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 seat: ‘Excuse me, do you know why there is no one in this seat?’
‘It was my wife’s,’ answers the second man, a touch wistfully, ‘but I’m afraid she died.’
‘Oh, that’s terrible. I’m so sorry.’
‘Yes, she never missed a match.’
‘But couldn’t you have given the ticket to a friend or relative?’
‘Oh no. They’re all at the funeral.’

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 office. I met up with Jeff, Warren, and Mo. We all got into a car and drove down to NYC to pick up students at JFK. I was given a list of people that we had to pick up, a sign (like in the movie at airports) that read “Welcome, SUNY New Paltz International Programs”. I was also wearing a shirt that said the same without the word “Welcome” and I had my New Paltz bag on too. I walked around the airport, going between terminals on the AirTrain. I would pick up a student, welcome them, and bring them back to Terminal 1. All of this was done with an excess of enthusiasm due to the large cup of coffee (caw-fee) that I had drunk in the car and finished on the AirTrain; drunk faster than a coffee should be.

At three, I went back to Terminal 1 and boarded a bus with roughly 25-40 international students. I communicated with the International Office back on campus via mobile; telling them where we were as we progressed back towards campus. We made a stop at a hotel where I got nervous that people were going to get off that weren’t supposed to; but I think everyone stayed on that was supposed to. We arrived on campus and I assisted the students to bring their luggage off the bus and into a dorm. The students were then given information and their room keys along with pizza and drinks. I had met Jo, one of my Australian friends, on the bus along with some other Australians I didn’t know. In the room where they were serving pizza and giving out information I met one of my other Australian friends, Cassie. After pizza I walked with Jo and Lauren to their dorm where they are staying. After getting their luggage into their rooms I walked to my room to pick up a spare set of sheets for Lauren who didn’t have any. On the way back to Lauren I ran across a student from Turkey who I helped find and get inside her dorm before returning to Lauren and Jo with the sheets. We went to Jo’s room and helped Jo get her WiFi set up. Jo and I then went back to the dorm where the pizza was served. I eventually ended up with Jo, another Australian, and some British girls in someone’s room where we played a word game, told jokes, and laughed about cultural differences.


Thursday
I woke up and met some of the students at Gage Hall because they didn’t know how to get to the dining hall. At 8:30 we all walked over to the dining hall for breakfast. I wish I had been given the welcoming that the international students are getting here when I arrived in Melbourne. I had lunch with friends and then at five we all went to the Poughkeepsie Galleria. I tried to organize a movie trip but the internationals needed to do shopping and I simply went with a group of my American friends to see a movie. My newest American friend gave me a ride back to New Paltz. We got a little lost and most likely got him into trouble for being out too late.

It’s been a great start to the new semester and what looks like the beginning of a very exciting year. I plan on applying to become an RA and an OL. I believe I would grow a lot as a person from both experiences.

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 and Brits. This is the perfect opportunity for me to become friends with the new international students and to be one of the first people that they meet. My only concern is that the dining hall might not be open until Saturday next week…

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 forward to returning next semester.

I’m reading Bill Bryson’s “In a Sunburnt Country”. I bought a book called “Little Aussie Fact Book” to study up on my favorite country. I need to learn as much as I can so that I’m ready for my citizenship test in…however many years it takes to get to that opportunity.

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 time and I am in my singlet, shorts and thongs
Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute
.
Engine’s getting hot; we dodge the kangaroos,
The swaggie climbs aboard, he is welcome too.
All the family’s there, sitting by the pool,
Christmas Day the Aussie way, by the barbecue.
Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.
Come the afternoon, Grandpa has a doze,
The kids and Uncle Bruce, are swimming in their clothes.
The time comes ’round to go, we take the family snap,
Pack the car and all shoot through, before the washing up.
Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.



What the words mean
Holden Ute – Holden is a make of car (like Ford, Toyota) and Ute (rhymes with boot) is short for utility (utility vehicle).
Esky – portable cooler to carry drinks and food.
Boot – trunk of a car.
Kelpie – Australian breed of dog traditionally used to herd sheep.
Singlet – undershirt.
Thongs – beach type shoes/flip flops; not a type of under garment.
Swaggie – short for swagman; a drifter (person without a permanent place to live) who carried his swag (pack) as he travelled the country on foot looking for work.
He was a common sight during the depression of the 1890’s and 1930’s.
We take the family snap – take a picture of the family with a camera
Shoot through before the washing up – leave quickly so someone else has to clean up.

The Twelve Days of Christmas
On the 1st day
of Christmas

My true love sent to me,
An emu up a gum tree.
On the 2nd day
of Christmas

My true sent to me,
2 pink galahs,
And an emu up a gum tree.
On the 3rd day
of Christmas

My true love sent to me,
3 kookaburras laughing,
2 pink galahs,
And an emu up a gum tree.
On the 4th day
of Christmas

My true love sent to me
4 koalas cuddling,
3 kookaburras laughing
2 pink galahs
And an emu up a gum tree.
On the 5th day
of Christmas

My true love sent to me
5 kangaroos,
4 koalas cuddling,
3 kookaburras laughing,
2 pink galahs,
And an emu up a gum tree.
On the 6th day
of Christmas

My true love sent to me
6 brolgas dancing,
5 kangaroos,
4 koalas cuddling,
3 kookaburras laughing,
2 pink galahs,
And an emu up a gum tree.
On the 7th day
of Christmas

My true love sent to me
7 possums playing,
6 brolgas dancing,
5 kangaroos,
4 koalas cuddling,
3 kookaburras laughing,
2 pink galahs,
And an emu up a gum tree.
On the 8th day
of Christmas

My true love sent to me
8 dingoes digging,
7 possums playing,
6 brolgas dancing,
5 kangaroos,
4 koalas cuddling,
3 kookaburras laughing,
2 pink galahs,
And an emu up a gum tree.
On the 9th day
of Christmas

My true love sent to me
9 wombats working,
8 dingoes digging,
7 possums playing,
6 brolgas dancing,
5 kangaroos,
4 koalas cuddling,
3 kookaburras laughing,
2 pink galahs,
And an emu up a gum tree.
On the 10th day
of Christmas

My true love sent to me
10 lizards leaping,
9 wombats working,
8 dingoes digging,
7 possums playing,
6 brolgas dancing,
5 kangaroos,
4 koalas cuddling,
3 kookaburras laughing,
2 pink galahs,
And an emu up a gum tree.
On the 11th day
of Christmas

My true love sent to me
11 numbats nagging,
10 lizards leaping,
9 wombats working,
8 dingoes digging,
7 possums playing,
6 brolgas dancing,
5 kangaroos,
4 koalas cuddling,
3 kookaburras laughing,
2 pink galahs,
And an emu up a gum tree.
On the 12th day
of Christmas

My true love sent to me
12 parrots prattling,
11 numbats nagging,
10 lizards leaping,
9 wombats working,
8 dingoes digging,
7 possums playing,
6 brolgas dancing,
5 kangaroos,
4 koalas cuddling,
3 kookaburras laughing,
2 pink galahs,
And an emu up a gum tree.

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 the Australian National Anthem:

Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in Nature’s gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history’s page, let every stage
Advance Australia fair!
In joyful strains then let us sing,
“Advance Australia fair!”When gallant Cook from Albion sail’d,
To trace wide oceans o’er,
True British courage bore him on,
Till he landed on our shore.
Then here he raised Old England’s flag,
The standard of the brave;
With all her faults we love her still,
“Brittania rules the wave!”
In joyful strains then let us sing,
“Advance Australia Fair!”Beneath our radiant southern Cross,
We’ll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing
“Advance Australia fair!”While other nations of the globe
Behold us from afair,
We’ll rise to high renown and shine
Like our glorious southern star;
From England, Scotia, Erin’s Isle,
Who come our lot to share,
Let all combine with heart and hand
To advance Australia fair!
In joyful strains then let us sing
“Advance Australia fair!”Sho’d foreign foe e’er sight our coast,
Or dare a foot to land,
We’ll rouse to arms like sires of yore
To guard our native strang;
Brittania the shall surely know,
Beyond wide ocean’s roll,
Her sons in fair Australia’s land
Still keep a British soul.
In joyful strains the let us sing
“Advance Australia fair!”

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 that I can catch my early flight on the 19th. You will probably not hear from me much over the next week due to me not having access to a computer. Check the travel updates above to see any updates I post to twitter from my kindle.

Australian culture of the day: outlets are called power points in Australia

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 back to Melbourne after a daysurfing in Torquay; “the surfing capital”. I doubt I would have believed someone if they told me that five years ago. So I can’t imagine where I’ll be in another five years. I only know that it will be somewhere close to a beach (for surfing of course), preferably outside of the USA.

I bought a (used) copy of Tomorrow When the War Began at a market that was happening in Torquay. The book has writing in it and it’s a bit worn, but it’s readable and some of the writing is useful. I wanted a physical copy to loan to friends who are not yet ereader users. Once I’ve lent it to all my friends I might donate it to the SUNY New Paltz library.

I had an amazing day. There is nothing I would rather have done today than go surfing. It was the perfect way to spend my last weekend in Melbourne. I rode about 7-8 waves and nose dived a few times. It was more or less a downhill day. I rode the first wave I tried catching and it was one of my longest rides yet. I then caught a few more before the waves started getting fewer. I spoke with my Mum today and she said that it was getting very cold. I thought, sitting on my board watching the ocean for waves, that it was amazing that I was soaking up the sun surfing in December! While most of the people I know are probably wearing thick winter coats.

I got a picture of me with the surfboard I used that day and another with Mark in it. I rented my board and wet suit from Go Ride A Wave every time I went surfing at Torquay; Mark is the owner. He was friendly and supportive; and also gave great customer service. He’s another example of how awesome Australians are (talk about alliteration). If you are ever in Torquay and want to try surfing, find “Go Ride A Wave” and ask for Mark.
Tomorrow I am doing some Christmas shopping then I plan to meet up with Chris in the evening and plan my travel around Australia then we’re going to see a movie.

Finally, here’s a shout out to my mates at SUNY New Paltz: Kyle, Lisa, Torian, Danielle, and Lana. See you next month.

(Most of this post was written on my iPod)

Fluff: If you’re reading this, did you get the alliteration reference?

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 bone skeletons of animals. when you looked through them the animal bones transformed into the living animal before your eyes and appeared in it’s natural habitat. There was then a short video of it moving around and then it switched back to the skeleton. This was accomplished by having a video of the skeleton as it would appear if you looked through a screen. The other interesting thing that I saw were two animatronic dinosaurs. I took a video of them. They looked rather real. I want someone to make an animatronic jurassic park…or better yet, make jurassic park itself. Once we can manipulate DNA we should be able to reconstruct the dinosaurs by tweaking bird DNA. For more on this topic, read the book “How to Build a Dinosaur”.

In other news, Harvard scientists have reversed the ageing process in mice – now for humans! This doesn’t have anything to do with me being in Australia. It just has to do with my goal of living hundreds of years. For more on this, read Aubrey De Grey’s book “Ending Aging” and learn about the exponential growth of technology.

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 readjust to life back in the US; that I will have more reverse culture shock than I had culture shock. My journey back will not be complete until I’ve moved back into a dorm room on campus. The month between returning to the US and going back home (SUNY New Paltz) will be a difficult one; although a much larger part of my heart belongs to Australia now. I am an American by birth, but an Australian at heart.