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Published: July 28th 2010
The interior of my lovely room on the day I moved in.
So, I'm a real La Trobe student now. Classes started on monday, and I now have some sort of idea how they work here in Australia. Almost every class seems to have two reading lists, one for required reading and one for optional supplementary reading. This is quite different from Hope, as is the fact that many lecturers have rendered actual attendance somewhat obsolete by recording their lectures and posting them online. All the same, I don't plan on skipping-- unless I'm sick or something, in which case I think it will be quite a handy feature. And at any rate, there's still tutorials, which are the smaller classes where we actually talk, more like what I'm used to.
I know it took me a while to actually write anything about school, but in my defense, that's only mostly my fault. The other day, for reasons unbeknownst even to the Aussie students on my floor, the power outlets in my room stopped working. Yes, all of them. Just the outlets, not the lights. And it's not because I hadn't turned them on either (because you actually turn the outlets on and off in Australia).
Inconveniently, this happened on the
My tower as seen from the 2nd level walkway.
first day of classes, which meant I had to run down to the Chisholm computer lab in order to do important things like register for tutorials before they all fill up and I get left with something that clashes with another class. Conveniently, the lab is located in the same tower where I live. So is the laundry room. (I totally lucked out location-wise. Well, except for the mysterious day-long power-outage. Andrea hypothesized that that day must have been an Australian version of April Fool's for electronics, and Marieke said Emperor Palpatine was probably behind it, seeing as he's behind everything evil. I say it was a conspiracy between both.)
At any rate, the outlets are working again, so there's no need to keep ranting about that unless it happens every monday, in which case I will feel perfectly justified in hating them.
La Trobe's campus is pretty darn cool. It's not pretty in the same way Hope's is, with all the cool-looking old buildings like Voorhees and Graves, but it's got a level of concrete catwalks in addition to the paths on the ground-- not to mention its own moat, which is probably the reason for the
The lovely moat on a rainy day. (There are a lot of those.)
catwalks. But you can cross the whole campus without ever touching the ground, which is pretty unique. The first week I was here, I learned the upper level pretty well, but as soon as I got on the ground, I was totally confused. It's not nearly as bad as I'd thought though, trying to learn my way around the largest campus in the Southern Hemisphere. (Yeah, they told us that AFTER we got here.) I think U of M could swallow it up and still be plenty hungry. The longest it takes for me to walk any of the places I need to go is like 15 minutes. There are places farther away, of course, but for my purposes, they might as well not exist.
As for my social life, I've mostly been hanging out with my new friend Marieke, who I mentioned earlier. She's another American who was in my orientation program in Cairns, and she also happens to be a fanfiction writer. :-) We were hanging out with a girl from Korea during the last couple weeks too, but I haven't seen her in while now. And the Aussies moved in this past weekend, so I've finally
Me in my lovely costume. (People took better pictures, but I don't have them yet.)
met some of them as well. Evidently I live in a party tower, which ought to be interesting to say the least. I went to a free dinner and attempted to learn poker with a couple Aussie girls from Chisholm yesterday, and we all went to the "Op-Shop Ball" at the Eagle Bar tonight. (I'll explain that depth later when it's not a random tangent in the middle of a paragraph.) They seem very entertaining, though of course I don't get most of their inside jokes. They know Charlie the Uniccorn though, which amuses me. And they have the same joke we do about calling Target "Tar-jay." Sometimes it's creepy how many things in Australia are exactly the same as at home...
So. It's later. An Op-Shop is the Aussie name for a thrift store. Happily, this means the Op-Shop Ball was probably the lowest-budget dance of all time to attend. I actually got my costume for free, because they had a lot of random clothes and stuff for us at Chisholm. I ended up wearing a tutu, a tie, and a cape over my normal clothes, in addition to a poofy vest that they threw over my head,
Yeah. Crazy. :-)
which made me look like a ninja. Ironically enough, when I took it off, I discovered that it was a Motorola vest! Coincidence? I think not. That's proof that I was meant to come to Australia right there. Okay, just kidding, but I thought it was kind of awesome. Part of me was tempted to keep the vest, except that it's shiny and silver... hence it having been donated.
In other news, I've become an expert on getting to and from Northland, the big shopping centre/mall/call it what you will. You have to take the bus to get there (unless you have a car of course, which I don't), but it doesn't cost too much. Everything in Australia is so expensive! I don't know if I've mentioned that. The American chain restaurants, like Subway and McDonald's, are the only place you can get a sandwich for $5. At most places, they're closer to $9, which seems a little steep to me, even with the conversion factor. So I've been mixing it up on the rare occasions that I get lunch at Northland, trying some new stuff but also trying not to go broke. Also, I still have not learned
A good example of food that's exactly the same as in the U.S. chilling with delicious Australian tim tams. I think I've fallen in love with these cookies.
to like beer or wine. I think I've consumed a grand total of 1.05 alcoholic beverages since entering the country. The one was a cocktail that was actually quite good, seeing as it tasted like fruit instead of alcohol, and the .05 was me tasting other peoples' stuff.
For the most part, I've been cooking my own food, which has been an experience in and of itself. The first couple days, when I still wasn't sure if I'd be able to get a meal plan, I lived off of breakfast food (yogurt, bread, apples, nutella), but now I've progressed to eating things like tacos made with meat I browned myself, pasta with cheese and demon tomato sauce that it took four people to open, and salad. (I know, a bit anticlimactic there. But salad is good.)
So there, I've talked your ears off to make up for the long silence. :-) Hopefully my outlets won't conspire against me again in the near future, and I shall be able to write again soon. We're getting closer to the weekend, which may or may not mean more time. I'm going to actually have to start doing homework soon. So far all I've done is read 20 pages of Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own" for my Women Writing class.
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