This Facebook page is hilarious and this post sums up my life, along with heaps of other college students out there (Yeah, I'm talking about you!). Because let's be real, it's hard enough paying attention and learning in your own country, let alone when you study abroad! Geez, how am I supposed to focus on derivative securities and financial institutions during the semester when I'm busy learning how to communicate through the Australian language barrier and enjoying all that Melbourne has to offer?!?!?
Anyway, the last day of class was October 24th. SWOT Vac was last week. The purpose of SWOT Vac is to use the week to study or in other cases, to learn all the material that should've been learned during the semester. Lucky me, I came down with tonsillitis (I've never EVER had any issue with my tonsils or throat, so of course this would happen in Australia) the day after class ended and spent 5 days in Ballarat on antibiotics and recovering. I felt like death. Zac's family was great and staying there instead of the small rooms at RMIT Village definitely helped me get better sooner. His mom is a nurse and instead of waiting in Melbourne to see a doctor on Monday, she was able to get me in to see a doctor that Saturday so I didn't have to wait to start antibiotics. While I was sick, Zac and I watched quite a few movies. I finally watched the Bourne trilogy and we watched Out of Africa. I've been meaning to see that ever since I got back from Kenya. It was such a sad movie, but the scenery was beautiful and brought me back to Kenya. I also got Zac to watch P.S. I Love You with me. Gerard Butler, mmmmmmm!!! He was dreading watching it, but since there was music by Flogging Molly and the Pogues, the movie was redeemed.
I took this picture before we left Ballarat. It's the train station! It was such a pretty building, so I had to take a picture - even though we had about 4 minutes until our train was due to leave and we still had to get tickets. We made it on the train just in time though!
We got back to Melbourne on Wednesday and I was finally feeling healthy again. So we went to Turf for their $0.50 hot wing night! I've never really been a fan of wings, but the wings are soooo good, especially the hot ones! Probably not the best thing I should've eaten after barely getting over tonsillitis, but no regrets!!
And to further my procrastination of studying/learning, we spent some time Friday in the park lounging out in the sun! Spring in Melbourne is so insane - 60 degrees one day then 80 degrees the next. So I have to enjoy the sun while it's out!
Then on Friday night, I went for a much needed run! My throat started hurting in early October, so I hadn't gone for a run since then. I honestly love Royal Park and I got to watch the sunset while I ran!
That's how I spent my SWOT Vac. Honestly, I would prefer to not have the week to prepare and have exams end a week early, but I guess I'm just used to having a day for "reading" at NYU and then having exams start. I feel like this is just way too much time, and I don't need that much! My exams are November 11th, November 14th and November 19th. If I started studying during SWOT Vac, I'd surely just forget everything!! Usually I just need a couple of days to study for each exam! Cramming for the win!
Last month I went home with Zac for a weekend to Ballarat. It was about an hour and a half by train from Melbourne and was a nice getaway from the city for the weekend. His family was lovely and it was nice to have a home-cooked meal for a change, too. I think it's definitely worth visiting the smaller, lesser known cities in the country you're studying in because there is still a lot to take away from those cities, too, in addition to the well-known cities.
The Ballarat Gold Rush!
Ballarat played a big part in the Victorian Gold Rush back in the 1850's and Ballarat has a well-known outside museum called Sovereign Hill which recreates the Gold Rush era. It's a big tourist attraction for the city.
While I didn't have the chance to go there, the highlight of the weekend was definitely going to the Ballarat Wildlife Park. I was able to pet multiple kangaroos, an emu, a koala and a snake. I was able to essentially see all of the Australian wildlife (finally) in one place!
At first, the kangaroos seemed really scary - some were pretty big!! I didn't have food to give them, so once I went near them and they figured out I had no food, they lost interest and laid back down. Some made some really cute faces. There were a few joeys and we came across one kangaroo with a joey in its pouch. It was actually pretty scary looking, because just the tail and one foot was hanging out of the pouch.
When we were looking at the koalas, there was one that had a little baby koala attached to its front. It's the same way monkeys carry their babies - it was so cute!
And of course the emu. I was afraid to touch it at first because their beaks look extremely sharp and I didn't feel like getting pecked! But once Zac pet one, I pet it and it was fine. Apparently emus make a deep sound, almost like drums, when they're walking around. It was pretty cool, but pretty weird, too! It wasn't a sound I expected them to make.
Casually Playing UNO... At the Bar
Of course, I had to experience the Ballarat nightlife. So we went to one of the karaoke bars to meet up with some of Zac's friends on Saturday night. By the end of the night, hard core games of UNO were being played... at the bar. I'm pretty sure I can say that is both the first and last time I will ever see or take part in a game of UNO at a bar.
All in all, it was an interesting weekend and I'm happy I made the trip out to Ballarat! Below are a few more pictures from the park!
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