Guest Post: Reminiscing About My Life As An Aussie

I have to give a huge thanks to Sarah for helping me out this week.  Hopefully I will be sipping umbrella drinks to the music of the ocean and a mariachi band by now, and not that I don’t love you guys, but blogging is probably the last thing on my mind 🙂  Except not really because you KNOW I will be taking pics! Sarah has been my friend since my college days.  We’ve shared relationship turned marriage stories and pleas for advice, food and recipe knowledge, and maybe a little gossip over the years and I feel very fortunate to call such a beautiful person (inside and out) my friend.

Hi I’m Sarah Rose, and I’m excited to be writing a guest post for The Barn while Lauren is traveling.  Lauren and I met in 2005 when we were neighbors at UNCC.  Since then we have both moved a few times, traveled a lot, gotten married, and supported our husbands through law school and medical school, all the while bonding over the similar experiences.  I recently graduated from Meredith College with a Master’s degree in Nutrition and am currently enrolled in an internship to become a Registered Dietitian.  When Lauren asked me to do a guest post I thought, “I don’t want to talk about food…”  So through my brainstorming it came to me: 5 years ago this week I sent my first letter home from Sydney, Australia where I was studying abroad for a semester.  Luckily, that letter is safely preserved as it became my undergraduate thesis project to chronicle my journey.  Lauren told me she needed it by Thursday, August 4th.  When I pulled out that letter, it ironically was dated August 4th 2006.  As I re-read it I was reminded of how magical that journey was.  To Lauren and Will, now that your journey through Law School has come to a close, I wish for you that the journey ahead is filled with magical moments and love, beginning with your trip south of the border.  XOXO,  Sarah

August 4th, 2006

G’day Mum,

I woke up this morning to a cold steady rain.  I had fantasized so long about my dreams of visiting Australia; my intimate thoughts casually neglected reality.  Rain also occurs in the Southern Hemisphere as well, despite plans of waltzing around Sydney and a trip to the zoo.  I tried my best to smile even as it rained and soaked my jeans and shoes, after all I had paid to be here and experience this rain.  The entire day felt like a wash-out until after the sun had already retreated and out of sheer boredom I wandered to the mail box where I found my first letter from home. How amazingly blessed I am to have found Michael (now my husband!). This week has been a big one and it set me at ease to see that, as far as my comfort from home was concerned, nothing had changed. I started classes on Monday, “Uni” as they call it here. I have learned, to speak like a true Australian you must be lazy and abbreviate words as often as possible.  Being succinct is not one of my strong points so I don’t know if I can master that.
Anyhow, so tonight I was cooking dinner, and I do believe I’ve missed my culinary calling.  I was baking a sweet potato when Hanne, from Oslo, Norway, curiously wanders in.  She is so intrigued by this “sweet potato,” which she’s apparently never heard of before and oddly seems disgusted by/scared of. She also has never met anyone who buys or eats peanut butter, pretty funny since most children in America live off it and Michael claims it is his favorite food group. 

So, I haven’t mentioned how everyone loves my southern accent.  It hasn’t fully gotten annoying yet, everyone making me repeat things and asking if I’m from Texas (as if Texas is the Mecca of all things southern). Random Aussie fact, but Julia, my roommate from Baltimore, just walked into my room with her newest find from the mall: ibuprofen with codeine, over the counter! She is very excited. I really wish that an Aussie lived in our apartment, I feel like I’d be introduced to so much more that way.  Hanne’s best friend from Norway is also here, she lives with an Aussie who is cooking a feast of roasted kangaroo, chips and sauce (which are basically tater wedges with sweet and sour chili sauce and sour cream) and some sort of cake called “Lammington,” a spongy angel-food-like cake but with chocolate and coconut (yum!). So far I haven’t flipped for Australian cooking, which to date has consisted of long sausage links cooked on “the Barbie” and white bread with “tomato sauce.”  Amidst the complaints I must say I do love Australian wine, but we all know white wine and I hardly ever disagree. Although I was disappointed that my first bottle of Riesling I purchased did not result in being carded!  Sure is a shame I’ll be turning 21 here and won’t get carded on my birthday either, which seems to be so hallmark of the American 21st. 

Anyhow, I’m looking forward to the coming weeks.  Two weeks from now Tyler (from Canada) has invited all who are interested to the Opera House to hear the Sydney Symphony perform.  Regardless of whether I’m thrilled about a symphony it IS the Sydney Opera House I’ll be seated in! And then it looks like I’ll be skipping Aboriginal Studies one Friday to go on a wine tour of Hunter Valley.  8am – 6pm, that will surely be an experience with a bus full of college kids.
With excitement and anticipation,

P.S. I learned to write my return address on the back of the envelope, not on the front like we do in the U.S. Who would’ve known?
I urge you to visit Australia at some point in your lifetime.  It is a beautiful country filled with character!  And now…some pictures of the weeks described in this letter.

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