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.

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.

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 perspective of these topics. There are a lot of words and phrases that are unique to Australia. Contact me or leave a comment if you want a word explained.

Click the link below to view the book on Amazon:
Holding the Man

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.

Coming out of the cobwebs

As mind and body show strong signs of regaining normal vitality and strength once again, after over a month of high stress and poor health, I am now able to continue my blogs. I’ve been taught throughout life the simple, yet truthful lesson that if there isn’t anything good to be said, then nothing should be said at all. And as this past month was anything but “good,” avoiding posting negative blogs is exactly what I did.
I would like to say that something interesting has happened over the past month, and could discuss in detail my experience of it; however, the truth holds that my academic workload has been so intense that I have been mostly stuck in my room, with my nose in the books, paining through tedious assignment after tedious assignment. Combine this with poor health (headaches and constant nausea) for about a month, my homesickness was a heavy burden to bear, and the whole month of May seemed to last a year.
Fortunately, as the lectures and tutorials have come to a much needed end, and now that the submission of all assignments is complete, time has picked up its speed and life is once again good. As the first week of finals has finally arrived, studying has taken over my time, but it’s nice to only have that to worry about…for the moment.
Although possible, studying abroad later in your undergrad career is much more difficult than earlier on. The classes that you are required to take for your degree become much more specialized (particularly here at Curtin), and as an exchange student trying to meet all of my requirements as quickly and efficiently as possible, I have been left with less flexibility to explore other classes that may have been interesting. It would have been nice to enroll in an Australian studies or a history class, or even an Aboriginal studies class. However, prior to my arrival, here in Perth, my class list was destined to be all geology related. Not very much fun when you’re an exchange student and have many other opportunities for new and unique experiences. At the time, I thought that was the best decision, and if it helps me to graduate in one year as opposed to one and a half, then perhaps in the end I will thank myself for taking the most practical route. Hopefully…
I must admit that I am still meeting my goal of experiencing the studies in a different learning environment abroad, which will help to broaden my knowledge overall, as opposed to not having experienced this.
It can be said that if you’re into surfing, then you should head to Hawaii. Well, the same holds true for geologist, in that if you are interested in geology, you head to Western Australia, the hoarder of the oldest rocks on the planet. The Geology program is very prominent here at Curtin University, but so is its sibling Mining, considering the fact that WA has a large hand involved in the contribution, implementation and usage of fossil fuels. So, as an environmental geology student, learning from the point of view of education based on mining and petroleum exploration, it has been difficult to “keep my head in the game.” Moral conflict or not, I must say that it is still important to expose oneself to one’s opposite point of view in any disagreement. It opens the doors for much more to be learned and accomplished.


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 as good an impression of America as Chris did of Australia. He was very helpful, informative, friendly, and all around a really cool guy.

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, Chicago to LA, then to Sydney, and finally to Melbourne.

South Western Travels

My fieldtrip down to the Albany and Margaret River areas of the Southwestern region of WA will probably be the most memorable experience that I take back with me when I leave Australia. It consisted of seven days, filled with hard work, which wore both on the body and mind, and late nights spent completing the maps and diagrams of certain outcrops that we spent the day studying. Through it all, however, I made wonderful friends and learned so much more, in such a short amount of time, than I ever could have in a classroom. Traversing, at times, over fairly dangerous terrain, sometimes consisting of sharp limestones that jutted out at every angle, to steep rocky slopes that abruptly dropped off into the crashing waves (of the Southern and Indian Oceans) below. It’s a miracle that my fellow classmates and myself made it back safe and sound without any more than a scratch.

The first four days were spent dodging rain drops and sheltering our detailed sketchwork, maps and field notebooks from the ever-impending shower, while managing the impossible task of keeping ourselves and our belongings dry(which we packed up each morning and lugged around the field with us all day). There were moments when I felt quite miserable and in need of dry/warm clothing and shoes. I even remember envying the instructors, with their years of experience in the field, who sat about oblivious to the weather around them. I envied their indifference.
It really only affected me the most on the second day out, when we were all stuck out on a huge outcrop in Albany, known as The Gap because of its main physical feature. It consists of two stifflingly large cliffs, which have essentially been split apart by the enormous waves (that this particular area is known for) below, forming a gaping gap with very high walls.
On this day, not only did the rain pester us all day, but temperatures stayed quite low as well. We even felt it sleeting at times! We all sat around this rock pavement, with the overcast sky persistantly hovering overhead, struggling to produce detailed (and to scale) geological sketch maps, using 1 meter grid squares as the mapping base.

It was so bad at one point that as soon as I saw a few others heading off towards the bus (the only refuge) I took off in a mad dash after them. At that point it was more important to get shelter than it was to finish my work. It could be said that the bus was our home away from home twice removed; sometimes it seemed that we spent more time in it (travelling across the region from site to site) than we did in our beds at night.

To be continued…

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 socialize with Australians. If I can find a job, I’ll be staying two semesters. That would be epic!

Out of breath….

These last few weeks have left my head spinning…yet still overwhelmed with happiness. I really hope that when I return home the best days of my life will not be over. But that’s too disheartening to discuss.
Only arriving back into town, here in Perth, a couple days ago, my time has been prioritized around getting back on track. After being away from school for the past three weeks (for the two week semester break, followed by a geology field trip during the third week), I have to return back to the return of school. And I am absolutely happy about that, as it is that I am a routine type person. I must admit that I have quite a bit of catching up to do on my work, but it doesn’t consist of anything that I can’t handle. I will also be sure to write extra blogs in order to make up for the blogs that I wasn’t able to post while I was away. And I must admit, it gives me a good feeling to know that I have such a full plate – so much to do! I love that!
My return also re-engages my job search activity, which I am on the brink of giving up on; however, considering most places that I have submitted resumes to / had interviews are not intereted in hiring me since I am only here for a couple months. But I haven’t given up yet.
Perth is a great city, with much to do, contrary to what the people that live here say. I always jokingly tell them it’s because they don’t have an imagination. I never give myself the chance to feel bored. After having met and made so many friends from all over the world, it’s always easy to find something going on. That’s after I get all of my done, of course, which takes up plenty of time as it.

Over the break I headed out all over the city, and tried to take in a much as possible, such as checking out the art gallery, Subiaco (a beautiful city of its own and a side section of Perth), the museum, London Court and much more. I also had a day trip down to Fremantle, the famous and beautiful port where are the prisoners were first kept. I took the train down, and spent the day there with lovely Aussie friend, Rebekah, and checked out all the markets(from funky shops to farmers markets), cafe’s (where I had my first authentic aussie virgin drink: lemon, lime bitter – a really tasty soda) and much, much more. I even got to see the ever-popular “Little Creature’s” brewery; however, I was not able to get in because I did not have my passport on me that day. Next time…except next time I won’t need my passport because I finally have my proof of age card! YAY! Many of the venues here are very strict about proof of age documents, only accepting AU driver’s licenses, proof of age cards, or passports…not NYS driver’s licences. My first experience going out on the town here, months ago now, was quite a drawn out process. First of all, after travelling on buses and trains into the city with a large group of new found friends…taking almost an hour in itself…we finally arrived. And after waiting in line for almost as long, I was told by the bouncer that my NYS Id was insufficient. And crazy to some, I decided to head all the way back and for the passport…luckily I had a great friend by my side the whole time…smart enough not to do it alone. Finally making it back to the club, I was permitted access. I had a blast, but it can make one very conscience and paranoid to carry a passport on them (however seeminly stupid it may be). But we all had to do, as most of my friends are international…I just happened to miss the memo before hand. The point here, is that now I have my proof of age card, and no longer need to carry my passport on me when I go out. Such a good feeling to keep my passport locked up where it should be.
The second week of the break, I took a roadtrip roughly two-three hours south of Perth, with two friends that are from down that way. I was able to meet their families and pets (which made me miss mine). I have at least fifty pics on facebook from this excursion, but I have included on of me posing on the Donneybrook (apple country) sign:

For now I have to get back to my work, but shortly I will discuss my third week away, which consisted of a week long geology field trip down to the regions of Albany and Margaret River! Cheers, Ashley