G’day, how you going? Aussie tip for a foreigner number one: don’t answer “by bus”, they don’t want to know how you’re getting somewhere. In true confusing Aussie style, they want to know how you are. And here’s a personalised tip for anyone who’s like me. People who know me will that know I, as many others do, greet my friends by saying, “Hey, you alright?” After many a perplexed expression and the response “um, yeah”, I realised this wasn’t normal procedure. Apparently it’s kind of rude and like you’re asking what’s wrong with them, as if they’ve done something bad. But I’ve made the first Aussie step of calling Maccy D’s ‘Maccers’ after just two weeks, so I’ll get there eventually.
So, I’ve been a bit shit with writing this blog, but I stick by my excuse that I was settling in. Things will get more regular from now on, now that I’ve found my feet (but running in thongs – or flip flops – I have yet to master). I couldn’t possibly say everything I’ve done, but I’ll go on to say a few highlights/summaries so far.
This is the equivalent of Freshers week for us English folk. As an international student, I’ve technically had two O-weeks. First one was for international students, so I wasn’t expecting to meet any Australians in the first week. Massive amounts of confusion hit me when I kept on meeting Aussies and because I was so convinced I wouldn’t, I thought I was imagining they had an Aussie accent and were actually American or something.
All I can say about the international student O-week is that it was not impressive. The schedule looked good, but it was so disorganised that it soon struck me that it was only there to impress and build up the excitement. Anti-climax. I still loved meeting people, so I definitely wasn’t hating every second. Like a Brit, I bonded by complaining and taking the piss.
Second O-week was very fun. Halls of residence seem to have a big community feel, something I wish we had for Britten House back at UEA (aside from collectively deciding we were much, MUCH better than Paston. Which we are, obviously). There’s a lot of drinking in the ‘proj’ (projector room), mainly ring of fire (aka to Aussie’s: king’s cup) and the Nott on a Thursday. One thing I’m still getting used to is the price of alcohol, or anything really. Very expensive, so Aussie students dedicate their drinking lives to Goon. Pretty disgusting, but you get used to it. My hall, Deakin, provided breakfast and dinner every day, and did things like trivia night, general socialising, and a toga party. I had a lot of fun at toga party after my distress of feeling like I looked like a frumpy granny – instead I like to think I was a pioneer for women everywhere, proving you don’t have to have your toga insanely short… just short at the front will do ;)
The weather has been incredible (yesterday reaching 38 degrees) so we’ve done a couple of beach days. Australians have really high standards for beaches; what I thought was a really nice beach – St Kilda, with lovely water, nice sand, a beautiful promenade and a pier with rocks where little Fairy Penguins live – is a shit beach to Aussies. It doesn’t make sense!! Got to say though, I’m looking forward to going to the East Coast hopefully over the mid-term break in April to see these amazing beaches even by Aussie standards.
I’m going to do another separate post for Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary as this is definitely getting too long. Stay tuned for koala pics ;)