Since Australia isn't really huge on Halloween like they are in the States, we figured we would go to Oktoberfest which was taking place at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney on the same date. There was a proposed 32,000 people supposed to be attending the event and it would be a huge mock of the Munich, Germany Oktoberfest Festival that takes place every year. It obviously wouldn't be as good as the one in Germany, but it was still so much fun. The night before was one of my roommate's, (Cayla's) 21st birthday so we spent the entire weekend in Sydney. Her 21st birthday was a BLAST and we explored around the night life in Sydney to celebrate. We even popped a bottle of champagne on the Sydney Opera House steps, but that's another story...
So the weather for Oktoberfest wasn't as great as we had hoped, but it wasn't as awful as it could have been. There was an extreme overcast and it rained slightly throughout the day, but we still made the absolute best of it. I think we were having too much fun to even notice the weather, honestly. We were fully decked out in our German costumes (or attempts at them), and had our stein in our hands, filled with beers throughout the day. It was a festive day filled with German sausages, massive pretzels, delicious beer, music and great company.
We met a massive amount of people, some even from Germany, but most were from Australia. I made a lot of new friends, added some of them on Facebook and talked for a while about their travels and experiences. Four months have passed and meeting new people still never gets old. It's incredible to hear people's stories and journeys. It was weird to be here on Halloween and see everyone's costumes from the U.S. being posted on Instagram and Facebook, but Oktoberfest was such a fun time. There were rides, carnival games, tons of food and stages with music to dance to. The "Beer Hall" which is a huge tent providing bars, long tables and a live concert was my favorite location. We danced the whole day away in there and before we knew it, it started to get dark and we left. It definitely was a day to remember, and hopefully one day I'll get to visit the real Oktoberfest in Munich!
It's now November. It's freaking November. Do you know what this means? This means I leave this month. I leave for New Zealand in 12 hours, and tomorrow night I will be on my own, in Auckland, starting my adventure through the North Island of New Zealand. I am so excited. But it is also very bittersweet. When I return from New Zealand, it will be November 14th. Which means I will have 14 more days left in Australia. I am tearing up as I write this because I truly do not want to leave. I have had the time of my life here. These people have become my family, a part of my every day. I can't imagine not spending my weeknights watching pointless YouTube videos and eating Tim-Tams at the kitchen table, or grilling out together on the weekends. I can't imagine what life is going to be like. I am so excited to see my family and my friends, but the thought of leaving here scares me immensely. I don't know how adjusting back is going to be, but all I know is I am going to miss the hell out of this place...
Surfing was something that I thought would be easy. But boy, was I completely wrong. Surfing was probably one of the hardest things I've ever attempted to do, but I'm at least proud that I tried!! Rayna coordinated a day for us where the Newcastle Surf School taught our whole program how to surf. All of the American exchange students in our program participated, and it was at 9am on a Sunday after a night out (which wasn't the best idea), but that's alright, it was all about the experience.
We got to Nobby's Beach and picked out our surfboards, (I got a pink one), and geared up in our cool surf shirts. I was really nervous because first of all, I was scared of the ocean. I don't hate the ocean, but their were several shark sightings two months ago at the beach we were surfing at. Not to mention, the morning time is when the sharks feed and are closest to the shore... so yeah, I was pretty freaked out. The waves were also fairly rough so I tried to catch the smaller ones when they crashed closer to shore.
Luckily, one of the surf instructors was nice enough to take me out on my board and help me catch waves. Catching the waves was the easy part, but the hard part was actually standing up. It was so difficult to keep my balance and to put all of the technical movements together once it was time to push myself up. Unfortunately, I never got up on the board but I'm glad I got the chance to try surfing! Hopefully I can do it again and eventually learn to actually be good at it. Hey, at least I got some cute pictures though :)
This past week, I was lucky enough to receive the opportunity in volunteering at the 2015 Sydney Craft Beer Awards. Jason just got a new job with this company and needed some help with a beer crafting competition, and kindly thought of us as a first choice for help. So five of us girls all went to Sydney for 2 days and the company paid for our accommodation and transportation, which was extremely nice. We really had no idea what to expect or what exactly the role entailed, but all we knew was we were getting a free T-shirt, lots of free craft beer and a great experience.
The competition consisted of Australia's finest craft beer located in the Sydney region that ranged in all different tastes, colors, bottle styles and names. I am no beer expert, but I do love a good beer. The great part of volunteering was that we got to try every single beer that we served. You didn't have to, but there was enough of each beer that we were able to if we wanted. So I may have accidentally been tipsy while volunteering a few times, but no one was mad about it because all of the volunteers were, and were having a great time. Plus I got to learn a lot about craft beer, the art of making it, the different tastes within a beer, and which kind of beer I actually liked a lot. I learned that dark ale is my new favorite.
How the event worked was that it was a 2-day competition, where judges from ALL over the world came to taste and rate these different craft beers. Where I came in was serving the beers to them. It was a little bit anxiety-provoking at first because I was worried of spilling or messing up, but luckily the company had these serving trays that made it super easy to serve 7 beers at a time. There was a certain order that the beers that had to be served in, and I had to number them and then bring out these beers to a table of nine judges. I worked together with a man from England on setting up a system to pour and serve accordingly, this way the judges were never waiting. It was a very fast-paced event, that went all day, from 9-5; so it was a bit exhausting. But it was so worth it!
The company gave us food all day that way we could stay on a roll with serving the beers, and they were super appreciative of the hard work that we did. Apparently the judges loved being served their beer by five young American girls, so we were a huge hit at the event. Jason and his co-workers were so grateful for our work, and that made me even more happy to be helping them out. It was a learning experience within this great experience that I'll always remember. The best part was that at the end of the competition, they let the volunteers take home the rest of the craft beer that hadn't been opened. You just really can't beat that!!
P.S. I LEAVE FOR NEW ZEALAND IN A WEEK FROM TODAY. INSANE!!!!!
Thanks for reading :)
I know I've been slacking with the posts, but things are getting crazy with finals coming up. Wow. I just had to re-read that sentence after I typed it out. How are finals coming up? I feel like I just wrote out my first post in July like two weeks ago. Time has flown by here, it's absolutely mind-blowing. But time really does fly when you're having the time of your life, I guess. Although there is a short month and a half left here in the land down under, these next 7 weeks are going to be phenomenal. That's the great thing about studying abroad. There are always trips to be planned, activities left to do, places left to see... you never have nothing to look forward to. I am so grateful for everything I have done here so far, and am so excited about the things that I have coming up and cannot wait to share with you all. It is already mid October, and that scares the HELL out of me- because I do not know how I am going to transition back to life in the States.. but I don't want to think about that exactly just yet...
October is another eventful month, as every month has been. In the beginning of October, my two friends and I stayed a weekend in Sydney for a music festival called Listen Out. The concert included artists such as Odesza, Alison Wonderland, ILOVEMAKONNEN, Rae Sremmurd, Childish Gambino & more. It was my first time going to any music festival, and it was an interesting experience. I wouldn't go back to that specific concert because of the lineup, but the vibes in Sydney that day were great. We also just bought a ticket to a HUGE music festival with an expected 63,000 people to attend in Sydney, called Stereosonic for the end of November. Anddddd it's on the day before our flight leaves to go back to the States. But it should still be a blast!
Along with Listen Out, we also visited the famous Bondi Beach in Sydney where many tourists and locals visit every year, especially during the summer. We visited on a beautiful Friday morning and were greeted by 85 degree weather and a clear sky. Megan and I roamed around Bondi Beach, got lunch, got the most amazing dessert I've ever had, (injecting a syringe of Nutella into an already chocolate-stuffed croissant doughnut topped with Oreo crumbs & Nutella) and then walked the shops with happy bellies. At Bondi Beach, there is a famous tattoo parlor called Bondi Ink, where they host a popular TV show similar to the ones in the States, such as LA Ink. We went and met the people that worked there and thought about getting tattoos, but for the sake of still living in our houses when we return to the States, we decided not to. I also collected some sand here for my sand collection, (which is such a good idea for those of you are planning on studying abroad)... so I bought 6 little mason jars for $1 each at the South Melbourne Market and decided to collect sand from cool beaches during the rest of my stay here, label them with metallic sharpies and keep them as memories. I already have sand from Melbourne, Bondi Beach & Newcastle Beach. I plan on getting my last three in New Zealand and then the Gold Coast next month!
The day we were at Bondi Beach, Tash Oakley was too. She is a famous fitness and fashion advocate and an Australian model who travels the globe in style. She posted a picture a few hours later of the exact location I was at earlier that day and I was freaking out that we could have walked past her or been within feet of her. Anyways, Bondi Beach was so beautiful and is definitely somewhere I will be returning to someday. It was another unforgettable weekend in Sydney, with at least 4 more left to come.
7 DAYS until volunteering at the Beer Crafting competition as a Server Girl in Sydney
17 DAYS until Oktoberfest in Sydney
20 DAYS until NEW ZEALAND!!!!!
40 DAYS until I visit the rest of my family on the Gold Coast
45 DAYS until Stereosonic Music Festival
OH YEAH, I booked a solo trip to New Zealand which I am SOOOOO excited about. My itinerary is awesome, adventure-packed and filled with SO many activities such as skydiving, glow worm cave tubing, black water rafting, black sand beaches, natural springs, mountain trekking, visiting the set of the Lord of the Rings & many, many more. I absolutely cannot wait and can't believe it is in 20 days. My time here is unwinding way too fast, so I promise I will be posting as much as I can through these next seven weeks!!! Thanks for reading <3