I’m done with Week 12 of my 13 weeks of classes here at Sydney Uni. After Halloween weekend (which, by the way, is only half-heartedly celebrated in this country – I’ll get to this later) “exam period” ensues. And, let’s be honest, my three weeks of exams are pretty much a joke. I have two finals, each 1 ½ hours in length, one on Nov 9 and one on the 15th. For comparisons sake, my last exam period back at UGA took place after merely one “Reading Day” in between the end of classes and beginning of exams, and consisted of four 3-hour-long exams packed into four days. I prefer the latter method – you get it all over with in a week. No need to stress or procrastinate for three. Silly Australian uni, how I’ve learned to despise you.
Nevertheless, I’m mostly excited to finish up with classes, but I’m also sad. I really, really, really do not want to go home. I liken this experience to stepping out of reality and into an alternate universe of magic and fun and happiness. I’ve been jumping off a lot of cliffs lately, both literally and metaphorically, as I’ve adopted a wholly new perspective: doing things I like to do, or otherwise shamelessly indulging in life, makes me happy, so I will continue to do it. Meeting new people, exploring new places, and having new experiences similarly make me happy, so I will continue to do that as well. In fact, I’ve fleshed out quite the theory on the study abroad/exchange experience as it applies to existentially anxious third-year college students, but I’ll save that for later. In conclusion, as Rebecca always says, “I wish I could be on exchange forever.”
Alas, I cannot, so I must enjoy what I have now.
One of the most amazing things about this city, and something I’m continually enjoying, is how stunning it is. The city itself does not have any charming, deeply intricate historical architecture to fall back on (a la Europe), but raw Mother Nature is marvelously present here, even among the concrete and glass. The other day, Rebecca, Richard, and I went to Bondi. We walked along the beginning of the path distinctively known as the Bondi-Coogee Walk, and spent some time sitting on a boulder amongst the cliffs and caverns. The waves crashed into the rocks, leaving behind stony, inorganic tide pools and sending ocean spray into the breeze. It was one of my favorite places so far; relaxing, balanced, peaceful.
Similarly, a biology “field trip” to the Royal Botanic Gardens this morning stimulated my imagination. The Botanic Gardens are the ultimate Secret Garden. An oasis of perfect Nature in all its lush, tropical glory surrounded by skyscrapers and bustling businesspeople in black suits. I could spend an entire day there wandering amongst the palms, the colorful angiosperms, the cycads (remember Araucaria? Sweet, sweet prehistoric tree, how I long to witness the millions of years you have known). But I could also spend two hours there following my biology tutor around in circles as he tries his damndest to engage us students in stimulating plant-talk. I did learn that a natural banana contains big, black seeds, the remnants of which are visible as little black dots in our artificially selected versions.”Wow!” as the Boy Who Sees Lobster for First Time would say.
My anecdotes are only a limited window into Sydney’s natural beauty. There’s still so much I haven’t seen: North Sydney, Manly, the Blue Mountains…I’m working on it. But for this weekend, I’m off to Melbourne with the SBXtreme crew, minus Rich. I’m excited to see what Australia’s second largest city has to offer, even though I know very little about it. I’ve heard from various experienced Melbourne-goers that it feels more cultural/artistic/something like that.
I return Saturday night, possibly to a house party at 3 Creek. Then I think my time will jam-packed with studying/writing my 3000-word final paper until the following weekend, which is Halloween. No big plans yet, but you can rest assured I am going to celebrate somehow. Apparently, Aussie Halloween is only a recent phenomenon, and still goes un-celebrated by much of the population. Don’t care. Gonna dress up “fancy dress” style no matter what. I know what I’m planning for my costume as well but I’ll let that one be a surprise.
Oh and guess who’s going to New Zealand for ten days after exams? This girl, right here. YES.