Friday, July 31, 2009

Classes Here Are Sweet

So I kept meaning to update sooner then this but I guess I just never got around to it. Well I officially only have classes on Monday and Tuesday, which means a 5 day weekend for me! :D Which is funny because it’s completely opposite of what classes are supposed to be like, but hey I’m not complaining. I do have an online class though so that will be taking up more time outside of the classroom anyways. I’m really not worried about my work load this semester though because all of my classes should be counting towards my degree or minor in some way at Ohio State so I’m happy to be taking them. And they don’t seem ridiculously hard or anything.


            My planetary science teacher didn’t show up for class it seems because he thought it was on a different night than it actually was. They originally moved the lecture time but thank goodness they changed it back!


            I have gotten a lot closer with my flatmates in the past couple of days. My flatmate Laura is always around. I guess someone who works here told her that it wasn’t safe for Asian girls to go outside after dark so she never leaves the flat past about 5 or so unless she is with someone else. She is always coming up and asking me questions and talking to me every time I see her. I enjoy hanging out with her because she teaches me so much.


Sadly, I found out that her parents aren’t that close to her at all and she completely enjoys being away from them. She told me she was an only child and that her parents were very strict with her. I asked her if she misses home at all and her response was, “oh no! I don’t miss home at all. My parents were very strict with me and so I like it here because they aren’t here and I can do what I want.” Lol I guess she was an only child and she was never allowed to date, hang out with her friends much (which she didn’t have many of) or do anything fun besides study really. She said her parents and her don’t get along very well and she rarely even ever joked around with them. It really surprised me and made me feel bad for her simultaneously. I mean she was like, “you know how you and your mom are supposed to be close and tell her your secrets? I wasn’t close with my mother and I couldn’t tell her many of my secrets.” :( So sad! But to say the least, she loves it here and that’s good!


Luke on the other hand has taught me a lot about Australia. Like how before I was telling you about how students are less motivated here. Well I asked Luke about it and he told me why. He says that because an employee doesn’t look at your GPA when hiring. They only thing they really look at is if you have a degree and maybe to check and see that you have taken some important classes. Other than that they really don’t look at anything else. Then I explained to him how things in America aren’t really that simple and how we are required to do really good a lot and he was like “ya it’s really a lot simplier here.” GREAT! Lol


So I haven’t been exploring much lately because of classes and everything but hopefully that will change this weekend. Actually I forgot. I went to the Tav Wednesday night because they had a huge party. There really was A TON of people there and they supposedly had one of the best bands around playing live there. Which they were pretty good but I wouldn’t say they were awesome. Then again I didn’t know all of the songs. However, it was a pretty good time because I got to see most of my friends that I have made.


OMG!! I found out too that basically no part of Australia has wireless internet. They just within the last year got satellite internet (not sure what that means) and they are just now or like JUST got mobile internet. Which is were if you have mobile service you also have internet service. It’s something you plug into your computer.  You also have to pay everywhere for your internet. They don’t offer free internet anywhere in Australia. That kinda stinks huh?


The weather here has been pretty nice though. It’s gotten up to about 65 or 70 everyday so I haven’t really had to wear a jacket lately. Just a long sleeve shirt or maybe a sweatshirt when I go outside. After the sun sets is a different story but it makes for a great day! 


That’s all I got for now. I know this post was boring but nothing super exciting has happened lately. I hope everyone is doing well! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Classes Here Are Amazing

So I’ve had a very eventful day today. Classes started yesterday and when I think about it I have only been on summer vacation for about a month and a half but starting classes so soon here hasn’t bothered me. They do scheduling classes very different here. Like at Ohio State we are on quarters and we have the same class AT LEAST twice a week if not everyday. Well here they are not only on semesters but they have two, one week breaks throughout their semester. The classes I have I only have once a week. For example, I’m taking a planetary science class here and it’s only for 2 hours once a week. At Ohio State it would be at least twice a week for about 2 hours probably. It’s really great here to say the least lol The classes also don’t seem as stressful even though yesterday was verry stressful for me.

            For the only class I have twice a week, International Management, I had both classes yesterday. (It’s a lecture and then a smaller group session to talk more in detail.) Well at first it seemed like there was a lot for the class and then they were talking about having weekly turn in assignments and I had no idea what they were talking about. And I couldn’t find the book anywhere and we have to do things in groups, which could be good or bad. Now that I look back on it, it really wasn’t a lot I think I was just really overwhelmed with classes because it finally hit me that classes are starting. 

However, today was MUCH better. I had my Australian Studies class today, which is going to be the best class ever! We get to learn all about Australia, the good and bad and we get to go on excursions!!  They are taking us on 4 class trips and only international students are allowed to take the class so I’m going to meet so many different people. I already have but I will get to meet more! I’m soo excited for this class. I almost wish it was more than just once a week. The only grades for that class are a couple of papers about our excursions and one comparing our culture to Australian culture. So it’s going to be a cake class to say the least :)

Then for my planetary science class the teacher didn’t show so that was nice! And I even made a friend while waiting around. Actually I have made a friend in all of my class so far so I always have someone to talk to in the class. Which will make classes less boring and more interesting. All of my friends so far have been Australian too and I always ask them questions about Australia but they don’t seem to mind.

It’s weird because the students here seem like they are so unmotivated. I mean in my International Management class we did an ice breaker. And of course I was from the furthest away and the only exchange student. But we had to say what we wanted in the class. Well I’m not kidding at least 75% of the students just said they wanted to pass and get credit for the class. An A here is called High Recognition or something like that and of course that’s what I said I wanted :) I was so shocked though that so many said that I literally think my mouth dropped open.

I realized I’m learning so much here that I can’t even begin to put it all in words. Like I have never been comfortable around many Asian people but now I enjoy talking to them! I think they are so interesting. I was helping my roommate today with her English. She called a movie series a movie season, which isn’t completely wrong I guess but I corrected her and talked to her about it some more and I loved it! I think it’s fun to help people do stuff like that. I really wish I spoke another language fluently so I could do that all the time!

When I was walking back from class I saw my friend Ivana sitting out on her balcony with some people and she invited me up. She was talking with 4 Australians who were all very nice. They totally made me feel like I knew them for quit a while and it seemed like they all knew each other pretty well. Well I come to find out later that they didn’t and Ivana just invited them to her flat and they all got to know each other. I don’t even think all of the Australians knew each other. It just made me realize how friendly people here are and how they aren’t so reserved and so willing to make new friends. Really it’s super easy to make friends here and I’m really enjoying it!

Oh! And I might only have classes on Monday’s and Tuesday’s so then I will have a 5 day weekend! Some of my friends don’t think it’s a good idea because they are like, “what are you going to do?”. But honestly, I think it will be great! I don’t know for sure yet though because I can either take a class that I already have credit for on Wednesday mornings or an online creative writing class that I don’t have credit for yet. I will probably end up doing the online class but I don’t know for sure yet.

Oh interesting fact. The word Bastard isn’t really a swear word here. They call each other that and sometimes it can be used in a mean way but not always. My teacher also used the word fuck today and didn’t bat an eye. They cuss here like it’s no one’s business. I’m starting to here a lot of the slang and I like I think it’s so much fun!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lesson Learned: There Are Crazy People Everywhere

Well today I thought I was planning on just hanging out at the flat and cleaning my room. Like vacuuming the floor and doing laundry but none of that got done. Instead, I was asked to go down to the shops at Hay Street downtown and of course I couldn’t say no! So to say the least my room is still dirty and my laundry is still not clean J but I really enjoyed downtown. It was a little different than what I expected.

            I have come to understand why most countries think Americans are just stupid or a pain because honestly in another country it’s really easy to make a fool of yourself. I swear people can tell I’m an American even before I open my mouth. But I don’t completely understand how because (even as my Chinese roommate put it!) I look like everyone else here. So I have no idea. Maybe it’s just my mannerisms or the way I dress?

You should see the way some people dress here. I don’t know if it’s just because we were downtown but a lot of people here dress really weird. I mean I see a lot of people in downtowns of other big cities dressed really weird too but I mean some I was like wtf? First, there are gothic people here. I’ve seen plenty. There are people that like custom dress up. I saw a girl in like a pin-up outfit and a guy in a wheelchair riding around with multicolored clothing on and a bright blue wig. I usually don’t see costumes downtown. But I shouldn’t say everyone dresses weird because there were definitely people dressed normal. Those people just stick out in my head. Let’s just say Australia has it’s share of crazy people too haha. When we were taking the train to downtown there was a lady who was VERY interesting. She started talking to herself and she had this red dot in the middle of her forehead, like the Indian people have a jewel, and it was the same color as her lipstick. Yea interesting people.

Here their Gyro’s are called Kebob’s. I had no idea before people started telling me about them. I got one today though and I don’t know if it’s just that these ones weren’t that good but you can’t beat the ones in Greece. They had the best gyro’s anywhere. I guess they are called Kebob’s other places though because my friends knew exactly what they were.

Here a sauce called Sweet Chili Sauce is very popular here. They serve it right along with ketchup and it’s very good. It’s pretty spicy but I like it even better than ketchup. I’m going to be looking for that in America. OMG and they have McDonald’s here and KFC of course like I said before but no Burger King. Instead they have something called Hungry Jack’s which looks exactly like Burger King but just a different name. And there is Subway, which I didn’t expect for some reason. But these places are just as popular here as they are in the US.

Here I have heard people cuss like crazy too. I think it’s not looked down upon as much as it is in America. People just throw the F word around like any other word. It kinda makes me laugh.

Oh and thank god for my friends, without them I would probably still be lost on buses or trains because I would have had such a hard time navigating where I was going in the beginning. The buses here don’t let you know what the next stop is going to be. And they don’t stop if you don’t push the button to request the stop. Sooo you really have to know where you are going and even what stop you need. But like when you get close to a bus stop there aren’t even signs saying which one it is. There is just numbers and they aren’t like huge or anything. And to get the bus to stop and pick you up you have to “hail it” or also known as, waving to stop it. 

Right next to the river downtown they had this cool building that kind of looked like a football. And a ferris wheel. OMG and I saw a dolphin in the river! Not up close or anything it was out in the distance but I didn’t expect a dolphin so close to shore.

Oh and the reason we had to go all the way downtown to shop is because nothing around campus is open on Sundays. Not at all. My friend, Molly, even said that in certain areas nothing is allowed to be open on Sunday’s without like a special reason. Which is crazy because in the States that’s the day you get stuff done! That or you relax. Well here, you are forced to relax and do nothing basically. I was happy to go downtown though because we stopped in a cool souvenir store and I got an Australian Flag that I’m going to hang up in my room J Oh and about the stores closing it’s really funny because I think they are forcing college students to like starve because no only in the grocery store not open Sunday’s, it closes at 5 on Saturday’s. And it’s the only one close to campus. So if you don’t have food by 5 o’clock Saturday you aren’t going to have any until Monday. I mean there are some places to eat open but not many and eating out is expensive. But the last hour the grocery store is open they discount everything so I’m going to start going grocery shopping then ;)

Oh and the funniest thing happen today. My roommate Laura thinks I know all the answers to everything. I mean anytime she has a problem, even though I'm as new as she is, she thinks i will definitely now the answer and asks me EVERYTHING. I don't mind it but even for the smallest things like today she came to my room and asked me how she gets a receipt for purchasing her books online. I was trying to explain to her that after she puts in her information and pays for it one should come up on the screen and she can just print it out. Well I don't think she understood because she just stood there and stared at me like "No how do I put it so this girl can understand what i want" so I don't think that's the answer she was looking for. So I told her to let me look at it and I get to her computer and she hasn't even put any of her information in at all. It was asking for all of her information and credit card number and everything still. So I told her to type it all in and that the next page she will just need to print out and I still don't think she understood. She didn't have a printer yet so I told her to just leave it up on the screen and she could print it out later after she gets her printer later in the day. I have no idea if she eventually got her receipt. But i mean she didn't even enter her information so I don't understand how she thinks she should have a receipt? And the funny thing about this story? She's an accounting major. Yup. Wonderful.  

Classes start tomorrow. We will see how that goes. I haven’t heard anything from my teachers yet about anything class related but my friend Sara has. They have even changed two of her class times to completely different times and days lol. Which is weird because I’m sure some students got screwed over on that one. Wish me luck with classes! 

Friday, July 24, 2009

Chocolate and Wine..yummy!

Yesterday we went on a wine tasting tour, which included going to a chocolate factory. I never thought I liked wine but that could be because I only tried red wine. Well I still don't like red wine but white wine can actually be good! Well at least really expensive white wine can be. I don’t know if I can promise the same opinion for cheap wine haha. We went to three different places and one place had a case for about $1200! And I learned that even expensive red wine is gross. Except I tried a light red wine.. it was called Rose and I liked that! 

They were EVERYWHERE!!

Sara and I with all the barrels

Not only did I learn that I like white wine, I found out that I do not like bitter beer. Last night we went to The Tav on campus because they were having a big party for all the international students and just like a back to school party. Well I saw they had a beer called Little Creatures on tap and I thought it looked interesting so I thought I would try it. Bad idea. The beer was awful and not cheap. My friend Patrick liked it though and he said it tastes kind of like Heineken. So I guess I don’t like Heineken either.



Had to get a picture with all of them!

 On the wine tour Sara and I meet two guys from California who were really nice. It’s really amazing how many Americans I am meeting here. I feel like about 50% of the people I’m meeting are American. The guys said that last semester there was like a total of 4 Americans on campus and this semester there are so many!

         Overall though the wine tasting was a good experience and the chocolate factory, common how could that not be good? I’ve never seen chocolate made before and they were making chocolate covered apricots, which I didn’t think sounded good but they let us sample them and they are! They let us sample other chocolates and fudge too which was really good. I know I could try things like wine and chocolate covered apricots in America, but I love going to foreign countries because it’s so much fun to try new things that you wouldn’t normally eat. I think it’s just so much fun! Supposably this area (near Margaret River) is known for having the best wine in Western Australia. So I was happy to try that.



Anyways I’ve learned so much about China that I never thought I would know. It’s fun having a Chinese roommate. I mean she can talk for hours straight I’m pretty sure but she’s really sweet and very informative. Like today I found out not only do they have KFC there but it’s really popular! She said mostly students our age eat it of course but I guess it’s not cheap like it is in the States. She said they could go to a restaurant and eat for about 10 or 15 of their money but it KFC would be about 30! That completely shocked me! Isn’t that crazy? I also found out that at their universities they have community showers. No individual ones. Also the dialects and accents are so different throughout China that individuals from Northern and Southern China cannot understand each other at all. They have to speak the common Mandarin dialect to be able to communicate. That surprised me too because I figured they would be able to understand each other a little but nope not at all. I’m learning so much about other cultures here it’s fascinating!

         Omg and today we went to a footie game played by like semi professional team and there were some pretty hardcore fans. You know how there are those fans that are either ridiculously drunk or just love to yell at the field? Well there were a couple of those there and it was so funny to hear them yell in their accents. One guy was even unhappy with a call and started yelling “You’re a Greek! Your nothing but a Greek!” but not in a good way. I have no idea what he meant by that but it made me sad because obviously he isn’t giving Greeks a good name :( I know it’s heartbreaking.

         Even though it took us forever to get there and we started to go towards the wrong side of town first, we finally made it to the game and it was a good time. They call Footie football here. But it’s nothing like football. First of all Footie players are in WAYY better shape then some football players. They are all muscular and very cute J haha no really though they run an average of about 12.5 miles a game and they don’t wear any padding at all! It’s a crazy sport and I guess if you play here and are really good you are like a god. It’s huge here. But we did get lost on the way there and we had about 3 people helping us on the bus we were on, including the bus driver and he was radioing other people. It was actually really funny. 

Well that's all that I can think of right now. I'm sorry these are so long. Maybe I should post more posts so they aren't so long. There is just so much I always want to say though!

Monday, July 20, 2009

I learned so much today

Well today was the first day of orientation for the student exchange and some study abroad students. I didn't know who to expect but it was very interesting. When I walked into the room I could just tell there were students from everywhere. Besides being able to tell where the Asian looking students were from, I really couldn't pin-point out where each individual student would be from. I thought I would have an idea and then it would be different than what I expected. It made me almost happy that I couldn't tell because to me it just made it seem like we could all get along better that way.

It's really funny because I have people coming up to me saying things like "your American aren't you?" and I always reply yes and ask them how they can tell. I had an Australian tell me it was easy because of my accent. I have never been told I have an accent before and it took me completely by surprise! I mean I have been told I have a little accent like how I talk is different than how Michigan people talk but this was a different feeling. I almost felt a little hurt like I didn't belong and I completely understand how foreigners feel when they come to our country. Be very careful when you tell people they have an accent. It really is hurtful a little.

I had some people from England and Sweden come up to me today and be like "your from America". The American accent must be really easy to recognize because as soon as i start talking most people now where I am from. Sadly, I am not gifted with the talent of voice recognition. I always have to ask people where they are from because most of the time i don't recognize the accent :( Hopefully my skills will improve though.

After orientation they took us to the tavern on campus. They have two (i think) taverns here on campus where they sell food and alcohol and everyone here, including the staff, love them. At least the one we went to today is very popular and I hear about it all the time. The drinking age here is 18 and honestly I'm glad. Because they don't really hide alcohol here since most college students are of age. And since they just make alcohol a social part of everyday life it doesn't seem like people are really into getting completely wasted all the time. I think it will be nice. Hopefully that doesn't change but we will see.

The weather here has been really crappy lately because it's been doing nothing but rain mostly but it's ok. It's making me clean my room haha

A couple of hours ago my to friends, Sara and Mollie, came over to watch a movie and after the movie my Japanese roommate introduced himself to them. He's really nice and a normal guy. But you know how those awkward silences come up when people don't really now each other well and you feel like you should say something but you don't know what to say, so you just don't say anything. And then everyone just kind of stands there in silence for a minute before someone can think of something to say? Well that happened a lot when he was talking to us lol. and it was fine but I think it was because he just couldn't tell when the conversation was basically over. Like a normal person can tell when the conversation is over and they will leave. He totally had no idea I guess. I mean I have only met my roommate about 2 times but I thought he was acting weird. Later I come to find out that he was nervous to talk to the three of us. He told me that he has never talked to three girls at once before with just himself. He said he was so nervous his knees felt shaky. That about broke my heart <3 

Omg and get this. He came into the kitchen to make food because he was hungry from studying. I was surprised because classes hadn't started yet and I didn't know he was taking summer classes. So I asked him if he was taking summer classes and he said no and that he was just preparing for the coming semester!! what?! I'm surprised my mouth didn't fall open. I don't even know what books I need, let alone have bought them. I knew Asian cultures were different and i have heard that that is common but it still completely shocked me. 

On food labels here they don't give you things in calories. It's in kJ or kilojoules. And I had no idea how much that was so I learned that 1 calorie = 4.128 (or something close) kJ. They also call it Energy and not Calories.

I would also just like to say for the record that when I went to cross the street today I automatically looked to the right side of the road first and not the left :) Yay! I'm conforming lol

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My New Home!

Hello Everyone! 

I've never done a blog before so I can't promise I will be good at it and update it but I will try my best :)

]So far I love Australia and I can't promise I will be coming back to the States. Seriously. So much has happened already I really don't know where to start. Well lets just start by saying that traveling here was the longest two days of my life but completely worth it. On my longest flight here I got upgraded to premium economy because of overbooking so that was really good. The seat was a lot bigger and I had my own arm rests which doesn't sound important but really it sucks sharing one. It was Qantas airlines and I know they are one of the more expensive airlines, which I found out later, but they are sweet because everyone gets their own little tv and you can watch all the movies and tv shows and play all the games you want. It was really nice. 

On the long flight (the one from LA to Sydney) I sat next to a girl a couple years older than me and she was moving to Australia for about 5 years because of her job. She had been there before though and was telling me all about it so she made me feel a lot better. I wasn't ever really nervous until I got on the plane to Perth. Then it hit me that I really will be in Australia and my adventure would really be happening!

Luckily though when I landed everything was ok. (Except the landing on the airplane was sketchy because it was really windy. At one point it seriously felt like we were going to crash so that scared me pretty bad). But there was a student at baggage claim that I was supposed to meet and he helped me feel a lot better about being there. He was really nice and helped me with my luggage. He told me a little more about Curtin and then I got a taxi to my housing. 
The taxi drivers here aren't scary like the ones in America. I tried getting in the backseat but the door was locked and then the guy was told me to sit in the front seat so I did. And it wasn't weird. The taxi driver was from Croatia and talked to me the whole time. It was fun to sit in the front seat and drive on the opposite side. After a while I realized there were palm trees here which really surprised me. I just didn't expect them. 

When he dropped me off he helped me with my luggage and left it outside of the office and told me that it would be fine there and no one would take it. I didn't really believe him at first that my bags would be ok so I started to take them inside with me and as soon as I opened the door a lady told me to come in but leave my luggage outside. I didn't even get the door opened before she said it! But I was like wow ok these people must really trust each other. Luckily my luggage was ok and the lady helped me to my flat. Everyone in the office was really nice. 

Actually honestly everyone I have met up to today has been nice except for a couple of people. But everyone here always says hi to you and smiles. They don't pass by you pretending that you don't exist. I like it!

In my flat 6 of us share a kitchen and a common area. I have 3 guy flatmates from Australia, China and Japan. I also have two girl flatmates from China. So learning and interacting with cultures completely different from mine (the Asian cultures) is going to be fun and interesting. I like all of my flatmates though. The first day I got here my Japanese flatmate was really nice and talked to me forever. We all get along so it's good :) 

This is a picture of our board in our kitchen. I'm pretty proud of it!

Well at my housing orientation I met another America girl who doesn't know anyone and we've became instant friends. We have hung out everyday and made the transition A LOT easier. Her names Sara and we also met Mollie that night too who is another America. Sara goes to Purdue University and Mollie goes to George Washington University in D.C. The three of us will probably be hanging out a lot. There is also a group of students here from Kalamazoo College in Michigan. They all seem pretty cool too. I know I'm talking about all Americans but I have met people from all over the world. I have met people from Australia, China, Japan, Germany, India, Croatia and Canada. I want to meet more Australians and a couple days ago I met a group of them who told me they love Americans and want to start hanging out with some more. So that made me happy :) haha

Everything here is so much more expensive it's ridiculous. The exchange rate is better in the US's favor but it doesn't matter because things cost so much more here. For example a tiny thing of strawberries is $5. I seriously think there was about 10 strawberries in there. A pair of shoes that is about $120 maybe $140 in the States is $190 here. RIDICULOUS! It's kind of depressing but oh well. 

Well I will stop here because this is pretty long as it is and I don't want to bore anyone. Sorry about the length but I had to fit 4 days in one post! 

I miss everyone and I hope everyone is doing great!