Horns meet World. World meet Michelle Metzler.
Michelle has been chosen to be one of the bloggers for The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. The following blog post is originally found on the “Study Abroad & Incoming Exchange Blogs” page on The University of Queensland website.
There is a Kookaburra bird in the tree outside my window. You know the song, “Kookaburra sits in an old gum tree, merry merry king (kingfisher) of the bush is he. Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh”…I don’t believe it’s a gum tree (actually thanks to my terrestrial environment class I now know it’s a hoop pine tree) outside my window he sits, but he sure does laugh. Every morning, I wake to laughter. It’s most joyous!
Like New Zealand (I spent two weeks in NZ before arriving in Brisbane, so if you’re planning on visiting over mid-semester break give me shout out for recommendations), Australia has a strong Asian presence in the cities with many colorful markets and many Chinese New Year celebrations. It is the Year of the Rooster in the Chinese zodiac. Being that I’m not Chinese and in Oz, I’ve decided it is the Year of the Kookaburra (and laughter) for me.
I’ve been in Brisbane for a little over a week and I already feel at home. Even though the population is double in size of my home Uni city of Austin, Texas, it reminds me a lot of it. Brisbane a liberal university city with lots of growth in the CBD, Capitol of the State, a river that snakes through it making it a wee bit complicated (I live north, south, east and west of the river). See blue dot…
cyclists and runners everywhere, lots of flora and fauna (more on this in upcoming posts), music in the parks, craft beer, bearded men, barefoot walkers in west end and hippie dippie farmer’s markets in nearly every neighborhood. The market in my hood, West End, is the best of course I couldn’t have picked a better spot to live in Brisbane even if I tried! I’m grateful to have gone with my gut and trusted Sean (a dear friend from back in my Riverdance work days and now my flatmate) that his home would be perfect for me, site unseen. I love that I have an incredible view of the city and can walk to some of the hippest cafes, pubs, and restaurants in town, yet am surrounded by nature. Besides the kookaburra and other birds, the other night while enjoying cheese and wine on the patio a tree frog hopped unto the terrace, trying to get a better glimpse of the new girl in the hood
I had O-week (orientation) all last week. The campus has a beauty that comes with age. Having been founded in 1910, there is a lot of history at UQ. I’ve been so busy getting myself lost all while finding my way that there hasn’t been much time for photos. Though I did take the time to enjoy the shade of a tree that can be found all over campus and the city. The Poinciana, though not native and some might call a weed, is bright and happy. I absolutely love it and had to stop to photo one! Plus, check out those seed pods dangling down…
I took the ferry (citycat) home at sunset on my way back from campus the other day. Not a bad way to get around…
Not sure about you, but I have four options to get to campus: walk (40 minutes) bike, bus ($2ish/trip, 10 minutes and right outside my doorstep), or as you can see above, ferry. All come with there own list of pros and cons. Thus far, biking has been my chosen option for several reasons. For starters, it is the cheapest. If other students or locals are reading this, TAKE NOTE- a monthly membership to CityCycles for students is only $3 ($5 for non-students)/month !!! Only 3 bucks and you have unlimited use of the bikes, AS LONG AS they are checked back into a station every thirty minutes.
This is where things get interesting. I could take a shorter, 15 minute, ride to campus but it’s mostly city streets and, quite frankly, kind of lame. The other route is beautiful, on mostly dedicated bike trails along the river and, bonus, a better workout. However, to get over the bridge and to the University it’s a much longer trip, nearly 30 minutes. The first few days while figuring out exact directions, I would stop to check in my bike or risk the $2 added charge for going over 30 minutes(doesn’t seem like much but round trip it’s worth a coffee for me/research for my upcoming coffee and cheese updates for you (Cheers from The Cheeky Bean)
and then walk to the next nearest station to check out another bike. Today though was a big day, I attempted the trip with no exchange and made it in 27 minutes (29 to get back due to hills). This is no small feat given it is a big awkward cruiser with only 3 gears.This morning I overheard another cyclist on a proper 10 speed whisper something he didn’t think I could hear,as he was about to pass me, about a crazy girl(me? no!) working it in running shorts on a citycycles bike… blah, blah, blah. That dude in spandex was lucky all I had was 3 gears, otherwise I would have shown him how runners can ride. I challenge him to race me to campus on a citycyle bike and see if he can make it in under 30 minutes! Hmm, now there’s an idea…anyway I digress and need to get back to my studies! This said, if anyone is interested in exploring the city using a citycycle bike, I’m always game for an easy casual ride or a race if you prefer! Laughter and Smiles!