This week has been another busy one in good old Oregon.
I'm pretty much officially a local now as I have checked out downtown Corvallis a couple of times, have been running in a few different areas, made the long journey to Albany (the next town over but it took me almost all day on the buses to get there and back) and most of all I am now the proud owner of an awesome little cruiser bike to get me around. It is pink and just cool (unfortunately it doesn't make me any cooler).
Life at college is really busy. I have lots to do for my classes and the reading especially is taking up so much of my time. I've also joined a couple of clubs here: the international health (IH) club, the snowboarding club and the outdoor adventure club. The IH club is going to be a great networking experience for me as the other members are PHD & other grad students. We are planning some events for IH week in April which will be great to work on. We have a professor in the club who insisted on taking my picture to show his classes the 'Australian' at the school. I would feel like some kind of circus freak if everyone wasn't so nice.
I had a bit of a 'moment' during the week where I suppose I was a bit homesick. I was thinking about how I left such a great life in Melbourne to take such a big risk at this stage in my life. I just have the best family and friends at home and was missing spending time with them, missing wines and dinners with the gals, cuddles with my Neffs, seeing Mojo every day and being in the warrrrmmmm instead of the freaking freezing-oh-my-goodness-are-my-toes-still-attached-to-my-feet weather. I even miss my housemates Nick, Corey, Shelly and Indy, hearing about their lives and talking about random stuff, such as, could a goat or a dog could climb a ladder better? Or if you could only eat one food for a whole week, what would it be? I miss Ovaltine and weet bix and Aussie accents and running along the river in the daylight etc. etc. blah blah poor Mel. I got out of my mood pretty quickly because it is really fun and awesome here and I know I'm extremely fortunate to have this opportunity. I spoke to Mojo, Rush, Rhosie, Dan, Julian, Chelsea, the Neffs, Lucy and Lizzie all within a few days which was just lovely and definitely got my mind back in the right spot.
After saying all this, I am having an excellent time and I think it is only natural to have moments here and there where you miss home. I am loving meeting so many fun and different people and my international friends especially are an awesome group and I am looking forward to some more crazy/silly/adventurous times with them in the coming weeks.
The last couple of days I spent in Portland with Bec and Glenn, friends from Melbourne. Glenn was in Portland for work and Bec had come along which worked perfect for me!
I met them Sunday morning and we headed to a café in the Hawthorne district for brunch with one of Glenn's colleagues. We then drove up to Timberline on Mt Hood and checked out the views and lodge. The lodge is just beautiful! It is made from local timbers and has such a warm, homely feel about it: a perfect retreat after a big day out on the slopes. I was itching to go boarding but I will just have to wait for that! After a bit of snow play, we headed down the mountain to the Mt Hood Brewing Co. for some beers and then back to downtown. Dinner was at Deschutes Brewery and was super delicious! I had a quinoa and cashew burger with sweet potato fries, wow!
Monday brought clear blue skies which is something I had not been seeing much in Corvallis. It was so cold though, and I really don't know why that surprised me! Bec and I had a nice breakfast at the hotel, did some shopping and visited the zoo. We saw some gorgeous lion cubs that were very playful and energetic. I also saw two beavers which was probably one of my highlights seeing's I have been living in the beaver state for three weeks and had not yet seen one. Someone told me they are not often seen in the wild as they only live in areas with very healthy ecosystems.
Another highlight was the conversation I had on the tram with a lady:
Lady: 'Why are you so dark?'
Mel: 'This is just the way my skin is.'
Lady: 'Why is it that colour?'
Mel: 'It's just how I am, I have a Eurpoean background.'
Lady: 'Are you speaking with an accent?'
Mel: 'Yes, we're from Australia.'
Lady: 'Why do you speak funny like that there?'
Mel: 'Well everyone has an accent. Even you do to us. And other people in the US have different accents to you. Just like how people in New York might have a different accent to you.'
Lady: 'Oh well yes I guess so.'
After a cold and busy day, we had a wine at the Departure Lounge (rooftop bar at the Nines hotel) which had a great view of the city, then met Glenn for dinner at the food carts and then a visit to Voodoo Donuts to finish things off. Voodoo Donuts is described as an 'institution' by many and provides the good people of Portland and its visitors access to delicious and unusual donut creations. Apparently some of their earlier creations included cold and flu drugs but the authorities quickly got on to them!
It was wonderful to see Bec and have some nice time together in such a cool city. I would almost say apart from Melbourne, Portland could possibly be my favourite city in the world.
I came back to Corvallis first thing this morning and you would not believe it but it was actually COLDER than what it was when I left. I did not think that was possible.
Tune in for my next blog where I'll probably continue to complain about the cold weather……jokes I'm done on that topic!
Favourite American phrase: "Over the way" which is like, across the hall or over in that direction. It sounds so funny when they say it!
Favourite Oregon beer (so far): Mirror Pond pale ale from Deschutes.
Favourite purchase: An equal first between my cruiser bike and my camping multi-cutlery tool which comes in handy almost daily.