|Courtesy of Navin75, Creative Commons|
I've been counting down to my February 2011 orientation for almost a year already, since I received my official acceptance into Macquarie's Masters of Translating and Interpreting with a Masters of International Relations program in December 2009, but my impending departure is starting to seem more real lately. Exponentially more real this week, since - drumroll, please - I bought my ticket to Sydney on Monday!
I'll leave on January 25th and arrive midday on January 27th (when that whole losing-a-day thing, which makes sense in theory, will likely throw me off for a while in practice), two weeks before orientation begins and I become a full-time student again. Since I'll be arriving from cold, snowy winter in the Arizona mountains in the middle of Sydney's summer, the current plan is to head south to cooler Tasmania for a few days, maybe a week, and explore some of the national parks that make up about 40% of the island state. I'll spend the rest of my pre-orientation time exploring North Ryde, Sydney and environs, hopefully finding local gems (the best local markets, tea shops, parks, beaches, cafés, etc.) - and learning how to order coffee, Aussie-style (long, short, black, flat, white...I know the terminology, but haven't quite made sense of how it relates to how Americans order coffee)!
One thing that's stood out as I've been asking around about Oz and researching the dos, don'ts and history of the Lucky Country is that no one I've talked to - not even one person - who's visited Australia has a single negative thing to say about their time there. Usually when you ask around about a country, some people will tell you they loved it, some will have had a mediocre experience and at least one or two will have been seriously annoyed by some aspect of the local culture. When you ask around about Australia, people tell you how lucky you are to be going and that you'll love it. Then they ask how long you'll be staying and if they might come visit.
Needless to say, I can't wait to go. I hope you'll join me in my wanderings, both before I leave and after I land in Oz.