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); but I do know that when I do leave I will leave my heart here. I will long to return home. Below is one of the most popular poems in Australian literature that describes my heart’s new home.

My Country
© 1904 Dorothea MacKellar

(modified from original)

The love of field and coppice, of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance, brown streams and soft, dim skies-
I know but cannot share it, my love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons, I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror- the wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests, all tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains, the hot gold hush of noon,
An opal-hearted country, a wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her, you will not understand –
Though earth holds many splendours, wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country my homing thoughts will fly.


P.B. (Post Blog) Australian’s understand this country’s hold on me. They love to travel but would never want to live anywhere but here. Jus think, how many Australians have you met in America or wherever it is you live?…My point exactly.

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 are you doing?”, we say “How are you going?”.

I had a surreal moment today when I wrote arvo almost without thinking. Arvo is Australian for afternoon. Seems like I’m assimilating well.

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 again, I haven’t been to many concerts. I also didn’t expect to get so close to the stage. I thoroughly enjoyed the concert and roamed around the showgrounds afterwards. There is something called “showbags” that are sold at the fair. Showbags are sample bags of related products. I still don’t understand it really; it was the first time I felt some culture shock. I paid $19 to get into the showgrounds which I would have thought expensive but it was a cheap price to pay for a live concert of an Australian band that I am a fan of.

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 reference the the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the test. It made me think conciously that I’m in Australia taking a test. Sometimes it still feels surreal that I’m on the other side of the world. It’s going to feel so different when I’m back at New Paltz. I’m going to feel different than anyone else; I’ll probably seek out international students (especially Australians) more so that I did before I came here. I’ll want to find other people who can relate to what I’ve experienced studying abroad.

People told me that I would come back a different person. But I don’t think I realised how different that will be.

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 Ellie and the actor who played Kevin; the latter for more shallow reasons. It was an emotional film for two reasons. I just read the book so I feel like I know the characters and because the plot would be the worst thing that could happen while I’m here; not that it ever would. I hope they make sequels for the other books. If it doesn’t make it to the US then I’ll have to buy the DVD to share with my friends back in the States.

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 clothing). However, I would like to be able to play a game of recreational/touch footie by the time I leave.

I don’t know when I’ll be coming back. Ideally I would like to get a job with Apple corporate and move here to work. One way or another my goal will be to return within 3 years of graduating college. I know that I will miss the friends that I have made here and the friends that I will make before I leave. It’s hard for me to think that it will be at least a couple of years before I see Chris again after I leave here. He’s been a great friend since I met him last semester.

That being said, it will be easy to keep in touch with my friends here on a regular basis with the Internet. Even if we are on opposite sides of the world. I also intend to read The Age or The Australian (local newspapers) on my Kindle every morning when I get back; as a way to keep in touch with Australia.

Song I was listening to as I wrote this: “Je Te Vends Mon Âme” by Kyo.

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 here for citizens. If you don’t vote, you get fined. I think this makes for a better system. This way the votes are a better representation of the country’s population; rather than it being voluntary to vote like in the United States.

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 reservation I changed my plans yet again. I was now going to do something I had wanted to do since I got here: Tree Adventures. This obstacle course in the trees is located at Glen Harrow Park in Belgrave.

After putting on a harness, gloves, and a hat I was given instructions on how the zip lines and safety lines worked. I then made my way up a ladder and got my first taste of the zip lines. I soared from one tree to another on a steel cable. I made my way through the second and third level courses; making my way through obstacles and across zip lines. The real adventure was level four. This was the most difficult and the highest. About halfway through I decided to stop and catch my breath and enjoy the view. I was 15 metres (45 feet) above the ground at this time. After a few more obstacles I got to the end: the biggest zip line. It was exhilarating soaring through the air, it was almost like flying; which is probably why I liked it so much. It was two of the most amazing hours of my life…which makes me wonder how surfing is going to feel. I have a meeting tomorrow morning with someone from RMIT’s Surf Club.

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 someone I knew from a youth organisation I’m volunteering for. I had this moment where I felt really good. Here I am, only been in Australia for roughly two months, and I can run into people I know.

Today I went to the shopping centre up the road to browse in the bookstore; because I love discovering new books to read (even if I have enough on my Kindle to last me a lifetime). After browsing in the bookstore I went to the AFL Store after finding it in the store directory; which are large touch screens. I have wanted to buy an AFL (Aussie Rules Football) ball. So I now have one sitting on the shelf in my room. I want to try finding a book or a website on the rules of the game. I’ve never been into sports, but this will be a way for me to bring a piece of Australia and it’s culture back home with me. A piece that I can share with my friends by teaching them how the game is played instead of just showing them videos.


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 suggest buying a MyKi transport card and getting a concession card if you are an exchange student. MyKi makes getting around faster and easier in my experience.

P.S. I was joking about the kangaroo. Kangaroos don’t accept MyKi or Metcard. They will accept giving you a good kick though.