A Travellerspoint blog

Dad Would Kill Me

Thank God I Wasn't 'Taken'

sunny 60 °F

So yesterday (tuesday), all of my friends/acquaintances/neighbors went on the Sydney Bus Tour. It's an all day thing, you get on and off the bus and take tons of photos that you never do anything with anyway and they never do the landmark your taking it of justice after the fact...also it cost $50 so I didn't go. (Have I told you how expensive Sydney is yet? Well it is. Heaps. Heaps and Heaps, mate)
Once I realized everyone from The Village was gone for the day, I needed a plan. I promised myself I wouldn't facebook all day. So I got on 131500.com and planned a bus/train route into Newtown (suburb close to downtown Sydney) for a day of op-shops! aka, thrift stores. Just as I was walking out the door, one of my new roomies walked in. His name is Jeffrey and he is from Boston. I talked to him briefly. My impression? I couldn't tell if he is gay or not...and don't worry, I haven't given him my blog address so its all good. He has super super white teeth and is overly nice. So...to be revealed. But shoot, what girl doesn't want a good gay friend, am I right?
So I invited him to the city but once he found out I was shopping, he declined.
Belle said, "Be reallllly careful! Because if you lost, I no help you cuz I in class all day, ahahaha"...
I took a bus and then took a train and thought, "oh man if my dad only knew what I was doing right now" and then shortly after I arrived in Newtown.
Walked a while, ducked in a few op-shops and vintage shops (even in the US, vintage shops just are not my thing) walked some more and decided I was hungry. I stopped for some tomato and basil bruchetta...the cheapest thing I could find on the menu but still a whopping $7.50. I kept walking down the strip and then decided, "Newtown is pretty sketch, and I probably shouldn't be here". So, I made my way back down the other side of the street to catch the train. Just as I arrived on the platform, a dildo fell from the sky (I'm sorry grandma, it's just what happened).
Two schoolgirls in uniforms looked in my direction with appalled expressions, "Is that yours?" "No," I answered, "but can you tell me how to get somewhere where I can buy some reasonably priced clothes?" So I caught the train with them and got the rundown all about how the one wanted to have alot of guy friends. "Just somebody to call up and say 'hey dude, wanna come spoon?' and if he doesnt then i'll say 'hey, piss off' and call the next dude 'hey, come spoon with me?' and then smoke a joint or something cool like that you know? anyhow...this is your stop,lovely chatting with you, cheers"
I got off at central. Downtown, Downtown.
Walked around a few shopping malls. You know it was a moment of realization when I walked into the mall and didnt recognize a single shop except for Pumpkin Patch. As I was not about to buy toddlers apparel, I thought, "I don't even know what's acceptable to wear? What's hip!? If I show up to a house in an outfit from Cotton On, will I be the ugly girl?" So, I decided to go with what I liked...brilliant, yeah? This happened to be Cotton On...comfy stuff. I got a whole outfit and walked to Starbucks for hot chocolate.
See? Still same old me...thrift stores and hot chocolate and dropping my dildos carelessly.
I walked around for a bit more and then realized the 5 o'clock workers hustle bustle was about to take place. I went back to the train station and desperately tried to navigate a route back to Macquarie University. Dang, I really missed my iPhone then.
Just as my feet were starting to hurt, Anthony called me on my 'mobile'...not cell phone. He was catching a bus home from work! "You're in the city? Alone...? Just catch a bus to my house". So that worked out nicely. I caught a bus to Seaforth. The Aussies on the bus all laughed at me when I asked them what stop was Seaforth. I like to think it's because they like my accent and not because I'm an ignorant American tourist.
Aw, so good to see Anthony.
His 'mum' cooked dinner...we all ate at the table including his dad...I faked like I knew how to use a fork AND a knife simultaneously so I could appear somewhat proper...and then we all watched an episode of NCIS. No,but really his parents aren't tense at all. Really laid back, generous, successful, and sarcastic.
After considering that I had a new outfit on hand and that Anthony is totally fine with sharing his toothbrush with me (oh also that Uni was an hour away) I decided to just spend the night.
Now yes, I've been to Mexico, Hawaii, The Bahamas etc...and I'm saying that waking up to the view outside of his bedroom window is just as breathtaking EvErYtImE. The sun rises just behind the hill and lights up the water in the bay....which is all still...this is especially a beautiful sight when you get up at 6:45am :(
I caught the bus from Seaforth to North Sydney with Anthony on his way to work. Then I got on the railway back to Macquarie. I'll be a champ at this public transit in no time. Uh, hopefully...because it runs my life around here.
I got back to The Village with just enough time to wash my face and then meet Simone and her roommate Brandon from Belgium to walk to orientation.
In the auditorium for orientation, I recognized about half of the faces from surf camp. I sat by Miller (Sherwood) and Brandon. We got free subway for lunch...sat outside and was a social butterfly for a couple hours...went back to my house and surpise! Met the rest of my roomies! Besides Belle, we are all Americans. Ah, kind of a bummer, but it is better than a house full of asians...and yes thats happened to a few people. We're from Oregon (me), Ohio, Kentucky, and Boston. In total, there are 3 girls and two boys. Everyone seems alright but we didn't get much of a chance to meet each other today so to be determined I guess.
I went to the gym...this free food is just amazing but I tend to overindulge when there is no cost involved. After running I took advantage of my free fitness classes and went to Pilates. This instructor was nowhere near as intense as my mom's work out DVDs. In fact, halfway thru, she dimmed the lights, came over, and caressed my bum..."loosen your bum, you're too tight dear".
I came home, slightly mortified, and heaps sleepy.
Showered and then the girls from next door came and got me to go out with them. Wednesday night is a big party night for uni here.
We went to someone else's apartment for a while and then caught the courtesy shuttle to The Ranch...or El Rancho if you are really creative. It is the club thats about five minutes off campus and is promoted big time by the uni...second to the UBar which is actually THE club on campus but more for Thursday nights.
I saw heaps of people from surf camp again but a good deal more aussies...maybe they are keen on the idea of picking up on the tourists there.
Ok, question: if a guy buys you a drink...what is that implying? Or what is he expecting to come of that? This happened (cool guy, don't get me wrong) but as soon as I finished, the girls and I got up, left the table, and went dancing. Was that a jerk move on my part?
Anyway, I had tons of fun, and made some more really good girlfriends (alot of silly girls from Jersey and one Canada).
Anyways, we caught the courtesy shuttle back home, I made peanut butter toast and hot chocolate, put on Anthony's sweatshirt and am about to crash. We're going shopping in the morning for 'going out' dresses and then I've got a 5 hour enrolment session...yeah, enrolment with one 'L'.
Aw, convicts.

P.s. Surf camp pictures are now posted!

Posted by ChristinaC 06:53 Tagged transportation Comments (1)

Surf Camp

Gerroa, Australia

64 °F

On Friday night I walked across campus to meet the bus to go to surf camp. Immediately I recognized that this was an event that was going to bring the caucasians out of the woodwork of Macquarie University. Somehow in the flashy brochures, I missed the stat claiming that around 80% of the on campus residents are asian. (Now guys, I'm not racist, but it struck me as odd. Also a little disappointing that there aren't more Aussies around)
The bus took us three hours south of Sydney to a beach town called Gerroa. I sat next to a really sweet girl from Boston and directly behind a guy from Sherwood...woot woot! We were dropped off in the middle of a caravan park at surf camp. Yes, our neighbors were the people you would expect to find in a trailer park...my cabin got mooned several times by the little Aussie boys next door.
In my cabin were five girls: two from Switzerland, one from England, one from Cali, and myself. We all took a walk down to the beach, saw amazing stars (The Southern Cross! (the constellation on Australia's flag)), and froze our butts off. As logic would tell you, the further south you travel, the colder it gets (about 60F).
Saturday morning we woke up for breakfast (nothing special: cereal, toast, etc) at 7am, squeezed into wetsuits and were on the beach by 8. We met our instructors: typical buff Aussies with thick accents, and one guy named Guss from Costa Rica that looked like Fez. I got the first nick name of anyone: Goofy, only because I am the only one that doesn't have 'regular' foot position. We got in the water (burr on my feet and hands and burr on my body when my zipper un-zipped itself) and "surfed" for 3 hours. The waves were pretty small and we just learned to paddle around and catch waves staying on our bellies. We went back to camp for lunch and peeled off our wetsuits. A couple hours later we put them back on (much more unpleasant than putting them on in the morning because they were wet. That means they were colder than dry ice and didn't slide on very gracefully. During the second session I stood up! Yeah, not kidding! I have pictures to prove it but won't have access to them until Wednesday. (Mom, I had to buy them because I knew if I didn't you would think that was silly) So, coming soon.
After showers we all hung out, busted out all the cheap (but relative to the states, not so cheap) booze, and met each other. Everyone was international students which was amaaazing. So many accents and different styles of clothes etc. Alot of people were from Denmark, Germany, and Wisconsin(?). The things we all related about were Family Guy, Bruno, and the asian domination back on campus. We walked up to a restaurant where we ate BBQ and stayed in the bar till midnight. Lita, my friend from California, fell down a number of times from being so drunk and quickly became the talk of the camp. Ehhh, she later told me she actually had Shmirnoff for breakfast. I'm anxious to make friends but not anxious enough to where I need to be intoxicated and talkative all day.
The next morning was more surfing. I was pretty over getting in a wet wetsuit at 8am but figured who else gets to surf with Danes in Australia...so I went back out. As you can imagine, putting 100 inexperienced surfers in a tight area created mayhem. A girls butt fell on my face and I was mortified.
After showering and watching Jackass, we got on the bus to return to Sydney. I sat next to Miller from Sherwood and talked the whole ride back. He's pretty funny and has a girlfriend back home so I think we will be great friends. We already have a bus trip planned to find the Taco Bell in Sydney (haha, yeah I told you he is my kind of friend).
I ordered some Capsicum (not bell peppers) on my sandwhich at Subway and walked 15 minutes in the pouring rain to my house. Belle was still awake and reported that she still hadn't seen any signs of our 3 roommates. I sat down in my room, ate my sandwhich, was shivering because our house has no heat, looked down, and saw that my sandal had rubbed my foot raw and it was bleeding. I stood in the shower for a while and felt a wave of homesickness fall over me.
I climbed into bed and Anthony called me a bit later. It was so comforting to hear from him...almost as good as if my mom had just baked me chocolate chip cookies. I told him I was a bit sad and he said he would come see me and my place Tuesday after work:) I also was granted permission to do laundry at his house because it is $3 to wash and $5 to dry at school. Yeah, and I keep my lights and darks separate so I pay the price of a gourmet meal to do a load of laundry.
I'm debating moving out of Macquarie's accomodations. (1)The demographics aren't what I expected, as I mentioned. (2) The campus is pretty removed from the city, like 45 minute bus ride. (3) I forgot the feeling I get when I'm surrounded by 20 year old who only want to be loud and wasted...it's a feeling I don't like. Ideally I'd move closer in to the city, into an apartment or house with people in their 20's. People who make dinner together, watch movies, play cards, go out...call me 30 years old but I am over the college scene. I'll wait to meet my other roommates and then make a decision.
I went to the gym today and hung out with Simone from surf camp. Belle invited her friends over and they made me a really yummy pasta as a welcome dinner. They were all in shock that I had never had crab and immediately taught me how to eat it. Whats the BFD about crab? It tastes like potatoes from the sea...okay, it was good, i'll admit it. Then I went to orientation for housing with Simone and her roommate from Belgium. It was way cool to walk into a room where I already knew half the people (from camp). Also cool to find out everyone is just as cold and miserable at night as I am. I think if I stayed in The Village, it would be a good time. I signed up for Oztag (I guess like touch rugby...rugby is HUGE here and is more commonly known as "footy") and netball. I'm starting to recognize faces around campus and feel like I have a few non-awkward friends to hang with. Not to mention all the events that include free food!!!!!! Vegemite eating contest anyone? No, but seriously, there's good food too...like BBQ and pancakes. Of course, not simultaneously.
Overall, surf camp was an awesome experience. I got a lot of phone numbers but unfortunately, about half of the kids are living in the city. Well maybe it's fortunate because I'll get invited out to their places.
I apologize for these blogs being lengthy, but you must be reading for a reason?
I miss my family and am looking forward to Christmas. But at the same time looking forward to seeing Anthony and getting into a routine here.

Posted by ChristinaC 00:25 Comments (1)

Forster

Five days at the beach

semi-overcast -4 °F

Saturday night, Anthony took me to Manly Beach for dinner. It's a popular beach in Sydney, not too far from his house, where everyone dresses up fancy on Friday and Saturday nights. From there we went to the airport to pick up Judy and Steve, Anthony's parents. Meeting them went well. She made me hot chocolate when we got home (how did she know it's my favorite drink?...I'll never know).
The next morning Anthony's friends, Rich and his girlfriend Steph, came to pick us up to go to the beach. We drove four hours north of Sydney to Forster. On the way we stopped at Heatherbrae's Pies. I had my first meat pie! So good! Probably not very healthy but so good. It was kind of a fast food place...apparently a tourist attraction. Their menu had heaps (everything is heaps here, "it was heaps fun...thanks heaps") of different kinds of pies. Combinations of lamb, beef, chicken, kidney, steak, egg, vegetables, potato, etc. Also sausage rolls and quiche.
Okay I know I talk alot about food, okay? I know. But it's been pretty impressive and eventful since I've arrived.
Okay, on to Forster.
A bit later more friends, Jamie and Holly, came up. The six of us stayed in a beach house owned by the Bennett's. Super nice and we had room for six more stay. The five days flew by, and I had heaps and heaps of fun. A good 30% of the talk was "So in America, do they..." and "In Australia what does...mean?"...that generated alot of laughs. The other 70% we laughed anyway because they are all pretty quick-witted and funny. I asked what the Target was like here and Jamie said "It's pretty dodgy (another favored word)...its a store where everything is usually on the floor and its really crap stuff...but they don't sell guns there". Aussies are stunned about our access and rights regarding firearms.
We watched alot of TV...there are alot of American shows on like Dance Your Ass Off (so embarrassing to watch being an American sitting in an Australian living room), The Simpsons, My Name Is Earl, and Seinfeld (yay!).
We hired (rented) two tennis courts and witnessed some pretty intense smash downs by the boys.
We hired out some movies...ordered Dominoe's a couple of times (told you the food is good)...learned new card games.
Steph and I went with Anthony and Rich to Bluey's Beach to hang out while they went for a surf. It's winter but it was nice...maybe even 75?
I had my first Australian BBQ. "Why do all Americans think that all we do is barbeque?" I explained that it is solely because of "Throw another shrimp on the barbie!!" to which they replied, "But it doesn't even make sense, we say prawns. Not shrimp"
A little about the group: Rich and Steph have been dating for four years. The way they criticize each other and fight is pretty funny. It reminds me so much of Katie Howard and Rob...it's okay to still reference that relationship right? Good. Rich is going on an exchange to OSU in the fall...and after my rundown about how sleezy and stupid the girls were, Steph felt a big on edge. But there's no getting around it...OSU girls are cookie cutter state school girls. Well, generally.
Jamie is sort of a hippie/Rolling Stones fan/skinny tall guy. Definitely funny and goofy and knows alot of card games.
I think Steph and Holly gave me a good insight in to what Australian girls are like. They are pretty reserved, very sweet, have straight blonde hair, skinny, and they dress differently.
Anthony, the one you should probably be the most aware of, is super fun. Generally, he always wants to do something active or social. This is a good thing because he's definitely guiding me out of my comfort zone (as if being in Australia wasn't far enough out of the zone). He cooked breakfast for everyone every morning...it's one of his favorite things to do apparently because he's been cooking me breakfast since OSU in November. It's also super comforting to have someone here who will make sure that I get what I need. Like a cell phone and a ride to uni for instance.
On our last night we went bowling. To my and everyone else's surprise, I beat everyone in the first game. And then I learned exactly how competitive Anthony is. "That is not okay, that is so emasculating..." So his second game consisted of like 5 strikes, 4 spares, and one other good one. He was pretty serious about it. My abs hurt from laughing at how non-gracious he was. We also went to a really nice dinner (steak!!!!!!!!!).
I caught a ride home with Rich and Steph today because Anthony is continuing up north for a musical festival over the weekend. MGMT, The Flaming Lips, etc. I really wanted to go but didn't feel comfortable blowing a fortune on a ticket the first week I'm here.
After showering at Anthony's I plugged my hair dryer in, electrocuted myself, and fried my blow dryer. Part of my hand turned black. I'm okay, it just scared the crap out of me. It's what they would call 'hectic'. "Aw, that's heaps hectic...legend". Judy drove me to Macquarie, helped me get checked in to my room, and even made my bed for me. I felt pretty loved and taken care of.
I'm in a townhouse on campus shared between five people. We each have our own suite (bedroom and bathroom). Only one other girl is here. She's from China and her name is Belle. She got pretty excited to see me...apparently she's been here over winter break living alone. She walked with me to the mall to get some dinner. (Big W is exactly like Walmart. But wait, Walmart in the mall?) I'm nervous for the other housemates to move in but I also want it to happen quickly so we can get through the initial awkward I'm-still-feeling-you-out-are-you-the-kind-of-person-who-puts-peanut-butter-in-the-fridge-or-cupboard stage. Maybe I'll see them tomorrow?
The uni is 'shouting' all the new international kids a lunch bbq and then at 5pm I'm off to a weekend of surf camp. It's at Seven Mile Beach, two hours south of Sydney. Don't worry, I'll blog when I return.
Ah, completely overwhelmed. Still not feeling like I want to go home at all. More like I want to meet everyone and start living my life for the next six months before it changes again.
I've got a mailing address now:

Christina Cross
Macquarie University Village
Unit 9
122 Culloden Road
Marsfield NSW 2122
Australia

Posted by ChristinaC 03:47 Comments (2)

I've arrived!

sunny

After months and months of staring at my countdown, I touched down in Sydney Australia last night. Due to a midnight showing of Harry Potter, packing, and flights, I was extremely sleep deprived but excited nonetheless.
I used a toilet at the airport. The bowl was extremely deep and the water was flushing so fast that I couldn't tell which way it was spinning...so I left.
A handsome guy dressed in a suit met me at the airport. His name is Anthony Bennett for those who are still unaware. I got in the wrong side of the car, about had many heart attacks from driving on the left (wrong) side of the road, but was speechless when we drove over the Harbor Bridge and the opera house came in to view. Literally...all I could do was punch his arm and say "Oh my gosh, there it is!"
We dropped my stuff off at his house and headed back in to the city to meet some of his friends: Liam, Andrew, Will, Tom, and Mike. Not only did I walk in to a bar but I wasn't even carded. I think it must have been my good hair day, it might have helped me look old.
I woke up this morning after only 5 hours of sleep...I don't think the excitement will wear off for a while. Anthony's house is truly beautiful. Not just the house but also the location. It sits up on a hill overlooking a bay that connects to the famous harbor. There are tons of privately owned boats and yachts floating.
He told me we were going to get breakfast so I showered and took ample girl time doing my hair and yatta yatta...when we went in to town he picked up bread from the bakery and bacon from the butcher's shop. Yeah, my first time in a butcher's shop and it was everything I expected. Anyway, we went back to his house where he cooked me breakfast and I was embarrassed that I took so long to get ready just to get bread and meat.
After one-eyed monsters and bacon, he said "grab your coat, I have a surprise". We walked all the way down the hill his house is on to the boat shed and I got taken out on the boat (today is a super nice day for a boat ride as well...hardly any clouds, just sun). I haven't driven a boat since my daddy let me when I was like five. As If that wasn't exciting enough, after like 15 minutes, he turned a corner and I saw the opera house up close! I also saw the harbor bridge (people climbing it too), the Anzac Bridge, Darling Harbor, and a good amount of the city...I was amazed. It's alot more breathtaking than it appears in Finding Nemo and obviously more real life than google earth.
Tonight we are picking Anthony's parents up from the airport. Needless to say I'm nervous.
I feel pretty uneasy and weird...I don't think that will stop until after school starts and I get some sort of routine as well as friends.
Don't forget to look at the pictures!

Posted by ChristinaC 21:07 Tagged boating Comments (2)

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