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December Update

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 9 December 2017 | Views [724]

Hi dear friends/family!

In the quickest of summaries: lately, I’ve just been following life’s weird path and appreciating every moment of it. I’m really happy, healthy, and consistently inspired.


Okay, so I finished my second semester at uSyd and am so thrilled. Classes went well this semester, I took Consumer Behavior, Strategic Management, Services Marketing, and Franchising. So, Strategic Management could have been the death of me, talking about strategy for a semester was pretty boring but it ended up being my best grade so clearly, I learned a thing or two. Services Marketing had good case studies, and Consumer Behavior was interesting because we did quite a bit of psychology and I got to do a report on how to market sustainable fashion. Franchising was also boring, but really that’s my Dad’s fault. I knew way too much going into it and it made sitting through a “Franchise Agreement” lecture 5X more painful. Now that I figured out the uni system a little better my grades improved from last semester as well and I have a Distinction average (B average) which keeps future options open if I decided to do any postgraduate stuff. Not that I’m actually thinking about that at all, but options are good.  


I went to Palm Beach a couple weekends ago with a group of girls I met last semester. My friend Helena’s parents live there so we had a place to stay and she gave us a proper tour of the area. GORGEOUS. 'Million dollar views' isn’t even accurate because those homes are worth more than that hahaha. Apparently, they film an Aussie show there called Home Away? I bet that’s not even the right name but we saw them filming on the beach which I found interesting. They also film a lot of car commercials on the beaches there. Probably because the water is so clean and the beaches are endless.


Palm Beach is on a peninsula so you can go to the ocean side or the bay side to swim. I preferred the bay side because the water is calmer. I’m getting much better and handling salt water in my eyes too. Plus, the water could not have been a more perfect temperature. It’s weird because Palm Beach is technically North Sydney, but it doesn’t feel anything like Sydney. We all agreed by the end of the trip that it felt as if we had properly gone away.


We walked up to a lighthouse that had views of both sides of the peninsula. We decided to take the stairs instead of the ramp because we’re 19/20 years old and should be very capable. I’ll let them speak for themselves but I was sweaty by the time we got to the top. It made the breeze that much better though, so it was all worth it.


Random side note: Ellen (one of the lovely ladies on the trip) taught us this game while we were studying for exams called the picnic game. It starts with “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing…” and the person doing it comes up with a rule of thumb for what’s allowed at the picnic. For example, if the rule was words with consecutive double letters I could say “I’m bringing an apple.” Then the next person would try to guess what they’re allowed to bring. So, if they said, “I’m bringing a banana” I’d say, “nope can’t bring a banana”. But if someone said, “I’m bringing my cell phone” I’d say, “yeah you can bring your cell phone!” & the rest of the group would have to figure out the pattern and you go in a circle until everyone gets it. We’ve played this as a group lots and I suck at coming up with rules (they’ll attest) but it’s actually such a fun game and I highly recommend it!


The first day there we rented a boat and found a totally empty beach (only accessible by boat) and had a lovely swim. We found a jellyfish! My smart friends decided to lick it and it stung their tongue…. Also, there were parts of the sand that had oxygen under it? So, it was kind of mushy and fun to walk over. Helena said it’s because crabs burrow under the sand and something about high tide and low tide? So essentially, we destroyed crab homes walking over them which made me sad… but it was an interesting feeling. Helena also explained to me how to understand where a rip is. I’ve been here long enough that it’s silly I didn’t already know but now I do so all good. (If you don’t know what a rip is: it’s when the ocean pulls water back into itself after the waves hit the shore; basically, it’s impossible to swim against so if you don’t know what to do and you’re caught in a rip it’s super dangerous).


We collected firewood that evening and had a fire in Helena’s backyard. Girl chats and such. I have a really vivid memory of all of us discussing what constitutes manslaughter and murder in bullying cases. I love them.


The job at Pelo Hair is going super well. Still in love with both of my bosses. Kelly & Bridget (the owners) are seriously best friend goals. They just celebrated being in business together for 10 years and it was quite special to see them so proud of their hard work. Because I always get my work done and I’m good with clients they are always appreciative and treat me super well.


We were pretty short staffed for a while, so I was working a lot for 2 or 3 weeks right before exams started. One Saturday (our super hectic day), I made & screwed up Bridget’s sister’s hair colour. I felt SO bad. Bridget checked in with me later because she could tell I felt bad and I started to cry…ew who cries at work right? It was a definite combination of trying to juggle too many things and not balancing my energy properly, but either way I started crying which made her feel bad. Then she got super appreciative and was like “I’m sorry we’ve been working you too much! We literally couldn’t do what we do without you” and that kind of stuff which made me cry more and it was a disaster hahaha. Mid-cry she goes “do you want to leave? We can go get drunk right now if you want” and “what about cash? Cash makes everything better, right?” Super funny but she definitely made things right. Seriously, working with good people is such a blessing. I don’t think I’ve ever had a genuinely bad boss, but I know one day I’ll appreciate them even more than I do now.


I’ve been on a couple of really interesting dates lately. If we’re close enough for you to ask, please do because I shouldn’t talk about it on this forum. Most recently I’ve been hanging out with this (nameless) guy and really clicked with his dad? “Such a Lynee thing to do” according to Helena…but regardless I’m in Australia to experience life so I’m not going to question what the universe throws my way. So, his dad took me kayaking for the first time on Wednesday. The guy didn’t come, just his dad. Sounds weird, but it wasn’t. (Shout out to my parents for making sure I am capable of adult interactions).


I LOVE KAYAKING. We put the kayaks in at Watson’s Bay and kayaked to Clark Island & Shark Island which are both in Sydney Harbor. I ‘capsized’ (flipped my kayak) in between the islands; in my head, I freaked out because I was literally by SHARK ISLAND. I pretty quickly realized there was no point in panicking though. The sun was making everything this really pretty orange colour and the views of the harbour were stunning. So, if I was going to go down at least it’d be a good story. I enjoyed a quick swim before hopping back in, which I have no idea how I would have done without his help. When we got to Clark Island we were the only ones there and did a quick adventure. They have really old school European urinals there where you can see over the tops of them which I found funny. We both agreed it’s crazy how in a city with 5 million people you can find totally empty spots like that.


Also, the sailboats were racing because on Tuesdays/Wednesdays they do twilight racing. We literally kayaked through sailboat races. We would get so close to them, I was nervous at first but it ended up being such a “woah” moment. My mom told me to bring my GoPro, and it’s one of those things that would have had such cool pictures but I’m so grateful I didn’t I definitely don’t believe it was my last time doing it so I’ll do it next time, but for now I’m really happy I was present for the whole experience and not trying to take pictures. We started around 4:30 and got out around 8 I think? Saw the sunset and the harbour bridge and the prime ministers house and it was all around incredible. Then we got Thai food for dinner and he didn’t even know Thai was my favourite so that was such a good end to the day.


I went to a Lorde concert a couple weeks ago super randomly. My friend Helena had an extra ticket and extended the invite so how could I say no? It was outside the Opera house and the harbour bridge was lit up so it was really a gorgeous venue. I didn’t realize how much I liked Lorde until the concert. Of course, I knew her mainstream music but when I was flipping through the album before the concert I was really impressed. Then at the concert, she was such a good entertainer and so lovely to listen to. Helena’s sister Marjoule (Helena, I know I spelt that wrong I’m sorry) came as well and we all danced together and it was all around such a good time.


I don’t know how much everyone has kept up with Australian news (I know I was totally unaware before moving here), but they recently put out a survey to get the public opinion on legalizing gay marriage. They spent millions of dollars on this stupid survey. It’s so dumb too because of all the dumb laws governments debate on passing, they never ask the public opinion. It was just a way to waste time, AND the vote wasn’t even binding. So, if the population had voted yes (which they did) the legislature could have still voted it down. SO RIDICULOUS. Anyways, the law passed yesterday and gay marriage is legal in Australia now.


It was such a cool experience to be there for the yes vote. There were lots of parties and celebrations, they even lit the opera house up with the LGBT+ flag. It was overall such a generally ‘happy’ day and it was nice to focus on love for the day and not any of the other chaos going on in the world.


I taught my friend Ellen how to make kombucha this week. Super funny to see her react to the scoby (the bacteria that ferments the tea). Then we were going to go to this vegan Vietnamese place called the nourishing quarter. When we got there the waitress was super rude and they only had four (quite expensive) dinner options. We both wanted the pho, but then she came back and said it wouldn’t be ready for a couple hours so we just gave up and left. Literally, a block down the street was another Vietnamese place where we got double the amount of food at half the price and it was so delicious. As much as I’ve been working on improving my spice tolerance, but Ellen likes things way to spicy for me so we had to divide the food we were sharing.  Then we went to Opera Bar. It’s seriously at the top of my list to take people to when they visit me. I don’t know how I’ve never noticed it before, but it’s right under the opera house and it looks out on the harbour and it’s lovely.


On our way out these 50/60-year-old guys stopped us to ask our opinions. They asked us if we thought the gay community is more promiscuous. I tried to take it as an opportunity to correct their stereotype and educate them but it was so pointless. They had clearly had a few and I was speaking more academically that the situation called for so they said everything I was saying went over their heads. Then they tried to flirt with us? It was gross, we missed our train, and didn’t learn anything. Very unfortunate interaction but we laughed about it.


We did thanksgiving as well! Okay, so no one ever explained to me how hard it was to plan those kinds of events. The house was happy with not having a turkey so we basically did all the classic Thanksgiving sides. I tried to make my grandmas Watergate salad with real ingredients. She uses cool whip, jello pistachio mix, and canned pineapple. So, I made my own homemade whipped cream, blended pistachios, and cut up a pineapple. If you know much about cooking you can probably picture how poorly that turned out. I also over whipped the whipping cream so it was too thick. No worries though, there was PLENTY of food. Jeremy (the other American guy I live with) is the king of leftovers, so he reaped those benefits for quite a few days. It was an adventure and such a blessing. I was really grateful for my friends who came and my housemates, good conversation and lots of good food. That being said, thank god Grandma and Dad are in charge of the Christmas feasts.


I went to Manly last weekend (one of Sydney’s northern beaches) with my friend Jack. It’s funny hanging out with him because he tries to train me out of my bad American habits. For example, on the ferry over I (supposedly) was yelling so he purposely whispered to try and train me to talk more quietly. He is also my go-to for Aussie sayings I don’t understand. I’d elaborate but most of them are either inappropriate or include vulgar language. Me and Harry (my housemate) just talked about how I need to quit swearing. I’m never around people who care and 90% of the people I’m around can casually use really bad words because in Australia it’s significantly less offensive. So, it’s worn off on me a little, but I’m working on it!


Okay, I feel as if I have babbled for way too much of your life. In short, I really really love my life. I’m thrilled to spend Christmas with my family, but I definitely wish they had been coming to Sydney instead of me coming home. It’s hard to be homesick when I literally brush my teeth on my balcony with a million-dollar view of the city every day/night. I have so many stories I could ramble more through but I’m officially home for the month so we should just get a meal together and catch up properly! I’m home until January 15 before I head to New Zealand where I’m going to backpack for a month. I’m sure you can imagine my excitement for that. If anyone who’s read this far has been I would love recommendations!


So much love. Sending light always!

Lynee Cavanaugh 

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