The Middle of Nowhere

It’s that mood you’re in when you’ve been studying in the library for 8+ hours, or when you’ve been waiting around all day for your event at the track meet. You kind of start to laugh at everything that moves and trip over things that aren’t really there. You’re intoxicated with anticipation and exhaustion, and you feel like you might be going a little crazy. Encompassing this persona when meeting new people gives a great first impression of yourself. Needless to say, I was helplessly caught in this mood for a good few days upon arrival. To those I met initially, they probably couldn’t understand me not because of the American accent but because I was speaking straight up jiberish. The time adjustment will eventually happen, I just know it!

So each day after I involuntarily wake up at 4:30 am, I explore the immediate area by going for a run. For those of you who know me well, you might be thinking “go figure”, but it’s actually been a fantastic way to get to know the place better. I’ve discovered that it’s a very suburban area and emanates safety and friendliness. On the other hand, I have been informed many times that I have chosen an interesting place for an exchange. Disclaimer: the term “interesting” implying that USQ is kind of in the middle of nowhere. I think this pertains to the small size of the campus and the fact that it isn’t exactly in the heart of the city.

Along with that, Danielle and I have been situated for almost a week and we are already becoming soo restless. I’ll explain why in a minute. The second day in Brisbane we decided to go on an escapade of figuring out the public transportation system in Southern Queensland. We made it to Brisbane and found some sushi, then took another train to the coast. Once we got off there, we followed whatever direction was east until we ended up at the Pacific.

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The first beach we could find

Not the most glamorous of beaches, but we were overjoyed. We found the ocean! So we took a dip, only to be asked by someone if there were any jellyfishes swimming about. Oooh right, that. “Uhh…nope!” I responded with a funny feeling that I had been lucky. Just to keep up the little-kid-in-the-summer thing we had going on, we bought some ice cream cones near the beach and then headed home.

I wish I could say the rest of this week has been as fun and happy-go-lucky, but it’s been more about attending orientation and figuring out the vibe that this campus has. This is where the restlessness sets in. There are so many plans to make and things to do in five months (along with school) that I think I might explode. Simultaneously, the students on campus have been somewhat holed up in their apartments which adds to the impatience of finally meeting everyone. I’m sure that will change once classes officially commence. In the mean time Danielle and I have literally knocked on every door with a soccer ball in hand. There are people here, they are just hermits.

Besides that, I have many missions in mind. The list includes hunting down Ed Sheeran on his tour and Ellen Degeneres, going north to the Great Barrier Reef and down south to Sydney, and finding my way to the outback (which won’t be difficult as 70% of the country is the outback). New Zealand would be a dream. I guess I’m not sure the next time I’ll be back in this mysterious corner of the world, so I better take in as much as I can now!

Ooh how I love a good city skyline.

Ooh how I love a good city skyline.

Wish me luck,

Lizzy

P.S. Bachelor update: Ben’s season has now made it to Australia. PLEASE no spoilers on Sean’s, I’m still looking for links 🙂

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Destination Oz

     In the past few weeks, I’ve said good-bye to college friends, family, dogs, cats, my skis, and those making the trek to other study abroad destinations. Margaret took off to Copenhagen, Denmark (hopefully bonding with the Hansen’s right now), Devin to Moscow, Russia, and Catherine is headed to Buenos Aires, Argentina right after her Valentine’s Day 21st. My go-to running buddy and one of my closest friends, Laura, is in Amman, Jordan, speaking Arabic and immersing herself in Middle Eastern culture. Meanwhile, I went the opposite direction and have FINALLY landed in Brisbane, Australia.

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     I never thought I’d experience the glamorous airport entrance of meeting a limousine driver holding my name on a sign. But there was good old Bevon, gladly awaiting my arrival at the Brisbane International Airport. I guess I’m not the ideal type to be chauffeured as I tried to load the suitcases into the vehicle myself and then hurried over to take shotgun. Opening the car door, I looked up at Bevon who had an incredibly disconcerted expression. He handed me the keys. “You want to take the wheel?” he asked.

Oooooohh. The first “Aha!” moment of the trip and I hadn’t even been there for an hour yet. Let’s hope I stay away from the wheel for as long as possible knowing that the passenger’s seat is now the driver’s seat. Yet Bevon was an excellent sport with my cluelessness/jet-lagged-ness and proceeded to take me to the University of Southern Queensland-Springfield campus in a welcoming manner.

Situated in a cozy area about 45 minutes from the ocean, the campus is surrounded by trees including palm trees (palm trees!) and little side parks with white washed stone benches and paths. The buildings stand close together with the units (or dorms) surrounding them. It’s significantly smaller than what I am used to, but will be easy to navigate come class time.

My unit complex has three other roommates.  I knew I would feel at home with them when I walked in to find none other than the Bachelor on TV (even better: the “Women Tell All” episode). Downside, it was just Brad’s season that had finally made it to Australian television. Besides their excellent taste in reality television, they have been considerably helpful in answering my questions about the school and the outer-laying area.

Later in the afternoon while we were settling into our rooms, there was a knock from two people trolleying around free sandwiches and pastries. I’m not sure if I have said this before, but I think I am going to like it here.

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Danielle and the free food trolleys! Little veggies sandwiches and pastries with jam.

Looking ahead, next week brings orientation and the start of school. Beyond that I can’t wait to surf, snorkel, and keep breathing in the humid air.

Over and out,

Lizzy 🙂