Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Week 5/6

Week 5/6:

Tuesday June 24th:
Today was a typical day of work, not too much excitement! I am still working on getting sponsors for our event, which is proving to be extremely difficult! At night we had a research seminar, where we had to discuss with our advisors about our research papers.
Feeding time!!!

Wednesday June 25th:
We had an event today, so I got to go on-site with one of the planners and help set up and take part in the event. It was a good experience because I got to see how things come together on the day of the event, and how organized you must be! The event was the Bing Ad’s 1 Year Anniversary in Australia. I got to meet some really important people, I met the head of Microsoft in Australia and the head of Microsoft in Singapore. That is my favorite part of this whole experience, is getting to meet people from all over the world!

Thursday June 26th:
Today was a good work day, I actually met the finance director at Jack Morton, who happens to be from Boston! It turns out, she has a lot of connections in New York, and said she may be able to help in the future if I ever need! The second she heard me talk, she was like, “OH MY GOD YOU ARE AMERICAN TOO!” Later that night, we went out for a fun night of dancing at this really cool place called Ivy, which has an awesome outdoor pool!
The cutest animals to ever waddle the Earth!
Friday June 27th:
I got to go Olympic Park today! This is the site where the 2000 Olympics were held! I saw the swimming pool where Michael Phelps swam, which was really cool! I also got to see several other venues and got to watch some live Badmitton happening. The event that my work is hosting is going to be held at one of the venues that was used for the Olympics, which is awesome! Later that night, we made dinner in the apartment and went for an hour-long walk through the city!

Tasmanian Devil

Saturday June 28th:
This morning we had to get up really early for our group trip to the Blue Mountains! The Blue Mountains is this beautiful mountainous region about an hour and a half from Sydney! They are called the Blue Mountains because from the distance you can see the mountains and they appear blue. The first stop was Featherdale Wildlife Park, which had all kinds of awesome animals! We got to hold a baby kangaroo, feed other kangaroos, and see penguins!!! Penguins are my favorite animal, they are so cute! We also saw crocs, Tasmanian devils, wombats, koalas, and dingoes! We saw this bird called the Cassowary, which is one of the deadliest birds with really sharp claws, and has been known to chase humans off cliffs! Another scary creature we saw was the flying foxes! They look like bats on steroids, massive creatures that literally gave me the chills just looking at them! It was really cool to see all of these Australian animals that you can’t find anywhere else! After this, we headed to scenic world, and rode the world’s steepest railway through the mountains! Then got to walk along side of the mountains and had some really incredible views! It was very foggy, so the mountains were hard to see, but view was still amazing. There were some points on the walk where there were no railings and you were just on the side of the mountain! After this, we headed back to the hostel. A hostel is a cheap place to stay and each room has several beds, in which travelers from all over come and stay in. The hostels attract a lot of young travelers, and it’s cool to meet all these people! It was absolutely freezing in the mountains, as it was snowing!!! I felt like I was in Vermont again. A bunch of girls and I spent the night by the fire, playing card games! However, when I went to bed I was so cold, and was practically shivering the whole night!

Sunday July 29th:
Today was a very adventurous day! We went to the Blue Mountains again, and we went abseiling off a few cliffs in the mountains! Abseiling is the same thing as repelling down the side of a rock. It was soo cold, but soo much fun! Our instructors were really cool and taught us a lot of cool tricks! After a couple rounds of abseiling normal, they showed us how to abseil upside down! It was so awesome going down the side of the cliff upside down! One boy in our group even did a 360, which was really cool! After this, my friends and I warmed up at this little hole in the wall café and had some lunch! After a good day of abseiling, we headed back to Sydney!

Monday June 30th:
Today we had class, which was thrilling….not really! The first part of class was very boring, but the second half, we got to go to the Jewish and Holocaust Museum, which was really interesting. It was very sad, but the museum had some really cool artifacts and exhibits. My favorite exhibit was these sketches an artist made that told the story of a 90 year-old Holocaust survivor. The sketches were done beautifully, and really told the survivors story. After class, we had the Arcadia 1st Annual Basketball Game! There were two teams made up of Arcadia students, which were all guys and me! My team was full of guys who had played in high school and they play college intramurals at Indiana University. We played full court for two hours straight (definitely a great workout)! It was so much fun, and my team is the undefeated champs so far! I have to admit, I did get blocked a few times! After our game, one of the locals was trash talking us and there was almost a fight, but thank god everyone calmed down and no one got in a fight! Needless, to say it was a really fun night!
Abseiling upside down!

Tuesday July 1st:

I can’t believe its July already! Today was another day of work, and I spent most of the day calling different people about sponsorship opportunities. My boss took me out to lunch and we got Chinese, where he insisted that I use my chopsticks to eat my meal! My boss is quite the character, that’s for sure! Tonight, we tried to make chicken, but I burnt it so bad that the fire alarm almost went off, but thankfully I called downstairs in time so I wasn’t charged a $1,000 fine! Did I forget to mention that I am not the world’s greatest cook?! Hahaha, well on that note I am heading to bed, as the US is playing at 6am tomorrow our time! Goodnight America!:)

Steepest Railway in the World!

Me getting screened haha

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Week 4

Friday June 13th:
Today was a long day of work! After work, my friends and I headed to Melbourne, which is a city in the state of Victoria. It was a little bit scary flying out on Friday the 13th, but we made it safely!

Saturday June 14th:
After getting just a few hours of sleep, we woke up at 5:30am to do a tour of the Great Ocean Road. We got on a white hippie van with people from all over the world and traveled out to the Great Ocean Road! It is one of the most scenic drives I have ever been on! The ride is 2-3 hours of winding roads along the ocean coast! Along the way we stopped at several locations to get out and look around. For lunch, we stopped at a beautiful lighthouse and had a traditional Aussie bbq! We then headed to the 12 Apostles, which are these beautiful rock formations out in the middle of the ocean! It was here that my friend and I rode in a helicopter over the 12 Apostles! It was the most incredible thing to see Australia from above! We got to wear the headsets that the pilot wears, so that was also pretty cool. After this, we headed to the rainforest and walked through it! Following this, we saw wild koalas sleeping in the trees. To finish our tour, we headed to this beautiful gorge and got to go out on the beach! It was a really awesome day!

Sunday June 15th:
Today we took a 3-hour walking tour of Melbourne! It was really cool because we walked the entire city. Melbourne is very different because it is almost half European looking and half modern looking! There are many cute streets filled with little shops and the best restaurants! I think my favorite part of the tour was the graffiti filled streets, as the artwork was really cool. I met people from China, Liverpool, Germany, and Italy on the tour! It is always interesting to talk to people from different cultures and hear their stories. We got lunch with a girl from the San Francisco who had been traveling all over Australia and Asia for the past 4 months! We then visited the Australian Open stadium, which was awesome!! For the rest of the night, we walked around the city and went shopping. We had a late flight that night to bring us back to Sydney!

Monday June 16th:
Today we had class, except not in the classroom, which is always my favorite! We first went to the museum of Sydney, which gave us the history of how the Opera house was built and why the Harbor Bridge was built! We looked at Aboriginal artwork at this museum as well. The next museum we went to was the World Press Photo Exhibition, which is a display of the top World Press Photos! I saw a lot of really incredible photographs, most of which showed the hardships taking place all over the world. After this, we headed to the Royal Botanical Gardens, which is this huge park of gardens and unique flowers. It is not only gorgeous, but peaceful as well; the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon! After this my friend and I headed to the climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge! We climbed it at night so we had to wear beanies, headlights, and these cool jumpsuits! We got to climb underneath and through the bridge, in which cars and trains were going past us! After 1,394 steps, we made it to the top of the bridge! The view was unbelievable, to see the city lit up at night! It was a truly incredible experience, and a great workout!

Tuesday June 17th:
Today was a workday! What I thought was going to be a regular workday, turned into an incredible day! It turns out that Coldplay was filming their new music video for their new song Sky Full of Stars outside of my bosses’ house! My boss is a really great guy and he let me leave work to go be in the music video! It took about three hours because the band had to do 3 takes! Our job was to just dance and sing along with the band. During the video, they shot out confetti and it covered the streets! It was so awesome because I was only 3 rows away from Coldplay! After the video, we got to witness a live recording session, as we had to be dead silent as the band sang! It was an unforgettable experience to say the least!

Wednesday June 18th:
Today I started my second internship at Jack Morton, which is a worldwide event production company! It was very professional as I had to dress super nice and they gave me my own desk with two computers and a phone. I spent most of the day observing and getting a feel for the corporate world. It’s very intimidating I must say, and I’m not so sure a corporate environment is the one for me after experiencing it! I like a smaller business and more casual environment much better! After work, there was a huge rugby game on that featured the rivalry of New South Wales(which is the state Sydney is in) and Queensland( the state above NSW). New South Wales hadn’t won in 18 years, and they were down 4-0 at the half, and then came back to win 6-4! The city went nuts, you could hear people screaming and cheering the whole night! Australians are very passionate about their sports, that is for sure!

Thursday June 19th:
Today I worked at Jack Morton again. It was very interesting today because I got to talk to the CEO of the Australia division of the company. She was very nice and gave me some really great advice about becoming an event planner. It was also a funny day because I was having a very hard time understanding my boss! She told me to check someone’s diary, and I told her I didn’t think I should do that! She seemed very confused, and I explained to her that I don’t think its right to go through someone’s personal diary and she explained that diary meant someone’s schedule! Then to continue the confusion, my boss asked me why I was getting a bachelor’s degree in science if I was studying business! I had to explain that that is the term we use in America! So, working in another country definitely has its challenges for sure, especially when the same words are used differently! That night we had to attend a play for class and the theatre down at the beach. The play was good, and we finished the night by going to Ben and Jerrys! (yes they made it all the way to Australia)

Friday June 20th:
Today I went back to my other work on the Judo Festival. My boss said he had a surprise for me this morning! He took me to this non-profit organization that he works with called the Big Issue. The Big Issue is a magazine that is sold to homeless or disadvantaged people, who in turn go out on the street and sell it for double what they pay for it. This charity allows these people to slowly get back on their feet. It is also unique because they don’t just hand the people the money, they make them go out and earn their money! It is fascinating that the Big Issue is the primary source of income from these people. The magazine is just like any other magazine, with current issues inside, as well as a section for the homeless people to share stories or poems! Every two weeks, the magazine launches their new edition and the homeless/disadvantaged come to pick up their magazines and sell their supply! The Big Issue puts on a huge breakfast for them! I got to volunteer, which was such a inspiring experience. I got to talk to many homeless people, all of whom were so nice and they all had incredible stories. It makes you realize how lucky you really are to have shoes on your feet and a roof over your head. Many of them were cracking America jokes to me and were talking about their favorite NFL team! One of the guys played piano and he was so good! Needless to say it was an amazing day just getting to talk and meet these wonderful people who have had a bad break! As I was heading home, I saw one of the guys I had met earlier in the day on the street selling his magazine and he remembered me, so I bought a magazine from him. It made his day, amazing how one little act can change someone’s day! Kind of like the other day when that man put his umbrella over me! After work, my friends and I got on a plane and headed for a weekend adventure in Cairns!

Saturday June 21st:
Today, we headed to a village in the rainforest called Kuranda! We spent the entire morning hiking; probably about 3 hours of hiking in total! We saw this beautiful waterfall! We also hiked all through the rainforest, which was so cool to see what the rainforest was like! During the hike, my friend and I went off the trail and found the most beautiful view of the mountains and countryside! Sometimes you have to go off the beaten path to find the best view! After our hike, we went to the koala gardens, where we got to hold a koala! The koala’s name was Fred and he was so cute! Koalas have sharp claws though, as little Fred cut my stomach! After this we got to feed Kangaroos and Wallabies! They are so cute as well, and man were they hungry!! It was really awesome because the kangaroos are just running free and you can go up right next to them and pet them, feed them, and/or take a selfie!(which most people were doing) After this we walked through the village, which had many cool shops and cafes! Later that night we went back to Cairns and spent the night in the city!

Sunday June 22nd:
Today was a very exciting day! We woke up with the sunrise and headed out to the jetty!(dock) We got aboard this boat called the Reef Encounter! We headed out about two hours to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef!! It was so surreal! It is always one of those things you read about, but never think you will actual do it. Snorkeling was surprisingly difficult! I found it hard to breathe through the mask and swim at the same time. The reef was so amazing and there were so many colorful fish! We were right on top of the reef at some points, which led to myself and a few others actually getting cut by the reef! The second spot we snorkeled was so amazing, the water was so blue and we were again touching the reef! However, the waves were extremely rough! We were getting rocked and I found it hard to stay afloat! The waves were so big that they would almost pull you down to where you thought you were going to smash your face on the reef! The captain actually called us out of the water because it was so rough! I struggled to even get out of the water because the waves kept knocking me and I actually wiped out on the ladder! Although it was rough, it was truly amazing to see the Great Barrier Reef! I can also officially say that I found Nemo!!! The water was so salty that when we got back to shore, my entire body was covered in salt! We didn’t do much the rest of the night, as many of us were a little motion sick from a long day on the boat! 

Monday June 23rd:

Today we went to Tjapukai, an Aboriginal Cultural Park, that tells the history and life of the still existing Tjapukai culture. This was the most unique thing I have done so far! We got a lesson in how they make their weapons and we also learned some of their language. We then got to throw spears that they typically use to hunt! It was very difficult, and I was pretty terrible at it! After this, we saw two dance shows, in which they performed traditional dances for us! We got to learn a dance, which was really fun. After this, we headed out to the field to learn how to throw a boomerang! It was awesome!! I finally got one to return to me, and I got scared and instead of catching it, I ducked and got hit in the head! It was really fun and I bought a boomerang to bring home; I think I found my new favorite hobby! (check out the video: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=501079156692229&l=369775696292512605)We then got our faces painted by some of the Aboriginal women! We learned that they paint themselves to resemble different things in nature. To finish our morning, I got a didgeridoo lesson, which is one of the oldest instruments! The Tjupaki make these from hollow trees and then hand paint them. There is a very specific technique to play a didgeridoo! I wasn’t very good at all, but finally the instructor and I got a good tune going! It was so cool to play it and partake in such a rich culture. Everything they own from their boomerangs to their didgeridoos are beautifully hand painted, and each painting has its own story. I was extremely fascinated by the Tjupaki’s culture! After eating a whole pizza for lunch, my friend and I rode a bus to this beautiful little beach called Trinity Beach! It was so pretty and very peaceful. We spent the afternoon relaxing in the sun and not swimming because there were signs that warned us about crocodiles and stinger jellyfish in the water! After this, we headed to the airport to head back to Sydney for another week of work! It has been an incredible and action packed 4 weeks so far! I have just under 3 weeks left of my time in Australia, it is crazy how fast it has gone! With that being said, it is late here and I am on the plane back to Sydney, so I am going to get some much needed sleep! Goodnight America!:) *P.S. I am having a hard time uploading my photos onto here, so when I figure it out, I will post an entire album!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Weeks 2 & 3

Week 2:

Monday 6/2
Today was our first day of class boo! We have class every Monday from 10am-4pm. My professor is really cool and is challenging people in class to a buck hunter tournament, you know the arcade game? When I told him I was from New York, he started doing his Brooklyn cop accent, and it was very good haha! In class we learn about Australian culture and history. I enjoy learning about a new culture and especially enjoy listening to my professors awesome accent. One of my favorite parts of class was when we learned all the Aussie slang words! Here was one of the videos we watched on Australian lingo:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcAIr2-tCeg

Tuesday 6/3
Most everyone started their internships today, but my internship doesn’t start until next week. My friend also didn’t have to work so we spent the day exploring the city. We walked just about the entire city and went and looked in just about every store! The city is so huge that I find myself exploring new things everyday! Later that night I found some new people to play 1 on 1 with at the basketball court! It was a lot of fun to play against random people!

Wednesday 6/4:
Another day off in paradise!! I spent most of the day at the pool trying to get some color after being in snowy Vermont all year! I then walked downtown by myself and went to the Contemporary Art Museum. Many of you probably don’t know this, but I really love arts and crafts so the museum was really interesting to me! They had paintings, sculptures, and other crazy things in the museum. My favorite was the paintings done by Aboriginal Australians! Later that night, my friends and I took a walk to the opera house and spent the night there watching the awesome light show that has been taking place! It is absolutely beautiful to just sit at the opera house late at night! Very surreal

Thursday 6/5:
Today was a really rainy day! I took the day to get some rest and finally get rid of my jet lag! I watched a movie and cleaned up the apartment. We had class in the pub tonight! (Australians do things a bit different haha) The class event was called “Politics in the Pub.” We got to be apart of locals debating about the new controversial budget in Australia. I learned that the minimum wage is $18! During the end of the debate, many people rose and starting yelling about overthrowing the prime minister! When things started to get really heated, our professor had us leave the event; I thought for sure there was going to be a riot!!

Friday 6/6:
Today my friends and I went to the famous Sydney market called Paddy’s Market! This is the craziest market with many souvenirs, clothes, fruit, fish, costumes, etc.! Everything at the market is really cheap, so we all bought a lot of stuff since Sydney is one of the most expensive cities in the world! After this, we went to the Hyde Park Barracks Museum, which is where the first convicts in Australia lived. It was really interesting because we learned that Australia was primarily convicts at one point! The craziest stat I heard was that 1 in 10 Australians have a convict ancestor!!! We got to lay in the hammocks that the convicts slept in! At night, we met some more friends at the Argyle, which is one of Sydney’s most famous restaurants and dance clubs. The Argyle is both indoor and outdoor and has three levels; it was really cool! As a tradition, you have to Pancakes on the Rocks after you go to the Argyle. So we headed to the best pancake place in Sydney for more food! (I don’t mindJ) This place makes every pancake imaginable from dessert pancakes to chocolate brownie pancakes! Needless to say I was in heaven

Saturday 6/7
Today we had to attend a play at the local theatre for class. The play was called Young Tycoons, and it depicted some of the billionaires in Australia. It was absolutely hysterical! I didn’t want to go to the play, but I actually loved the play and had the best time. That night, we went to the cutest little Italian Restaurant! Everything was freshly made! I would have to say the food in Australia is good, but the desserts are unbelievable! We had the best homemade cakes and shakes after dinner!

Sunday 6/8
Today my boss paid for me to go watch a Judo Competition in a town called Wollongong. My internship changed and I am now working for a millionaire who is planning the Australian International Judo Festival in August! He wanted me to get a feel for Judo, which is a lot like martial arts, but they spend a lot of time wrestling on the ground; it was pretty intense! The train ride to Wollongong was so beautiful, as you go through the jungle to get there! Once we got to Wollongong, it was equally incredible! After we went to the Judo competition, we walked along the beach and did some random rock climbing. There were all these rock formations that you could climb and explore, and it was really fun to climb overtop of the ocean!

Week 3:

Monday 6/9
Today was a pretty boring day as we had class from 10am-9pm! It was really brutal, but we got a lot of breaks and they gave us tim tams! Tim tams are the best chocolate cookies you will ever have, I am addicted. Actually though, I eat like 5 a day (hello Australia 15lbs!) One of the actors from the play on Saturday came to our class and did a short skit for us. Later that night we met with our advisors about our huge research paper and presentation that we have to do at the end of the 7 weeks!

Tuesday 6/10
Today I started work!!! I have to take the train to work, so I am getting pretty good with the train system! I am very proud of myself that I have turned into quite the city slicker, since I have always been a farm girl! When I got off the train, it was pouring and I had no hood, no umbrella, nothing, and I was supposed to meet my boss! I was so upset because I was lost and soaked, when the nicest older man came up to me and put his umbrella over me and walked with me until I found my boss. It was such an amazing moment, just when I really needed someone. Makes you realize there are still some good people out there in the world. Work was extremely challenging! My boss is having me come up with sponsorship packages to present to potential sponsors for our event. We are trying to get ANZ, the national bank here in Australia, to sponsor us with $10,000! We are also looking to get other sponsorships from many other large companies! My boss is having me put together a power point and a presentation to give to ANZ and other companies. The thought of this absolutely terrifies me, but it is such an incredible experience. I am being challenged and learning a lot about how to plan the perfect event. I learned that planning an event takes A LOT of time and research!

Wednesday 6/11
Today was another day of work, in which I continued to work on the sponsorship packages. I got to sit on a phone call with an event planner and marketing manager who gave me tips on how to run events and get sponsorships from large companies. It was so cool to be apart of the action! I definitely make my share of mistakes, as it is my first time doing something like this, but thankfully my boss is really understanding! After work, I went to the store with my boss’ wife and we got candies and toys to make goodie bags for their son’s birthday party! So I made goodie bags and my boss made a cake and we headed to the park for the birthday party! Lots of little six year olds running around, but it was a blast! All of the kids have to wear sun hats when they go outside since Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer! The party was a success, the cake was delicious, and the kids had fun! My boss and his family are such nice people so it’s a great environment! Later at night, I tried gelato for the first time and it was so good!

Thursday 6/12

Today I worked only half a day! I work from my boss’ house and he is very laid back so he let me work on the porch. I am still preparing my presentation and doing research on how I can really try to persuade the bank to sponsor our event! I have met many local people in my boss’ neighborhood and they are all so nice! It is so funny, because Australians love Americans! They love American accents, and they also love Johnny Cash! When I tell them I am from New York, they freak out. I try to explain that I am not quite from the city, but they can’t imagine any other New York than the city. So many locals tell me how much they love NYC. I guess I never really realized how much America has impacted other nations all over the world! Later, my friends and I went walking around the city, we walked for about 6 miles! Well, its getting late here in Australia, and tomorrow after work my friends and I are flying to Melbourne to visit the Great Ocean Road and search for wild koalas! I am also trying to upload all of my pictures so you guys can see them, but I am still working on that! Until next time America!