studying abroad in Sydney, Australia!

Sydney Opera House

Last weekend I finally saw a show at the Sydney Opera House!

I went to see Cirque de la Symphonie which had different circus acts accompanied by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (or a less magical version of Cique de Soleil as far as I’ve been told).

It started off with an awesome ribbon routine (and I love a good ribbon act).  She was fierce and flew through the air with the greatest of ease.  She climbed and and twisted and fell and flipped and it was glorious.  She was followed by the most fantastic tango act. If there’s anything I love more than a flying ribbon act, it’s a flawless tango.  The tango is beautiful and dramatic and sheer perfection.  The man came out dressed like Jack Dawson and the woman in a sparkly red dress (I also sparkles and glitter).  They moved as one and did lifts and tricks and had me hooked from their first steps.

I wish that these two acts were at the end because they were my favorites and the other acts didn’t quite live up to those two, but they were still pretty cool.  There was a quick change act that kind of blew my mind another ribbon flying act, this time it was a duo that pretty magical. 

In short, I need to learn to tango and wear sparkly dresses or to fly with ribbons.

the slideshow for the Sydney Program spring 2013!

Australia has no rules

Things that are allowed in Australia:

  • Publicly drinking alcohol (I’m talking walking down the street, on the bus, drink anywhere you want)
  • Prostitution
  • Going through an entire domestic airport without taking out my ID
  • Public nudity
  • Gambling
  • Anything goes on television. Swearing, drugs, nudity (I mean full nudity), whatever, it’s all there.  Depending on the time of day I wouldn’t be surprised if they played The Departed unedited. 

But when I try to bring anti-frizz serum in my carry-on they get all Gandlaf on me and force me to look like this for a week.

I felt like this guy.

Port Stephens


We started our weekend going to feed sharks and rays which was both horrifying and really cool.  I actually enjoyed feeding the sharks, they  were chill - even though one bit me, but now I can say I’ve been bitten by a shark in Australia. However, I did not like the rays. They were gross to touch and just awful.


After the sharks and rays, we went for a hike.  Hiking was not on the itinerary we were given upon signing up.  But it wasn’t so bad, there was a path and it was only 15ish minutes…but it was pretty much 90 degress uphill.  It was worth it, when we got the top it was a pretty extraordinary view.


The afternoon was the best part of the day by far. You know why? DOLPHINS. aka the best animals in the world. We went on a dolphin watching cruise.  We all got on a boat and watched dolphins for two hours and it was glorious.  (Okay, well, they weren’t that many dolphins and for most of the two hours we were on a boat dolphin-less…but being on a boat is fun anyway).  I don’t have any good pictures to insert here because I was too busy crying watching the dolphins. Sorry I’m not sorry.


This was the more exciting day overall.  We started off with sand duning.  Which, in case you were wondering, is awesome.  It’s essentially sledding but on sand.  It’s also a lot steeper than you would expect and exactly as tiring going uphill as you would expect.  You can even buddy up and wipe-out halfway down go down with a friend!


After sand duning we rode camels! And I obviously was Princess Jasmine.  I know that she was never shown riding a camel in the movie, but that was the mode of transportation in Agrabah so how else would she get around?

Meet our camel:


According to her tag, her name is DJ.  Which Jake and I decided stood for Drank Jasmine. (Her last name is obviously Ababwa)  Drank Jasmine Ababwa was a lovely companion and didn’t spit on anyone.  She took us around the dunes and walked us along the beach.


Then we tried to take a group jumping photo which wasn’t perfect, but can anyone ever get it just right?


The final event of the weekend was a tour of a brewery followed by beer & wine tasting and lunch.  Some of the wine was good but beer is gross always, no matter how many different kinds you taste.  Lunch was the biggest disappointment.  I wasn’t too bothered by having to pick things off my pizza because I’m relatively used to that.  But I was told that there would be wedges with lunch.  There were no wedges.  If you have been following my posts (or read any of them at all) then you know how much I love wedges and can only imagine my utter disappointment.  

Despite the wedge incident (or lack of wedges incident) the weekend was awesome because I was Princess Jasmine and there were DOLPHINS.


Featherdale is a wildlife park about 2 hours out of the city and it’s awesome.

Brianna and I went there because they have koalas.


Who needs any other reason?

In case you do, they also have penguins, quokkas, wombats, pigs, goats, dingoes, wallabies, and you can feed kangaroos and emus.

After we cuddled a koala, we went to go feed the kangaroos despite being blocked in by a emu.  image

Then we went and saw the penguins feeding, fell in love with a quokkafailed miserably at herding a goat, saw dingoes, were harassed by birds (why does wildlife = birds flying around and free to attack? birds belong in a cage and away from people) and went back to see the koalas again and pose with the kangaroos.


It was a pretty good day.

oh, Boston, you’re my home.

I don’t think there’s anything I can say that hasn’t already been said, but I feel like I need to say something.  But I promise to keep it short, otherwise it will get very emotional and sappy very quickly.  Boston has always been my favorite city and I feel terrible that I’m not there in it’s time of need.  It’s so hard to be away now, but I know that’s hard to be there too.  My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Boston and anyone affected by the bombing.

"Boston is a tough and resilient town.  So are its people.  I’m supremely confident that Bostonians will pull together, take care of each other, and move forward as one proud city." -President Obama

two degrees of seperation

For those who are unfamiliar with the six degrees of separation theory, it’s the theory that anyone in the world can be connected to anyone else in six connections or less. Also popularized as the six degrees of Kevin Bacon.  

An example of degrees of separation: I know my mom so I am one degree away from her, my mom knows Phoebe Bluesky Summersquash (that’s a real person) so I am two degrees from Ms. Summersquash, and I am three degrees from anyone that she knows and so on. 

So, the other day when I met my roommate’s sister I became two degrees to some very important people in my life. 

Hint: one of them has a spoon phobia

Hint: one of them has 4 nipples

Hint: one of them is the Queen of Sass

Hint: one of them loves food

Hint: one of them is the Bradford Bad Boi

Hint: they are all perfect.

Hint: they all have that one thing

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen; I am exactly TWO degrees away from the fabulous British/Irish boyband, the one and only One Direction

"What are you? 12 years old? They aren’t even musicians. Why don’t you listen to some REAL music? Like [insert some "real" group/musician here, God forbid it’s a top40 or pop singer/band, ew I hate pop, it’s so cheesy and meaningless]. One Directions sucks." -Haters

Judge me.

Seriously, how can anyone watch this video and not fangirl til it physically hurts smile?

Why do I care that I am two degrees away from One Direction? I honestly, cannot tell you.  There is no reason or logical explanation, I realize still haven’t met them, but I just like feeling like I’m closer to them. Two degrees is great, but I have to become one degree away from them, obviously.  One way or another, it just has happen.

lol look at One Direction as fetuses.

Easter Weekend


In Australia, most businesses close and you can’t sell liquor on Good Friday.  Since everything was closed and it was the nicest day of the week, we went to Palm Beach!  It was really a nice beach.  But I love almost any place where I can lounge in the sun and read. But one of my least favorite things about Sydney truly hindered my lunch.  We went to a little restaurant by the beach that had fish and burgers and such.  I packed a lunch because I don’t like paying for things.  But this place had wedges…so, obviously Brianna and I were going to split an order of wedges. BUT. We were foiled because the wedges did not come with sweet chili sauce (we all know there’s no point in getting wedges if you don’t have sweet chili sauce) and they were going to charge us $3+ for sauce! I can get 10 McDonald’s ice cream cones and still have change left over at that price. So no wedges for us, but we experienced an Easter miracle that made up for it.  We will get to that later.


I overslept. Everyone was supposed to meet outside at 6:45 to make a 7:18 train to the Blue Mountains.  Of course, this was the one day that my roommate, Mel, didn’t join us because she already went to the Blue Mountains.  So, when Brianna called me 6:50 and I was still in bed I had to hustle.  Naturally, when I go to grab my water bottle out of the fridge the soy sauce fell out, broke and was all over the kitchen floor. Then at the train station Charlie was having technical difficulties with the ticket machine and we had to run to catch our train.  We got there at 7:17.  It was just like The Amazing Race.  

At the Blue Mountains we went on the cableway, skyway and the steepest railway in the world.  The cableway and the skyway were really short and not exactly worth it…except that the skyway had a glass floor which was magic. After we did the “rides,” we went to see the Three Sisters, the main attraction in the Blue Mountains. I was underwhelmed.

But after all that we had lunch in a little town called Leura.  And by lunch, I obviously mean Brianna and I split wedges. After wedges lunch, we went to this cool candy shop that had a billion different candies and a million PEZ dispensers! If you don’t know, I really love PEZ. Like so much.  There were so many magnificent PEZ options that I couldn’t pick one and didn’t want to offend the ones that I didn’t pick (how can I tell Simba, Thor, Captain America, Dory or Yoda that they aren’t good enough?) so I left with none of them. Shocking.


Happy Easter! Cara and I went to mass but I just missed St. Pats (I mean, no one can really compare to our music ministry).  And just when I got back to my room and was missing my usual Easter egg hunt with the littles, Mel gave me chocolate bunny! It was just the little extra piece of Easter celebration that I needed. 

Later, we all went to the Hoopla Festival in Darling Harbour and there were one million people. There were thousands of adorable little Australian children and it was a miracle that I didn’t steal one. 

Speaking of miracles.

I promised you an Easter miracle.  The characters: Briana, Brianna and the greatest waiter in Australia.  The scene: Everyone is at dinner, Brianna and I are splitting an order of wedges (I didn’t really realize how much I ate wedges until I started writing about wedges in every post).  When our wedges arrived, we saw that they only came with one teeny tiny side of sweet chili sauce which we immediately decided would not suffice (seriously, why don’t restaurants properly proportion the wedges to the sauce?).  So, I ever so gracefully yelled “Sir!” to the waiter as he was leaving us behind with our insufficient amount of sweet chili sauce. When he returned, I asked if there was a charge for extra sauce and he asked, “You want more sweet chili sauce?” to which I animatedly replied, “yes.”  Brianna and I giddily awaited our extra side of sweet chili sauce and the prospect of each getting our own sauce for dipping our wedges. Then, my favorite waiter in all of Australia, came back with not one, not two…but THREE more sides of sweet chili sauce.  I could not handle myself or my emotions.  Most people might be happy but not completely and utterly overjoyed.  It may have been the most excited Brianna and I had ever been in Sydney (we held koalas in Cairns).  It was the most magical experience.   If this miracle does not excite you then you clearly do understand a. how great wedges dipped in sweet chili sauce actually are and b. how much I love food.

Side note: the only reason this flawless human is not the best waiter in the world, is because once a waitress gave me an entire free side of mashed potatoes



If I’m this excited about a few sides of sweet chili sauce, imagine how excited I’d be about getting tickets to see Justin Bieber and/or One Direction. Just saying.


movie theaters will never be the same

Govinda’s is a magical movie theater that has wicked comfy beds instead of seats.  

It’s a life-changing experience.

I went last weekend with my floor and we saw Seven Psychopaths (which I thought was really good and funny, but not for people who don’t like to laugh at morbidity and violence everyone).  

But basically, it was totally awesome. 


lol demon eyes.

live love dance

I got to put another big fat check on my bucket list last weekend when I went to see Ellen!

This adventure began a few weeks ago when I met Ellen’s correspondent and my best friend, Jeannie!


Ellen tweeted that her peeps would be nearby, so obviously we went.  Our group started out to be more than just me, Brianna and Jake but we were the only ones who were crazy dedicated enough to wait in line for over 2 hours and not know what waited inside.  Unfortunately we never actually made it inside (where they were interviewing fans) but we got to meet Jeannie and that’s good enough for me.  She is just as bubbly and happy as she seems on TV but even smaller. Jeannie told us that Ellen wasn’t going to be doing a show here, just hanging out and doing all sorts of shenanigans. 

But fast forward a few weeks…

Ellen Degeneres tweeted she’s doing a show in Sydney! I was so excited and I knew I had to go.  Not only does Ellen dance, play awesome games  and pull hilarious pranks…but she is just so darn funny. Not to mention that Hugh Jackman, Liam Hemworth, Chris Hemsworth, Guy Pearce and Rose Byrne are just some examples of awesome Australian guests that she could have on her show. 

Brianna and I had to wake up before sunrise to get there in time to ensure that we got seats for the show. We waited in line for 3 hours before we got to go to our seats and then we were at our seats for about another hour singing and dancing and trying to catch the tennis balls, t-shirts and underwear they were throwing out at the crowd.  Shortly after I beat some girls Hunger Games style caught my Ellen in Australia t-shirt, Ellen finally came out!

She had a competition for Australians to model her underwear and the winner competes against the winner from her show in Melbourne (who remembered how to pronounce it? good on ya, mates), had special Australian guest Russell Crowe try to teach her how to use a whip and played Know or Go Down Under (the water!).

Then there was the time I was accidentally 2 meters 6 feet away from Ellen! I went to the bathroom and on my walk back Ellen was coming down the ramp just as I was going by and she gave me a hug and we exchanged phone numbers waved in my general direction.

It was so much fun and now I’m one of about 1,000 people in the world who can say I’ve been to the Ellen show in Sydney (and even fewer Americans can say that)!  I’m not sure if it was a regular show that will air in America or what the deal is, but keep and eye out for any Australian specials on Ellen!