This is a little bit like going to your favourite cosy cafe somewhere to have a nice warm beverage on a cold, rainy day and just enjoying the company and the atmosphere. Except I’m in Melbourne and you’re sat staring at a screen somewhere. So really it’s nothing like that at all… But the premise is the same. When you go to a cafe it often isn’t THAT long since you’ve seen the person but just long enough to tell them about this one thing that happened to that bloke who knows a bloke two Saturdays ago at a shop you went to once. This update is exactly like that, but with more blokes.
It’s been around two weeks since I last posted after my parents and brother left to go back home. I found myself adapting pretty quickly back to the life of an exchange student here at Deakin but with some big changes to how I left it. I returned to find some odd, unfamiliar female things occupying half of the rooms in the flat who turn out to be not so much unfamiliar and more like people than things but still fairly odd I suppose (love you all). My flat now is great, everyone is really social and it feels pretty comfortable and there’s just generally a good atmosphere around the place. I could get used to living around people like this, so that’s always good. Between settling down with my new flatmates and getting to know them there has been the small matter of attending classes.
The first week if I’m completely honest felt like a waste of getting up earlier than strictly necessary in order to learn how to use a website I managed to work out on my own last trimester and to understand what the term ‘population’ means. This is not an exaggeration. So that was basically my first week of class, working out how to get around places I already knew. It was like a passer by had walked into your house and wanted to give you a tour. I understand why this was necessary, I’m not disputing that as I study two first year units. I’m disputing the decision I made to go. So far from classes I have a stand out favourite. The unit name is People’s of the World and it’s under the subject umbrella of anthropology. As someone who studies history with archaeology at university, perhaps this does not come as such a surprise. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, anthropology is the study of humans. Everything to do with humans. It isn’t the study of individuals (so it isn’t going to help you work out why so and so does such and such) it is rather the study of societies and civilisations. Every aspect of them. I’ve just survived week two and so far I think the most interesting, most intense thing we’ve looked at is the notion that humans don’t exist. There is scientific evidence to support the idea that rather than humans existing as we think they do and as everyone has just sort of bumbled along in life assuming that something like that is fixed and certain; the idea of humans existing is wrong. Completely false. We live in an environment, but are we ourselves environments occupying environments? An environment is something made up of many many different microbes occupied by different species. Somebody, somewhere was bored enough to count (I’m pretty sure a scientist sat with a microscope, his mate Darren, some beers and an abacus) and over 10’000 species occupy a ‘human’, and we are certainly made up of so many different microbes…. So what in the world are we? Then there was another small question of does reality exist? Did reality exist before these weird environments we refer to as ‘humans’ came along and played around with everything? Obviously the world was there, that hasn’t changed. But with no concept of ‘reality’ before humans, how could it have existed? After pondering this and many other questions, like yours at this moment, my head began going in circles. I’m not a scientific person (if you’re reading this and you’re mildly more scientifically inclined than I, this is probably blindingly obvious) but regardless of the accuracy of my summaries of these questions, I found it to be incredible interesting. So that’s my favourite class. The others are okay but thus far none have peaked my interest anywhere near as much as anthropology, which was perhaps to be expected. Fortunate really, as I only changed to the anthropology unit from another unit about the history of the Middle East a few weeks ago due to a class.
That’s the academic side of life taken care of for a couple of weeks. The first week was spent around the flat, I didn’t really have anyone to get out and do things with but I’ve taken steps to try to correct that. When my parents were here I missed O’ week, which is the Australian equivalent to freshers week, so although I did miss out on making friends then, I would not have had it any other way. There are always opportunities to make friends. I’ve joined the Deakin University Study Abroad Club (DUSAC) and on the facebook page I can see posts from other exchange and international students most days where they’re asking if anyone would like to go and join them in doing something that they’re doing, so I’m looking to join in fairly soon. I also recently emailed the Deakin futsal club (futsal is like football/soccer but played on a smaller court, with smaller goals, with smaller teams, where the ball is allowed to be bounced off the walls – so basically indoor football, or outdoor with a walled court) with regards to joining them soon. I’ve played futsal on the outdoor court opposite the residence building here a lot in the past couple of weeks, meeting people from Australia, America, Japan and also Middle Eastern countries such as Kuwait (and may I add commanding their respect instantly with some outstanding goals if I do say so myself) and it’s really inspired me to get involved with Deakin’s futsal club.
I know I know, it’s about time there was a picture. Last weekend I went to Moomba Festival right in the heart of Melbourne with my flatmates Stan and Kenny, who from this moment forth shall be known as THE BOYS. All in capitals. Not because they’re important, but because capitals are the only way I can get vaguely close to how loud and irritating they actually are in reality. THE BOYS are great, it’s one of those relationships (this is the part with more blokes than that one bloke that I vaguely referred to in the introduction). Moomba Festival is an annual celebration of Labour Day. I had no idea what Labour Day was but from a quick Google search just now I can tell you with confidence that Labour Day originates from the eight hour day movement, which advocates eight hours work, eight hours recreation and eight hours rest. Interestingly (or perhaps not) it’s held on different days for different states – something I did actually know. What better way to celebrate this than to hold an international water skiing competition on a river straight through the middle of what was basically an oversized funfair, with rides, prizes and everyone’s favourite terribly unhealthy foods? In the picture above behind the speed boat you can just make out a water skier, to the right of where the wake begins to fade you can just make out a thing in the water – that’s a ramp. The skiers would move from one side of the river to the other behind the boat at speed and then fly up the ramp and the height of their jump was recorded. THE BOYS and I happened to walk alongside that ramp on the river bank just as a British water skier hit it and set the record for the day. Other events were also held on the river, such as birdman rally. A competition split into two categories – competitive and fun. Competitive birdman consisted of people trying out home made contraptions and seeing how far they could fly in the air after jumping off a ramp. The fun category was aimed at the best looking, funniest entry and, well…. Here’s a video. It’s best to see for yourselves really.
I didn’t see that part. There were also parades at various times around the city. I didn’t see those either. But it was good to get out of the flat with some good company in THE BOYS and we had a good time out, which is all we wanted to do.
There is one final thing really that I’ve done which was exciting for me.
I went to AAMI Park to witness my first Asian Champions League match between “Not Bolton Wanderers” (Melbourne Victory) and “That team from South Korea I played a season with on FIFA once” (Suwon Bluewings) with the anticipation filling the air and a bumper crowd screaming with passion for such a game of high importance (7,000 people turned up to a stadium with a capacity of 30,000) we took our (someone else’s with a better view) seats and stared for an hour and a half at some solid South Korean defence work mixed with an incapable Melbourne Victory attacking line which of course resulted in a thrilling 0-0 draw. From the five matches I have seen Melbourne Victory play, I have still not seen a goal from open play. On the one hand I want to get a Melbourne Victory shirt. On the other hand, I don’t want to spend $100 on a shirt of a team I haven’t yet seen score a goal that isn’t a free kick or a penalty. Unless it’s Bolton but that is very different. I promise.
Tomorrow night I’m returning to AAMI Park to watch Melbourne Victory Vs Newcastle Jets, but I’m not returning with THE BOYS. By the time I have released this post into the wilderness of the internet, I will either be at the airport waiting for my girlfriend, Mags, to arrive or I will be on my way back home with her. It’s now been over five months since we last saw each other so of course tomorrow night I’m taking her to a football match. What more could a girl want to conclude her first full day in a city she’s heard so much about but seen very little of for herself? Mags is here for a couple of weeks before she heads back and my next update probably won’t feature so much of the academic side of life. If you’re the type that despises all couples everywhere, you might want to avoid the next update. I’m going to assume that there could be one or two pictures depicting two people being happy, some pictures of rocks and water and even some architecture. With two people being happy in front of it. All of it. It’s going to be horrible and I can’t wait!
I wasn’t going to write so much in this update but I suppose that’s what happens when you get knee deep in existential anthropological issues.
Thanks for reading, I look forward to providing the next instalment and I PROMISE there will be more pictures!
P.S If there are any errors in this, please accept my sincerest apologies as quite frankly I really could not be bothered proof reading today.