I think Australia might be in an alternate universe... time moves much faster here! I have just over a month before I take off and I'm not really sure where the last 11 months went!
I remember thinking: "I've been here TWO MONTHS already?" then summer arrived and it was "Woah, I've been here 7 months?!" But now there's only a month left and it less woah and more boo, I'm actually leaving.
On the plus side, Friday I hand in my dissertation (which is about 3 months in the works) and since I have no exams it means I'm FREE. Ah ha! Two months to hang out in Surfers or Brisbane or somewhere else in the Gold Coast. Yay!
Yesterday when I woke up is was pouring rain. That cold, am I sure I'm in Australia because it sure feels like England rain. But, I dragged myself out of bed and managed to pull together a rain appropriate outfit including my favourite Hunter Huntress boots, a jacket and a hot pink scarf.
I walked (in the rain) to the coffee shop and spent a few hours editing my dissertation (due Friday!) on my macbook with a coffee. I was that girl taking up an entire table and 4 chairs with my purse, phone, macbook, book, coffee... even I dislike people like me! I managed to get a lot done and by the time I decided to head home it was bright, sunny and hot. Go Figure.
There's no moral to this story, but it did make me realize I probably should own an umbrella.
2 years ago I helped tend a garden. Rather, I initially helped but then remembered that I really hate being in dirt and this was before I owned Hunters boots so my shoes were always getting muddy... but I digress. This garden was full of really delicious veggies in a variety of colours...
Have you ever seen purple carrots? They taste exactly the same... but they are PURPLE! How neat is that? And they have some kind of nutritional super power (read about that here ) umm delicious!
One weekend all of this came from the garden: carrots, Heirloom tomatoes (my favourite and also really neat colours), beans, cucumber, beets and peppers!
So I think I'll try it out again. This summer. Me. Dirt. Garden. VEGGIES!
Sometimes things spark my creative side. I miss that. I haven't drawn or painted in... over a year (oh that's bad!).
I find the Surfers lifestyle slightly uninspired (unless, of course, you are inspired by streets full of bars and kebabs). The beach life is amazing, but it lacks in most things artsy... but hey, to each their own!
Then I wandered into a few stores in Byron. I wish I could remember the store, but it was an independent designer shop that was full of cutesy clothes and fun things- like this:
TEACUP lights! I mean, I probably wouldn't put it in my place (not that I have a place to put things) but I love the idea and it fit the shop so well!
Another shop had all the jewelry displayed on a tree branch spray painted gold with sparkles on top!:
Ok, I'd definitely put this in my (potential) place. Love it!
Perhaps this is cause for some art creations... Maybe a little drawing? Sculpture? Awesome gold painted tree branches that I can cover in GLITTER? Umm Yesss!
First, I was reading dlisted (which if you have not and you love/hate dirty celebrity gossip, you really should) and he linked to This is why you're fat - A page dedicated to all things disgusting and questionably delicious. Well, of course I had to check it out and about 6 pages in (I know, I know) I stumbled upon that image. "The French Canadian: A poutine sandwich with french toast buns topped with maple syrup".... I think I'm going to be sick.
Second, a friend at Uni asked me to complete a survey about the Surf Club in Surfers that is attended by heaps of Canadians on Friday night. And guess what? They make poutine for us crazy Canucks. But never on french toast and never served with syrup... that's just gross.
Third, I've got Canada on the mind due to the party I most recently attended/ wrote about and the May 2-4 long weekend.
But really, I just wanted an excuse to post that picture.
May 2-4 weekend is the first sign that summer is beginning. Hello, long weekend! (and Happy Birthday to the Queen!) So when you attend a Uni in Australia that's practically full of Canadians, there is bound to be some traditions brought over. You see, keg parties are not really a "thing" here. You can't just tap a keg, you need to get the whole set up which equals big bucks, so people tend to stick with goon and bottled booze at parties. But not the Canadians I know---They pull out the big guns here!
Saturday night turned into a Jungle* themed kegger at the guys 2 story apartment. $10 cover, Prime location and a perfect set up! Several balconies to hold a massive amount of people (surprise, surprise mostly Canadians) and more beer and Jungle juice (I have no idea and I don't want to know) than anyone could possibly drink.
I brought my camera and managed to get one picture. Ah, probably a good thing...
HAPPY MAY 2-4 WEEKEND CANADA!
*One of the guys hosting the party and I actually attended a Jungle Party up in Cape Tribulation (just north of Cairns). This was a locals party and the house had no outer walls (what?), the people hosting were total hippies, they had a DJ set up with the flashing lights, someone brought their pet dingo (this is how I know I'm in Oz) and one of the guys was a fisherman, so he brought a bunch of Snapper and cooked it on the barbie! Oh and how could I forget-- there were FIRE THROWERS throwing fire on the lawn. I tired and narrowly escaped a multitude of burns (fire spinning without the fire). It was probably the craziest thing I have seen. The night ended on a cassowary bird hunt in a car with a local. Questionably the most frightening moment of my life.
Lately it's been feeling a little backwards here. I've been wearing a sweater for the last few weeks and people back home are telling me about how hot it is. No fair! I'm the one in Australia here, geeze!
Then again, I'm back to the land of seasons in a month and a half so I think I'm good to ditch the sweater and start strategically planning my summer wardrobe. This summer is basically going to be the wardrobe of last summer... or this past year. Sigh. I just love new things, but new things don't exists without this crazy thing called a "job".
I've scouted out a few things if I ever come across money again.
Today turned into another fantastic road trip. Destination: Byron Bay!
I sort of dropped the ball on several opportunities to go over the last year, so when I got the invite this time, I couldn't resist. Byron Bay is about an hour from my door by car and just over the Queensland/ New South Wales boarder, so really, I needed to get here before I left.
We managed to get a little shopping in prior to hitting the scenic spots and grabbed lunch at Fresh, this delicious restaurant just off the main strip. I have never had banana/ coconut bread quite like it before-- and with passionfruit butter. YUM! Need to keep this place in mind next time I go!
We did some more wandering and drove up to the point/ lighthouse. I know I look pretty chill in the first picture but inside I was saying "LOOK AT THIS VIEW!!!" over and over. So soo soooo pretty!
Here's Helena (my roomie) and I at the sign. Did you know that this exact point of Byron is the most easterly point of the Australian Mainland?
Now you do!
And up here is also this amazing lighthouse. I'd like to live in this lighthouse... sigh.
Turned out to be a great day in Byron Bay! The only downside (and sorry for harping about it all day J, S and H) was the realization that Byron Bay Organic Donuts- the BEST dark chocolate filled donuts I have ever had (remember here when I went on about them?) were gone. GONE. Closed up and now a SUSHI place. Seriously? Totally bummer. But hey, the upside: I just spent the day in Byron Bay!
One of my favourite Australia authors, John Birmingham posted a link to "Harmful Drinks in America " on his Twitter. It lists the top 20 worst possible things to drink from some of the top places in the states... great. I know where I'm avoiding when I head there in the summer.
The article is eye opening, though. I think it goes a little something like this: If it looks bad for you, it probably is. If it doesn't look bad for you, check the label.. oh yeah, 800 calories? It's bad for you...
Plus the comment sections on these type of articles are always the best.
Anyone who decides to drink Leinenkugel's over Sierra Nevada Bigfoot clearly knows nothing of beer. Taste matters, not calorie counts.
I guess you have a point on everything else."
Perhaps not the point, but hilarious none the less. I'd try and avoid anything on that list. And maybe stick with no cal, no sugar tap water instead... yum. They take the fun out of everything!
I recently wrote about the Australian made track pants that I'm dying to get ahold of (see here ). I also wrote about the fact that typically it is not appropriate to wear said trackies outside of your living environment.
Then I stumbled upon an article in the New York Times from May 14, 2010: "The Pajama Game Closes in Shanghai ". See, in Shanghai it is not uncommon to see women walking around in pajamas. I can tell you they were subjects in many of my China photographs. Hello, they were wearing Pajamas in the streets! In actuality I was about 15 and thinking, "If they can wear pajamas outside, can I?" (Answer: no)
Sadly, I only have a few pictures on my Mac (I'm about 5 computers away from the one I used then) and this picture features NO ONE in pajamas. But you can totally see that people here would go for comfort, right?
According to the article, they are trying to put a ban on wearing pajamas. I guess the "just rolled out of bed" look isn't really the look Shanghai is going for anymore, especially after they pumped 58 BILLION dollars into an Expo (that I haven't heard of...) and are expecting 70 million people to rock up over the next year (are you going?)
I'm a bit disappointed. Shanghai is a unique city and even though they have abolished my favourite shopping place- Silk Alley, I'd still like to go back and see it like it is, Pajamas and all! But alas, the western world taking over again... and the way it's looking, I better go soon.
Over the last few months I've spent a lot of time looking for jobs. Actually, make that looking for a "career". I'm not even sure how anyone defines career anymore as people change these "careers" around 8 times during their working lives... but I digress. I am on the hunt for something to do with my time that pays me money, allows me to buy fantastic things and travel. I'm not asking for much here!
I've had quite a few jobs over the past 10 years:
Working on a corn field - one summer was quite enough of that
Painting faces - amazing... when you're 14
Cashier -6 years was plenty
Office admin work - not all that ideal
Research- I liked it, but perhaps not medical research?
Server -being invisible is not really for me. Plus, I dislike the black pants, white crisp shirt look
Perpetual Student -downside: you end up with far less money than you started
I started thinking about what I do want to do. There seems to be a general lack of jobs out there right now, but I'm pretty sure something exists in the world. I can live in Canada and the EU, so my options are (hopefully) pretty open.
Option One: Fashion Publishing
You know the people that write the really rad blogs for Nylon Magazine? I want to do that.
I stole this from my roomie, Helena. She is not from around here. And she thinks Australians have a " underlig" fascination with animals. Seriously, this was on the Channel 7 news. THE NEWS! (see next line):
Note the lower right corner 7 NEWS. NEEEEEWWWSSSS!!!
Jag har sagt det förut och jag säger det igen - de har en underlig fascination för djur här. Så underlig att djurinslag får högre prioritet än det mesta annat när det kommer till nyheter. Spännande?
I've said it before and I'm saying it again- they have a weird fascination with animals here. So weird that animals get higher priority than anything else on the news. Exciting?
Jag berätta för er att den lilla hästen ovan inte har dvägväxt. Den är helt proportionerlig och vansinnigt liten. För er som undrar... Som jag är säker på att alla gör.
I can tell you the horse above is not a dwarf- it's totally proportional and crazy small. For those of you that were wondering as I'm sure you all were...
Summary: This horse is not a dwarf. It is totally proportional and it made the 6pm news. And we did not.
I've been listening to DCF play for a few years... way back when he was playing coffee houses in ptown and Dionysus in the rain! But now he's playing with a few other guys and they are creating new sounds that make me smile! :)
So really, if you haven't heard of Prince Caspian, you should probably listen to this right meow:
I'm Your Max is basically your favourite childhood books sung in a sweet melodic manner. It is also conveniently enough available for download here. Plus, they are also on iTunes... and I love them, so do it!
Oh, and I noticed they got a sweet MuchMusic VJ shout out on Twitter:
Trackies are questionably the best thing for lounging. Sure, they are ugly and no, you shouldn't wear them outside the house (unless, of course, you have a valid reason: running to pick up vodka & juice, doing athletic things- you get the drift). But these kind are super awesome and definitely an Aussie trackie icon. So really, Ineed these before I leave.
A few weeks ago I found out that Canadian comedian Russell Peters was going to do a show in Brisbane. I sort of humm'd and hawww'd about going- but really, it's RUSSELL PETERS and not only that, it was RUSSELL PETERS IN BRISBANE!
If you haven't seen (or heard of) him. Here's an entire show. I hope you have 45 minutes (and non-Australian internet):
Flash forward a few weeks to yesterday: I was going with a few friends (2 from here and one I knew from way back). We were suppose to all drive up together, but things got a little jumbled up communication wise, so KP and I ended up taking the train up... We hopped on the bus at Uni and headed to Helensvale (the closest station). As we were pulling up K made a comment about how many cop cars were there... maybe 5 of 6? We departed the bus and walked up to notice the cops roping the area off and then finally shuffling everyone away where "busses would pick us up and take up to the next train station". wtf? So we hop on the bus that was heading closer to Brisbane and there was techno beats pumping from the speakers. Some kid yells "can you turn this up?" and the driver does. REALLY? We speculate some kind of train related death* but no one actually confirms it at this point. We finally get to the train, and about an hour and a bit later we're at Southbank.
We have no idea where we're going, so we wander for a while around Southbank- It's probably my favourite part of Brisbane. It's hip, trendy and carries all the clothing which I love (but cannot currently afford). We have a peak at Brisbane from the other side of the water:
We had planned on grabbing dinner in the city, but since the bus/ another bus/ train situation left us a little behind schedule we opted for a quick bite in Southbank. We wandered and found Grill'd - this awesome fresh burger place serving "healthy burgers" (whatever that means...). The food was fantastic! K ran into a guy she knew and his friend ended up having an extra pair of floor seats to the show (we were in the nosebleed section prior to this). So we ate dinner and rocked up to find our new seats were about 15 rows back. Perfect views of Russell Peters face!
The show was hilarious but there was no photography and no filming during the acts (this was enforced by his Canadian boys he brought along that walked the aisles making sure no one was filming). Oh and no Canadian jokes- that was a bummer. But all in all a great show!
I did manage to snap a picture after the show, though. Under the screens were 2 amazing Toronto based DJ's that played before and after the show- cool idea!
So, due to a series of events (no ride, the train situation, being hungry, picking the right place to eat etc) we ended up with amazing tickets AND a car ride home! Excellent evening!
The other week I went to a Rugby game. Yeah, yeah, Rugby is not Aussie Rules, I know! But then I found out that it wasn't even the rugby game I knew- they didn't throw the guys in the air (I think that's what happens)- it was all just passing and running wtf? I sort of sat in half confusion expecting one game and getting another. Come to think of it, I don't even know which game I was watching! I did manage to place a $5 on bet on the small children that played inbetween halves and lost. Geeze, yellow team!
Then I found this clip from Funny People and basically the look on Adam Sandler and Seth Rogan's face says it all...
"Just explaing the game to them. They're lovin' it" yeahhhh...
I checked my camera and the last photo I took was of Jack Johnson at Bluesfest. This is slightly embarrassing as I was going to try and take "an awesome photo everyday"... oops. I need to get on that, again! 2 months left of this Australian adventure (I mean Australian educational adventure. Right, yes. That's what I meant!).
Instead, here's a few highlights of the past 10 months:
When we we're all looking for apartments it was a little rushed: We had about 3 days in our motel and then we had to get out because they were booked (wtf? Thanks, Griffith). So, I found a place down Surfers/ Broadbeach way, Greg was in central Surfers, Deb on Chevron and Chris' landed an amazing place with THIS view:
It was one of the best views but I ruined it because we looked at a place in Q1... sigh...
A bit into our first term, the Uni put on this massive day aptly called Race Day. I guess they do race days here (think Kentucky Derby) but with heaps more goon (boxed wine) and beer and a lot less horses. Well, there were horses but I don't think I saw a race...
I managed to find some awesome roommates who brought me along with them on some fun adventures. One of my favourite was the Currmbin outdoor film festival- "In the Bin":
They actually took me along when they went to see "The Princess Bride" too, when the Brisbane International Film Festival hosted "BIFF in the 'burbs"... ah, Laura and Alex- you're the best!
I missed the boat (literally) when I didn't tag along on the Reading Week Whitsundays adventure. My OSAP hadn't come in and I hadn't got a job at that point... ahh, no money! So instead, I stuck around the Gold Coast and hung out with the few people that were still around! I got the invite from Bryan to climb Mt. Warning- a decision I'm sure he regretted later...
Here's Bry as far up the mountain as we got. No one told me there was rock climbing involved... Sorry about that, Bry! (and thanks for not leaving me at the side of the mountain)
I did a little volunteering in my first term with The Argus, Griffith's online photojournalism paper. The perks:
I was practically in the race. It's something I'll never do again... plus there were way too many bogans for my liking at the GP, but hey, you only live once!
Around Christmas time, Laura, Alex, Heiko and I did a little Santa on the beach photo shoot:
This will probably be my best Christmas card, ever.
Another highlight was Big Day Out. It's basically just a massive one day concert with every type of music you could imagine. And THOUSANDS of your closest friends. A perfect musically inspired day!
Then I did a bunch of travels outside of the Gold Coast. Those I've either recapped or I'll recap later.
Back to the Gold Coast and I found a new place:
For all of you that have known me, you'll be impressed that I managed to bring my "cougar den" duvet to Australia with me. I've owned this since pre-undergrad! Somehow I managed to make room for it in my suitcase (impressive, no?)
This term I really stepped up the studying and managed to swing not one, but TWO offices. One at Uni and the other, here:
Tough, tough, TOUGH life. I really do get heaps of reading done on this beach. It's 100 steps from my apartment door to the beach. Can't beat that!
St. Patty's day rolled around and Helena and I decided to throw a massive (for our apartment) booze filled (hello, it's St. Patty's day) party. Heaps of people showed up and good fun was had:
Becca, Brandon, Me, Sheldon, Marion
For all of you that don't know, I excel in both beer pong and flip cup, so if you are ever looking for a team member, give me a ring!
*This flip cup table also doubles as my home office... WITH BEACH VIEWS!
I rarely bring my camera when I go anywhere in Surfers. It's pretty much the same all the time, plus it's only good when I'm feeling photogenic! This was someone's going away party, so I brought my camera and managed to get a few pictures. Ignore me in the picture... it's really just to show the amazing guys (J, S, B, and T) I spend the majority of my time with. Notably missing are Becca (see flip cup image above) and Kristin:
Me, Jeff, Sheldon, Jarod, Brandon, Tom
They are heaps of fun. I will really miss them.
Later in the second term some awesome Canadians thew a boat party that took everyone to Straddy Island for the day:
Seriously, picture perfect.
Here's my roomie, Helena and I on the Staddy boat at 10am. I guess they can legally sell booze that early. Good to know!
and one final image for this time:
BUMBLES! This is by far my favourite breakfast spot in all of the Gold Coast (maybe, dare I say: ever) It's heaps expensive, but it's delcious. So so delicious!
I think I've posted most of my fun images past this point. That being said, I'll start bring my camera with me more...
Once a semester the Canadian Students Association at my Uni in Oz throw a Boat Jam. It's not just any boat jam, it's a super classy (ha) black and white party on a boat that cruises around the Gold Coast canals.
So here's the boat:
And here's what I wore:
It's not black and it's not white and it's not even my dress (thanks, K!) but I worked perfectly and the necklace that I bought during the boxing day sales looked amazing with it...
I love playing dress up!
*at this point my camera was MIA, hence the lovely webcam shot. Will do better next time. Maybe photos on the beach?
It recently dawned on me that I've been in Oz for 10 months. I'm not exactly sure where that time went because it partially feels like I just got here and partially feels like I've been here forever. I'm not exactly sure how to feel about that.
Here's a little walk down memory lane:
When I first got here back in July 2009 G, C and I went on some adventures around the Gold Coast. I, of course, took my camera.
We first ran into Pelicans. I love Pelicans (who doesn't love pelicans?) and I haven't seen them since this day...
And then we found this weird/awesome plaything. Here's G & C on the most fantastic playground in the Gold Coast:
It's probably the most amazing play set I have ever been on (and it is far more terrifying that it appears in this image).
The day ended in Budd's Beach- one of my favourite places in the Gold Coast!