The Australia Journals: May 7, 2010

Picture with Ben (Australian exchange student in the U.S.) in Big Bend National Park while on Thanksgiving Break in the fall of 2010.

For background on this series of blogs, see this intro post.

Commentary

One really cool part of the study abroad experience was that I got to meet a couple Monash students who were planning on coming to OU for a semester. Later, when Ben (in picture above) came to OU, I got to spend quite a bit of time with him, including a road trip over Thanksgiving break. It was kind of like an extension of the study abroad experience. Haha. It was really cool to be on the opposite side of the exchange after having done the exchange. Definitely a cool experience if you can meet someone who will be attending your home school after you return and you can spend some time with them in your home country. 

The Journal Entry

Today was a pretty good day. I got woken up at about 2:45 this morning. No surprise for a Thursday night anymore. I got up at 7 this morning and got ready. Math was ok. My sinuses were bugging me the whole time, so it was hard to concentrate. After that I went over to the math building. On my way there I visited with Megan for a little while. That was cool. After that I went and got help on a couple ATM 3040 problems. One of them we couldn’t figure out what was going wrong, and the other one Steve was going to take a look at again. After that I went to Menzies and visited with Elizabeth until 3040 tute started. After that Elizabeth and I printed a couple things at the campus center and then came back to the halls. When I got back I talked to Mom and Dad on Skype for a while and then talked to Cory for a little while. I ate lunch while I was talking to them. Mom and Dad got to see Nashville all flooded. I’m so jealous. It was nice to finally get to talk to them. It had been a while since I talked to Cory as well, so it was nice to get to talk to him too. After I finished talking to Cory I went to 2020. After 2020 Elizabeth and I talked to Megan and Ben for a couple minutes. Ben is the guy coming to OU next semester. That was cool. After that I came back and stopped by the ops office to get my new backpack. I was glad to finally get that. It’s pretty nice. It’s got so many different pocket/compartment things. It’s crazy. It will take a little getting used to. After I messed with that for a little while I organized my binders and then worked on my 2211 essay. I worked on that until I made dinner. I made pancakes tonight. Those were good. After dinner I worked on my essay some more. I did that until about 9:15 or so. After that I went through pictures from last weekend. After I finished that I started writing in this. It’s now 10:11, and I’ll probably get to bed here pretty soon. 

The Australia Journals: May 2, 2010

Picture from the footy game in the blog post below.

For background on this series of blogs, see this intro post.

Commentary

In Australia they have a sport called Australian Rules Football, but everyone calls it footy. It took me a little while to learn the rules and what was going on, but once I got the hang of it I really enjoyed watching it. I had been to one game before this day, but that was by myself. This was definitely a better experience going with some friends, one of which was Melinda. Both games I went to had Carlton playing, and Carlton was Melinda’s team, so that ended up being the team I went for while I was down there. I watched sports fairly often back home, so it was nice to get into a sport while I was there and be able to go to a couple games. It was great to get to spend some more time with Melinda, but it just made it that much more difficult not to ask her on a date. Haha. I don’t remember grabbing dinner with everybody afterwards. A great example of something I remember vividly (the footy game) and something I don’t remember at all (grabbing dinner afterwards) all in the same day. Go Blues!

The Journal Entry

Today was a good day. I got up at 8. When I got my milk out of the fridge, part of it was frozen. Luckily there was enough of it unfrozen to have breakfast. I had to let it set out for a while to unfreeze though. After breakfast I brushed my teeth and then cleaned my ears out. After that I got a shower. After my shower I got on the computer and noticed that the weather was going nuts in Arkansas again, so I started watching that on SPC and NWS and stuff. Eventually I got a link off Facebook to watch one of the news channels in Little Rock that was doing uninterrupted broadcasting of the weather, so I started watching that. While I was watching that I chatted with Mom on Facebook, as well as Shahayla from Artesia. That was cool. I got lunch at about 11:45. When I got my pizza sauce out to make a tortilla pizza, it was mostly frozen. I ended up making a mess trying to get the pizza sauce out. I eventually got the tortilla pizza made. After that I turned the fridge down a little bit. Somebody had put it on its coldest setting. At about 12:20 I went up to Elizabeth’s room, and then we met Erin and went to the bus stop. We caught the 737 bus to Syndal station, and then took the Glen Waverly train to Richmond. We met up with Melinda and her friends there. Then we all went to the MCG. Our seats were way up at the top, but they actually weren’t too bad. I could actually see what was going on most of the time this time, which was nice. I ended up cheering for Carlton because Melinda gave Elizabeth and I a scarf to wear during the game. It was a decent game. Collingwood was up by a lot at the half, and then Carlton got it down to 3 points during the 3rd quarter, but then Collingwood took off again and ended up winning it by about 50 points. It was a lot of fun though. We were around a lot of fans who were really into it, which was cool. It was really cool to get to hang out with Melinda, but at the same time kind of a bummer. She is so cool and hanging out with her today just made me think of asking her out and all, but I just can’t bring myself to do that. It was fun getting to visit with her though. She was making fun of me for saying “gosh dang” at one point and for saying “candy” as well, although I think it was Elizabeth who said that. Also, Tim met us at the game, which was cool. I hadn’t seen him in a while. After the game Elizabeth, Erin, Tim, and I went into the city. We got off the train at Southern Cross so Elizabeth could get her mom’s PJ pants that she left when they were visiting. When we were going to our platform, our train was just pulling up, so we all had to run to catch it. Luckily we got there before it left. We got off at Flinders St. and went to get dinner at The Lounge. That was a pretty cool place. I got chicken parma. It was pretty good. It was a lot of food. It was fun getting to visit with everybody during dinner. After that we went back down to Flinders St. and took the Glen Waverly train back to Syndal. We then caught the 737 bus back to Monash. While we were getting on the bus, Elizabeth was still standing when the bus started and almost ended up in Tim’s lap. That was pretty funny. After I got back I came up to my room. I went down for snacks at 9 and hung out for a little bit. After that Elizabeth and I visited in my room for a little bit and then her room for a little bit. Then I came back to my room and started writing this. It’s now 10:45, so I think I’m gonna get ready for bed.  

The Australia Journals: Apr. 25, 2010

Picture from the ANZAC Day march in Melbourne while I was studying abroad.

For background on this series of blogs, see this intro post.

Commentary

This was a really cool cultural experience I got to have while I was down in Australia. ANZAC Day is the equivalent to Veteran’s Day in the U.S. It was really neat to experience the ANZAC Day celebration in Melbourne. If you ever do study abroad (or really any traveling for that matter), I would encourage you to look into cultural holidays/celebrations taking place while you are there and try to take part. 

The Journal Entry

Today was a pretty good day. I got up at 6 and got ready. I met Erin out in the parking lot at about 7:15 to walk down to the bus loop. Once we got there we had to wait a few minutes for the bus. We took the bus to Huntingdale, and then caught a train to Flinders St. station. After we got off there we got lined up to watch the Anzac Day march. We just got lined up right outside Flinders St. station. That was nice. The march started at about 9. It was pretty cool. They had a bunch of really cool old vehicles. It was really cool to see all the people clapping for the soldiers as well. The only bad thing was that it was so long. Erin and I left at about 11:15 and it still wasn’t done. Of course, right when we got down on the train platform they had a flyover. That was a bummer. Anyway, after that Erin and I took the train back towards Huntingdale. I got off at Okleigh so I could go to Volcano Joes, but Erin went back to Monash. It took me a little while to get to Volcano Joes. It was a pretty cool place though. It had a big waterfall in it and was decorated in a jungle theme. That was pretty sweet. It is an all you can eat buffet place. The food wasn’t the greatest, but they had a good variety and the food was still good, so I was glad I went. I was definitely full by the time I was finished. The bus came about a minute after I got out of the restaurant, which was nice. I took the bus back to Chadstone, and then got off so I could catch the 900 back to Monash. There was 20 minutes until the 900 got there, so I went around the shopping center for a few minutes and got some pictures. I took the 900 back to the bus loop and then walked to the dorms. After I got back I checked email and all and then read/watched video on the big tornado they had in Mississippi today (the 23rd in the U.S.). There was a monster of a tornado that went all the way across Mississippi and killed at least 10 people. They had a huge severe weather outbreak in the southeast. It looks like it was nuts. Anyway, after that I read some articles for my 2211 article. After that I got dinner. I had some leftover spaghetti. I probably should have had something smaller, because by the time I was finished, I was so full. I haven’t been that full in a while. After dinner I worked on saving some soundings and radar shots from today and then worked on writing my essay. After that I looked into when I need to leave for the footy game tomorrow, and then started writing this. It is now 9:15, and I think I’m gonna get ready for bed. I’m pretty tired already, and I gotta get up at 7 so I can run in the morning. 

The Australia Journals: Apr. 16-17, 2010

Kookaburras in a tree during a camping trip at the Candlebark Camping Area in Lake Eildon National Park.

For background on this series of blogs, see this intro post.

Commentary

One of the meteorology classes I took at Monash had a mid-semester two-night camping trip as part of the curriculum. It was meant to be a field learning experience with taking different meteorological measurements. I love camping as it is, but this allowed me to do camping with a bunch of Aussies in Australia, mix in some meteorology learning during the trip, and I got to finally spend some time with Melinda. It was one of my favorite experiences during the whole Australia trip. I already mentioned Celine in an earlier post, and mentioned there was one other woman who really caught my attention while in Australia. Melinda was that other woman. I had class with Melinda, but this was the first time I got to spend any sort of time around her. By the end of the camping trip, I was kind of wishing I hadn’t got to know her. Haha. She’ll make an appearance in one more post in a couple weeks. 

The Journal Entry

Written on April 18 about April 16-17

The past two days have been good. Yesterday I got up at 7 and got ready. It was a normal morning. We had a test in 3360. I don’t think I did too well on it. I’m hoping for a 50. I’m not sure I’ll even get that though. Elizabeth doesn’t think she did too well either. It will be interesting to see what the scores are when we get the tests back. After 3360 Elizabeth and I went to Menzies and hung out there until 3040 tute at 10:30. We started earlier yesterday so we could talk about the assignment a little bit. After the tute I came back to my room and got lunch. After lunch I chatted with John a little bit and then started getting ready for the camping trip. It was such a pain trying to figure out what to take and what not to. Actually packing was really quick. I was gonna try to fit everything in my backpack, but that wouldn’t work. I ended up using my small suitcase and having that packed full. I talked to Mom for about 10 minutes while I was packing. At about 1:50 I met Elizabeth and we walked to the pick-up point. We left at about 2:30. We took a big charter bus. I sat with Elizabeth. We stopped in Yea on the way up. Elizabeth and I both got a muffin at a bakery. They didn’t want us to eat it on the bus, though, so I had to eat mine real quick. That was a bummer. After that we went to the camping spot. We are staying at Candlebark camping area in Lake Eildon State Park. I got my stuff after I got off the bus and then had to find someone with a tent. A guy named Sheldon said he probably had room. I helped him set up his tent. After we got it up, we realized we could get 3 people in there, so a guy name Allen ended up staying in our tent as well. We got our stuff set up in the tent, and then I went and visited with Elizabeth and Melinda. Elizabeth and Melinda are staying in a tent together. They actually got the tent from our 2020 professor. After a couple minutes we went down to the campfire and hung out until dinner. I was glad there was a campfire because it got cold pretty quick after the sun went down. Dinner was pretty awesome. I had 3 sausages and a hamburger. I probably could have had more as well, but I didn’t. After dinner we had a meeting where they went over safety and stuff and then we got into groups. Elizabeth, Melinda, and I got into a group with Jane, David, and Luke. I was kind of skeptical about them at first, but they have turned out to be pretty cool. After we got into our groups they assigned us group numbers. We got group 8, which meant we had to do the hill climb at 3 A.M. That wasn’t cool. I probably would have rather gotton any other time. A group did it every 3 hours from 9 P.M. that night. After we got our group numbers we all went to the bathrooms, which were the “base station” for the hill climb measurements. Richard showed everybody how to use the measurement device. After that we all walked to the base of the hill so we all knew how to get there. It was a pretty good walk to the base of the hill. It took about 20 minutes I believe. When we got to the bottom the 9 P.M. group started their climb while the rest of us came back. On the way back, we went past some bathrooms that looked identical to the ones at our campground. Everybody thought they were ours, but then figured out they weren’t. Nobody noticed them on the walk to the hill though. It was really weird. After we got back my group got ready for bed pretty quickly since we had to get up at 3. I just brought my silk sleep sack and a blanket from my room to sleep in. I slept in my jeans and a hoodie and all. I was warm at first but ended up being pretty cold. It was hard to stay wrapped up in the blanket. It was just too small. I didn’t really get to sleep until about midnight. I woke up at 2, and didn’t really get a good sleep until 3. Our group met at the bathrooms at 3 and started our walk. I was the time person, Luke did the measurements, and Dave wrote it all down. The hill was really steep. We stopped about every 4-5 minutes to get a measurement. Jane had to stop that often to rest anyway. Nobody really complained about it though, which was nice. There was a part of the climb where it levelled out, and we thought we were almost to the top, but then it got even steeper than it was before. That was funny. We got to the top at about 4. We stayed up there for about 15-20 minutes looking at the stars and just hanging out. The stars here are awesome. You can see so much. It’s amazing. I tried to get a couple pictures. I’m not sure how they turned out. We started back down about 4:25. We stopped a few times on the way down to get some measurements. It was so much faster coming down. I couldn’t believe we were at the bottom when we got there. We got back to the bathrooms at about 5:15. We put the stuff up and then went back to our tents. The two other guys in my tent had their walk at 6 A.M. I wasn’t able to get back to sleep before they left. I think I finally fell asleep at about 6:15. I slept ok until my alarm went off at 8. It was so cold in the morning. I was really wishing I had a sleeping bag. I got up at about 8:10 and came to the campfire area to get breakfast. They had pancakes for us. They didn’t have syrup though. They just had jam, sugar, and lemon juice. So I had my pancakes with apricot jam. It was pretty good. After I finished eating I got my camera and started getting some pictures around camp. A bunch of Kookaburras had started hanging around so I got a bunch of pictures of those. They are pretty awesome looking birds. They are really annoying though. Occasionally a big group of them will start making a lot of noise all at once. It’s especially annoying when you are trying to sleep. Anyway, at about 9:30 or 9:45 we started our experiment station stuff. Our group had pibal first. We got a ride a couple of km away and then they had to get the theodolite set up. We only had a few minutes to do measurements. I tried to do it first, but lost the balloon once I had to read the Vernier scale. The second pibal group lost it real quick as well. We tried a second one. This time I tracked and Elizabeth read the scale. That was so much easier than doing it by myself. The other group lost it, and so the guy showing us how to do it said we needed to get back since we were running late. I was bummed that we couldn’t see how long we could track it for. We got back to camp at about 11. After we got back Elizabeth, Luke, Melinda, and I went on a walk to the lake. Our group had a break until lunch at 12:15. It’s amazing how much higher the lake used to be. It has gone down so much. It didn’t take very long to get to the lake. We hung out there for a few minutes and then came back. After that I just hung out in the campfire area for a while. At about 12:30 I ate my sandwiches. They did a radiosonde launch at about 1. After that I noticed some specks in the viewfinder of my camera. I spent a while trying to get that to go away, but never could. That bums me out. I guess I’ll have to try to find a place to take it in the city to get it cleaned. At about 1:45 we got back to going to our stations. We did the wind mast first, then the tethersonde, then bowen ratio, and then radiation. The tethersonde was pretty crazy. They had showed us pictures in measurements class of those, but it was cool to actually see one. There wasn’t anything too interesting about any of the other ones. We finished at about 4:45. After that I got this and started writing in it. I wrote in it until dinner was about ready. I didn’t get too far though. I put it up and then we had dinner. They made chili for us. It was pretty good. It was pretty amazing they had made that here. After dinner we had a trivia night. We competed in our teams we had been in all weekend. By the way, our team name was the Climates. That was pretty awesome. Anyway, we had trivia for a while. That was really fun. Our team did pretty bad, but that didn’t really matter. That finished at about 9:15. After that I just hung out in the campfire area. I ended up visiting with Melinda and a couple other guys until about 11:15. That was really cool. Melinda seems pretty awesome. She is really pretty. I have wanted to meet her ever since the first day of 2020 class, so it’s been pretty cool to get to do that this weekend. Last night while we were visiting she said she doesn’t drink because she is a Christian as well. That’s really cool. She swears every once in a while, though, which is a turn off for me. I hate it though because it would be cool to go on a date with her sometime, but I’m only here for about 2 more months. I’m not really sure she is as strong of a Christian as I am looking for though. It’s so frustrating. Seems like the story of my life. We’ll see what happens though. Maybe we can visit some more in class and stuff after this weekend. I don’t really forsee anything happening between us though. Anyway, at about 11:15 I had to go to the bathroom really bad so I just decided to get ready for bed as well. It is now 9:50 A.M. on the 18th. I’ll probably try to write about today when I go to bed tonight. I just wanted to get the past couple days out of the way since I had some spare time. Anyway, that’s it for now.  

The Australia Journals: Apr. 6, 2010

My first (and I think only) time to eat Kangaroo while I was in Australia.

For background on this series of blogs, see this intro post.

Commentary

Renting bicycles and going for a ride in the city was a great experience that I would recommend. Once again (just like renting a car and doing a road trip), it allows you to get out and see areas that you might not see otherwise. 

I’m not a very adventurous eater, so I didn’t eat a whole lot of different food while I was in Australia. This was one of the days I was a little bit adventurous and tried some kangaroo. If you are an adventurous eater, studying abroad would be a great opportunity to try some different foods.

Even though we didn’t get to go to all the places we wanted, and the kangaroo wasn’t a big hit, it was still a great day.  

The Journal Entry

Today was a pretty good day. This morning I got up at 8 and had my normal morning routine. After I had gotten ready I started looking up possible articles for my 2211 essay. I did that until about 11, then got stuff together to go into the city. After that I got lunch and then left for the bus loop. I caught the 11:50 900 bus. I got off the train at Parliament station. I got off there so I could go to the DIAC office to get a visa label. When I got into the office, there was a sign stating they only did the visa labels between 9 A.M. and 11 A.M. That didn’t make me too happy. I got to the office at about 12:45, and I was supposed to meet Vivien at Fed Square at 2, so I had an hour to waste pretty much. I took the train to Flinders St. station and pretty much hung out at Fed Square the entire time. That was a real bummer to have to do that. Vivien showed up at about 2:15. We went to the bike place and rented a couple bikes. It was $20 for 2 hours. We decided to head over to the Docklands/Port area. We followed the river for a little while, and then got lost for a little bit. We eventually made it to the street we needed. We rode to the port and I got some good pictures of the cranes and ships and stuff. The cranes and ships were so huge. It was amazing. There were so many shipping containers there as well. I don’t know how they keep track of them all. Anyway, we headed back to the Docklands area, and Vivien wanted to go somewhere else. However, it said it would take 40 min, and we only had 40 min to get the bikes back, so I told her we better not. I felt so bad. I still feel pretty bad about it. Anyway, we ended up riding back along the river on the opposite side. We rode a little past the bike place and then came back and returned out bikes. After that we headed towards the restaurant where we were going to eat. We walked up Swanston St. and then down La Trobe St. We stopped at a few shops on the way, including a book shop, reject shop, and a couple clothing shops. We ate at the Berth Restaurant in the Docklands. We both got kangaroo. It wasn’t too bad. I would definitely take beef steak over kangaroo steak. But it wasn’t horrible. The potatoes and sauce were really good though. Once again, it was really expensive. It was $30 for the meal and an apple juice. I hate how it’s so expensive to eat out here. Anyway, Vivien didn’t really like the kangaroo. She was kind of bummed about that. We finished the meal at about 7:15. After we finished we walked to Southern Cross station. We barely missed the train we needed. It left just as we were running down the escalator. That was a bummer. We had to wait about 12 minutes for the next one. We got off the train at Okleigh so Vivien could go to Coles. The entrance to the shopping center closest to the station was closed. We ended up walking almost all the way around the shopping center to find an open entrance. Chocolate bars were on sale if you bought two, so Vivien got two and I just paid her back for one of them. She got some other stuff as well. After she finished shopping we walked to the bus stop and took the 733 bus back to campus. That was the first time I had taken that bus. Vivien made a point during the trip that we were probably supposed to have zone 2 cards, but I totally spaced that out when we got on the bus. We made it to Uni fine though. After we got back we walked to the halls. After I got to my room I checked email and stuff. Duke won the championship game. That sucks. After that I got a quick shower, and then started writing this. It is now 10:40. I think I am going to get to bed. I’m pretty tired tonight. 

The Australia Journals: Apr. 1, 2010

Another day without a picture specific to the day, so another picture of a cultural difference (queue instead of line).

For background on this series of blogs, see this intro post.

Commentary

While all the journal entries so far have made it seem like this trip was all fun and games, it really wasn’t like that every day. There were plenty of fun and games days early in the trip, but as the semester went on, there were plenty of “normal college student” days as well, just like the day in this journal entry. Walking to classes, eating lunch at some building on campus, getting a run in, doing homework, etc. So while there is the part about having fun and experiencing a different culture, don’t forget the part about being a student. 

The Journal Entry

Written on April 2 about April 1

Yesterday I got up at 7. It was a normal morning. I walked to campus with Michael and Kaarin. That was nice. 2211 lab was interesting, to say the least. We had to walk from the comp lab where we met to a science building to take soil temp and flux measurements. There was one measurement where we were supposed to wait 30 minutes, but our tutor said we didn’t need it, so we walked back. We started working on the lab when we got back. After a few minutes, it became apparent that our numbers were way off from what we were supposed to be getting. From there it just went downhill. The depths we took the measurements at were different than the depth specified in the lab. This was not our fault, as the lab was set up before we got there. We discovered we needed that measurement we didn’t take so the tutor went and got that measurement. The tutor had to go ask our professor about several things. Needless to say, it was a mess. It was so bad it was kind of entertaining. Our tutor finally just said to use the numbers we had and not worry about them being way off. After 2211 lab we went to 2020 tute. That wasn’t too bad. I already had the problems done, so I helped Elizabeth some and worked on our assignment for that class. Our professor came in and told us that he could look up our preliminary final times for us. So we all told him our classes and he pulled up when our finals are currently scheduled for. It was great to hear reactions from everybody. Someone commented it sounded like “finals bingo” or something like that. Anyway, that part of the tute was pretty entertaining. My finals schedule isn’t too bad. I have one on the first day, which may make scheduling my diving trip fun. I also have about 8 days after my last final before I leave. After 2020 tute I went to the math building to eat lunch. After I was finished with lunch I worked on the 2020 assignment some more and then went to 3040. 3040 was kind of nice because we didn’t really have to do any math or derivations or anything. After 3040 I came back to my room. I went on a run at about 3:45. Partway into the run my knee hurt really bad for a few seconds, and then felt funky afterwards. I don’t know what happened. It kinda freaked me out though. After my workout I got a shower and then got dinner. I made a pancake mix that you just have to add water to. It wasn’t too bad. After dinner I worked on getting a list of places to eat together. At about 8 I went down to the courtyard for a little while. At about 8:30 I came up to my room and then went to the loft to watch a movie. It was Pat, Stacey, Nadia, and I up there. We watched Momento. It was another mind bender movie. It wasn’t too bad. I think I need to watch it again for it to make complete sense though. After that I came back to my room and got ready for bed. 

The Australia Journals: Mar. 27, 2010

Group picture in front of the rental car during a road trip to Phillip Island.

For background on this series of blogs, see this intro post.

Commentary

Driving in a foreign country can be a little bit of a terrifying thought, but if you are able to do a road trip with a few people, I would highly recommend it. It’s a great way to spend some time with new friends and see some things you may not otherwise see. This was one of my favorite days while in Australia. Driving on the left wasn’t as difficult to get used to as I thought it would be, although there were definitely moments where habit came through (such as hitting the windshield wipers instead of the blinker). 

The Journal Entry

Today was an amazing day. I got up at 7, ate breakfast, and got ready. At 8:30 I went to the ups office to meet everybody to walk to the car rental place. Vivien, Vicky, Elizabeth, Erin, and I all went. The car rental place was down Blackburn Road a little ways. It was about a 20 minute walk, which wasn’t too bad. When I was getting the car, the guy asked me if I had any sort of proof I was living at the halls, and I didn’t. Luckily he let it slide. He said if his boss was there that wouldn’t have happened, but luckily that didn’t happen. We got pretty much a brand new car. It was a blue Holden Cruzer. The guy said they had only had it for about 2-3 weeks. That was pretty sweet. It was a nice car. I was very impressed. Anyway, I drove first. The first time I had to use the blinker I hit the windshield wipers. Haha. I was even thinking when I got into the car not to do it and I still did. It was pretty funny. The actual driving part wasn’t too bad. It was actually pretty easy. It wasn’t near as weird as I thought it was going to be. We took the freeway for a little while and then got on a highway. I had to do a couple roundabouts which weren’t too bad. It took about an hour to get to the animal park. We went to Maru Animal Park. It was a little ways before Phillip Island. That was really cool. We got to feed kangaroos, and even pet them. We got to see wallabies, dingoes, koala bears, a Tasmanian devil, and more. It was definitely worth it to go there. After that Elizabeth drove onto the Island and to The Nobbies. We ate lunch after we got to The Nobbies. There were some really cool views from there. After we ate we went into the gift shop and then did a short boardwalk thing. That was really neat. After we had finished there Elizabeth drove to the chocolate factory. They had so many different kinds of chocolate bars and stuff you could get there. We all had a really hard time deciding what to get. I ended up getting a milk caramel cream bar, a milk peppermint cream bar, and a milk strawberry cream bar. It was $9.60 just for the 3 bars. I ate the peppermint one as soon as we left. It was really good. Erin drove after we left the chocolate factory. She was kind of freaking out after she got behind the wheel. It was pretty funny. She just drove to a game place called Amaze n Things. It was pretty close to the chocolate factory. We stopped there, went into a candy shop for a couple minutes, then walked around the place a little bit. We then came back to the store to get some ice cream until we found out how expensive it was. It was $4.00 for a really small cup, so we decided not to get any. After that I drove up to Cowes. We were gonna try to get to a viewpoint, but ended up driving on all these narrow residential streets. We ended up parking on a dead-end street and walking on a short path to the beach. After that we walked along the beach for a while picking up shells and visiting. It was fun. After we had walked a while we turned around and walked back to the car. After that I drove to a place called Red Rock Point. It was another beach. It was pretty neat. We just hung out there for a while and visited. At about 4:30 we left and Elizabeth drove back into Cowes. We parked in the downtown area and walked around a little bit looking at places to eat. After we had found where we all wanted to eat, we used some public restrooms and then all got our food. Vivien and Elizabeth got fish and chips, Vicky got noodles, Erin got chicken nuggets, and I got a Hawaiian chicken parm sandwich thing with chips. It was pretty good. While we were eating we saw some of the kids from Loyola and visited with them. They had come with Monash Sport. That was cool. After we had finished eating, we walked to an ice cream place. I got some boysenberry swirl ice cream. It was really good. Once again a little overpriced, but it was good. After that we went back to the car and Elizabeth drove to the penguin parade place. It was raining on the way there. After we got into the main building we looked through a couple of the shops. Erin, Elizabeth, and Vicky bought ponchos. By the time we headed out to the viewing area it wasn’t raining anymore. We went and sat down at about 7:40. The penguins were so cute. They were so small. They would come to shore in groups and then walk up the beach as groups. There was one group that kept going back and forth from the water to the beach. It was so funny. It was like they couldn’t decide whether to go up the beach or not. Finally all of them but one did. That one stayed in the water. Towards the time we left it started to sprinkle. By the time we had left it was pretty empty already. It was really cool to see that. After we left there Elizabeth drove back to Melbourne. We came back to the halls and everybody went to their rooms to put stuff up. We then all met back at the car and I drove to Pinewood to go to Coles. This was at about 10:45 I believe. We all did some shopping, and then drove back to the halls. It was so nice not to have to take public transport to go shopping. It was so much quicker and easier. As we were dropping off Erin and Vivien, we realized we needed to fill the car up with gas. So Vicky, Elizabeth, and I went to do that. We went to the 7-11 on North Rd. I went and asked the cashier if I needed to leave my credit card with him before I started pumping, and he said I didn’t have to. He then asked me if the car was gas, and I said yes, and he told me we needed to move to a different pump. I went back to the car and told Vicky and Elizabeth that, and Vicky pointed out that “gas” means like “propane gas,” while the gas in the United States is referred to as petrol here. When I opened the tank cap, it was unleaded fuel only, so we were at the right pump. The cashier came out after I started pumping, and I had to explain to him I got the terminology mixed up. It was pretty funny. Anyway, I paid for gas, and then we came back to the halls. I came back to my room, got groceries put up, made some chocolate milk, and then started writing this. It is now 1:17 A.M. There is probably so much more I could write about today, but I’m really tired and need to get to bed. It was a really fun day. I’m really glad we got to do it. It was awesome having our own vehicle and being able to do whatever we wanted. It was so funny because everybody was so nice about where they wanted to sit and who wanted to drive that it was always a long process deciding who was going to drive and where everybody was going to sit. Some funny things about driving here was that both Elizabeth and I hit the windshield wipers and we both reached to the wrong side for seat belts. That’s really all I can remember right now. Tomorrow I may spend a little while seeing if I can think of anything else, but for not it’s off to bed. 

The Australia Journals: Mar. 19, 2010

A game of interhall volleyball while at Monash.

For background on this series of blogs, see this intro post.

Commentary

I never played intramural sports at OU, but I was glad I did it while I was at Monash. It was a fun way to spend some time with the Australian students and other students studying abroad. If you do study abroad, I would definitely recommend looking for opportunities like this to spend some time with the “locals”. 

The Journal Entry

Today was pretty good. This morning I got up at 7 and made the rest of the pancake batter. It wasn’t that good this morning. After that I got ready and went to class. Once again 3360 was way confusing. I’m hoping to spend a while tomorrow going through problems and notes for that class. After that Elizabeth and I went to the Menzies building and studied until our 3040 tute. That went ok. Got to go back over a couple problems we worked in there sometime. After that I came back to my room. I ate lunch and then got onto my computer. I was hoping my parents would be on Skype, but they weren’t. I ended up watching some March Madness on the internet. That was pretty sweet to be able to do that. At 1:45 I headed to class. 2020 wasn’t too bad today. Nothing particularly interesting happened today though. After that I came back to my room and watched some more March Madness until about 3:45. At 3:45 I went down to the courtyard to meet to go play volleyball for interhall sports. Dave came down a couple minutes later. We weren’t able to get a team together until about 4, which is when our first game was supposed to be. We got to the place where we were playing and they hadn’t started yet. We were just playing at Monash Sport. We had 3 games we played. After a while some more people showed up so we ended up having a pretty good sized team. We lost all 3 games though. It was still fun. I really enjoyed it. After the games I came back and got a shower. Then I cooked a couple frozen pizza things for dinner. They were pretty good. After that I went to the foyer and watched a couple people play Mario for a while. At about 8:30 I came to my room and watched 24. It was a pretty awesome episode tonight. After that was over I started writing this. It’s only 9:40, but I’ll probably get ready for bed pretty soon since I didn’t get much sleep last night and I’m planning on getting up at 8 tomorrow morning so I can go shopping early. 

The Australia Journals: Mar. 13, 2010

View from the Eureka Skydeck looking east. Lots of memories included in this picture.

For background on this series of blogs, see this intro post.

Commentary

When you’re away from home for an extended time, it’s not uncommon to realize you are very thankful for certain things at home. This trip was no exception. This was a day that, by the end, made me very thankful for not having to rely on public transportation at home. The Melbourne public transportation system wasn’t bad, but it was just so much more of a pain, typically involved some waiting, and I always had to keep in mind I had to get purchases back to the dorms on public transportation. It was definitely nice to have it to get around while I was down there, but I was very thankful to get back home to my own vehicle. 

The Journal Entry

(Actually written evening of March 15 about March 13.)

Saturday I got up at 7:30, ate breakfast, and got ready. I went down to catch the first shuttle bus to the shopping center. Monash runs a free shuttle back and forth from Brandon Park shopping center on Saturday mornings. While I was waiting for that I realized I had forgotten my list. So I had to run back up to my room and grab that. The stop is right by Farrer Hall so I didn’t have to go far. I made it back in time, but when the shuttle bus showed up, it filled up before I could get on. That was a bummer. I had to wait for the next one, which took about 10 minutes. When I got to the shopping center I found Coles and did my shopping. After that was finished I took the shuttle back to the halls. I put everything up and then went down to the bus loop. I saw the bus I wanted pulling away, and I had to wait for the next one, which took about 30 minutes. I had to wait for a while for a train once I got there as well. I believe it took between 1.5 and 2 hours to get to the city from the time I left my room. Once I was in the city I went to the Eureka tower. That was really awesome. It was a bummer though because the glare on the windows was really bad, so it was hard to get good pictures. While I was there I did The Edge, which is a glass cube thing you get in that goes out from the side of the building. That was pretty cool. I was up in the tower until about 2. After that I headed to Pancake Parlour at the Bourke St. Mall. It took me a while to find it, which was kind of annoying. I got the Farmer’s Breakfast, which was 2 pancakes, eggs, and hash browns. It was pretty good except for the hash browns. They were overcooked. Overall I wasn’t particularly impressed though. After that I went to the student welcome thing at Fed Square. I got there about 3 and left at about 3:40. I got to see a snake and a couple crocs on the stage. That was pretty cool. After that I went to see a production of Madagascar by the Melbourne Theater Co. at the arts center. It was a “mind twister” type of play where it all came together at the end, and I missed something because I was lost at the end, and pretty much through the entire play, which was a bummer. It probably would have been a lot better if it had made sense. Anyway, that finished at about 5:45 and I had to hurry and get to the IMAX by 6:30. I took a train from Flinders St. to Parliament and then walked to the IMAX. I made it there at about 6:20. That was good, because I was kind of worried about getting there on time. I watched the new Alice in Wonderland in 3D. It was pretty awesome. I was kind of skeptical about the movie, but it ended up being really good. That finished a little while after 8. I caught a tram to the corner of Russel. St. and Bourke St. and then went and had dinner at Taco Bills. It was really weird eating there by myself, but it was really good. I didn’t eat until 9. I got the Enchiladas Grande. After that I walked to Flinder St. Station. I just barely caught the train that was there. Then I came back and went to bed. 

The Australia Journals: Mar. 6, 2010

Flooded street in downtown Melbourne on way home from surfing trip.

For background on this series of blogs, see this intro post.

Commentary

Half of this day I was definitely in Australia (surfing), and the other half felt more like Oklahoma (thunderstorms). I had never surfed before, so I was really excited to give that a shot. I really enjoyed it. I was bummed that it got cut short by the storms. Thunderstorms had caused quite a bit of damage and flooding in Melbourne. Traffic and mass transit was a mess, so getting back to Monash ended up being quite the adventure. You can read all about it in the journal entry below. 

The Journal Entry

I got up this morning at 5:40. I had a surfing lesson trip today. It was through Monash Sport again. I ate breakfast and then got all my stuff together. I left at about 6:45 to go to the pick-up area. We were supposed to get picked up at 7:20, but the bus didn’t show up until almost 7:40. It was the same type of bus as last weekend. We stopped by Caulfield and RMIT to pick people up. By the time we had picked everybody up the bus was completely full. While we were leaving Melbourne everybody had to say their name and some info about themselves. We drove to Ocean Grove to do the surfing lessons. We weren’t really sure if we had gone to the right place when we got there, but it ended up being the right place. We did the surfing lesson through Ride a Wave. When we got there we got a wetsuit and had to get changed into that. After that we got our boards and ankle cord things. The boards were foam and pretty large to make it easier. That was nice. After we got all that, we went down to the beach. We had a quick lesson about how to lay on the board, paddle, and then the very basic way to get up on the board. After that they let us go into the water for a while and practice. After a while of practicing they had us go to the beach again for another quick lesson. In this one they taught us the typical way to get on the board, the way to do it all in one motion. They then let us go in the water again and practice some more. It was a lot of fun, but as the same time wore me out. It made my arms really tired. At about 12:30 we took a lunch break. There was a little food stand there. I just got some chips for lunch. It was a pretty big bag of chips. After lunch we all went back to the water and just had a free time pretty much, where we could keep practicing surfing. At about 2:30 a thunderstorm started to come through so they closed the beach. Our group all got changed out of our wetsuits and back on to the bus. We were supposed to stay until 4 I believe, so they just took us into Torquay for about 40 minutes to burn some time. While we were in Torquay we heard on the radio that Melbourne had been hit by a pretty big thunderstorm and that there was flooding and large hail. We got back into Melbourne at about 5:30 and the traffic was nuts. The tour guide just decided to drop us off at a train station because it probably would have been faster. He was going to drop us off at Melbourne Central Station, but couldn’t get there because the roads were blocked off. Then he decided to drop some people off at a tram stop and the rest of the people off at Southern Cross Station. I got off at Southern Cross. However, we had to walk a little ways to get there, and wouldn’t you know it they had it shut down. Part of the roof had collapsed during or after the storm. I was with a group of 4 other students, and we just decided to walk to Flinder St. Station. Little did we know what that would entail. We had to walk through flooded walkways and streets. That was really nasty. We saw trams and vehicles that were stranded on flooded streets. There were still piles of hail on the ground in some spots. Leaves from trees were everywhere. It was a huge mess. We finally made it to Flinder St. Station. Vivien went to get her concession card, so we were at the station for a while waiting for her to get that. Once she got that we went to our platform. The train lines we needed to take were all messed up. They weren’t even running on a schedule. We just got on a train that was parked there and waited for a few minutes for it to leave. It finally left, but it only ended up going to Okleigh Station. There were only me and 2 others at that point. Two of the students got off at Caulfield. Since the train stopped at Okleigh, we had to catch the 900 bus to campus from there. We had to wait for about 20 minutes for that bus. We eventually got on. By the time we got to the bus loop at Monash, it was 8:15. We got off the tour bus in the city at 6:15. We were supposed to be back at Monash at 5:45. Needless to say, it was a pretty interesting day. After we got off the bus we walked back to the dorms. When I got back I hopped in the shower right away. After that I got on the computer for a little bit and then got dinner. I finished off my leftover tacos and baked beans. That was at about 9. I tried to find a couple people in our group on the way back on Facebook. I think I found one of them, but I can’t find Vivien. Anyway, then I started writing this. It’s now 11:42 and I need to get to bed.