Sunday, August 29, 2010

Omg!!!!!!!! Definitely loving weeks 6&7

Well I'm not even sure exactly where to begin! 
I'm about to start my 6th week at Uni which means midterms are just a few weeks away....ah! Uni is getting hectic and quite more busy. It can be kind of scary knowing that I've been at Uni for 6 weeks now and have not gotten one grade for anything. The system here is a lot different and exams/essays are weighed on a much higher scale. I have a few papers and a midterm just a couple weeks away, I guess I need to start hitting up the libs instead of going out as much for the time being..... 

However, there are always constant things going on to direct me away from my work. A couple weeks ago there was an International Psychology Lunch for all the international students. I got to talk about various current research projects and socialize with other students. I met a few girls and we decided to buy tickets for a rugby game soon! That will be fun. Also, last week one of my friends, Sven, had to do a project for one of his film classes. He asked a bunch of our friends to be extras in one of his short films. So we all spent the whole day helping him out. It was really fun being around everyone and real interesting to see how a production like this was created! 

 Our apartment has officially become the 'place to be.' Every night, without fail, our main door is propped open for guests to just walk in. Our kitchen/lounge area is always full of people. It's nice having people here especially when you really don't want to do homework...:) Often times we'll have movie nights and just hang out and talk. 

Last Friday I got the chance to celebrate Shabbos at the nearby Chabbad. It was definitely a little different to what I am used to, but it was real nice going on a Friday night (something I do miss from home). The Chabbad was right in the city and really beautiful. After services the Rabbi invited my friend Dafne and I to his home for dinner. I hadn't had Challah in a long time, and it was absolutely amazing!! The dinner took like 3 hours in total and there was 3 or 4 courses of food. By the time we finally left from dinner Dafne and I were so full it was ridiculous. The Rabbi's wife invited us back for break the fast for the high holidays (I think we'll take that offer!) 

This past week I turned 21!!!!!!! 
The day started at approx. 12am. My guy friends Mike, Zach, Ben, Jim, and Sam invited me over to their apartment where they had a birthday cake for me :). It was really good cake. After we devoured the cake we all went out to the casino! After playing and losing some Roulette and Black Jack we decided to go back before losing even more. 

The following morning, (since I have no school on Wednesdays) I met up with some friends at a really cute cafe in the West End area of Brisbane. It was really nice and I had some yummy hot chocolate. Afterwards, I ran home to get ready for MAMA MIA! My mom bought me a ticket to the show here in Brisbane. I had an amazing seat and absolutely loved it!! 

Once I got back, I noticed a package at my apartment. My parents sent me a few items for my birthday, including a beautiful diamond bracelet :). It is so pretty and I was really excited about it. They also sent me other items likes: mints, a dress, and BOGGLE! So I can't wait to take on everyone here in boggle. 
So thennnnn, my roommates took me out to our favorite burger place for dinner. It has become a skrumshis tradition. Two of my roommates made me pictures for my birthday and my friend Alejandra bought me an Australian shot glass, of course. It definitely was handy that night! 
Of course having a 21 birthday is not nearly the same sort of celebration in Australia as it is in the states, so we HAD to make sure it would be just as awesome. My friends and I had planned to have a huge party here for my 21st. So once we all got back from dinner, people started coming over. There was another girl who had her birthday on the same day, so we decided to make it an even bigger birthday and combine our parties at my apartment. It got absolutely crazy! Their must have been nearly 50+ people in our apartment. I felt like I was in a club. People were all over the place, in the hallways, in our rooms, everywhere! It was soooo much fun. After a few hours I made a serious dent in my absolute vodka and also had some pina colada and wine. A few of my friends brought some cakes over and we celebrated until a man from the front desk came up and told us we had to get out before he would call the police. So we left the apartment and went on our way to the club. I don't remember anything that happened after we left, but all I know is that I was a block from the club but never made it. I got too sick and friends brought me home :) 

Even though I never got to dance and club, I definitely had an amazing and very 'memorable' 21st birthday party! I can't wait to be legal in the states and celebrate my friend's 21st birthdays with them! 
Birthdays! 22 and 21!
Lastly, after I recovered and all, I had the chance to see this amazing 'Valentino' (the fashion designer) exhibit at a museum in Brisbane. The exhibit had all of his famous dresses of all time. The exhibit was extraordinary. Even for people who don't particularly like fashion, this was incredible. It was just a cool thing to see and really worth it. 

As the weeks just keep passing by I've been thinking about planning more trips to take soon. I haven't totally decided where I'll be going for spring break but it is between Singapore/Thailand and Sydney/Melbourne. All depends on travel expenses. I will decide soon enough though, because spring break here is just around the corner! I can't wait. Next week I plan to go to a nearby island called Frasier Island with some friends and maybe hit up that rugby game!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Weeks 4 & 5: It's all the same amazing routine

The past two weeks have been quite eventful! Uni has been great. I really enjoy having two days of the week completely off. It gives me time to run errands, relax on the beach, work out, etc. I have been running around a lot lately with friends. I have become friends with a lot of the international students at Uni. Everyone is in a similar situation as me so it makes it easier to talk with them and fascinating to learn about where everyone grew up. Just the other day I was at a BBQ with some of my friends and other internationals and I realized by the end of the night that I spoke with a German, Czech, Swedish, Norwegian, British, Spanish, French, Mexican, Chilean, Canadian, and other fellow Americans. It was incredible! I love being around that sort of atmosphere. I felt the longer I spoke with them the more understanding and interested I grew. I definitely feel as though my perceptions, misunderstandings, and stereotyped thoughts are so much clearer. It is fascinating how people from other countries view America as well. It was definitely an eye opener. Many people have told me that I'm not a "stereotypical American"... I think that is a good thing! Not just my friends but my professors as well are not shy to bash our former president George Bush. For some reason everyone has a lot of jokes about him and what he had done during the presidency (who knew?). :) Nevertheless, I already feel much more cultured and well rounded. I think that it is really important for people to in general spend more time trying to understand cultures instead of disregarding them.

Anywhoo, every Tuesday night some of my friends have movie nights and we just chill and watch various movies. My friend Emily and I also got the opportunity to take a poll dancing class just for the heck of it. It actually grew quite straining. It was a hilarious experience though! After we finished, Emily and I agreed that we grew a little more respect for poll dancers in general... hahah, however, won't ever try that one again :)
I've been spending some time looking up more trips to take on weekends as well as Spring Break and such. I think I will be going to Sydney, New Zealand, and possibly the outback or Fiji. Everything is quite expensive here so I definitely have to be a bit more money conscious! I may look for a job as well since I have a lot of spare time.
Partying around here never really gets boring. I do get exhausted after several nights of partying in a row, but often times than not, my friends drag me out anyways. It's always a good time though. I'm not used to this crazieness all the time, but it's all good. Speaking of craziness, my birthday (THE BIG 21) is just about a week away, so I am definitely looking forward to a fun-filled day. I think my friends and I are going to see the musical "Mama Mia", go out for dinner, go to karaoke, and then clubbing. I'm super excited for my 21st birthday. Supposedly, my Aussie friend told me that 21 is bigger in Australia than it is in the states, who knew. We actually just celebrated my friend Alisha's 21st the other day. There was live music at this particular bar. We danced and enjoyed the night.  

Now that 5 weeks have gone by, I've grown a little homesick. I definitely love it here and I would never leave, but at times I definitely miss my friends and family from home. It's nice having friends here, but I do really enjoy skyping with family and friends to get a taste of what is happening at home as well. I never thought I'd be that homesick, but acclimating to a totally new environment is a bit difficult at times.

Other than that, not much more is happening. I think I will update my blog every other week now since things have become quite routine.

Next time I post I will be 21, so until then ,mates!!! :) 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Week 3: Uni Begins @ UQ

This past week was the first week at Uni (what they call college here) and I felt like a total Freshmen all over agian! I legitimately had my map wide out in front of me constantly looking lost. I think I circled campus 4 times do to my poor map reading skills. However, once I did find where I was going everything worked out and I got to all my lectures on time. Uni is much different here than it is back home. You only have class once a week accompanied by one discussion (tutorial) section. There may be only 1 or 2 exams for the entire semester and all classes require at least an 8 paged essay throughout the course. I'm taking a few psychology classes, a geography class, and a music class which should all be interesting and hopefully not too difficult. Believe it or not, some of the Australian professors I have are difficult to understand at times. The Aussie accent is fast and the words kind of slip together, so you definitely have to pay closer attention than usual.  Last Wednesday was Market Day where you basically sign up for all the clubs/organizations you're interested in doing while attending uni. I signed up for waterskiing and dancing. I'm definitely looking forward to attending those!

Besides school, the past week was filled with a bunch of nights of partying. My roommate has introduced me to a lot of her international friends from another university here. We all had a great time dancing, socializing, and drinking at various fun bars and clubs. Last Friday my friend Emily came out with us and for the first time we were both offered drinks from these guys that we had met. Free drinks is always a nice thing :) Unfortunately, however, I currently have a cold from all the nights of going out. My body is exhausted and definitely needs to refuel before I can take on another one of those crazy weekends.                                                              
Things have seemed to calm down a bit and become more routine here. Grocery shopping has become one of my new favorite things, and laying on the beach has become something quite habitual for me. I got to finally see the movie "Inception" here in Australia. Movies come out much later here, so I have to wait longer to see some films.

 As this week begins, classes will start to get more intense and work will start to take a stronger role in my everyday schedule. I have 2 days free from class so I'm either going to look for a job or hopefully start research with a professor here. Other than that, my friends and I hope to plan a few vacations such as: Fiji, Sydney, and New Zealand within the span of the next 4 months. We want to plan them sooner than later to get better deals and such.
I might be headed back to the Sunshine Coast this weekend to relax in the sun and ride the waves. As for now, things seem to be buckling down so I hope to continue making friends and explore Brisbane even more. Also,  I met a girl from Chile who is jewish, so we are going to try and go to Friday night Shabbos this week at a synagogue hopefully not too far! This city is beautiful, I really love living here.