Friday, February 18, 2011

Orientation week and Sydney

I know I haven’t written in the last week, but it has just been orientation week, so Monday and Wednesday consisted of presentations introducing certain campus clubs and other information, so they weren’t that interesting, just kept me busy. Tuesday I went on a scavenger hunt through Sydney with the college I’m living in, Dunmore Lang. That was a lot of fun. We went through the city, stopping at different points to do a task from one of the orientation leaders, some were embarrassing and some were fun. One task was singing on the steps of the opera house to everyone touring around, which was embarrassing since the only 2 songs we knew as a group were twinkle, twinkle little star and itsy bitsy spider. My favorite activity was asking people to give us a piggy back ride across the street, although I wasn’t as successful as others, it was fun. We got 2 points for each piggy back ride we got across the street and my group managed to get 62 points in 15 minutes which was the highest score at that point. I still don’t know who won the scavenger hunt, but I’m really hoping they tell us this weekend. I don’t know if we win anything for it, but I’d like to know how other groups did in comparison. So that was my Tuesday.
Wednesday, like I said was presentations and we finally got our class schedules which they call “timetables.” Their system of signing up for classes is a bit confusing though. I looked at my schedule and what I was signed up for and it was everything I wanted. I then when I went to check out the details more online and first realized that the school still has my birthday wrong, because they flipped the day and month since America writes dates as month-day-year rather than day-month-year, so I have yet to fix my birthday but next week I will. Then I checked my classes and saw that I was only half signed up for one of my math classes, meaning I was signed up for 2 of the 4 lectures. I needed to be in all of them, so it was my job to register for the other 2 and then I realized that one lecture conflicted with my astronomy class. Well I was just taking the astronomy for fun, so I needed to now drop the astronomy class and choose a different class that didn’t conflict with my math class. After searching through different subjects I finally chose an education class called Science: today and tomorrow. It seems interesting and I have never taken an education class, but if I do decide to go on to grad school and get a master’s, it’d be in education in order to teach, so I thought why not. Of course this class is at 8am on a Thursday, but I’m a morning person and considering my other days don’t start until 10 or 11, I think waking up early 1 day each week is not too bad.
It’s annoying that we didn’t get our schedules sooner, because it left everyone with 2 days to get things fixed before classes start on Monday and some people need to completely change their schedule and get signatures and everything to get into certain classes. Also you can go into their system to change your class time at any point in the semester, so say you want a different “tutorial” time (I think tutorial is like a recitation in the states), as long as there is a seat open in the class, you can drop your current tutorial and add the other.
So onto Thursday…I figured out how to do my laundry which was pretty simple and had that done early in the morning. Most of the day, I spent in my room, relaxing, reviewing my schedule and checking off things I needed to get done.
In the afternoon, I went to a presentation on getting a job. It was fairly short and mostly found out about a bunch of websites to check out. I’m hoping to find a job on campus since that would be most convenient. Then I turned in my schedule changes, so hopefully I won’t have to do much more with that. Nothing too exciting the rest of the day until I went downtown around dinner time for the Harbour cruise.
I took the train down and found some other people also going on the cruise whom I had met at surf camp last weekend. We found the Man O’War steps next to the Opera house where the boat was picking us up. Eventually others arrived and then around 7:15, probably around 300 people headed onto this small boat and crowded together. I think it felt crowded though, because most people wanted to stay outside of the rooms since the breeze felt nice. It was the perfect night for a cruise on the harbour. The sun set as we were on the boat and then the city lit up. It was hard to capture the lights on camera especially on a moving boat, but it was a wonderful experience and I met a couple of people too.  I especially loved seeing the moon as we cruised along. 
Friday I went on the Sydney Harbour Bridge tour. We headed down to the city and you’d think that looking at the bridge and Opera House would eventually get old, but right now, they are still just as interesting. We went up to the lookout pylon, which had a little museum about some of the bridge history. The Sydney Harbour Bridge opened on March 19, 1932 and it took almost a full 8 years to build. It supplied many jobs for people during the great depression. It cost 10,057,170 pounds, 7 shillings and 9 pence. The bridge climb started on October 1, 1998 and since then over 1,000,000 people have climbed the bridge. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the third largest bridge in the world but is considered to be the greatest because of the combination of span, width and load bearing capacity. Those were just a few interesting facts on the bridge that I learned.
From the top of the pylon, there was a 360 degree view of Sydney as you walked around and we also could see the people climbing the bridge. I really wanted to be where the other people were as they climbed to the top of the bridge. I plan to do that while I’m here and I think it may be my birthday present to myself or something, since it is pricy, but I think it’s worth it. You can also choose to climb during the day, twilight or night. Prices vary a bit, but it’d be cool to climb the bridge during twilight to be on the bridge towards the end of the day and then after the sun sets. They also have a wedding climb. I think it’d be really cool to be married at the top of the Harbour bridge.
After looking around at Sydney for a while, we headed down and went to the Australian Hotel and restaurant for lunch. They had a lot of gourmet pizzas to choose from and I split a pizza with my friend Tina. Some people had BBQ Kangaroo pizza, which I heard was good. I was pretty boring, choosing the cheese, basil and tomato pizza.
After lunch we walked to the Opera house and by the time we got there, it was already almost 3pm, so we didn’t have time to walk through the botanical gardens since we had to be back by 5pm and it would take us some time to walk to the train station. By this time the sun had finally come out. The morning was very cloudy and it seemed like it was going to rain, but it didn’t and by the afternoon, we were all sweating and the sun was out. It seemed like a pretty typical day in Sydney. The weather is so deceiving in the morning.
Once I got back to Macquarie, I went to the mall, where I seem to spend a lot of time since it’s so big. Then I had some dinner at my college and relaxed for the rest of the evening. Hopefully I will get a chance to go to the beach this weekend with some people.

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