This past weekend I made a big move. Living with Roy was good for a while, the German couple living with us was nice, and he helped me get ahold of a decent car. Starting at University though I immediately knew that I needed to find some other students to live with or I was going to be miserable.
An opportunity I couldn’t pass up thankfully came my way. Two other exchange students had arranged an apartment in Scarborough Beach and were looking for a roommate. The place was too good to be true, so I moved immediately. I came to Perth to be near the beach, but I never expected I would get this close. Even now as I write I can hear crashing of the ocean just a few hundred yards away.
For a little while I had thought I wanted to move closer to UWA, I could have been more involved with the students living in the residential colleges, and had a convenient commute to class. I ended up going in the other direction. Oh well, you can’t surf in the river, and that’s what I did when I got home from class today so I’m saying the hour bus ride is worth it. That’s right, 60 minutes each way to the university. To me that seemed ridiculously far at first, considering back home I can drive between my parent’s house and campus in 10. I have joined the ranks of suburban Australia now though, so this type of commute is just standard. It seems slightly backwards when you think about it. One would think you live in the city to have everything at your fingertips, yet nothing is close. My commute is trivial compared with that of many of the students I have met. In Australia University Is much different, most people don’t go to another state, let alone another city. Almost everyone lives at home, especially in the first year or two. It is commonplace to hear of people taking a string of buses and trains, often up to two hours of travel just to get to class.
I’m taking a class called ‘Australia Myths and Realities’ in which we have been examining the ideas, and preconceptions people overseas have about Australia, especially Americans. Many of these are projected through media, often encouraged by the Australian Government such as a string of campaigns from the tourism department involving Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee). Typical images that come to mind are vast expanses of sparse outback, rocky red outcrops, kangaroos, and rugged bushmen. During the hour long ride to Uni it really sinks in that eighty five percent of Australians live in cities, most in the suburbs, meaning many of them are experiencing a similar commute. Once again though, the bus ride is worth the view! This is the sunset from our balcony.