The rest of the weekend was actually enjoyable. I got a call from home at 7 am, before I'd even got out of bed yet, and I was quite grumpy and negative on the phone. (Sorry, folks!) But the rest of the day went well. I got some errands and chores done, including cleaning my kitchen and bathroom, doing laundry and course readings, and buying enough groceries for the week. My cupboards are full of food, and I was actually under-budget! Woo hoo! I'm going to try setting it to $25/ week now. I also bought myself some nice soft blankets, since I've been a bit cold at night lately. It was a great investment. That night I slept a lot better.
And I finished Jack Maggs, so I was officially out of novels. On Monday I had nothing to do for a good portion of the day, so I spent the morning finding my way to the Powerhouse Museum, which I was supposed to visit with my class later that week. The UniLodge staff members helped me figure out my route, and the walk itself was actually very pleasant and uneventful. It turns out that by passing through a lot of nice, shady neighborhoods with park benches and cafes, it's basically a straight shot to the museum, and it only takes 10 minutes or so. It was a beautiful day, and finally I found the building across from a nice little corner pie shop. The museum is housed in a big new building with interesting architecture. It's air conditioned, and the guards were very nice and let me use the washroom before I left again. The admission price is $8 for students, and because I was expecting a tour with my class, I didn't want to go through the museum yet.
On my way out, I decided to venture out to the area with Paddy's Market, just a block and a couple of ramps down from the museum. The market is apparently known for having good deals, and you see it advertised a lot. It's housed in a big brick building across from a monorail track. Unfortunately it was closed when I went, but I did wander into the big mall next door for a while. It was a nice mall, and they were having a bargain book sale on the first floor, allowing me to snag a new novel for quite a good price. Hurray for books that aren't $14! I also learned that that mall has a bunch of factory outlet stores on the 2nd level.
I was fairly hungry by then, so I went home and had lunch, then waited for my family to call (since I had been feeling quite low the previous day, I had asked them to call me again). We talked for a while, and then I left for the Postgraduate Welcome Event in McLaurin Hall.
That event turned out to be another highlight of my experience so far. After the addresses were over and we were mingling and eating the food, I ended up meeting the friendliest bunch of students I've met yet. Most were Masters students, but a few were PhD candidates, and they actually seemed to want to talk to me. In fact, we kept the conversation going so well that everyone was quite comfortable by the end of the event. I met 3 more UniLodge residents, one of whom is from Ontario, one of whom is Malaysian and the other who is from Mongolia! They are all extremely nice people. There was also a woman from Germany and another woman from Malaysia who both seem fantastic.
And I met my Art Curatorship acquaintance from the very first Welcome BBQ again. After the event ended she invited us to go for pancakes with her, and introduced us to her friends- a French student studying interior design and an American student from Virginia. We walked down to a restaurant called Pancakes On The Rocks which is in the Darling Harbour area. It's amazing! She was right- they must have the best pancakes in Sydney. And what a variety. You can order pancakes there with practically any kind of topping. Some pancakes are chocolate, and nearly all of them are served with a generous helping of vanilla ice cream. The portions are also fantastic- I could barely finish my delicious strawberry jam pancakes. Even the prices are good.
So, yeah. The restaurant was great, but even better was the conversation and congeniality. We had a fantastic time and ended up exchanging contact information and discussing doing all kinds of Sydney activities together, from seeing musicals to going to the beach. We talked and joked for two hours! It was late when we left. The American student thoughtfully gave us a ride back and my fellow UniLodger and I walked the last block home together. She's a super cool Linguistics student. I'm so happy to know people who live in my building!
It was a truly wonderful night, and even if we don't stay in touch I'll still have had an awesome experience. I'm a little cautious now about saying that I made friends, but I definitely met friendly people, and that made all the difference in my week.