A quick summary of life in Oz
see that mouton in the background? We scrambled to the top...
New Year's Resolution: keep up to date with my blog! Last semester completely ran away with me and, as everyone told me it would, I was back on a flight home before I knew it.Saying goodbye at Heathrow last July seems ages ago now, so much has happened since then! Doing it all again yesterday was a lot easier, mainly because I’m very lucky that my parents and granddad are flying out to New Zealand in a month and I’m meeting them there, life could be worse I guess!
I sit writing this in Kuala Lumpa airport. They’re a bit stingy on the air con and so I’m boiling, not helped by the fact they’re also very stingy on their baggage allowance. As a result I’m travelling back in a number of layers that’s excessive for the British winter, let alone the Aussie summer I’m heading back to. Being home for a month has been lovely, catching up with friends and family who all said how jealous they were when my photos popped up on facebook... Not intentional at all... As much as I loved last semester it was strange being in Sydney and heading home after a day on the beach to see Christmas decorations in shops. I’m a sucker for a crisp winters day and spending evenings curled up by the fire so definitely made the most of it when I was home. It was also nice to spend my first Christmas since I was 15 without having any exams to stress over. Maybe the Aussies have it the right way round! After a few days of getting drenched and then getting a cold because of it I was excited to get back to Oz and attempt to regain the very poor level of tan I achieved. Less excited to see how brown the friends I left over there are now.
As soon as I found out I was going to Sydney I had one night on my mind: New Years Eve. I cannot wait to see the fireworks! Slight hitch in that I’ve rented out my room for the holidays and hostels soar up to around $200 just for that night, so Charlotte (the friend I’m travelling with) and I are going to brave an all-nighter before catching a flight to Cairns the next day. Could be interesting. I’m hoping excitement will pull us through as from there we have a month to get from the top of the East coast back to Sydney, and then on to Christchurch for me to meet my family. All in all it should be a fun couple of months!
Uni starts again in March and this time round I should probably do a bit more work. Last semester my friend Clemmie and I wrote an essay in a day so we could catch a train up the coast to spend the night at a friend of a friends beach house in Port Stephens. Definitely worth it in that we had the best time ever, incredible beaches, amazing house (complete with hottub), a ride on a speedboat, tubing, generally doing everything I hoped I would do when moving to Australia. My marks for that module suffered a bit but you only a year abroad once hey! YODAYAO? hmmm...
Overall though, the workload compared to Exeter hasn’t been that different. I probably take it a bit less seriously over here just because living in Sydney means there’s always something to do, money to spend, $6 Thai to eat and beaches to lie on. There’s loads nearby too that it makes it even harder to stay put for a weekend. The girls and I went to the Hunter Valley at the end of November which was definitely an experience. Without knowing, we’d managed to book a hostel that was home to a bunch of middle aged men who we later found out had come straight from rehab. Harmless enough until the last night where the main lesson learnt was to always bring earplugs. I slept like a baby but apparently everyone else had been kept awake until 5am as there were shouting matches going on outside our window fuelled by a few boxes of goon. We left at 6am and it turned out the others were only just going to bed. Lads! The wine tasting itself was a great way to spend a day, being driven around from winery to winery, learning the qualities of a good wine (a nice change to what we’re used to) and seeing the scenery.
Caitlin and I did a Blue Mountains trip earlier in semester and I can safely say I think we saw the real country. Innocently turning up thinking it was a beginners trip we were quickly forced to rethink when the car we were getting a lift in, a little Toyota Yaris, got stuck numerous times on the way to the campsite. There were so many potholes and it was late at night that by the time we got there (I say campsite, I mean spot where we were camping) we were frozen solid and the fact our tent only consisted of a sheet above us and a sheet below didn’t help. The next day was a struggle, walking through miles of bush and then reaching our next destination, Pantoney’s Crown, to see a steep climb and then a vertical rock climb to get to the top. Discovered I have a fear of heights after climbing up with only a rope to stop me falling to certain death. Sunset from the top was incredible and made the whole thing worthwhile, it felt like something out of the Lion King. We were aching so much the next day and walking so slowly we arrived back at the cars a good twenty minutes after everyone else, and even then only made it because we heard a car door slam and our little ears pricked up and legs found a new burst of life. We whinged at the time but it was the best way to see the mountains and something I remain quite proud of! Wikimapia says it is 'not for the faint hearted' and we all know Wiki never lies. Picture definitely needed to put it into perspective.
Trying to do a quick summary of last semester but so much happened that its hard to get it all down. Will try much harder to keep up to date this time round. One thing I do know is that Sydney seagulls and I will never get on - after living through the trauma of being crapped on a few months later I was eating a cheeseburger on the harbour when one of the beasts actually swooped down and tried to take it from me. Luckily I was holding on pretty tightly but the hate continues.
Should probably go and check my flight details, people are moving and I do not want to be stuck here any longer. Good news is I’ve cooled down slightly, bad news is I just saw a cockroach. Along with seagulls, those little devil creatures are the new bane of my life!