Hi Ya

Well, my first week of class at JCU has passed and I must say, parts of it sure were a blast. But, as with anything new, there were some challenges along the way that had to get worked through. Between living in the dorms again, having to learn my way around a new campus, figuring out my class schedule, and make new friends, my first week at Uni is best summed up by saying that it has left me feeling like a freshman all over again. Read the day-by-day below for all of the notable happenings ranging from drunk dudes on bikes, going to a toga party, and getting stranded outside my room wrapped in a bath towel.


Early this morning, around 1:30 am, I was woken up by a big group of students stumbling up the stairs in the hallway of my dorm. They were being loud and obnoxious, and I was kicking myself for not packing any earplugs for this sort of thing. After half an hour of listening to them roughhousing around, I started to hear them all chant one guy’s name. I assumed that they were chanting as he chugged a beer. But then I heard a crash outside my door and all of the bystanders go “oooohhh…..” in unison. Next came the “Man…are you okay?” questions. This is when I thought to myself that if someone really was hurt, a sober person would probably be most helpful. I opened my door to see a couple dunk dudes picking themselves up off the floor and a bike crashed at the bottom of the stairs. Yes. They decided it would be a great idea to ride a bike down the stairs. After rejecting a drunk dude’s fist bump when he told me that he used to live in my room, I told them to go to bed and went back to my own bed. While using my head phones as make-shift ear plugs, I thought about how much I miss my quiet apartment back home in Corvallis.

Today was the first day of school that I have looked forward to more than any other first day of school! I had my friend Milan snap a photo of my out front of Education Central to send to my Mommy, who always took first day of school photos of my sister and I all throughout school.  PhotoGrid_1501324619951.jpg

I had two very easy lectures today. My first was for Marine Conservation Biology. It only lasted half an hour. Next, I had a lecture that only lasted ten minutes for my Biodiversity of Tropical Australia class. You’ve gotta love syllabus day!

After class, I got a free Aussie-style breakfast sandwich that was complete with a fried egg, bacon, sausage, and bbq sauce on a slice of whole-wheat bread.


The rest of my afternoon was spent tediously trying to decipher the class time table that we have online. The scheduling here seems to have no rhyme or reason. I have two lectures for each class per week. But the two lectures for each class both in different rooms at different times. Week to week, pretty much every lecture, lab, tutorial, and practical is in a different room at a different time. I am a bit concerned that I am going to show up at the wrong room at the wrong time at some point this term, but if I do, I am sure that I won’t be alone.

After dinner, I went to a Body-Pump class at the gym and had a blast! I for sure am going to be sore, probably for the whole week. It was awesome not having to plan my own work out.

After the gym, I was ready for bed when my friends asked if they could come to my room to work on their togas. So, we ended up spending the next few hours wrapping and unwrapping ourselves in giant sheets. Tomorrow night is the Toga Party down town on Flinders street. This is the biggest Uni party of the semester and should be a really fun time! We were able to find sheets for cheaper than I was my first week here. For $8 I bought a white fitted sheet from K-Mart and a necklace and bracelet for $2 a piece. I ended up re-working both of them into one bold necklace.


Yeup. I woke up pretty sore today; but feeling sore after a workout is really satisfying, because it means your time at the gym was well worth it.

This morning I just had one lecture for my Coral Reef Ecology course from 10-11am. Afterwards, I went to the townhouses (apartment-style dorms) to do laundry because ever since I arrived here at JCU, the laundry machines in my building have been out of order and I finally ran out of clean underwear. It costs $3 to wash a load and $3 to dry. I decided to hang my clothes off my balcony to dry so I could save a few bucks. It worked alright. Thankfully the bird that pooped above my balcony just missed the edge of my freshly-washed towel.


This is what one of the townhouses looks like.

After many return visits and attempts, I went back to the shopping center and was finally able to get my phone to work with an Australian SIM card and set up an Australian bank account. Getting both things done was quite a hassle. It’s a relief to have them taken care of now.0725172036_HDR

After dinner, Milan and I went and played Music Bingo with a few others on campus. Instead of calling Bingo numbers they played snip-bits of songs for which we had to identify the name and artist, see if it was on our card, and then cross it off. Since my knowledge of music is extremely limited to country only, it was only thanks to the help of Milan that I won a Cowboys (the local rugby team) ball! We also picked up some free drinks to take back to our dorm to use as mixers, because after the last “Bingo!” was called, it was time to get ready for the toga party!

The toga party was a blast! There is so much to tell about it that it gets its own post. Check it out to see what we wore, where we went, and what I won!


After only getting a few hours of sleep last night, and feeling even more sore than yesterday, it was pretty hard to wake up for my 10 am class this morning, but I was out of bed and headed to shower by 8:15 am, with plenty of time to get to class. Or so I thought….

Still wrapped in a towel, I stood outside my room waving my fob (fancy piece of technology that supposedly unlocks doors for me) across my door lock repeatedly. It wasn’t opening and I didn’t know why. Ever since I got here, it has always flashed red a few times before flashing green and then opening. When I turned around and rolled my eyes, two guys standing at the top of the stairs asked me if it was flashing read. “Yes,” I said. “That means that the battery is dying,” one of them informed me. He thankfully offered to get the RA to help me. A couple of minutes later, the RA arrived and tried unlocking the door with his fob. “It won’t open,” he said. “I know….” I replied as I asked if there was an old-fashioned metal key that we could use to open it. He told me no but said that he would be right back with another fob to try. After standing in my towel outside my room for over ten minutes, I put my PJs back on along with my big-girl panties and went to resolve this problem myself because I had no idea where the RA went. As I walked through the dining hall to the hall office, I saw him sitting down eating breakfast. As soon as I saw him, he saw me. “I am so sorry, I forgot all about you!” he said. I waived him off and wondered to myself how someone could walk down the stairs and forget that they were trying to help a girl standing in a towel get back into her room??

Up at the hall office I had to wait another 15 minutes before the right lady came who knew how to open my door and change the batteries. Finally, at 9:30 am, I made it back into my room and was able to get ready for class. I made it to class just in time and was delightfully surprised when Milan handed me a poppy seed muffin and an orange, having realized that I missed breakfast.

Today was “Market Day” on campus, where tons of student clubs and community businesses/organizations set up booths. It is also a day where you can pick up some great free stuff. I got a lot of information and a few free things, but didn’t officially join any clubs.

My stash of free things that I acquired this week.

Tonight, I went to the Body-Pump class again and grinned through the pain of sore muscles. It was great! Painful muscles = gain in muscle. I am really looking forward to seeing how much I get stronger while here in AU from this class and all of the bushwalking I hope to do


I had three lectures today and they all went well. It is exciting to hear about all of the research that my professors have conducted. They have all discovered incredible things and I cannot wait to learn as much from them as I can over the coming term! I hope to also be able to volunteer with a research project. I just have to do my research first and find out what opportunities are available.

Housekeeping came by this morning. I was super surprised! They swept and mopped my floor and took out my trash. I told them that this never happens at colleges in the States, and they said they hear that a lot from American students.

I was able to input my class schedule into my phone since it is now properly set for the right time zone (despite changing the time zone setting for my phone, my calendar was still off.) I also went for the hike above campus and enjoyed the view of the ocean and Townsville in the distance. Along the way, I spotted this funny looking bird. I have seen them walking around before, and their legs are crazy long; so long that when they sit, they bend in the middle and it looks like they are still standing!


As I walked out of my last class for the day, I passed a sign saying that in ten minutes, right in the lecture hall that I had just left, there was going to be a Bible study hosted by Christian Union. Since it could not have been any easier, I turned around and went to check it out. I had met one of the people there during market day and was glad to see a familiar face and meet more new people. We studied Revelations 1:1-18. I had never studied Revelations before. It was challenging and interesting. I plan to go again next week.


Today was a super easy day. I only had one lab this morning that was simply an informational session. My schedule will be more than twice as busy starting next week once all of the labs, practicals, and tutorials begin.

This evening the Uni Bar, the official bar on-campus, hired a professional DJ and had a beginning of the term party. Before we went, my friends and I had drinks at one of the townhouses beforehand because it is a cheaper way for those who want to get drunk to do so rather than buying drinks at the bar. But trust me, I did not get anywhere near drunk, nor do I ever want to. Honestly, I don’t think anything alcoholic tastes good enough to drink enough of it to get drunk.

We played a game that translates from German to mean “Breaking Things.” There are six shot glasses on a table and the third shot glass is filled up, in our case tonight it was with Skyy brand, super “cheap,” ($35 AUD per bottle!!!) vodka. Everyone stands in a circle and takes turns rolling a die. If the number you roll corresponds to an empty shot glass, you simply fill it up and pass the die. If it corresponds to a full shot glass, you take the shot and roll again until you roll an empty glass which you then fill before passing the die to the next person. When my turn came, I was less than thrilled…. But, I rolled anyway and of course landed on a full shot glass. Taking the shot gave me flash backs to Mexico where I had to try my hardest to not spit the shot right back out of my mouth. I gave everyone a good laugh with the faces I made, also just like in Mexico. Despite crossing my fingers, my second roll got me a second shot and everyone else even more laughs. And then my third roll got me a third shot, but my friend to my left took pity on me and drank it for me. The vodka ran out well before my second turn came around, which was a highlight of my night.

After the game was through, tequila shots were poured. I asked and received just a little half-shot, only because I wanted to know what it tasted like. Following instructions carefully, I licked my hand, sprinkled salt onto it, and held a slice of lime. “Lick, drink, bite” I was told and then “Three, two, one” was counted down. If you would have asked me, I would have said that there is not any shot worse than the vodka, but I was wrong. This tequila was worse.

After this was through, we sat around and hung out for a few more hours sipping beers and goone before heading over to the Uni Bar at 10pm.

It cost $5 to get in, and there was hardly anyone there when we arrived. With my head feeling a bit wobbly, I found a spot to sit for a while and chatted with my friend Sara from Switzerland.

The later that it got, the more people showed up. We danced and talked as a group and with new people. I met an Australian Army guy. It was interesting chatting with him about the Australian Army for a bit before he wandered off the find someone to make out with.

I really would have been content to leave at mid-night, but with only one hour until the party was ending, I was convinced to stay and danced the rest of the time away. While tonight was alright, it was not nearly as much fun as the toga party was earlier this week.

All in all, my first week at Uni was fun, even if I feel like I am flashing back to my freshman year of college. I am so glad that this is only the first of many weeks that I have here in Australia, because there is an ever-growing list of things I want to do and places that I want to go, that do not involve quite so much money spent on entrance fees and alcohol. I cannot wait for all of the adventures that these next weeks will bring!


The sunsets have all been gorgeous here.