Aussie Slang Lesson Week 8: Singlet = Tank top

Midterms week has arrived, and I am feeling the stress. As the hours in front of my laptop increase, I have been making sure that I enjoy some outings as well to keep my mental health up. Sadly, the weather has been rainy, cloudy, and generally miserable, so surfing was out of the question; however, that gave me time to try some new things with my friends.

Monday and Tuesday were filled with studying and prepping an essay to turn in, so I was not doing anything those days other than school work. My roommates and I did watch a few movies, though. That is one of my favourite parts of the day, sitting together on the couch and trying new films.

On Wednesday, we took a 25ish minute bus ride to Burleigh Heads to try a cafe and do some op shopping (thrifting, if you remember my week 2 lesson). The Tarte Cafe and Bakery was a treat, and we enjoyed lattes, iced chai, Nutella french toast, and decadent homemade bakery goods to take home.

The Aussies make a fabulous chai, but I give myself away for being American when I ask for it over ice.

Thursday I had class and came home after to work more on my projects. After a few hours, Emily and I went to the grocery store to get supplies for family dinner. I decided to make tacos for everyone. We all miss Mexican food terribly, and it is very scarce here. Thankfully for everyone, Will helped me cook the meat (I am steadily improving in my cooking, but I am still a novice!), and when we finished, we all enjoyed hard shell tacos. The night didn’t end there as we went out dancing afterwards.

The weather began to worsen on Friday. Australia is in the third year of La Niña, an extra rainy season. Therefore, instead of our typical beach day and surf session, we all stayed in. My roommates and I sat around our living area and studied. By evening, I needed to get out, so Lara and I went to the beach. It was steadily drizzling, but we walked along the shore, collecting shells and enjoying the fresh air. The urge to swim was strong, but the foreboding clouds over the cityscape made me decide otherwise.

The incoming storm darkening the skies
This little seagull enjoyed playing “chicken” with the waves: running up to the water then flying away when it touched him.

On Friday night, I dressed up and went to the casino with some friends; however, no one could end up gambling because the ATMs would not take American cards to produce Australian cash. It was fun to walk around, though. I particularly enjoyed looking out the windows, where you could see the stormy ocean just a few blocks away.

Saturday morning came bright and early at 6am (no, I didn’t get out of bed until 6:30). Our friend Jarrod, took my roommates to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. At 8am and 4pm daily, you can feed the Lorikeets for free, so we started our day doing that. I have had a small fear of birds, but I appreciate them from a distance or in small amounts. This activity was like nothing I have ever experienced before. You are handed plates with a milky substance in them, and a swarm of (what appeared to be) at least 200 birds came flying into the pavilion. They land on your shoulders, arms, the plate, and even your head. The noise was shrill and incredibly loud for such small creatures. The colourful creatures would squawk at one another and fight over the food. It was fun, hilarious, and terrifying all at the same time.

Emily with all her Lorikeets
A swarm of Lorikeets taking off: you can see the wind they created from Emily’s hair!

Inside the sanctuary, there are 800 animals living inside the zoological garden. We listened to keeper talks about Tasmanian Devils, koala mothers, and dingoes. We saw the Free Flightless Bird Show as well. While one of the parrots was attempting to do his flight pattern, a myna bird began to chase him through the sky. For about 5 minutes, he chased him until finally, he lost interest. The poor parrot flew straight to the keeper and perched in his arms the rest of the show.

Throughout the morning, I learned some new facts about the animals there that I thought were interesting to share.

  1. Koalas and wombats birth young undeveloped.
  2. The joeys crawl out of the birth canal and into the pouch where they remain until they are developed enough to come out.
  3. For koalas, they are only pregnant for about 35 days, but the joey will stay in the pouch for about 5 months.
  4. The word ‘koala’ means ‘no drink’. Koalas absorb most of their water from the gum leaves they eat. They rarely need to drink water.
  5. An echidna (similar looking to a hedge hog) tongue is 15-18cm long.
  6. “Dirun” is the local aborginal name for snake.
  7. The southern hairy-nosed wombat is actually capable of speeds up to almost 25mi per hour over short distances.
This is Big Rudy. He was a sweetheart. He loves to nuzzle, sniff you, get pats, and eat all the roo food in your hand.
This is the fastest I have ever seen a koala move.

For dinner that evening, we went to Miami Marketta. This is a warehouse looking building with lots of individual food vendors. Our group enjoyed burgers, salads, pulled pork, crepes and more. This will be a location I will return to, because I want to try as much food here as I can, and this is a great way to do that!

I hope that everyone has had a great week and is enjoying Autumn (if you have one). I am quite sad that I am completely missing the leaves changing and football. I do plan on watching the MSU vs. U of M game at 9am (my time) next week, though! Something exciting news as well – I’ve had multiple people tell me that some of my words are sounding Australian! My ten year old self would be losing her mind as I’d always wanted an Australian accent. We shall see how I sound when I return. 🙂

Many blessings,

Maddy B

Published by Maddy Baughman

Class of 2024 English and Language Arts Elementary Education Major TEAN Gold Coast, Australia

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