After a lazy Saturday, I had an equally quiet Sunday. All I really did was travel down the road to go to mass. The walk was about a half mile up the road and I passed some beautiful Birds of Paradise flowers on the way. It was actually a perfect morning for a walk and the whole trip only took me about 15 minutes. St. Mary’s church is very small but very lovely; I think I will enjoy coming here each week.
After mass, there was a table with snacks and coffee available. One of the parishioners picked up a crinkly cut french fry from the table and said “this is an odd snack” before popping it in her mouth. I guess that “chips” in this country are different than back home.
Later in the evening, the girls and I went to a nearby burger place called Grill’d. The burgers there are all natural, organically made, and VERY delicious. The “chips” were also very yummy, even if we couldn’t find the ketchup (which is actually called tomato sauce here). I got a chicken burger with guacamole and “salad” on top. Yum, yum!
Yesterday (Monday) we had orientation at ACU. Our group managed to make it from the apartment to the shuttle station (via train) just in time to get to ACU for orientation. Unfortunately, the shuttle was full, so we were forced to wait for the next one, which would get us there late. While we waited, a few of us decided to get coffee at the cafe across the street. While we were getting our orders, a surprise shuttle came by (15 minutes early) and everyone decided to run for it, leaving their coffee behind. I decided that coffee was more important than orientation, so I waited for the next shuttle. I had zero regrets and was much happier after having eaten.
Orientation itself was pretty much what you would expect; we were introduced to the school’s policies, taught how to use the computers, and received our class schedules. In Australia, classes are called units and you have a lecture portion and a tutorial portion for each class. I will be taking a performance class called Australian Drama, an English class where we will be reading Dracula and Frankenstein, and a philosophy class. I will only have classes on Tuesdays (all day) and Friday mornings, so I am very excited. I was also given information on the internship I would be completing this semester. I was assigned to Nugee Beach Environmental Education Center. Basically, I will be working with school groups who come to visit the center and doing different conservation/clean up projects. I will be spending six hours a day, two days a week there with another biology student from Chicago. We will be getting to spend a lot of time outdoors and I am very excited to get started.
Another highlight of orientation was getting to see some animals. They brought in a specialist who showed us some different Australian wildlife, including a black headed python and a bat (here they are called “tree foxes”). I actually got to hold the snake (sorry mom) and it was VERY cool.
Today (Tuesday) we were supposed to go to an Amazing Race style scavenger hunt, but it rained so my flatmates and I decided to stay in and watch a movie. We don’t have anything else to do tomorrow or Thursday, so we are planning to go see some of the local sights and museums. This weekend, all of the Fairfield (the university I am studying abroad through) students and myself will be going to the Gold Coast, which promises to be a fun weekend away.
That’s all I have to report for now. Thanks to everyone who has been reading and leaving comments; its been wonderful hearing from you! Cheers!