For those of you who were intimidated by the length of my last post (hehe) I want to give you a full disclosure that I do not intend for this post to be as long. However, I cannot promise you that I will get caught up in a blogging frenzy and begin to ramble for paragraphs upon paragraphs. But before any rambling can occur, I guess I should update you all on some of the circumstances that I am dealing with over here.
On the topic of internet. Australia could not be more different from the States when it comes to internet. The accessibility and structure of Australia’s internet demonstrates an entirely different approach to the world wide web. The first difference that I have noticed is that almost all of the internet provided in Australia is attached to download/upload limits whereas in the States there is no such limitation and the sole focus is on speed. Speed is a focus in Australia as well, but it takes a definite backseat to the amount of data one can send/receive. For instance, I am using a day pass for the internet inside of Starbucks right now and I have 24 hours to use their internet OR _____ whichever comes first. The first time I used it I didn’t do a very good job of reading the fine print and my ‘day’ pass lasted about 10 minutes once I started a Skype conversation with my mom. I was a bit taken aback and kind of disappointed but simply explained to her that until I could find a more reliable source of internet that I wasn’t paying for we would have to stick to chats and emails. At first I thought that it was only at the Starbucks where this was the case but soon realized that it is like this for almost all of Australia when I looked at the packet for what it would cost to get internet in my room. In the packet it explains that I would get a certain internet speed but only for the amount of data that I had paid for. After I had used up that data my connection would be dropped to a much slower speed for the rest of the month. The second big difference is that the availability of internet (when compared to the States) is just very limited and where it is provided it more often than not costs money to access. In the States, internet is becoming more and more available to the point where today you can go to any number of restaurants, businesses, and other establishments for free internet. In other words, free internet is becoming the standard as opposed to the exception in the States and the opposite is true in Australia.
Before I go on, I want to clarify that the above paragraph is not meant as an “America kicks Australia’s ass” rant but rather an observation. I recognize that the culture that I am living in now was not built to make me comfy cozy and that differences, both big and small, will occur frequently. However I must say that at the moment I am incredibly susceptible to the issue of the internet because I am brand new in this country and am still going through withdrawal over my family, friends, and the life that I had in the States. I was prepared to go through this withdrawal but I guess I thought that it would be a more gradual process aided by social networking, Skype, email, and other connections made possible by internet. Since my internet is unreliable, expensive, and limited I am being forced to more of a ‘cold turkey’ approach and I will not lie it is in no way a pleasant transition.
I think that another reason why I am being a bit clingy to the internet is because I don’t have a ton of people to connect with over here. My traveling before I start school caused me to arrive in Melbourne practically a full month before international students usually arrive so I have been dropped into a campus that is not only completely new to me but that is also without the people who I will most likely become closest with. Throw in a bit of jetlag and some responsibility to get things straightened out before I leave for New Zealand and I am sure that I appear to be quite the introvert to those I pass on the sidewalk. Which is strange for me.
Although sitting here I would love to have some drinking, workout, or just hanging out buddies I think that my relative lack of social interaction has allowed me to be incredibly productive and responsible. For those of you who know me, you can go ahead and pick your jaws up off of the floor. I have been able to find, apply for, and move into a permanent place to stay, establish a bank account and begin the transfer of money, get a phone, convince Swinburne to let me register a month before all the other international students, clean my room, completely unpack all of my things, buy linens, do a load of laundry (that cost me $6!!!!!), reorganize all the papers and documents I have acquired over the past year, and have begun discussions to join a gym and possibly work there part time over the next 6 months. I have also slept 22 hours the past two nights which has been nothing short of glorious and plan on adding substantially to that number over the next two days. Had I been going out to a bar drinking I would probably have been sleeping just as much but not have been nearly as productive. See, there truly are positives in everything.
Another big difference that I am actually really enjoying is my lack of car. I’m sure this shocks people almost as much as the fact that I am being productive because you all know how much I love my car and driving. However I have truly enjoyed walking everywhere I have gone since I have been here. You see so much more when you walk from A to B as opposed to driving and I have yet to find myself hysterically screaming, cussing, or flicking off anyone who I pass on the sidewalk. Besides, the whole driving on the other side of the road and in the other side of the car would really throw me for a loop. Too much stress.
The people here are the other huge difference. They are all so friendly and willing to help. Most are very curious about where I am from and what I am doing here in Australia but never in a bad way so far. They are eager to help me, give me advice, and are very encouraging. My contacts at the offices in and around Swinburne have been nothing short of amazing and I give all the credit for my productiveness these past few days to them.
Well, thats all I have for you all right now. I promise to update you all before I go to New Zealand but whether that is tomorrow or Monday before I leave is still up in the air. As always, I love and miss all of you very much. I know that some of the things said above may lead you to think I am not enjoying myself or regret coming here but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I am simply adjusting to my new surroundings and I would be more worried if I had absolutely no problems doing this than the expected, minor difficulties that I am going through now.
Pictures soon, promise.