Monday, July 19, 2010

2. Multiply by 1.8 and add 32.

19 July 2010

Wow, so I’m way behind… sorry about that. Last week was kind of crazy and I’ve just been keeping notes to remind myself of the things I wanted to blog about. This post will probably be broken up into sections. Or I’ll just post several blogs. I haven’t decided. We’ll see how long this gets.

No Worries Mate!

Well… some worries. It appears my school under budgeted me by a considerable amount. I’ll be stretched pretty thin for living expenses and anything extra that might come up. CWU has not responded to my emails about the fact that I’ve been under budgeted and don’t have enough to pay for this whole trip. They’ve simply said they’re working on it. That was a week ago. Or maybe not quite a week ago.
I’ve been here a little over a week now. I have permanent accommodations at a student living… thing. It’s called Urbanest ( My address for the duration of my stay is
123a 60 Turbine Street
South Brisbane, QLD, Australia 4101

It’s a nice place. More expensive than I would like to pay, but I’ve been very fortunate in having some really cool roommates, and it’s just a few minutes from the school. The building is about 6 months old and still smells new. It’s weird. It feels weird to be living in yet another place. And although Brisbane is beautiful and I completely understand how someone could find themselves content to lie out on the beach for their entire life.
But there’s something about this place that doesn’t make me feel any permanence. The building I’m in feels like a hotel. Even with everything unpacked and I’m settled in, I can’t help feeling like I’m just passing through. And that feels like an attitude I’m finding with the people here. I’m not from here, so I won’t be staying here. G’day, mate. Don’t forget to turn off the lights when you leave.

It’s not a bad thing. I do like it here and will definitely enjoy myself while I’m here. But there is a part of me that misses home and looks forward to a routine that I’ll keep going for a while. A point when school is over and I can just work, and play and not have classes. I’m ready for that chapter to end. ☺
I’ve seen a lot of bats here. And I mean a lot… haha technically they’re called Flying foxes here because the face looks like a fox. But really they’re fruit bats. I got scared by one the other night when I was walking along. It looked to be about a 3’ wingspan. And I thought I imagined it. Until it passed under another streetlight, even closer to me than before. I wasn’t imagining it. It was freakishly huge. When I returned to the hostel I was staying at I asked about it…
"How big do your bats get here?" - me
"Beds? Up to king size I believe."
"No bats. Flying mammals."
"Beds? Beds don't fly."
"No! He means bets. With wings."
"Oh fruit bets! We call them flying foxes on account of their faces look like a fox and they fly. And yeah. They get f*ing huge."
The other guy holds out his arms "wingspan..."

Anyways… haha so yeah. I’ve also seen a slew of other less than cuddly creatures. Still no spiders. Just spider webs. I’m ok with this. Haha.

Umm other business. Sorry I have a lot to write about and it’ll be pretty all over the place I’ve decided. Bear with me. rar.

I realized I have the power to make tourists take pictures. If I stop and look like I see something interesting near a group of people with cameras, and then bring out my camera and start snapping pictures… they’ll start taking their own pictures. I was shooting a tree and a clock tower. Nothing really exciting about it. But I got a few people to do it. I however have also noticed a desire to take pictures if I see someone else doing this. So… I’m not really all mighty and powerful. But whatever.

I have not concluded whether or not the toilets flush the other way. All the toilets are these flush/half flush toilets to save water during the droughts they have here. They shoot straight down the hole and seem to just splash everything silly.

I laugh every time I hear the word “heaps.” As in: I miss you heaps, there’s heaps of energy… or any of the other reasons they say heaps.

I feel as though I’ve learned the lay out of the city. For those who played RPG’s (role playing games) like Zelda, or grand theft auto you’ll probably remember how you get the land in sections. That’s how I felt about this city. I started in south bank and got lost. Learned that inside and out and found my way into downtown. Learned that and moved into Kelvin grove… and every time I felt I had seen all there was to see I found a new part of the city that confused the crap out of me and left me wandering on foot for hours. I spent the better part of everyday last week walking around from early morning until the sun started to go down.

Which leads me to my next thing… the sun. It’s really disorienting when you know where the sun is and where that SHOULD put you. At home, the sun travels from east to west across the southern part of the sky. Here, it still travels east to west, but now it’s in the north. I’ve spent my entire life with it on my left in the morning and right in the evening. This has caused me to go the wrong direction when looking at maps. You’d be surprised how that messes with you.
I had my first Australian pizza. It was pretty good. And if anyone puts capsicum on your pizza, don’t freak out. It’s not some weird veggie. Its just peppers. I don’t know why the guy had such a hard time saying that… but he looked at me like I was retarded because I didn’t know what capsicum was. Whatever. Haha I know now. But I noticed upon ordering this pizza that everything is under serious portion control.

In America, bigger is better. And this shows in our population’s overweight/obesity numbers. We’re the fattest country in the world. But with fatty greasy fast foods so readily available and for such a cheap price, it’s not wonder. Apparently Australia is the second. I have a hard time understanding this. Food found on the dollar menu in America costs upwards of $4 here. Everything is in much smaller quantities. I do find myself full though. I’ve been making half portions and doing my own portion control (much to several peoples dismay as they wanted to the American consume all during dinner and fulfill that stereotype.) and I still find myself very full most of the time. I’ve been buying the “small” size of whatever when I’m out and around town. Or just making less when I’m home. This is to save money, but also to try and get in healthier eating habits. Being here seems to make it really easy.

By the way, I made kielbawesome avec kangaroo this evening. It was amazing. Partially inspired by the TV show that’s huge here called master chef (, but because I wanted to make it to share with my roommates. Well originally I would have done it like I always do. However, beef/pig/chicken is really expensive here. So for about half the price I picked up some garlic and herb kangaroo steaks to replace the meat and make it a little more Australian. It was amazing.

Photobucketduring cooking:
PhotobucketMaster Chef aint got nothing on me!
the critic tastes:

I’ve also spent some time playing my guitar. I think she likes it here. She’s never sounded so full and vibrant. And I feel my own voice pushing itself in response. My first time playing was back in my room at the hostel. I didn’t really have anything better to do in the hostel, so I just hung out at night and played until quiet time at 10 pm. Once I moved into Urbanest I met a guy from the east coast of the US who is a music major in the masters program at a conservatory here. He saw me with my guitar case and later saw me doing laundry in the laundry room. He came down with some beer and his guitar and we had a beer and jammed for the hour or so while I waited for my laundry to dry. We ended up with a one-person audience as a girl (her name is Jasmine I believe) came in and listened to us play for a while. Apparently two Americans playing guitar while waiting for laundry is not common practice here in Australia. Which is ironic because I would have thought that if it worked anywhere, this would have been the place. But I think my girl has earned her first tattoo. ☺ later that night I played upstairs in my room with one of my roommates. Also very fun. I think I might like my new accommodations.

There are two types of accommodations on campus here. And in the city as well, I suppose. You either have the typical colonial style of archways and large sandstone bricks, or you have very contemporary buildings like you’d find on campus at UW or at CWU. Knowing that Garden’s point campus was built around the parliament house here in Brisbane and several of the buildings were originally from before the school was there and these were the buildings of the… I don’t know what they’re called. Haha I’m not informed. But the people who ran Brisbane. Whatever they call that in the Australian/british/English terms. Anyways, those buildings are turned into classrooms and offices throughout the jungle filled campus. The other buildings are much more modern. Complete with no windows in the classrooms. In fact, any time they have the opportunity to place a window or door, they simply have giant breezeways that open up and let in the outside whether. Most dining places and even the mall are really open to the outside world because they have such nice weather all the time. It’s very different from home.

Ok I’m almost done with this post. Some things you should know… the difference between an OZ (Australian) accent and NZ (New Zealander) accent is that OZ’s have a tendency to make everything really short and abbreviated when they speak, where as the NZ accent is generally more full. And although both are nasally and sound like the British equivalent to a southern drawl, OZ is very quick and seems to almost always have an inflection going up much like someone asking a question. These are observations I’ve made and things I’ve been informed from some OZ and NZ’s I talked to. I really like that everyone’s so cool with how many questions I seem to ask. Not too many people get upset about it.

Umm I feel like I should do something about other countries views on Americans… I had it in my notes to do that. But not today. Maybe I’ll write one blog specifically about that.

Anyways I’ll end with the quote of day/week.
“Don’t swim at night, the sharks will come to party with you. Don’t drink and swim, you’ll get the sharks tipsy.” – QUT guy giving a warning about the dangers of Australia.

Ok I’ll get started on the weekend at Stradbroke island and get that posted later this evening.
I love you guys, and miss you heaps. :P

p.s. I almost forgot! This song… it’s kind of… different. But it’s growing on me. and it’s very popular here.

haha the first time I heard it was on the party boat. I may have mentioned it in that blog. It’s very catchy, and it’s played here quite frequently. I watched the international students suddenly jump up and down with their arms in the air during the chorus. And then when the chorus stopped everyone simultaneously went back to just goof dancing (ha I’ve heard people call it that a few times… so I’m using it now.) and as soon as it came back, the hands went up and everyone started jumping. I’m not sure if I missed the memo. But I just stood there laughing. Much like when “Sexy Bitch” came on ( and 250+ people from all over the world sang the chorus in unison. Haha not to speak down about the world or anything. But wow. Anyways that’s all. I’m going for real this time. ☺

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