Truthbutter

First day on the beach, and first trip to Perth

Cottesloe group

I definitely felt less homesick today than I did the past couple days. Yay! I think that probably has something to do with the fact that I finally got to go to the beach.

Yeah, I know, I posted a picture of me on the beach yesterday. But that was just a two-minute foot dip. This was an actual beach trip. An actual Australian beach trip. In the dead of winter, no less.

It also might have something to do with the fact that I’ve been able to eat more real food. Last night I had some of my $7 bone broth, with some of the Great Lakes collagen powder I brought with me. (I can feel you questioning my packing list again. A pound of collagen and three pounds of ginger just happen to be priorities for me.) I also finally bought a pan and a spatula, so I fried up some fish for dinner last night and had some eggs this morning. It’s amazing what a difference real food can make!

These are the cheapo grocery store brand eggs, and the yolks are still so orange! Beats store-brand eggs in the US by a mile

These are the cheapo grocery store brand eggs, and the yolks are still so orange! Beats store-brand eggs in the US by a mile

Before our beach trip, we had to sit through another couple hours of orientation, but I finally got my student card and my SmartRider card for public transportation, so now I can actually go places on my own without having to pay the full fare. The ride to the beach was free though, since it was still sort of part of orientation.

The bus was surprisingly hot, which I was extremely thankful for, given my vow to get in the water. But since it was only about 64 degrees out and windy, I had already cooled down by the time I got down to the beach. I had left the rest of the group behind (I’m actually not sure we were supposed to go in the water yet), so it was just me and another guy (Mark) braving the frigid ocean. We raced each other to the water and I didn’t stop running until I was in up to my neck, because I knew if I stopped I might not get all the way in.

It actually didn’t feel too bad, but I could tell it was colder than I’m used to because I couldn’t really breathe for a minute or two. But we were pretty pumped that we had gotten in while everyone else was still milling about the buses or freaking out about it being cold. High-fives were exchanged. And then I fell on my butt getting out of the water. Typical.

Unfortunately we had to go inside for a safety presentation before we could enjoy the beach more, and sitting inside with no heat and no sun with just my towel made the whole experience a bit chillier than it would’ve been otherwise. But being the first (or second…it’s debatable) person from our group to get in the ocean was absolutely worth the minimal discomfort!

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Once we were released to have fun, a few more brave souls got in the water, but most people just stayed on the sand. (To them I say: where’s your sense of adventure?? We’re in Australia!) We threw the frisbee I brought for a bit (glad I made room for it in my suitcase next to the ginger and collagen powder) and then went to find food. Everyone wanted fish and chips, and I had read about a fish and chip place in Perth that’s entirely gluten free, so I was hoping that by some wonderful coincidence we would happen upon it. We didn’t, but I decided to order something anyway.

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I got plain grilled fish and chips (french fries), and while it definitely wasn’t worth the vegetable oil intake for the taste, it was worth it to say I had eaten fish and chips in Australia! And the way they package it up is pretty great; they just wrap your massive pile of food in a billion (I counted) layers of paper and hand it to you, so it kind of feels like you’re getting a ¬†Christmas present. A heavy, greasy, warm Christmas present. I do want to find that gluten free place though, so I can have real fish and chips where the fish is actually breaded and fried.

My first fish and chips!

My first fish and chips!

Since this was an orientation beach trip, we had to leave earlier than I would have liked, and I was a little annoyed that I couldn’t stay and enjoy more time on the beach. But I know I’ll be back very soon!

That night, a bunch of us met for drinks in one of the flats in the village. We have a really fun group of exchange and study abroad students, and it was nice to get a chance to talk to some new friends. I also saw a guitar in their flat, and Kat (one of the people who lives there) told me I could come over whenever and borrow it. I’m so excited to play again! The few skills I had before have probably disappeared since I haven’t gotten to practice in a while, but I’m definitely in need of some music therapy, so I’d be content with struggling through some chords.

After hanging out for a bit, we somehow managed to get everyone on a bus (and then a train) to a club in Perth. Yes, I have actually gone clubbing twice in one week. Madness.

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The guy checking my passport to get in asked me if I was a Tarheel, which kind of made my night. It’s crazy how much more attached to UNC I’ve gotten since being away from it! I love that I go to a school that has fans worldwide.

Like last time, it was a fun night, but it’s just not for me. I don’t drink, because I’m pretty sure my liver would never forgive me if I did (not to mention my gut bacteria), and I need to stay on good terms with both. This has never really been a problem for me before, and I wouldn’t say it’s a problem now, but I definitely feel like a buzzkill when one of my new friends pulls me over to the bar to do a shot and I have to say no. Or if someone offers to buy me a drink, and then it just gets awkward when I don’t cave after some prodding and encouraging. Now if bars sold shots of raw liver or cod liver oil…then I’d be in business. Is it weird that I just got nostalgic for liver shots? I could definitely use one right about now.

Alcohol or no, dancing and hanging out with everyone was a good time, and I enjoyed talking to some friends outside on the balcony when the atmosphere inside got to be a little much. But then a very drunk Irish man who smelled like cigarettes decided to talk to me (at very close range) for quite a while, and there wasn’t really a polite way to bow out. I had pretty much reached my social interaction limit anyway, but that sort of put me over the edge, and I was more than ready to go to bed by the time I got back to my room at 3am. In fact, I had been ready to go to bed before we left for the club at 10pm. But I’m really glad I went, and I can’t wait to go explore Perth during the daytime!

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