The weather was absolutely glorious when I arrived in Sydney in mid-February. What made it even better was the fact that by going home to Ghana for Christmas and by not returning to Lancaster, PA for Spring semester, I was avoiding a dreadful winter.
However, just as people in America are enjoying the warm weather that comes with summer, it is getting quite cold here in Sydney. Winter is here, even though most trees are still fully clothed with green leaves and there is no snow (thank goodness!).
A little over a month ago, I made a purchase that changed my life forever. I bought an electric blanket. I had just returned from buying some snacks at the nearby shopping mall, and I was telling one of my roommates about how I almost spent too much money on a blanket that had a ‘5 star’ warmth rating (I was really desperate). You see, we live in the ‘dungeon,’ the lowest floor of my college, where the effects of the central heating are barely perceptible. So we feel the full effects of the temperature drops to -2 degrees Celsius at night (it is usually 15 degrees Celsius during the day, and it’s still cold, because we have to have the windows open because the dungeon gets this smell sometimes…) If you think I’m only suffering because of my African skin, both my roommates (one lives in Maine, which is basically Canada, and the other lives in Atlanta which can also get cold) sleep with portable heaters as close to their beds as possible. The cold is so real haha.
OK, back to the Blankie, my electric blanket. Electric blankets are absolutely wonderful inventions, and God bless my roommate for making me aware of their existence!
Soon after I got Blankie, it was time for IFSA Butler’s Country Life Weekend, where us students studying abroad with IFSA Butler get to live on farms in the country (it’s actually a place called Bathurst, and it’s a 3 hour drive from Sydney Uni). It was wonderful to have home cooked food, breathe in the wonderful country air, and to see another part of Australia. Our program coordinator told us it was going to be cold there, as it is South of Sydney, but the house we stayed in had a fireplace, a heated floor, and lots of blankets, so it was very warm. Much warmer, in fact, than our room here in College; thus, Blankie was deemed surplus to requirements.
The couple we stayed with had moved to Bathurst after spending many years working in Sydney. Even though they kept saying they didn’t have a “real” farm, they had alpacas, chickens, a duck, and a very friendly dog. Other farms had horses and the biggest cows I’ve ever seen, which we got to feed.
IFSA Butler has really surprised me with the quality of its programs. We’ve watched a show at the Opera House (“The Reef”), taken a ferry to Watson’s Bay, had Thai lunches, 2 Tim Tam slam events (please google Tim Tams. They are the best things in the world, and our program advisor brought a lot of them!), and a Farewell Dinner at the Marriott Hotel downtown. It’s been so great!
I must say, Sydney is still lovely in spite of the weather, and I am not looking forward to having to say goodbye