First day, first passport stampPosted: February 14, 2011
I haven’t done anything remarkably Australian yet, because I’ve been busy getting settled in my room and trying to make my sleep schedule return to patterns of normalcy. (Last night I went to sleep at 9:00, and woke up at 6:00 this morning for no apparent reason. See what I mean?)
My plane landed Sunday morning at about 9:30 a.m. The flight was every bit as long and annoying as I thought it would be. To pass the time, I watched “The Social Network,” listened to a lot of music, and tried with minimal success to sleep. Qantas did their best to make the experience less painful. Each seat had its own screen and a bunch of movie and TV options, along with a screen that let you track the flight (Particularly helpful when you’re passing over the Pacific Ocean at night. There aren’t a lot of landmarks.) We were served dinner, breakfast, and some snacks. It was nice, but a 14-hour flight is still a 14-hour flight.
When we landed in Sydney, I went through customs, baggage claim, and quarantine. The process took forever and basically consisted of me showing my passport and incoming passenger card to a bunch of different people.
I eventually made it to my place of residence and checked in. I’m staying in a building that Americans would call a res hall or dorm, but in Australia they call it a “college.” (The place you go to classes is “university,” or “uni.”) So far, the college reminds me a lot of Mark Twain Hall at Mizzou, right down to the brick walls. Most of the building is not heated or air conditioned, which should tell you something about the weather here. (Hint: it’s gorgeous.) Since my window is surrounded almost entirely by walls, my room can get a little stuffy. But if I leave it open and turn on the fan, it’s not bad at all.
I thought most of the people living in my college would be international students, but that’s not the case. Most of them are from other parts of Australia, and a few are from here in Sydney. There are still quite a few international students, though, and most of us are Americans. Three other Mizzou journalism students are living in my college, and we’ve had fun picking on the one kU fan here (thankfully, he doesn’t actually go there). During orientation week, all of the first-year students (freshmen) and international students are thrown together, so most of the people I’ve met are just starting university for the first time. In some ways, it’s like freshman year all over again. They know about Australia, but not university, and I’m the other way around. But we’re all in the same boat of awkwardly trying to adjust to new surroundings and getting to know each other.
Today consisted of some sufficiently boring orientation activities, followed by a bush dance, which is pretty much the Australian equivalent of a barn dance. It was a lot of fun, because most of the Australians didn’t know what they were doing any more than the rest of us.
Tomorrow I’m taking a bus tour of Sydney, so hopefully more exciting stories, along with pictures, will be in store.