Week 2/3: Sydney life in a nutshell
More tales of my life in Sydney... turns out my occassional bad luck has followed me all the way from England...Since writing my last post quite a lot has happened. I've been lost numerous times, visitied some of Sydney's finest establishments and come to realise that moving countries doesn't automatically mean I can leave behind my embarrassing ways.
The main lesson I have learnt since living here is that I should have invested in an iphone. Whilst in danger of sounding like a technology obsessed square eyed teenager, I genuinely don't know how people survived without mobile phones. I've found it hard enough to get by without the map function and as a result have got off the bus only to phone Andy, my housemate, to check my location and then direct me home. Three times now strangers have got their iphones out to show me where to go, and one nice lady even drove me home the other day (note to my mum - she was middle aged, had a child with her and was an English teacher so I figured she wouldn't abduct me). I'm hopeful that I'm getting there, though (my friends might disagree): I've mastered the trip to uni, the city and back, but I've just learnt the hard way that I don't have a good sense of direction.
The second important lesson I've learnt is that it does matter what numbers you put in when transferring money overseas. I stupidly put the wrong swift code in and so for a couple of days I had £900 chilling mid-internet somewhere. Without knowing what was wrong, I went to buy a new camera with the help of my overdraft. This time I have gone for something a little more durable, and invested in a camera that is shock, water, dust and freeze proof (essentially Lydia-proof). Came to pay only to have my English card declined not once, twice, or even three but FOUR times. Luckily Andy was with me to bail me out but it wasn't a great moment and the salesman was looking at me with what can only be described as pity. After hours spent on the phone to HSBC in England (being on hold has never been more annoying knowing that the Michael Buble song I'm listening to is costing me about a pound a second) my accounts are sorted and I have money to my name again.
At the end of the first week Amy and I did what any young new resident of Sydney would do and headed out to Kings Cross. On my way out of the house I was told that someone had been killed there the week before which did little raise my expectations of the place. Getting off the train and walking to the club entailed stepping over various patched of vomit and we even passed a lady standing outside a club very casually wearing just a dressing gown and smoking a cigarette. As soon as we got there I was pretty sure I wouldn't last until my last train home and this was definitely the case when, after about half an hour of standing and watching the other exchange students rave it up to cringey European pop music, two guys approached us. Without much choice I got lumbered with the shorter, weirder, drunker and generally more annoying one and from then on I spent the rest of the night taking fake phone calls and nipping to the toilet just to have a break from his repeated conversations. Needless to say I was home by a very tame 1am, even by Exeter standards!
I think I owe the Cross one last chance although since that night we've had a much better time at bars in Central Sydney. Living in a big city has its perks, especially where going out is concerned, as it's a treat to get past 2am and still be dancing without the lights coming on and exposing some hideous dance moves. Monday night Schubar has so far proved a good shout and during our last visit a guy introduced himself to me as 'Heartbeat'. A perfect opportunity for a witty comeback but unfortunately for me I was just too slow, and so after he'd asked me my name I took a good ten seconds to then give up and say 'Lydia.' He didn't stick around much longer.
Last weekend I crashed Wollongong Uni's surf weekend and met another friend from Exeter, Fi, who goes to uni there. We had the best weekend, met some really cool people (unfortunately for me they all live in Wollongong, not Sydney) and learnt to surf. We were staying by a beautiful beach called 7 Mile Beach in Gerroa and within a day were tearing up the waves. Slight exaggeration but we were standing anyway, same same... Saturday night at surf camp was a big night and with this in mind we hit the goon pretty hard. By 8.30pm I was a bottle down, and on arrival at the club/bar/family restaurant up the road we walked in to see a group of children dancing. I definitely wasn't up for joining in but after another half a bottle of something strawberry flavoured pretending to be wine I decided otherwise and spent the next few hours having a great time dancing to some old classics. The next day wasn't great but we got down to the beach, didn't last quite as long as the day before but the important thing is we made it! By 7pm I was back in Sydney, shattered, bruised and still a tad hungover but it was definitely worth it for a cracking weekend.
Term started properly this week and so far I have only missed two lectures, ooooops. Campus is so big and I swear the maps aren't accurate, making it even easier to get lost. Campus itself is stunning though, which makes wandering round aimlessly that little bit sweeter! The lectures I have been to have been fine so far and we had Re-Orientation yesterday, which is the Aussie version of the freshers fair. I'm now a proud member of the Tea, Surf and Politics societies - just have to make myself go!
I really can't believe I've only been here two weeks, it feels much longer in every way! I miss my parents and friends but Skype has been a lifeline and I know the next few months are going to fly by; I'll be home before I know it! I'm already panicking I'm going to run out of time to do everything... ah well, guess I'll just have to come back! The family I'm staying with have made living here so much easier as they're all so friendly: the other weekend Annette and Chris took me to the Central Coast to stay with Annette's mum who lives in a pretty village on the water there which was lovely, they've all made me feel very welcome! So far I've seen the main sights of Sydney, visiting the Harbour, the Opera House, having pancakes in Newtown, going to the beach in Manly (and getting crapped on by a seagull there- TWICE IN A WEEK). There's still loads more to do, just hope uni work doesn't get in the way tooooo much!