Finally here

I arrived here in Sydney at 8 am on Friday morning local time. I haven’t been on my computer since the plane ride. The ride over wasn’t to bad, there were two babies crying the whole flight over but somehow I managed to sleep a little on the plane. Robbie my Australian friend that i met last semester while he was on exchange at New Paltz,  picked me up at the airport and took me to some scenic routes around Sydney. The first night we went out in Manly Beach with Robbie and Jason. Jason is another friend that I made last semester through New Paltz. We went around town and met some of there friends. Apparently the weather hasn’t been to good here, but ever since I have arrived it has been warm and sunny. Yesterday I hung out with Jason and some of his friends. We stayed at his house for most of the day and then went out in the city to watch the Manchester and Liverpool game.  Today I’m planning to visit some apartments and then go watch a cricket game. Since I haven’t used my computer I haven’t been able to put up photos. I will try and do some tonight.

First Post

I couldn’t ask for a better week in the U.S. The Giants won the Super Bowl,  I went shopping for clothes, a new camera,  and new Ray Bands. I finished of working at radio shack with a 1800 dollar phone sale! and got to see my friends and family. It has finally hit me that I will be leaving for six months and will not be able to see my family and friends until I get back, but I’m sure that I will be able to make new friends and adapt to the Australian culture. I am currently doing some last minute packing and loading new music and movies for my flight tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully I don’t forget anything here, and will be ready to start my new adventure in on the opposite side of the world.

ANZAC Day

As Americans celebrate Easter, Australians mourn and remember our fallen on ANZAC day.

“They shall grow not old,
As we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
……And in the morning
We will remember them.”

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; their friendliness and kindness. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

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.

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.