Monday, June 6, 2011

Tasty Cheese Musings on my last day

I will sorely miss Tasty Cheese. It's an actual kind of cheese, like Cheddar or Provolone. I don't really think it's a good name as basically all cheese is 'tasty'. However. It is unique and yummy and dynamite on Vegemite toast.

I will miss crumpets. They are so cute and fluffy and the perfect cross between pancakes and biscuits (not to be confused with biscuits that are actually cookies down under.)

I will miss flat whites. I've been on a rampage of late trying to go to all the best coffee places in Melbourne. The winner is... Seven Seeds in Carlton. Seriously the best thing I've ever had. Also, I need to figure out what the American equivalent of flat white is...

I will miss banh mi from this little Vietnamese bakery. I really don't think I'll find something as authentic in Kansas City (but I will try!)

All for now. Mostly, I'm excited to be in sunshine and away from all this rain. Yes. It is cold and rainy on my last day in Oz. What's life without irony?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Things I will miss

I'm leaving in two weeks. I've wanted to go home most of my time here, but now it's real... and it makes me feel kind of bizarre. I am buckled down trying to write all of my big essays before their very soon due dates, trying to work out details about seeing Tyler again (YAY!!!) and now I'm struggling to soak in as much of the things I've come to love before I leave them (forever? maybe not...) So, here's a list of my favorite things. Aussie, it's been real.

1. Gum trees, aka stringybark, eucalyptus, red gums, etc. They are gorgeous to me, I love all the variations of bark and how HUGE they are. I think they're so quintessential in describing the Australian landscape, too.

2. The birds. Cockatoos, parakeets, gallahs, kookaburras, magpies. They are all very, very obnoxious and scrappy, but these are some of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. See my post regarding the similarities between Australian people and Australian birds.

3. Buskers. In every busy intersection, every week at the farmer's market. There are some really talented street musicians here, and they are all allowed to play in front of shops 'cause they're so good! There are Aboriginal folk singers, little boys playing their violins like virtuosos, and amazing James Blunt impersonators.

4. Public transport. I LOVE riding the tram, the train, the bus, the V-Line. Kansas City is sorely lacking in this field and Melbourne has it mastered. It's so fun for me to find a timetable, catch a train somewhere exciting, and just watch people.

5. Chelsea. My beautiful friend from Wisconsin. She's been my conspirator for many a crazy adventure and introduced me to a lot of cool things. She loves cheese as much as me, too. It was really nice to have one (I really tried to avoid too many) American friend to relate to while here. Plus, she has a steady guy back home, which made me feel way better about not being with Tyler!

6. Bec. My Aussie friend. She took me to her hometown, helped me with my Aussie slang, and quietly giggled with me when all the other new students were going crazy partying. It's really amazing to know I have a good friend in AUSTRALIA! I hope I can keep in touch with her.

7. Footy! The entirely Australian sport, one which I can actually understand! It is a huge cultural thing here and the spirit of the game is a beautiful thing to witness. I 'go' for the Essendon Bombers (you don't EVER 'root' for a team.... it means something different here!). I'll wear my Bombers scarf whenever I'm missing it.

This list is not over... but I need to study! More later on "Things I will miss.... Part 2!"
Over and out.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I have come to an analogy which aids in the understanding of the culture around me:

Australians are like magpies.
They steal my food when I'm not looking,

They make strange sounds early in the morning and wake me up,

They have no qualms stepping on my toes,

They are alcoholics.

Disclaimer: I am making reference to college kids where I live. Mostly.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Regional Field Trip

The past three days I've had the pleasure of going on my second field trip for my class "Australian Cities and Regions". We went about 4 hours north of Melbourne to the rural towns of regional Victoria. I LOVED it. It was a glimpse of the mythic Australia I've read so much about, and also a stark reminder of the failures of rurality in modern times. I learned SO MUCH from locals, farmers, community advocates, and this sweet retired lady who makes amazing green tomatoes! It was better than a vacation for me because I actually learned information pertinent to my degree and about the culture I love so much. I'm actually really glad I didn't spend all my money going to the beach like the other American students--- this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I'll never forget it!
Some pictures now for your viewing pleasure:
Hot air balloons seen from my train window on the way into Melbourne

Marilyn Lanyon, creator of Simply Green Tomatoes, and her bird Cheeky! She made DELICIOUS pickled tomatoes and dips and used the niche market to recover from the horrible floods of the area of Boort.

Marilyn's farm under water ( January). Prince William came to the area post-flood to survey the damage...and it was really, really bad. Especially for farmers

Quambatook, the littlest, cutest country town. They're dealing with an aging population and, again, really bad devastation from the floods.

Ibis Rookery in Kerang. The flooding actually helped bring more ibis to the area, which is good for eco tourism.

Coffee cup at the cafe in New South Wales. It's a 'lifestyle destination' for people wanting to retire along the Murray River.

These signs are all over Australian freeways. They really want you to pull over and nap!

I made a point to visit every rural library I saw... this was the best! It's in Kerang, and they have my favorite kind of books (Australian!)
And there you have it. It's not glamourous or beachy blah blah blah, but it's exactly the kind of experience I wanted to have here. Take that, Surfer's Paradise!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Kellybrook Cider Festival

Sunday, Bec and I traveled to the Yarra Valley, famous for its beautiful wineries/vineyards, to attend the Kellybrook Cider Festival. Since it's technically autumn here, it's also apple season! They had delicious apple inspired food, like apple sausages, apple crumble, apple cider, apple donuts... tons of stuff! The winery that hosted it was so picturesque, we just spent the day lounging in the grass admiring it.

I fell in love with this dog.

Philllip Island Day

Wednesday I took a personal day and went on a Day Tour of Phillip Island by myself (with some classic tourists + fanny packs). It was much needed.
Some highlights:
Me feeding a WHITE kangaroo at the Maru Wildlife Sanctuary

Woolamai Beach on Phillip Island, really pretty!

My favorite place-- "The Nobbies"; giant rock formations where a colony of fur seals come to sun themselves.

A wild wallaby on the side of the road, looking for dinner in the bush.

Me at the Penguin Parade! At dusk, hundreds of Fairy Penguins, the world's smallest, come out of the ocean and into their burrows. It's adorable! And we got to watch it from these funny beach bleachers.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Weekend

This weekend I went to Bec's hometown of Bendigo, which is smack dab in the middle of Victoria. I didn't realize it until we were driving, but she lives RIGHT NEXT to HANGING ROCK!! This means absolutely nothing to most people (especially the Americans here who think kangaroos are the only cultural difference), but to me it's a big deal. In my freshman year Australian Outback Literature class we read "Picnic at Hanging Rock" which is this really eerie and fascinating story about a group of schoolgirls who go missing there. It was one of the scariest things I ever read.
Bec decided to play on my excitement/scaredness by telling me scary (and according to her, true) stories about all the supposed 'madmen' living near Hanging Rock. It was awesome! She said she'd take me there another time. Yay!
Anyway, we stopped at a rest stop on the way (it's about 2 hours from Melbourne) and low and behold....

How cool? I thought it was super nice. After sufficiently resting ourselves and having plenty of tea and biscuits, we headed to Bec's house for the night. Friday was Good Friday and the beginning of the weekend long Easter and Anzac Day Festival.

Me and some chocolate sprinkle gelato!

Giant lotus in Chinese District-- Bendigo has a HUGE Chinese Cultural Heritage Trust

Me in the wall!

Wacca the Koala drummer!

A traditional Australian breakfast Bec made me-- Vita Brits and banana

Dragon Procession at night. There were SO many-- and all my pictures are blurry : (

Bec and I at the Procession
 That's only a glimpse of all I saw-- it was probably one of the most uniquely Australian experiences I've had thus far. Melbourne's highly multicultural, but regional Victoria is very, very Australian. : )
Now I'm off to watch the ANZAC (Australia New Zealand Army Corps) Day Footy Match -- Collingwood v. Essendon. I'm going for Essendon!