The Next Hemisphere Over

Wait How the Hell Did I Get Here?

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…and a step to the right.

So, four months and some odd days later, I’m back home in Connecticut. The Qantas check-in woman in Brisbane hooked me up with window seats all the way from Brisbane to Hartford, so I had some great views, especially as we crossed the Pacific.

Yesterday I flew through two sunsets and a sunrise. Somewhere in the middle of the ocean, night became a place instead of a time as I watched the flight path and waited for the Benadryl to kick in. Then I slept for about six hours, and woke up in time to watch a few episodes of Modern Family and eat breakfast before getting off in Los Angeles. The rest of the day is pretty hazy. I dimly remember going through customs, a line of study abroad students passed out in a sunbeam at LAX (myself among them), and a series of meals, naps, and goodbyes. 

Honestly, the whole affair of leaving was really sad. I think the worst part was on the drive to the airport. I got this prolonged feeling of slow, crushing heartbreak as we drove through Brisbane that was actually really horrible. After that it just hit me in waves throughout the trip and this morning, and I’m guessing that’ll keep happening for a while. Usually when I leave somewhere, it’s a kind of sad-to-leave-but-happy-to-go-home kind of situation; yesterday might have been the first time I really, legitimately didn’t want to leave a place. I guess it’s a good thing in a way - it means I had a good experience and I’m taking something positive away from this whole study abroad thing. Still, it’s generally unpleasant.

So now I’m unpacked, found my cat hiding under my bed this morning, and I get to spend some time with my family and friends in CT for at least a couple weeks, so it’s good to be home. ‘Bittersweet’ became our buzzword among the study abroad students in the last month or so to describe the thought of going back, and at least for me it still holds.

I didn’t update this blog nearly as often as I thought I would, but I think I hit the important stuff. Everything else is just details; buses and homework, grocery shopping and meals, nights out and random conversations, all the stupid little things that make up day-to-day living but are boring to read about. It’s weird, though, when I think back, I don’t really think about koalas, wallabies, and rainforests. I think about making an entire meal out of pie crust and random ingredients with friends, feeding the turtles at the lakes between classes, and yelling about the right way to pronounce ‘tomato’ late into the night. At the end of the day, it seems like being in a foreign country was incidental to the whole experience. I don’t know; I don’t consider myself a sentimental person, but I’m going to miss that stupid apartment, the ridiculous school system, the weird accents, the flamboyant currency, the random word differences… y’know, in other words, Australia. 

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June: The Highlights

Well, only a few more days until I pack up and leave this particular continent, and it’s been nearly a months since I’ve done a proper entry, so here is what I’ve been up to in the past several weeks…

…not a lot, actually. I got back from Springbrook and suddenly remembered I was taking classes, so a lot of my time has been occupied by schoolwork and studying. Most of the finals here are cumulative and worth at least 40% of your final grade, so there was some pressure to get a decent score. So study I did, though in practice it was more flipping back and forth between lecture powerpoints and random distractions.

I had my last class May 31st. Between bouts of studying, some friends and I took random adventures around the city, which included a lot of going to get ice cream at 8/9pm. There is a restaurant near where we live called Tukka, which mainly serves food and ingredients unique to Australia. We went there one afternoon, and I tried crocodile for the first time, and also had a bit of Chidy’s emu burger. Both were surprisingly good, though crocodile is mostly bland and a bit chewy. 

A few days ago we took a day tour to one of the big sand islands off the coast of Queensland called North Stradbroke Island. To recap: the largest sand island is Fraser Island, where I spent most of the mid-semester break, and the second largest is Moreton Island, where I went with a tour organized by IFSA-Butler. Stradbroke was definitely more developed than the other islands (the presence of paved roads was a bit of a surprise after Fraser), but it was easily as beautiful. We did a walk along the cliffs looking out into the Pacific and saw a wild koala. There was a tea tree lake, and the tour guide half-jokingly said we could go for a swim. Michelle and I were the only ones who actually got in the water and swam around, much to the general amusement of the rest of the group. The feeling came back to our toes eventually, and I’m pretty sure there’s no permanent nerve damage… It’s winter here now, though it’s averaging about 60-70F everyday, so I don’t even know if the term “winter” really applies. I took some pictures at Stradbroke, but I’m hoarding my internet at the moment hoping I don’t have to buy anymore, so I’ll have to upload those when I get back Stateside.

I took my last exam yesterday, so the finality of it all is starting to hit me. I’m leaving in four days for a 25-hour journey that will get me home 12 hours after I left because of all the time zone jumping. Going back feels bittersweet. There’s still a lot I want to do and see here, and people I’m going to miss, but I’m definitely overdue for a visit home. Tonight I’m going out to dinner for Chidy’s birthday, then I guess I have to start thinking about packing. 

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The Unforgettable Week I Was Too Tired To Remember

Haven’t updated in a while because not much happened for a few weeks. I had a couple major projects to get done, so I was holed up doing work for the first few weeks of May. 

But last week I didn’t go to class or do any work at all because I was busy doing THE EPIC WEEK OF EPICNESS for which I had been preparing for many weeks to get ahead in my schoolwork. 

PHASE 1: Melbourne

I flew south to Victoria to see Australia’s second largest city with Jess, Claire, Chidy, and Michelle. The city was beautiful. I think I like it better than Brisbane. It had the sophistication of Manhattan without all the rush of New York City, and it was considerably cleaner.  We spent three nights at a hostel about 15min from the city center, and explored a lot of the city. We spent two days taking tours to Philip Island and the Great Ocean Road, which are both a few hours outside the city. Philip Island is famed for the Little Penguins that come to shore by the hundreds every evening from fishing. They were adorable, and it was a truly amazing sight.  There were also a few other stops on the Phillip Island tour, including the Nobbies boardwalk which looked out onto a huge rock formation in the ocean, and a wildlife conservation park. The Great Ocean Road is a road that winds along cliffs overlooking the Southern Ocean, which was beautiful. We also saw these large rock formations called the 12 Apostles and the Loch Ard Gorge, which is named after a tragic shipwreck from the 19th century.

PHASE 2: Springbrook National Park

I got back to Brisbane around 8pm Monday night, and at 10:30am Tuesday I hopped on a train to the Gold Coast to meet Daniela, a PhD student from Chile working under one of the professors at UQ. She picked me up at Nerang, and we drove to one of the rangers’ barracks in the heart of Springbrook National Park.  The goal of the next few days was to help Daniela trap small marsupials called antechinuses essentially to track the welfare of the population, but her research will focus mostly on the social behavior of the animals. Generally the trip was a lot of work, a lot of fun, and just being in the park was amazing. It was in the middle of a really gorgeous area (World Heritage Rainforest, actually) filled with rainforest and waterfalls. The best story from that trip occurred around 9pm on Tuesday night, when we were walking along the trail with headlamps checking the traps. We found an antechinus in one of the traps, so Daniela was writing down notes while I held the animal, and I looked off to the side of the trail with my light and saw a bit of ground that didn’t quite match the rest, and had eyes, and was quite long. I froze, and whisper-screamed, “Snake!” Daniela looked around frantically until she saw the 2m long carpet python which had reared up its head about 2ft away from us. I should mention that a 2m long snake is high on my list of things I don’t want to see that close in the middle of the rainforest at night while holding a small mammal. It looked like it was about to jump at us, so she pushed me down the trail a bit. Then we cautiously walked away and released the antechinus in another part of the forest, far away from the hungry python. Things went pretty smoothly apart from that, except on Thursday morning, there was an antechinus in one of the traps that looked like he was almost dead from the cold. We ran back to the barracks and Daniela nursed him back to health with cat food and a hot water bottle.

PHASE 3: The Australia Zoo and Goodbye Vaudeville, Charlie Mudd

Daniela dropped my off at my apartment around 7pm on Thursday night, then Friday I had a field trip to the Australia Zoo with my class. It rained all day, but the zoo was still really cool, essentially a shrine to Steve Irwin.  The crocodile show was one of the best zoo shows I’ve ever seen, lots of energy and the keepers were really awesome.  We also got to feed elephants and pet an echidna, so basically my life is complete. When we got back to campus, Michelle and I grabbed some dinner at the bar on campus and then saw the student show Goodbye Vaudeville, Charlie Mudd, which was really dark and confusing, but a cool show.

And there are albums for all of these things in the menu to the left of the page.

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"This trail doesn’t end!" "It has to end! All trails end eventually, right? …RIGHT?!!"

So apparently I am overdue for an update. Exciting things I have done since break:

IFSA-Butler organized a trip to Mt. Tamborine the Saturday before last. We did a skywalk above the canopy of a rainforest, waterfalls, wine tasting, endless Subway and Tim Tams, perfect weather, incredible views, a man-made glow worm cave (most beautiful, creepy fly larvae ever), blah blah amazing blah here’s a picture:

But what I really want to talk about is the field trip with the BIOL2001: Australia’s Terrestrial Environment that happened last Friday. That fateful moment when we were presented with the choice between a 11km (6.8 mi), 12km (7.5 mi), or a 20.4km (12.7mi) hike around Lamington National Park, and Amanda and I looked at each other and answered the sacred call of YOLO (Google it, it’s not worth explaining) and opted for the 20km hike.  Since our walk had to start a bit before the other groups, we rode in two cars ahead of the bus. Our chariot of choice: the Captain’s car (See: April 11 Entry). Visibility was already low due to the rain and the fog brought on by the cold weather, but fortunately (or so we thought) our professor did not drive off a cliff, though there were plenty of opportunities.  The Captain regaled us with tales of the hike ahead around the caldera of an extinct volcano, with views of Mt. Warning and all the way to New South Wales, and possibly lyre bird and pademelon sightings.  

We stepped out of the car into a wet, cold haze.  We waited shivering for the rest of our group to gather, then set off in high spirits. The walk was surprisingly pleasant despite the cold and wet - it had the feel of a prehistoric forest or a trail out of a fantasy novel. 

After several hours, we stopped for lunch at the top of the caldera, one of the highest points in the park. Already exhausted, we had a little over 10km to walk back, and nearly everyone had large, bleeding wounds on their ankles from leeches (not me, I had hiking socks pulled practically up to my knees. I don’t like leeches). After another half hour or so of walking, we arrived at one of the best lookout points in the park, offering a view of the whole valley to Byron Bay. Tired but excited, we gathered around the break in the forest and beheld this: 

Bit of a letdown. But it’s all about the journey, anyways. So we started walking down. Then started walking faster. Then started jogging. I looked behind me to see that we had lost half the group, then turned around and sprinted up to the remaining half of the group. I don’t know how long we did this, but by the time we finally stopped to rest, I was wet up to my ankles from crossing creeks, covered in mud to my knees, and biting back tears because at least half the muscles in my legs were giving out. By this time, it had been about 4.5 hours since we started walking. The Captain realized he had to wait for the others to catch up (2 members of the group were at least half an hour behind the rest of us), but gave us the option to keep going to the lodge, which we all took, walking at a considerably slower pace. By the time I finally saw the end of the trail, I could barely stand. But warm drinks and couches were waiting for us at the lodge, and after draining two water bottles and sitting down for a while, everything was better.  Then it was just the death-defying drive back and limping back to my apartment.

All-in-all, it was a good adventure. Not one I’m in a hurry to repeat, however.

There are albums for Mt. Tamborine and Lamington on the right-hand menu.

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Welcome to the party of consciousness.

With the rest of our semester break, Chidy, Michelle, Amanda and I decided to go to Byron Bay. We booked a package deal that gave us three nights in a hostel called the Cape Byron Lodge, one day of surfing lessons, and a one day tour of a nearby town called Nimbin, which is locally famous for its hippie scene. The “Byron Bay” album has all the pictures from the past few days.

The first day we spent just wandering around Byron. We had a vague idea of finding the lighthouse, but it looked so far that none of us wanted to attempt to find the path, so we just wandered down the beach. Then onto a walking path. Then along a road. Before we knew it, we were facing a sign that said “Lighthouse 1km”, so we just decided to go for it.  It was an amazing walk along the cliffs overlooking the water, and we could watch the rain falling all around us (fortunately we stayed dry). We rested for a while at the base of the lighthouse, then went back into town to pick up some groceries and back to the hostel to make dinner (frozen pizzas) and chill.

We got up bright and early the next morning for surf lessons. A long-haired, blonde guy pulled up in a van towing a bunch of surf boards and told us to hop in. He basically fulfilled every stereotype of surfers that ever existed, so he was awesome. We pulled on some wetsuits, got a quick tutorial on how to stand up on a moving board on water, then plowed into the waves. After about an hour and a half of desperately pulling the board against water and wind, being dragged around by currents and bashed into the shore, and half drowned and beaten by the board itself (I have bruises all down my legs; I’m still not exactly sure how it happened), I had caught a few waves, and even managed to stand up a few times, so I was happy. But when he told us to get out of the water, I was more than a little relieved since by then I wasn’t doing much more than clinging to the board like a drowned rat. Three days later my arms are still sore and my shins are black and blue, but it was definitely amazing and a lot of fun. 

The next day, a colorfully painted school bus pulled up next to the hostel, and the lanky bus driver told us about the mid-life crisis that had brought him to Byron giving $25 tours to Nimbin. We had a quick stop at a waterfall and a local pub, then we stopped in Nimbin, which is a tiny town surrounded by rolling hills, fields, and cattle. Nimbin itself is very actively hippie; they even have a museum dedicated to it. It was a cute, fun little town, if a bit over-zealous in their need for alternative lifestyles.

Our last day in Byron, we booked a sea kayaking tour that guaranteed dolphin sightings. We paddled our boats out past the waves, and it was a beautiful ride out to the middle of the bay. But after an hour or so, we had all but given up on seeing dolphins and were heading back to shore.  Then all of a sudden we were surrounded by smooth, silvery curved shapes moving in and out of the water. We huddled our kayaks together to look like we were socializing, and the dolphins swam all around us, under the kayaks, and everyone’s smiles extended about 5cm (scientific fact, assured one of the guides). Once the dolphins had moved on, we surfed our kayaks back to shore (well, less surf and more… flip over and flounder around in the waves in Michelle’s and my case). 

(Image credit to http://www.facebook.com/goseakayakbyronbay)

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How I learned to stop worrying and love the sand.

The semester break started last Friday, but on Thursday I hopped on a bus to Fraser Island with my Australia’s Terrestrial Environment class.  We were on the island for five days and did a ton of stuff, so this entry will almost definitely run long. Before you lose interest and stop reading, I’ll direct your attention to the album called “Fraser Island” on the right. 

Day 1 (Thursday)

A 3-4 hour bus trip and 5min barge ride deposited us on Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world. From then on there was no internet, no cell service (except in a random spot in the rainforest), and no way out except through a strait filled with rips, sharks, irukandji jellyfish, and the odd saltwater crocodile. But who wants to leave when you’re staying in a place like this:

The professor (known henceforth as The Captain) and some of the tutors drove us all to the campsite in the 4WDs. There were no paved roads, so we were driving along the beach, racing the tide since high tide cut off the path to the camp. The campsite was called Dilli Village, and the class was split between tents and bunkhouses. I opted for a bunkhouse, and it was a lot nicer than the 6-bed, spider infested, hard mattress camp-dorm I was expecting. I shared a two-bed room with Chidy, and it was clean, the mattresses were soft, and they even gave us towels and big, fluffy comforters. Any discomfort derived from this trip was not going to come from the accommodations. Or the food, as we discovered at dinner between giant helpings of Dilli-cious (necessary pun, I’m sorry) lasagna and tiramisu. After dinner there was a trivia competition that my team the Boxing Tangaroos (name courtesy of Michelle Tang) lost miserably.

Day 2 (Friday)

The day began with a hearty breakfast of cereal, yogurt, toast, Aussie-style bacon (it’s thicker… and better), and all the eggs you could eat. We drove to a trail through the eucalypt forest, walked for about an hour, getting lessons from The Captain and one of the tutors named Kris who knows everything about plants (seriously, he owns an orchard of rare plum trees and one of the biggest collections of Australian rainforest plants in existence. Incidentally, he also has a tendency to blaze past everyone else in the 4WDs and stick his hand out the window to grab random plants for us to smell).  We came out of the forest onto a giant sand dune, and The Captain and his crew exclaimed loudly that Lake Wabby had dried up. By this point all of us were hot and had been walking in our swimsuits for the better part of an hour. After a few minutes of general confused disappointment, we realized they were joking and slid down the dune to the lake. We swam in beautiful green water with foot-long catfish, and then headed back to the cars.

On the drive back, one of the people in the car dared Kris to try to get back before everyone else, to which he responded, “Aw, but I can’t pass Steve, he’s the captain.” (hence the nickname)

After lunch, we headed down to the beach to do a dune transect, which basically involved crawling through the bush trying to follow a 100m tape measure. Something about being on your hands and knees under bushes surrounded by brush makes you remember all the deadly things The Captain said live on the island…

Day 3 (Saturday)

Saw my first wild dingo in the morning. There are a bunch of dingoes that live on Fraser and they’re pretty much protected and looked after. We spent the first part of the day swimming in Lake Boomanjin and driving around to various parts of the island. After lunch we walked down the road from the camp into the eucalypt forest. My group spent the rest of the afternoon catching insects and spiders as part of the habitat analyses the class was doing. It… was a lot more fun than I’m prepared to admit. 

View from the path as we walked back to the campsite.

After dinner, we spent some time analyzing our data.  I went out spotlighting with Jeremy (one of the tutors) and a couple other people. Basically, we put on headlamps and tried to surprise wildlife in the dark. It was a full moon, and a really nice walk down to the beach, though all we managed to find were a few bats and a juvenile cane toad.

Day 4 (Sunday - the most strenuous Easter of my life)

My group got up to go bird watching at 5:30am. When we got back to camp, we scarfed down some food and hopped in the 4WDs to go habitat sampling in the rainforest. Appropriately, when we got to the rainforest, it started raining. Thoroughly soaked and already exhausted, we scrambled to collect leaf samples, measure tree girth and height, and desperately tried to keep our notebooks from disintegrating… with varying degrees of success.

The creek that ran through the rainforest. That green and white stuff is the sand at the bottom of the creek - the water is perfectly clear.

After several very wet, leech-filled hours, we left the rainforest to rest and have morning tea (we got morning and afternoon tea on top of three giant meals every day, as The Captain said, “Must. Keep. Eating!”). Then we sloshed 6.5km to Lake Mackenzie, where lunch was waiting. It was a long walk, but we were all grateful to warm up and somewhat dry off. Lake Mackenzie was a perfectly clear lake with turtles that almost made up for the rain and the leeches. We spent the rest of the afternoon having lunch and swimming in the lake. Then it was back to Dilli for food, more data analysis, and sleep.

Those are the highlights. Tomorrow I’m off to Byron Bay to take surfing lessons, walk through another World Heritage rainforest, and kayak with dolphins. Blog you later!

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~3000 words (or: I’m lazy so here are some pictures)

Well, apparently I haven’t updated this for weeks, so I guess it’s time for another entry!

I’m not sure how or why, but the past few weeks have felt like someone hit the fast-forward button, and now I just feel like I’m hurtling toward semester break… which isn’t even for another week and a half. I think it’s just a combination of midterms, projects, and all the stuff we’ve been doing that’s made the time fly. 

At any rate, a quick update on my goings-on of the past couple weeks. 

On the 16th, so the Friday before St. Patrick’s Day, the Australia’s Terrestrial Environment class had a field trip to the Brisbane Forest Park. Obligatory picture:

Just casually walking through the rainforest, no big deal. Cool thing about Brisbane Forest Park is it includes eucalypt forests, which look completely different, and you can basically draw a line where the rainforest ends and the eucalypt forest begins. Lots of leaches, though. And not the nice kind that hang around water minding their own business, these suckers (pun intended) go after you. It’s actually kinda terrifying.

The next day, a couple friends and I took a train out to a town on the Gold Coast called Coolangatta, and spent the weekend lying on the beach, boogie boarding, being half drowned by waves, and just chilling. BAM! PICTURE!

Last adventure of note: the IFSA-Butler trip to Moreton Bay!  We went sand tobogganing down a giant sand dune and snorkeling around shipwrecks where we saw not one, but two leopard sharks! Pretty sweet. Also, on the ferry ride back I saw two dolphins following the boat. My first wild dolphins, no big deal. Aaaand LAST PICTURE!

It’s a sand island. We rode to the dunes (called The Desert) in a giant bus-jeep-thing, which was basically exactly like an amusement park ride except we also got snacks.

So that’s the big stuff; all of those trips have corresponding albums with more AWESOME PICTURES, including some taken UNDERWATER in the Moreton Bay album.

This entry brought to you by imgur: the simple image sharer! 

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Let’s follow that trail!

Friday marked the end of the second week of classes, and as of yesterday, I’ve been in Brisbane for three weeks. It’s crazy how quickly the time is going by. I switched one of my courses last week, so as of the end of Drop-Add my schedule consists of: Australia’s Terrestrial Environment, Ecology, Biological Adaptation to Climate Change, and Australian Drama. 

On Tuesday I saw my first professional Australian play. It was called Summer of the Seventeenth Doll and apparently it is the most famous play in all of Australian theatre history (I had never heard of it before my Australian Drama professor made us all go see it). I appreciated the play from a theatrical perspective, but it was a pretty long show and I got a bit bored - the issues it addresses are more for an older crowd. The sound design was really cool, though - some really nice piano pieces. There was also player piano, a fireworks light cue, and a tall Australian guy viciously beating a doll against a piano onstage, so the production was definitely worth seeing.

IFSA-Butler got us all tickets to the Brisbane Broncos - North Queensland Cowboys rugby game on Friday, so I saw my first rugby game. I actually liked it, they had really good fries at the stadium and the game was both shorter and more intense than American football. The Cowboys won by 2 points after they scored with about 3 minutes left in the game, but it was still a good night. 

Yesterday, my favorite foreign cohorts (Amanda from Gettysburg College, Michelle from the University of Missouri, and Chidy from… somewhere in Canada) and I took a train to a place called Ebbw Vale, where one of our professors had casually mentioned you could easily find fossils. It was a bit of sketchy operation, I had to call about five different people before a representative from a company called Claypave gave us the ‘ok’ to go poke around their quarry for fossils. Even then, the directions he gave me were essentially, “Go through the car park, you’ll see a padlocked gate with a dirt road behind it, just pull on the gate and go through, go down the dirt path, and you’ll see the quarry you can use.” So, around noon we stepped off the train into 90 degree heat. We stopped at a bakery to ask for directions and ended up getting pastries and meat pies instead (no complaints - they were delicious). We found the place (a small clearing at the end of a residential street), ignored about 8 ‘No Trespassing’ signs, squeezed through the padlocked gate (the guy neglected to mention the barbed wire), and walked until we found giant piles of rocks and clay pieces. There were all kinds of plant fossils lying around among the clay, so we spent the better part of an hour and half climbing over rock piles, yelling about good finds, and losing all of the moisture in our bodies to the Australian sun. We all started feeling a bit lightheaded, so we found some shade and ate lunch. We followed the path down a little farther, and on the way we passed a snake that Amanda insisted was poisonous (we’re in Australia, so it probably was). On further inspection we found it was dead, but the rest of the walk we all stayed considerably farther from the brush on either side of the road. Eventually we had to turn around and walk back. We stopped in a little food store next to the train station where Michelle and Chidy got slushies and I chugged a Vanilla Coke, then caught the next train back to the city. 

Also, added some new albums and a few nice pictures to the UQ Campus album.

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"Can you get a picture of me all over this kangaroo?"

After a long week of classes, some friends and I finally made it out to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, which is only a half hour bus ride from South Bank and three of us had free passes from IFSA-Butler. Lone Pine’s big claim to fame is it’s one of the only places in Australia where you can “cuddle a koala”, which is exactly what it sounds like. And worth every penny of the $16 it costs to get your picture taken. First we caught a raptor show and a sheep dog show with some highly trained Australian bred border collies (well, one highly trained border collie and one high-strung pup still in training). After that, we grabbed some lunch and then were off to cuddle the koalas, which is kind of an iffy process just because koalas have sharp claws and aren’t naturally inclined to be cuddled, so basically you have to pretend to be a tree so they will love you. The first koala I tried to cuddle rejected me outright. He sort of pushed me away and kept lolling back into his keeper’s arms every time they tried to put him on me. It is indeed a sad affair when a koala won’t cuddle with you. But they brought out another one who was much more chill and was perfectly happy to sit in my arms and let me love her. Here she is:

 

New profile picture? I think so. 

We roamed around and saw the rest of the zoo after that. I saw a living platypus for the first time. They kept him in this giant tank in a dark room, and when he swam out of his cave, I gasped because he was so cool. Just a weird little thing with a beak trying to be a mammal. Adorable. There were koalas EVERYWHERE. Eventually we made our way to a giant enclosed field where we fed kangaroos, then we finished off the day at Lone Pine with the wild lorikeet feeding, which was loud and a bit insane, but really incredible. I added a whole new album for this particular adventure, definitely check it out. 

And lastly, a quick update on my other goings-on. First week of classes went pretty well. Went to see the student theatre group Underground Productions production of Closer on Thursday, which was probably one of the best student productions I’ve seen. It helps that their space is beautiful; I’m definitely going to be getting involved with them. Been doing a series of what my friend Amanda calls “family dinners” with my flatmates and a few friends from IFSA-Butler and UQ; so far we’ve done eggplant parmesan, a taco night (I made a Mexican rice recipe that I got off Yesi from Case, who was a bit surprised when I called her at midnight asking for her Mexican rice recipe), and meat pies. And tonight is $2 steak night at a bar called The Fox, which is quickly becoming a weekly tradition.