I honestly do not know where these last few weeks have gone. One second I remember walking through the streets of Melbourne on a warm fall day and the next I was picking up my luggage from baggage claim at LAX.
With the end of the semester so close it seems as if time is moving at twice its regular speed. All of sudden assignments are due, travel dates are approaching, finals are near and all with just under a month left in Melbourne. It is overwhelming mixture of emotions a person can feel all at once and yet I know many international students are feeling the same way.
These past few weeks seem to have gone by incredibly quickly. However, it is also difficult to believe I have been here for 4 months and my time here is almost over. Lately I got over a cold, watched more movies than I can count, spent hours on trams, and yet with each day I look at the sky and am still amazed that this place is real. Autumn is settling into the city and although most people do not think of cold weather in Australia, it does happen. This season always makes me reminisce about the past year however this year has been like no other. I feel like I could easily live here for another semester and many others share my feelings. Many of my international friends have also had amazing adventures traveling all around Australia with the short amount of time here. Continue reading
As autumn is settling into the city, it’s definitely time to put the shorts away and bring out the sweaters and scarves. The weather is a major factor in certain activities so we decided this was the week we had to cross them off our list. Ash, Adam, Melynda, Denise, Ali, and I drove a few hours south of Melbourne to the small beach town of Blairgowrie for some cliff diving. While it sounded terrifying and the weather was still on the colder side, it was only going to get colder so it was a “now or never” decision.
Settle in for a long one because within the past two weeks I have flown 1375.99 km, driven 1881 km, kayaked over shipwrecks, surfed waves and sand dunes but before all the exciting part there was planning. All done as last second as possible which is not very surprising considering my history with procrastinating. The week began very relaxed as usual although it was clear students wanted the mid semester to hurry. Ali and I had booked a flight to Brisbane bright and early at 7am on Saturday morning. We wanted to road trip along the gold coast and all the way back to Melbourne. So of course, we sat down to finally plan the details of the trip on Friday night and boy did we regret it. We hadn’t finished working out the itinerary and packing until 1 or 2 in the morning. Luckily, our friend Ash had offered us a ride to the airport so very weary eyed we left Saturday morning for Brisbane.
With the mid-semester break creeping up shortly, I am beyond surprised that I have been living in Melbourne for more than 2 months. I have loved almost everything about Australia like the amazing weather, people, and accents. Yes, I am still not even close to tired of hearing their accents. Even when I am in the library listening to my lectures and there’s a large group of friends making too much noise for a library setting, I’m not mad. They could find a more appropriate location for their discussion but when they are speaking loudly with Australian accents it makes it just a little less annoying.
However, one thing I do not enjoy about Australia is the school system. Continue reading
A few weeks ago, I had told my boyfriend about my money troubles. With all of the traveling and unexpected costs my bank account was depleting quickly. I knew if I wanted to travel to Thailand, Sydney, Tasmania and wherever else I would need to fund most of it on my own. My parents were willing to help however it is hard to ask them for financial help when they funded most of my trip here including the program fees, flight costs, and housing. I had spoken all of my issues aloud to my boyfriend Pedro, who is one of the most caring, supportive, and loving people I have ever met. He had suggested I make a GoFundme which is a website that people use to fundraise money. However, I had this presumption that people who set these fundraisers up are likely to receive donations from family members. This was a bit complicated for me.
There was one day specifically this week that I had another moment of realization, similar to an epiphany however not to that extent. It is like seeing something that has been there the entire time but never noticing it. It was Friday afternoon and Ali had just gotten out of class. I was studying in building 13 on Russel street when we decided to meet up for lunch. We walked to Centre Place, one of the most famous laneways in Melbourne, and grabbed a few falafel wraps and drinks. We then made our way across Swanston street towards Federation square. Continue reading
Last weekend was Labor Day weekend and because most of my classes are on Mondays ultimately, I was given a whole week off from school. For a few of those days I housed a few girls from Sydney. One of the girls was spending a semester in Sydney and the other was her cousin visiting for spring break. They were both from North Carolina and were meeting another group of international students in Melbourne. The girl had contacted my cousin through their housing program in hopes of finding a place to stay while they explored the city. I had offered my couch and before I knew it I was walking to Southern Cross Station waiting for their arrival. Continue reading
I made a lot of memories and new friendships from the Sydney trip, although I never expected the trip to continue to affect me after I got back. There were many students from La Trobe University, an hour’s tram ride from the city, who went on the trip that I have become good friends. Even though we were only together for a couple of days, we have made plans to reunite. So far, we have gone to the Melbourne Zoo and multiple beach trips to St. Kilda. Along the way, we stumbled upon food truck festivals and small markets. We have watched movies and had late night street food. These original friendships have grown even farther and I now find myself in large webs of friends. Continue reading
Home is wherever you make it. I had this realization about home when coming back from a weekend trip to Sydney in celebration of the Mardi Gras parade. This trip was again fun and filled with great memories. Upon arrival, we explored the city and had lunch outside of the Sydney Opera house. Close by, we made our way to the top of the Sydney Opera House bridge to see a beautiful view of the city. The following day we went hiking along the blue mountains into a cave and took pictures underneath a waterfall. Although the trip was not perfect considering the bus got a flat tire, the fog was thick enough you could slice it with a knife, and it was a cloudy/rainy day, those things did not stop us from seeing as much as we could. Continue reading
Things do not always go as planned, which I have learned is not a bad thing. As far back as I can remember, I loved making plans and writing them down. I still remember writing down to-do lists filled with reminders like “The Wiggles come on at 6pm” and crossing them off as I finished them. Not much has changed since then, except that the list has grown in size and importance. Instead my priorities are now filled with essays and exams, although I still find time to catch up on Netflix.
This week was significantly less eventful in comparison to the beginning few weeks. I mainly focused on adjusting to my new living space, new school system, and the new idea of adulting. This is not a real word; however, I do believe it defines the concept of living on your own for the first time- that first whiff of reality. All my life I have lived with my parents. There was always someone who would make dinner or do laundry—usually this wonderful person was my mother. Commuting to Marymount, there was no drastic transition from high school to university (or “uni” as Australians would say). Now along with the new cultural experience of being abroad I also must understand how to live on my own. Within this short amount of time I have realized a few different things. Eating breakfast only takes 20% of my morning while cleaning the dishes needed to prepare the breakfast is the other 80% of the time. If I don’t pick up my clothes from the floor, they will be there until I get the energy to organize them. No longer do they magically fold themselves and end up in my closet. Most importantly, purchases add up quickly. Each small indulgence from a green tea ice cream, to a large soda with my meal, chips away at the small budget I have given myself. Continue reading
I have always wanted to move away from home and see the world although I always expected it to happen long after university. Now, I am typing this post from a city bench next to the massive Victoria State library overlooking a busy Melbourne intersection a few blocks from my apartment. Street performers play music in the distance and the familiar intoxicating smell of Thai food finds me, (like it often does). Although I am more than 10,000 miles away from home, it does not feel that way. Calling this beautiful city my home for the next 4 months sounds unreal and I am truthfully astounded to be here.