Location: All over the place!, USA
Over Christmas break it was spent mostly on the east coast then back to Colorado just before uni went back in the middle of January.
* Chrismas @ Jane and Fred's in Pennsilyvania
- Jane took me to Annapolis, all over Pennsilyvania, we saw a rediculous amount of christmas lights and I spent many days running through the woods with Lola (their dogs)
* New York City/Long Island to stay with Chris (friend who went on exchange to my uni in Canberra) and Bee (bestfriend from Sydney)
We saw a human body exhibit where they have preserved bodies broken down into all the different layers of the body, sounds disgusting but was SOOOOO interesting.
Chris' family was absolutely lovely and the town they lived in, Port Jefferson, in Long Island was just beautiful.
* Headed back to Colorado for a week of skiing in the Colorado rockies with Bee, Chris and Ben (red head in the photos, current boyfriend just to bring you all up to date) Had a great time skiing at Copper.
* X-Games at Aspen over Australia Day weekend which was amazing! Saw the half pipe competition and met the famous freestyle skier Glen Plake (famous from many of the warren miller films...i've attached a photo in the photo album)
* Back at uni and am the only Aussie girl here this semester, but am handling ok, have solid friendships going and am enjoying myself but am finding myself struggling a little more with being homesick because I want to see the beach and feel the aussie sun so bad.
* Went to Colorado Springs over the past weekend to meet Ben's family which was great, too much food, absolutely lovely family who made me feel so welcome and have encouraged me to come back again and visit (I said my please and thank you's all weekend mum :-)
* Mum and Dad are coming out next week and I'm so excited to see them, 6months since I've been in Australia, it seems like so long ago! Still a while to go.
Hope everyone is doing well! I miss you all so much, check out my photos!
Location: Colorado, USA
Well it's been a while since I've written, I have to admit it kind of got away from me, everything has been very hectic over the past month and a bit.
Where to start....
- Halloween: Oh my what an experience, I dressed up as Sailor Moon (the Japanese anime character) went down very well, there were some pretty outrageous costumes, my favourite was a guy who made a dinosaur costume out of cardboard....round of applause for that guy!
- Thanksgiving: Definately a holiday for the obese population, I have never had such bad stomach pains after eating so much food in my life!....all a bit of fun though.
- Heading up to Beaver creek this weekend to see the downhill world cup, for the skiers out there, Herman Maier from Austria is competing - the granddaddy of downhill champions and Im going to stalk him all weekend and get a photo!
Things are really starting to smooth out which is finally a nice change, so the stress levels have gone down a considerable amount, I'm starting to make solid friendships.
I was told by our international officer the other day that I will be the only Australian girl on campus next semester in a swarm of 25,000 students...little daunting but I should be ok.
Has finally started snowing, we had a rediculous amount of snow in one day and campus is now a winter wonderland and with the sun shining every day you can't complain, -10'C isn't really that bad afterall when the climate is dry and the sun is shining.
Hope everything in Australia is going well, I've heard the weather is incredibly hot at the moment, I will definately miss the beach this Christmas as well as the kilos of king prawns we eat at Christmas lunch.
Been here almost 4 months and have 7 months left....seems like I've been here forever!
Miss you all!
Location: Fort Collins, USA
Brief run down on the past few weeks:
- Autumn has come and is quickly passing with the leaves beautiful glowing golden colours covering campus which was an incredible walk every day to class, the temperature is very quickly plumetting though so the leaves are all starting to drop off one by one.
- Huge protests about the former Mexican president coming to speak at CSU, one of the exchange kids from the UK who loves to get amongst it got arrest.
- Large anti-abortion display on in the same week where they had huge billboards with the most graphic disgusting photos I have ever seen, it was incredibly revolting and there were alot of pro-choice people protesting against it all.
- My roommate Meaghan got a staff infection in her spine which went into her blood resulting in her needing spinal surgery, so she's gone back to Chicago where she is from for the rest of semester - leaving me with my own room which is quite nice having my own space, even under the circumstances.
- Pat bought an M16 rifle off Preston the other day (two guy friends Pat is from Boulder and Preston lives on CSU campus) and I was lucky enough to get to go along to the police station to retrieve the rifle to take some photos with, then went to a gun shop called "GUNS GUNS GUNS" where the owner showed me this huge gun they used in one Arnie used in the terminator.
- Study like a crazed maniac at the moment because the history subjects I am doing are incredibly difficult and challenging but so interesting, I sat and had an hour long conversation with my history teacher the other day, she told me it was refreshing to speak to someone who didn't live in the bubble called the United States, she's a nice lady hehe....perhaps I can use this for my own good for getting better grades.
- Going to Boulder on Friday with Nicole and Constansa to party up with Pat and some of his friends which should be a bit of fun, it's a small town known for it's outrageously wealthy hippies - also the home of JeanBennett Ramsey.
All in all Im continuing to meet new people, things are starting to settle and unfortunately in some situations people are starting to show their true colours, so some friendships have changed but many have gotten stronger.
Planning on heading to Pennsilyvania for thanksgiving with the family over in York but other than that every week is different, new challenges are found and as soon as you think you've got it figured out it all goes warped again.
Hope everyone is well, I've miss you guys so much lately, so going to see the rellies in Penn for thanksgiving next month will be some good R&R.
Location: Colorado Rockies, USA
Well the past two weeks have been jam packed with adventure, went to a huge music festival called Skylab in Denver last weekend and this past weekend two of my roommates - Constansa and Nicole, and I went to Durango which is a little town that Constansa is from through the Colorado Rockies about 8 hours from Fort Collins.
Quite the adventurous drive since it was a blizzard from Denver all the way to Grand Junction (4hr trip) which is very bizzare for September, so the view was spectacular with autumn leaves and snow covered mountains all around.
Since we left so late in the afternoon by the time we reached the mountain pass (about a 2hr drive) it was well after midnight, icy roads and hair pin turns no baracades and nothing but hundreds of metres of darkness to fall into if we went off the road, Constansa was very confident since she drives it all the time but Nicole and I were holding onto our guts with all our might especially since at almost every turn we ran into a pack of deer or elk and other mountain animals, we spooked a deer who jumped across the road and into about 1.5m of snow which was pretty funny watching it go down I could only think of Aimee (little sister) and how she would've found it to be the most hilarious thing she'd ever seen.
we got to the top of the mountain to find literally (and I kid you not) every SINGLE star in this entire universe, the sky was so bright and the milky way was as if it had been painted in bright bright white paint and every other star was so significant, if only I had a camera which could have captured it, I'm looking forward to getting back into the mountains and seeing that again.
We stayed in Durango for two days and had a girly good time with too much red wine and pizza.
Drove back on Sunday and spent the afternoon with the too rich and too pretentous crowd at Vail beautiful place which looks just like a little Swiss town but with way too much money, mink coats to the point you wonder if they are extinct.
I drove from Vail back to Fort Collins (3ish hrs) and scared the living daylights out of the girls for the first part because I kept accidentially lining up my right shoulder with the right side of the lane....big no no since they drive on the left side of the road haha...but we made it in one piece.
Constansa's birthday on this Thursday and the former Mexican President is coming to speak at this university so we'll see what he has to say, I've been warned he's probably not going to be very popular.
I hear Sydney is swinging back into a full blown summer and am very quickly running into a cold winter so I have beach envy of you all!
Well I'm back in the states after flying home for 10 days for my Grandpa who suprised all his specialists and pulled through!
After a wonderful 27hr trip *vomit* to get back to Colorado things got a little crazy, with a sudden decision by my friends that I should get my belly button pierced, so they raced me downtown to a piercing parlour where the woman who did it said I had the toughest skin she had ever pierced - go figure it hurt like crazy and being under really bright lights and still being affected by the alititude I almost fainted...go Sophie, I do like to create drama.
Went to the CSU v CU football game - Colorado University are the rival school to Colorado State (my uni) and CU is in the top 10 division (so the top 10 college football teams in the US) and were picked to win since they've won the past 4 years in a row but CSU pulled through and whooped their butts in a 14 - 10 final score...whatever that means in American football, it was all very grande, the stadium was the size of the Olympic stadium in Homebush and was full to the brim, chants such as "Dirty hippies f**k CU" (Boulder - the city where CU is, is known for it's hippies with money) and others were a little outrageous, I can't believe how brutal the rivalry is here, they're all very rude and obnoxious to one another which is different to the subtle arrogance I think Australians have which comes from pride in our country and love for a sport particularly if we're good at it, but honestly I've never seen rival fans get into each others faces and diss crap to the other team like they do here in America.
It's great to be back and I received a very warm welcome from everybody so it appears I am making solid friendships with people which is encouraging.
Location: Fort Collins, USA
Well it's been a rough week.
Dealing with my Grandpa's near fatal heart attack from the other side of the world has been incredibly testing, not being able to be with my family was even worse making me feel so helpless because I wanted to go home and be with everyone but my parents felt it was better for me to stay put unless it was absolutely crucial for me to come home.
The classes I'm taking so far seem very interesting, particularly my events management class which is taken by a 50 something year old man who is very much a huge heavy metal fan.
Each class he walks in, sets up his laptop and starts playing heavy metal and continues to play it louder and louder until someone can guess what the songs name is and what artist plays it.
Made some great friends with my floor this week, the girls have been very supportive, and gave me some friday night entertainment - Katie, a girl on my floor suffered a diabetic high, resulting in a visit from the paramedics and a 3am ride to the hospital to get her checked out.
Went to a big volleyball game on friday where everyone wears CSU mardi gras beads (green and gold CSU's colours...go aussie go!) and wear a CSU green shirt....I missed the memo and bought the yellow shirt, so I stuck out in a crowd of 500 people.
The cheerleaders here are interesting, they're much bigger than the stereotype high school cheerleader leading me to believe that these are girls fulfilling their lost high school dream of being a cheerleader.
At the game it was hilarious though, there was this one extra excitable cheerleader who did a roundoff flip layout full twist (for those of you not in tune with gymnastics lingo it's basically a flip in the air with a twist) and totally stacked it on her head...it was pretty funny, she got back up and did a little jump in the air when everyone cheered when she stacked it.
My friend Mike has his 21st birthday this week and should be a cracker, we're planning a trip to go see Mount Rushmore in a few weeks and I think Mike is planning a camping trip some time soon also which will be some fun.
Check out my photos!
Love and miss you all
Location: Fort Collins, USA
My expectations of there only being a few differences between Australia and America have been completed shattered and proven wrong on so many occasions.
Nobody here can tell me the name of our Prime Minister, a lot of people like to tell me that Australia doesn't really do much for the world economy and that we're just a small nothing country down in the southern hemisphere.
Little annoying but fun to politely correct, particuarly the look of shock on their faces when you tell them that the Australian SAS forces train the American and British troops, and that Australia is the same land size as mainland USA.....times like these I'm glad I'm not from a super power nation that doesn't look outside the fishbowl at the world around it.
With that said though this is half the reason to come on exchange and to see how nations and people and opinions differ, giving you a wider view on the world around you.
I haven't been in any confrontations with people, more just conversations and so far 95% of people are willing to sit and listen to you.
Got half of our floor eating vegemite last night which was an entertaining exercise, and have been making many random friends by just going and talking to people in the dinning halls, you have to make more of an effort to talk to people here because they generally don't make the effort to strike up conversation.
Sky diving was amazing! We jumped right over the Rocky Mountains, through snow clouds.
My instructor let us do a bunch of tricks - reverse somisault out of the plane, twists and flips in the air, it was absolutely amazing nothing compared to the sensation of flying and I definately want to do it a couple more times before I leave.
Went down to the tv studios on campus yesterday and got amongst it all, looking to get some experience with them, so we will see.
Missing everyone back home like crazy, wish you guys were all here to share it with, I've made too many 3am phone calls to Oz!
Location: Denver, USA
Well I'm finally here!
Trip across was interesting especially in customs at LAX, they ran out of visa forms in English so I had to do a quick 101 course in Spanish b/c it was that or Japanese.
Anywho was picked up by Kristin and taken to her parents place in Aurora which is south of Denver, then we went and saw a Rockies vs Cubs prof baseball game which i saw hardly any of being up in the nosebleed section but it was a good vibe with a crowd of 25,000
Hit the clubs with Kristin and her friends, Denver is really really pretty everything there is exceptionally green and leafy and the architecture of the houses (not many sky scrapers) is gorgeous, all very american and victorian architecture. I had a nice tour of downtown Denver at 7am this morning as we walked from one of her friend's houses to find Kristin's car.
We headed up to Fort Collins this morning and am just getting settled. So far the biggest culture shock has been the unattractive tampon packages in the supermarket....there are alot of hippies here but I'm told the hippies disappear a bit once the uni students roll into town which has already started.
Just can't get over how green everything is....obviously this is what a country not in drought looks like!
Altitude hasnt been a problem just yet....felt rather light headed and short breathed this morning and last night in Denver but good ol' ginkgo might be doing the trick for me!
Orientation starts on tuesday and i move onto campus on thursday, so far it looks like it's going to be good fun, have had my little anxiety attacks particularly when we drove into fort collins today and it was like "holy crap im here for a year."