Literally a room full of balloons (and the best friends ever) (#14)

So I decided to save myself some trouble and leave my room keys with my lovely roomy Gene while I went on a surf trip for the weekend. Those babies cost $300 to replace and I wasn't trying to spend $300 on keys (sorry Julie). ANYWAYS it ended up being the best/worst decision I had made thus far into Australia. 

I came home Sunday night, sunburnt, board rashed up (if you ever go surfing for the love of God wear a wetsuit, you look as lame as you feel but rug burns up and down your thighs and stomach are NOT fun. Oh and the bus driver left my bag with my passport in it in Byron Bay, when a few girls got off the bus to stay the night, about 4 hours away. THANK GOD Haley and Bille knew the bag was mine or I would have been in a world of trouble. Also thank heavens for my gal Julie for gooning me up on the ride home so that I would stop crying because the bus driver wouldn't turn around, and Olivia for letting me sit on her lap and cry.

SO we got back to school and my lovely little Shannon met me outside the gate (since I didnt have to wait for a bag, and didn't have keys) and the first thing she said was "Gene's over at Adams, I'll call him now" and I thought that was strange because why would Gene care if I was home but I didn't say anything and was just so happy to see my roomies. I had un-natural separation anxiety every time I left to travel, because they didn't come with me.

Shannon opens my door and turns on the light and there is Gene sitting on my bed, and Adam on my floor, screaming at me? I think I don't know I was laughing, and the night is a little fuzzy. I know that Adam had texted me while I was on the bus back, asking when we'd be home, which I thought was a nice gesture, but little did I know his intentions. (FYI anytime Adam asks when you'll be home, its because he's planning something and doesn't want to get caught.) 

ANYWAYS, it was the funnest thing to come home to after a rough weekend, but I had to pop and clean up all the balloons by the next day because they were coming to spray for pests. Rachel, Shannon, Adam, Arielle and Gene spent 3 hours blowing up 300 balloons for me, so let me tell you that clean up must have sounded like a gun show to the people downstairs. I kept a few balloons around and Oh most of my room was covered in decorative post-its. Thanks Guys!

Study Abroad Tips:

-Don't leave your keys with your roommate. Just Kidding, but only if you trust them.
-Double check before you go on trip through a travel agent, ask, ask ask! This will come in a later post when I write about the surf trip, but there is ALOT I had wish I would've known, that would've definitely turned me off from going.

A sweet little space of my own (#13)

My Bed!

I have to say I was extremely glad to have a bed and bathroom of my own after flying for 14 hours. I walked into my apartment and met my first roommate who was blasting his swedish reggae music in the kitchen. It was definitely a whirrrrrl wind, my head was in a cloud.

I was told I couldn't get my keys for a bit because there were so many people moving in it would just be better to wait a second. Within a few minutes I met my lovely roomy Shannon who was on crutches, she was a riot. Very friendly and welcoming but I asked her about our other roommates she said "In that one there's a boy called Stevie and over there is a boy called Gene" It was strange to hear her say that since we would say "named."

At one point I decided I needed a shower, but I cant even tell you I had NO idea what to do with myself. It was one of those moments where you walk around with a purpose and you can't remember what it is. I finally got to shower and with a shower the size of a tall tuna can, I was still happy to be there!

I heard keys jingle and decided to introduce myself to my final roommate. I walked toward the door and it wasn't long before we made eye contact, since our rooms where 5 feet from each other. I said hello and started asking him questions because little did he know we were going to be BEST FRIENDS whether he liked it or not because we were going to be living together for the next 5 months. Little did I know, I would get way more than I bargained for ;)

Rachel and Arielle came over to help me make my bed and the group of us decided to start exploring the buses and what was around us. Arielle had met one of her roomates (thumbs up) and Rachel didnt meet either of hers for a few days and she was a little nervous before we even got there. We were very excited to drive past the beach on the way to the plaza (at least I was) because I don't have an ocean close to me! We met up with a 12 year old American/Australian named Sam and he spent the day showing us around, so we all picked up stuff from Target that we needed.

We were all trying to desperately stay awake to avoid jet lag. Well we succeeded but I was up at 5am wide awake the next day anyway with Pink Eye! WTH only me. Luckily my wonderful roomy Shan drove me to the "chemist" (pharmacy) on a sunday and I was able to get over the counter eye drops. The first night my little Tennessee Honey slept over so she didnt have to sleep in an empty apartment. I was really happy to have her there!

This view

and check out this view from my apartment balcony. I was so lucky, to have called this my home for five months! I miss it so much!

Study Abroad Tips:

-I brought all my stuff from home like my bedding and my toiletries and I am so glad I did. It was expensive there and it made it feel more homey. They had most of the brands that I used but some of my friends had trouble finding the stuff they liked. (i.e. facewash, lady products, ect...)
-My sweet little wall decal and bedding was all from Target in America, and my pillows were courtesy of Shannons Aunt, Target Australia, Woolworths Australia and Qantas, yes everyone made fun of me for stealing the little airplane pillow but I couldnt resist! It matched my bedding perfectly!!

I thought Vegemite was chocolate but it's definitely not.... (#12)

We have all heard of Vegemite. Some of us have learned about it from Mary-Kate and Ashley movies and some of us have grown up eating it. Either way it is an Popular Australian "goop" is really all I can come up with. It looks like it would be thick chocolate, but my friend, do not mistake it for chocolate.

They eat it plain,
They eat it on toast,
They eat it on toast with butter.
They put it in stew,
They eat it on toast and butter with tea,

I have not tried any of these but putting it in stew makes the most sense to me because it is, brace yourselves, 8% sodium. 8%!

As you can see, Rachel and myself enjoyed our first, and last, encounter with it. (Thanks to Julie and Tom, thanks Tom!)

Study Abroad Tips:

-Try the food that is popular in the culture where you are! Im so glad that i had the opportunity to try Vegemite, and Kangaroo Burgers! It sounds awful because we think of cute adorable, fluffy jumpys, but they are much like our deer in New York. Go outside the box and try something! 

"O" Week aka orientation week, aka week zero, aka get to know your new mates, aka theme party week (#11)



I can't believe I don't have more pictures from O-week but I don't. What you're missing is Toga Night, which is a college tradition in which we all tried to wrap ourselves in bed sheets and try to dance in them. It is really quite comical and involves safety pins for double the added humor.

We were supposed to have a welcome BBQ, traditional Australian on the "Barbi," but unfortunately it was rained out, like most of our first few months in Aus, so sad.

Continuing on with O-week we had a Fluro theme night and a Stoplight party, this was so much fun because it was my first taste of living at school, amongst my peers and lets say I think one semester was plenty for me, I could just not keep up, must be my old age.

Study Abroad Tips:

-Def set aside some extra cash for few theme purchases you might need to make if you're participating in the first weeks theme parties, or parties throughout the semester. You definitely get more creative and  thrifty throughout the semester as you get to know people, and can swap things. I ended up purchasing a skirt for stoplight, I used my own bed sheet for toga night, which doubled as a beach blanket, because I never use my top bed sheet, a top for fluro night and bunny ears for easter theme!

Sharing my bed with a Gecko (#10)

Well this was new....certainly a fan of lizards but not in my bed. But how could you say no to this little guy! They were all over our apartment and the walls of the buildings and it was just my favorite part! My room mate even found eggs in his drawer. They were so squirmy and loud (surprisingly they squeal and I never knew what that one noise was.)

They also absolutely lose their tails when they are scared, one was lost on our kitchen floor and my friend Julie found one on her bathroom floor, still squirming NO thanks!