Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday life in Australia

Wow I can't believe it is already Friday afternoon and this is my view!!!!

I feel like this week went by so fast! This week was O week (orientations week) where we got to explore the campus and get to know our way around a bit. Also, O week is a big party week. It's a great way to meet new people and make new friends. It was really fun! Even though my jet lag is not bad, it has made me tired kind of early. Tonight is a rest night. Then, I guess Saturday is one last big push before school starts Monday. I really feel like I am adjusting to my life here a bit. The weather is amazing, the people are amazing... it's a good thing I am such USA girl through and through or I might just stay here! Haha

After all the parties and new friends I started to really miss my old friends... Luckily Nicole was ready for this to happen ;) I opened my first of many special message cards from one of the best friends  a girl could ask for. I opened the 'when you miss me' card. PS This is not the first or last time I will be missing you lady!

Oh! I tried Vegemite. It is not as horrible as the stories say it is. That said, I will probably never eat it again. It is super salty... like super salty licorice? Weird. I ate two bites and decided that will probably hold me for life. ;)

So surprisingly I am not sunburned! Woohoo!! You can be proud of me! ;) I guess not surprisingly I have developed a rash. It is on my feet. I noticed it Monday night. I used my Cortisone 10 but by Wednesday night it looked worse so Thursday morning I was off to the doctor. Boy was that an adventure. Lucky for me I had applied my sunscreen liberally before this 4 hour long adventure comprised mostly of walking around outside. I went to campus on the assumption that they had a clinic/ medical place. Nope. It was honestly rather frustrating. Everyone I asked seemed confused and a few people volunteered to call security. I was like "please do not call security I have a rash I am not bleeding from the head." So finally after wandering building to building and asking people who had no idea I went to the International office. It's a good thing I stopped in there! It turns out I needed a sticker on the back of my Student I.D. in order to be seen by the doctor! So I got my sticker and they sent me to closest doctor. I walked there and they fit me in. I saw the doctor and he said it looked like a dermatitis probably an allergic reaction to something I walked through. He prescribed me a steroid cream and said it should start looking better if not come back Monday and we will try an antibiotic... after that a biopsy... ugh.

So I used my cream yesterday and went to bed. I woke up and it was worse! What the hell!?! So I decided to go back to the doctor. This time my awesome Aussie roommate Jaksen took me over so that was really nice! (saved me the 40 minute walk or so) He dropped me off and I waited to get fit in. They actually got me in pretty quickly! The doctor said it is time for the antibiotic and he said "keep it cool, clean, and out of the sun". Ummmm that is super tricky here.... I'm in Australia, it's super sunny and in the 80's and I walk everywhere... so I called a cab from the doctors to the Chemist. They call pharmacies chemists. I texted Jaksen about picking me up from the Chemist. He said no problem so I got my antibiotic and while I waited I actually had time to grab some groceries! Bonus! And there were dogs at the grocery store! I love it!!!

The grocery store is walking distance, but it's a solid 20-25 minute walk. That is just too long in the sun for milk... well anything that should be cold... meat, eggs, yogurt, lettuce, mushrooms, cheese, etc. So it is really nice to have a ride! I got all my cold stuff! :)

After I took my antibiotic I Skyped my parents for a while and then I got really tired so I took a nap. Medication always make me so tired! Ugh... Oh well I was house bound today anyway with my stupid feet so might as well be sleepy right!? So today has been not very exciting haha but hopefully my feet will have marked improvement tomorrow and I can venture out and about a bit more!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

O Day 2, Coolum beach, my room, and TOGA!

O DAY 2 (orientation day two)

Today was the 2nd day of Oweek. It is getting a little easier figuring things out. Today I got up and came over to campus where everything was already set up and buzzing. There were booths everywhere with people talking about everything from skydiving to joining the Law club. The weather here is just so amazingly pretty like all the time! It is just crazy! The sky is so blue its striking. Anyway I walked around campus for a while today talking to everyone about new things and I even learned about an open mic night! I might just have to hit that up! Haha International superstar right here ;) Show them how we do it in the US ;) Aren't they in for a surprise!

After that Kim came up to see me with David! :) It was so great to see them as always. OH! and this time they even came bearing gifts!! Even better haha She brought me towels, blankets, pillows, etc all the little extras to help me out. Also she brought a few decorative things for my walls to make it more homey. I was so pumped to decorate but I had to put it off because we had more important things to do... the BEACH!

We to Coolum beach and walked around the shops. We got chicken burgers. A chicken burger is a chicken sandwich for my American friends. Apparently in Australia anything on a bun is a burger no matter what kind of meat is in it?!? So odd. Anyway we had chicken burgers and walked around the shops then went down to the beach. The day was just perfect! Kim said the water is still murky compared to normal but I thought it was gorgeous!

Then we walked up to the top and found our special cove! I love this place!
After we finished up at the beach we stopped at the grocery store and I went home to decorate! It is fianally starting to feel like my room!

I had dinner with Katja and Liselotte (Lisa). We mad spaghetti and had dinner on the porch as the toga party started around us. Future reference: bread must go in the refrigerator or it will mold ASAP! It turned into a really fun night of laughing and making new friends from all over the world! Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and USA!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Orientation Day!

Orientation day was yesterday and it was really a lot to process! I met up with some of my new friends Catia and Linda (German girls) and we went with a group of Canadian people to breakfast! We had bacon and egg sandwiches! It was very hot and sunny and the poor Canadians were melting! haha While we waited we were offered Red Frogs which are like Swedish Fish in the USA. So far so good!

After the breakfast stop we went up to international registration and got registered. Then I almost missed my first orientation class thing! I went to the BUS Human Resource program. I met an amazing professor. Wayne Graham is an amazing Aussie professor very chill very smart and very funny!! He told me about a professor here from TN!! Cindy just moved here in January for her position in the university. I went up and found her office and met her. She is so great! We talked country music and she even invited me to spend some time with her and her family any time if feel homesick. How sweet is that! :)

I went to a few more workshops in the afternoon and then I went back to my apartment. Apparently the party started Sunday night at midnight haha so most everyone was pretty hammered. I decided to head over to the gym for a bit and check that out. It's no Alphas Fitness... but it is a gym.

And guess what??! On the way back from the gym.... Wallabies!!! They were just chilling hanging out eating right by the path!! It is a mini wildlife reserve. There is no fence or anything they are just there.
After that I headed home and got a shower. It felt to great to work out again. Now it was time to go make some friends! Definitely interesting! Haha Lots of music, lots of dancing, lots of  people... it was fun. I was beat when I hit the pillow. I think my jet lag kicked in a bit and I was wiped out by 1030. Today I am head to the beach! Woohoo!!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Whoa! What a day! My head is spinning!

Today felt like Christmas morning! :) I woke up to the sun streaming into my windows! It was so perfect! I tried to stay in bed but I just couldn't hold myself back from running outside! Kim was already up and she was just as happy as I was to be in the sun again!! The birds were chirping and it was just picture perfect. She made us smoothies and I got a chance to Skype with my parents. Then we set off on an adventure!
I will get the name of this place from Kim... she is sleeping now I think... but it is really neat. You can see all of Brisbane! It was perfect temperature too! It also had a great breeze!
 We stopped at Beefy's on the way up to my school on the Sunshine Coast. It is a big meat pie place for tradies (tradesmen). I tried my first real meat pie. I got a steak and mushroom one and it was sooooooooooooooo good!!! I also tried a piece of Kim's chicken curry one and it was also very yummy. Also we had an apple dumpling. It was so good the cream filling is homemade and it tasted great. It was a bit frozen so that was not perfect exactly but it still was really great I thought! :)
 We saw this giant mountain that I cant recall the name of right now :( and pineapple farms! They grow in the ground. When they harvest them they cut off the top and plant the top in the ground and boom~& and new pineapple plant! How cool!
We went to Kim's favorite beach today! It was beautiful! Apparently it was actually not very pretty today beacaue the storm brought up a lot of seaweed and gunk so it was way dirtier looking than usual. I still think it is gorgeous but I cant wait to see it once it clears up to the crystal blue that it usually is! :)
We also rode up to Noosa today too :)
Now I am at school. The campus looks very pretty :) When we first got here and brought my stuff in we realized I forgot my sheets Kim was letting my borrow and my towels! Dang! So we made a quick run to the store and everything worked out fine. That is why I have the credit card! Anyway we came back and I went in search of internet. I met a Swedish foreign exchange student named Daniel he was very nice. He helped me find the front desk which was less than helpful haha and volunteered his internet anytime! :) Yay new friends! So decided to just take a little walk and look for the school. I went for a long walk accidentally... I was trying to find the way to campus and sort of went the opposite direction for about 20 minutes haha Oh well it is very pretty and I got a nice walk in! I did find the campus so that is good. My internet is kind of an issue still... but hopefully I can get that worked out tomorrow... I met a guy named Josh who said he would come over tomorrow and help me. Anyway... The room is small but that is to be expected. The bed is actually bigger than expected so that's a win! There are 4 of us living here. We each have our own bedroom desk and bathroom so that is pretty great! We have an Aussie named Jackson, a French guy who serfs, and a German girl named Katalia? (That is probably spelled wrong). We are a mini UN right here in Sippy Downs! Everyone seems very nice so I am excited!
Alright it is time for sleep for me! I am whipped! Tomorrow is orientation so I definitely need my beauty rest and I need to recoup my energy! I have so much to do and see tomorrow!!!

Night hunting with the brave brave Kim

Last night Kim took me night walking looking for creatures. I must say I was way more nervous than I let on... I am not a big creepy crawly person but I felt like if this pretty little blonde woman could do it I guess so can I right? Haha So we were on a hunt for Huntsman.... Oh boy. The Huntsman is a giant spider that is safe for humans... well other than humans with heart issues... you might be scared to death. They are about as big as your hand. Now before you freak out the witch hunt remember Huntsman are good though!!! They all the bad stuff. We walked outside and immediately found geckos!! Yay! although... these are not green cute geckos... they're translucent-ish white. They blend into the house and are very creepy. (They are starting to grow on me... but I still think they are very creepy) We also found Cane toads. These nasty things are poisonous... but only if you lick them. Kim told me if I lick one no worries she will cart me off to the hospital. :) I decided against the licking... Also we never found a Huntsman... which is kind of ok with me haha.

Also we accidentally scared the tail off a little gecko. :( Luckily they grow back so no harm no foul. Ummm and then we gassed him too... just a bit... by accident!!! We sprayed a cock roach and then he popped out from behind the post! We tried to waft it away... anyway... we checked on him after the adventure and he was still alive so hopefully he lived... oops...he definitely doesn't like American ladies now.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Flood drive!! and a gas station (Servo) visit :)

So Kim and I needed to get out. We felt a bit cooped up with all this crazy weather. We went for a drive and saw some crazy flooding and some creepy creatures. We also stopped at a gas station (Servo). I think I made the cashier at the servo a bit nervous as I was walking around taking pictures of things I thought were neat and different :) Then I think she was put at ease when I cashed out and she realized I am American not just a crazy lady haha

So the flooding is crazy and pushing creatures out! I did get a little nervous when I accidentally leaned on a post without looking. Kim was like "Sarah move now"... she said it very calmly... I moved and looked back and saw so many creatures including a giant brown recluse spider!!!!


Well I guess I still need to get used to the whole... 'everything can kill you' thing. I have my eyes open and I am being very cautious now. That was scary! In the mean time I will continue to take pictures and enjoy the little differences in culture that make Australia so interesting!


Jet lag and slightly disoriented is not helpful...

There's so much that's new but not new. It is so odd... things are familiar but different. First, the "local shops" are similar to ours but because this area is tropical, there's a lot of open spaces with no
roof. It is so nice to have fresh air when you're shopping! There is still the common "Dollar" store. Be warned... the prices are far from a dollar. Haha Also I got to see a "Chemist" (what they call a pharmacy). Now the grocery store. The grocery stores here are 1/4 the size of an average American store. When you walk in it looks pretty similar then you see that things are pretty different. There are many things that are the same as US but have different names. It is like topsy tervy world! This picture is my US store on the left then food from my new Aussie place on the right :)

Now, the aisles... They love and appreciate cheese. They don't love it like the US where we stick it on everything, they love it and APPRECIATE it. They have so many cheeses! Next, the cookie (biscuit) and chip (crisps but they call them chips too) aisles are pretty much combined. AH! Reduced junk food options?!?! The struggle is real. That said, the candy (lollies) aisle however, is huge. Aussies like sweet things, especially chocolate (chokkie bar, anyone?). It is mostly filled with things I have never heard of though so looks like I will be experimenting haha. As for the contents of the grocery store some "American" things are recognizable for sure, but others are my same product, but different. For example, Rice Krispies are Rice Bubbles. Same snap, crackle, pop on the box....different name.

Next, the grocery carts (trollies) are like a drunken ballerina on ice. All four wheels move whatever direction they choose! You can do the electric slide with the cart! go right! Go left! Go back! Go sideways! Going straight isn't much of an issue, but turning a corner....whoa. They seem to have a mind of their own. Oh and to make matters more tricky, everyone is walking on the opposite side so...out of control cart + disoriented and jet lagged operator.....bad combo.

Flying to Australia!

I did some light reading in Reagan airport.
In my reading I came across this... a budgie smuggler is a man wearing a speedo... and a budgie is a parakeet... so does that mean people are smuggling parakeets in their speedos?!?!

The plane from LAX to Brisbane was gigantic!! I lucked into getting an exit row seat! I asked the guy at the check in if they had anything with extra leg room, he said usually these seats are not open, but one was open and he put me in it! I feel so lucky! It made my trip so much better! Also, I drank lots of water. I heard that people always seem to be dehydrated so I decided to drink a ton of water! It turns out it was a great choice because it made me have to get up to use the bathroom more often, which made me walk around a bit more. Win! Note to all: DRINK WATER! Below is a picture of the TV at my seat! It came equipped with everything from TV shows and movies to music and music videos. I watched An Affair to Remember, and episode of Big Bang Theory, and Frozen. Also, it had this map. The map tells you information on your trip like: how long until you reach your destination, how many miles to your destination, how many miles from your start, how high we are flying, what speed we are going, current temperature, current time. So fancy!
 The flight was actually pretty great! A few bumps but that is to be expected. As we came in it got a little extra bumpy but that is because of the crazy weather right now. When I flew in there was a forecast for a category 5 and category 4 hurricane storm system. The Category 4 is waaaaaay North so it will not effect us much but the other one is pretty close.
As of right now it demolished a couple islands, but now it had been downgraded to a category 2 and a tropical storm! So that is good news. It is currently raining here and we are expecting it to get down this way in the couple hours bringing severe thunderstorms and high winds... I will let ya know how it goes.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Check it out!!

Stroke of luck! When I was boarding they asked if anyone wanted to check their carryon for free... Mine weighs like 1000lbs I was like heck yeah!!! I have to go to baggage claim anyway! Win! Woohoo! The little things!

Reagan to LAX

Travel day!! So... Ugh. I'm in the Reagan International airport. My parents brought me down. I'm so lucky to have such amazing people for a parents. Anyway 1st I find out my airline won't check my bags all the way through to Brisbane. Apparently the deal they had with the 2 airlines ended Feb 1. So I have to get them in LAX at baggage claim and then go recheck them at virgin Australia... So fun then get to the international terminal... Should be an interesting experience... Good thing I have 3 hours I guess right?! Then I went through security twice because I had a small amount of water in my water container... The lady was extremely nice it was just a bit annoying and funny all at once. Oh the struggle... But I am now sitting at my gate should board in about 30 minutes!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Day 1... Kind of...

Alright... So the trip started off a bit bumpy... We got a ton of snow and my flight this morning got cancelled. I won't lie I was pretty disappointed but I'm still so lucky to be going! Tomorrow will actually be so much better because now I have a direct flight to LAX instead of bopping around first!!