Hi hello hey, it’s been a while & I’m sorry for the absence but I just handed in my last assignment for this year so I thought I’d reflect on my experience of university this year.
I’m lying on my bed in a cream coloured pinafore dress after dying my hair violet from a cheap packet bought from Chemist warehouse. I feel like a kid. Perhaps, I still am. Maybe it’s because I keep escaping back to the Sunny Coast away from my adult responsibilities in the big city. Or maybe it’s because I’m hardly attending university at the moment- being a part-time student gives you that luxury. If you feel like you need to step away from hectic studies to focus on what’s really important than I 10/10 recommend this.
If my first year of university has taught me anything it is that it’s okay to be your kid-like self and pursue what makes your soul feel at its happiest.
Hold up, let me try and redeem myself. I had my outfit sorted, my makeup done with a pop of bright lipstick and my tote bag full of the ‘Uni essentials’ (Which I later learnt was not even needed). I’d caught the correct bus but it was actually going the opposite way of my university. I was so focused on making my outfit on point that I had completed misinterpreted the Translink transport app.
Here are some things that I was wrong about:
(1) Dressing Up For Uni
I was completely wrong in thinking that university was a place that you had to dress up for. Some days I hardly even remember to wear a bra or shoes.
(2) Everyone is Stable
I was completely wrong in thinking that those who attended university were the ones who had their lives together.
(3) I Would Never Change Degree’s
I was completely wrong in thinking that I would be content with the first degree I started. Now I can confirm that I was in no way content, as I have now changed degrees three times in one year. I like to think it’s my way of working down my QTAC preference list. Or, you could look at it as indecisive Elly striking again.
A little bit of insight- Whether you’re having a gap year after school, changing degree’s copious times, studying too much or not studying at all, we’re all trying to deal with the crap and once you understand that, it makes university so much more bearable.
So, I’ve learnt that university ain’t what it seems (Hell, you could even miss out on your first day because you’re that stressed out!).
You create the path that is going to make you the most happiest and you follow it all the damn way.
I’ve never been to Melbourne before, therefore I have never known what to expect. I wish someone had told me more about this place other than the fact that it is cold. Therefore, I have compiled a list of things that I never got told (or I did and didn’t listen) about first time travelling within Melbourne.
I’ll often write about myself in third person. Here is a quick reflection of my impressions of Melbourne taken from my journal.
Current status: Strange girl in CNF Bar cafe on Chapel Street drinking earl grey tea on table 2. Her lips are purple with blisters, the soles of her feet are sore from walking. She is wearing a white stripy dress and is nor content or unsatisfied as she stares at her reflection in the mirror beside her. She is thinking nonchalantly about something and the world goes on around her. The music continues, the tourists and locals on the street continue to pass the small cafe that she abides in. Understanding life has always been a struggle for her but she knows to call Australia home, even if her heat longs desperately for Greece. She enjoys watching the interactions amongst people and sometimes it feels as though the power of observation is her long lost friend popping out of the shadows.
I almost missed the train stop for Brunswick because I was daydreaming about how much I loved the area we were passing through. I realised why, because the graffiti and Greek writing reminded me of something familiar and that was, Athens. I’m so thrilled to be going back there soon. I met up with my friend at a place called MADDOX for brunch. We caught the train to Windsor and I met with my cousin.
Seemingly the main focus for a Melbourn-ite is to find that perfect cup of coffee. Interestingly to me as every cup of coffee I’ve tried seems to taste very much the same. [Side note: Melbourne also reminds me of Birmingham, but I get a nicer feeling than what I did in Birmingham]. I don’t believe that we found a perfect cup of coffee, but it did get quite close. That was found at Manchester Press, Melbourne CBD.
Current status: Today the strange girl fell in love with Melbourne and realised that the lifestyle here is beyond anything she could imagine. For now, she will settle in West End, Brisbane. But exploring Fitzroy and Brunswick again has taught that West End is like a smaller version of those streets (Brunswick, Smith, Gertrude Street and Sydney Road). She fell in love with the thrift shop fashion, the quirky streets and the smell of exotic food. She fell in love with it all.
Today was wild, but that’s as expected when two Biloela girls reunite in the city. I caught up with a friend who I hadn’t seen for a really long time. Whilst waiting for her I killed time at a shop on Brunswick street called Hunter Gatherer. I was surprised to pick up a pair of Vintage Armani jeans, a white leather belt and striped blouse- all for $22!
We went to a cafe called Attaboy whose service on a Sunday was a bit slow but we got a free coffee out of it so whose the real winner here?
There is so much to see and do for any creative in Fitzoy. We walked up to Gertrude Street which was a bit more high-end/ designer/ decorator based. Grabbing a quick ice-cream from a shop called Messina (it was amazing, I would 10/10 recommend going here. Make sure you choose from their specials board!) before my friend dropped me off back on Sydney road so I could catch up with another friend for coffee at Green Refectory.
My day was so packed, and we even managed to lose our car and have a small car crash as well.
Current status: The day that the Strange girl didn’t want to leave Melbourne because she loved it too much.
I only got about 5 hours sleep but it seems that Elly-Grace never stops when she is travelling.
Up I got, jumped the train to Flinders Street and had bagels at Manchester Press with my friend again.
I explored Degraves Street (really funky street in Melbourne CBD which reminds you of France or Italy) at drank a cappuccino at Degraves Espresso. The street is full with Cafes and Shops which sit opposite each other with all of the tables in the middle. It was loud, but I felt comfort in that. A chaotic mind like mine can not feel comfortable in a quiet space.
NEXT LOCATION: ATHENS, GREECE
While you’re waiting for a new post, read about my trip to Greece last year here.
My marketing assignment is chilling in a different tab behind this one.Â Because I would rather write on a topic which I have been feeling on my heart to write about this past week than write 2000 words of ‘HERE IS MY MARKETING GOAL FOR A BRAND I ABSOLUTELY DESPISE’.
But hey, that’s the reality of my life at the moment. I’m holding onto that last glimmer of hope. There is about 4 weeks and 5 assessment pieces separating me from a well-deserved holiday.
Apologies for my photos which seem to be absent on this post! AUGH computers.Â
I sat watching two of my friends as they stare intensely at the chessboard. The tension was high. Or maybe it was just the humidity which made me feel anxious watching them. I use to be the queen of chess and checkersÂ when I was a kid but haven’t seen those black and white squares in a long time. Thus when previously versing my friend, my reign was shortly lived and heÂ decided to accept ‘actual’ competition.
Unfortunately my laptop had another heartache and I have been unable to resuscitate it so therefore this blog post is being written off my iPhone. Technology sucks.
I want to escape likeÂ Christopher McCandless did in the movie ‘Into the wild’. Of course I would tell my family where I was going; but I would not take technology with me. Nothing. Just me & the wild….
How incredible would that be. Let’s just think of that for a moment. You, nature and freedom. â€¦
So there I sat, a glass of rosÃ¨ in my hand and top button of denim pants undone as I just consumed yet another pita club sandwich.
“Elly stop eating you have already put on at least 5 kilo’s since you arrived here and don’t want to spend to much time trying to eliminate the weight when you get back home”Â My mind screamed to me as I sat there, stomach bulging over my tight pants; already fixated on whatÂ was for dessert. I believe ice-cream was on the agenda.
My last week in Kythira was one of my favourites so far. I got so comfortable with my new routine of waking up at a decent time in the morning, heading to Kapsali for a morning coffee with Claud, and then hanging out at the restaurant he works at. The restaurant ‘Hydragwgeio’Â was entering into it’s 20th and final year and thus it was a sad week not only because they were closing after so many prosperous years but because I was also leaving the island. I shed a tear once every day for the last week; knowing that my heart was going to break when I left. I would miss my Pappou, the people I had formed a strong connection withÂ and the way I felt when I woke up everyday in paradise.
But I knew it would have to end. Summer was over, Winter was approaching. And as hard as it was to admit it, I felt it in my soul that it was time to move onto new adventures. I set the date of my departure from Kythira to Athens and just embraced the remaining days with full happiness.
In the afternoons, after Claud had finished working we would head back to the same cafeÂ Banda Landra,Â to drink the same coffee’s, on the same couch and he would dedicate his undivided attention to teach me the language through Greek magazines on his tablet. I managed to learn more Greek in that last week than I had in two months of being on the island. I believe that when you really want to learn a new language than nothing can stop your brain from adapting into it. That’s if you really want it badly enough.
I usually hate routines, but this one was my favourite.
I have said many goodbyes in my short 18 years of life; often when moving to and from mulitple towns and schools. I was and still am that friend who alwaysÂ leaves.Â This has put quite a toll on my heart strings but has also benefited me by testing the strength of my relationship with others.Â After saying the hardest goodbyes to my local Kytherian crew (the ones I had grown to love the most) I went home to finish packing my bags.
The ferry was due to leave at 10:10pm and it was almost 9pm when I had thrown the last pair of bikinis into my bag. Crying a little rememberingÂ that after Athens I would be moving onto the cold climate of the UK and would not be needing them again until Summer in Australia (That is, if I got back in time). It broke my heart even more when I was ready to go and went to ask Pappou if he could take me to Diakofti (the ferry port). With small tears in his eyes as to hide how obvious it wasÂ that he had been crying he asked me if I really had to leave.
I told him it was time for me to go and sensed that he was purposefully driving the car slow to Diakofti in the hope that maybe I would miss the ferry.
Thank-fully my goodbye to Pappou was not long as I was almost late for the ferry and in the mad rush to purchase my ticket and load my baggage we spared our tears.
“We must not be sad Elly-Grace, we will remember the happy times and I know you will be back here soon” He said as we hugged.
“Ta leme sidoma Pappou-lee mou” Â AsÂ I gathered my independence and marched towards the ferry boat.
I would be leaving my heart in Kythira, hoping that it’s beauty would hold it safe for my return.
I have now arrived safely to Athens and am staying with a beautiful friend of my mine whom I met on Kythira. I feel that you experience more authenticity with a local guideÂ to show you around, I have been very blessed. This week we have written a list of things we must do in Athens; including some things that she hasn’t even done herself… come on girl you live in a city which contains an abundance of rich history!!!! Hehe so it will be a new experience for both of us, although she can translate for me which makes me look less like a tourist when we walk around.
I apologise for the extremely late entry but I didn’t want to spend my last week on Kythira in front of a computer screen.
I will leave you now. Sorry the quality of my photos will not be the best but you’ll have some understanding of how I feel when you have your own on blog and are forced to write from your small iphone screen (First world problems).
Kalimera Australia, or other countries of the world.
Iâ€™m going to struggle to keep these short because despite the fact I only departed ‘good oleâ€™ Aus about a week ago, I have already accomplished and experienced so much!
In fact, I am fairly positive that I have experienced more in the last week then I have in this entire year. I aim to make this trip a lot about self discovery and learning about the purpose of life. In terms of language barriers, I am getting a little bit frustrated that I am illiterate to the language and even the Greek way of life. Completely different. Iâ€™m getting there though, and have been impressed with the patience of those who are willingly to teach me a few sentences here and there. Especially on the island of Kythira, where I am currently. There really are no rules, well, except hanging out with French boys almost comes close to being forbidden (inside joke. I have nothing against the French! My Grandad is just very very protective, Iâ€™ll explain soon!). Itâ€™s a small island which will take you about 40 minutes to go from one end to another.
Unlike Australia, when you ride your scooter down to the beach, you can leave it there with the helmet attached, key still in the ignition and expect to see it again the next day. Nobody steals due to the fact that they really wonâ€™t get too far with whatever they have stolen. So theres really no point, however I am still on edge every time I park the scooter anywhere, half expecting to not see it again.
So Iâ€™ll just quickly bring you up to speed with whatâ€™s going on.
N o t h i n g .
You are now up to speed.
Hahaha, joking. When I arrived in Athens I was greeted by Papu (Grandad) who was so extremely excited to see me. Thank god because he has to put up me for another 2 months! Typically Papu tried to convince me that the hotel I had booked for the night would be difficult to find and that we should stay in â€˜Pireasâ€™ (The fishing hub of the mainland- A.K.A the definition of Heaven for Papu). I was exhausted but stuck to my persuasion techniquesÂ and told him that the hotel Aquis Mare Nostrum, ThalassoÂ would be worth the cost ofÂ â‚¬98. And he agreed with me when we arrived at room 529 which had a magnificent view of the sea, restaurants and pool below. AÂ PinÃ colada was a well deserved drink after the hectic amount of time Iâ€™d spent on planes in the 24 hours previous.
Since 6 years ago I had forgotten about how crazy the drivers and roads are. I almost thought I wouldnâ€™t make it onto the island, but alas I arrived the next day safe and sound. I have now been on the island for 6 days and sadly one of my favourite hobbies has become, â€˜people watchingâ€™. I guess Iâ€™m just learning from the best really! Because it feels like that is all that people do here, is watch and gossip. Itâ€™s so funny, I love it! I asked Papu today why everyone does that? He told me it is because they are so used to seeing only locals during the winter months, that when tourists/ foreigners visit during Summer itâ€™s like a huge deal! They havenâ€™t seen them before, and are therefore intrigued about where they come from, what they are wearing, how long they are here for and if they have any boy/girl teenagers who would be suitable for their son or daughter to date. hahaha. So what do us as tourists do? We stare back, and similarly have the same thoughts as they do.
I started hanging out with a guy who lives in the UK but knows fluent Greek as he had previously lived on the island for a while and learnt it. We went out for a drink (because honestly swimming, drinking, staring at others and trying to get our white bodies to tan… come close to the only things we do in the summer around here.) and just hung around Kapsali for a while (Kapsali is a chilled beach area which is sort of like the hub where everyone gathers– just a little bit of inside information for you).
One of my favourite days so far has been spent with two french guys who I had randomly met the day before as they were hitchhiking on a road we were travelling on. I learnt that one of them had hitchhiked all the way from France to Greece. Â Which isnâ€™t that far in the scheme of things, but has an abundance of dangers attached to it. Since I have also learnt that plans never go accordingly around here (so itâ€™s best to not make them!) I decided that if I saw them again that would be great, but if not I wouldnâ€™t care either way. Anyways! I saw them again down in Kapsali and we had a super rad afternoon as I learnt about their experiences and views on travelling, religion, relationships and loads of other stuff.Â I decided to not even begin to start learning French as that would just taint my process in learning Greek. We snorkelled, jumped off rocks and I introduced them to my favourite Greek dessert, â€˜Galaktobourekoâ€™. It was a wonderful afternoon because I reconnected with how I would define what it means to be â€˜truly aliveâ€™ and they shared similar views.
My Grandad however, did not. He wasnâ€™t too impressed that I was hanging out with foreigners (even though I am one myself, and whatâ€™s a girl supposed to do on an island by herself?!) He told me that I would basically find a different guy who could be my boyfriend (oh goodness they are hilarious!). Iâ€™ve had my fair share of lectures over the years by my parents, so to now be receiving them from my granddad is just manic. But he is a hard working man, below you will see a photo of two of the fish he caught last week. He told me I could post the photo but not give away any of his secrets! (He even cut a hole in his pants that day pulling that massive fish from the water! Seriously stuff!) Iâ€™ll explain the title of this blog post as some of you might be confused. Whenever I hear a different language spoken from American, South African, to Greek, French, British or Italian… I start to develop an accent that sounds like theirs, and start to speak it back to them. I have just always done it! Therefore, I can be described none-other than a language accent Chameleon. Instead of changing colours, I always adapt myself into foreign accents. Quite fun indeed considering sometimes the way slurred slang Australianâ€™s talk is not always beautiful sounding… in my opinion. (Check out this video: hilarious representation of the way Strayanâ€™s abbreviate everything…Â https://www.facebook.com/hijosh/videos/867023680019973/ ) If it doesnâ€™t load via here then just check it out on my Facebook page. Iâ€™ll share it on Dancing in Violet Fields Page.
THINGS Iâ€™VE LEARNT SO FARÂ
No.1Â When in doubt just say oxi (oi-he) Donâ€™t question it, just do it
No.2Â Please note that because Greeks are using a lot of hand gestures and may sound like they are fighting, they most probably arenâ€™t.
No.3Â Everything seems like a big drama for everyone. Just smile and go along with it.
No. 4Â In the Summer I have found that everyone is quit content with sitting outside a cafe all day. Even the youth do that, and surprisingly they play chess too… which is weird. Arenâ€™t we the generation which is fuelled by the uses of technology??? NotÂ strategy.
No.5Â Drink the Frappeâ€™s slowwwwwwwwly
No.6Â Donâ€™t drink vodka and lemon like it is a cup of Nero (neh-ro / water) Alternatively, have a glass of water before you start drinking so you donâ€™t mistaken it for water. I must be off, about to hit the beach! Sticking to my goal of heading there once a day (check out goals page Â >>>>Â hereÂ <<<) Also, I am truly sorry for this delayed post! My computer had a complete stuff up and then the whole island lost power for a day and a half. No power = No water, so I had to go without a shower for 2 days, which was kinda gross. Much love- Talk soon. xx