It's been almost a month and a half since I left Melbourne. I got back to the United States Monday, November 25th and left for my trip with Habitat for Humanity in Argentina that Friday, November 29th. My trip to South America definitely helped take my mind off of leaving Australia. I was a wreck during those four days in between. I even went down to school that Tuesday and Wednesday, just so I could try to get my mind off everything and be around familiar faces. I guess that's the benefit of starting the semester over a month earlier than everyone back home!
I want to use this post to note some of the differences I noticed between Australia and the US.
Expressions and Words!
Okay, so we already know that the Australian accent is different (and definitely better in my opinion!!!!) than the American accent. In addition to the accent, there are quite a few things said differently in Australia than America. Thanks mainly to Zac, I compiled my own list of the differences!
Australians call all sorts of trucks, "utes". In Australia the term "truck" is reserved for what we call "18 wheelers". However, to me, "utes" were the cars they have with truck beds, like the green one in this picture. I've never seen anything like them before in my travels (until I went to South America). I thought they were so cool!
The majority of the houses I saw in Australia were made out of brick, compared to how the majority of the houses in the United States are build with wood and then siding over it. I also found it interesting that showers and sinks were usually in a separate room from the toilet. That actually makes a lot more sense than having all three in the same room if you think about it.
The food actually wasn't all too different from that in America. I REALLY miss the parmas though. Ham layered on top of the chicken with cheese and sauce…. mmmm.
Maybe it's just me, but I never had spaghetti bolognese before I went to Australia. I know it exists America, but in Australia, if you're eating spaghetti, the norm is to have it with minced meat.
Sunday roasts are also popular in Australia!
Oh, and can't forget Vegemite. Not a fan.
I always thought kangaroos were cool. I still think they're cool and I think it's awesome how common they are to find in the wild in Australia. I am also extremely jealous of the bright birds Melbourne was home to. They were noisy, but I had a lot of fun going to the park and watching them fly around. The wild cockatoos at the Grampians were pretty awesome, too.
Oh! And I can't forget the cute possums that would come out on a nightly basis! And I was able to pet one!
The Melbourne trams were pretty good. If you go on exchange in Australia, definitely make sure to get a concession card to get discounted fares.
Melbourne was Home.
I miss the comedians, the music, the art and the laneways of Melbourne. Melbourne truly was home to me for four months and I loved every minute spent there. It's no wonder it is continuously voted as the most livable city in the world. The people I met in Australia were some of the nicest people ever and I hope I can one day call Melbourne and Australia home once again.
**This is my last post on Melbourne. I hope you've enjoyed learning about my experience in this great city**
Hosier Lane Graffiti, November 2013
Nothing lasts forever. And graffiti is no different. I was excited when I found out Hosier Lane was getting a touch up a few weeks back, so Zac and I went to check it out. To be honest, I was more impressed with the graffiti I first saw in July, but some of the new pieces were pretty cool, too. While we were checking out the lane, there were two wedding groups taking wedding pictures with the graffiti as their backdrop -- how cool is that?! Gotta love Melbourne! Below are some pics!
Brighton Beach Boxes
The next day, we went down to Brighton Beach to check out the iconic Beach Boxes! It was a nightmare to get there - there was train construction, so we ended up having to take two different trains and two buses! We could've took a tram, but we thought we'd save time by taking the train. Clearly we thought wrong!
It was worth it though - the beach boxes are so colorful, I've never seen anything like them before. And there are tons of them, all in a line up the beach! Some have images on them, others have designs and a couple are plain. A great variety! There's also a stunning view of the Melbourne skyline from the beach. I definitely recommend checking out Brighton Beach!
Melbourne gets an A+ for entertainment. From the buskers (street performers) to gigs at pubs, the local bands are pretty awesome. Not to mention the gem we found at Public Bar - Wednesday night comedy featuring local acts! They were hilarious! There's always something going on in Melbourne and it's awesome. Here are a few of my favorites:
The Quarters @ Public Bar
Last month we went to Public Bar and saw a few local bands play. The best part was that it was only $8 for a night of live music! We saw Captives from Tasmania, Stone Revival, FOAM from Western Australia and the Quarters from Melbourne. I wasn't a big fan of the first three, but I enjoyed listening to the Quarters. Their music can best be described as rockabilly, an early form of rock, mixing blues, country and rock together. If you like rock, country and blues, it's worth checking out their cd Tik Tik Boom!!
Amistat @ Bourke Street
In order to busk in Melbourne, you need to have a license., or so Zac tells me. Therefore, the music on the street is pretty decent. There's usually always someone busking in front of the National Library. A few times we'd sit and eat lunch in front of the library and just listen to music.. One day there was a Melbourne local, Scott Boyd, playing as we were eating. He had some great covers, but none of them compared to the cover of "Let it Be" by Amistat. I was blown away by the two brothers and bought my first CD since being in Melbourne. The $10 was worth spending - the five songs on the CD are amazing! If you love soft, acoustic, kind of poppy music, check out their cd It's Not Words.
Below is the song that blew me away!
Comedy Night @ Public Bar
I don't usually seek out comedy acts, but for $5 who could go wrong?!?! After enjoying wings at Turf, followed by pierogi and tartufo at the Summer Night Market, we ventured over to Public Bar. It wasn't until we were sitting that I realized Dave Thornton was the headlining act - he was the MC at the comedy show I saw in Sydney! I liked him a lot, so I was excited to see him again! Tommy Dassalo was the MC for the night with acts from Damien Power, Natalie Harris, Ronny Chieng, Tommy Little, George McEnroe and Dave Thornton. My favorites were Tommy Dassalo, Damien Power, Tommy Little and Dave Thornton. Below you can find some of their stuff! They're really good!!! And a few of them are pretty cute ;)
I've been a bit preoccupied with life lately and thoroughly enjoying my time in Australia. As a result, this post has been a long time coming. A few of the highlights of the past couple of weeks include another night spent at the Luna1878 night market, an australian gig and a trip with friends to Phillip Island.
The next weekend, I went on a trip to Phillip Island with 7 others. We rented a private beach house. It was a nice break from Melbourne and the city, although I do wish we could've stayed longer. We spent a lot of time down on the beach. We went for walks, played catch, played soccer and a couple of guys brought a guitar and mandolin. The weather was PERFECT for being the first couple days of spring! I even went into the ocean. It was a bit chilly though. On Saturday night we went down to see the Fairy Penguins, also known as little penguins. They we TINY but so cute!!! It was so awesome seeing them wash up on the shore then waddle through the rocks to get to their burrows. We also saw a kangaroo up on the hill while we we watching the penguins - my first kangaroo sighting! Overall, It was just an amazing weekend spent with amazing people. Definitely one of the highlights of my time here so far.
While going for a run in the park a few weekends ago, I noticed there are TONS of wild parrots in Melbourne. They're noisy, but beautiful. I knew there were parrots here, but I didn't actually see them until then. They drove the dogs in the park nuts - they stopped at the bottom of the tree and kept barking at them. I've seen quite a few more since then - they seem to be out closer to dusk, it's interesting!
I'm falling more and more in love with Australia every day and this has been one of the best decisions of my life deciding to come here. I can't complain about a single thing, this place is awesome.
In my mind, there are three different speeds of time. There is normal time, college time and study abroad time. I'm not sure if it's because I go to school in a huge city, but before starting school at NYU, life seemed to happen much slower. Even when I find myself home in upstate New York, time still seems to drag. But once I got to NYU, between classes, my internship and my club involvement, time seemed to fly. I blinked and it was already midterms. It was crazy.
Studying abroad, it's a whole level above that. I'm already a quarter of the way through my course at Universitu of Melbourne. I feel like I just got here last week and it's been almost 4 weeks already (I really have no problem with it as long as it starts to warm up soon)! It's just crazy how fast time goes by here. It makes sense though - being in a new place, there are TONS of things to take up your time such as meeting new people, seeing new places and getting used to a new university. I really do love it here, though. It's such a nice place, both the university and the city itself!
Lectures & Tutorials.
I haven't really had a chance to really explain more in depth on my in-class experience here yet. Back in NYC, I've never had a semester where I haven't had at least one homework assignment or quiz/exam per week. Here, I have one assignment, two papers and two midterm exams during the semester, in addition to 3 finals during our three-week long exam period. I'm now starting to understand what was discussed during orientation week - it's easy to give yourself a false sense of security and get behind by thinking you only have a couple of things due at the end of the semester. I'm hoping to get ahead on one of my papers by the end of next week.
I actually really like the concept of the tutorials here, helping to lead discussions on the topics covered in the lectures. They allow a lot more interaction between classmates and help you see different perspectives on ideas. I feel that this will definitely enhance my exchange experience here, too, by having these more intimate settings and getting to see how the local students think.
More Exploring - Melbourne's Lane Ways!
This past Sunday, a friend and I explored Melbourne's lane ways. Some, such as Hosier Lane and Union Lane are just fully covered with graffiti while others, such as Centre Place, are lined with discrete, cozy cafes. In a way, some of the lanes (the ones with small boutique shops) reminded me of SoHo. In the visitor centre at Federation Square, we picked up the lane way maps and weaved through the map of different lanes - some even took us into beautiful arcades with pretty ceilings. I will have to go back when it gets a tad warmer and take more pictures! Below are some more graffiti pictures from Union Lane!
Luna1878 - Winter Night Market at Queen Victoria Market!
On Sunday, my friend told me of this cool night market he was planning on going to Wednesday, so we went last night. As we were walking toward the food, I'm pretty sure I said something along the lines of "Oh, I really wish they had pierogies, I've been craving them for so long!" And then he pointed at one of the stands and I couldn't believe it - polish food!!!! The pierogies were AMAZING and I hope to go back the next two Wednesdays and have them again - I can't find any polish restaurant in this city! At least in NYC I have Veselka just blocks from school to curb my pierogi cravings!! Although, Lomzynianka in Greenpoint is definitely the best - cheap, unbelievably good polish food! It's just such a hike though!
I also found a really pretty necklace at one of the craft stalls and I ended up buying it. For me, it symbolizes flight and travel, so I had to get it!
Besides having tons of great food stalls and craft stalls, there was live music, people on stilts and a silent disco to add to the entertainment. I can't wait until next Wednesday to go back :) That's all for now!
The Second Time Around.
Studying abroad is absolutely wonderful. It's even better when you're blessed with the opportunity to do it all over again. However, while there are many positives that come from studying abroad twice, it's inevitable that you will come to the point where you find yourself comparing the experiences. It's bound to happen.
It really hit me hard today. As I was walking along the Yarra River, enjoying the beautiful, sunny, 65 degree winter afternoon, it hit me. After three weeks here, I definitely enjoy Melbourne a lot more than London. But why?
On a Side Note.
Before I go into my reasoning as to why, in my opinion, Melbourne is far better than London, just a little side note. Today, I went to the Queen Victoria Market again (I've already gone over 5 times!) and I was walking by the stalls and all of the sudden, all I could smell was Indonesia. I absolutely LOVE how certain smells can bring back memories and images, in this case, of another country. It made me so happy; moments like those are the best! When you're in a certain place for an extended amount of time, you just get used to things. Sometimes you don't even consciously notice it (the smell of certain places) - but it's there and will be locked away in the back of your mind until something triggers it. And when something triggers it, it's just awesome. It's the small things in life.
Back on Track.
After spending four months in London, I know I could never live there permanently. I am one of those people who reaaaally gets affected by the weather. I just couldn't deal with it being dark and dreary all the time. There were only a handful of sunny days in the four months I was there (January to May 2012) - the warmest being in March right before I left for springbreak! It wasn't even that warm at the end of the semester. It was such a downer for me. But today, when I was just walking around exploring Melbourne, I found myself thinking I could definitely live in this city and settle down. But hey, I guess that's what everyone else thinks, too, since Melbourne is ranked the most livable city in the world! Even though Melbourne is known to experience all four seasons in one day, with the handful of sunny, warmish days I've already experienced here, I'd be fine with it.
Other Factors Making my Experience Better This Time Around.
How to Choose?
I was very lucky to be able to experience two different study abroad programs and ultimately have the experience I was looking for. But for many, you only get one shot. Before you choose your study abroad site, RESEARCH!
What will the weather be like the majority of your time there? Will it get better? If it doesn't, how will it affect your mood?
What do you want from the experience? Are you just looking to go abroad? Or are you looking for full immersion? Would you be more comfortable having classes with your friends from back home or do you want to go out of your comfort zone and have to meet completely new friends?
Would you rather be in a really touristy city? Or would you rather be in a lesser known gem of a city?
After Getting Accepted.
So you've been accepted into a great program and you're really excited. All you can really do before heading to your study abroad country is figure out your living accommodations. As I mentioned before, this is extremely important. It really can completely change your study abroad experience. While a semester abroad is usually more expensive already without even considering housing, it is really easy to want to save as much money on this big expenditure. That's what I did in London, but I knew better than to do the same in Melbourne. Sure, I'm paying quite a bit more for where I'm staying now, but I'm living with all RMIT/UniMelb students in a great little village EXTREMELY close to everything. With this in mind, before looking at housing options, write down exactly what you want from your experience and how it could be impacted by where you live. It's foolish to ruin such an amazing experience just to save a bit of money, which really is nothing in the grand scheme of things compared to the loans you'll have to pay back anyway when you graduate.
Royal Melbourne Hospital Tunnels & Towers.
We were able to go underneath the hospital and learned that the underground tunnels connect the Royal Melbourne Hospital to both the Children's Hospital and the University of Melbourne. Even engineers get lost in the tunnels sometime and need maps to help orient themselves. When it comes to power, it is EXTREMELY unlikely for the facility to actually lose power. They have backup diesel generators in addition to uninterruptible power supply. We saw one of the diesel generators - it was HUGE! Afterward, I went to check out the helipad and got a great view of the city.
Melbourne City Baths.
I wanted to check this place out, but I got there before they had their "open house" and I didn't want to wait. Looks pretty cool from the outside though!
No. 1 Spring Street.
This building was pretty cool in that all of its support is on granite pillars 15 meters apart surrounding the building. Each office space is able to have windows due to the way the building stands. We were able to go up to the 15th floor to get a spectacular view of the Treasury Gardens, the Treasury Reserve and St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Old Treasury Building.
This building had tons of history, from Victoria's initial gold rush to infamous criminal cases involving Squizzy Taylor and Colin Ross. They currently have an exhibition on display called "Built on Gold" showcasing the gold vaults built. However, since the Old Treasury Building was built after the initial gold rush, it's believed that it didn't hold half as much gold as was intended.
There was also a really nice guy who lived in Santa Barbara for 20 years dressed as a tram conductor, handing out old tickets and pennies. He wants to bring back tram conductors and get rid of the Myki!
On this tour we got to take a look at the Federal buildings along Treasury Place. We were able to walk inside 2 Treasury Place and view the staircase which was once taken out, just to be put back in years later. There was also pretty stained glass windows in that building, too. Then we checked out 3 Treasury Place which has a heritage staircase. When they reconstructed the building, they could not take out the stairs, so instead they sit in a corner, roped off as they cannot be used. How strange! Then we saw another building which stored surveys and on the outside, they had these steel plates which they would pull over all of the windows at night to make sure fires wouldn't start and destroy all of the information. We also saw where the printing press used to be - it printed tickets from the 1956 Olympic Games!
An interesting looking building, this building used to hold boarders coming to visit Melbourne. The different rooms were very elegant and the city worked hard to keep Tasma Terrace intact when there were plans of demolition for an office building. This was also the site of the "Parliament Place Tragedy." Edith Jane Forrester Jubb allegedly murdered herself with two bullet shots to the head. There was controversy on whether it was actually suicide though since the gun was found in her left hand and she was right handed. Lots of interesting stuff.
St. Patrick's Cathedral.
I'm not really a big fan of churches, but every big church I've ever gone in has amazed me. This church was no different. Beautiful from both the outside and inside. The ceilings were cavernous and the stained glass windows were beautiful, everything you would expect a church to have! I'm not sure if it's just me or what, but do all churches smell the same? I'm pretty sure St. Patrick's Cathedral smells exactly like Notre Dame in Paris.
Intercontinental Hotel The Rialto.
This was really cool because both the Rialto and the Winfield were built between 1890 and 1891. They were listed as heritage sites and could not be demolished. Therefore, when remodeled, the buildings were connected into a hotel with an atrium and the outer bricks of each building still visible. The hydraulic lifts can still be seen in Winfield, which was used for wool storage. The urinals on site have been preserved, too, in order to keep it's social history!
A day well spent!
All in all, it was a great day of exploring Melbourne and its culture and architecture. I think it's great that they have something like this and it was amazing to see all of the people taking advantage of it. I'm happy the city works so hard to preserve all of its older buildings and the history behind them. Below are some more pictures from my day - enjoy!
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