Sunday, 30 June 2013

Roller Derby: BSK vs SAS

I have been intrigued by roller derby since watching Whip It! and also a Cold Case episode which featured a victim who was a participant. A mutual friend had commented that he was attending the first bout of the season, however, for that event I was at work and couldn't make it. This time, I bought my ticket and left work early for the bout.

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It has been bucketing rain in the past week and whilst it is nice to an extent, it is also a little annoying having to deal with puddles and splashes from cars/buses.

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Overall it was a lot of fun. Intense but fun to watch it in action. The only thing that I was surprised about when the BSK did their victory lap was that all the girls were a lot older than I imagined.

And a follow up to my previous post. I know what I want and what I want is to let it go. To let them go. Tonight was a good night in a sense because it showed me that there is a life after. It was also so frustrating to hear that the mutual friend was treated poorly by the devil incarnate; it just reinforced my negative feelings against that individual. But the night was also awkward. Why? Well, we went to dinner and it felt weird as though it was date (which it wasn't). I am also never eating at Dixon Street again. By the time we got back to the city, it was already 10pm and I honestly wanted to go home. But he was hungry and we stopped off at Dixon Street for Chinese food (I honestly would have been content with Maccas). Not entirely pleased that I had to pay $19 (!!) for a tiny portion of Singapore noodles. Yeesh.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Roommates

26th August 2012
As I flew from Chicago and into Georgia my first thought was: it's so green. The green that I am used to in Sydney/ Australia (though possibly not  Tasmania) is a green that is somewhat muted and more yellow. The green in Georgia was more of a true green. As I flew over cul-de-sac streets, it just seemed so American. And it reminded me of the houses in the Monopoly game; each house was identical to the other, evenly spaced out and then surrounded by green.

Atlanta is the state capital and the most populous city in Georgia and yet compared to LA and Chicago, it seemed so dead. The Hartsfield–Jackson airport is the world's busiest airport and I believe that it is because so many flights fly out from Atlanta (I will comment more on Atlanta itself at a later stage), which in hindsight was great for travelling.

I was picked up by the exchange coordinator, Valerie Molyneaux, who is the loveliest, kindest and funniest person I have met. She commented that I would win the award for the exchange student to have brought the least amount of luggage (my hiking bag and my daypack) which I later realised was true. Everyone seemed to have brought everything but the kitchen sink; I am talking at least 35kg in total. 

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All the exchange students weren't living on campus which I was a little bummed about originally, but it was for the best. The school had organised off campus housing in a gated community. In hindsight it was a great idea. I only paid $1900 for accommodation + utilities + internet from August to December whereas I would have needed to pay at least $3600 + $2500 for a meal plan (a meal plan where you eat junk food all day every day!) and wouldn't have had access to a kitchen or laundry facilities easily. The apartment I was staying in was a 2 bedroom apartment with 2 bathrooms, 1 kitchen, 1 living room, 1 dining room and a balcony, shared between 4 girls in total. I shared a bedroom with a girl from Czech Republic. The other two girls were from: Spain and Italy.

When I was still in Sydney, I was so excited about the idea of having roommates and the like. In the end, I barely spent anytime with them and I didn't know them at all. I guess it didn't really help that I moved out (effectively) into Sunbear's apartment. His roommates became my roommates. It was a very sweet moment when his Swiss roommate was introducing us to his girlfriend and he introduced me and said, "she's also my roommate. Sort of".

Living with other people was an interesting experience. That being said, maybe it is because we are girls but the system of chores was better than the guys apartment. I normally ended up vacumming (mainly because I couldn't stand my roommate's hair near the mirror as she brushed her hair there). Though little things bothered me. I guess I am very conscious of the amount of water I use. Perhaps it's because of the drought and the water shortages previously or maybe just my family, but it irritated me immensely when someone would turn on a tap to full, walk away to get something/ do something and then return to the sink. This wasn't annoying but more amusing, but I also thought that my roommate used enough water to irrigate a small community. Every morning, she would take a bath and after her bath she would shower. Though in the end, I ended up moving out so it wasn't of my concern anymore.

On the topic of my roommate (who was lovely! Make no mistake) I loved how she 'forced' me to make my bed every day. I never make my bed, but she made her bed and ergo I had to (I didn't want to seem as though I was a total slob). Our bed attire was world's apart; I wore an oversized tee and shorts/ sweatpants whilst she wore a sheer-ish black baby doll top and black underwear. There was a sweet moment where we had washed our sheets and I wasn't home all day and when I finally came back at 11pm she had made my bed for me.
Thursday, 27 June 2013

Manly Cemetary & Balmoral Beach

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For the past 3 months (basically the university semester) I have been sedementary and glued onto a chair at home, on the bus or at university. Hence I decided to go on a walk. A long walk. A 11km walk. Though to be fair, there will never be a walk that will be longer than the one in Rome which turned into a 20km walk. Whoops. (I got lost. Majorly).

When I was overseas, the way that I planned my day was by attractions and to get from A to B usually involved walking down roads that seemed vaguely in the right direction. I couldn't really do that with this walk since I do live in the area and although I have never walked those roads before, I am aware of the major roads. Nonetheless, I wanted to visit two places: Manly cemetary and Balmoral beach.

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Until New Orleans, I had never visited a cemetary. My mother was very superstitious and I can't recall the exact reason, but it was so extreme that it was 'wrong' to even look at them from across the street. That being said, cemetaries are freaky. The idea of walking near coffins is a little unsettling. I always hope that the coffins are buried within the parameters of the markers and I make sure to stay on the paths at all time. Not the eeriest cemetary I have visisted (Lafeyette would take the cake) but I do think it is odd that a public school was built across from it.

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1110 - Bats

I saw bats. Bats freak me out. Is it because they hang upside down and that is unnatural? Or maybe it's the screeches? I am not entirely sure. All I know is that I saw bats on one tree and then I proceeded to scan the area and saw another 4 trees filled with bats and it creeped me out; there must have been at least 100 altogther.

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I also stumbled across a flock of rainbow lorikeets. I was so close to this one, but then it slowly started to edge away from me in a very adorable manner.

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Balmoral beach is not my nearest beach and the first time I visited was around this time last year. I had visited the beach  at night after a date. In hindsight it was a perfect first date (cosy Italian restaurant and ending the night with a walk down the beach and star gazing) but with a terrible person. Ah well.

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This burger looked good. Until I took a bite. The biggest waste of $10. The chicken was 2mm thick and not only that, it was inedible. I feel that the chicken was either a) left on the counter and dried out or b) it was in the fridge for too long/ stored inappropriately and dried out because the chicken was stringy, leathery and un-chewable. Oh, sure there was maybe 1% of the entire piece of chicken that was edible. Very unhappy.

Also, on my hike up one of the steepest streets I have encountered, some hooligans (I am estimating 18 year olds) threw something at me. Well, I believe with the intention of hitting me but they missed. Not entirely sure what it was, a water balloon or something that had liquid. Calling me a f*cker is not lovely but I do believe in karma. Or as Veronica Mars put it, "I'm gonna run him over with my "karma."" But not really.

My legs are now extremely tired.
Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Hokkaido

Dogs

Rain

Today was the last exam for semester 1. I had already expected that the federal constitutional law exam would be terrible and it was. The lecturer likes what he likes and is incredibly specific. Oh well, peanut butter.

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Torikatsu Ramen

I had dinner with the guy I had met on exchange. Truth be told, I will probably not be meeting up with this 'friend' anytime soon. The entire night, I must have spoken around 100 words, with 20 words being spoken to the waitress who took my order. It amazes me how oblivious some individuals are and the extent of  their self-centredness. I learnt far too many intimate details, details that I didn't need to know. On many occasions, I was convinced that my left eyebrow was about to fall off my face; when I am skeptical or incredulous, I raise my left eyebrow. Eye colouring changing due to the individual's mood? Really? Telling me that you are in love with a guy that you met on Thursday, a mere 5 days ago?
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Friday, 21 June 2013

Chicago Day 2

25th August 2012

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Apart from the fact that it isn't centred, I love this shot. Though the OCD in me is frustrated that the swans weren't evenly spaced out.

I had plans on waking up early to watch the sunrise from Lake Michigan. However my plans of sleeping went out the window and stayed up all night; the first all-nighter in my entire existence. Though, it was truly beautiful watching the sun rise from Lake Michigan, the sky changing from pinks to violets and to orange and yellow.

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Finger prints galore!
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I also found the Bean/ Cloud Gate which was mainly the only thing that I had wanted to see in Chicago. It was amazing and so much larger than I imagined. As it was 6am in the morning, there was no one around and I took many photos of the bean,  reflecting the skyline of Chicago. In hindsight, it was rare to be able to take a photo without any tourists milling around.

The streets were quiet as I headed back to the hostel for the complimentary breakfast. After breakfast, I headed out and just wandered. I headed down the Magnificent Mile until I was so tired and stopped at Maccas for a large coffee and a breakfast burrito. Officially the most disgusting thing I have ever tried. I headed back down to the park and tried to nap for an hour before meeting my Chicago Greeter.

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I am not entirely sure how I discovered the program but I am very glad that I did. The idea is that a local Chicago-an would hold a free tour for a few individuals/ small group. I was lucky and I was the only person in the group so it turned into a private tour. The woman was very lovely and she took me around the highlights; Millennium Park, Art Institute of Chicago, into Macy's to sign me up for a free discount as I was a visitor and I also got to try Frango Mints for free. There were many more places that she also showed me (and I never got around to jotting it down and I have completely forgotten now. D'oh). Oh, she also showed me the place the Barack Obama and Michelle Obama used to work at (Sidley Austin). It was also the first time that someone (Macy employee) asked me this question: what is your heritage? Which is actually a brilliant way of asking someone their background without sounding like an utter idiot (should probably educate the Belgium/ Indian on this). I didn't take any photos because I was worried I would slow her down and I would look like a total retard. It was mainly because I was the only person so she was always looking at me and I didn't want to great a hassle. At the end of our 5 hour tour, she brought me down to Greek town (which was very interesting) and there we parted.

In addition to teaching me about Chicago, she also taught me a trick for conversions from F to C. Subtract 30 and divide by 2 (not exact and does not work for numbers lower than 32 {below freezing}).
Chicago Hot Dog

I didn't try the deep dish pizza because the idea was a little nauseating. However, I couldn't leave the city without trying at least one of their famous food items: Chicago Style Hot Dog.

My Overall Thoughts
I loved Chicago downtown and 1.5 days was definitely not enough time. Chicago was so vibrant and diverse and I wanted to visit outside of downtown and the Loop. This page explains it all; there is just so much to see.

Would I re-visit?
Yes! Without a doubt.