leodavilgenLeo DaVilgen

"Three cubic feet of blood and bone": Academic, Apple fanatic, and forever 18.

All articles by leodavilgen

 

Dear Australia

Dear Australia, My heart longs for you. I want to be home again. From, Leo P.S. I miss Fed Square, Torquay, the trains, the trams, my friends, the surf, the footy, the possibility of new adventures. I miss riding in the car with Chris. I miss reading Mx on the way home. I miss Australians;
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Reverse Culture Shock

I’ve been experiencing some strong reverse culture shock these past few days. I have a strong longing for Melbourne. I miss my friends there. I miss the ocean and surfing. I miss having an entire city and it’s suburbs to explore. I miss the sunburned country.
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AFL Joke

From Bill Bryson’s “In a sunburned country”: A man arriving for the Grand Final in Melbourne is surprised to find the seat beside him empty. Tickets for the Grand Final are sold out weeks in advance and an empty seat is unknown. So he says to the man on the other side of the empty
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New Paltz International Orientation

It has been an exciting few days: Tuesday I moved back onto campus. It feels good to be back but I miss Melbourne. After some unpacking I walked to the Student Union Building to look at the new addition. It’s amazing. Wednesday I woke up in the morning and walked to the incoming international students
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Incoming International Student Orientation at New Paltz

I got a call from the incoming International Students Office at New Paltz. I’m going to be volunteering on Wednesday to help out with picking up students from the airport. Because of this, I might be moving in early: next Tuesday instead of next Saturday. I’m excited to meet the international students; especially the Aussies
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First Time Back at New Paltz

Today I went to New Paltz to visit some offices on campus for next semester. I’m trying to volunteer for the winter international orientation for incoming students. It’s strange being back. I miss Australia with all my heart. The closest I’ve gotten to feeling “at home” was when I visited New Paltz today. I’m looking
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Australian Christmas Songs

(I don’t celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday as I’m a “secular humanist”. So I feel that the title and content of this post is politically correct.) Jingle Bells Dashing through the bush, in a rusty Holden Ute, Kicking up the dust, esky in the boot, Kelpie by my side, singing Christmas songs, It’s Summer
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Australian National Anthem

Well, at this time I’m traveling around Australia. I could be anywhere right now. Since I know I likely won’t have computer access I have scheduled my blog to make a post or two while I’m traveling. Please note that the national anthem is rarely sung in comparison to how often American’s sing theirs. Here’s
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Sydney

Today I’m in Sydney. I’ll be staying here to two days then heading to cairns to experience the great barrier reef and Daintree forest. Then I go to fraser island. From there I fly back to Melbourne via Sydney to get my luggage from Chris. I’m staying in a hotel close to the airpor so
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A Perfect Day

I went to Torquay today to surf in Victoria for the last time before I leave. It saddens me that I might not be back to Australia for five years. I think back five years ago…at this time I was halfway through freshman year. Now here I am. At Geelong station waiting for a train
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The Melbourne Musuem

Australian culture of the day: “I’ve never seen it better.” is slang for I’m doing well. I went to the Melbourne Museum yesterday. I enjoyed seeing many exhibits; including dinosaurs, sea life, the earth, animals, the brain, the body, and forests. Two of the most interesting things I saw were viewfinders that pointed at the
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The reports of my death have been greatly exagerated

My previous report that I would be staying has been reconsidered. After much thought, and for many reasons, I will be returning to SUNY New Paltz for next semester. I have a couple weeks of work then a week of traveling before going back to America. I predict that it will be more difficult to
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Surf Camp

I went on a surf camp this past weekend in Lorne. It was a lot of fun despite the rain. I bought a tent and sleeping bag at a camping store called “Ray’s Outdoors” which was right next to where I live. They had a sale so I got the tent for $20 and the
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First exams in Australia

I’ve taken my first three exams here. I have one left to go. Exams are done differently here than at New Paltz. We all go to the Melbourne Showgrounds and sit in big rooms with hundreds of desks for three hours. There are fifteeen minutes of reading time before we start; when you can’t write.
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A New View of Melbourne

On Sunday I went to Eureka Tower with Chris and saw some stunning views of Melbourne. I also went into the Edge: a glass box that extends three meters into free space over 80 stories above the city. Afterwards, Chris and I went to a tech sale event. I came close to buying a mic
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Staying For Another Semester

I woke up this morning and casually opened my email on my iPod Touch. Keep in mind that I’m half awake. My eyes focus upon an email from New Paltz. The first words I process are Global Scholar. Now I’m a little more awake. I read the subject of the mail which informs me that
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Surfing and a sad epiphany

I went surfing for the first time yesterday. I awoke early at 6am on Sunday morning and was out the door at 7am. At first I was disappointed because I thought I wouldn’t be able to get to the train in time; I couldn’t find a bus to the train station. I walked up to
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The First Day of Summer

Today felt like the first day of summer. It was also Daylight Savings Time; everyone in Victoria set their clocks forward an hour. I had wanted to go to Torquay to go for my first surfing lesson but it didn’t work out. Instead I did grocery shopping for the week and then decided to go
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Great Ocean Road

I had an amazing day yesterday going to the Great Ocean Road. I even got my wish to go with Australians. Unfortunately I didn’t see any kangaroos; just a lot of road signs warning of kangaroos. I did see breath taking views of the ocean and coast. The road through the forest and along the
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My Country

There is a popular saying, “Home is where the heart is.” My heart is here. There are few things I know about my future, but one thing I do know is that my future is here. I try not to think of how much time I have left in Australia (because it seems so short);
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Short Post: Language Differences

In Australia an “answering machine” is a “message bank”. No one says g’day mate; not anyone of my generation anyway. People do say phrases like “Hey mate!”. By the way, mate is sort of another word for friend, but it has more loyalty and comradeship associated with it than the word “friend”. Americans say “How
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Kisschasy: LIVE!

I went to a live performance by Kisschasy this past weekend at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds. Kisschasy is an Australian band that originated in Melbourne. I have been listening to their music since before I arrived in Australia. They didn’t look like what I would have expected; they didn’t look like a rock band. Then
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Cognitive Psychology Test

I took my midterm exam today for my cognitive psychology test. I had a strange moment when the tutorial lecturer started talking about 10 minutes for reading. Apparently it’s customary to read over the exam first with “pens down” and then you actually start the test. I had another jolt when I saw a casual
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Tomorrow When the War Began

I finally saw the movie of Tomorrow When the War Began with Chris today. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It was a bit surreal seeing a foreign film on such “the big screen”. Although technically it wasn’t a foreign film; just foreign for me. It was an intense movie. I liked the actress who played
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Learning Footie with Stuart

I spent an hour after my cognitive psychology learning some of the basics of Aussie Rules Football with Stuart. He showed me how to bounce, hand-ball, and kick the footie (the ball). I would never play this game as it is played professionally; as I value my health (it’s an aggressive game with no protective
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Gillard Wins!

The election was decided today. Gillard won! That makes this “new-Australian” rather happy. I would not be in a good mood right now if Abbot had won. This means that Labour won and not Liberal. Hopefully the next Australian election that I am here for will be one which I can vote in. Election is mandatory
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Tree Adventures

Today I tried to to go to Yarra National Park. I then decided to go to Dandenong National Park when I realised it wasn’t possible to get to Yarra easily by public transport. Once I got to Belgrave I went to the visitor’s centre to get directions. After making a phone call to make a
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Footie Ball

Last night I went to a dance club with some friends from RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology). It was the first night that this club was open on a Friday so there were a lot of people there. I met someone from one of my classes at VU (Victoria University). I also ran into
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Transportation

I don’t think I’ve made a post about the transportation here yet. Suffice it to say that you can get around very easily with public transport. They do drive on the left here, so I wouldn’t advise driving a car if you are from America. The transportation includes: trains, buses, trams, and kangaroo. I would
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Videos

Here is the trailer for Australian move: Tomorrow When the War Began; based on the book I keep talking about. It comes out in theatre September 2nd…next Thursday! Excuse me while I go finish the book. Tomorrow When the War Began Here is the music video for “Light Surrounding You” by Evermore; an Australian band
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Steve Jobs

Seeing Steve Jobs introducing the iPhone in an Intro to Marketing lecture video as an example of “product”…priceless. Apple is used as an example in many of my classes; here and in the U.S. It makes me feel proud.
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A New Perspective

I watched the 2007 Doctor Who Christmas special tonight. It was fun…but sad. I miss David Tennant as the Doctor. I just plain miss the Doctor. That’s one more reason to stay here a year: to watch a new episode of Doctor Who in another country. I had a weird feeling at the end of
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Tomorrow When the War Began

This is the first book in a popular series written by an Australian author about a group of teenagers in Australia. I have not read the series but it has been recommended by more than one of my friends. There is a movie of the first book coming out next month. I’m planning on going
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Kangaroo

Notice that I did not type kangaroos. No, my first experience with Australia’s national symbol was not with the furry jumping kind. My first experience was of the dead, meat variety. Yup, I tried kangaroo…the food. Chris commented once that he thought Australia was the only country to eat it’s national symbol/animal. The statement holds
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AFL and St. Kilda Beach

On Saturday I was going to go Ice Skating but I got the time for the bus wrong and missed out. Instead I decided to go to the beach, even though it was cold. About an hour and a half later I arrived at St. Kilda Beach. Australia seems to keep surprising me. It’s amazing
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Coffee Tour

Two nights ago I went on a coffee tour with a group of people from the Student Village. I had a mocha with pizza, hot chocolate, and a cappucino with some chocolates. I was rather full and high on caffeine by the end of the night. But I had heaps of fun. We played mind
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Second Day of Classes

Today was the second day of classes and the first day of tutorials. I was a bit terrified with the tutorials. I had very little idea of what to expect or what was going to happen. But it’s basically a more interactive class like back in the States. I met up with Thomas again; a
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1st Aussie haircut

So I got my first haircut here today. Yes, I’m writing a blog post about getting my hair cut. It cost $20. But if you do the conversion and subtract what you would usually tip from that amount it comes out about the same. The woman who cut my hair did a great job in
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On speaking Norwegian

A conversation online early today with one of my best friends, Ameris: Me: Rosetta stone doesn’t offer Norwegian. Ameris: Haha. WOW. You wanna learn NORWEGIAN? Me: So I can talk to the Norway guys! Ameris: They don’t speak English? Me: Well they do…But if they can learn English, then I can learn Norwegian. Ameris: You’ll use
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Ørjan

Tonight was another party for Re-O Week. There was pizza and garlic bread to eat. Everyone at Chiffley played a social Bingo game; then went and hung out around the volleyball court. I met three people tonight: Ørjan, Tom, and Flo. All of them are guys, Ørjan and Tom are Norwegian and Flo is Austrian.
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Naughts and Crosses

Take a moment and think what “Naughts and Crosses” might be. If you are an American you probably will have no idea what it is. Hint: it’s a childhood game. Still don’t know? Neither did I. It’s a culture difference I found out today. Below is the answer.
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Summer Heights High

I took the Epping train to reservoir station to meet chris. We went to the local mall and bought some food. At his house he cooked something which I can’t remember the name of and my garlic pizza. We had lunch then watched a show called southern heights high. It’s an Australian mockumentary about three individuals at a high school. There is an American version coming out soon apparently.
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Holding the Man

This is a book I recently read that several people recommended to me. This is a book that all (mature) audiences can connect with and be moved by. It’s a true coming out story by the author, who is Australian. I would especially recommend it to anyone interested in learning about Australian culture from the
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One Week Left

There is one week left until I leave for Melbourne, Australia. That’s pronounced Mel-bun, NOT Mel-born. I’m getting nervous….worried that I’m forgetting to do something, that I’ll leave something important behind. Buckle up. This is going to be quite a ride.
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Chris

Above is me and my friend Chris. I met Chris at SUNY New Paltz. He’s an Australian who was studying here for a semester. I plan on meeting up again with him when I arrive in Australia as we’ll be going to the same college (probably different campuses though). I hope that I can make
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44 Days Left

There are only 44 days left until I leave for Australia! My flight is booked, I have my VISA, and my passport is in my bag. This is going to be epic! My flight will be over 28 hours because I have some stops and time in between destinations. I fly from Albany, to Chicago,
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80 Days Left

Well there are less than 80 days left until I leave for Australia. I’m getting really excited. I found out last Thursday that I received the fee reduction from SUNY New Paltz. I want to keep in mind when going abroad that I don’t want to spend time with Americans. I’m going to Australia to
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Australia, Here I Come

According to the Study Abroad Office I have a 4000% chance of getting accepted to the Australia college in Melbourne that I am applying to. So…it looks like I’m going abroad next semester. I’m going to try applying to an Apple Store for a job when I get there as well. I have a lot
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