Dear reader,

It has been a few days since I have written but I promise you that you have not been missing much. These past five days have been filled with arranging accommodation, setting up bank and phone accounts, trying to enroll at Swinburne early, unpacking, and doing my best to establish myself in my new home before I leave for two and a half weeks. This last goal of mine has proven to be the hardest to achieve as I am constantly faced with a feeling of impermanence about my surroundings and those who I share them with. Seeing as how the two roommates who I am sharing my apartment with now will be moved out and in different accommodation by the time I return from New Zealand I have been very distant with them (and everyone else really). I am definitely feeling the pressure of living on my own with no sort of support structure around me and while this amount of freedom t is extremely liberating it is also somewhat scary. On multiple occasions I have found myself sitting in my room going through documents and preparing for New Zealand in the middle of the afternoon on a gorgeous, sunny, 75+ degree. I guess you could say that I have been using New Zealand and my trip with my parents as an excuse to not reach out to anyone. In my defense, I think that I truly did just want this time to myself. I had a lot of things on my mind and felt like I needed to get a lot done before I left for NZ because I wouldn’t have time to do anything when I got back. While I am happy that I did get so much done and I truly did enjoy the time all to myself I also recognize that it is never good to get into a rut of social behavior and I was coming dangerously close to becoming antisocial out of habit rather than choice. But thankfully, that all changed yesterday.

On Saturday I found myself with practically nothing to do. I had already begun to lay my stuff out for New Zealand, did a load of laundry (that cost me $6!), and then lazied around my room for a few hours until I realized what a perfect day it was outside. So I grabbed my book and went out onto the balcony of UniLodge to read a few chapters and begin the incredible tan you will all be so jealous of in six months. I was determined to not get burned so that my first few days in New Zealand weren’t miserable but despite timing how long I was out there and even having sunscreen… you guessed it… I got pretty toasted. Now, blisters aren’t forming on my skin and it was mostly gone when I woke up this morning but I did spend the rest of my Saturday visibly pinker than everyone else. Of course, this would happen on the one day that I actually had plans that night, too.

Last semester, I had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful people from Swinburne while they were studying at Bellarmine. Wylie, Zoe, Madeline, and James were all very helpful before I left for Australia and I had looked forward to meeting back up with them while I was here but communication was difficult giving my lack of internet and not having phone numbers. Finally though we managed to set something up to all meet downtown and go into Chinatown for dumplings. I had yet to be on Melbourne’s train network so I left a bit earlier then needed in case I got lost or went the wrong direction. Thankfully, none of that happened and I arrived unscathed and on time despite appearing like a lobster. Unfortunately James wasn’t able to meet us but the rest of us walked a few blocks into Chinatown and had dinner. The dumplings were delicious and since the restaurant we went to didn’t have the dessert we wanted we walked to another one so that we could eat banana fritters. Not being a huge fan of bananas I tried the fried ice cream but the few bites of fritter that I did have were actually quite good. On the way back I actually was able to take the same train that Wylie did so we sat and talked for a few more minutes before I got off. All in all it was a really great night and something that I think I really needed. It was good to see some familiar faces and to have people who knew where I was coming from.

When I got back to my apartment, I was exhausted and just wanted to go to bed knowing that I had a big day today. But right as I spit my toothpaste out one of my roommates knocked on the bathroom door and when I opened it he petitioned me to have a drink with all them and their friend. Being in quite the social mood (and it was free beer) I couldn’t decline so I sat around for an hour or so and talked with them. They are really great guys and, while English is quite obviously their second language, I have immense respect for them for their level of effort and dedication. My two roommates are actually getting their masters here and will be doing their full course of study at Swinburne, meaning they are here for two or more years. We talked about our favorite beers, what it was like being in Australia, and how insanely lucrative the Australian mining industry had become. And we did it despite broken English, heavy accents, and drunkeness (after one beer both of them proclaimed to be drunk).

I took my leave and fell asleep despite the excitement of leaving for New Zealand the next day.

I will finish this post up by saying just how excited I am for this trip. It has been on my mind constantly ever since I began to entertain the idea of it and I can’t believe that it is finally here. Melbourne is a great city that has a lot of things to offer but there is something about this trip to New Zealand that I find so irresistibly intriguing. I know this sounds hypocritical given the times I have talked about being ‘disconnected’ but I am genuinely excited about the thought of having no expectation of internet or phone connection for over two weeks. It is the expectation that I think makes the huge difference. When I got to Swinburne, I expected to be able to connect just as easily as I do back in the States but I know going into my New Zealand experience that I will not have that luxury. I think it will be extremely refreshing and rejuvenating to travel and experience New Zealand with a group of 25 other strangers who will be everything but by the time the trip is over. It is definitely intimidating to be traveling there by myself and not knowing anyone at first but I have no doubt through the proximity of the trip and the unique experiences I will share with these people that we will all become very close, for better or for worse.

In order to save you from another 8,000 word post, I will end this one and create a new one to further explain my trip.

Much love.

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