Saturday, September 25, 2010

Counting down to Oz

Courtesy of Navin75, Creative Commons
So, why Diary of a Wandering Student and why now? The short answer is that I'll be heading to Australia's Macquarie University for grad school in a few months and I want to establish a space to record my adventures and hear about yours before I head Down Under and am too caught up in exploring a new region of the world to think about creating a blog to talk about my experience there.

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.


Kathy @ Parent Talk Today said...

Jessi, I'm so excited for you and the blog looks great already! Team Sena will be following your adventures!

Jessalyn Pinneo said...

Thanks, Kathy! I look forward to hearing Team Sena's feedback. :-) And to seeing your smiling faces next week!

Gina said...

Wait until you come back to the States and arrive earlier than you left, that's even weirder than losing a whole day! And I agree, I can't think of a single negative or even so-so thing to say about Australia. You'll love it!!!

Jessalyn Pinneo said...

I know, I get back into L.A. (in June) 3-ish hours before I leave Sydney, I think. Craziness! But getting a day back going Oz-U.S. seems only fair after losing one going U.S.-Oz, right?

Fibo said...

I just stumbled on your blog after reading something that was retweeted by Matador travel so I'm having a bit of a browse though :) I'm an Australian living in Japan at the moment. I can't really tell you much about Sydney because I'm from Melbourne because I've never actually been there (and we have a famous rivalry haha)! But in terms of ordering coffee all you need to do is remember latte or cappuccino and you're fine. A flat white is a latte in a mug rather than a latte glass and has slightly less froth (I think?). But yes, we say latte and cappuccino as well so you'll be fine :D
(Um also.. Aus not Oz. but maybe that's just a personal irritant lol)

Jessalyn Pinneo said...

Thanks for stopping by and for the coffee help, Fibo! I was afraid I was going to go through a poorly-caffeinated week of trial and error while I figured it out - nice to know I can order a latte. :) Good luck in Japan, teaching there must be a fascinating experience! (Interesting, I'd never seen it written as "Aus" before - good to know.)

Anonymous said...

My only complaint with Aus (if you want one) is that it is TOO much like the US! Seriously, it's like the most "American" country I have been to (even more so then Canada!) that it partly felt like coming home. I was in NZ for well over a year before I finally went to Australia and going there was like going home. Especially for someone from Los Angeles. Same weather in Sydney and the southeast to a T. Similar food. Everyone speaks loud and clear, which is very much like Americans and not at all like NZ'ers, which I loved.

But I loved Sydney. My favorite "world" city, I have to say. And you are getting there right after the hols! Perfect!

Jessalyn Pinneo said...

The first time I visited London, I was surprised by how little resemblance there was to the US (although that could've been the shock of having to speak English again...), so my expectations for Australia have probably swung too far the other way - I may have the same impression when I get there. Although, from what I've heard of the slang, I may spend a few weeks struggling to keep up in conversation!

Great to hear that you you had such a good time in Sydney. Thanks for stopping by, Becs!