Living the Dream Down Under

G’day everyone!! I’m about a month behind on updates (SO incredibly sorry, time really does fly when you’re having fun), so sincerest apologies for the longish post that’s about to follow.

Alright, so what have I been up to…

I just finished up my 8th week of classes and I really just want to know where the time has gone??? How has it already been 8 weeks?! It’s especially crazy to think that all of my friends back home are just starting their semester while mine is more than halfway done already. Last week I finished taking midterms, and hopefully all of those late nights spent studying paid off (knock on wood). Now I’m on mid-semester break for a week, which is why I finally have some time to sit down and write.

A few weeks ago I was sitting in lecture and happened to see that the boy in front of me was looking at layouts of UW residence halls! Seriously, what are the odds?! I stopped him after class to ask him about it and he told me that he’ll be studying abroad at UW next semester. I got so stupidly excited, my heart seriously swells when I talk about Madison and what being a Badger means to me. He was just as excited to ask me questions about classes and campus and what type of weather he should pack for. Hopefully we can connect once we both get to Madison next semester, and maybe I’ll be able to show my new Aussie friend around!

I also got dinner with a different classmate one night after our Friday class because she needed something to hold her over during her 2.5-hour commute home. (This girl seriously travels 2.5 hours EACH WAY for ONE class on Fridays, can you even imagine?!) Anyway, the only reason I’m even bringing this up is because she made an interesting comment before we parted ways that really stuck with me; “It seems like the campus culture in the U.S. really fosters strong friendships, whereas here it’s really difficult to make meaningful relationships after high school because nobody feels the need to make friends at Uni.” I love the University of Sydney and I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to study here for the semester, but hearing her say that made me especially thankful for the incomparable campus culture at UW and the amazing friends I’ve made there who have truly made such a positive impact on my college experience and my life in general. I don’t know, it kind of makes me sad knowing that not everyone gets a college experience like that in the U.S., it really is one of a kind but it’s so easy to take for granted when you’ve never experienced anything different

Okay, fun stuff!

  • Quite a few weekends ago the girls and I went to a chocolate festival in The Rocks. There was music playing, cute seating sprinkled around, and the streets were lined with food tents selling anything and everything chocolate-related. Not sure how we ended up getting pizza at a chocolate festival, but it was nice to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather.
  • We went to the Museum of Contemporary Art one Saturday, which is located right on the Harbour. They had a whole floor/exhibit showcasing the work of an Australian artist named Jenny Watson, whose pieces have been inspired by punk music, feminism, and fantasies like Alice in Wonderland among other things. I’m not usually into art museums, but as I walked through the exhibit I really felt like I was getting to know Jenny Watson and her life story. It’s really amazing to me how much you can learn about someone through their creative outlet(s), it’s just so personal and autobiographical.

  • I spent a weekend in Tasmania! A separate post on that is coming, though, so I won’t spoil any of the details.
  • This past weekend Aleksandra ran the Blackmores Sydney Marathon, and ended up beating her goal time by nearly 15 minutes! The rest of the girls and I made a sign and bought champagne to shower her with when she crossed the finish line. Like they say, if you can’t be an athlete… be an athletic supporter. 😉 She’s seriously such a beast. We’re so proud of you, Aleks!!

I’ve been eating a lot of great food at a lot of cool places recently, so I figured that I’d dedicate the end of this post to that since everyone loves food.

  • The Glebe Market takes place every Saturday, and since we’re within walking distance we’ll often go to window shop… and eat. There’s one food stand that makes arepas, a Venezuelan cuisine that’s pretty similar to tacos. They are TO. DIE. FOR. Special S/O to Jenn for introducing me to them!

Clipper Café! This place is also located in Glebe, which is a little suburb near the University of Sydney that’s lined with small eateries and boutique shops. One morning I got the banana bread and they somehow managed to take something so basic and make it look/taste like no other banana bread that I had ever had before. It was topped with ricotta cheese and raspberries which, 1. I don’t like ricotta cheese, and 2. doesn’t sound like a great combo, but somehow the flavors just work and I am definitely a fan.

  • Aqua S is a small ice cream place located near the business district, best known for its sea salt soft serve. They rotate flavors about every two weeks, but I can attest to the deliciousness that is the sea salt flavor, which pairs perfectly with caramel popcorn and a toasted marshmallow.

  • The Grounds of Alexandria… guys, I seriously can’t rave about this place enough. It’s a coffee roastery and café, but the environment almost feels like being at a farmer’s market of sorts. There are multiple cafés on the property where you can grab a bite, each with a different menu. It’s also home to a permaculture garden, a bakery, and even a little animal farm. Every corner of The Grounds is picture-perfect and it’s easily one of the most aesthetically pleasing spaces I’ve ever been in. The food/variety is fantastic, and I will definitely be back before I leave. I couldn’t choose which photos I wanted to share, so don’t mind my mini Grounds of Alexandria photo album below.