This week was nothing less than a dream. It went by so fast, yet I have moments I will hold on to forever. Let me begin by telling you about one of the campus activities at UNSW. On Thursday night, we had a large campus get together where everyone was inclined to wear a toga outfit and meet at The Roundhouse. This was a very deliberately planned event where every student was told about it and there was an admission to get in. However, there wasn’t necessarily anything for the students to be celebrating, the entire idea behind it was for students to let loose and meet other students. As we were walking in, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Large decorative tapestries were hanging from the ceiling above hundreds of students and a DJ. I have never seen so many people my age with so many different backgrounds enjoying the same thing under one roof. It was a beautiful sight to see.
The following night, my friends and I decided to go to this renowned comedy show in Kings Cross. Before the show began, we went to this small restaurant called Caffe Roma which had delicious yet exotic Italian dishes. We were wearing long dresses and high heels which seemed very sophisticated. It was a different feeling, but an enjoyable one at that.
At the comedy show called Happy Endings, we were asked to wait in a waiting room until we were walked down to the basement and told where we were to sit. It was all very proper, but of course, they had us Americans sit in the front row. You can probably guess some of the jokes that were made about us. Overall, I laughed for two hours straight as several different comedians were brought to the stage making jokes and telling elaborate stories of struggle and triumph.
Listen Out Festival
On Saturday, three of my friends and I went to the Listen Out festival in Sydney. There were three different stages playing numerous different styles of music with a large selection of artists. I have always had a great love and fascination for festivals. From dressing up, to fighting your way to the front to see your favorite artist, everything about it is exhilarating. I have never been to a festival outside of the US, so this was a new experience for me. To my surprise, we got dozens of compliments on our American accents. I had always thought our accents were so ordinary and bland, but we were told they were beautiful and mesmerizing. As the sun was setting, it showed the skies orange and pink hues. Combine that with the lights from the concert being projected onto hundreds of people, it was a truly magical moment. Festivals have always remind me of what it feels like to be alive. If you’ve never been before, I highly recommend it.
Lounging on the Beaches
The day after the festival, we all met at Bondi Beach to rest and recuperate. Although the wind was strong and the temperature was only 70 degrees, the sun made it all worth it. The day after, we decided to do the same thing except go to Manly Beach instead. We took the tram to Sydney and then hopped on the ferry to go across the Bay to Manly. After enjoying a delicious brunch, we went to the beach where I finished my book and got a little bit of color. We sat there for about three hours, soaking in the sun, and watching surfers ride the waves.
This is not where our beach stories end, however. My friend, Emily, who is staying in Melbourne for the semester, had the great idea to catch the sunset at Bondi Beach near her Airbnb. After about an hour and a half of traveling time, there we were, sitting on the beach, watching people surf, while eating strawberries and salt & vinegar chips. She told me stories of her past travels, as she is much more of an experienced traveler than I am. It gave my admiration for all she has accomplished by herself throughout the world. It made me realize that I don’t want to stop traveling here, that this is only the beginning for me.
As it was getting late, I decided to order an Uber home. My Uber driver’s name was Manoj. He was from India and came here in 2004 for what he called, a better quality of life. Manoj was very interested in my travels and where I came from. He told me stories of the large cities he has visited in the United States, those of which I have never even been to before. As he was telling me these stories, it gave me a sense of reassurance that this is only the beginning for me. There is so much on this beautiful planet of ours, and I don’t want to waste any more time. As I was getting out of the car, he told me to have a great rest of my life, and that he wishes me the best of luck. I hope his luck grants me to continue traveling and being grateful for every second of it. It is fascinating to me, that out of just a 20-minute ride home, someone’s thoughtful words can have so much effect of your future aspirations.
Overall, I hope that after reading these blogs from the other students at Hope College and myself, that it gives you the courage to leave home, to step out of your comfort zone into this big world of ours.
I wish you the best of luck,
Kassie Lamar 🙂