Sending Sydney off with some Vegemite

Vegemite, Vegemite, we eat Vegemite! Come and we’ll sail ya to Australia!

That song from my childhood has been playing in my head this entire trip. As a send off to Sydney, I decided to try it. The outcome was not good.

Vegemite is salty. But not good salty, like that chicken you ate one time with so much salt your lips purse. That salty.

I tried it though, and that’s all that matters.

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Day 19-Saying Goodbye to the town I love

Sydney, je t’aime. 

I guess that works more so if I was saying “Paris” but we’ll let it slide for now. 

Today was a beautiful goodbye to Sydney. We spent the morning at Paddy’s Market and The Rocks, seeing the Opera House for what I hope and pray won’t be the last time. The hotel put on a movie & dinner for us as a send off and I spent a good amount of time packing.

I can’t believe this is it. 

This is the last night I’ll spend in Sydney.

Tomorrow at 6:30am we fly out to Cairns, Australia. I am so excited to begin the next (and final) chapter of this trip, but I’ll miss Sydney. 

I’ve always thought that I would feel as though study abroad was a long vacation with some assignments thrown in. But it’s so much different than that. 

Not to be “that” study abroad girl, but it’s so much more than visiting Sydney. This isn’t a week long vacation with mom & dad or family where they pay for your meals and plan every moment of every day. This is living in Sydney, eating where the locals eat, learning how to work public transportation, studying culture, navigating the streets. I had to budget everything and live as an Australian. I visited their universities, sat in on their classes and really learned what being Australian was all about.

This trip was nowhere near the experience of those who study abroad for six weeks, a semester or a year. But it was something. I did this. I went to a brand new city where I knew no one and nothing and I did it. I navigated the train and city by myself the second day I was here. I set up meetings with professionals here. I didn’t sit idly by and go to the beach and be a tourist. I went where locals sent me, tried what they liked and didn’t become “that American.”

And I’m pretty proud of myself for it. 

The night before flying out, I got food poisoning and cried for a very long while. And here I am, only a week left, traveling to another city and braving it all. 

This experience is one I’ll absolutely never forget.

If you ever have the chance to go abroad, even if for a week, do it. Please. 

But try not to stay in the Red Light District as I did. It makes going out after 5pm a pretty daunting task. 

Tomorrow: Cairns!

Tuesday: Great Barrier Reef!

-EA

Day 18-The Rocks and O-Bar

My last Saturday in Sydney has come and gone. 

I slept in relatively late because exhaustion is sort of catching up with me. 

We went to Paddington (again, I know, I’m sorry) one last time, but you’ll be happy to know I made no purchases. None. Nunca. Zip. Zero. 

I did, however, film my subject one last time. 

After that we headed over to Darling Harbor to visit the Wildlife Sanctuary.

Let’s take a moment to discuss how truly adorable koalas are. 

1. Don’t call them koala bears, as they aren’t bears. 

2. They’re like average college students: sleep 18 hours a day & eat things that are bad for them.

3. They’re like little humans and I want one.

Unfortunately, the cutest picture of me with a koala is on a friend’s camera, so I have to wait.

BUT Y’ALL KNOW THAT IT’LL BE ON FACEBOOK. 

Anyway, I have a slight obsession with them. 

Like I cried yesterday just looking at one. 

I almost passed out when I found out we could touch one. 

They’re perfect little creatures. 

Ok, end koala rant. 

Next a couple of us hit up The Rocks, an outdoor market similar to Paddington, but instead of homemade expensive gifts it was reminiscent of a nicer flea market. 

I got the abuelas hand-painted bowls that I hope they’ll like, so we shall see.

Also I got THE BEST mango ice cream I’ve ever had. 

You know how mango flavoured things taste like mango, but mostly taste mango flavoured? Like there’s that little off thing about them? They’re too sweet and sugary. 

This ice cream, however, was like a mango but cold. It tasted exactly like a mango does, just a different consistency. It was marvelous. 

We headed back to the hotel and got ready to go to O-Bar!!

O-Bar is a world famous revolving bar 47 floors up in the heart of Sydney. You can see literally everything from up there, including Vivid Sydney! 

I began with a vodka cranberry, because it’s always my go-to drink & it was delicious. Next came the goblin, not as sweet but with a lemon-lime flavor. Add sweet-potato chips & I was in heaven!

The view was incredible. The drinks were incredible. It was the perfect wrap up to an amazing time down under. 

We planned on going out to a really cool bar in Darling Harbor called the Scary Canary, but unfortunately my stomach didn’t agree with the chips/vodka/tim tams, so I got sick & had to stay in. Boo 😦

Today is my last day in Sydney, and I am incredibly sad about it. We’ve been here nearly 3 weeks and I feel that I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the amazing things the city has to offer. But I definitely feel comfortable here, like I could live here. I know how to work public transportation, I eat where the locals eat & I can speak the language (although that one’s a given). 

Sydney, I love you and everything about you. 

But it’s off to Cairns now. In 2 days I’ll be snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef & laying out by the resort pool, swimming up to the bar. 

Get ready for me, Cairns!

-EA

Day 17: Manly Beach and Vivid Sydney

Greetings from Sydney!

Another day in a beautiful city I wish to call my home. 

Another post late because I was actually enjoying nighttime Sydney so don’t judge me. 

Yesterday morning was spent catching up on homework, blogging & packing for Cairns on Monday. 

The afternoon brought us to Manly Beach again for some light shopping (yeah right, “light”) and taking in the beach. 

I’m really sad it’s fall in Sydney, because the beach was breathtaking. This was the first time I actually got to see real surfers riding waves. The waves were huge and the beach was freezing, but they didn’t care one bit. They ran in fearlessly, surfboard in hand, and braved the icy waters. 

Afterwards we headed back to Sydney Harbor for Vivid Sydney. 

Vivid Sydney is a light show they’re doing for the next few weeks. Basically, they project lights onto the opera house and the harbor. Sort of like how they project images on the water jets at Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios. It was absolutely and positively one of the coolest things I’d seen. We grabbed a quick dinner at a little market set up they had & returned home. 

I grabbed drinks with a couple of the girls on the trip & we played Uno (judgement is allowed). 

I turned in early, as today is to be very busy! Last Saturday in Sydney!

-EA

Day 14 & 15: Blue Mountains & Bridge Climb

Hello!

I’m combining these 2 days & posting extremely late for one reason & one reason alone:

MACHIAVELLI WAS BEING RUDE. 

Let me explain. 

Tuesday night I had a lot of homework, so I decided to wait until the morning to post. 

Except it didn’t happen. 

I guess I should clarify, my laptop’s name is Machiavelli. 

Get it, because it’s a Mac?

MAChiavelli?

Anyway, he was being slow (yes he’s a he, deal with it) & I shut him down. But then he wouldn’t start back up. He would get to the start up screen and just sit there. Pero like I wasn’t impressed. 

All the online forums said to do a “safe boot” which requires you to hold shift while restarting. Problem is, the restart was taking FOREVER & I had to leave to do my Bridge Climb (details to follow). 

So what do I do? 

I create an ingenious device to hold shift while I’m gone. I placed my camera charger on top of the button & used an apple to keep the weight on it. 

Laugh all you want, but I got back & my computer was on again. BOOM SHAKKA LAKKA. 

Except it was running really slow. And wouldn’t recognize my SD card. And had no sound. 

But an “on” laptop is better than anything else so I dealt with is. 

I went to class this a.m. & had an assignment to turn in. But we turn them in on flashdrives & my computer wouldn’t recognize his. So he had me restart it. 

AND AGAIN IT DIDN’T WORK. 

At this point I’m almost crying in class, but I put on my big girl pants & dealt with it. On the way up to my room it just started up again & is working perfectly fine now. 

Thank you, Jesus! I was beginning to freak out!

So now, lovely people, I can fill you in on what’s been going on down under. 

Tuesday we took a trip to the Blue Mountains, sort of. 

First we drove to a wildlife park an hour & a half our of sydney. Not really much to look at

EXCEPT FOR THE FACT THAT I GOT TO PET A KOALA AND KANGAROO.

Let me make one thing clear: I signed up for study abroad because of koalas. Sure, there were secondary reasons, but really mostly koalas. 

Okay, obviously I’m kidding (kind of ). 

But they were adorable and perfect and I cried a little. 

After that we drove another hour and a half to a little town names Leura. We stopped off for lunch & some quick shopping. It was a small town, similar to downtown Brooksville, but cute. It was still technically in Sydney so it was really interesting to see the differences. 

Then we headed off to the Blue Mountains. We stopped off at a lookout to take some great photos and then took a railway car straight down the mountain to the bottom. It was gorgeous  We got to see the three sisters and hike a bit. 

Like I said before, I had a ton of homework so I grabbed nachos for dinner & went HAM. 

The next day was the day of my laptop’s “fit” of sorts, but I don’t even care BECAUSE IT WAS TIME TO CLIMB THE HARBOR BRIDGE.

Since signing up to study abroad, everyone I’ve spoken to who has ever visite Sydney or lives in Sydney says it is a must do. Granted, it had a high price tag but I really didn’t care. 

A real quick update on weather: 

It’s technically the last week of Autumn here, about to head into Winter. 

So it’s cold. And on top of the bridge it was 12 Celsius (you convert it, I’m not your mom.)

And it rained. THE WHOLE TIME. 

Luckily we had tons of rain gear on. 

But honestly, it was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had in my life. The view was breathtaking, the climb was exhilarating & everything about it was perfect. If you ever visit Sydney or even Australia, make the trip. Do it, you will not regret it. 

And so ends two days in Sydney. We only have 4 days left here before heading off to Cairns!

Sorry for the length of this post and I’m extra sorry I didn’t describe all my food (last night was Pie Face, there you go.)

Gday, mates!

-EA

Day 13: Taronga Zoo & nuggets

Somewhere along the timeline of this blog, my titles changed to always include the food I ate that day. 

At first I believe I did this because I was trying new things & exploring Sydney. 

Tonight I had nuggets. Let’s be real, I’m not trying anything new with nuggets. 

Chicken nuggets are like my family (T1 for life will always get it). 

Anyway, the evolution of my title has no bearing on the blog post.

That was the point of all that, so end rant. 

Today my morning began wonderfully. I had a half hour Skype session with Paulette, which was beyond perfect. Man, I miss my roomie. Our schedules are so reversed it’s hard to even text, let alone Skype. 

Afterwards I headed down to breakfast (hash browns WHAT WHAT) & ethics. 

Oh, ethics. You are the bane of my existence. So difficult. 

Ethics came and gone, tears were shed (it’s really a tough course, guys) & I headed back to the room. A couple of girls from our group had to go film their video subject and would be gone until 3, so my roommate and I decided to hit up Taronga Zoo. 

It’s a small bit aways, located on an island right off the Harbor. Two trains, a ferry & a bus got us there. For $31.50 we were able to see a whole lot. I’m not one for zoos, so I wasn’t very impressed, but it’s world famous & something worth seeing. 

Side note: I got radtastic earrings with a tiger wearing a bowtie for $5. That was worth the whole trip.

We met up with the rest of the group & planned the rest of our week. I’ve got less than a full week left in Sydney and idk I just refuse to leave so yeah. 

I seriously don’t want to go. I’m excited for Cairns, but Sydney is beyond everything I could ever want. 

Exciting events coming up include: 

-Blue Mountains tomorrow

-Harbor Bridge Climb Wednesday

-Visiting ABC (Australian BC, lol) Thursday

-High tea

-Vivid Sydney (really awesome light show where they project stuff on the Sydney Opera House)

There will be tons more, but those are the ones I’m very very excited for. 

We headed to the mall to grab some warm clothes for one of the girls (the Blue Mountains wil be in the 40’s…) & took two trains to the Sydney Aquarium. 

I really just love aquariums of any kind. 

I got to touch a starfish, see Nemo & Dory, sit under a shark and buy a sweatshirt for $19.95. 

Yay another souvenir for Erica?

Shopping is addictive and I must stop. 

Then we headed over to the Sydney Tower, the largest building in Sydney. They take you to the very tip top & have a 360 degree observation deck you can visit. 

Man, Sydney is stunning at night. The harbor lit up, the buildings, the bridge all culminate into this beautiful scene before your eyes. It was breathtaking. 

We grabbed quick dinners and ate in the hotel living room because we all wanted different things. 

I wanted McDonald’s because, well, to be real, I wanted a little slice of home. 

Bonus: cashier flirted with me & I got 11 nuggets instead of 10. SCORE!

Now it’s time for bed, we’ve got to be downstairs by 7:30 am for the Blue Mountains. 

Arrivederci!

-EA

Day 12: Lazy Sunday

I don’t have much to write tonight, and for that I apologize. 

Every day we’ve been here, I’ve done something. Gone to a museum, a park, a show or exploring. 

Today, I did none of those things. 

I went with my roommate to go film her video project, a very passive act I may say. I sat & played sudoku for a couple of hours. 

Afterwards I sat in the hotel & did homework. 

I know, lame. 

But I needed a day to sit in bed & not walk around, watch The Office & read some Buzzfeed articles. I needed a breather. 

We went out to dinner, but just to a small burger place up the road. It was yummylicious & I got a Coke (yay caffeine). It’s name, we have learned, was Burgerlicious. 

Side note: People here don’t say “How are you?”; rather, they say “How are you going?” 

Oh, okay. 

Now I’m working on homework some more. Ethics is real tough, y’all.

Any idea what a consequentialist would say about whether or not we publish the name of someone who made a fake MySpace account to prey on their daughter’s best friend?

If you think of the answer, go ahead and comment. I’ll be waiting for it. 

Not to mention the fact that my download of Final Cut Pro X (which should have taken 10 minutes) is literally taking 10 hours because of this wifi, AKA Erica can’t work on her video until tomorrow. 

C’est la vie, right?

Why life? Just, why?

Highlight of today was FaceTiming with sassy, momma bear & most importantly Luke. I missed my bambering besoz bby. 

It’s off to do more work & rip these stupid acrylics off. They’re killing me. 

-EA

Day 11: Paddington part deux, wine & pizza

So this post is late & I profusely apologize. 

The internet was not up to par last night & I couldn’t post. 

But I have saved the most important details from yesterday & you will be enthralled by my day.

Ready?

Ok, so we began our day at Paddington (again), because, let’s be real, I love shopping. 

Still not done, but Louis, Kelly, Paulette, momma, sassy, Alex & Coral will all be pleased. 

Spent way too much money but everyone will be happy, thus I am happy. 

Afterwards we headed to a local chocolate place highly recommended by everyone in Sydney. 

OH DEAR LORD IT WAS HEAVEN ON EARTH. 

All I got was ice cream & chocolate  but I died. I’m a spirit floating around until I can eat that chocolate again.

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Next we headed to the Pyrmonte wine festival by Darling Harbor. $20 got you a wine glass (to keep, yay souvenirs!) and 5 tickets to sample wines. 

I tried about 7 or 8 (some places let you do 2 “half” tastes) & found that my personal favorite was a Rose Moscato. Normally I don’t enjoy wine too much, but this one was delicious. Very sweet & light. 

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Honorable mentions include the delicious lunch I had. It was Chinese noodles, rice, chicken, a spring roll, potatoes and salad with yoghurt dressing. 

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I seriously think that yesterday was one of the best days I’ve had in Sydney. 

Sitting by the harbor, sipping wine & eating Dutch pastries, Sydney is beautiful. 

Afterwards we headed back to the hotel & I grabbed dinner with some of the girls I hadn’t seen since the beginning of the trip!

A little bit of Glee & I was ready for sleep!

I solemnly swear I will not leave you waiting on another post. 

Until tonight!

-EA

 

Day 10-Paddy’s Market, Video part 2 & PLL

Hello, all!

Two things:

1. French toast is better in America

2. Financial aid dropped today

Now that we’ve established those two very important details, we can begin. 

I slept in today until 7am (score!) & just lounged until I stopped being lazy and grabbed breakfast at 8. 

We headed to Paddy’s Market, an indoor market that is filled with knick knacks and paddiwacks. 

A little cheap for my liking, as I only want to buy things down under that were made here, but I enjoyed walking around and seeing another part of Sydney. 

Afterwards we took a trip to China Town, again a little kitschy for what I’m looking for. 

I took a trip back to the industrial part of Sydney to meet one more time with my video subject. She’s a little bossy but gave me some great shots! She even gave me & the two girls I brought with me free soap! 

We came back to the hotel and relaxed & went to a nearby pub for dinner. 

And, y’all, I need to get real with you. 

I had the best burger tonight. 

Like the best. 

BEST. 

It was at the same place we went our first night here. The first night I got chicken tacos that burned my mouth because they were so spicy. 

But this burger, 

THIS BURGER

was delicious. 

First of all, all Australian burgers come with beetroot. I normally pick it off but there’s always the flavor left behind. It really kicks the burger up a notch. Pair it with some “chips” and their homemade ketchup & Erica is in heaven. 

 

Only four of us from our normal group of 8 are here in Sydney, as the others traveled south to Melbourne for a trip, but we still had a great time. 

Now we’re back at the hotel watching Pretty Little Liars because Sydney is JUST finishing this season. Oh, if only they knew…

Tomorrow will be another trip to Paddington Market to get some more souvenirs (lookin’ atchu, Kelly, Monica & Paulette). 

Besoz! 

-EA