My First Week in Australia!

My First Week in Australia!

My first of many updates on the good and bad of The Land Down Under including (but not limited to) the amazing blue watered beaches but also the bad including the 6 (alive and large) cockroaches we've found in our apartment.

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G'day, Mates. My first week in The Land Down Under has been nothing short of amazing. I would be lying if I said I didn't already want to move here if it wasn't for the large cockroaches and the high cost of living. However, between my friends, my university, the beach, and everything in between, it really does feel like I'm on a 4 month vacation. Let me walk you through my first week here in Sydney and give you the closest thing to the Aussie experience as I can (so far).

The Accent

My god never did I think language would be an issue while I'm abroad, especially here in Australia! I've noticed that many Aussie's talk so quickly that their words become abbreviated or shorted, making their sentences sound like gibberish to my ear. However, I can imagine I sound the same to them as well! Nevertheless everyone here is beyond friendly. Definitely one of the most interesting things I've noticed so far here.

Coffee

The goodbye to my Keurig made coffee has been a tough one, but let me tell ya, I actually enjoy a good, long black coffee with a little milk from a small cafe across from the university. Cafes are quite common here so finding a favorite is pretty difficult as they are all pretty amazing. Fork and Grind Cafe has been by far my number one. The best part is they actually try to learn your name so that every time you walk into the joint, they already have your order memorized and ready to go, which is another reason why Australians take the cake in terms of friendliness and genuine relationship building skills.

The Beaches

I feel like I'm on a tropical island every time I got to the beach. So far I've visited the iconic Bondi Beach, Coogee, and Manly. Manly by far has had the best waves and boardwalk (and rooftop bar), but Coogee is much more relaxed and peaceful. The waves and undertow can get pretty out of hand, so swimming between the flags has been key. The UV levels have also reached a solid 11 which means sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.

Class

My classes run about 3 to 3 ½ hours long once a day each week meaning I only have class Monday-Wednesday giving me a nice, long weekend. The power distance levels are very low here meaning I call my professors by their first names, and we talk about coffee and drinking during class lectures. Since I only need to come home "passing" all my classes, homework and test taking hasn't been my number one priority.

Happy Hour

One of my favorite times of day, which means $5 beer, wine, and cider. This is also how me and my roommates first got to know each other. Speaking of which, the connection we have built as a friend group with only knowing each other for a week is something I can't quite explain. It feels like we were all meant to live together and explore the world together, and I'm pretty lucky for that. The connections you build with people here are as strong as ever mostly because you are each other connections to home. That instantly builds this level of trust and friendship as you try to adapt to the new world you've just been thrown into. It's something pretty amazing.

All in all after getting through a weird and uncomfortable transition period, things have finally started to turn around. I truly feel like I've adjusted, and I'm okay with this place being my temporary home. I'm so excited to see what Sydney and the rest of Australia has in store for me as well as the person I am when I come home after this whole experience. In the meantime, stay tuned for my next article coming soon!

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My Freckles Are Not A Beauty Trend For You To Appropriate And Immitate

Those with faces full of freckles can't wipe them off like you can after a photo shoot.

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While it is fun to use makeup to express yourself, one can argue unless you are in costume, it should be used to enhance your features, not create new ones. The trend of artificial freckles puts a nasty taste in my mouth reminiscent to the feeling I get when I see a Caucasian woman apply such dark foundation to her face that she appears to be donning blackface.

To someone who has a face full of freckles, it is offensive to see you paint on freckles as if they were not permanent features of other people's skin that they cannot remove with a makeup wipe. I remember asking my cousin at 5 years old if I could surgically remove my freckles and crying when she broke to me that I'd be stuck with what she called giraffe spots my whole life.

I'm not alone in feeling self-conscious about my freckles. The face is the fulcrum of the identity, and it can feel like my facial identity is like a haphazard splash of orange/brown debris. Another against the fake freckles movement retorts: "you'll soon regret them when people begin to describe you as a polka-dot-skinned troll or a cinnamon-toast-faced goblin. Also, when your eyebags start to sag in middle-age, that 'cute' skin art will probably deteriorate into something more closely resembling oblong blackheads. Sincerely, A Freckled Person"

One woman recalls her struggle with accepting the patterns of her skin from a very young age:

“When I was a young girl, I remember staring at myself in my bathroom mirror and imagining my face without the scattered brown dots that littered my face and body. I dreamed of having the small imperfections removed from my face and obtaining the smooth porcelain skin that I envied. I looked at my bare-faced friends in awe because they had what I wanted and would never know. For some odd reason, I had made myself believe that my freckles made me ugly."

I've come to appreciate the beauty of these sun kisses, and many nowadays have too. However, freckles haven't always been considered cute. There is a history of contempt toward red reader freckled people, just ask Anne Shirley! The dramatic young heroine laments: "Yes, it's red," she said resignedly. "Now you see why I can't be perfectly happy. Nobody could who had red hair. I don't mind the other things so much — the freckles and the green eyes and my skinniness. I can imagine them away. I can imagine that I have a beautiful rose-leaf complexion and lovely starry violet eyes. But I cannot imagine that red hair away. I do my best. I think to myself, "Now my hair is a glorious black, black as the raven's wing." But all the time I know it is just plain red, and it breaks my heart. It will be my lifelong sorrow." (Montgomery).

Historically, freckles on ones face have been seen as dirty or imperfect. It's easy to forget that Irish features such as red hair and freckles have been subject to hateful discrimination for centuries. In some places, the word ginger is even used as a slur.

I am not a red-headed stepchild for you to beat — or for you to appropriate.

My facial texture is not a toy for you to play with.

It is rude and inconsiderate to pock your face for a selfie while those with randomly splashed spots get someone once a week trying to rub off the "dirt speck" on their face.

Greg Stevens has a theory to why there is anti-red prejudice

“Skin tone is another one of those well-studied features that has been shown to consistently have an impact on people's assessment of physical beauty: Those with clear, evenly-colored skin are widely regarded as being more attractive than people with patchy, blotchy, or freckled skin.
Nowhere is this more obvious than when looking at professional photos of redheaded models and celebrities. Even those "hot redheads" that flaunt the redness of their hair usually are made-up on magazine covers to have almost unnaturally even skin tones. Moreover, there is a reasonable theory to explain why the bias against freckles might be more than just a cultural prejudice. Not to be too blunt about it, but freckles are cancer factories."

By that, the author means freckles can be early indicators of sun damage or skin cancer. This illusion that freckles indicate deficiency may also play in negative connotations toward a person with freckles

While I acknowledge the intention of people with clear skin who paint freckles on their face isn't to offend — rather it is to appreciate freckles as a beauty statement — the effect is still offensive. If you are thinking about trying this freckle fad, you should put down your fine tipped brush and consider what it would be like if you couldn't wipe away the spots.

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What They Don't Tell You About College

No pamphlet, website, or tour can even come close...

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College is a crazy adventure full of ups and downs, the highest highs and the lowest lows, the unexpected, and the even more unexpected. No one can put this into words but I'm here to try...

1. It flies

Like at the speed of light. I still feel as if I started college this Fall and am just wrapping up my Freshman year. However, looking back that feels like a lifetime ago. The years of college don't follow the laws of natural time, I'm convinced.

2. It's the best and worst thing that will happen to you

At first, it's the worst. A new place with no friends, more schoolwork, sometimes an unknown future, and lost soul. Then, it quickly becomes the best. New friends, schoolwork pertains to your major, classes are interesting, social events are happening all the time, newfound independence, and a feeling of both accomplishment and importance as an individual.

3. You will change

In more ways than one. This can be mentally, physically, emotionally, developmentally, personality-wise, academic, and many others. No one person stays the same throughout college, it's just impossible. But the changes will turn out to be for the best and allow you to learn things about yourself that you never knew existed.

4. You will grow

As an individual. You will find your place, purpose, destiny, however you want to describe it. But you'll find it. Although I didn't notice while it was happening, looking back at my freshman year self I see how much I've grown and matured.

5. It's not too late to find your best friends 

Even though you think you have your best friends from growing up, you will make unbreakable bonds with your college friends. There's something about living together and spending every waking moment, the good and the bad, together that makes college friends very special.

6. School is important, but it's not everything

Yes, grades are important and studying is essential in doing well in college. However, from a senior's perspective applying to jobs, one bad test grade doesn't define you as a student. The memories you make in college are once in a lifetime and missing out on them for one night of studying just isn't worth it. Enjoy your time in college. Work hard, but realize that a 100 and a 97 are the same letter grade. and one poor grade won't ruin your career.

7. College IS for everyone

It's what you make of it. How you carve your own path and make it your own. You have total control of making these four years the best for you personally, and I promise it's worth it.

As graduation comes closer and closer, I am reflecting on the last four years and what I learned that came unexpectedly. Some things happened suddenly and some over time, but nonetheless it took four years time to connect the dots.

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