Hello there dearest Clarkson friends,
Let me apologize right now: I'm an engineer, not a writer. I originally started a blogging at thelucasjamesblog.tumblr.com with the expectation of my mom and maybe my sister reading it. Therefore, if you're not my mom or sister, God bless you, but I'm not making any guarantees that you're going to find my content educational or entertaining. That being said, I will do my best to leave potentially useful tips somewhere in my ramblings, so help yourself to them. The best way to do this is for you to ask questions! If you're interested in spending a semester out this way or traveling in general, I'd love to weigh in on something that has direct audience interest so ask away! (I have an "Ask Me Anything" link on my Tumblr or you can comment on my posts here)
It’s been a cold and rainy Saturday, and sort of the first relaxing day after a busy week that started halfway around the world. Then again, the very fact that I’m sitting here writing indicates the kind of day it’s been.
For my first time flying on my own, things went quite smoothly. I would say that if there are more than 3 people aboard the plane that you find yourself on, then there is someone who knows the answer to most of your how-to flying questions. You just have to ask. The only real hiccup of the journey was the fact that my luggage was delayed in LA, resulting in a less preferable start to the week. Always pack a change of clothes with your carry on. Assuming you’re not the next survivor man, or just too cool to be smart (that’s me), be safe and pack it. I would also say, in hindsight, that the 25 bucks that Quantas charges to choose your seat would have been a rewarding investment, as the 16 hr flight from LA to Melbourne can be detrimental to your sanity if it’s spent jammed between two full grown men. Oh yeah, that’s the other thing: airlines should definitely start seating their passengers amidst like-aged groups. I’m just saying, that old crazy guy sitting two rows ahead next to that cute girl would have enjoyed my seat much more… What a waste. Anyways, the last I’ll say about flying is that if you ever do find yourself jammed between two dudes on an international flight, the toilet in the back is rather comfortable.
So far, Melbourne has been great! #1 golden piece of advice if you plan on coming here: be rich. I’m talking rolling in dough, dove chocolate rich. Everything here is so expensive! Beginning with the visa fees and airplane ticket to now the price of rent and food… I guess coming from a small city like Rochester it is eye opening. The cheapest meal I’ve found here is the cheeseburger meal at Hungry Jacks (the Aussie version of Burger King). It’s $5.50 with the student discount - what a bargain! Anywhere other than fast food, good luck eating under $12. Even for breakfast, I see advertisements “Long Black (American Coffee) and Toasted Sandwich - $8.80" I’ll have to show you a picture. Needless to say, ALDI’s is my new best friend over here. So far, I’ve learned to cook burgers and pasta, while brushing up on my PB&J and Ramen skills. It is slightly an overstatement, but folks here call me Chef Ramsey.
The city truly is beautiful and I’ve only explored a few miles - sorry, kilometers - out. The other exchange students are so friendly and ready to meet and make new friends. Their accents and cultures are so much cooler than mine…
And ultimately, I guess I am here to study. I’ve met a few of my professors already and am pumped to start these courses.
We’ll see how things go. I’ll let you know soon.
Here are some pictures that I took during a trek around the city on Thursday.
The train tracks leading away from Flinders Station with the AFL stadium beyond.
ACMI - Australian Centre for the Moving Image
The Yarra River
The State Library of Victoria
Some random parking garage
Me and some fellow exchange students during orientation