A look back at my 1st term in Melbourne.

Disclaimer: This is a method of procrastination. Currently, I have 5000 words to write and an exam to revise for all by next Monday- the life, I know!

So, it’s the end of October already and I have finished my first term of university in Melbourne. To say the time has flown by is an understatement and a half. It’s been an interesting, frustrating, utterly brilliant experience thus far but I thought I would summarise some highlights and takeaways ( this is also because I failed to write a blog about my Mid Semester Break- I know, I have been lax with this blog lately).

Highlights:

  1. The Introductory Lecture at Monash from O Week

So this is from the first week at Uni and never made it into my earlier blogs and I don’t exactly know why. For some reason or other, Monash decided to crowd all the new students into the hall where everyone graduates. We were then treated to a performance by the Monash Cheerleading squad ( who reminded a bit of one of those North Korean Propaganda acts that Kim Jong Un puts on all the time, to give his people something to do other than starve). It was positively terrible. The issue was, we couldn’t exactly leave. So we had to sit through 25 minutes of some poor girls doing half arsed cartwheels, and attempting jumps, dances badly. It was such an odd experience that I can’t believe I haven’t written about it before.

2. The Preliminary AFL Finals

This was honestly such a great night. Benji and I managed to get kids tickets, and as no one is checking the 90000 people filtering into MCG on a Friday night, we got away with it. The game, was Geelong ( now my team, although I couldn’t tell you anything about them) vs Hawthorn (who are apparently like Manchester Utd, in that everyone hates them). It turned out to be a classic, with the game going right to the wire. Hawthorn earned a mark ( like a free kick) just inside the 50 (like a penalty area) after the clock had gone at the end of the game . The player ,whose name escapes me, stepped up to the mark and missed! This meant that Geelong won the game by a point. The stadium erupted. The only sporting atmosphere that I can say was anywhere near comparable, was when I saw Arsenal beat Manchester Utd to win the FA Cup in 2005.

3.Mid Semester Break.

During our week off, when Benji and I were meant to be catching up with all of our uni week we hadn’t done, we instead jetted off to Brisbane and the Sunshine coast for 7 days. It was an incredible trip. Whilst in Brisbane, we met up with Zoe Sayliss, who took us to see the Southbank (a much improved version of the Southbank in London bar the ugly concrete national theatre that the Australian’s seem to have replicated). In Brisbane we ended up meeting, an English guy who had been on Camp America with an old friend from home, and then decided to skype him, which was hilarious because he was not expecting to see us in the slightest.

Other notable highlights from the trip:

The Hell’s Gate Hike Noosa National Park:

A really lovely walk skirting the cliffs ending on Sunshine beach. We capped off the day with a nice pint in bar called, rather fittingly, the Magic Bicycle, which was located in Noosa town centre. Also hilarious: Benji got so badly burnt that his entire back and face basically peeled off– it wasn’t his best look. I on the other hand, managed to burn the tops of my feet, which does not make wearing shoes very easy.

North Stradbroke Island:

Benji and I had a laugh here. The gorge walk was a particular favourite, as was the surfing. Some of the beaches were beautiful. At one point, we went to look for wild koalas and instead were surrounded by a pack of wild Kangaroos (I don’t know what the word for a group of Kangaroo’s is and I am definitely too lazy to it up). I also enjoyed climbing one of the many giant sanddunes and then dragging Benji down it on a bodyboard, progressively clothing him in sand while reaching top speeds of 3 mph.

Probably the most notable story from this part of the trip, was the journey back from Straddie to Brisbane enroute to Byron Bay. That morning we managed to miss a bus, a ferry, and then two trains ( the second of which was Benji’s fault). At this point we had to get an uber — the only uber– from Cleveland into Brisbane, a 40 minute journey. The funniest thing about it all was that when we eventually arrived in Brisbane the bus to Byron was late so we could have got the next train.

Byron Bay:

Probably, my favourite destination of the trip. It was a shame we only got to spend two days there, I would have liked to have spent more. Byron is just such a great place to visit. Of course its very touristy, and its mostly a beach town, but that does not take away from the scenery, the vibe of the place and the surf ( which I must say I didn’t experience in Byron– I surfed, if that’s even what to call it, in Straddie). While walking around the town, we had bumped into a friend of mine from Monash, Maya, who also happens to live on Deacon’s Hill Road at home and went to Habs (the people that live near you at home and yet you’ve never met– but then meet whilst in Australia, it is such a small world!) and her friend Shonalee. They both joined us for the sunrise hike up to the lighthouse, the most easterly point of mainland Australia. It was quite something. We even saw humpback whale’s migrating south, one of which, breached the water which was a pretty incredible sight to behold. This was definitely my favourite day of the trip, although due to the 4am wake up I was absolutely shattered by 9pm that night, which explains the tragic photo of me sleeping at 9:15pm that night. That said, we did get an amazing brunch that day. Other notable moments, Benji irreparably damaging his foot in some unforeseen way, and getting upgraded to a nicer room in the hostel back in Brisbane for the last night.

4. Saf’s 21st Birthday:

This one was very recent (Saturday night). It was just an all round lovely evening (Saf threw a party at her house). Must also say, it was great to see Matt, Nia, Ciara and Ella who are studying in Brisbane and Adelaide but came to stay with Saf for her birthday. It was lovely to catch up with them and hear about their experiences so far.

Takeaways:

  1. Living on your own with people you don’t know can be quite daunting initially.

It took me a mighty long time to get settled in Melbourne, and since I have lived with an eclectic and interesting bunch of people. They have varied massively, from an American hydrothermal geochemist professor at Monash (and soon to be at Yale), to Irish engineers, Taiwanese students and a Spanish girl on a working holiday visa. I must say I have enjoyed living with each an everyone of them so far. I like that the house is constantly in flux and I am always meeting new people. So far, I’ve lived with people from 7 different countries. It’s not often in life you can say that.

2. The people make the year.

Everyone I have met and come into contact with during this year have been incredibly accommodating, friendly and just all round good people. I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself as much as I have so far, if I hadn’t met the people I have. Special shout out to all the families that have given my Friday night dinners, accommodated me over the festivals– especially the Ben Moshes, Parasols, Harts, and Prinsley’s.

3. You really appreciate all your friends and family at home.

I know this is going to sound really sappy but when you come to live in another country on your own (with a small support network), you do really come appreciate the people that matter in your life. Much love to everyone back home, missing you all a lot.

4. The little things that annoy you.

For one, the time difference. I hate that I can’t watch an arsenal game live, I mean I could but I also love my sleep. The lack of grab back crisps ( this country does not have any decent crisps). You know, small insignificant things.

Right, I probably should crack on with Uni work so I am signing off.

Much love all.

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