Sunday, March 27, 2011

Post TWENTY!!: Australia really is pretty darn awesome

I realize that I have been doing alot of complaining in my previous posts. Please let me say right now that AUSTRALIA IS AMAZINGLY INCREDIBLY AWESOME! Do not take my complaining the wrong way, the fact that what I am complaining about is food (which we complain about even back at LU) and birds (same deal) is good. Australia is wonderful and I am so happy and lucky and privileged to be here.

That being said, this post is all about the magnificence of Rugby, SPRING BREAK (which is i suppose really fall break...) that is coming up soon!!!!!!!!!! and actually having time to spend a total of thirty-three hours in eleven lectures that give me no credit whatsoever.

#1) on the list. Spring Break! (ok I know it is fall break. but old habits...) .

Here is my itinerary.

April 8th: Break begins. this is Friday. I will spend the day packing up everything and getting ready to go.

April 9th: Depart from Sydney airport at 6:05am for Alice Springs via Brisbane. Arrive in ASP by noon and check in to Toddy's Backpackers for the night.

April 10th: Depart 5:45 am from Toddy's for the Adventure Tours Rock the Centre 3 day excursion to Kings Canyon, Uluru (Ayers Rock) and surrounding OUTBACK areas. The outback is the reason I came to Australia. So I am so excited for this.

April 13th: Depart from ASP for Cairns via Ayers Rock 1:55pm. Arrive in Cairns at 6:25pm, check in to Cairns City Backpackers (hello 15 dollar a night rooms!)

April 14th: Depart from the Marlin Marina at 7:00am on the Sailboat the Rum Runner for a 2 day, 1 night snorkel trip to the Great Barrier Reef, I will get to do one introductory scuba dive for free, and if I want to shell out some more cash. I can choose to do additional dives.

April15th: Return to Cairns at 3:30pm, re-check in to City Backpackers.

April 18th: Depart from Cairns Airport for Melbourne at 10:35am. Arrive in Melbourne 2:00pm and meet Janet, a very VERY generous friend of my piano instructor Stefanie Jacobs' who has offered to be my host during my stay. This night, we will attend the 'Rolls Royce' of seders at a friend of Janet's.

April 21st, 22nd, or MAYBE, 23rd: Depart from Melbourne for Sydney. Arrive in Sydney where I will crash on the floor of some wonderful friends from Malaysia who live in the apartments in the Macquarie Village near campus.

Somewhere after the return to campus I will go to Sydney and attend the Royal Easter Show (a bit like the state fair I am told, not really a religious thing but more of a pastime).

April 24th: Attend the Easter service at THE cathedral in Sydney, St. Marys.


There you have it! Looks busy, but in the time period where I will have no homework I need to fit in as much as possible!

#2.) Now, on to the experiences I had today! This involves RUGBY LEAGUE!
I am told this is called a 'scrum' but I still have no idea why they do this.

A group of 20 exchange students got tickets through 'club X' to go to the Rugby League match between the Bondi Roosters and the Canterbury Bulldogs (dogs were 'at home') at the ANZ Olympic Stadium in the Olympic park.

It took us 4 trains to get there and our journey there was actually longer than the 80 minute match we came to watch, but it was well worth it. Upon arrival we were told that apparently the Dogs and the Roosters have a heated rivalry, since Canterbury is from a certain part of town and well, so is Bondi. There were alot of police and we were told to stay in our group and not to talk to anyone. If we were to interact, it was best to 'be a fan' of whatever jersey the person we were talking to was wearing. So, 20 exchange students entered the stadium a bit on edge, but very excited to be in such a 'real' situation. We were told that we would be told the rules upon entering, however our guide forgot to do this so we were left to figure them out for ourselves. I knew a bit about rugby already, and I had seen some on the TV at the gym, so I had a very general idea of the basics (can't pass forward for example) but alot of my rule understanding was still just sort of by guess and by golly.

the Bulldogs enter
The game was so fun to watch. One has 6 plays to get from one end of the field to the endzone, and it looks similar to a very intense game of red rover. One guy takes the ball and runs as hard as he can from his line of people and towards (and into) the other teams line of people (stretching across the field). Then he is tackled, or he can lateral the ball back to keep the play going. There is a 4 point score for getting the ball over the endzone line and touching the ground with it. There is then 2 points added if they can kick the extra point through the uprights.

Tourists (aka our group)

there were water people on the field even during play! (see dudes in blue and yellow, pink is the ref)

Angie and...I dunno who that other person is...
Play is pretty close to non-stop, since when one is tackled he stand up as quickly as he can and starts the play going again. It is also very...brutal, no pads or anything and men weighing over 250 pounds running full force into each other. It was so exciting! There were 24,000 fans in the 80,000 capacity stadium, so it looked pretty empty, but they were sufficiently loud during the good plays and 'bad' reff calls to make it a real experience, though, we did not witness any police action, in fact, I did not see ANY police inside the stadium at all. We did see a couple injuries including one where I said that "I think the guy broke his leg" (turned out I was right...)....not good for the Roosters. Also, the favorite hometeam Bulldogs walked off with a victory after a dominating first half performance (though the Roosters picked it up after the halftime chat).

#3.) the Global Leadership Program (GLP): Here at Macquarie I have chosen to take part in the GLP for Study Abroad Students (there is another one for undergrad and postgrad students here for longer than we are, but theirs is much much much more involved than ours is). The program is a series of at least 10 colloquium ranging from lectures to workshops each lasting 3 hours, on different aspects of Global Issues. We pick and chose them from a number of different ones offered: subjects include (but are certainly not limited to) international humanitarian law, sustainable leadership in business, morality and living well, etc.

So far I have attended
Religion Secularism and State 
Sustainable Leadership
International Aid
Me. Inc 

and I plan  to attend
Career Mapping 
Poverty Development and Microfinance
Believe Me When I Tell You 2 (persuasive speaking) 
Climate Change, Leading for the Future
Beyond Borders (cultural understanding)
Living Well and Doing Right (morality in the Global community).

I have found these colloquia vary on their level of interesting-ness. But I am learning about the world through a Global perspective, all of them are very informative. I am also gaining some useful knowledge about being a person of the world, that I can apply to my own life. 

There you have it! post two of a weekend! I am making up for the lack of posts that will occur during break ( I will not have my computer in Uluru or in Cairns or in Melbourne. so you will have to wait awhile to hear about my adventures there).

Plans for the near future include finishing up alot of schoolwork, and yep, thats about it. Not too exciting.

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