Archive for the ‘legal drinking’ Category

Checking Out, Moving In

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

With orientation having come to a close it was time to get situated into what would become my life in Sydney. At 10 am I met up with the other students who elected to live in Glebe, which is a suburban area in the northern part of the city.

The bedroom I was leaving in the Metrion World Towers

Incredible views of Sydney from my hotel room for Orientation. The white circle looking thing in the upper right hand corner is the olympic stadium

Stunning Sydney views from the 72nd floor

My apartment in Glebe where I will be spending the next four months is very nice, and a lot more than I was expecting out of temporary student housing.

New bedroom in Glebe apt! One guess as to which bed is mine.

Out my window on the second floor.

One of the many birds of this variety that frequent the tree outside my window

Kitchen/living room/ roommates.

Kitchen with our nifty space age dishwasher drawer. Its the silver thing to the left. Its a drawer that pulls out. Whenever we put dishes in it we say we are sending them to space.

Our living room. We are going to treat the wall behind the couch as an ongoing art project and keep adding to it as the semester goes on.

Bathroom! The steam shower has a waterfall shower head that is DIVINE.

My lovely roomies. Jill (the feisty brunette) and I share a room while Kayla is living with our other roommate Courtney who was stuck in New Zeland due to the earthquake when this picture was taken

SO after I got moved in and situated to my apartment I of course wanted to get on the interent because I had been without it for five days (read: an eternity) but only one apt had their internet already set up, number 29, and I live in apt number 18. Since we were all told this, the kids living in my building have taken to sitting in the hallway to steal the wireless connection from apt 29, the inhabitants of which have been great sports about it. Its actually turned into a funny bonding experience and a quirky way to meet people. So after catching up with the world via wireless internet connection Jill and I set out to find groceries. Our apt is about a 10 minute walk from the main shopping mall here which houses a grocery store and a K-mart and Target. As you can see only the absolute best parts of American culture  have made it to Australia.

We purchased a few household items like a bath mat, hand soap for both bathrooms, extra pillows, and a shower organizer. Then we made our way to the grocery store and spent the next hour or so trying to figure out what was what. There are almost no american brands to be found in an Australian grocery store, which turns grocery shopping from a menial task into a grand guessing adventure. I think we may have gone a little overboard in terms of number of items purchases as we were loosing circulation in our fingers about 4 minutes into our 10 minute walk back to our apartment. Never the less we made it back with all of our digits in tact.

Once all the groceries were put away and we had settled in it was about dinner time. Jill and Kayla were very sweet and made three cheese tortellini with chunky tomato sauce and salad for dinner. My contribution to this, since I was told that it was their meal to cook, was a frozen tirmasu that we all ate with spoons out of the plastic container. It was a wonderful bonding girly thing to do. After the dishes had been put away in the dishwasher drawer and a few more hours had been spent sitting in the hallway stealing the wireless connection from apartment from apt 29 my two roommates and I along with one of the residents of apt 29 set out in search of some nightlife in Glebe.

We walked past a few sketchy looking dives illuminated by neon lights and not wanting to sell our bodies on this particular evening landed instead at a karoke bar. Based on the miniscule population sample I observed at this random bar I am prepared to force the following mass generalizations upon the entire population of Australia.

1) most australians appear to be tragically tone deaf and without a sense of rhythm even when not intoxicated

2) They do not produce any music in this country, either that or nobody likes australian music, as every song we heard was from the US.

and

3) Australians dance like awkward elderly white people. Meaning, with lots of peculiar hand motions and without touching the person they are dancing with at all. It’s kinda precious, they are so adorably innocent seeming even at their most inebriated.

We stayed until last call and then sang our way all the way back to our apt building. Exhausted, we all fell into bed still chatting about anything and everything.

Any reservations I had about this trip, or feelings nervousness I felt in the days prior to leaving seem far away from me now. I am so excited to be here and get to know all the people who I have met. I am so glad everyone in my life pushed me into doing this when I wavered, I am so glad I did.

Getting Oriented: Turning Right Side Up In the Land Down Under

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Getting Oriented Via Orientation

After being picked up from the airport we were taken to a hotel conference room at the Vibe Hotel in downtown Sydney. We were given the chance to pick up pre purchased cell phones or buy one ourselves and then were given an overview of what would happen for the next few days.

Then we were given our hotel room assignments and our roommates and walked over to the hotel we were actually staying at which was a block or two down the road. While everyone else struggled to cross streets and get into elevators with their luggage, this was not an obstacle for me seeing as I was still without mine.

Our hotel accommodations for orientation are at the Meriton World Towers, which is GORGEOUS. It is one of the highest buildings in Sydney and no one in our orientation group is on a floor below 68. The rooms are more like apartements, each one consisting of a full kitchen, three bedrooms, a common room with couches, tv, and dining area, two full bathrooms with steam showers and Jacuzzi tubs and a washer and dryer. And all of this is set on a backdrop of the whole city. The views from every window of our room are spectacular. From my bedroom window I have a sweeping view of the whole city clear to the ocean. I can even see the Olympic stadium. At night it is even more stunning.

We were given a few hours to shower and change before we had to be back downstairs for dinner. Not having any clean clothes to change into I washed the ones I had on and then put them back on after I had showered. Once back downstairs we were led downtown to Darling Harbor where we had our first meal at the Yellow Bird Café which faces the water.

We were encouraged to order Kangaroo off of the menu. Apparently there is a national movement to eat more kangaroo meat since it has only 2% fat and a much higher protein content than traditional beef. Kangaroos are also not farmed or raised commercially; they are just so plentiful that they can be caught out of the wild. I didn’t order it, but almost all the boys did and the consensus seemed to be that it tasted a lot like steak, but since the fat content of it is so low it can’t be cooked for very long, so it is served fairly rare.

While I passed on the kangaroo I did not pass up an opportunity to get my first legal cocktail. I felt so dangerous ordering one. But here in Australia where the drinking age is 18 I am legal and apparently they are not nearly as uptight about carding as they are in the US. I ordered a drink called a “greek date” which had mango liquor in it along with lime, lemon, peach and something else. It was quite tasty, and the view we had of the ocean only made it that much better.

It is an odd thing that happens when you put a large group of people together who do not know eachother, but they tend to typically separate by gender. It’s like kindergarden all over again, they boys sit with the boys and the girls sit with the girls. At dinner our group of 80 or so were given four very long tables to sit at. There were three tables of mostly girls and one table of mostly guys. There were a few exceptions but generally speaking you would think we were afraid of cooties or something.

After dinner we were given the rest of the night to do as we pleased. While a few people wanted to go out and explore the nightlife, I knew that jet lag was soon to catch up with me and deliver a swift kick to the arse, so I headed back to the hotel and checked on the status of my luggage. The front desk informed me that it would arrive that night between 7-10 pm, and since it was close to 9pm at the time I figured I could stay awake till 10. Wrong. I attempted to watch television for about 4 minutes before beginning to nod off and then I finally gave in and crawled into bed. Seconds after my head hit the pillow I was fast asleep….