Archive for the ‘Lyndsay’ Category

Where Friends Became Family

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Before coming to Australia I had been concerned about finding friends that I would really connect and want to travel around with. My friends from home are so important to me and I am usually slow to make meaningful connections that I was concerned about meeting people while abroad. I am so glad that this fear turned out to be completely unfounded. As the semester is ending and people are starting to return to the states I find myself excited to return home but sad to leave my glebe family.

The first people I really got to know were my roommates. Jill is a brassy bostonian with a razor sharp wit and an old soul who could be found most nights knitting and waiting for Law and Order to come on TV. For the first three months we shared a room together and would fall asleep talking about home and our lives there. We also spent a few evenings bailing out our balcony which would flood with a few inches of water every time it rained, but we always laughed and smiled as we did it.

Kaela is an adorably southern shutter bug who is kind to a fault with an infectious laugh and a tremendous weakness for chocolate. She is a hopeless romantic who would read us the poetry of Pablo Neruda at night and take dozens of pictures whenever we would go out. The Australians would always pick on her for saying “Ya’ll” but within the apartment we would just giggle and tell her that her Alabama was showing.

Courtney is the trendy street smart californian turned New Yorker who knows how to find a good time and is always ready for an adventure. She was always the one to initiate our take out nights, and per her suggestion we shared many meals of Thai and Mexican food ordered in.

Together the four of us shared meals, movies, drinks, and laughter. Together we are Samatha (Jill), Charlotte (Kaela), Carrie (Courtney) and Miranda (me) to a T.

Apt 18 ladies

The first night in my Glebe apartment Jill, Kaela and I decided to go out on the town (or at least up the street) to get a drink to commerate our new digs. Yaella, who lived down the hall, had agreed to come along. As per usual I made a memorable first impression. This is how Yaella described it (copy and pasted from her blog)

“What is the origin of your name” Valerie, a tall blonde haired girl asks me as we walk around Glebe, hunting for a bar where we can get a beer.

“Hebrew” I respond without hesitation.
“Oh I should have guessed, what with the hair and the nose” she causally replies. Like a boxer punched the stomach, I feel a whoosh of noise leave my mouth that sounds vaguely like “what!”
Valerie is not trying to hurt my feelings or make racial slurs. In fact she has many Jewish friends, has eaten Matzah, and attended  a Jewish funeral (which she swiftly endorses and tells me she wants one). Quite honestly, Valerie is just the most honest person I have ever met in my life.
We find a karaoke bar and it turns out Valerie not only has a penchant for the truth but is also a very good singer. As we sit around the bar, we (Valerie, Jill, Kaela, and myself) all belt out the lyrics to popular songs from the 90′s while Kaela deflects the advances of a 30 something man. However, before we can get up in front of the crowd to sing and make fools of ourselves, karaoke night is over.

Despite my brassy beginning Yaella and I got to talking and  discovered that neither of us had class on Tuesdays  so we made a plan to walk a differnet suburb of Sydney every Tuesday. While wandering the side streets of Sydney we shared conversations and slurpees and found a fabulous pair of $15 leather pants. We weren’t fast friends, but we definitely became great friends.

As Yaella and I got to know eachother we also got to know eachothers roommates. Yaella lived with two Lyndsays, one of which was a tiny sorrority girl who is full of life, laugher, and is always ready to rage. One rainy weekend in March Lyndsay found herself sitting alone in her apartment for most of the weekend, and I wanted to go see the USyd production of Cabaret, and no one would go with me. Somehow Lyndsay and I found eachother that day and ended up going to the show together that weekend, and had such a great time trying to decipher the german accents done by Australians that we planned many other adventures. We went to see Spring Awakening, skipped school one day to go to the beach, and then spent a long weekend in Melbourne together. After one fateful night at the Flying Fajita Sisters where we agreed to split an amazing coconut bananna desert, one of the major tenets of our relationship became the splitting of deserts. We have split pies, cookies, puddings, a questionable chocolate pear parfait, the most amazing mango lime cake and countless wild nights. Suffice to say that life with Lyndsay is always sweet. She also taught me that you can never be too tired to go out and have fun. She would never let me skimp on an evening out, she taught me how to rally and rage!

Lindsay Yaella and I have spent just as many nights watching movies and eating baked goods as we have going out and painting the town red. We have danced till we dropped and color coordinated our outfits to get into clubs for free. We even spent an evening getting thrown around by shirtless Australian circus performers. I am so lucky that the two best friends I made in Australia both live in Maryland because this means our good times can be continued in the northern hemisphere.

The other Lindsay in Apt 29 was my roommate all through Thailand, and my fellow connoisseur of hotel breakfasts while we were there. We graduated cooking school, went snorkeling, made pad Thai, and rode elephants together. We even shared a lavish honeymoon suite in Krabi where we stayed up late watching HBO movies and chatting. She was always down to party and we had a crazy Thailand adventure together.

The lovely ladies of apartment 23, Alana, Amanda and Megan have always been the most welcoming hosts and some of the greatest party companians. Their apartment has been the location of many of our Glebian group evenings and they never show up anywhere without a bottle or a plate of something for everyone to enjoy. It’s hard to go over to their room and not end up sitting on their couch chatting for the next twenty minutes. They are always up for an adventure and excited to join any adventure already in progress. They party hard and the six of us always end up having a great time together reguardless of the activity.

The boys of apt 30, Andy, Seth and Jordan were always up for going out or staying in and watching a 1$ movie rental from blockbuster. They were also usually the first ones to show up when I announced that I had baked something. They even allowed us to borrow their apartment kitchen when Kaela and I needed to bake a cake for Courtney’s birthday without letting her know. For some reason the boys in this room decided early on in the semester that they would never pay for a haircut so every month in their room they would put a whole bunch of newspapers on the floor, get out the trimmer kit and have hair cut day. Jordan experimented with some odd hairstyles over the course of the semester. Andy and Seth are both from Iowa, but Andy is the only one I ever picked on about it. Andy is also the one who would insist that we stop in at McDonalds every time we passed one.

Yaella, Jordan, Andy, Lyndsay, and Me

Lyndsay, Seth, me, and Jordan on our weekend in Melbourne.

Seth was the father figure of the group when we went to Melbourne. He was the only one who ever knew where we were and could get us from point A to point B. I was the maternal one who was always suggesting activities and making sure we had eaten, but Seth could be counted on to make sure the logistics were taken care of.

If ever I was looking for little Jordan I knew not to even bother knocking on his door, for he would always be in someone elses room sitting on their couch and chatting. He fielded the most questions about Jersey Shore being from New Jersey but he always answered them with a laugh and a smile. I edited many a paper for him throughout the semester but we made sure to always celebrate with a gin and tonic once we had finished. He was like the stray puppy of Glebe, if he knocked on your door he was sure to be let in and stay for a while.

This group of people from all over the united states assembled in Australia and became friends and then a family.  I am so fortunate to have met and spent a semester with all these wonderful people, and I will miss all of them once I return home. Thanks for a great semester guys!


Life is a Cabaret Old Chum!

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

My days and weekends in Oz are really beginning to fill up. This week I worked hard and this weekend I partied even harder, and it all started on Thursday. The night Yaella and Lyndsay and I hung out with the Australian carnie folk we met this lovely girl named Camilla, who is here for a few months from Britain. She took a year off between high school and college and has been traveling around. Had she been at her home university she might have run into my friend Chlsea, a William and Mary student who is currently studying abroad with the Theatre program at Exeter, where Camilla will attend in the fall. The two constants in my life, jews and theatre people, even halfway round the world I still manage to find them.

Yaella had been bugging Lyndsay and I to go with her to check out this fancy chocolatier place on glebe point rd, and we thought it would be fun to have Camilia go with us. So after a long stint in the library on Thursday afternoon I met up with Lyndsay and Yaella and the three of us set out to find Camilla and some chocolate.

San Churro's spanish hot chocolate. AHmazing.

San Churro’s is a chocolateria whose slogan is “Chocolate and Churros shall be your Salvation.”  A philosophy I was more than willing to embrace. Camilla and I both ordered a traditional spanish hot chocolate, which is a very thick smooth chocolatey beverage, served hot. Its rich and creamy and I’m sure an entire days worth of calories. In addition to this Lyndsay and I decided to split a cinnamon chocolate fruit parfait. That was a more complex experience in terms of my tastebuds reception of it. It was comprised not of the traditional yogurt, granola, and fruit that I am used to, but rather a cinnamon creme, strawberries, bananas, raspberry sauce, raspberries, and chocolate on top. It was quite interesting, and Lyndsay and I had no trouble whatsoever savoring every last bite.

Lyndsay mid parfait bite, also Camilla.

According to San Churo’s website, “In 1528 Hernan Cortes brought the decadent Aztec tradition of chocolate to Spain. So precious was this gift that only the monks were allowed to manufacture chocolate strictly for the Spanish aristocracy. The head monk, San Churro, witnessed many miracles of chocolate including the healing of the Queen of Spain and made it his life’s work to spread the ‘secret’ of chocolate across Europe.” While this story is cute, Yaella and I were unable to verify any of this information via wikipedia, and since it’s not on wikipedia I am therefore forced to assume it is a flagrant lie made up for the sole purpose of having a cute story. Like anyone cares about cute back stories when chocolate is involved. Priorities people.

Friday morning I awoke to a voicemail and an email from the international student internship office telling me that I had gotten the internship for the Office of Development and that I would start on Tuesday! What a wonderful way to start off a weekend. Plus this meant that I didn’t have to attend my friday class because I would be dropping it since the internship is a 10 hour a week time commitment in addition to weekly career seminars. So not only did I wake up to great news, but shortly after I got to go right back to sleep and snooze through the morning hours. Precisely how I like to start my days. Once I woke up, I poked around the apt for a bit, cleaning up, making food, and hanging out with the roommates. I knew I wanted to do something fun to celebrate my news, so I messaged Lyndsay and suggested that we do something fun together since Yaella would be out for her Shabbat observation and her other two roommates were gone for the weekend as well. We toyed around with the idea of going to a club with the boys next door, but I remembered that the theatre group at USyd was putting on a production of “Cabaret,” and suggested that we do that instead. Lyndsay enthusiastically agreed and we set out around 7 for the Seymour Center where the show was being held.

Stage set up for Cabaret. Perhaps the easiest set ever. Its just scaffolding with taped red fabric and some tables. I mean COME ON.

We were able to get discounted tickets because we were both access card holders (finally that stupid $70 card I bought does something for me). I was rather ashamed that I had never seen Cabaret before, or at least the stage production of it. I knew many songs from the show, but as it turned out, the big number that everyone tends to associate with the show, “Maybe This Time” is not actually in the stage production, but was added for the film version. We were both looking forward to that number and were kinda bummed when it didn’t happen. Also, Australian actors trying to do German accents are often GLORIOUSLY difficult to understand.

Lyndsay and I both enjoyed the show, and were very impressed with the lead male’s ability to put on a consistent American accent. During intermission we were browsing through some fliers for upcoming events and noticed that the following weekend a production of “Spring Awakening” was being put on. I geeked out over this (obviously) and began serenading Lyndsay with every word from the show. Much to my surprise she knew a lot about the show, had the soundtrack, but had never actually seen it. With this information in hand I had no other option but to demand that we procure tickets at our earliest possible connivence and go see it. I have no problem spreading the good word of musical theatre, even to those who don’t want to receive it, although a receptive convert is always easier to handle.

After the show ended we headed back to the apt, but since it was only 10:30 or so there was still time left in the evening to go out. We rallied the troops and Me, Lyndsay, Courtney, Seth, and Kaela headed back out to find someplace for a drink. After scouting out a few locations we ended up at the Landsdown hotel bar, which I had walked by several times but never dared to venture inside. I believe on the first weekend I was here I had remarked to Yaella that we couldn’t go there because I didn’t feel like selling my body on that particular evening. It does look quite sleazy from the exterior, but once we were inside we found it to be quite agreeable. There was a live band and people sitting at tables chatting and hanging out. It was definitely more of a traditional bar atmosphere and not a club.

Loves. O and Seth in the background.

Kaela, Courtney and Seth. The red drink Kaela is holding is a snakebite, her favorite. Lyndsay also got one. Apparently its an Australian thing.

Me and this lady are a winning combination.

After a few hours of people watching and casual drinking we headed back to the apt and turned in for the night.