Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Is this real life?

"I feel like David After Dentist"

We all laughed at this statement as we gazed wide eyed out the windows of the train. Thank you viral videos for giving the perfect point of reference to describe the surreal feeling of finally being in Melbourne, Australia.
It certainly hasn't felt like real life, just a constant blur of activities and orientation. I'm not sure if it was crossing the date line, the jumping back and forth through time zones, the marathon run of 3 flights and 22 hours on planes, or maybe the 16 hour time change from home, but time no longer seems like a solid concept. "Time" is too vague to explain the stretching and moving of the space that we are cramming full of city ventures, orientation games, information sessions, and social activities. There's so much to see and so much to take in that I might have forgotten that I actually came here for classes if we hadn't finally started them this week. The first week here was international orientation, then after that was "first year" orientation so thankfully we've had some time to adjust first.

The first day of our international orientation was an interesting experience: so this is what it's like to be a foreigner. I was suddenly hyper-aware of my accent, the way I dressed, the things I ate. It made for interesting conversation but the overwhelming homesickness felt like freshman year all over again - only this time I was two days of travel away from home, not forty minutes. Thankfully, the onslaught of events kept us from really getting time to wallow in it. We've gone to Brighton Beach twice already, despite the protests from Australians that it's not even beach weather. We've gone into Melbourne, used every form of public transportation, tried to sort through their oddly shaped coins (Harry Potter money?) and pretended like we knew what food and drinks to order, all in an attempt to soak in our new location. When we're not adjusting to the hemisphere swap, we're adjusting to the transition from small private liberal arts school to enormous international university.

But change is good, or so they say. And so far the change has been breathtaking. Nothing like sunbathing on the grassy lawns between dorms while we think of the snow and freezing rain that's plaguing our home towns. The city is beautiful, with hole in the wall pubs and restaurants just daring you to be brave enough to stumble through. The people are friendly and curious, taking the time to investigate us strange and frightened little students. There is so much to see and do, and so much that we have seen and done I can barely sort it out in my mind, not to mention record it all. I suppose I will have to update with the actual events later, and get a little preview of what is coming up. pictures to be included.

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