This Blog Post is LEGENDARY!

The other day, I yelled, “Bugger, I forgot to bring my cossie to the beach!”

I’ve obviously picked up on some Aussie slang and I could probably pass as a native now. Just kidding, I really said, “Oh, crap! I forgot to bring my bathing suit to the beach!”

With seven weeks under my belt, I have collected a decent list of Aussie slang I hear on a daily basis or read in magazines or books. Understand this, I’m living in Sydney, not the Outback so don’t be surprised if your favorite Aussie phrase didn’t make my list!

  1. Legendary: My co-workers say this often when they receive good news about a client. Apparently, some guy on How I Met Your Mother says this a lot too but definitely not as common in the States.
  2. Far Out!: My co-workers also say this when they receive bad news or when something’s unexplainable.
  3. I Reckon: I hear this everyday. I reckon I can’t get enough of it.
  4. Dodgy: another word for sketchy. This one’s my favorite!
  5. Arvo: afternoon
  6. Lollies: candy
  7. Sultanas: raisins (Raisin Bran is called Sultana Bran here) Image
  8. Aw, bugger!: Oh, crap!
  9. NMP: Not My Problem, our version of NBD
  10. Cossie: swimsuit
  11. Bloke: a man
  12. No, worries: If you say, “Thank You” to someone, their response is “No worries”. I want to say, “I wasn’t worrying” but I kindly resist!

I hope you enjoyed my list, mates! (BTW, people don’t use the word “mate” nearly as much as I expected)

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Working for Free in One of the Most Expensive Cities in the World…

IS SO WORTH IT! So what, I paid about 6 grand to be here, I get paid zero dollars and zero cents per hour (compared to the current minimum wage: $17 per hour!) and a small coffee and muffin costs me at least $10.

I wake up actually looking forward to work. I leave my apartment at 8am every morning, wait for the train to take me into the city and then wait at the bus stop for a bus that takes me over the bridge and into the suburb of Mosman. I arrive at Dani Lombard Public Relations at 9am sharp with a smile on my face!

For those of you who don’t know anything about Dani Lombard Public Relations or public relations in general, let me fill you in. DLPR is a small, boutique agency specializing in eco-friendly, natural health and beauty products. A few products you might be familiar with include Yes To, Neal’s Yard Remedies and Pukka Tea. DLPR has five employees, that is, if you include me.

There’s basically a whole wall of shelves dedicated to all their amazing clients!

Dani Lombard is the ‘chief talker’ and she deals with new business pitches and directly contacting clients. She also just had a little, baby girl so she’s often out of the office being a new mum! Then there’s Jess, an account manager. She’s been with the company for several years and she’s literally the nicest person I’ve ever met. She also has a young, baby girl at home and usually works three days a week. She’s such a fun person to have around the office. Next is Zoe, also an account manager. She’s the fashionista of the office and moved to Sydney from Adelaide to work at DLPR. She’s been with the company for a few years now and lives nearby with her boyfriend of several years. Finally, there’s Sam. She’s usually my go-to when I need something to do and we collaborate on a lot of projects as well. She only works twice a week because she still attends Uni and will be graduating soon! I’m so grateful to work with 3 of the nicest, most down-to-earth girls I’ve ever met.

Anyways, I walk into the office every morning expecting to learn more about PR and I most certainly do. What I love about my job is that I’m handed a wide variety of tasks every day. I work on everything from packaging up a product to send to a journalist or updating the media contact list to searching for social media coverage online or actually crafting a pitch for a real client! At first, I did more basic tasks like running to the newsagent to pick up a magazine. As I continue to learn and get a better grasp for Australian media, I’ve been handed more important tasks that truly challenge me and allow me to test my PR skills. I’ve been able to work with almost all of their clients and prove that I’m a valuable asset to the team!

Another great thing about DLPR is being able to openly communicate with my co-workers as we all sit at the same desk. I hear EVERY conversation that’s had, meaning I get the inside scoop on everything going on in the company. I can ask a question out loud without having to email someone on the other side of the office. We can all talk about each other’s days and take chat breaks when we get stressed! Aside from learning tons about PR, I’ve been able to build relationships with all my co-workers and that’s what makes my job so much fun!

Here are a few highlights from my work experience so far:

I get to take an hour lunch break and I usually walk to this peaceful, little park where I eat my yogurt with no spoon. Whoops! Sometimes, I’ll sit outside the Telstra store (an Aussie phone company) so I can pick up Wifi and use my phone!

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I get to take home the occasional freebie! These are a few Yes To products I took home and I love them!

The other day we got a new set of shelves because we didn’t have enough to fit all of our client products. That means my co-worker Sam and I got to reorganize the whole office, put products on shelves and de-clutter. If you know me, this was one of my FAVORITE tasks. The photo above is the before picture. I forgot to take an after shot! But, that’s my co-worker Zoe finding her way through the mess.

Last week, we delivered cake to several journalists for a new client, Love Home Swap, with the tagline “Swapping your home is a piece of cake!” Get it?! Anyways, the baker brought in leftover cake and we each had a slice. I’m not usually a cake eater but it was really moist and sweet!

I got to meet Dani’s puppy, Tibby! She has allergies so she has to wear a doggie sweater to keep her from itching too much!

Everybody told me that Halloween didn’t exist in Australia. That’s not true. It exists it’s just not as big. Social Diary is a blog that sends us updates when journalists, editors, producers, etc. change jobs or move positions so we know who to contact for pitches. Every year they host a party around Halloween time and I was invited this year! The party is phobia-themed so I’m going as ‘public speaking’ and pinning pieces of paper with a speech on them to my outfit! The party’s on Halloween night and I’m looking forward to a fun time with my co-workers.

Apparently the Melbourne Cup is a bit deal here. Like bigger than the Kentucky Derby. Oh, it’s a horse race by the way. It’s on Nov. 5th. That’s a Tuesday. Nobody works. You’re some sort of crazy if you don’t bet on a horse and you’re even more crazy if you don’t dress up and where a fancy fastener like the ladies above. Restaurants offer special deals for race day like 3-course meals for $90 per person. That’s how much my lunch should cost but instead it’s FREE courtesy of my wonderful boss! We get to leave work early and enjoy the race over drinks and a gourmet meal. Talk about perks!

Ok, I need to shut up now. Long story short, I LOVE my internship. It’s the best work experience I’ve ever had by a long shot. I know I mentioned several wonderful benefits of working at DLPR but the main reason I wake up wanting to go to work is because I’m surrounded by positive, caring and down-to-earth people. It makes all the difference!

“Well, we have a lot of corn”

These were the intelligent and elegant words I used to describe the state of Ohio last night. Thanks to a family friend born in Australia, I was connected with a lovely Australian family that graciously invited me to their house for dinner. 

Ginta and her husband have 3 kids. They have 18-year old twins. The boy, Ziggy, just returned home after a few months backpacking through Europe. The girl, Vida, just started at Duke University in the States. The oldest daughter who’s my age, Vilija, lives at home and works in North Sydney. Ginta’s husband works full-time as a lawyer. Ginta spends her days running A LOT and taking care of their beloved border collie, Felix. 

After meeting Ginta one afternoon for lunch she extended the invitation to join her and her family for dinner. I gladly accepted! When I arrived at her home, she showed me where I’d be staying (FYI, she lives just minutes from my work so I spent the night!). I stayed downstairs in her daughter’s room.

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Her home was absolutely beautiful and reminded me of the home I stayed at in Lyon, France. Bedrooms and laundry on the basement floor, living room and kitchen on the main floor and more bedrooms upstairs. The interior was very sleek and modern with very few decorations.

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One of the first members of the family I met was their 5-year-old Border Collie, Felix. They are a bit obsessed with their dog, to say the least. He got fed before we did and their Wifi network is even named after him! Ginta had to rush me to work early so she could exercise Felix! He’s the king of the house and he’s truly treated like royalty!

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After I got settled in my room, I headed upstairs to Australian cheese and crackers for an appetizer. I also had a glass of white Australian wine! I told them about my adventures in Australia so far as we waited for the rest of the food to cook.

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We were all pretty hungry and ready to eat by the time all the food was done! Ginta had had her last training session before her next marathon, The Chicago Marathon! She leaves this Thursday and when she’s done she’ll have complained 10 marathons at age 57! She’s hoping to complete, I mean she WILL complete the world tour of marathons. Truly an inspiration and a bit crazy, I might add! Anyways, my hunger was soon relieved after this…

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That’s a salad with avocado and cucumber, “Falling” Lamb with 5 Indian spices, pasta salad with broccolini, spinach, butternut squash and cheese cubes, roasted eggplant and zucchini and roasted potatoes that I couldn’t fit on my plate! Everything was DELICIOUS and a much needed change from my usual spaghetti in a can!

At dinner, we talked about everything from cool places I should try to go to in Sydney (like a great gelato place!) and President Obama to my family and the different things that make Ohio…Ohio. As mentioned earlier, my first answer was “we have a lot of corn” but I was also able to tell them about Buckeyes, perch and walleye fish, cattle, our flat farmlands and our state slogan. BUT, I had to look up the state flower because Ginta was curious and she stumped me on that one!

After dinner I made the whole family take a family photo with me. We experimented with the self-timer and like any family photo it came out a bit…dysfunctional. But, I wouldn’t want it any other way!

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After just one night with this family, I felt at home even though I’m a 24-hr plane ride from my actual home in Toledo, Ohio. I laughed some, learned some and most of all, experienced what it’s like to be a part of a true and AWESOME Aussie family! 

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This was out on the back balcony where I enjoyed my morning cereal before work. I could get used to that! I’m hoping to reconnect with the Viliunas family when we Ginta returns from Chicago. Until then, I can mark “Have dinner with an Aussie family” off my Australia bucket list!

My Mum Always Told Me…

“If you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance!” These popular lyrics taken from Lee Ann Womack’s song, I Hope You Dance will forever remind me of the bond between me and my mom. Every time I accomplish a goal, set out on a new journey or take a big step in my life, my mom sends me the I Hope You Dance music video. Every time I watch it, I end up in tears just thinking about all the great memories, the triumphs, the struggles and the hard work that have gotten me to where I am today. 

Spending 10 weeks abroad in Australia is definitely a new journey so, of course, my mom sent me the music video. I don’t take every verse literally. Meaning you won’t literally find me breaking it down in the middle of the dance floor. Unless of course the cupid shuffle or the electric slide comes on! But if you’re asking me to dance with any sort of rhythm…count me out. 

I’ve officially been Australia for a month now and I’ve had many moments where I thought about Lee Ann Womack’s lyrics and decided not to sit it out. Instead, I got out on that dance floor and busted a move!

Sitting it out would be finishing my last semester at Ohio University and graduating early.

Dancing would be flying to Sydney, Australia for a 10 week internship and graduating in May.

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Mom didn’t want me to go.

 

Sitting it out would be staying in the apartment on a Tuesday evening and going to bed early.

Dancing would be watching an American country singer, Alan Jackson live in Allphones Arena.

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Sitting it out would be snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef.

Dancing would be scuba diving and having a total panic attack.

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Sitting it out would be complaining about my internship.

Dancing would be learning to love it more and more everyday!

I got to take some free goodies home the other day!

Sitting it out would be reading my Bible alone without community.

Dancing would be finding a church and getting involved in a bible study.

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C3 Church in Sydney

Sitting it out would be paying a $10 fine to get my keys out of my locked room.

Dancing would be climbing through my window instead.

Sitting it out would be eating this.

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Dancing would be eating this.

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Kangaroo meat!

Sitting it out would be spending a Sunday morning in bed.

Dancing would be participating in the Sydney Running Festival and running across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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Sitting it out would be spending every weekend in Sydney.

Dancing would be finding new places to explore.

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Beautiful Bar Beach in Newcastle

Sitting it out would be sleeping in on workday mornings.

Dancing would be going for a run along the harbour.

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My view every morning!

Everyday I find a new way to “dance”. A new way to experience wonder. A new way to open a door even if another closes. I encourage you to check out the music video and be inspired to always make the most out of every opportunity you have!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV-Z1YwaOiw

For your viewing pleasure!