Aussie Slang Week 3 (I forgot) and Week 4: Lift = Elevator & Thongs = Flip Flops

This past weekend, a group of my friends and I traveled to Sydney, Australia for a long weekend. Eight of the students from the TEAN program attend the University of New South Wales, so we went to stay with them, and they showed us around NSW!

On Thursday, we spent the day at Bondi Beach. There, we got to see some excellent surfing and beautiful views. There is an Olympic-sized pool at Bondi that overlooks the ocean, where the sea spray will splash over the wall. My friend, Sam, and I decided to go for a swim in the pool, which was absolutely a highlight of the day. Having swam competitively for over 12 years, I simply could not resist swimming in such a unique pool. I did, however, forget that the pool would be ocean saltwater, so I accidentally had my mouth open when I dove in. That was a nasty surprise, haha.

This pool does hold a special meaning for me, though. Last year, my family and I were not sure I would be healthy enough to travel this far across the world, so my therapist had me make a mood board – a visual product of goals I wanted to achieve. I took a collage of photos and taped them to my wall next to my bed at college for the entire semester. One of those photos was this particular pool, because I thought it would be amazing to swim in it. Diving into the frigid (and salty) water, I came up feeling cleansed and free, joyous that I had made it from a photo on my wall in Holland, MI, to a pool in Australia. It was very full circle and reminded me how far I have come and how much I have changed in less than a year.

Standing in front of the sea spray- the force of the waves almost pushed us back into the pool!
Bondi Beach

That evening, we went out to place called the Ivy to experience the night life. We danced for hours and enjoyed the DJ’s music (DJ’s are very popular in Australia).

All the Hope girls in Sydney!

On Friday, we went into the city of Sydney to explore. We started at the Queen Victoria building, where there was incredible architecture as well as interesting stores that made the building different than a normal mall. There was a Dr. Suess art museum, as well as a plaque for a letter that Queen Elizabeth wrote that will be opened and read to Australia 100 years from when she wrote it.

This building has 3 levels and looks even larger on the inside than the outside.
Horton the Elephant statue
The Queen’s letter

We then walked over to the Sydney Eye, the 2nd tallest tower in the Southern Hemisphere standing at 309 metres tall. Sydney has the largest natural harbours in the world, so we were able to see a 360 degree view of the harbours around Sydney as well as the buildings in the city – we got a little view of the opera house and harbour bridge as well! There is also an opportunity for guests to walk on a platform outside the viewing deck in the open air at this location. I was not too keen to try this.

The view from the observation deck
Emily making me laugh, as per usual

Our group then walked through the Botanical gardens to get to the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. The gardens contained lots of unique flora, and the greenhouses had some ferns and foliage I had never seen. Seeing the opera house was really emotional for me. To see this historic building in person made me realize just where I am in the world and how blessed I am to be here.

Sydney Opera House!

That evening, we went to a place called Argyle to dance and had more late night Maccas McFlurries afterwards (Maccas is what they call McDonald’s in Australia). The next day, we played ultimate frisbee and attempted to play rugby before having to fly back to the GC. Overall, it was an incredible weekend spent with people who make me laugh so hard that my abs still hurts days later. It was lovely to reconnect with all the UNSW kids after Cairns. They plan to come visit us at Bond around November (it could be a big Thanksgiving reunion in the Gold Coast, so keep an eye out for that!)

Learning how to tackle in rugby!

Thanks for following me around the Australian country! See you soon for my week 5 update. I have officially been here a month as of writing this post!

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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