24 March 2014

Born in the USA

I've noticed throughout my time here in Australia lots of things I've been missing from home. Some are super obvious and others I wouldn't have guessed would cross my mind while I've been here. Mostly, being here has made me realize that I cherish and love that I'm an American and can't imagine living anywhere else for the duration of my life! I've loved every second of being in Australia, but I know the US is my home and I'll never want to live anywhere else. So, these are what I can't wait to return to in a month:


This nug... I knew I'd miss him, but with the amount of dogs roaming everywhere here I miss him even more! He's my best friend and therapist and I wish I could have him exploring this beautiful country with me! He'd love all the walks he'd get since dogs appear to go everywhere here.

My family

Another obvious one, but a lot of the other students on this program have their parents or siblings or other family members visiting them and I wish mine were here! I wish they could come explore here too, because it is such a beautiful place and I know my mom would love to escape the NE winter!


Obvious answer number 3, I know. We knew distance would be hard, but this was very different than the distance between school and home. The time difference makes it difficult to have time to talk when theres only a limited number of hours we're both awake each day, not to mention we're both busy with our own lives. Stephen is also fish obsessed, so I know he's crazy with jealousy since I dived the Great Barrier Reef, oops! It would be really nice to have him here to do some of the wonderful opportunities offered here together!

Fried Friday

And other home cooked meals. What I wouldn't give to have Patrick here to cook lunch and dinner 5 days a week, because living off pasta is getting real old. Having oodles of delicious fried food like mac and cheese bites, mozzarella sticks, tots, etc would make my life on those mornings I wake up feeling not so hot. Besides Fried Friday I just miss American food in general, the groceries here look like second rate American products and I just don't like it. I really should have used this time to figure out how to cook better, but who wants to waste their money on groceries when I could waste it on fun things!?

Friday BrideDay

I see a trend here... I really miss Friday's. Alright, I know I'm a weirdo for this, but it was my favorite day of the week for a reason. If you know me, you know I love weddings, and babies and romance and all that ooey, gooey stuff so it's been no fun being unable to binge watch wedding shows all day on Friday! Every Friday I get all excited because I get home from a long day of interning 7-7 and all I want is to hang out with my man Randy and some beautiful wedding dresses and I can't do that here!

Reliable WIFI

The internet here is not nearly as good, fast, or reliable as American internet. I don't think I will ever complain about the connection at 47 Olympia ever again in my life after dealing with it here. (Okay, maybe I will, but sometimes it's really bad...). That and data is super expensive to have on your phone and that's not what I want to be spending my money on so I'm stuck with dealing with pretty bad WIFI and the inability to use google maps when I get lost.

My Sisters

I get such FOMO being here when I see all my Iota Beta sisters having a blast on snow days, and spring break and the like together. Not to say I'm not enjoying my time here, but they're some of my best friends and I can't wait to see them again. I'm especially sad I'm missing Greek Week since it's like Nickelodeon themed shows from the 90s, come on! I know they'll kill it, though, and luckily, I do get to see them for a little bit at the end of the semester!

Whenever something funny or goofy happens I just wanna tell Tara and Kelsey everything. We always laugh and have a great time together and we've known each other for so long, I know we'll always be close. They got me some great going away stuff even if they can't spell sorority...! Can't wait to spend my summer with them and hear all about their crazy semesters.

Dunkin Donuts / American Coffee

This must be the NE girl in me but I miss my DD coffee. They have Starbucks here, but I've never been a huge Starbucks fan, so it doesn't matter much to me. Australian coffee isn't the same as American, so I've just pretty much steered clear of coffee since I've been here so that I don't mess up ordering it.


I really miss being able to just plug a charger into an outlet and that's that. Now whenever I charge things I need an adaptor, a converter and then finally the charger before I can hook it to anything. Way too much for me to have to carry around!

Sports I Understand

Rugby, Australian Football and Cricket are huge here and I don't understand a single one of them. We learned about cricket in one of my classes and it just seemed like a lot of rules for not a lot of results, the games can last 5 days for pete's sake! Don't even get me started on rugby, footy, etc, I can't even tell the difference. I could spend more time trying to figure it out, but I'd rather stick to my American Baseball and Football

I feel like I should say Netflix since you can't use it here in Australia, but I don't have Netflix so I don't miss it, oops! None of this is to say I am in any way unhappy with my experience here, I'm absolutely loving it, just sometimes get a little homesick!

Cheers Mates!!

23 March 2014

Rainforest, Great Barrier Reef, Sharks & SkyDiving

It is impossible to look happy with a regulator in your mouth
Last week was Spring Break! Or I guess technically it would be considered fall break here, technicalities. Maggie, Jackie, Abby & I flew up to Cairns on Monday for an awesome week off from classes and interning. Unfortunately for us, the weather wasn't all that great, but we still did and saw a ton of cool things. We arrived around 3 and quickly got ourselves settled in in our hotel and decided to go explore the small city. First we went grocery shopping so that we'd have food to eat all week and then we ended up eating out at Grilled, a fantastic burger place in Australia, it almost feels like home.

Tuesday we planned to head up to the beach on the coast but Mother Nature didn't seem to be happy with us because as soon as we started walking to the bus stop it started raining. So rather than spend our day at the beach we explored Cairns, which was much smaller than we had expected. We got lunch at the RawPrawn, which had the most delicious seafood lunch special every day, it was a fan favorite. After that we looked around some more and shopped a little bit. Later that night we met up with some other people on our trip staying in the area and got dinner at an Italian restaurant and headed to Gilligan's to have a night out. Gilligan's had a really cool atmosphere and cheap drinks, which is always good. We ended up playing pool before heading home, and it's sad how bad we were, especially me since I have a pool table at home, overall, fun night though.

Wednesday was Rainforest Day! Unfortunately we really got the RAIN part of the Australian Rainforest. Jackie, Maggie & I headed out early to ride a cable car up to a town called Kuranda the midst of the rainforest. The view over the tops of the trees was still pretty good considering it was all fogged up and rainy. On the way, we stopped to walk through the trees and view all the peaks and waterfalls throughout it. In Kuranda we explored all the shops and went through an animal park where we held KOALAS!! It was so cute and soft and cuddly, I wish I could have kept her. We got lunch and looked through lots of jewelry shops and more local shops and got really good smoothies before riding the train back through the rainforest on the way down. It was scenic and beautiful and wet, but still a great experience.

Thursday was my favorite day of the entire time I've been here... WE DIVED THE GREAT BARRIER REEF. Yep The Great Barrier Reef that is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, that one! The weather was even on our side, it was a beautiful sunshiney day, Sydne was happy. We got on the boat and headed out to three locations for different views of the reef. Most passengers got seasick on the way, it was really rough on the water. When we got to our first location we prepped and headed into the water with our flippers, goggles and oxygen tanks. I kind of wish I'd gotten certified before coming because I really struggled learning how to do the safety maneuvers. Eventually we started moving down and started to see everything. It was amazing seeing all the marine life under the surface and the complexity of the reef and everything it supported. Stephen may have passed out from excitement had he been there!

At the next site we got to snorkel and we found Nigel! This huge fish that seems to like following the boat throughout its locations. We saw clown fish and an array of other beautiful fish and marine life throughout this reef too. There was a sea turtle but unfortunately we missed him! At the 3rd site we opted to dive again, and I'm so glad that we did because this site had even more than the first one! We brought our underwater camera down and had tons of fun taking pictures and seeing the reef even deeper than before. Unfortunately, we didn't see any sharks, but it was still the best thing I've ever done. Though, diving definitely isn't my preferred method of breathing!

Friday was our last full day there and the weather wasn't on our side again. We got lunch at our favorite place (the RawPrawn) and hung out by the lagoon all day. It ended up clearing up some in the afternoon, making for a good day by the pool, and some tanning. We finally used our groceries on Friday night, before packing to get ready to leave in the morning. We flew back to Sydney midday on Saturday, after a great break seeing some incredible parts of Australia.

Loving my new hat

Saturday night those of us who were home from spring break went out to a bar called Chinese laundry. It ended up being a lot of fun, even though the downstairs looked like the basement of a busy frat. Sunday was a good day to just relax and get ready to rejoin my version of the Australia Real World.

The week passed by relatively normally, with class all day Monday and interning Tuesday. At my internship we ended up having to make a housecall to some Chinese women who needed some help and saw the most beautiful home I have ever seen. I can't imagine how much it must cost to live there. Fixing them up was a bit difficult because there was a huge language barrier with them speaking majority Cantonese and us English. Luckily, one of my coworkers had worked at Tufts and so had learned some of the language from China Town being right near by. It was definitely a learning experience on how to communicate and effectively treat someone who speaks so little of the language I know.

Wednesday, Jackie D and I went Shark Diving in Manly!! We dove with Grey Nurse Sharks who look absolutely terrifying but are actually really docile and considered the "labrador of the sea." They would swim right up to or over us and just hangout while we swam around. There were also some huge rays and some sea turtles! Although I would have loved to have explored their habitat a little more, diving with sharks was such a cool experience.

The rest of the week was normal with a long day interning on Friday. Maggie convinced me to head out Friday night even though I get home at 9:30 but it turned out to be a fun night in King's Cross regardless.

Steering the parachute!

On Saturday, Jackie, Claire & I went SKYDIVING. Jackie had already done it back home so she prepped us. On our way there we thought we weren't going to make it in time because a train on the tracks in front of us had broken down, just our luck. Luckily, it only caused a little delay and we made it in plenty of time to jump out of a plane. I was tandem with a man named "Chopper" and he was a lot of fun and didn't even give me time to get scared. Once we got in the tiny little plane, he hooked us up and told me how to get out. I was last in the plane which gave me the seat right next to the door and the lucky draw to jump first! Before I even knew what was happening I was pulling my goggles over my eyes and hanging my feet over the edge to scoot out of a plane 14,000ft in the air! The free fall was awesome and went by so fast. From the sky we could see coastline and the ocean, the forests, all the surrounding towns and even the opera house! Just kidding, but you really could see the city of Sydney in the distance! Once the parachute deployed, we did some spins and I even got to steer us around for a while before gracefully landing on the field below. We even landed on our feet instead of our butt! NowI feel like I've got the bug and I'm dying to go again sometime soon.

You can see everything up here!

Today my roommate, Annmarie, and I did the walk from Coogee to Bondi. It was a scenic 7km walk (don't ask me miles, I have no idea the conversion) through the coast of the beach suburbs that took us probably about 2 hours. We saw all these small little beaches that we'd never have known about otherwise and some spectacular views of the ocean and the beaches, and even a rugby game! We laid out on the beach at Bondi for the remainder of the afternoon and I didn't even get burned (cool sunglass emoji would go here if I could). I'm going to miss the beaches here in Australia so much, they are so much better than American beaches.

Wow, I'm exhausted from just retelling all of this now! The past two weeks have been such an incredible time in this country; I'm going to be so sad to leave in a month. I can't believe my time here is going to be coming to a close soon, but my bank account will thank me for going home and working!

I love the graffiti at Bondi!

Cheers Mates!!

09 March 2014

Lion King, Dugongs, Wax & Margaritas!

This past Thursday I did one of my favorite things since I've arrived- saw the Lion King at Capitol Theatre! (I also interned but who cares about that...) A little background... the Lion King was my childhood obsession, I could watch that movie all day every day and I'd still want more. I've heard amazing things about the Lion King show and I've never seen any so I was really excited for this and it absolutely met my expectations. The acting was great and the music and costumes were phenomenal! The Zazoo character and Simon were fantastic, I couldn't stop laughing. I wish I could have taken pictures, but they weren't allowed. Seeing this show will definitely be one of the things I remember most about being here.

Friday morning came way too soon after the late night from the show and I interned all day until I got home at almost 10 pm. Of course I forgot my kindle at work and need it for my vacation this week so instead of sleeping in Saturday morning I was up at 6am so I could make the 2 hour trek to Hornsby to pick it up and back in time to head to the Aquarium with Jackie and Jackie at 10:30.

Despite the early start to my day, Saturday was absolutely fantastic. Jackie, Jackie and I went to the Sydney Aquarium at Darling Harbor and walked through it, and I found one of my new favorite animals! It's called a Dugong and it's really similar to a manatee and so cute. The aquarium has those tunnels that you can walk through and see the fish all around you and the dugong was just hanging out so carelessly, I loved him. We also saw sharks, penguins(!!!) and lots of other fish native to the area.

After that we went to Margaritaville, and had some fantastic margaritas and nachos and quesadillas (don't judge). It was pretty pricey, but really delicious and we hardly ever go out to eat here so it felt worth it to me. With our aquarium passes we also got passed to a bunch of other places in Sydney so we headed to Madame Tussauds Wax House, which was way cooler than I thought it was going to be. It was really eery at first because the figures looked so real! Eventually we got used to it and explored the place seeing lots of cool figures like Obama, Leonardo Dicaprio and Elvis. We relaxed for a bit afterwards before coming back to the harbor to see some fireworks and hang out. Such a good day:)

Tomorrow I'm flying up to Cairns to go to the Great Barrier Reef and Rainforest! I couldn't be more excited. Hope everyone at home had a great time at Blarney Blowout!!

 Happy Spring Break & Cheers Mates!!

04 March 2014

More Aussie & American Differences

I've been meaning to write a follow up post on differences I've noticed from the US to Australia but I've just been putting it off because life got busy! I love doing all the things I'm doing, but recapping it just never seems to come out how I want it to. Anyways here's my list #2 of differences between the US and OZ!

#1 Trucks.

If you're anything like me and you love to listen to good 'ol country music you know how we American love our pick-up trucks. Case in point: "Something 'Bout a Truck," "Truck Yeah,""We Rode in Trucks" just to name a few. When you listen to these songs you think of a giant truck covered in dirt roaming the country. I for one cannot wait until I'm not in mounds of debt so my first car purchase can be a big pick-up truck. Let me tell you, that is not what you find here...


On the left is an all-american truck... on the right is... a sedan with a truck bed? I think it's bizarre an can't find any reason why you'd want that thing on the right. I'll stick with my American Trucks.

#2 The Metric System and the letter Z

I know this is America vs. the rest of the world but I still haven't gotten the hang of metric yet. When you tell me it's 30 degrees out I think of snow and New England Winter not a hot summers day. Doesn't 80 degrees just sound so much better and warmer? Yeah I thought so too. Not only Celsius versus Fahrenheit but I have no idea how they measure gas (which is petrol here actually...). I see signs that look like they say one hundred something dollars for whatever they are measuring in, thank goodness I don't drive here. The grocery store is another huge issue, when I try to buy deli meet I never know how much to get, 1 kilogram 17 kilograms? What's a girl to do? Ive figured it's about a 2 pound conversion so 1 kg is about 2 pounds so I haven't made the mistake of buying way too much lunch meat and it going bad again thankfully. I think I must have been the only person in the world to not know that everywhere but the US pronounces "Z" "Zed"... How does that in anyway make sense!? You can't spell out any other letters sound... try to spell H to me... you can't. So why make Z sound like a word?? We may be wrong with our weird measurements but I think America is right on this one and everyone should follow us with how to say "Z" and I'm not letting that one go.

Good 'ol America

#3 PDA

Oh PDA, everyones favorite topic. Maybe this is because I haven't been to Europe because I've heard it's pretty bad there, but the PDA here.... OH LORD. The amount of people who I've seen getting real frisky in train stations or on the street is incredible. I feel like I'm the only one who finds it bizarre and totally inappropriate, as well. I dont wanna see your tongue out and you getting your feel on, on this 10 minute train ride. Can you keep it down for just a few more stops?

Too much- please get a room!!

#4 Dogs, Dogs everywhere!

It's my own little paradise here in Sydney, there are dogs everywhere you go. They're walking down every single street and tied outside of all the shops. Most of them are small little dogs and they are almost all incredibly well-trained! It would put my poor Coop to shame, that big lug. It's nice to see that most dogs here aren't stuck sitting in the house all day and are allowed in most public places even if they have to be tied outside. When they are waiting around they all sit nicely or lie down, no crazy barking and no excessive pulling, I'm amazed. I should have brought Cooper here to learn some manners that crazy pup.

No worries, you're still my favorite Coop!

#5 Slang

I've mentioned this before but Australian English is vastly different than American English. Not only the accent (swoon), but also the choice and usage of words. I hear: "keen," "heaps," "mate," "cheers" and "as well" so much more than I've ever heard it in my whole life back in the US. I'm trying to pick it up and I definitely say as well way more than I used to but I just dont wanna feel like a phony, we'll see, I've still got a month and a half! Aside from word choice some words mean different things. If you say fanny here you are not talking about your backside, you're talking about a different inappropriate body part- vagina. If you say something about tooting your horn... whoops you're talking about an erection. And don't you dare say you root for the Red Sox! Root means sex. You better watch your mouth here!

#6 Voting

You know how very few Americans really know a lot about politics, here voting is compulsory so you better take an interest so you don't vote for someone you don't support. Not only is voting compulsory but it's heavily finable if you don't participate. Do I know a lot about Australian politics now you ask? Of course not.

So many memes/gifs
#7 Celebrity/Stardom

With the Oscars just taking place, there's been a lot of talk and focus on celebrities. I guess I've always taken for granted that most of the celebrity world is based in the US and all of the biggest award shows are ours. When I saw a re-run of the Oscars on Monday night (because it was on at like 8am OZ time) they called it "Australia's Biggest Night!" Because 3 Aussie's won Oscars. It was crazy to hear about the award show from another country's perspective. All of the emphasis was on their three winners rather than the show as an entirety because of how much that mean to their country. I know celebrity's come from world-wide but their basis and the film industry is the biggest in the US so I've never noticed other countries biases.

That's all I've got for now! Hope I've helped you learn so more about my Aussie life here and differences between countries who I've always thought were so incredibly similar!

Cheers Mates!

PS: Still bitter for Leo about him STILL not winning an Oscar.