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Breaking it down statistically …

… because it’s better that way (And because I’m an Accountant and numbers are my friend!)

So during my 6 months in Australia, as I’ve mentioned before I did a lot of traveling. This involved a lot of cars, trains, planes and busses. Because domestic travel in Australia is very cheap I most definately took advantage of this and maybe went a little too plane-happy. Overall I did 3 weekend trips, 1 trip before Melbourne, 1 trip during the mid semester break, and 1 trip between the end of classes and start of exams. All of these trips amounted to 16 PLANES that I went on. 16! In 6 months. (And I only almost missed ONE of them… which is pretty good odds).

These trips included:
Auckland, New Zealand
Gold Coast, Australia
Tasmania, Australia
Sydney, Australia
Perth, Australia

Total flight time on planes: 55 hours (including the YVR-SYD flights)

The following are stats for all the domestic flights I traveled on as including the flight to and back from Australia skews the data:

Total time spend at domestic airports: 21 hours (~1.5hrs X 14 domestic flights)
Number of transfers bought for the Skybus: 11
Amount of money spend on transfers for the Skybus: $147.00 ($26 per return ticket)
Number of times I didn’t realize there were two airports in Melbourne and flew out of the shady one: 1
Number of times I flew Tiger Airways: 4
Number of times Tiger Airways was delayed: 4
Number of times I got “randomly searched” at security: 3
Number of flights I traveled with checked in luggage: 2 (Only to Perth!)
Number of 21st birthdays I attended: 4 (Dave/Meg/Tim/Maleko)

Number of days/nights spent in …
… Auckland: 10days/10nights
… Hobart/Tasmania: 4days/3nights
… Gold Coast: 3days/2nights
… Perth: 10days/9nights
… Sydney: 25days/23nights (in total including my time before and after Melbourne)

Wow thanks Alex/Lee/Jesse/Meg/Brendan for putting up with me for those 25 days/23 nights! I’m pretty much an honorary dweller now! And with all of the times I arrived into Sydney airport, whether internationally or domestically I never once had to take public transit to Dee Why and I have Brendan and Dave to thank so so so  much for that. 🙂 I owe you guys heaps!

Looking at the dates I traveled, I seemed to be on a plane on the 27th of three out of six months – Jan 27th (SYD-AKL); Mar 27th (OOL-MEL) and May 27th (MEL-PER). I didn’t plan this, but apparently the 27th was a good day for traveling!

With all this time on planes, I’m pretty much a pro at traveling now (as if I wasn’t before) but after the longest flight in the entire world of 15 hours from Syd-Yvr I think I’m good for not traveling for a little bit!

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Posted by on July 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Australia, you were wonderful to me.

During unpacking and getting back into the swing of things in Vancouver I was able to reminisce about my time in Australia, explaining story after story to my friends about the amazing time I had during the past six months.

I was able to think about the good times and the bad times, the funny times and the sad times. To get something straight, it was not all butterflies and rainbows. I think overall I cried a considerable amount more during the past six months than I have in about the past two years combined. This is not all bad news because it made me appreciate home, friends and my life more. These times showed me the ones that really mattered, and was sometimes was an eye opener to me (if I didn’t know about who mattered).

Now that we’ve gotten the serious stuff out of the way, I’ve decided to reminisce about the narrow misses I had during my time in Australia.

1. To start it off, let me just say that I have never been happier that I do not have a horror story to tell about Tiger Airways. For those of you that don’t know, Tiger Airways is the Aussie equivalent to Ryan Air in Europe — ie: very very shady. They are a very low budget airline that cancels flights without warning, with no compensation leaving you stranded in the middle of nowhere … but with just some luck, you might avoid this all like me. I made it through this without being stranded anywhere and only one flight out of four being about 20 mins delayed which is not a big deal at all!

2. With the amount of times I rode the trams (without tickets) in Melbourne I was lucky to get away with never being questioned or asked to show a ticket! I had heard horror stories (again) about those that tried (and failed) to pull the exchange student card when asked for a ticket, but still got fined $150 on the spot. I think the more you ride it, the more inevitable it is.

3. After years of thinking that Vancouver had the more erratic weather on the planet, I was proven wrong by Melbourne weather which yes, is even more bipolar than Vancouver. It will literally rain, be sunny, windy and probably have an ash cloud over you in one morning. Just be warned if you are going there. And yes, it DOES get cold in Aus and specifically in Melbourne so when I was complaining about cold weather it was decently cold!

4. For the amount of times I had to get from my place to the airport and that I used the express service called “Skybus” and paid $26 for a return fair, I should have just bought shares in the company. I would have made my money back and probably made more for the amount of times I recommended it to others in Melb.

5. I learnt that “there’s a really important hockey game on in Vancouver” is a legitamate excuse to postpone a group meeting, skip class and not do my tute homework. People understand that I’m Canadian and this comes with the territory!

6. Although not having a printer was a huge pain at times, I was able to finish off the semester with $.01 cent left on my printing card. That’s quite the feat if I do say so myself!! (And no I did not just print random stuff to finish my money on my card!)

7. I also learnt that rice does indeed go bad, that wine does indeed freeze (thanks Meg) and that one text message is all it takes to start something good.

In the coming days (or even today if I’m bored enough) I’m going to go through my travel diary (the bit of it that is actually written in) and break down my travels! Overall going on exchange was the best experience I’ve ever had and would seriously do it in a heartbeat again if I could. I do wish I could have done a year, but with the opportunity to see my family in between somehow. A year without seeing them would be hard. Who knows, in the future I may end up in Australia for an extended period of time (longer than 6 months this time)! 🙂

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Welcome Home, now adjust to your life.

After almost six months of being in Australia I finally returned to beautiful Vancouver this morning. I know I’ve been very MIA in my blogging for the past couple weeks with exams and packing and last bit travels but now that I’m home I have time to actually write out some good blogs. First off let’s start with my arriving into Vancouver and my first day back and how I have to get used to everything back home again after being away for so long.

It all started as soon as I got off the plane and was about to get on the escalators to get to Canada Customs at the airport. I stood on the left hand side of the escalators (like they do in Aus) whereas here you are meant to stand on the right. It was okay though as the entire flight stood on the left so it worked out.

After going through Customs and collecting my luggage and whatnot, I met up with my dad and brother and went to the car. After putting everything into the car I walked to the right hand side of the car (where the passengers seat is in Aus, but the drivers seat is in Van) and my dad says to me “Oh, you want to drive?” Woops, wrong side!

I came home and turned the light switch on in my room and realized that the switches are backwards here than they are there. You press them down to turn them on in Aus, and you flick them up to turn them on here.

I then took out my laptop with my adapter that I’ve been using for the past 6 mths and proceeded to attempt to fit the Australian adapter into the Canadian socket for the next 5 minutes before realizing what I was trying to do.

I then went for a shower and forgot how to work my shower! I think this one and the adapter one should be attributed to fatigue rather than lack of braincells!

And finally, I am SO glad to have a phone that does more than just phone and text. I can actually take photos now!!

Getting used to everything back home will take a bit of time I reckon but I’ll get there. Speaking of getting used to everything… I should probably sleep if I have any hope of getting back to a proper sleeping schedule as its almost midnight!

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Reading Time

As I’ve recently finished exams which means that I’m done my studying portion in Australia (so sad!) but it means I have one more week (8 days) to enjoy in Sydney!

Every school and every country undoubtedly conducts their exams differently but there are a couple aspects of the way Australia/Melbourne conducts theirs that confuse me.

Similarily to UBC, all students get their exam timetable online on their “portal” but unlike UBC, you get a specific ‘seat number’ that you have to remember and sit there and ONLY there for the exam. This can get a little confusing especially if you have more than one exam in a day and that means more than one seat number to remember. These numbers are posted alongside your student number on the doors of the examination hall so that you can double check when you get there. Of course I’d check for all my exams just to make sure I was sitting in the correct spot and writing the correct exam. For one of my exams my seat number got changed… now I would think that the uni would avoid doing this at ALL costs because it would cause MASS confusion… but apparently not!

Secondly and MOST confusingly, there is such a thing called ‘reading time’ before many exams. This time, usually 15 to 30 mins means that you are allowed to look through and read the exam but you aren’t allowed to pick up your pens/pencils and mark anything on the exam. Right this is pretty self explanatory, but I personally find it pointless because by the time I read through the questions in my ‘reading time’ and think about them and then when reading time is done I go back to the first question and have already forgotten what it said so I have to read it again. Same goes for the rest of the questions. Also reading time is not mandatory, so if you want to take advantage of it, you have to add however much reading time you have ONTO the start of your exam. IE: If your exam starts at 2:15pm but you have 15 mins reading time that means you go there for 2:00pm to get your 15 mins reading time before your exam begins.

For one of my exams (the same one that changed the seat numbers) I had to write on 7 out of 12 short answer questions and 1 out of 3 long answer questions. The question sheet was one page long stating all 15 questions and we had 15 mins reading time. I don’t know how’d you go, but it took me 2 mins to read through all the options and decide which ones I was going to write on. That left me with 13 mins to stare at the ceiling… which is exactly what I did. I took a quick look around and realized that no one really using their reading time they were all doing the same as me.

I understand that the theory behind reading time probably makes sense where profs want students to read through the entire exam so that there are no suprises or no “I didn’t see that question” excuses. But really… if you didn’t see the last question because you forgot to flip to the last page it’s your own damn fault, don’t make us all suffer through 15 mins of reading time.

Otherwise exams are exams and they are pretty similar everywhere so I have nothing more to say! Good luck to those still doing them! J

P.S When flying domestically in Australia you are only allowed to check in one bag, but I have two since that’s what I am allowed from Vancouver. From Syd to Mel the first time around I got this really nice guy who didn’t charge me excess baggage and just let me go (saving me about $250!!) so naturally on the way back to Syd I was hoping for the same but had a bad feeling that it would not be. Got to the front of the check-in line and the lady told me I owed excess baggage fee of $315!!!! I asked and pleaded if there was any way out of it, but to no avail, so I resorted to opening my suitcase and taking out whatever heavy items I could to carry on. I ended up bringing it down to $210. I guess that’s what I get for getting out of it the first time! Ah well. My flight from Mel to Syd including one checked bag up to 23kgs was about $80, which means that I could technically have flown to Sydney with one bag, come back (about $50), picked up my second bag and then purchased another $80 ticket to Syd. The total of that would be about $130. Ah what can you do though!? Life goes on!

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Go Canucks Go!

Although I am in the middle of exams and very busy studying, as a devoted Vancouver Canucks fan I have to post this before Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals tomorrow!

GO CANUCKS GO! This is what we live for!

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Australia – 1 country but SO much to offer

I returned yesterday from my 12 day trip to Perth, Western Australia. Before that, I had stuck to the East Coast (and Tasmania) for all my travels and temporarily forgotten that there was another coast to this beautiful country.

That is exactly what this trip taught me. This country is absolutely stunning and has so much to offer to anyone! Although I spent a lot of time with my Aunt and Uncle in WA, we did a couple road trips in which I was able to experience more than just Perth itself. The first trip was down the South West coast of WA, where the Southern Ocean meets the Indian Ocean. To say it was breathtaking would be an understatement. Below is a picture to fully appreciate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second road trip was to a place in the interior of WA, about 5 hours from Perth called “Wave Rock”. It is a rock formation that is weathered and looks like a giant wave. Gorgeous in its own way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doing these road trips with my aunt/uncle has made me realize that I need to appreciate the beauty around the areas I live in. I’ve done lots of traveling in Australia because I’m only here for a short time, but I feel that once I this adventure ends I will have time to go back to Vancouver and fully appreciate all that city has to offer as well, just because I’ve been away for so long.

If you have a chance, go visit WA!

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Almost done! :(

This post might seem extremely cliche but it’s what I’m having to deal with at the moment.

As it’s June 1st, I have exactly one month till I leave Australia to go back to Canada, marking the end of my exchange journey. Thinking back now I wish I didn’t spend the first week or so being homesick, as all that valuable time was lost. Being away for the first time for an extended period of time from my family, this was understandable, but thinking back now it seems like wasted time. During that time I would have compared Australia and Vancouver less and appreciated what this country has to offer me at an earlier stage.

But that’s all in hindsight and now it’s almost time for me to think souveniers! Exploring all the cities I’ve been to has been an absolute blast and I would not trade this experience for anything. There were most certainly up’s and down’s along the way but that’s expected. I’ve made excellent new friends along the way and definately strengthened old friendships.

When asked at the start of Feb whether I’d consider moving to Australia I replied with “probably not, as much as I love it here, Vancouver’s home.” The other day I was asked that question and my answer was “yes I would definately consider it” – A complete 180 if you ask me. I’m going back to Vancouver to finish my degree, then who knows what the future holds, but I would not be opposed to coming back after! 🙂

I know this post is a little pre-mature but I think this whole last month is going to be full of a strange mixture of excitement and sadness!

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2011 in Uncategorized