All Hallow’s Eve

No one here celebrates Halloween. My friend and I went to a Halloween “event” and we were one of five people dressed up in a five story building. Not even joking. I am SO disappointed. Especially since I dressed as my personal hero, Sarah Palin.

JUST KIDDING

Everyone, take a breath. My hero is actually Tina Fey, who once portrayed Sarah Palin so it’s all good. Don’t worry.

Here, check this out instead to curb your aneurysm:

Yay!

Earworms

“Earworm” is a term for music that’s stuck in your head. Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you. I thought it was some kind of ailment when I first heard about it. It sounds like ringworm and swimmer’s ear had a baby and that’s what you came down with. Gross. Anyway if you really don’t believe me, click here and read up on what wikipedia has to say about it. Wiki-wiki!

As you all may or may not know, I am perpetually pleasantly visited by earworms. I listen to music 24/7, I go to concerts, I play music etc. I usually end up with a song of the week so I thought it’d be kinda fun to just keep track of what I’ve been listening to so that when I go home I’ll have a really awesome mix-tape playlist to always remind me of my time here. There’s no rhyme or reason for any of these songs–they’re just what come up. 

Here goes:

Week 1

Paper Bag by Fiona Apple.

Week 2

Naomi by Neutral Milk Hotel
Love me some Jeff Mangum. Really.

Week 3

You Got It by Roy Orbison.
An homage to American Target. I do miss you and your usefulness, Target. Aussie Target does not live up to your standards.

Week 4


Have you Ever by Brandi Carlile

Week 5


Come in Please by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
My  love for this band will not die. I've seen them in concert twice and both times were so magical. I don't think anything will ever beat the time I got to dance on stage with them, on the beach, in front of like a thousand people. So magical. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album, though the whole thing is great.

Week 6


Song For No One by Miike Snow
Good beat. Good fun. Perfect for the sunshine that emerged that week.

Week 7


Here we Are by Patrick Park
 And it's a crying shame
How we get so trained

The rest of the songs will come with regular posts. Enjoy!

This week was so much fun. I don’t even know where to begin.

Oh wait. I do. It’s called MONDAY.

Ok…so Monday was the first nice day in weeks. It’s been so cold and rainy I’ve worn something other than pants twice since being here. Not even kidding. It rained for days up until Monday so when I saw that it had finally cleared up, I headed straight for, you guessed it, the park. Centennial Park isn’t too far from where I live and it’s quite beautiful. It’s huge though so I didn’t get to see all of it. However, I do plan on going back this week.

I hate when things are closed, but if it's due to awesomeness then I guess I can deal.

Tuesday found me at yet another park–the Royal Botanical Gardens downtown! So so gorgeous there! Unfortunately my camera died so I didn’t take too many pictures. Afterwards I ended up at the big library downtown where they had an exhibit on commercialism in Sydney. That’s not what it was called, but it might as well have been. It was interesting seeing photographs of the ways downtown has developed over the years and then seeing all of these vintage advertisements. I’m a big fan of vintage ads so it was cool getting to see them all on display. My favorite? This one for sure (the big one)

Now I know what to get my mom for Christmas!

After work that night, I went to the international food festival at Hyde Park, which is in the middle of downtown. Can I just say that I love parks in the middle of urban areas? Like Central Park. I love Central Park! There are so many parks here it’s crazy and it makes me so happy. Hyde Park is absolutely beautiful and it’s legitimately in the middle of all of these high rises. Anyway, my friend called me to say her friends were down there. Unfortunately, we’d already eaten so we just went to hang out. The park was completely packed and there were tents from a million and one restaurants all serving food and drinks. We also went to a place that serves drinks in teapots. I thought it was pretty funny/really awesome! After we finished eating we went to karaoke. We didn’t sing but it was entertaining nonetheless.The people were actually pretty good. Usually karaoke is a hot mess, which is its entertainment value, but that night they were surprisingly good. It was a lot of fun.

Wednesday I went to hang out with my friend down the street and we visited her friend who is housesitting this absolutely gorgeous house with an ocean view. Can I just say, I love having a friend down the street? It makes life so much easier. When I go see my other friends in my off hours, we always have to coordinate where we want to go, how long it’ll take to get there, then figure out where we’ll meet etc. With a friend down the street, I can pop in for an hour, maybe go take a walk etc and if we feel like going somewhere, we obviously go together so there’s no issue of trying to find each other. A few weeks ago, my other friend and I tried to meet in this one suburb and due to an error of communication we ended up on complete opposite sides of the suburb. Luckily it’s not a big area so we were able to find each other but it was definitely a bitch and a half. Anyway, this beach house is gorgeous. I am in love! It was cool to meet some other people too. My friend actually knows a lot of Aussies because her best friend is from here and she has come to visit him a bunch of times. It’s been nice meeting and branching out. I absolutely love meeting new people. I mean, I guess I’d have to if I took a chance and moved in with a family I didn’t know, to a city full of people I don’t know. It’s all worked out far too well though!

On Thursday I had my second improv show! My first one was definitely a hot mess. Then again, what else would you expect from my life? Seriously though. Terrible. I don’t even want to talk about it…so I won’t. The way the show works is we have 14 players, each of which has been assigned a number. The directors of the show draw a few numbers up and randomly assign a game/scene for them to do. After it’s over, the audience gives them a score of 1-5, 1 being the highest and 5 being the lowest. After a couple of rounds, the points are tallied and the directors make eliminations. This continues to happen until there is one person, the winner of the game. Sound a tad unfair? It is. And we tell you that at the beginning, but it’s all in good fun. Anyway, the first game was a disaster so I won’t even go there. My second game was wonderful though. Still not the greatest game in the universe for me, but I’m a beginner with no innate improvisational talent so what else would you expect? I got some pretty high scores for my scenes, which is probably in great part thanks to my talented co-stars, but you know…I’ll take it anyway…I made it through a lot more rounds than the previous week and felt pretty decent about the whole thing. One of the other players came and talked to me about their group and said I should come to their practices or something like that. Of course though, it’s when I work so I can’t but it was nice of him to offer. Everyone I’ve met on the team has been super cool. I can’t wait to do more!

Friday found me on the usual Friday morning playdate. This time we went to this indoor playground the other nanny knew about since it was cold and potentially rainy outside. This place was insane. Think of the biggest McDonald’s play structure you’ve ever seen. Now multiply it by ten and put it on crack. That’s what this place was. The kids went apeshit over it though. It was great. That evening I went to the Shakespeare Hotel in Surry Hills which was so good. Seriously. It’s built to look like an old English pub so I immediately loved the ambiance and they had great food for cheap! The food was probably a hair cheaper than in America too so I was all about it. I am definitely going back to this place!

Saturday I went downtown to an area called The Rocks because my friend hadn’t been there yet. They have a great little market there on the weekends. There was a guy playing pretty decent music so we sat and watched him for a while. I might go to his concert on Thursday, which should be fun. We’ll see. There’s a cool program in the city called Art and About where they’re putting various art project all around the city. I always end up stumbling on one thing or another. As we were walking, we walked down this one narrow street past some cafes and there were all of these ball things that you could rest on. There were a few people just hanging out on them so we decided to take a rest too. They were so cool! I wanted to take one home with me. Unfortunately they were all chained down. Duh.

Sunday there was an open house at the Opera House so we got to walk around ad see all of this cool stuff for free (my favorite word). Otherwise tours there are a pretty penny. Obviously, I had to hit this up. It was incredible. The Opera House is unbelievable. I didn’t realize there were so many different theaters to it. I love knowing that in one space you can be having a beautiful ballet going on, in the next a play that makes you laugh so hard you cry, and in the next an orchestra playing all at the same time! I’m sure they don’t do all of those at the same time as it would be absolute madness, but it’s a cool thought. While we were walking through the concert hall, I saw a little girl who was maybe 10 walk up to the organ and start playing. I turned to my friend and I was like, “That little girl is incredible!” and my friend says, “That can’t be a little girl. I think that’s just a short older lady…” I was right. She was definitely a little girl. They actually had a few kids go up and perform and they were so good. I was unbelievably jealous. I was definitely not that good at the piano when I was ten. I was good, but I wasn’t that good…In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m still not that good! Oh to be a child prodigy. Sigh.

 

Just for you, dad! A Steinway!

We basically stood in her presence.

The costumes were to DIE for. Amazing.

Look at that view! So good.

Everything else has been going well. I finally feel like less of a tourist and more like I live here. I have yet to be “local” status as I still don’t know where everything is, but at least I feel a lot more familiar with things. It’s a really nice feeling. It’s going to be really weird having to go back home. However, I’ll have to be away from Aus for three months so I think I can renew my visa for another year if I want! Kidding. Sort of. But not really. But really. I plan on going somewhere else next year but not after spending some quality time at home. I have to get my fill of In & Out and Trader Joes before I go. Speakin of…If you love me, you will get me carton upon carton of Trader Joe’s peppermint tea (seriously. It’s unlike any I’ve ever had and last Christmas the boxes had narwhals on them so bonus points all around) and Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe Joe’s ice cream. This is not a joke. I repeat. This. Is. Not. A. Joke. I’m already missing out on Christmas decorations, music, and Christmas in general since the family I live with is Jewish. Don’t make me miss out on Christmas at Trader Joe’s too!

Word.

The other day as I was walking through town I passed an STA store with a huge poster on working abroad. Obviously this interests me as I plan on teaching English abroad next year. I picked up a brochure about all of the services they offer and the last page was this:

Great marketing strategy STA!

No really, great marketing. Leaving me with a question makes me want to go even more. The question is really “Where won’t I go?” I want to frame this photo and hang it on my wall as a constant reminder that there are a thousand and one places I want to go. Speaking of which, I want a scratchable map:

**Hint hint** For Christmas, mom and dad? I know you read this. Don’t pretend like you didn’t see this. Kidding. But not really…Anyway it’s nifty. I like it. I can’t wait to scratch the entire map off–including Antarctica. I have been wanting to go there for years. I thought maybe I could make it happen since I’m closer than I am in America but it’s ridiculously expensive. I’m going to have to save up my change for a while for this trip. Maybe on my next trip to Chile or Argentina I can make it happen. True life: I need to become famous or something to afford all of these plane tickets. White girl problems: I can’t afford world travel all at once. Tough life, right? Thankfully this is my biggest problem right now. Anyway week 5 was really slow. Week six is pretty awesome. I’ll write more later.

Monthiversary

A week ago marked my first month here. It’s flown by so fast and I still have so much to do! That week it rained like crazy and it was the first week of school holidays so the mom recommended I avoid basically everywhere I wanted to go due to crowds. Most of my friends were also away on holiday or live on the other side of town so the week started out rather slowly. I explored some different little suburbs here and there and saw some sights. On Tuesday I figured out a friend of a friend, who I kind of know from LA just moved here. I saw a picture she posted of Sydney and I was like, “um hello? you’re here?” She messaged me her number and said she was living in the same suburb I was living in. Wait. Really? Then I asked her what street she was on and she lives on the next street over. R U FURREAL??? It’s really nice having a friend down the street because if we feel like hanging out we can just walk over and there isn’t an issue of finding bus routes, taking forever on public transportation, trying to get home at a certain time etc. We can hang out and watch movies or go out whenever we want. It’s great! On Wednesday we went to Thai food in Surry Hills, which was absolutely delicious. My other friend who studied abroad here told me to have Thai anywhere in Sydney because it’s amazing…and it is. Thursday it was raining again so we ended up just watching movies until it cleared up and we walked to the beach with her roommate. We had a glass of champagne on the beach before heading to this cool restaurant nearby. I had the most amazing burger there. I don’t even like burgers but for some reason I felt compelled to order one and I am so glad I did. It was so delicious. I couldn’t even handle it. I haven’t eaten out much because I’m saving money for Thailand/Bali in March but everywhere I’ve eaten so far has been delicious! I love the food here!

Oh ya, did I mention I’m planning a trip to Bali and Thailand in March? I found a flight from Bali to Bangkok for $220 roundtrip last week and I think it’s a sign that I have to go. I don’t have anyone to go with yet, but that’s ok because it’ll happen. My friend’s dad lives in Phuket so if she comes with me we’ll stay with him after Bangkok. I’m so excited! I wish I didn’t have to go back to school or else I would just keep going. I think next summer I’m going to buy one of those around the world plane tickets because there is far too much I want to see in the world. The time to go is now! I can’t stop thinking about how great Bali and Bangkok are going to be. I want to squeeze Cambodia in there too because I have wanted to see Angkor Wat for forever and a half but it might have to wait until next time unfortunately…Tough life right?  I love this side of the world!

Saturday I had my first improv practice. It was interesting. I completely butchered a game because I misunderstood the premise of it but whatever–it’s a learning experience. That’s the point of practice, right? There’s a significant range of skill but again, learning experience. It was great to be able to play with the people who are really good because I was able to learn from them. I always love working with people who are talented. I mean, once I get over the sheer terror of being in their presence and trying not to suck I enjoy the learning experience. There are quite a few people from LA there, which I found rather surprising. And by quite a few I mean like two…There might be a third from somewhere in America but I couldn’t figure out if he was trying to put on an Aussie accent or what because it was very muddled. Whatever. The people are really cool but no new bffs…yet. I play my first game soon enough though so who knows what’ll happen then.

That night I went out with my French friends again. The French are quickly becoming some of my favorite people. All of the French exchange students I met before coming here were incredible and the people I’m meeting now are also incredible. Every time I go hang out with them I have so much fun! I can’t get over how great everyone I meet is. I absolutely love it here. However, I will say there are a few things I do miss about home. Obviously, I miss my family and friends. That goes without saying. I probably should have gone shopping or something before I got here though as there are a lot of things I should have gotten before I left…like another pair of Toms. I also miss American Target, how much cheaper everything is, driving on the other side of the road…driving…but that’s about it. There’s a lot I can do without I guess. Things are absurdly expensive though. My love for shoes will have to be put on hold until I get home! I’m scared to even go into any of the stores. I feel like if I were to even find Toms here they’d be like $100 or something ridiculous. My face wash, which is like $4 back home is around $10 here. Totally ridiculous. But then again it’s easier for me to save money for things like BALI AND THAILAND. Gah. Too exciting!

TJ

Today I went to make a sandwich for lunch so I grabbed a bottle of Dijon and thought it said “Trader Joes.” Now I don’t know what I’ve been smoking because nothing on the bottle began with the letters T or J but I got really homesick for none other than TJs. The only frozen food they have here is like grocery store tv dinners. I actually have to make food now and when the only real food you can make is crabcakes and the family you live with eats kosher, this is a problem. I don’t know if I can wait five more months for a tortellini bowl from TJs. Furthermore I’m missing peppermint jos cookie ice cream AND peppermint tea season!!! So upset.

Amurrca.

It’s incredible how excited people get when you say you’re from America…then how much more excited they get about California…then how much more excited they get about San Diego/LA. I’m pretty sure people think I’m this amazing person but really I’m just a regular person who happened to be born in America. No big deal. Truly.  Everyone I’ve met thinks it’s the best thing ever though. My first encounter with this was my first week when I went to that film festival. As I had mentioned, I went by myself and ended up making friends with another guy who was there by himself because he’d gotten the ticket for free. Cool. I introduce myself and the following conversation takes place:

Guy: Do you have an accent?
Me: Ya. I’m from America.
Guy: Wow! That’s amazing!  Do you mind if I ask you stereotypical things about America? Is that weird?
Me: Haha no go ahead!
At this point I’m 99% sure he’s going to ask me if I’ve seen celebrities, if I’m friends with celebrities, have I been to New York/LA etc. No. It gets better.
Guy: Um…what’s Arkansas like?
Me: Wait, are you serious?
Guy: Oh no…is Arkansas bad??
Me: I mean, I’ve never been there but from what I hear it’s like the armpit of America. You don’t want to go there.

Turns out he’s a big fan of this performance artist who’s doing a big exhibition or something in Arkansas. I told him he should go for that, see what it’s like for himself, then GET OUT. Unless he likes it. Then he can stay… I guess.

Moment two:

After going out with my friends one of them was really hungry and wanted to stop by a pizza place on the way home. We walk up and the amount of drunk people there is staggering. I’m pretty sure at that point we were the only sober people in that universe, which made everything even funnier. As we were waiting for my friend’s pizza this guy comes up to me and blatantly asks for my number.

Me: No.
Guy: Why not? I am from Brazil. I would like to get to know you. Can I have your number?
Me: That’s nice. No.
Guy: Oh come on. Please? I am nice.
Me: I’m sure you are. I don’t have a phone. I’m just visiting.
Guy: Where do you live? I will drive to you. It’s ok if it’s far.
Me: You’re going to drive to America? Interesting. Let me know how that works out for you.
Guy: Oh come on I would like to make up with you.
Me: Really now? I didn’t realize we were even fighting. That’s funny.
Guy: What? I would like to make up with you!
Me: You mean make out? No thanks.
Guy: Yes, yes, that is what I meant!
Me: Again, no.

Engaging in a battle of wits with someone whose first language is not English is a bit unfair, but that’s what he gets. If you can’t take the heat don’t play in the street! Luckily for me my friend’s pizza was done and our large male friends escorted us home. As we were walking back I was typing something into my phone and another guy just yelled from across the street, “HEY CAN MY FRIEND HAVE YOUR NUMBER?” Who are these people and why do they think that’s going to work?? Hilarious. Normally I would just tell people to go fly a kite and get really annoyed but for some reason everything here is just amusing. And ridiculous. Very ridiculous.

Moment three (by far the best):

Went to a bar last night with friends and went with one of them to get a drink. I’m talking to the bartender and he asks where I’m from. I say San Diego and he immediately responds, “A whale’s vagina!” Best. Moment. Ever. Hands down. I love the movie Anchorman. So much. One of my best friends and I used to quote the movie all the time to each other and I’m so glad because the bartender and I immediately engaged in a quote off which resulted in his refusal of our money. Just goes to show, a little Will Ferrell can go a long way.

Everyone wants to be your friend when you’re foreign!