Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Moving to Santa Cruz

For those of you who haven't heard, I've been fortunate enough to be accepted to UC Santa Cruz's history PhD program for this fall.  I can't wait to start school again, and I'm so excited to be moving to California.

However, this means that I need to find housing.  From Shanghai.  I've been spoiled with the rental system here: you go to a local realty agency, look at a few places, and generally are able to sign a lease to move in within a month.  It's all fairly straightforward.

Looking for a place to live in Santa Cruz has proved less easy though, so I'm looking for help.  If you have any contacts in Santa Cruz, or know anything about finding a place to live there, I'd be exceedingly grateful.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Home to Canberra, Part 3 of 3

Finally, the last installment of my Australia blog posts. I've been having some problems uploading pictures, and it seems that Safari isn't compatible with the new version of Blogger.  Firefox is though, as you can see below.

The last part of my trip took me to Canberra to see my host family from 5 years ago.  This was the original reason for my trip, and it was well worth it.  I was lucky enough to be able to spend Australia Day with them, and got a real Aussie-style experience.

 My host-dad, Dafydd, is the coach of a girls' rowing team, so my first morning in town we went out on a boat to watch the sun rise as the girls did time trials.  It was beautiful, obviously.  You can even see a hot air balloon rising over the lake.

 That night we went to a big Australia Day celebration.  It was incredible, and so different than what I imagine the Fourth of July in DC to be like.  Everyone just sauntered in - no crazy security, no ridiculous long lines for anything, no 45 minute wait to get out of the parking lot after the event was over.  Heck, it's quite a bit different than Fourth of July in Milwaukee even.

 In the picture above you can see the new Parliament House in the background, and the full crowd for the festivities.

The highlight of the night's performances was INXS, unveiling a new song, live, for the audience.  ABC, the Australia Broadcasting Corporation, broadcast the whole event live for the nation.  It was pretty cool to be at such a big to-do. 

The next morning we went for a complimentary breakfast and caught the citizenship ceremony.  Another incredible moment, as the Prime Minister herself was there, but again, no crazy security.

After that, my host family made a feast for dinner.  It was a proper Australia Day meal, with pavlova...:

...And lots of barbecued meat.  Overall, it couldn't have been a better trip.  My boyfriend also recently visited Australia (see his blog posts starting here,) and I'm glad that we're both building ties there.   That means more visits in the future....