A New London Original in NYC

I make it my mission to see at least one Broadway show per semester and thanks to Hofstra University Honors College, I was able to check that box early.

I saw a newer play, Farinelli and the King, at the Belasco Theatre in New York. The show tells the story of how the mentally unfit King Philip IV of Spain is being undermined by his courtiers, while his wife fights against them and hires the sweet soprano-voiced Farinelli to sing to her ill husband. It turns out that Farinelli’s soothing voice does the trick to save Philip’s deteriorating mind, but also woos the queen. This play originally debuted in London in 2015, and has made its way overseas with some of the original cast.


The reason I am writing about this is not to tell you about the comedic play, but to highlight the quick, but insightful talkback the cast had after the show. This is the only talkback I have been to in recent times, and I thought it was interesting because the cast talked about the differences between putting on the show in America and England.

Something repeated by a few cast members is that the matinee crowd in America is much more lively than that in England. Go us!

In terms of the stage and members, the cast had a larger stage in America and was able to bump the musician count from three to six. Also mentioned was the fact that there was no director telling actors where to stand on stage. King Philip IV, played by Oscar and Tony winner Mark Rylance, compared it to learning to play tennis, where “you give and take focus to each other.” The actors learned where the better-lit places on the stage were based on the positioning of the candles that provided the light for the production.


Another unique factor of Farinelli is that there was two-tiered audience seating on the stage, which proposed another challenge to the actors. No one wore a microphone, and while some audience members were near, they had to make sure to focus on the members sitting in the main theater. “We want to make you feel like you’re in the same room as us,” said Rylance. “We want to be as attentive t you as you are to us.”

Some of the favorite pieces from the show are the dresses, which was agreed upon by the whole cast, the wigs according to Queen Isabella, played by Melody Grove, and Rylance took a liking to the gold fish he talks to in the beginning of the show. He explained that there is a rotation of fish used, and jokingly said sometimes they are a bit out of character, which can be a challenge.

The cast finished with a thoughtful discussion of amateur versus professional acting. “I enjoyed acting as much when I was an amateur actor as when I’m a professional actor,” said Rylance. He especially feels positive when “you have a really great night and feel connected with the audience.”

Whitmanythought 1: I did not realize much of the cast was from England and I thoroughly enjoyed the true British accents

 Whitmanythought 2: I hope I can see a show again this semester!


Phun in Philadelphia

I underrated Philadelphia as a kid. I decided it was old, small and dull. It wasn’t a “real” city (AKA not New York). However, over the last few years, I have really grown to love Philly and visit every chance I get. I made it to the City of Brotherly Love twice in one week over winter break and further solidified my appreciation for the city.

Firstly, I made a very last minute trip to the The Academy of Music to see Les Miserables with my grandparents, who were kind enough to offer me a ticket when they saw that there were some available. The showing was part of Kimmel Center’s and The Shubert Organization’s Broadway Philadelphia 2018, which brought a range of Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning shows to the area’s theaters. This was so unexpected because I was invited an hour before my grandparents were leaving to go, plus I did not think I would be lucky enough to see my favorite musical with them again!


Unsurprisingly, the show was powerful, emotional and passionate. Nothing makes my heart tremble like hearing the first few notes from the pit at the beginning of the show. Beforehand, we stopped at an incredible restaurant called Bud and Marilyn’s, which was packed. I enjoyed a scallop dinner and unique take on a pecan pie for dessert.

This last minute adventure turned into one of the most memorable nights of winter break and I am so thankful I got to spend it with my grandparents.

My second trip to Philly was for a concert at The Fillmore. I was at the smaller portion of this venue, The Foundry, over the summer to see a small guitar-singing duo. My familiarity put any worries, which I always get before any live performance, at ease. I was almost as excited to see Milky Chance as I was to see the incredible Tash Sultana, because I discovered and saw this group in Australia as well. This alternative/indie rock band is not Australian, but German.


I met up with my roommate from Australia, Sierra, three hours before the show and to our surprise, there was barely a line. Although I was dreading the long wait, it was a warm day out and time went by far more quickly than I imagined it would. The opening act was a Scottish guitar-playing gent named Lewis Capaldi who was accompanied by a pianist. He told us his specialty is writing sad songs, and said his goal was to make us depressed. Well, he did a great job at that and has a robust voice. Although he was quite enjoyable, I thought the job of the opening act was to pump up the crowd and not bring them down!

Clemens Rehbein and Antonio Greger

Anyway, The Blossom Tour absolutely blew me away. Milky Chance is the type of band that sounds better live than in recordings. Nothing beats the live sound of the band’s funky tunes beating through my veins, filling me with positive energy. I could have danced all night to the leadman Clemens Rehbein’s gritty, powerful vocals, guitarist and harmonist’s Antonio Greger’s impressive solos and percussionist and audio mixer Philipp Dausch’s intense beats all night long. I honestly was blown away by the verve that poured from Rehbein and how passionately the members played. At one point, they miscommunicated and Rehbein had them restart the song. He apologized, and gave the performance he meant to, and I appreciated every second of the vulnerability.

Antonio Greger

It is also safe to say I have never been so attracted to a guy on a harmonica in my life. The foursome (there is a drummer, too) ended with a multiple-song jam session, during which they fluidly swept in and out of intense vocals and hardcore instrument playing. It is so cool to me that a band from Germany can have such success around the world, and they deserve every bit of it.

From Les Mis to Milky Chance, I saw some awe-striking performances. It is mind-boggling to me that I have been to Philly five times since July, but I guess it is not so crazy considering how much fun I have every time I go.

Fall Concert Series 2.0: Lil Wayne

“NO WAY WE ARE GETTING LIL WAYNE AT FALL FEST OMG (insert crying emojis)” is exactly what I tweeted when I found out the rapper was coming to Hofstra for Fall Fest. I was excited because being a two-time Grammy winner and having a mountain of songs under his belt, Wayne was one of the biggest names Hofstra has probably ever hosted for fall fest. I was excited for sure, but I also knew that I could not name a “Wheezy” song or lyric if my life depended on it.

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Photo: Sam Bussell

Fast forward to Fall Fest. I have been working for hours backstage and all of a sudden security kicks everyone out, even my bosses who put the show together. Lil Wayne did not want anyone backstage. Next thing I know, he pulls up in a blacked-out Escalade and literally walks from the car to the stage. The crowd goes wild. I, on the other hand, was wondering what I was doing there because I literally did not know what he was saying or recognize any of the lyrics.

From an objective view, he put on a high-energy performance. He rapped live and seemed excited to be on stage. I was worried he would not even show up, considering a week earlier he cancelled a show because he did not want to undergo any security measures. Wayne shouted out Hofstra and preached to the crowd three things he wanted us to know: first we were nothing without God. Second, he was nothing without us. Third, he was nothing without us. Yes, number two and three are the same. Yes, I used G-rated language, unlike him. He actually performed a bit longer than he was expected to, so that was a nice addition. My favorite part, of course, was when he sang covers and his own part in “The One,” which also features Justin Bieber. Only if Justin was actually there…

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Photo: Trent Campbell

The reaction from the crowd was pretty mixed. I saw people bouncing to the beats and having the time of their lives, but I also noticed other people awkwardly going along with Wheezy. I talked to some people afterwards, and the feedback I received from students matched what I saw in the mosh pit.

Hofstra sophomore Kyle Byrne said, “Wheezy is an amazing performer. I liked when he sang throwback songs, too, that I didn’t know.”

On the other hand, Julia Barry, a junior, noted, “The performance was less than subpar.”

I can confidently say that if you know his music, it is a much better concert to attend. My overall reaction is that he put on a better show than I expected, but he is not someone I would purposely see live.

Fall Concert Series 2.0: Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars was dripping in Finesse as he opened his 24K Magic World Tour at The Nassau Coliseum in Long Island with his song “Finesse.”

Outside the newly renovated Nassau Coliseum

I’ll have to say, I was surprised when he did not open the show with “24 K Magic,” the first song on his 24K Magic album and, obviously, the name of his tour. That is exactly why I loved the show: Bruno does not do what is expected, instead he allows his creativity to flourish and leaves us feeling refreshed after every song.

Bruno’s funky style attracts people of all ages and from all different backgrounds, which was highly evident as I skimmed the crowd: there was a young kid behind me and a group of racially different older ladies dancing up a storm in the section over from me. The ability for Bruno’s artistry to bring so many different types of people under one roof to celebrate him and his music is extraordinary.

Bruno is the epitome of what a talented musician is. The downfall for many pop artists that I notice is their inability to focus on their vocals during a live performance because they are too focused on dancing and running around the stage. However, Bruno makes his moves and powerful singing look as if he could do both in his sleep (he probably can).


Another thing I appreciate about Bruno is that he stays true to his band, The Hooligans. In matching baseball-style shirts, they all animatedly moved about the stage, never missing a step or a note on their guitars and horns. I enjoy how much Bruno seems to appreciate his band with how involved they are in the performance, but still giving them a break during an extended version of “Just the Way You Are.”

The great thing about an artist like Bruno Mars is that he has so many songs that the concert ends up being a perfect mix of old and new. About the first two thirds of the concert consisted of his 24K Magic songs, during which he strutted his stuff on the color-blocked stage to songs such as “Straight Up and Down” and “Chunky.” Bruno’s goofy personality shined through when he and The Hooligans sat down and posed for the crowd to take photos and post them on Instagram. The last third of the show consisted of some of his biggest hits, including “Grenade,” and “Marry You,” which is my personal favorite. Bruno almost had me in tears during his pianist-accompanied “Just the Way You Are” with his soothing, yet strong voice and emotion pouring from his lips.

Bruno packed the show with a whopping 16 songs, with his encore consisting of “Locked Out of Heaven” and “Uptown Funk.” Between the strobe lights and booming indoor fireworks, the audience could never get bored. I am certain, though, that even if it was just a huge stage and Bruno with his guitar and microphone, it would be an equally thrilling show.


Fall Concert Series 2.0: Tash Sultana

I am no longer physically in Australia, but I would like to say my trip was extended until October 5th, when I saw Melbourne native Tash Sultana perform at The Brooklyn Steel.

After falling in love with her music and seeing her at Groovin’ the Moo music festival in Australia last semester, my roommate Sierra and I searched to see if Sultana had any American dates. Before we knew it, we had tickets in our inboxes and a few months of torturous waiting ahead.

Sultana at GTM 2017

The wait was well worth it. I remember the calming vibe that she radiated into the crowd at GTM that allowed me to get lost in her folk-reggae music, despite the enormous mosh pit of rowdy people in which I was standing. Not to my surprise, she did it again, but this time it was even more beautiful. For one hour, Sierra, the hundreds of people that filled the space and I swayed our heads to her peaceful vibes.

Sultana opened up her solo show by laying out the house rules: Don’t ruin the fun and accept everyone. She called the the old steel manufacturing plant-turned concert space a “house of love” and wanted everyone to feel comfortable and safe. She then transported the whole crowd to a place of serenity and positive feelings as she effortlessly created music right before us.

Sultana at The Brooklyn Steel 

Sultana is a looping artist, so she creates all the sounds right then and there and plays them over each other, resulting in beautifully layered melodies. She is definitely someone who can pick up any instrument she sees. Although I could easily listen to just her guitar, trumpet, pan flute and synthesizer playing all day, her raspy and sweet, but strong voice adds a whole new dynamic to her tunes. She is almost hypnotic to watch as she passionately bounces to her dreamy songs.

Before she wrapped up her show, Sultana gave a motivational speech about purpose, during which she said, “You will never find your calling because your calling will find you.” This is the perfect reminder to anyone struggling with their identity and goals. Being the vehement, wild artist she is, she played until the exact last second her manager would allow.

I also have to give Sultana credit for bringing such a thrilling opening act along. When I arrived at the venue, I was not excited to hear the opening act because I was there, of course, for Sultana. However, The Pierce Brothers, also from Melbourne, absolutely blew me away. The twins were unbelievably animated on stage and really brought the energy with their indie rock/pop music. Between their energizing attitudes and playing of multiple instruments, including the didgeridoo, the brothers encompassed what a talented opening act should be.

The Pierce Brothers

Sultana exemplifies sincere talent and passion. Being in the same space as her one more time was unbelievable and I left wondering when the next time I will see her is. I suppose you can take me out Australia, but you cannot take Australia out of me.

Best and Worst of the MTV 2017 Video Music Awards

I was really feeling the FOMO (fear of missing out) of not being at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, since I was there in the pit having the time of my life last year. Despite my consistency of almost never being able to watch award shows, I made sure I was home to view how the iconic show would push political and social boundaries this year. Here are my reactions to the best and worst moments of the 34th Annual MTV VMAs.

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Fifth Harmony Shading Camilla

Having an earlier performance, 5H’s show stuck with me the whole night. Not because of their sexualized dance moves they love showing off, but because they totally shaded recently departed member Camila Cabello. As they opened their performance, they pushed a body off the stage, making the group transform from five to four members. This may hint to a rocky relationship with their ex bandmate, and maybe it was unnecessary, but I appreciate the guts it took for them to put on the visual stunt.

Taylor Swift

Being a huge fan of Swift, I was most excited for the world premiere of her “Look What You Made Me Do” music video. I will be honest, I was slightly disappointed with the song, but after watching that wildly symbolic video in which Swift kills and mocks her old self, this video is all I will be watching for the next few days.

Logic, Alessia Cara and Khalid Performance

Logic has moved leaps and bounds since I saw him open for G-Eazy last year, and I am beyond proud of that. I am also a huge fan of Alessia Cara and their song “1-800-273-8255” also featuring Best New Artist winner Khalid. The song doubles as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, which was plastered on every screen alongside the words “You are not alone.” It was a moving, heartfelt tribute that also included numerous suicide survivors who came on stage during the performance. As Khalid became overpowered with emotion, Logic concluded the performance by saying, “…I don’t give a damn if you’re black white or anything in between. We’re all born equal, but we’re treated unequal…”

Susan Bro

Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer who woman killed in Charlottesville protesting white supremacy, gave a powerful speech about hate and the start of her new Heather Heyer Foundation, which will give scholarships to students pursuing law and social justice issues. MTV also awarded every nominee for Best Fight Against the System title a moon man.

Bebe Rexha

Bebe Rexha has been working her way up the charts with being the featured vocalist in numerous songs to releasing several EP albums. Although she didn’t perform on the main stage, her enthusiasm, excited dancing and obvious love for being at the VMAs caught my eye and made me more thrilled just to be watching. Thank you, Bebe, for being so entertained and entertaining!

Miley Cyrus, Shawn Mendes, Demi Lovato

I need to give a well-deserved shout out to Cyrus, Mendes and Lovato for giving powerful performances of their respective hits “Younger Now,” “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back,” and “Sorry Not Sorry.” These performances showed what young, pop talent is all about.


I am not a huge fan of Pink, but I respect her success and her music. I was excited that she didn’t perform multiple times like last year’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award winner, Rihanna. However, her medley was a strong vocal and visual performance as she sang career-spanning hits from “Raise Your Glass” to “What About Us” and did multiple stunts such as riding a four-wheel on stage. After the performance, Ellen DeGeneres presented the award and Pink gave a touching speech about self-love that focused on her daughter.



 Katy Perry

I was skeptical about Perry’s hosting gig, and my concerns were solidified from the start of the show. From her over-extended opening in which she tried preparing herself to go to the moon and then played with a fidget spinner, it just did not seem fluid. I do think she seemed comfortable and confident up on stage, but her corny jokes and basketball-themed “Swish Swish” performance fell flat.

Fifth Harmony Interview

During a preshow interview, Charlamagne asked the girls if they would share their possible Best Choreography award with Camila Cabello. After a bit of awkward hesitation, Normani Kordei explained that they would give the award to their choreographer (nice save, girl). Charlamagne in no way needed to make this awkward situation for the women. The ladies of 5H were there for a good time and to celebrate their talent, not for dealing with unthoughtful comments.

Ed Sheeran

It breaks my heart to say this, but something seemed off about Sheeran’s performance of his hit song “Shape of You.” I have seen him perform live before, and I know he has sounded better than he did at the VMAs. Also, I did not think it was necessary to have Lil Uzi Vert add some lyrics to the song before switching to his own “XO Tour Lif3.”


After learning that she had the flu, I give Lorde props for still giving us an interpretive dance to her new song “Homemade Dynamite.” I have started liking Lorde a bit more recently, and I was excited to hear her sing, but it’s not her fault she is so sick.

I read articles saying that the VMAs were boring, and I whole heartedly disagree. I thought the show was full of solid performers and a great number of artists attended. I look forward to the show next year!

Oz: Soaking it Up

The only concerns I had for my last week in Australia were my final exam and soaking up as much of Perth and Fremantle as I could.


We take the Mandurah train line to get to and from Perth, but we had never actually been to Mandurah. Some friends and I changed that Monday when we hopped on the line to Mandurah to explore the waterfront. It’s a cute town set with a walkway along the shore and shops and restaurants. After a stroll along the water, we got some tasty fish and chips from the closest thing to a diner I have seen in months.


Tuesday was spent studying for my final the following day mixed in with some blogging. I ended up being well-prepared for my final, so I am actually not dreading the revelation of my final grade. I celebrated the end of finals with Sierra, Jordan and Lynn by going to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales with the movie passes we had won at the very beginning of the semester. The movie was great, as suspected, and the ending brought tears to my eyes. That night, we had our final Murdoch University Village dinner in the form of chicken curry, which was absolutely fantastic.


The first half of Thursday was spent in the Media Arts Center’s television studio for my own personal practice. However, I have absolutely nothing to show for it because technology hates me (really, it does). However, my sorrows were lifted with a delicious half-price caramel and banana waffle from a restaurant in Perth.

Afterwards, Sierra, Nicole and I decided to be extra touristy and take a tour of the Perth mint, which is Australia’s original and was established in 1899. The gold pouring at the end reminded me of watching glass blowing in Venice.

The largest gold coin in the world

The night ended on a high note, quite literally. Sierra, Nicole and I went out with the pancake Friday crew to a karaoke lounge and it was one of the best week nights I had spent in Australia. One thing to know about me is I love to sing and I constantly have songs stuck in my head, and being able to scream tunes shamelessly with my friends was much needed and extremely fun.

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Singing with Nicole

Finally, Friday came—our last full day and night in Perth. We spent it by going to the Fremantle Markets for lunch. That night, we headed out to The Court, which is a club we went to one of our first nights out in Perth. Dancing the night away is one of my favorite things to do, and doing that with my study abroad friends made me feel so lucky.

Saturday’s lunch

Saturday is not easy to think about because it was our last day in Australia. Sierra and I cleaned in the morning and headed to the Fremantle Markets one last time with Brian and Nicole to devour anything that caught our eye. It was a sentimental last Saturday afternoon, or should I say, “arvo,” as the Australians do? Fremantle has to be one of the most unique, fun places to explore and I am so thankful I got to experience it over and over again.


My friends told me I was going to miss the plane because by 4 p.m. I had still not started packing. One of my hidden talents is packing last minute, though, and I proved my friends wrong!

Because we had to leave the village at 3 a.m., Sierra, Nicole and I decided to stay up the whole night and we did that by taking on Northbridge one last time. I love Northbridge because it is always buzzing with people and the energy coming from the streets and clubs, and it is always able to throw a smile on my face.

We went to Mustangs to watch a band Nicole fell in love with the previous week (or should I say the guitarist of the band). I had no idea what to expect from the band and I was pleasantly surprised to hear everything from Taylor Swift to The Killers played by them. I was jumping around like a five-year old high on sugar all night and I loved every second of it.

I could not have asked for a better last night. Luckily, our friend drove us home and we got back an hour before we had to leave, which gave me the perfect amount of time to shower, eat and drag my bags to the parking lot. Luckily, the rest of the crew that we went out with that night pulled up to the village right before we left, so I got to say a second and final goodbye to them.

And with one last hug and a stream of tears, the craziest, most wonderful months of my life were done.


Oz: My First Music Festival

Australia’s hot new music is broadcasted on Triple J radio station, which is filled with different sounds—incredible tunes—that I never heard until I moved here. I am so fortunate that I was able to attend my first music festival partly sponsored by Triple J and see some of my new discoveries in the land down under.

Getting to Groovin’ the Moo was not an easy process. I was supposed to attend with an acquaintance I met, and we even paid for an Airbnb. Unfortunately, he cancelled, I lost my accommodation money, and I was stuck with two tickets. However, I very quickly sorted the situation out because my roommate, Seirra, was more than happy to purchase the ticket and we bought bus vouchers, which were charted by Groovin’ the Moo. Once we got there, all the issues I had melted away and I experienced one of the best and longest days of my life.

In front of the Cattleyard/Triple J stages

Upon arrival, all I could say was “Wow,” as I saw the main stage and another area covered in a giant tent which reminded me of the circus appear before my eager eyes. There were four stages at Groovin’ the Moo (Cattleyard/Triple J, Moolin Rouge (the circus-like structure), Mootown and Silent Disco), the Cattleyard/Triple J stages being the largest. These stages were on one huge, main platform, only being separated by a divider so that acts can perform one after another on alternate sides, which worked out beautifully.

Sierra’s and my day began with some incredible food truck munchies: I bought a vegan doughnut and Sierra got some tasty fries. I did not expect there to be a vast array of food trucks at the festival, and it really pleased me when I realized I would not be eating overpriced, run-of-the-mill venue food.


After our delicious treats, we headed to Moolin Rouge stage to await our first favorite Performer, Amy Shark. Amy shot to fame with her song “Adore You,” which rose to the number two spot on he Triple J Hottest 100 Chart in 2016. Luckily, we arrived at the tent at the right time, because we were front row for her performance! She was so talented and sounded completely the same in person as she did on recording.

Amy Shark

Our luck grew when we were able to meet her and receive her autograph at the artist signing table. She told me she liked my shirt and was such a pleasant person to meet. She is heading to America soon for a small tour and I am so excited for her!

Amy Shark and I

After this meeting, Sierra and I moved over to the main stage almost three hours before our next two favorite artists, Tash Sultana and Milky Chance. We were again extremely lucky that we arrived when we did, because after the fist performer we saw at the stage, the crowds did not dwindle and steadily grew. Before we knew it, we were in the second row of a wild mosh pit. If I have any advice for people attending general admission shows, it is to not enter the main crowd if you cannot handle being pushed, shoved and touched by random people. It is not fun. The only reason I survived the hours of waiting was due to the fact that two people in front of Sierra left the crowd before it got too packed and I shoved her onto the barricade. That’s right—we found ourselves front row again for our two favorite performers!

Tash Sultana


The hours of standing and alternately watching people on the stage in front of us and musicians on the other side of the stage via giant screen was worth it. After what seemed like forever, we were enveloped by the sweet music of Tash Sultana. Tash is a singer, songwriter and looping artist from Melbourne. A looper is a tool that allows one to record herself singing or playing an instrument multiple times and layer the recordings together. Man, does this girl know how to jam! She does not even need to sing; I could listen to her on the looper working her magic all day long. When she performs, it’s like all my worries fade away and it is just me captivated by her beautiful music. Tash is by far one of my favorite musicians I have ever seen live, and that says a lot because I have seen a fair share of artists.

Milky Chance

Luckily, our final favorite performer played on the same stage as Tash one act later. Milky Chance is a German electronic/alternative/folk group whose single “Stolen Dance” lead the men to the number one spot on music charts in several countries in 2013.  Seeing Milky Chance in person is even better than hearing the band’s recorded music. The lead singer’s on-stage presence was so much more animated than any video I had seen of him. I also did not expect his adorable German accent to draw me in so much. Between Tash and Milky, I was in music heaven.

The Wombats

The festival ended with Sierra and I shoving our way out of the mosh pit to find some food. After we finally sat down in the barely lit grass, we returned to the Triple J stage to watch The Wombats, another notable and pretty famous band, and back to Moolin Rouge, to see Dillon Francis, an American DJ.

Sierra and I got back to Perth city around 12:30 at night and had probably the best idea that day, which was to take an Uber home. I cannot believe I experienced my first music festival and that the experience was as incredible as it was. This without a doubt will be one of my favorite shows I have ever witnessed.

Oz: Magic, Music and Markets

Wizards assemble! My busy weekend started Friday with a Harry Potter-themed pub crawl to which I won tickets through a company called Blue Elephant Promotions. This company successfully runs crawls through the UK and Ireland, and decided to bring them to Australia, which I think is pretty cool. My crawl started at seven (there were multiple time slots), which is a bit early to be out on the town, so it definitely was not as energetic as it could have been. Regardless, I received a hand-made wand and completion certificate, tasted magic-themed drinks and got to be surrounded by people decked in Harry Potter apparel, so it was still a pretty magical night.


It only took 21 years and moooo-ving across the world, but I finally made it to my first music festival, Groovin’ the Moo. This is a three-weekend travelling festival that spans all of Australia to let the whole country come enjoy the beautiful vibes and pure talent provided by the performers. Something that I didn’t expect when I moved to Australia was to find new music and fall in love with it. When I found out my new discoveries were going to play at the festival, I knew I had to go. There were several bumps in the road from the start, but I made it there with my roommate and had the time of my life. The best part was that I was front row for my three favorite new artists and got to meet one. There will definitely be another post coming about this incredible time.


To end the weekend, Sierra and I visited the Freo markets for the first time since the first time we went, which was all the way back in February. Our friend Shelby is really into crystals and their energies, and I talked to her a lot about her beliefs over the Southwest IMG_1678trip. I have been wanting to restart my crystal and stone collection, so I thought this was the prime time. She brought us to a few crystal shops and advised us to pick a stone with which we connected. I almost did not get anything, but then I saw a bag of gemstones meant for people with the Taurus zodiac sign and felt like it was the perfect option. I am excited to learn more about crystals and the belief system behind them!

Random luck brought me to something I never imagined I would participate in Friday night. Determination drove me to finding a way to GTM on Saturday, which turned out to be one of the best days of my whole semester. Curiosity lead me to purchasing some crystals at the lovely Fremantle Markets on Sunday. All these things added up to giving me one of my favorite weekends in Australia yet.

Oz: Birthday Week

The last few days I have felt nothing but loved and lucky. Turning 21 is a time I will never forget.

I started the celebration by heading to the beach Monday. I was supposed to go Tuesday, on my actual birthday, but we had a feedback session with the vice president of AIFS to attend. This was my first time skipping class, but it was only a lecture, which is recorded and available online to watch. It was a beautiful quick escape with my roomie.


Well I was already fun, but now I am also 21! Tuesday was a low-key, but great day. I spent most of my day, and my week, talking to friends from home. I only had my wellbeing class Tuesday. This class focuses on the promotion of and facts around physical and mental wellbeing, but that day we got to experience what I think a wellbeing class should be: yoga. I got to take a free yoga course for class—what a birthday treat! I have never been good at yoga between my lack of flexibly and my racing mind, but I am still glad I could try it out again.

Tuesday night, Sierra, Brian, Nicole and I went out for my birthday dinner; or should I say dessert? We went to an eatery called San Churro, and it serves only churros and sweets. We split a platter of 18 churros with six sauces (dark, light and white chocolate, hazelnut spread, caramel, and salted caramel) and I tried a salted caramel popcorn hot chocolate. It was the sweetest dinner I ever had! Then, Brian and I split a savory salted caramel lava cake.  We literally had dessert for dinner and for dessert! My dream. I could feel the sugar rush coming fast and strong.


Nicole said she had to buy me a drink since it was my birthday, and she didn’t let me argue, since apparently her surprising me with chocolate cupcakes was not enough. So afterwards, we walked the strip and settled at the National Hotel bar to listen to some live music. I had no worries and no complaints!


Wednesday was an average day of class for me, but nighttime was nowhere near average. We invited a bunch of friends over to Courtney, Stivia and Hannah’s apartment and had a birthday party complete with pink and black balloons, my favorite colors! I could not believe I was all the way in Australia having a birthday party for my big day, and that I had made enough friends that cared to celebrate. Thankful does not even describe how I felt.

After my birthday party, we took the train to Raffles, a hotel and bar on the water. I was nervous that it would not be a satisfactory place to celebrate, but it ended up being mint. Everyone had a blast! I am so delighted everything worked out so well.

Between last weekend and this week, this has to be up there with the best birthdays ever (maybe the ponies at my sixth birthday has it beat). The best part is that the celebration is not ending here—Friday morning I was set to depart for a weekend getaway to the Southwest region of Western Australia!