Monday, July 25, 2011

O what a WEEK

O-Week may have been one of the busiest, most hectic, most fun/best weeks that I've ever had. Perhaps a bit dramatic, but there it is. Someone told me today that if you’re ever bored at I-House, then you’re doing something wrong. He was the second person to tell me this, and after this first week of non-stop action, I’d have to agree. I hear things are going to slow down significantly now that school has started, but I can't imagine there will ever be a dull moment around here. But I’ll pick up where I left off with you last Tuesday night! (At least I think it was Tuesday, and not Monday…)

Tuesday night was the I-House bowling trip, and it turns out Australian bowling is exactly like it is in America. Except I seem to be an even worse bowler over here on the other side of the world. I lost both of our games with stellar scores of 87 and 114. Not consistent or impressive, but still fun. At least they blared Spice Girls and had black lights so we glowed in the dark.

Wednesday proved too rainy for the day trip we were supposed to take, so I ventured around campus to find my classes with a few other new Americans, Emily (one of the Americans), and an Australian from C-Deck, my floor. We looked through the uni shop which only has a small selection of jumpers (hoodies) and tshirts, stuffed animals, and trinkets – sorry to all of you who want your own, different shirt when I come back, you’ll probably all get the same! – then my new Australian friend helped me find all the buildings where my classes are. Turns out there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to the order of the numbering, so even though I’m in buildings 19, 20, 24, and 25, they happen to be basically nowhere near each other. Peachy, right? Either way, we finished up in time to go rock climbing, which took the place of the cancelled day trip. Oddly enough, rock climbing is also the exact same as it is in the US; it just turns out that there seem to be more natural places to go climb here than near Cinci, as well as more people willing to climb. Everyone seems to be into extreme sports in some fashion over here.

Everyone was eager to get back to the house to get ready after rock climbing, because not only is Wednesday the biggest party night here (it’s the cheapest night for drinks for college students, so it actually does make some sense!), but O-Week Wednesday is also the night of the Gala where our house raises money for charity. A lot of the people here performed as entertainment, and I was completely impressed by the amount of pure talent. A number of people played multiple instruments, and played them well. One group that didn’t have time to rehearse just got into position, shrugged, and turned out some of the best music of the night, in fact. Completely impressed! After Gala, everyone went back upstairs to trade in the semi-formal Gala attire for club clothes. Emily, Kathleen, Elana, and I got ready in Elana’s room and drudged through the endless rain to get to the party bus where I heard the first of all the I-House drinking songs – I’ll post lyrics once I learn them, because they’re that funny but a bit inappropriate to post here! Once we arrived at the Grand, everyone filed inside and it was crazy crowded! Everyone from I-House mainly stayed together, which seems to happen most of the time, and I felt really safe and very much a part of the group.

A note on Australian dancing/music: the music choice here was pretty similar to what you might hear in a club in the US (bad hip-hop/rap/R&B/I don’t know the difference), but here, everything is set to a bumpin techno-esque beat that just makes you want to dance. It’s less appropriate to dance bump-and-grind style here, so people generally do their own thing. I’m hoping that by the end of this that I’ll have learned some sense of rhythm from going out and dancing, but I don’t have such high hopes for my helpless self. I came back on the party bus with a different group than the one I left with and went to an Aussie friend’s room for posties (an after party beer), then finally went to bed around 3am. I can’t say that this will be a typical Wednesday night for me, but it was definitely a great way to go for the first Wednesday night of the session (semester).

Thursday morning came rather quickly, and I woke up to go on the rescheduled trip from Wednesday, which included a trip to Nan Tien (pronounced n-ah-n TEE-en) Buddhist temple – the largest in the southern hemisphere, then the Nowra Wildlife Park, then the big blow hole in Kiama (kee-AM-uh). Check out the pictures from these trips to get a better idea of everything I saw and did. Because I totally pet a koala, kangaroo, and wombat, and it was AWESOME.

That night, despite being incredibly tired, I went out again with other people from the house to Hostage where they were having their dub-step night, which as far as I can tell is a style of techno. I know that’s not quite it, but the strobe lights, lasers, mirrors, and smoke machines totally scream techno, so I’m going with techno. All in all, another fun night of dancing and hanging out – drink prices (still lower than normal, but still too expensive) and my budget have helped keep me from drinking too much and getting myself into any trouble, so no worries there, you can relax, friends and family ;) Still, I came back and had a postie and turned in to wake up early on Friday for the daytrip to Sydney and the China Gardens. More to follow on those and surf camp, but for now, I’m off to see Harry Potter (again) with I-House!

As far as I can tell, there are as many and as big a Harry Potter fans here as in the states. Looks like I’ve got competition with these fans, and I’m only too eager to test my own knowledge against theirs!

Here and there,

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