Make sure to check the pictures. I found out how to take panoramic shots on my camera!

Posted by ChristinaC 06:29 Comments (1)

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