Australia in T minus 7 Days

Hi everybody! My name is Kelsey Thomas and I am a senior zoology major with a photography minor and I am studying abroad at James Cook University in Townsville, QLD, Australia this upcoming fall 2014 semester. It has already been a stressful process of filling out an endless supply of paperwork however this last week is going to be crazy! There are still so many things I need to do, such as going to doctors and dentists appointments, verifying my visa (which was not completed correctly the first time), verifying my flight, printing out all necessary papers, visiting family and friends, oh, and packing too. I am just praying that I remember to do everything. Determining what is necessary to bring with me will probably be the toughest part of this whole process! What to pack and what not to pack will be difficult but starting a week early will hopefully give me enough time to look through everything a few times over.

I have to say, I am very nervous about the trip. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely excited as well, but I will be sad about leaving everything behind for the next four months. Learning a new culture and finding my way to classes is going to be stressful at first but I know it will all be worth it in the end. It does make it a little easier with Australia speaking English (kudos to those studying abroad in countries that don’t). I really can’t wait for all of the new memories and friends that will be made in this country. The school looks absolutely beautiful and the town itself looks nice as well, not to mention that it’s located right on the Great Barrier Reef.

Heads up to all of the Biology and Zoology students out there; I picked this school because the man I talked to in the international office said that Australia was the best option for our major. It is so different from what we have here and they do focus a lot on science majors. If you’re looking to study abroad, check out JCU’s website!

http://www.jcu.edu.au/

James Cook University

Townsville, QLD www.nextstepaustralia.com

Departure is in one week and now I am just counting down the days. I will be sure to keep you all updated on this wonderful adventure!

-Kelsey

Thanksgiving and broken car.

ok I’ve got a good thanksgiving story for you all :-p

Welll… let me just start by saying that my car is a 1986 Saab. That should explain a lot.

Anyways, towards the last few days that I was in Oswego, my car started getting louder and louder when one day, i turned the key, and this roar came from the engine that was completely new to me. I was running late for class, so i was like, “oh well, I sound like a race car for today.. no big deal”. I’m used to things happening to my car, and a loud engine did not seem very out of the ordinary, since my car is old enough to legally drink in any country.

Later that day, I called my dad and he said there was something wrong with the exhaust system most likely, probably the catalytic converter. he said, “just make it home to Buffalo, and ill fix it when you get here”.

When I got home and my dad had a chance to look at my car, he informed me that the entire catalytic converter was now missing from my car’s ensemble. Of course I had no idea when or where I lost it, which probably angered whoever was driving behind me at that point.. :-/ He told me that he would have to order a new one, and that wouldn’t come until around christmas time. So he decided he would just attach the two pipes underneath my car so that it wouldn’t be loud anymore, and I could go back to school and deal with it until christmas… sounded like a plan to me.

After a very filling and refreshing thanksgiving break, I began the journey back to Oswego. Everything was going great and I was on the Ontario parkway around Brockport. Low and behold my ever-so-exciting car decided to yell at me again, fist softly whining, and eventually crescendoed into the roar much like the one before. Except this time, when I took my foot off the gas I heard clunking and clanking underneath my car, which I concluded to be the pipes dragging on the pavement. To say the least, i was extremely frustrated and upset; mostly at my father, who claims the name “mister fix-it” and thinks he can repair anything. Lucky for me, I have an aunt in Rochester with an extra car who was gracious enough to let me switch it with the race car. At the moment, my poor little Saab is sitting in my aunts driveway, awaiting repair and my return for christmas break.

Of course also at this time it was beginning to snow/slush, and I was trying to make it back for practice at school at 5:00. to make a long story…still too long, i got stuck behind a bunch of grandmas and got to practice 30 minutes late.

So, whats the moral of this story? I’m not really sure except that you should probably give yourself lots of time to get back to Oswego in the winter time, and you probably shouldn’t own a 1986 Saab. Although I love my little race car, it throws a lot of curve balls at me, and every trip is an adventure. other than that, I had a great Thanksgiving! My exchange student from high school from Germany goes to school in the US now, so she flew in for a visit which was really nice, and naturally we both ate way more food than our swim coaches would like to know. :-p

Hope everyones Thanksgiving was as exciting as mine, I’ll get back to you soon!

<3 Leah