Sunday morning, I had a lovely trip to the beach with Loren and Mev, and Loren’s parents Shaun and Karen who are visiting from Vermont. Shaun is my grandmother’s cousin, so we are all related. I hadn’t met any of them before, but it felt so natural to just pile in a car and head to the beach. We headed down the Mornington Penninsula, grabbed some lunch, and then went for a swim at Mount Martha beach. The water was crystal clear, and there are beach houses all along the coast that are apparently quite expensive for what they are (pretty sheds).
We drove over to the ocean side of the penninsula, saw the marked difference in the waves and beach on the unprotected side, and then headed home. It was lovely to meet Loren, who has been a lovely resource for me both before and during my time here, as well as Mev, Shaun, and Karen (they’re all super cool!). I’m so grateful I could be included in their road trip.
Monday brought a pretty normal day of lectures. Helena, one of my friends, had a visitor, so we all went to a local pub for a chill night, and I had a Guiness to celebrate all the Saint Patrick’s Day festivities in Ireland, where my friend Audrey is studying abroad!
Every Wednesday there is a farmer’s market on campus! I met my friend Jaimie there between classes, and scoped our the options for next week. Later, I had a zoo excursion for my Australian Wildlife Biology class. We walked to the Melbourne Zoo (about 30 minutes away on foot), and looked at lizards, frogs, and penguins. I met some new people, which is always a good time, and even got added on facebook by some of them, which seems to be a bit more of a thing here among students than I’m used to in the states. We even saw some fauna outside of the enclosures, like birds and lizards. No wild wombats though… still hoping.
Wednesday night brought the last night market of the summer, which coincided with me realizing it was actually time to get to work on studying for various things coming up! I got a delicious gyro-like wrap with chips and some fried zucchini in it and was quite content.
In general, I absolutely adore the Uni of Melbourne campus. I’d like to think I know my way around pretty well, but Thursday proved to me that I might not as well as I think. I went to my Tuesday afternoon psychology lecture, but I had gone to the lecture hall I have for the class on Thursdays. I found myself in a sociology lecture, and realized a little too late to leave. I ended up sitting through the class and viewing my actual lecture later, had a little laugh at myself, and moved on.
I think one of the most amazing things about Melbourne is the surprises the city has in store (which sounds absurdly cheesy). Often on runs I am suddenly hit with the aroma of the eucalypts, a lemongrass-like smell that will fill the corners of parks or will follow you on the sidewalk when you least expect it. In the middle of almost every block there are little alleys with street art and flowering plants climbing down into them. Just last night while out for dinner with Jaimie, we ran into an amazing Korean grocery store just a few blocks away from where we live! I hadn’t quite noticed it before, but I know I’ll be visiting it quite often from now on. Even though my weeks are becoming more like real life and less like pure vacation, even a day that is supposedly mundane is riddled with these little surprises and good friends.
This week was a little bit harder, as I think my lack of sleep is catching up to me. I also learned how important running is for me to clear my head, and I made sure to give myself a little more down time. I had my first assignment due this morning, a draft of the introduction for an upcoming developmental psych paper (pretty low stakes), and I have a test in marine biology next Friday.
So that means that it is…. time to leave town! I’m sitting in the airport right now, headed to Hobart, Tasmania. Again, I continue to be absolutely shocked by the generosity of family and friends that are willing to hang out with me or host me even though we’ve never met. I’m lucky and immensely grateful to be able to stay with Bob and Ali, family friends whom I can’t wait to meet. I hope to get some good hiking in, go to one of Hobart’s famous farmer’s markets, cuddle with their cats, and to see where the weekend goes! (Maybe I’ll get some studying in?)
Australian vocabulary log #6: keen=into, excited for, torch=flashlight, jumper=sweater, How’re you going?=how are you doing?