I have been attending my international student orientation all week and have learned some fun facts about Australia so far, Melbourne is the 8th most expensive city to live in the entire world, it also has a minimum wage of 24 dollars…graffiti is used as artwork here. It is not used as a way of breaking the law but instead businesses actually hire graffiti artists to decorate their buildings and spice up the city. I have also learned that everything closes at 5:30pm no matter the day. This caught me by surprise when I took a 30 minute bus ride to the grocery store just to find out that the store closes early. Apparently the buses finish running shortly after, because the bus I was on only took me a few stops down the road before I was kicked off in what appeared to be Melbourne’s Chinatown. I then walked to the tram station to find it closed as well, so I proceeded to find a pay phone and hail a taxi home since I still have not yet gotten an Australian phone. Needless to say, I will not be making that mistake again. I never realized how much I take the 24 hour service in the US for granted, it is so nice to be able to go to a Safeway at 12 at night to buy cookie dough and ice cream for those late movie nights… On a different note, I have had a great time meeting the other foreign exchange students! So far I have friends from Sweden, Amsterdam, Germany, Barcelona, Finland, Poland, Canada, Oklahoma, New York, Connecticut, Scotland, Minnesota, Ireland and more. It has been eye opening in a great way!I am still getting use to the sun seeming to rise and set on the wrong side of the ocean, but the Monkey Birds, which nest outside my open dorm window, have managed to correct my jet lag and put me on track with the Australian time zone. These birds get their name from the extremely loud screeching noises they make which sounds impeccably like monkey screams. It was terrifying to wake up to the first couple of mornings but now I have grown rather fond of them, they are my new alarm clock! Unfortunately, there is no snooze button…

The Great Ocean Road trip was spectacular!  We managed to fit so much into those few days that the trip ended up feeling like a month rather than just a few days. We drove down the beautiful coast of Melbourne and stopped at all the beach look outs along the way. We then arrived in the city of Lorne (where they filmed the movie Point Break) and took a 3 hour surf lesson. By this time it had began to pour rain and lightening and thunder, we proceeded anyways and it was SO much fun. However a lot of the enthusiasm was lost when the surf instructors told us that “just yesterday morning we had a couple of great whites off the coastal beach” right where we are surfing. Luckily no Jaws scene’s were reenacted and we all made it back safely to shore. We then drove to the famous 12 Apostles (funny name since there are only 9 of them) and took pictures. Then off to the famous London Bridge and the hidden cove. All were amazing! I took hundreds of pictures but none do the views any justice of course.