After the welcome sessions yesterday, I grabbed lunch with two girls who happened to be sitting near me in the auditorium. Verena from Germany and Mette from Denmark are both here to do postgraduate work for the semester. They have that European angular, fresh-faced beauty. We mainly talked about the differences between Danish/German/American/Australian cultures. Verena and I exchanged numbers. Back at the hostel, my Korean roommate had moved out and Nikola, a solo Scottish backpacker on her way home, had moved in. She spoke about the past ten months she had spent in Australia, living out of a single backpack. I was immediately captivated by her bubbly accent and enthusiasm as she told her stories – I nearly cried along with her when she spoke about the boy she had come to Sydney to visit who stood her up and went to Darwin instead. I felt so sad to see her go this morning because I wish we could be friends, but I know how good it will feel to see her “mum” and have a cup of tea after ten months on the road.
Today, Verena and her handsome brother, Frank, met me at the library so we could use the internet for some serious house-hunting. Verena kissed me hello, a custom I wish Americans would adopt, and Frank and I discussed his favorite parts of Australia he had seen in the past three months. I think it is a German norm to maintain consistent eye contact so I felt like the two of them were staring into my soul most of the time. There were only a few misunderstandings in our trying to communicate in English, a second language for them, but I was pleasantly surprised when Verena anointed me the nickname Mischa. I think she was equally as pleasantly surprised to find out my last name was German. We have confirmation that “Vogel” does indeed mean “bird” in German, by the way.
I also went to see another house today in Newtown. I feel I lack the vocabulary to successfully describe Newtown to anyone who hasn’t seen it. It’s youthful and vibrant with pastel terraced buildings and heaps and heaps of cheap Thai restaurants. There are lots of bars and cafes and music venues…I guess you could say it’s like downtown Athens on steroids, plus tons of authentic Asian food and minus hipsters and townies. I tried and failed in finding a photo on google that does it justice.
The house itself was mostly unimpressive but I would have my own room if I lived there, which would be nice for sure. I stayed and talked with Hana (pronounced like Chana but without the glottal) from Texas and Aaron from Perth for a while then Aaron and I got some lunch-special Chinese dumplings at a place nearby. Aaron is a 28year-old sound engineer and works odd hours at pubs around Sydney. He assured me, though, that he appreciates all types of music, even Beyonce. He wanted to take me to get my first legal alcoholic drink but I told him it has to be more ceremonial; there need to be cameras to capture the moment, and lots of witnesses (read: friends) to enjoy it with me. He understood and maybe I’ll see him again if I live there?
I’m about to head back to the first place I saw to meet the French girl I would be sharing the room with. I’ll get some photos on here soon, I promise! Bye now
P.S. I’m aware the title of this post makes little sense. I meant to say something about my impermanent living situation and the delicious steamed dumplings I enjoyed today in Newtown but it amounted to a strange and meaningless title. Oh well.