25 February 2014

One Month Down, Only 2 Months Left

Two months from tomorrow I will be on a plane back to America. If these next two months go by as fast as the first one did, it's going to feel like a blink of an eye. I'm really worried that I'm not making the most of my time here. I haven't really travelled or gone anywhere or done anything too crazy yet. I did buy a skydiving groupon, so I know I'll be doing that, I just don't know when. Hopefully this week I'll plan some trips so I can see more of Australia than just the greater Sydney area.

Last weekend was quiet, which was a really nice change of pace. Since we've gotten into a schedule here, I've felt super busy all week long and barely had any time to relax. So last weekend I relaxed on Bondi beach most of the day Saturday and had a chill night just watching an Australian movie, which was horrible, by the way, with friends. On Sunday I had to get some homework done but afterwards, my roommate Abby and I went down to Sydney Harbor to get dinner and sight-see the touristy stuff like the bridge and the opera house.

Yesterday was my typical Monday with class all day, but we got out a little early. In my afternoon class we had a tour of China Town, and got let out early. The Chinese culture is incredibly interesting, but their food prep in the restaurant we saw, was super gross. I never want to see the inside of a pig or duck again..

Today I was in Botany for my internship and we had 5 patients before the day wrapped up. I'm trying to imagine myself doing this for the rest of my life and I still can't so here comes my anxiety again... AH! I'll probably just spend the rest of the day doing a little homework and reading. I've recently become engrossed in the Mortal Instruments series and just can't put them down; it's gotten very distracting.

Excited to climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge later this week! Cheers!

21 February 2014

The Weekly Grind

Even though you can't see them, these pants are awesome
I've officially been here for a month! It's kind of crazy, I feel like I just got here and a third of my time in this beautiful country is already up. I have so much to look forward to still while I'm here, but it's hard to not be wishing for it when I know I'm wishing the time away. It's been really nice to just be enjoying day to day life.

This week was a bit more relaxed than previously because I didn't have to wake up at 5am on Thursday and Friday (hallelujah!) Tuesday was a regular day at the practice at Mike's* house. We had three patients and then a little lesson on the lumbar spine. It was someones birthday so a few of us went to a bar down the street that night. Syd and I played pool and absolutely killed it. Just kidding, we were awful, but I mean we won two games because other people scratched on the 8 ball and a wins a win!

The weather here has been kinda eh this week and Wednesday was no exception, it absolutely poured most of the day. I had gone to a little cafe to use the WIFI and work on homework but the WIFI there stunk too, go figure. But it was raining and I wasn't walking home in the rain so after I struggled through some homework on that awful connection I just read  for most of the afternoon, it was really relaxing and a nice change of pace. Later that night, we got sushi, and I finally learned how to use chopsticks!! Jackie you're the best. That was probably my biggest accomplishment of this week. 

Even pretty when its raining

Thursday and Friday, instead of going into the practice, Mike* was running a course on getting your Level 1 sports trainer certification at ACU. We helped out during it but still, it was boooooring. And it actually got me to thinking, "hey do you really wanna do this stuff forever?" And ya know what, I dont! So now I'm having a mini life crisis because when I go home I'm a senior in college... let me repeat that, A SENIOR IN COLLEGE! As if that isn't enough to give me major anxiety, now I dont know what I want to do afterwards. I was planning on apply to PT school this summer but now I'm not so sure. Ugh, don't make me be an adult.

On a happier note, Thursday night a bunch of us went to Ivy for Kaitlyn's 21st birthday and it was ton of fun. I've been feeling majorly gross from living off pasta the whole time I'm here, so it was good to get moving and dance and hopefully burn off some of the calories. We finally don't have anything planned for us this weekend so it was awesome to sleep in and have a whole weekend for whatever I want to do! It's really hard to have me time here, we're always going going going, so resting this weekend is going to be glorious :).

Cheers Mates!

17 February 2014

When in Doubt, Paddle Out! Surf Weekend

G’Day Mates! I don’t actually say that (yet). A lot of people have started to pick up Australian sayings, such as saying “No worries!” in situations where you could say, “you’re welcome”, but I still haven’t because I feel like a poser. Maybe I’m just too self-conscious, or maybe I would still feel like a poser because I’m lacking the accent (UNFORTUNATELY).

Anywho, the rest of last week went by pretty uneventfully. I spent Wednesday attempting to work on some homework, but it went pretty poorly considering this dangle (portable internet connection) works like a piece of crap. I’m looking at you Global Gossip… this was a waste of $50. I vow to never complain about Internet connection at home or 47 Olympia ever again, you can hold me to that.

Thursday I didn’t have my internship like usual because I had class in the morning. We were just informed on the topics we could write our research paper on and different differences in US and Australian work- culture. As my supervisor brilliantly put it… American’s live to work, while Australians work to live. I hope I NEVER live to work that just seems miserable. Get your act together America.

Friday I interned until 2pm which was a nice change from being there until 8pm. I got home and quickly packed before heading off to… SURF CAMP. A group of us headed 3ish hours north to 7 Mile Beach in Gerroa. (My question is why they call it 7 Mile Beach when everything is metric here…)? We got there pretty late and were assigned cabins, which were literally just beds in a room, and went to explore the beach.

Saturday, I was luckily in the 2nd group because the first group had to get up at 6:30 while we got up at 8:30. We had breakfast and then headed out to the beach, where we met our instructors. They all definitely looked and acted the part- long surfer hair and ragging on each other all day. We learned some basics on the sand but they sent us in the water pretty quickly. It actually wasn’t as hard as I thought! Granted we just road straight and the waves were pretty small but still! All I wanted was to stand up and stay on for a little so it was a success.

We went out twice on Saturday, but it was quite a bit rainier in the afternoon and the waves were even smaller, so it was a lot of hanging out in the water relaxing on boards. Showering that afternoon was the best shower I’ve ever taken; I don’t think I’ve ever felt stickier in my life than that day. Later that day we had a BBQ dinner and hung out drinking around the campsite, before heading to a bar in town. It was definitely quieter before we got there, but it was still a lot of fun. Courtney even won $15 and a hat gambling! Then we walked home and headed back to the beach for a bit.

On Sunday we just had a morning lesson and it was raining… again. The waves were huge, though, so much bigger than Saturday. We were all exhausted just from paddling out there, because waves knocked you over so many times to get there. About an hour in a few of us collided from a wave knocking us over... and a surfboard hit me square in the nose. So I feel like I must be a real Aussie now that I got a nice bloody nose from surfing. Anyways, that ended my surfing weekend, we just ate lunch and relaxed until the bus came to pick us up to head home around 3pm. It was an exhausting weekend, but easily my favorite one yet. I’m still pretty sore, but at least I don’t have a broken nose!

Today, I had class. I watched the same movie in both my classes, so that should tell you how my classes are going… YAWN.

Cheers Mates! (I still feel silly…)

11 February 2014

& Suddenly when there's a photo opportunity I'm not afraid of snakes (+ other Australian happenings)

Friday’s are definitely not going to be fun days… I wake up at 5 am to get to my internship by 7 and don’t get home until almost 10 pm! Luckily, the day was easy enough because the day wasn’t too busy. I worked on some administrative tasks in the morning and learned how to use ultra sound effectively for muscle activation on patients with stiffness and pain. In the afternoon we learned some taping techniques for a woman with her knee out of place from a previous surgery. After work we went out for drinks as usual before I finally made it home at 9:30. Woo 14-hour days!

Phi Beta Dingo provided us with a trip to the Blue Mountains on Saturday, and it was beautiful. Along the way we stopped at Sydney Olympic Park… for about 5 minutes. It was cool to see all the names of the athletes and outside the stadium where the 2000 Olympic Games took place but it would have been nice to actually look around! We also stopped at Featherdale Wildlife Park and got to play with more animals! Snakes, Kangaroos, Koalas and Crocs! Where’s Steve Irwin when ya need him, right?

When we got to the Blue Mountains the first thing you see is… Naked Women? Statues, mind you, but still! There was a reason or some symbolism behind it, but mostly it was weird. Then we hiked down through the mountains and stopped at some spots where you could see waterfalls or the Three Sisters or just some beautiful views. It was spectacular! And it was good for me to get moving and do some exercise. After the hike we cheated a bit and got a tram back up to the top, which was just as exciting! It felt like a backwards roller coaster, kind of like that one at Six Flags that pulls you back before it drops you (without the actual dropping part). AND I found the coolest cup holder with a koala attached… regretting not buying it. After napping the whole way back we made it out to “Home” and then the Ivy (free wristbands woo) to wrap up the day.

Sunday became the day I got my first real Australian sunburn, and I didn’t even forget to put on sunscreen! I’m just an idiot… You can literally see where I rubbed the sunscreen on my face and then just didn’t fully pull my hands together on my chin… mmm beautiful. My neck, my inner arm and along my bathing suit lines burned. Someone teach me to put on sunscreen like a big girl… Besides that Bondi was beautiful, I wont ever complain about going to the beach in February!

Sydne on Bondi Beach!

I’m already over 3 and a half hour classes and I am seriously impressed by everyone who can do that. Sitting in one room from 9 – 4:15 should be a form of torture. My 2 teachers are also complete opposite, my sociology teacher is a sweet open-minded old lady and my communications teacher is kind of rude, young and stuck in her ways. It’s weird to me that I even have to take classes here, even though I guess that’s why I’m here… oops. On the plus side sushi is really cheap and delicious here and I'll probably buy it for lunch every Monday, $3 rolls ftw.

Sydne Carved into the Blue Mts!

Tuesday is home care for SS&RS so we’re in Botany. We treated a man with rib pain and a man with shoulder problems. It’s really interesting to see how adjusting the pelvic and thoracic region can affect all of the more distal areas of the body. After working with patients we went over three different ways to help to treat a down-slipped disk and I am quickly learning how comfortable you must be being touched and touching other people in the profession of Physio. Working with other students who are also learning is comforting but we are getting very up close and personal. It’s also really interesting to here different techniques from Europe and Asia from the students from Norway, Switzerland and Hong Kong. After we were done our supervisor took us to Watson’s Bay. We discussed next weeks lecture on sports therapy at ACU that he is conducting and we are helping with over lunch.

Overall, I'm settling into my Australian life comfortably. Hopefully the weather clears up from this cloudyiness and rain because this weekend is Learn to Surf Weekend!! Maybe some of my previous balance skills from Gymnastics will help me pick this up, but I’m not holding my breath. 

Here's a Quokka, the cutest little nug ever!!!

Fingers crossed for good weather this weekend, Cheers!!

06 February 2014

Not On Vacation Anymore…

 Reality is a smack in the face after feeling like I’ve been on an elongated vacation for the first 10 days. This week they did not ease us into anything in our classes or work, so much for the laid-back lifestyle. Sidenote… CAPA is also probably the most disorganized program EVER… Anywho this is my week so far!

Sunday was a nice relaxing day after spending Saturday running around the walkabout park. Abby, Maggie, Jackie and I decided on our spring break in CAIRNS!!!! I am beyond excited to be spending spring break on the beach and snorkeling and diving the Great Barrier Reef!! (Sorry Stephen… I’ll bring you home some fishies J ). We haven’t planned any of our excursions yet but we’ve looked into things and will probably be doing diving, exploring the rainforest, and potentially hot air ballooning! T- 1 month away! CAPA **attempted** to plan a dinner mixing the CAPA Augustana group and our CAPA group so we could get to know each other for that night in China Town but they were absolutely so disorganized and unprepared. Abby and I headed towards North Sydney and when we arrived with the rest of the group CAPA had failed to plan where all 100 of us would fit… Long story short, we all got 15 Australian Dollars and 8 of us who already knew each other went and got some awesome Chinese food. After that we went to the Bat & Ball Bar for a few drinks & headed home.

Monday, as usual is going to be my least favorite day of the week… It was the first real day of classes and I sat in one room from 9am to 4:15pm. Man did that stink. I hope I never again have to take 3 and a half hour classes because boy do they drag. For an incredibly warm day the room was freezing, and it also lacked WIFI. AND I caught a cold. Boo Monday. Luckily our first professor gave us a 20-minute break in the middle so Maggie, Julia and I went to Greenwood Plaza and grabbed lunch… sushi is SO good here, and I got a delicious smoothie. After suffering through a God awful communications class with a less than helpful professor the day finally ended… 7 hours later…

Tuesday was much better than Monday though the weather took a downward turn and was rainy and chilly. Still a good 50 degrees warmer than Boston but cold for here! Mike* runs his practice out of his home on Tuesdays so after tending to a patient with back issues due to dropping a weight backwards we learned some spinal manipulations from Michelle*, an Arizona PT grad student finishing up a clinical with Nick. It was really interesting to see how you can manipulate and help the thoracic - lumbar spine and why it matters. I’m sure Stephen can’t wait till I’m home so he can get back massages and such so I can practice ;). We then got lunch at the Strawberry Hotel before heading home. (See, always food/drinks after work!) My roommates and I have found this AWESOME Chinese Dating show that’s on most nights from 7:30-8:30 called “If you are the one” (rough translation). The host is so mean to the contestants and the girls on the show but apparently it’s a huge hit! Some real catches end up on the show and here’s the important part… if a girl gets picked by the guy for a date... she gets a pair of shoes... Isn’t the date good enough?! If you ever get the chance to watch it, you absolutely should.

Wednesday is thankfully my day off. Unfortunately for me I did not spend it relaxing on the beach. It was cloudy and I didn’t leave my apartment because I did homework all day long. They really aren’t into getting your feet wet and easing you into the work here because I was assigned 2 projects, and 2 research papers already. I was going to get started looking into sources for some of those but instead I had to waste my day doing online homework assignments for discussion forums. There is nothing I loathe more than giving work for the sake of giving work... After essentially learning nothing on Monday I spent my free afternoon doing busy work. It doesn’t help that I paid $50 for a “dangle” (so that I can use the internet without eating up our apartments allotted 1 GB per day per the 4 of us) THAT DOESN’T WORK. Hopefully my future Wednesdays are more relaxing than that one was.

Today I woke up at 5 am for my internship and worked from 7-12. Thursday’s are only half days so not too many patients were in so it wasn’t too busy. I learned more about how important the pelvis and thoracic region is to keeping the rest of the body aligned and running smoothly as well as more massage techniques and how to manipulate some specific vertebrae on the spine in different ways. After that, Mike* (my supervisor) had Joe* (a GW PT student here on clinical) and I come to a rugby game with him to observe and be extra hands incase there were any injuries. There was but it was just someone’s finger so there wasn’t much to do. I still really do not understand rugby so hopefully I pick that up soon! Once I got home Maggie and I found a bank so that she could open her account, turned in some forms and went to Al Capone Pizza. So good. It’s nice to not cook for myself every once and a while here.

Another 5am morning tomorrow… I don’t think I’m going to be a huge fan of Friday’s :(.

** I’m not sure if I should really be putting co-workers names on here so I changed them just incase J


03 February 2014

Australian Bucket List

I’m one of those people that if I don’t write it down, it’s out of my head. So I figured if I actually want to make sure I get the things done I want to do while I’m here I need to document it! So without further ado here is my bucket list:

Skydive over The Great Barrier Reef
Get a Tattoo
Get a Tan … & NOT get sun poisoning
Snorkel/Dive The Great Barrier Reef
Bungee Jump
Learn to Surf
Go to New Zealand
Hold a Koala
Pet a Kangaroo
Climb the Harbor Bridge
See an Opera Show
Learn to Cook
NOT spend all my $money$
Perfect an Australian Accent
Backpack in the Outback
See Uluru

Visit Brisbane and Melbourne

If you can think of anything else I should do while I'm here, let me know!!