The To Do List

After realizing that I’ve been here for almost 4 months now and that I only have 2 left I decided I should write what I have done and the things I have left to do while on exchange

The ‘Already Completed’ List:

  • East Coast of Australia (Sydney, Byron Bay, Noosa, Surfers Paradise, Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island, Airlie Beach and the Whitsundaes, Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef)
  • Snorkel
  • Scuba dive
  • Saw a wild koala
  • Melbourne Zoo
  • Great Ocean Road
  • Got a part time job
  • Saw wild kangaroos
  • Camped on Mt Alexander for a week and got familiar with Dug
  • Went surfing
  • Gone broke
  • Stared at the stars
  • Watched the sunrise
  • St. Kilda
  • Brighton Beach

The ‘To Do’ List:

  • Phillip Island
  • Hang out with a kangaroo (aka feed and pet it)
  • Hold a koala
  • Eureka sky deck
  • Melbourne Botanical Gardens
  • Eat kangaroo
  • Watch the sunset on the beach
  • Winery
  • THAILANDNJUNE (hopefully)
  • Go surfing in Torquay
  • Rent a car and drive down the great ocean road

The ‘I would love to do but am too broke slash running out of time’ List

  • Outback – Alice Springs and Uluru and then up to Darwin
  • Western Australia (Perth)
  • Tasmania
  • Adelaide
  • Kangaroo Island
  • New Zealand

I would obviously love to make that to do list longer and I am sure I easily could but I am attempting to be as realistic as possible considering I truly am running out of time and I am nearing broke (key word: near). But YOIAO (You’re Only in Australia Once!) – which hopefully isn’t true and that I do return one day 🙂

 

Only in Australia

Aussie Slang

I find it hilarious being here and listening to people talk. As is everything in Australia the way they talk is super laid back (as in they literally leave out words and shorten everything). Here are a few slang words and just general language I have noticed

  • Reckon = think e.g. I reckon I’ll go to the beach today
  • How ya goin’ = how are you
  • No drama = no worries/you’re welcome
  • You’re right = in response to sorry
  • Root = sex
  • Keen
  • Arvo = afternoon
  • Cunt is said commonly
  • Pissed or blind = drunk
  • Goon = cheap wine in a box
  • Mate = friend
  • Bogan = hick
  • Chemist = pharmacy
  • Macca’s = McDonalds
  • Ta = Thank you
  • Capsicum = pepper
  • Bloke =  a man
  • Rubbish = garbage
  • Toilet = bathroom/washroom
  • Cheeky pash = make out …. apparently (not sure about this one actually being a thing)

And there is obviously tons more that I can’t think of or I just don’t even notice anymore.

Differences

As I’ve been here for a few months now I am realizing that there are crazy differences that I don’t even notice anymore! Here is a list of all the different/weird things I have noticed in Australia

  • Pretty obvious but they drive on the wrong (right) side of the road. Obvious yes but easy? not at all. Crossing the road is literally a mission every time, especially when J walking – I literally look both ways 5 times before I cross because i am now just so confused which way I should be looking
  • They don’t refrigerate their eggs always. Sometimes they’ll be in the fridge in the grocery store, but other times there are in the most random aisles just sitting on the shelf. Also they do not have any white eggs here they are all brown.
  • The mail delivery guy drives a mo-ped to deliver all the mail
  • All the cars are small cars. It is so rare to see a truck, SUV or a van! On the off chance you’ll see these mini trucks that are called ute’s
  • The main thing they sell at footy games and such is meat pies (not your regular pizza and hot dogs) – I have yet to try one, apparently I’m missing out. They also eat these meat pies in their hands and bite it like a burger which I find super weird.
  • Every single outlet has a switch to turn it on and off
  • Most restaurants, coffee shops and clothing stores are privately owned shops! Except for fast food I don’t think I’ve seen any real chain restaurants
  • No orange cheese here!
  • You don’t have to tip! And tax is already included in every price so the price you see is the price you pay!
  • Granola bars are called muesli bars
  • No crystaled or frozen juice
  • The garbage truck has a giant arm that comes out the side that bigs up your bin and flips the garbage into the back. Also did I mention garbage is rubbish here so sorry its the rubbish truck
  • Styles are definitely different. It seems to generally be fancier when out at bars, and a lot of places have strict dress codes. Apparently fuzzy sweaters are in as well as platform shoes
  • Cover at bars/clubs can be ridiculous! $20 to get in and drinks can be minimum like $10
  • It can be really hard for guys to get into bars – they apparently need to usually be wearing a collared shirt and with a lot of girls to get in
  • To get Starbucks wifi you need to buy a drink then get a code that only lasts 30min
  • You can’t just get coffee – its either cappuccino, latte, flat white, or long black (americano). Also chai lattes here are not nearly as good. And coffee is pretty expensive – I think the cheapest I’ve gotten is $3.50 although 7/11 sells it out of an automated machine for $1
  • For school, a course here is called a unit and the course is basically the program you are in – e.g. my course would be kinesiology and a unit would be anatomy
  • Profs also all give out their cell phone number and will use facebook and texting as modes of communication
  • Hate to say it but people are generally more friendly and more willing to go out of their way to help you out
  • Being from Canada people generally think you are American, just a fact you have to live with but obviously you always correct them. I’ve gotten some other weird nationalities though such as Swedish, English, Slovakian etc. Also apparently all of Canada is in Australia at the moment.
  • Fathers day is apparently in September not June!  – Learned this when trying to find a card to mail home but being unable to find anything followed by an awkward conversation with someone working at a store

I’m sure there are many more differences that I am either super used to by now or just can’t remember at the moment. So weird, after being here for 4 months it all feels normal! Definitely going to be weird going back home.

Adventure Race!

This week I participated in VU’s Adventure Race with my Adventure Programming class!

School here is so different. Im taking a university course called adventure programming, the class has 13 people in it and we just went on a 6 day camping trip where we participated in our own adventure race. Whaaaaa

Going into this trip I seriously was regretting not dropping the course when I had the chance. The trip cost $300 and being as broke as I am I felt as though my money could go towards other uses. But nope I was stuck so I sucked it up, paid the fee, packed my bag and prepared myself (mentally and physically) for a week of what I thought would be hell in the bush – I was very overdramatic

Day 1:

Good Friday! – yes this trip was over Easter weekend which is also the mid-semester break aka reading week here. We set off early in the morning for Mt Baw Baw where we would be spending our week. In partners we had to prepare ABL (Adventure Based Learning) lesson plans, hand them in and present our lesson to the class. I went first, having no idea what I was doing but hopefully managed to pull it off. It was literally torrential downpour at this point and I was seriously scared for the week ahead. We were warned that it might snow! After realizing the area we wanted to camp in was very busy due to the long weekend we eventually found somewhere to camp for the night. The adventure race began and we received our first envelope with plans for the next day.

Day 2:

Woke up, and packed out bags so we were ready to spend 3 days bushwalking. Yayyy. We completed an initiative activity (traffic jam) and then set off on the days bushwalk. We hiked up to mushroom rocks and from there went off track in an attempt to navigate ourselves to a unmarked hut in the middle of the forest. Thankfully we had some experienced navigators in our group who took the lead. We hiked off track in the thickest bush possible and I swear I thought I was never going to get out. After crossing a creek we found the hut! This was super exciting becuase we were only the second group in all time history to actually find it! From here we navigated ourselves through some even thicker bush (didnt think that was possible) to get to Alpine Meadows; which proved to be a beautiful spot to camp for the night.

Day 3:

We got up right at the crack of dawn to pack up our bags, eat some quick breakfast and start the hike of the day. We had to head back the way we came and get back to Mushroom Rocks. So we headed back through the thick bush which seemed to be even thicker again! We took the most terrifying route and I thought I was going to slip and fall so many times but the view was spectacular! No thanks to my broken camera I have no way of documenting any of this :(. We eventually made it back to Mushroom Rocks where me being the monkey I am decided to climb up some of the rocks which was sweet! We completed another initiative activity “Toxic Waste” and kept on hiking. Thankfully we were back on the trail (The Australian Alps Walking Track). This hike was much longer than the day before and after making it to the road and walking down it for a bit we met back up with the track and heading downhill which seemed like for forever! I swear it was probably 4km of pure steep downhill with crazy heavy packs on our backs. There were times in this walk where I definitely did not think I would make it or at least that my back would and the entire time I just kept thinking of what my mother would say about how bad that was for my back and how awful my posture was. But we eventually made it to camp, where the other group was as well and we ad a lovely evening around a campfire and it was a clear night so we got to see some stars! I can now identify the southern cross star constellation.

Day 4:

This day was supposed to be spent mountain biking but (thankfully – I was so tired) the mountain biking was removed as it did not pass the safety check so we moved onto plan B for the day. This involved us going to the old mining town of Walhalla for the day. Some more people presented their ABL lesson plans and then in the afternoon we did an ‘Amazing Race’ style scavenger hunt around the town trying to answer all these questions in our individual teams. Our team won! And I discovered some of the weirdest facts about this weird town. There is only 22 permanent residents, they just recently got electricity, Charles Speets was Swedish, the general store is at the site of the old Bank and so many more absolutely useless random facts.

Day 5: RAFTING!!!

Wooo today was rafting day! I was pretty nervous as everyone was wearing wetsuits but of course I don;t have one here so I was wearing 2 pairs of thermals, over pants, and a fleece and praying that I wouldn’t flip or at least if I did that I would be warm enough! But nope – the instant I got in my boat (RK-2) which were 2 person inflatable rafts that were canoe/kayak shaped it flooded up with water and I was instantly soaked and remained that way for the rest of the day. Oh well! We rafted approximately 8km down the Thomson River and it was so much fun. Even though the water levels were very low so we were constantly getting stuck on rocks I had a fantastic time and would love the opportunity to do it again! Such a thrill and it required lots of thinking and strategy and trust and communication between you and your partner. It was an awesome day! In the end, I was the only person who didn’t fully fall in the water so I’d also call that a success. By the end of the day everyone was exhausted as we headed back to camp for the last night. It began to rain and didn’t really stop all night but thankfully we were headed home in the morning. Also saw and petted a crazy ass spider! It was apparently just a small huntsman but it was pretty big to me!

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Day 6:

Home time! The camp came to a conclusion. After packing up, loading the trailer and the bus and hitting the road we eventually made it home safe and sound. I hate to be wrong but I was definitely wrong about dreading this trip as much as I did. It ended up being quite a good week and I got to try some new things (such as rafting)! After having a good week in the bush I find it really hard to come back to real life. I am back at home and have assignments to do, stuff to plan, hopefully get some shifts at work this week and I have to get this all done in less than a week as I go on a canoe trip in a week! But  guess YOIAO (You’re Only In Australia Once) – new saying

Word of the week: Bogan = an Australian version of a hick

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