Happy Birthday to me

In case you haven’t already noticed, I’m starting to fall behind on my blogs, so I’m going to start to write longer posts otherwise I may never finish them! Basically, I’m going to try and write them on a weekly basis to try and catch up.

This week was the first in March, which was quite a surprise for me as it made me realise how long I’d actually been in Sydney for! It was also the week when lectures officially started, which was not as exciting.

In fairness, it was good to get back to studying again, as it had been about three months since the last time I’d been in a lecture. The lectures were fairly introductory which is pretty standard for Week 1. However, despite enrollingĀ onto four modules, I only had three on my timetable. After many enquiries, it turned out that one of the modules had been cancelled and they didn’t tell me!

For those who are wondering, these are my modules:

  • African American History and Culture
  • Australia: Politics and Nation
  • Genocide in Historical Perspective
  • Modern China’s Wars

As you may have noticed, these are all modern modules, which is quite unlike me. The university doesn’t offer many modules from earlier periods, and out of the few that they do, I have already covered those periods. However, choosing these modules mean that I’m only in for 12 hours per week from Monday to Wednesday, meaning I have a four day weekend – it’s not all bad!

Aside from the lectures, I was able to take part in the sports clubs that I had joined. On Thursday I had squash trials, which I really enjoyed. It’s definitely a smaller club than back at UEA, but there is still some good quality. Even though I enjoyed it, the cost of joining was not worth it, mainly because I am only here for one semester but I would have to pay for one year. On top of this, I would have to pay for sports insurance for one year as well.

Social Soccer, on the other hand, was free to join, meaning that I could take part in a kickabout in Victoria Park on Friday. There are some great views of the city from the park, and there was free pizza at the end so it was a really good event to go to. I’d also started to get back into running by this week, which is a really good way to explore the new area.


The view from football…not bad


One of the best things about this week was the fact that on Wednesday it was my birthday! Admittedly, it was strange to have my birthday in an entirely different country, but with modern technology, I could easily receive a video call from the family back at home! It was also a pleasure to open my mailbox and find birthday cards! Mum even sent me chocolate (but this arrived a day late).

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Video chats from the family on my birthday!


Unfortunately, I had to go to university during the day, but I had plans for the evening. I’d found out that Dendy’s Cinema in New Town had a student offer on Wednesday’s meaning that we could see a film for $8. A few friends met up at my accommodation, where we ordered Dominoes (they do pizzas for $5 here!) before heading off to Newtown. Maddie and Maria even got me a present – Rich Tea biscuits and Dairy Milk Buttons from the British Shop!!

Dendy’s Cinema in Newtown was a cool place to go – it’s a bit like picture house cinemas that we have back in the UK. The cinema itself was fairly small (maybe like 30 seats) which added a sense of cosiness to it. The film we had chosen to see was Moonlight as this had won ‘Best Picture’ at the Oscars a few days beforehand. You could definitely see why. It was one of those very ‘artsy’ films with lots of interesting camera angles and a challenging plotline. On the way back, we found out that if it’s your birthday you could see a film for $1 – I had missed out on that offer!

Friday was a particularly busy day this week. It started off very sophisticated by going out to Brunch with some of my European friends. We all met up in Mo’s in Surry Hills around late morning. The food was great – I had a poached egg with Chorizo. Overall, it was a great time to catch up.

I had to leave soon after paying though, as I was meeting up with the one and only John Viles, the DYO for the Sydney Salvos. Luckily, he had chosen to meet at a place which was also in Surry Hills, so I could walk from one place to the other! I met him outside Chur Burger, which is a Kiwi burger company (Chur is how you say great in New Zealand). To our surprise, they had run out of beef! We both ended up ordering a pulled pork burger, and John introduced me to the wondrous drink that is a Milo Milkshake. I went to social soccer straight after this, which probably wasn’t the best thing for the stomach!


When soccer ended, I got ready for the Global Exchange Society’s International Bar Crawl. The theme was ‘Wear your colours’ so I ended up wearing a top Mum had sent me for my birthday, which had a Union Jack on the front! The crawl started off at the Marlborough Hotel in Newtown; there was a really nice garden here which was combined with a good student vibe. It was good to see lots of familiar faces! After this, we went to Koleto’s Cocktail Bar. Here, we ventured out onto the rooftop where you could see some views of the city!


I had to leave at this point, as I was heading out for Georgia’s birthday and we needed to arrive early to get the free entry. There was a dress code so I had to change out of my shorts and top into jeans and a shirt before leaving. We got an Uber from our accommodation to The Star, where we met everyone. The club we were going to was Marquee, which was in the same complex as Sydney’s biggest casino. It felt very exclusive, even though it wasn’t!

We had a great night, and I didn’t pay for anything which made it even better! Marquee had a jungle theme – even the lift up had animal noises in. At various points in the night, a guy would come out in a monkey costume and dance, and light sticks were also handed out to increase the atmosphere. Out of the window, you could see Harbour Bridge which was a really unique sight to see from a club. During the night, there were also other people from uni who I bumped into, which ended up joining the birthday crew!

The next day, after a well-needed lie in, I headed to Barangaroo Reserve as I had heard there was a Blak Market taking place. This was essentially a small aboriginal market. I arrived just before trading actually begun, so I was able to see the traditional smoking ceremony. The aboriginal people see smoke as a healing power, so we all walked through the smoke to heal ourselves before the day begun. It was very interesting to witness this culture.

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I went around all the stalls to see what there was. Many of them were focused on art, but others had artisan products such as soap made by indigenous people. I bought myself some artwork as I thought this would be a unique souvenir to take home. For lunch, I bought myself some bush tucker food – a crocodile sausage! It was very tasty, and tasted like nothing I’ve ever had before!

As I was watching some traditional dancers, I got a message from Alayna asking if I wanted to go to the Taste of Sydney festival (basically a really big food festival with free food). I agreed to go, so I headed to Circular Quay to get a bus to Centennial Park. During this journey, I found a street market, which takes place on most Saturday’s. I’m definitely going to visit again as I saw lots of things which could make great souvenirs!


When I arrived at the park, my main challenge was to actually find where the food festival was – the park was massive! I heard some music so I decided to follow it, assuming it was the festival. I was wrong. It turns out it was the open day of a local college!

When I finally found the Taste of Sydney festival, I realised how expensive it was. It turns out that you had to pay for entry, and then pay for food inside as well. Fortunately, Alayna said she was feeling ill so she did not arrive, meaning that I decided not to go inside. Despite not going for what I went for, I was able to explore the park, so there is always a positive!

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On Sunday, I went to the army again, this time in my uniform for the first time. A eupho had been sorted for me, meaning that I could play in the band between Barry and Joel. It was good to play again after a month of no practice!

Afterwards, Joel invited me along with other members of the youth for lunch. We headed to Schnitz, which is a fast food shop specialising in Schnitzel. I ended up getting the Royal Chip Butty, partly because it sounded British! I really enjoyed meeting them all – they’re a great bunch!I needed to get a photo of me and the songster mug,

Jack and Joel showed me around the centre of Sydney, telling me little bits of info here and there, and most importantly, buying me some vegemite to try! I needed to get a photo of me and the songster mug, we ventured to the Opera House to get some snazzy pics. It was yet another opportunity for me to make new friends! While walking back, some women were standing in Circular Quay asking for free hugs – they were fairly good looking so I happily abliged! There was also a guy there, and I felt like I had to hug him otherwise he would feel left out.Once that was done, I got the ferry back since it was a Sunday and travel costs were capped at $2.50!

Being a typical tourist
Jack’s brilliant photobombing

I normally try to think of a clever way to end, but I can’t for this blog, so….. bye.


One thought on “Happy Birthday to me

  1. A wonderful account, Tom, but as your “Home Tutor” I have to deduct 10 points. You failed to mention that one of the photos taken on your birthday was your Grandma’s twin!
    Love yah xxxxxxx


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