Monday, December 3, 2007

over already? it just began...

i've definitely had the time to talk about the past few weeks coming home and all...but when it has come to uploading the final pictures to facebook and writing in this blog...it actually makes it feel final. it makes it seem like it has actually ended.

my life has been a whirl wind of craziness for the past two weeks and it is difficult to believe that 2 weeks ago today, i was still enjoying the 80 + degree days of sunny melbourne, when now I am basking in the 34 degree snowfall of fishkill, new york. wow.

where to begin. i guess i will just start with my last couple of days in australia. they were pretty perfect. on sunday, siobhan was back and her, monica and I first went to the market ( i almost finished all of my souvenir shopping), we then headed over to Myer to see the christmas window's (similar to our Macys and Saks window displays). we then stopped at the big Christmas tree (see tagged pictures on facebook) and on the way to the Polish festival in Fed Square, we amazingly saw the Golden Tower. Now, you're probably like what are you talking about some Golden Tower? I've never heard of this before. well the Golden Tower isn't exactly what the name entails it to be but rather it is a restaurant. now why you ask is this restaurant so important. it is because this restaurant is owned by the Gauccis. who are the Gauccis you ask? the family of Natalie Gaucci, the BRAND NEW AUSTRALIAN IDOL!!!!!! well, siobhan, monica and I were extremely emotionally invested in australian idol this past season and before they named the new aussie idol (after we left), our two favorites from the season matt corby and natalie gaucci were the finalists. we loved it. we pretty much freaked out when we watched the results show the previous monday that revealed that natalie and matt were the final 2. we also knew that natalie was from melbourne and her family owned a restaurant but we didn't quite know exactly where it was so it was our dream come true to have just stumbled upon it. now it also sits on probably the MAIN street in the CBD, and we've probably walked past it so many times...but on that day...we finally noticed it. and we met her mom! it was fantastic! and now, natalie gaucci knows that she has an international fan base. wooo hooo. so then we went off to the polish festival which was a lot of fun...really fun for monica because she was able to speak polish with some people there...pretty sweet. we then stumbled upon this huge Macedonia/Greek demonstration. we assume that Macedonia wants to remain part of greece? i had no idea of that current issue in Europe so that was interesting. then monica departed to go back to study and siobhan and I proceeded to Brunswick street to the Hispanic festival. that was AWESOME. they were teaching various traditional hispanic dances and there was so much food. so much food. so much delicious hispanic food. from empanadas, to paella, to quesadillas, and tacos and burritos...ahh it was crazy. the unfortunate part was that siobhan and I were not really hungry at all...but we both got a little something here and there...i actually got gozleme (its turkish, i know...but its delicious and love it) and it was wonderful. oh, it was also 5 million degrees outside but nonetheless it was wonderful. we pretty much chilled out for the rest of the evening and continued to pack because all and all, we had walked over 5 miles around the city!

monday was more or less some of the same. packing and such. ran some errands, sun bathed poolside for a bit. but mainly packing if i recall correctly. siobhan and I took a walk to erroll street which was nice but it was a really really hott day once again. it was kristen's last day/night because she was leaving on tuesday so we met up with her late on monday night and said our goodbyes. :(

tuesday, i finished my souvenir shopping and then we headed to campus to return books, sell some books, helped a little girl who lost her dad, and hung out with liz and luke for a while before we had to say our goodbyes. we mainly got all of our last packing and such done before leah and monica were done with their exams so we could finally celebrate appropiately. so, after leah was done she met us at liz and luke where we hung out for a while before saying our goodbyes. liz and luke were probably the best IES program directors anyone could ever ask for and I miss them already. we are already planning their visit to the states next fall and our reunion! then the celebrations began. it was pretty much spent the way you should spend your last night abroad. guess. i wont even say. it was fantastic...originally it was just me, siobhan, leah and monica but then alycia returned from her trip and came to the village. we slept very little and said our goodbyes to the boys. we had originally wanted to see the sunrise but it was an awfully rainy day so there was no sunrise.

leaving was quite insane. and i'll just leave it at that. so after delays, an unfortunate $144 excess baggage bill, and 20 hours in the air i made it to NY with all my bags in tow!

being home is pretty weird. i dont think i have come out of that culture shock that you go through when leaving a country for a long period of time. thanksgiving was great but last week was pretty much a downer filled with insane amounts of jetlag which i think i am now finally conquering. i really dont have a lot to say yet although i have been very observant about all the differences...all i know is that i miss australia a lot. a whole lot.

Friday, November 16, 2007

which way is the beach? or the christmas parade...

its been a long time coming. this is going to be a nice and long update since i disappeared off the face of the planet for a few weeks. life has been definitely more than hectic could even begin to describe. so you might need to go away and come back to this blog entry. i'm sure i will be taking numerous breaks to finish this one out...but i have lots and lots of cool and fun stuff to say. i think?

so lets rewind a few weeks back. so meggie was here for about a week or so and we did some cool stuff. that sunday and monday were both pretty uneventful. i was done with classes but studying for my exams and doing work but meggie was able to get out a bit and go touring around the city. on tuesday (the day before halloween), puggs was supposed to be having a halloween party but it ended up being the lamest thing EVER, so we went for 5 minutes (i'm glad meggie was able to see it) but then we headed out to euro trash. it was me, meggie, siobhan, alycia and alcyia's friend jenna from st. mary's. we had an awesome time! it was a lot of fun just dancing around and although the crowd at euro trash is always very interesting (not sure whether in a good or a bad way), we danced our hearts out and i'm pretty sure meggie had a great time. which was key. on wednesday, i'm pretty sure i was back to the studying oh and on tuesday, meggie had went on th great ocean road tour and she had an awesome time which i was very pleased to hear. wednesday, halloween was pretty lame. i didn't go out and ended up just staying in and doing work. so that was that. thursday, meggie went on her phillip island trip and i'm pretty sure i was just doing work again. friday, we had an IES gathering for bowling and dinner which was a lot of fun. we went to kingpin bowling which was pretty sweet and i even had a couple of strikes...and then we headed to this greek restaurant for dinner. it was quite delicious. all in all, a night well spent. oh, and when we got back to the village everyone came up to our room because kristen had a surprise presentation for all of us. she made this awesome video of pictures and such from all of our various adventures since orientation and it was unbelievable. kudos for kristen for putting that together because its awesome and i'm so excited to show it to people once i get home. saturday...i think i studied some more. sunday, me, siobhan, leah, kristen and meggie set out to go to the market in st. kilda. unfortunately, the weather was really crappy and thus the market was canceled...after we had already went all the way there. so we walked around in st. kilda for a little before heading back. then, i did some work before going to church. it was meggie's last night in AUS (SAD SAD DAY), so we went out to dinner for thai at this delicious restaurant on lygon street, got gelato and gelatissimo before aussie idol came on. monday, i went down to meggie's hostel to say goodbye and it was so nice having her here so it was sad that she was leaving. it is so nice to have those friends that you know will always be there and you are sure will always be an important part of your life. i was sad that i couldn't have spent more time with her while she was here...but she said that she had a great time so thats all that mattered in the long run.

the following week, i had an exam and a paper due so i pretty much worked my life away. however, tuesday, was a national holiday for the Melbourne Cup. the only thing that didn't abide by the national holiday was the uni, so i had to take my bio exam that morning which was thrilling. really. thrilling. so that morning, siobhan, kristen and alycia had already left for the melbourne cup and i was still on the fence about going for after my exam. after my exam, i felt pretty good and leah and i decided to head to the cup. it was great! unlike the triple crown of the united states, there equivalent to the triple crown pretty much happens in only one week. the highlight of the week of races is the Melbourne Cup, in which is a public holiday, and there are literally hundreds of thousands people in attendance. All the women wear beautiful dresses, big hats or fascinators and look gorgeous...and all the men look extremely handsome chic in their suits. it was the most perfect day for the races...around 75 degrees, blue skies, sun shining and no sign of rain anywhere. oh, and also a minimal amount of flies (i will get those later). So, there is the melbourne cup, the crown emirate stakes day, derby day, and the oaks day....each of those days is titled after the biggest race that occurs on each day but there is a host of other races that also happen on those days. it is definitely one of the biggest days in aussie sports if not in aussie events in general. even in other big cities, everyone gets dressed up and goes and watches the races and gets trashed that night. but back to the melbourne cup. So, the horse "Efficient" ended up winning, and for the cup being my first horse race, i definitely want to go to more back home in the states because it is such a fun environment. there are many many drunk people, but all in good fun...and i love to get dressed up...so its always an excuse for that. so definitely, a highlight of my time in Australia.

so after that afternoon break it was back to the books as i still had a paper and an exam. i pretty much locked myself in my room for about a week. but I did go out a few times to do some fun stuff. on that friday night, siobhan and I decided that we were finally going to go to perseverance which is the fun club/bar/pub that is known to play 90's music on friday nights. fun? ABSOLUTELY. it was definitely a great time and i am glad that we finally were able to go. on saturday, we had our Final IES gathering...a bbq at the village. spring/summer has definitely hit so the weather was great and it was a nice ending to a great semester of IES. i made potato salad (the first time i have ever made potato salad) and everyone said it tasted good...so i guess i'll go with that but it wasn't mom's...so it couldn't have been that great! but anyways, a nice afternoon. it was also the last time the 6 of us were going to be together...so we all just came up to siobhan & my room after the bbq and hung out for a couple of hours just enjoying our last time together as a 6. i dont think that i could have picked 5 better people to share this experience with. we are all so different but yet share so many similarities which makes us work. we don't really have any intergroup quarrels which is very nice and strange because usually with 6 girls, that is bound to happen. it wasn't until i was talking to meggie that i realized how lucky I was to have such a strong group of 5 girls that are always willing to do something with you. you never really have to go out and exploring on your own because someone is always down for it which is great. there has been so much shared between the 6 of us that no one else could possibly understand. we have too many inside jokes to remember and too many memorable quotes to forget. besides being in love with everything about australia and melbourne...im in love with the 6 of us. i am already dealing with the issue of how I am not sure of how I am going to go home and not come back to this place for at least two years...but i am also dealing with the realization that i also do not know when the 6 of us are going to be together like we are now. although we are already planning our reunion in the district...its going to be weird to not be able to call monica and leah downstairs every half an hour to procrastinate. and going to be weird to not have kristen and alycia come over to "do homework" or more likely just to watch a movie. but thats enough about that. we weren't just the 6. we are the 6. and we'll forever be the 6.

ok. so then sunday, monday, tuesday and wednesday was me sitting studying and doing work. all day every day. so that was pretty uneventful. on thursday after my final exam, alycia and I went to the immigration museum which was great. it is a very interactive museum and i will be putting up pictures soon. I actually learned quite a bit about australian and international history and all of the various populations of immigrants from different places around the world who live here. i definitely understand why they say that australia is one of the most diverse places. its because it clearly is. and it only gets more diverse by the day. and its wonderful. later on that evening, alycia and I went to Claire's (one of our Aussie friends from Alycia's college) art exhibit opening. it was pretty sweet. the other BIG university in melbourne is RMIT which is the royal melbourne institue of technology which is basically their equivalent to a RISD. so, all the pieces were unbelievable and i really loved claire's work. everyone was insanely talented especially only because most of them were first, and second years (more like a sophomore and a junior), but a lot of their stuff looked like it could be easily seen in MOMA. alycia and I then headed over to kristen's and we watched a movie...Sideways...not that great in my opinion but i did learn a lot about winetasting (which i am not sure how will really benefit me).

yesterday, i slept in way too late but i think my body hated me for not letting it sleep before and then alycia, kristen and I went to the Royal botanical gardens (yes, again) to just relax, read and enjoy the unbelievable 80 + weather. it actually was really hot. almost too hot if you ask me...because it was that kind of heat that if you sit in it for about 30 minutes you are sweating. and the FLIES. this is definitely something that i need to tell you about. the flies in australia are none like i have ever been exposed to in my life. in the states, once you a fly bothers you and you shew it a way, its gone. it leaves you a lone. well, not here. not only do they not leave you a lone but there are so many of them. everywhere. its awful. you can not walk down the street without being attacked by tons of them. eek and ew. they hover over you and are just a nuisance. so trust me, when i am back in the states, i will never complain about flies again because they have nothing on australian flies. last night, alycia and I met up with kristen to go to perseverance and kristen had gotten there much earlier and was in but alycia and I waited outside in line for about 30 minutes and didn't move anywhere...and then kristen came out so we ended up just heading back. but there is a huge festival down on brunswick street today and tomorrow so i am going to try and check it out.

today, kristen, leah and I went to the Myer Christmas parade. yes, a christmas parade in the middle of november in 80 degree whether. i have never been in a place where you could either go to the beach or to a christmas parade? all in all it was pretty awesome and i am really happy that i went. pictures will definitely b posted soon. then, i headed to the market to get some of my souvenir/christmas shopping done that i have been putting off for the whole semester. it actually went pretty well and i plan on finishing it tomorrow. tomorrow, tho, i have quite a few things on my schedule. not only do i want to go the market in the morning, but i also want to hit up the festival on brunswick street, the polish festival, st. kilda and go to church. boy oh boy. i do not know if it is all possible but i shall try. and i will get back to you on how successful i am. I'm definitely going to the beach on monday as I plan to have most of my stuff packed which is what i have been upto this afternoon. i can not believe that i am packing to go home. these months have flown by and an experience that i thought would never end...is now ending an i don't know how im going to deal with it. i have seriously been considering coming back here for med school...because i do love it so much. as long as i have waited and been in anticipation to come here, i knew that i would like it but i didnt realize (i only hoped) that i would love it as much as i do. i definitely can see myself living here on a permenant basis....

ok. so thats it for now. i will definitely post before i head home. gosh, that sounds weird. but i dont think i will have my final post until after i get home so stay tuned for that too. until then, Cheers!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

who wears short shorts?

aussie boys where short shorts.

its true. its true. the aussie boys wear absurdly short shorts. i mean, I honestly have no complaint...because most of them you know. have nicely sculpted...well ya know. but i have come to the conclusion that it is from Aussie rules football. i know that i have talked a lot about Footy in the past but i am not sure if i ever mentioned that the men/boys who play wear very short shorts and tight fitting muscle shirts. it feels as though they are stuck in the sports of the 70's in the states. remember back in those days (well, i dont really remember but i have picture proof from my dad), when the pro bball players wore extremely short shorts. well thats how it is. except its 2007. its crazy. its almost like they are wearing the short spandex that girl volleyball players wear...except they are unfortunately not spandex. BUT getting back to my original point...the boys here wear these short shorts to class. yes, to class. its quite the contrast because the girls are pretty europeanly (?) overdressed, and the boys walk in with their short shorts, havaianas and polos. its actually quite funny because sometimes its only 65 degrees outside...and just because the sun is shining...they rock the short shorts. with pride. they keep rockin' em and i will keep watchin' em. haha.

well back to the rest of the week. tuesday was pretty much filled with work, errands and studying. not that interesting. wednesday was more of the same...except we had our last PA's wednesday evening. i cant believe how things are already becoming "last(s)". it feels like i just got here...and i'm getting ready to leave. it is pretty surreal, and i really don't want to talk about it. But wednesday evening was fun and thursday was more work and such and then we went to the MUSEX! party @ Puggs. it was most likely our last thursday @ puggs...but you never really know with that. it was a lot of fun though...a good way to end that tradition. friday, MEGGIE CAME!!! wooohoo! yah, so i just got a bunch of studying and work done before she got here (oh, and siobhan left for sydney on thursday), and she is in Melbourne until Nov. 5th which is really exciting. Friday night we just stayed in and went over to Kristen's and watched a movie...and a night off was definitely needed. on saturday, we went to the market in the morning, came back and chilled out, and then headed off to the royal botanical gardens. It was a beautiful Melbourne day and the gardens were equally as beautiful. Oh, and the gardens are HUGE...it was me, meggie and leah and I think we all underestimated the size of the gardens. but they were gorgeous and we saw at least three weddings (I would LOVE to get married here...haha) and just enjoyed the beautiful day. we then headed back to the village and relaxed before getting ready for the CASINO! woohoo! So, last night we went to the Melbourne Crown Casino which is one of the MUST DO things while you are here. so we did it. and it was great. but never needed to repeat...haha. it is absolutely MASSIVE and i have seen my share of large casinos especially in Atlantic City but it was HUGE and went on forever. The Casino is in the Crown Plaza Hotel on the River so it is absolutely gorgeous at night and packed and just insane. not only is there a huge Casino, but there are 2 big night clubs and at least 8-10 bars/pubs with live entertainment on weekends. oh, and did i mention, the MALL inside of the hotel and the largest interactive indoor amusement park, and the bowling alley? yup. well they are all inside of the Crown. I guess it is technically also known as the Crown Entertainment Complex...but its completely massive and i'm not sure it ever ends. CRAZY. but awesome. Oh! and highlight of the Casino was that we actually got to see the FIRE SHOW! the fireshow is something that appears on many postcards of Melbourne but it is rare that you actually get to see it and we did! and it was just as awesome as it looks in the postcards! i don't really need to ever go back to the Casino but it was something that was fun to do for an evening.

today was pretty lame. i am just pretty much swamped with work and such. so tomorrow will be much of the same but i do have stuff planned for meggie...so she wont be bored with me! haha. but yes, i am enjoying my last days here. but i don't want to leave. and i'm not quite sure how i am going to deal with it. until next time...CHEERS!

Monday, October 22, 2007

you say aussie...i say open.

finally back on the game. not the blog game persay. but definitely the field trip game.

so i believe that i left off with a very un-interesting week. well it got better. so, on wednesday i just had classes and my last Prac! (lab) of the semester! wooohoo! that was definitely a reason for rejoicing. but it also hit me then that i only have a month left here. a month. where did it go. as much as i want to see my friends, family...etc i am not ready to leave here. the easy thing about going home in september was the fact that i was coming back to australia. but when i go home now, i wont know when i will be back (hopefully 2010) but yet. thats a ways away...and i dont really want to leave this place that i now call home quite yet.

so thursday was just more class and also we went to puggs on thursday night which was fun. it was just me and siobhan and we met up with alycia who was there with a party for one of the girls in her college. it was definitely a good time and i really just wanted to dance. and i did. and it was wonderous.

friday! finally a field trip! so spring in melbourne is finally SOLIDLY underway with consistent temperatures in the 70s-80s and it is absolutely wonderful. australians are always really happy...but they are even happier when the sun is shining. so our fieldtrip on friday, was a picnic to the RipponLea estate about 7 km outside of the city. the estate is some mansion from some guy...kind of like a Mount Vernon (not the campus, gdub...) type of place. it was an absolutely beautiful day so we took the tram into the city which was awesome because it was great to see everyone just enjoying the day. at the state library(in the middle of the CBD), everyone was sitting out on the lawns and the same went for federation square too. so the estate was south east of the city but it was only a 12 minute train ride once we got to flinders street station. none of us (me, siobhan, leah & kristen) had ever take the train before so that was an added plus to the adventure. so we got there...found our way to the estate (with the help of this adorable woman) proceeded to the lawn and had our picnic lunch. it was perfect. although the bugs are now out which is probably the only negative the nicer weather...it was great. we didn't take the tour of the inside of the mansion but we walked around the grounds of the mansion which had various lakes, gorgeous flora and fauna (yah bio) and scenery all around. so that was a really awesome field trip and you can check out pictures on my facebook photo albums.

friday night was pretty uneventful...troy was on TV so we watched that but nothing much really happened. lame. i know. but we did have a long but great day! oh and i almost forgot...we stopped at melbourne central (one of the big shopping centers in the city) to go to this store that leah bought a really cute dress at earlier that day. we all got something but then siobhan and i both bought our first pair of havaianas!!! wooohoo!!! for those who dont know, havaianas are THE international flip flop. they really don't sell them in the states but they are HUGE in australia and pretty much everywhere else. they really don't look like much but they are probably one the most comfortable pairs of flip flops...without having to wear them in...i have ever had (rainbows...once worn it might still take the cake). i bought a pair of pink ones...but i am already obsessed...and i think im going to get another pair of the special aussie ones before i leave.

saturday: so alycia and I were very excited for this day to come. for those who don't know, the australian open is not played in sydney but rather it is played in australia's sporting capital...Melbourne. so alycia and i have been saying that we were going to go to Rod Laver Arena (the center arena) of the australian open since we got here..and we finally went on saturday. we took a guided tour (only $ 9!...it was a steal) and toured the australian open grounds and got some amazing knowledge. there were only 5 people on our tour so it was really nice and personal (the earlier tour had 20) and we were able to spend more time and do cooler stuff. if i detailed everything that i did on the tour i would be here forever so i am just going to share the highlights. we were able to go into the pressbox...the pressbox that they WILL be using to question all of the players come january 14-27th. i sat in the seat that andy roddick, james blake, rodger federer...etc will be sitting in! we also went into the MALE changing room. AWESOME. it was actually a pretty modest place (the public locker rooms almost looked nicer) but i was in the room that the aforementioned super stars will also be in and have also been in. alycia and I like idiots went into a couple of the shower stalls...because perhaps just perhaps andy roddick and alycia's favorite, the aussie, lleyton hewitt were there. in those stalls. ahh! we also went into one of the VIP skyboxes...i'm talking $4000/match. sweeet. but the best part was definitely going onto the court at rod laver. granted, there is no court there right now...but to be standing where this wonderful championship grand slam will be played was unbelievable. unbelievable. so an interesting fact about the upcoming years australian open: we couldn't actually walk onto any of the "courts" because they have torn up all of the courts. you ask why? because this year, they are putting down a whole new type of court. the open was previously played on the Rebound Ace Court but now they are putting down a new WM Loud court which main purpose is to provide a more level playing "field". so they are moving from the standard to a dark blue. so currently all of the courts were just a layer of cement. but all in all, it was a great day! a great tour! gahh I WANT TO BE HERE FOR THE AUSSIE OPEN. they have already sold out the championship matches (aussies love their sport!). the coolest part is that because we aren't quite in season yet...you can just walk around the grounds without any worries. it obviously isn't like that once the open starts or in december...but now. yes. and it was great. supposedly, Jelena Dokic was at the park that same day but we missed her! sad day!

sunday- work work work. finals and papers just around the corner so that is what my life is now. BUT i had the best 2 hour skype conversation with my ENTIRE family...although it took away valuable studying time it made me realize all the great things i am going back home to. it also got me really excited because everyone is coming to NY for christmas this year. should be a blast. oh! and i've officially changed my ticket so i am now home for thanksgiving. although i would have rather had the extra time here...i'm going home for my mom primarily. my dad too (obvi). but my mom got really emotional about being away from me for the first thanksgiving ever. so i'm going home earlier. and i am happy about it.

that leads to today. classes. work. classes. blaahh. now-> aussie idol results show. so this week is the last week of classes!!!! CRAZY. i could go into greater depth about that...but i'm not going to. haha. so i will get back to you later in the week...have a good one! Cheers!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

can i have some tomato sauce with my chips please?

only if you want to pay 20 cents a package. yeah, thats right. tomato sauce (ketchup) costs twenty cents a package at most fast food restaurants. who knew that the rest of the world does not assume that chips come with tomato sauce? that is a very interesting observation that i have noticed in my recent adventures into various fastfood establishments to see the similarities and differences. you would think, that mcdonalds, an american company and KFC, another american company, would do the american thing...and not charge you for tomato sauce. wrong assumption. i have never lived/been to a country where tomato sauce was not automatically served with chips but here...they don't do it. for any of my friends studying in england, do they too not give you tomato sauce with chips? maybe its just the states that are different in this respect but honestly...australia...you need to hop on the bandwagon because chips are SOOO much better with tomato sauce than without. Point USA.

another thing about the fast food industry here...we have burger king, they have hungry jacks. same establishment. same owners. same whopper. different name....crazy huh? i think i actually like the name 'hungry jacks' a little more. at least, you can definitely create so many more fun jingles with that name than burger thing. i guarantee you have already started humming a tune in your head. oh and mcdonalds is obviously still mcdonalds...but their mcdonalds comes with this placed called McCafe. mmmhmmm. oohhh yeah. now McCafe doesn't just store the $ 1 hot delicious apple pies that we are all accustomed to but it has everything from chocolate cheesecake, to regular cheese cake, to a variety of pies, brownies, desserts and cookies. it is basically a bakery inside of mcdonalds and they also serve starbucks like coffee drinks and such. Come on US. catch up. australia is way ahead in this category. Point AUSSIE LAND.

maybe in the states we do have 40 cent and 50 cent cones...but if we do...i have never heard of it. thats right folks. both hungry jacks and mcdonalds both cell 40 cent and 50 cent ice cream cones respectively...and i'm not just saying that actual cone...it does include the soft serve deliciousness ice cream of your choice. 40 & 50 cents! its a steal. i pure steal. and it is QUITE delicious. and don't you worry kids...mcdonalds does serve flurries here. but really. 40/50 cent cones! Point AUSSIE LAND.

unfortunately, a long with the rest of this expensive country comes the lack of dollar menu. how do you survive australia? how do you survive? so there is no dollar menu at the aforementioned establishments which leads to a very expensive fast food outing (goes against the whole point). Point USA.

oh. and there is no wendy's. god i miss those 99 cent chicken mcnuggets. Point USA.

but there is also no Taco Bell. good on ya Aussie Land, good on Ya. Point AUSSIE LAND.

however, although late nite food outings to occur for most people to these various fast food establishments. the smart ones know that your best late night munchy food comes from the coveted pizza/chinese/souvlaki/kebab/fried food deliciousness restaurant (sorta kinda) place. i know you must be thinking, boy...how can any place have all those different types of food. well, they do. and the places are usually not that large either. how they manage to pull it off, no one will ever know. but one does know that when you may have some munchies due to the consumption of a particular substance or just plain late night hunger...you will find one of these places. at least a 2$ slice of pizza, a couple of dim sims, fries and a lamb kebab. yes. every last one of them in one night (just kidding...but you get the picture). oh, and they are cheap. it is melbourne's tribute to the lack of a DCsnacks program. 3 am non/fast food food. Point AUSSIE LAND.

no Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Point USA.

no Dunkin Donuts. Point USA.

Tim Tams & Cadbury Chocolate point AUSSIE LAND.

Little Italy open until 2-3 am on a weeknight...point AUSSIE LAND (this includes delicious Gelato places).

Starbucks/Gloria Jeans/Hudson's Coffee. no points allotted.

Pizza Hut/ Dominos. no points allotted.

oh. Delicious CHEAP Sushi. Point Aussie Land.

Paying for Soy Saunce, Ginger and Wasabi. Point USA.

as you can see, there are many differences and similarities between the fastfood nations of these various countries. some for the good. some for the bad. the problem is that although the people in Aussie land seem to eat smaller portions and appear to be smaller than the average american...supposedly (according to statistics and whatever), aussie land also has a major obesity problem. who knew? so i guess you have your pluses and minuses for both places. but all in all many similarities do remain.

so there is your guide to fast food in aussie land. good luck. but bring your own tomato sauce.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

lazy days

ahh yes. sadly enough, birthday week is pretty much over. well, not officially but pretty much. sad day. but the week as a whole was very solid.

wednesday: lots and lots and lots of classes. that pretty much summed up the day and i went and hung out with the family that night at the hotel. oh, and it was kristen's birthday!!! wooohooo!!! so we hit up PA's and had an awesome time and celebrated the 20th year of kristen berberich. but yes, that was pretty much wednesday. oh, and i somehow lost my AMAZING sunnies that i bought while i was home...sad sad day. perhaps i will be able to track them down around uni at some point. but doubtful.

thursday: not that interesting of a day! oh wait. just kidding. well in the morning after my class, i took the fam to the market which was an experience. we first stopped to get some breakfast and then they were overwhelmed by the amazingness of the market (as is everyone). we were there for at least 2.5 hrs and only made it through 2 rows of sheds (compared to about 20 total). they also regretted not listening to me, when i told them to wait until the market to buy their souvenirs. they still bought tons of stuff and i got a little overwhelmed just thinking about all the christmas presents and souvenirs that i have to get from the market before i come home (which is only a little over a month now...SAD SAD SAD DAY). i think i might have to start making my list and going each week and getting a few things at a time. well, then later that afternoon i had a few classes, came back and took a nap (was SOOO EXHAUSTED) and then headed over to the hotel to spend some time with the fam (last night in melbourne before going home SAD SAD DAY). so that was solid and then i just came back to the room and pretty much crashed.

friday: again...pretty boring. i went to the hotel before my 2 classes and saw the family off. i then went to my classes, and then the girls surprised kristen for her birthday present and took her on a gelato tour. so we stopped at 4 gelato places and gave her tasks to complete at each place. solid afternoon (although it was raining off and on all day). that night, it was nikki's birthday, so siobhan & i headed over to brunswick street (just for a little) to wish her a happy birthday at her 21st celebration. we were able to see her and hang out for a minute, but neither me or siobhan were in the mood for partying that night. however, we determined that brunswick street is pretty awesome ( a mix between adams morgan & georgetown...for all you district folk) and we would have to come back and create our own bar/pub/club crawl down it one evening.

saturday: it was pretty much a day filled with work. alycia and kristen came over in the afternoon to join us for work. actually, that morning...siobhan, leah and I woke up at 7 am and went and worked out! it was fantastic (i actually have skyrocketed myself back into working out). we did a very very intense sprint work out. solid. but yeah, we just did work that afternoon which eventually led us all to procrastination (duh) and then they left. we ate dinner. and got ready for our self made bar crawl down russell street (a main street downtown). it was a pretty chilly night but we had a good time. the highlight of the night was this place called trader bar. trader bar is a pretty sweet place because it is set up like the stock market and the prices of all the drinks, whether it be a cocktail, an american beer, a european beer...etc all fluctuaed every 12 minutes like the stock market. SOOOO COOL. i know your jealous. but yes. so saturday night was solid.

sunday: more work and we also had a bbq in the courtyard which was nice. i went to church this afternoon which was awesome as usual (i've missed it for about the past month since i haven't been here) and now that leads me here. doing pretty much nothing except watching tv and not doing work. well...tomorrow night should be a lot of fun...it is andrew's 21st birthday and we also have another bbq before that. so it should be a really fun night.

i have some observations...but i'm getting lazy. so i'll post them later. g'day!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

and with an element of surprise...

ahh yes. so among many things that have happened since i last posted, the most important is obviously the fact that i recently turned 20! woohoo! although i believe that even prior to the day, i was already having a quarter life crisis, and though i dont feel any different...its true. im 20. but more about that later.

sunday we went to the blue mountains which was great. it was absolutely gorgeous up there and although the blue mountains aren't "blue" per say, the mist that comes down over them is blue and it was captivating. it was nice to get out of the hustle and bustle of sydney (although i do want to go back before i leave), and just enjoy the beauty of australia for a day. the fam enjoyed it too which was nice. it was definitely worthy of the top 10 list of things i wanted to see in australia, and i think that if you come here...you should definitely go check them out too. in comparison, for those of you who have been to the grand canyon...it had the same sort of feel except it had trees?...if that makes any sense to you instead of just rock. it also wasn't quite on the same aspect of the grand canyon but i think thats the most similar thing to it (that i have seen) in the states. i got to see the three sisters, these cool rock formations off one of the mountains which was pretty awesome and also a pretty sweet waterfall. i think the craziest part about the mountains themselves is that they are very vast but not connected by sight? i'm not sure how much sense that just made...but in order for you to get to other parts of the mountains you have to drive every which way to see all the parts of it.

for lunch, we stopped in this really cool town called Leurna which on that day had a huge garden festival going on. it was very very very small mountain town (all of them were), but for the garden festival what happens is that all the members of the community have these unbelievably beautiful gardens and on that day...everyone opens up their back yards or whatever and you can just go in and out and see everyones gardens. pretty sweet/crazy ya think? we didn't go into anyone's gardens because i think thats pretty weird but there was also a huge market/festival going on in the main street of the town which we paroused for a while. there were various arts and crafts vendors, food and all that. this just added to my list of another cool market that i've been to in australia. i believe that they are very popular around here because i am pretty sure that you can find one anywhere in australia on any weekend. its a pretty cool culture though. oh, and one of the best parts of the market/festival was this turkish food vendor. they were selling these things called g
รถlezme which was delicious. it is almost like a very very very thin pita like bread that they put spinach, cheese and minced beef in and almost cook it like a quesadilla. DELICIOUS. if you are ever in turkey, or ever go to a turkish restaurant or whatever...get that.


after lunch, we headed off to the wildlife park. now, i have had my share of wildlife parks and the fam went to the zoo the other day so i wasn't sure about this part of the tour but it ended up being awesome. they got to get up, close and personal with the kangaroos and koalas which i believe they enjoyed and the highlight for me was the LITTLE PENGUINS!!! now, although i told you a while ago when i went to phillip island that was the primary reason. however, if you also remember i told you that we were not allowed to take pictures of them...but at the park we were so now i have pictures of the little penguins and they were adorable. sweet life.


on the way back, before we took the river cruise, we stopped at the olympic park which was awesome. i wish we had more time (i only had10 minutes) because i couldn't see everything...which was dissapointing but to just to be there was great. loved it (and i want to go back for longer)! oh, and i also decided that i MUST get to china next summer for the olympics. somehow, someway...i gotta get there.


monday morning we headed to melbourne and i was just so excited to have them finally come to my city. it was an early flight but i made it back in time for my classes which was good. i took them to lygon street for a little bit on monday but they were pretty exhausted and just relaxed for the day. monday night also began my & kristen's birthday festivities. the remaining four, took us on a surprise dinner trip to the Pancake Parlour and it was delicious! we all had pancake desserts for dinner and it was a swell way to begin the bday celebration. i had pancakes topped with hot apples with cinnamon and cream and it was AMAZING. we all decided that we would definitely go back there again sometime.


tuesday= BIRTHDAY!!!Wooohooo! the family wen't on a day trip to the great ocean road and they loved it which was great. i only had two classes so i went to them, had lunch with alycia and siobhan at st. marys, and then went into the city and had some karri birthday time. it was perfect. i bought myself a crepe which was delicious before heading back to the village to do some work. last night, we went out to dinner with the fam to this very good italian restaurant on lygon street. i had tiger prawns (shrimp) with risotto and it was delicious. but we definitely saved the best for last with dessert. i had STICKY DATE PUDDING (cake)...obviously and it was delicious. i made mom, yvette and bishop taste it as well and they enjoyed it equally. the biggest surprise of the evening was when siobhan and i returned to our room after dinner. i opened the door and was welcomed with a "surprise" from the remaining four with insane decorations and stuff everywhere. i had no idea! they got me! it was perfect though. i don't think that i could have asked for a better way to end my bday and for a better group of friends to end it with. ahh, i love the 6 so much and am already getting sad to think about how i am going to deal with not having them a mile away at any point during the day. they bought me a freddo ice cream cake which although i was stuffed from dinner, we still ate it and it was still delicious. but yes, so i had a wonderful bday and the bday celebrations aren't stopping because today its kristen's bday (surprises are in the works), tomorrow is george's and friday is nikkis. i guess you know what i'll be doing all weekend...muahaha.


well, i think that is it for now. i have some more important observations to share with you but i must be off to class now. until then, Cheers!!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

dude, where are the whales?

g'day from sydney! so i got into sydney yesterday to meet up with the fam for the weekend before bringing them back to melbourne for the week. i got in at about 3:10ish in the afternoon and caught the shuttle to the hotel. ahh, i also forgot how much i love staying into hotels over hostels. you never realize how luck you are until you are forced to backpack around australia sleeping from one hostel to the next. now, don't get me wrong...i've met some awesome people and had some great times at these various hostels and backpackers resorts but there is nothing like a nice hotel. ahh, sweet life.

so it was a beautiful day in sydney when i arrived....about 75-80 degrees which was a nice contrast from the 65-70 of melbourne. we didn't do much last night as they are still pretty jetlagged so it just mainly consisted of me writing emails just to stay up later last night. i felt like an idiot because i shouldve called sam and stella then but it completely slipped my mind. i also feel bad asking the fam to let me go out because they are here to see me and so i feel obligated/i want to spend as much time with them as possible.

today, was pretty great. i got to see the harbour bridge and the opera house which were honestly two of my main objectives in this trip. i mean, i think thats the main objective for at least 99.5% of the people who come here. and it was a gorgeous day so it was absolutely perfect. the opera house was as unbelievable as the pictures make it out to be and the INSIDE is even more outstanding than the outside. we went on a guided tour and we had a great tour guide named Peter who was very engaging, funny and intelligent. my favorite part was definitely the concert hall which holds the largest pipe organ in the world. over 10,000 PIPES! insane!! the hall itself was absolutely outstanding and definitely the highlight of the entire structure. i learned so much that i would have never known about the strucutre and everything so if you ever get to australia (which you must) and you ever get to sydney (which you will) you must go on the opera house tour. trust me, looking at it from the outside is a great post card but seeing it from the inside is magical.

now, i really wanted to explore the rest of the city...check out the chinese gardens, the royal botanical gardens, the government buildings, maybe the aquarium (with the largest collection of species from the great barrier reef)...you know, do all the touristy things that you are supposed to do. but, the fam really wanted to go whale watching (which i have never done), so i was down for it. we got on the cruise boat and made our way throught the habour (which i didn't realize how HUGE it was...and beautiful) and into the pacific. we were cruising a long in the pacific when all of a sudden we ran into this storm. smack. i felt like i was in castaway without being castaway so i guess it was more like the perfect storm...but you get the picture. up and down, side to side...i definitely was very very very queesy throughout the whole ordeal. and we tried to ride through it but it definitely wasn't working and the storm wasn't holding up at all so we ended up having to turn around. goodbye whales. actually more like, dude...where are the whales? so, on my first trip to go whale watching i don't even get to see any whales. i saw some when i was at fraser island and i didn't even have to leave the shore. so i think that when it comes to whales...i'm going to stick to the beach and seaworld.

by the time we got off of the water, everyone was pretty starved. so we ran some errands and ended up going to this dinner across the street from the hotel called "mama's kitchen". it was actually delicious. i had pesto pasta with chicken which was phenonemal and also Pumpkin soup. i know alycia, you're proud of me. so now we're back at the hotel just relaxing because tomorrow we're going to the blue mountains! i might go and hang out with sam at her apartment later but i am strangely tired and we have to be up way early in the morning for our trip. but yes, i am soooo happy that i am going to the blue mountains because it was definitely on my top 10 of places that i wanted to see in australia. and sofar number 1 and number 2 have yet to be fulfilled (the rock and the reef). but about that...i'm hoping to get at least ONE of those done after my exams are over because i found out earlier this week that i have about 11 days between my last exam and when i leave for the states (don't even get me started on that). so i definitely need to organize a trip of some sort. i also decided that i want to come back to sydney again with some friends because not only did i really not to get to explore the city as much as i would have liked...well actually that is the main reason. oh, and i also definitely want to be able to hang out with sam and stella when i come and visit.

i'm sure you guys are wondering how i feel about sydney compared to melbourne. well, i think sydney is gorgeous (probably just as pretty) but it is so crowded here. now, don't get me wrong...melbourne definitely gets insane during the weekends and definitely during the day but sydney is a little ridiculous at some point. it is definitely the NYC of australia. i also believe that most of what happens in sydney happens in the CBD (central business district). however, in melbourne that is definitely not the case. most of the culture, diversity and just as much fun occurs outside of the CBD which i definitely love. definitely more tourists in sydney and sydney is taller but mainly there are more tall buildings. i will keep my eyes out for some other stuff but i think thats for now. i will probably come back to this monday (maybe tomorrow if i'm not too tired) but oh lordy, im 3 days away from being 20 and i haven't even begun to think about it. hope you enjoy your weekend! cheers!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

under down under

so this is it. i aim to finish telling you EVERYTHING i did on mid semester break...so take some time. or go and come back. whatever your choice...but here we go.

so i left off with Monday night. so once we got back to hobart, we checked into our crappy/dodgy hostel (it was ok though because the four roomed together) and then headed off with the majority of team IES to get some dinner. we went to this cute Japanese restaurant which was quite good. that night is when my life got turned upside down though. we were at the end of little miss sunshine (good movie, yess i know), when i got a phone call from sharice telling me if i had talked to that night. i said yes, i had because talked to them maybe a couple of hours earlier. then she proceeded to tell me that my grandma had passed the night before. that rocked my world. i really am not going to go much further with this because for those of you who know me, know that i am very close to my grandma. so yea. but that changed my spring break because i ended up having to go back to the states...which i will get to eventually.

tuesday: we went white water rafting which was awesome...the river rapids weren't that intense but our guides were awesome (especially woody who was in our boat) and it was especially fun because "the 6" was in a boat together. so we tacked the rapids and eventually as we were making our way down to the river it just ends up being boat battles with people jumping from boat to boat trying to get people to fall in the river (it was very shallow). we had one official boat race and of course the 6 won. thats right, the girls kicked butt. per usual. but yes, that was a great way to get my mind off of things and just enjoy the day. we then headed off to the airwalk which was a 2 hour bus ride away but everyone passed out so it was good. then when we got to the airwalk, we had this MASSIVE bbq lunch awaiting us with my favorite aussie sausages and tons of delicious food. pleasant surprise. but it was awesome and then we went on this airwalk (walking among the tall trees) and it was beautiful. like the rest of australia. but it was great. we then headed back to hobart for dinner and such and had a low key night before going to bed.

wednesday: FREE DAY! woo hoo! 5 of us girls decided to go to the spa for the day which was awesome! it was only 20 dollars for a 3 hour spa treatment of sorts which was great. funny story. so for some reason (because i guess its like this in the states), we assumed that you go to those in your birthday suits. so, change our clothes, put on robes and on our way out the door we see the sign that says "Bathers must be worn". OOPS. lucky for us, we saw the sign because if we hadn't that would have just been a little embarrasing. a little. so we send kristen running back to the hostel to pick up all of our bathing suits and then we proceed to enjoy our spa day. close call. very close call. we walked around the city for the rest of the day before grabbing lunch at subway and going to the telegraph hotel that night. the telegraph was a pretty sweet bar which had a special that night which at 5, jugs were $5 and 6, jugs were $6 and so on and so on. the whole IES crew was there so it was definitely a fun night and we found where all of hobart was hiding out! sweet.

thursday: best day ever. it was definitely a save the best for last kinda day. so that morning we set off in our bus up to mount wellington, the highest point in tasmania. a whopping 4000 ft. it was pretty unbelievable. the view was magnificent and then we hopped on our bikes with our cool tour guides and got ready to ride down the mountain. UNBELIEVABLE. nothing but the wind in your face and i was going...i don't even know how fast but it was definitely pretty fast with nothing but me and the mountain. it was such an amazing rush and i loved every minute of it. we were on the roads with a few pit stops along the way until we started going on our off road ride. that was insaneee. it was awesome and i didn't fall but lots of people in our group because it was crazy steep and sooo many rocks and gravel and such. it definitely felt like you didn't have control of the bike at points but i felt pretty extreme doing it. it was crazy because we ended up all the way down by salamanca markets (where we were the first day) and all we could do was look all the way back up and not even believe that we just biked down it. awesome.

it only got better. thursday afternoon we headed to the cadbury factory which was honestly one of the highlights of the trip before we even left melbourne. although the tour could have been better, the factory was awesome and it was definitely chocolate mania. as soon as you walked in, you tons of free little chocolates and then the end...at the cadbury store was AWESOME. soo much cabdury and so cheap= the best thing ever. so it was also nicely planned because i was able to bring my chocolate back with me to the states the following day to share with my family one of the many joys of australia.

that night we had our final IES dinner of the trip which was delicious and sad all at the same time. sad because this awesome trip was over but we went to this delicious Indian restaurant called Saffron that was on the river and it was delicious. i love indian food so it was definitely a fantastic final dinner. after stuffing ourselves, the 6 decided we would take a night stroll to walk off some of our food and just enjoy our time together before we all departed ways for the next week of holiday. it was definitely a great idea and a good ending to a great trip.

friday: time to go. so i was flying from hobart to sydney, from sydney to san francisco, from san fran to st. louis and st. louis to columbus. boy. sounds like a trip. well it was. it was nice because my flight didn't leave that much longer after the rest of team IES made their way back to melbourne...so i didn't have a lot of time to get sad or bored in the airport. flying overall...although long was fine. the issues however arose when coming to my bags. this is going to be fun.

so i get into san francisco, make my way through customs which fine (i had a really nice customs officer who even knew what tim tams were!), and then go on to baggage claim. i get to baggage claim and I had about 2 hours before my flight from SF left for St. Louis...so i'm waiting and waiting and waiting for my bag. it takes a long time for them to get all the bags off of the flight because the flights are so big...so after about 45 minutes, an hour they are finally done getting all of the bags out but wait, no bag for karri. sweet. so i go to baggage claim, put in my baggage request...qantas didn't even give me any money because i am an american citizen! yes. it sucked. so they said my bag would come to columbus the following day. fine. thats alright. so the next day was the funeral (very good, my family is amazing and it was good to see EVERYONE) but they were supposed to call when it got in. saturday rolled around...no bag. sunday rolled around, no bag. we keep and keep calling and no one is really able to tell me anything. so monday, my mom had to drop some fam off at the airport...and so she goes down to baggage claim to see if my bag is there. and guess what, it was. sitting there since saturday because the idiots at qantas never told the american baggage claim who to bill the delivery of my bag to. so they never delivered it. ahh. awful. lucky for me...because i was heading back to melbourne the following day. so i got my bag just in the nick of time.
going back to australia: so seeing the family was great for a couple of day but i was definitely ready to get back to the australia. so i left around mid day from columbus to chicago to san fran to LA (stupid american airlines) to sydney to brisbane because i was planning to meet back up with monica and alycia and make our way to the reef. so the agent at american was very nice and she checked my bag all the way through to brisbane. so i make it from columbus to chicago fine and all and everything is dandy until the time comes around for boarding. not boarding yet because their is a thunderstorm and the plane that we're supposed to be getting on can't come in yet. so the plane finally gets in (delayed), and then the electricity goes out on the plane (before we got on), so we have to wait for another plane. more delays. i started getting a little worried because we were starting to push it close to when i was supposed to be leaving san fran for LA. so we finally get out and get into san fran but i was too late. this sucks. i go to the american airlines agent and there is no more flights going out to LA before the flight from LA leaves for sydney. BOOO. this is when i almost cried because i realized that my plans for the reef and vaca were starting to go down the drain. so i ask them what is going on with my bag and so the agent put in a request that they put my bag up so i can go get it at baggage claim before i got to the hotel. so i get my food vouchers, and go down to baggage claim...and guess what. no bag. surprise surprise. they said that my bag should be coming in on the next flight from chicago and they would bring it to the hotel. alright. solid. so i head off to the crowne plaza (very very nice) and wait for my bag. nothing. no bag all night long. so the next day when i make my way back to the airport for my flight, i go down to baggage services first to see what happened. they said that most likely my bag went onto brisbane without me because it is not showing up in the system. so i said alright. so my flight to LA was fine and i go and check with the qantas agent and they same thing. alright so fast forward to brisbane. i get into brisbane and go straight to baggage services, and of course my bag isn't there. i put my claim in (they gave me $100 this time..woo hoo), and make my way down to southport and surfers paradise for the evening. i had decided to go on a two day fraser coast tour from saturday to sunday because i really wanted to see it and i thought it was about time for me to do some true travelling on my own. i get to southport, head the hostel that i was staying at dropped my bags off and went to get some clothes ( i had NONE). southport and surfers was amazing. i met some really cool people at my hostel that night and took a nice trip to the surfers beach with them that night. solid times. everyone here is honestly soooo nice and not sketch and it was just a really cool evening. i had to be up super early the next day to make my way to the pick up spot for my trip. so i'm there and get picked up and get really excited for my trip. we eventually get back to brisbane and head off to fraser island.

this is saturday if everyone is a little confused. so it takes us about 3.5 hours total to get to fraser island (the largest sand island in the world), and it was amazing. before we got to frasers, we stopped at rainbow beach which was beautiful. i'm just so convinced that the pacific is definitely prettier from this side. so onto fraser island. i'm going to try and keep this pretty succinct. NOT.

so fraser island not only doesn't have any paved roads but it also is only accessible by barge. on fraser island, you take the barge over with your four wheel drive vehicle. its pretty insane. the barge was really cool and i have never been on anything like it. so as soon as we get on the island oh boy. oh boy. so the sand was supposedly really soft that day which made it extra bumpy...crazy. what a ride. so we rode on the sand (which is the only way to ride) on 75 mile beach which was unbelievable. we obviously didn't ride the whole 75 miles but i'll say we covered at least 40 of it. but just imagine a beach that just stretches and stretches and stretches. and the ocean is unbelievable. the water is sooo blue. its not carribean clear just the most unbelievable blue that you will ever see. and the sand is so soft. ahh. it was pretty much paradise. fraser island is so reknown and unique because not only is the worlds largest sand island but it is also the only place in the world where the rain forest grows out of the sand. yes, the rainforest. so on saturday we stopped at eli creek (this cool spot where a creek from inside the rainforest of the mountain leads out to the ocean which was pretty sweet. we also saw the colored sands which is also known as the pinnacles which almost look like a mountain of solid different color sands. crazy beautiful. we also took a very bumpy ride into the rainforest to one of the many lakes on the island (this island is pretty HUGE by the way) and saw little snapping turtles! soo cool! and let me tell you about the lakes on the island. just like the ocean...all the lakes, streems and rivers are crystal clear. you can see to the bottom of everything. i have never seen anything like it before. ahh paradise. oh, and the drives into the rainforest are definitely the most insane ones. its probably 30-40 minutes of your life that you honestly think your stomach is going to literally come out of your throat. but it was still awesome and definitely worth the small uncomfort. we also visited the maheno shipwreck which is honestly a old rusted ship that crashed into the island and has just deteriorated on the island. it was soo sweet. you'll have to check out the pictures to understand how cool it was.

that night we checked into the resort, had dinner and then watched the moon rise. sooo cool. i had never seen the moon rise from the ocean before and it was just unbelievable. not only how it turns from red to white but just everything. ahh so cool. then we headed to the beach bar at the resort where everyone was hanging out (all the people from various tours and such) and then karaoke started. that was actually a really fun time. i made friends with three other people on my tour...vanessa from hong kong who went to UVA and now is a consultant and nick and patty two cool irish guys. so i pretty much hung out with them on sunday. but yeah, the beach bar karaoke was a lot of fun. i actually sang "summer of 69" and it was all in all a good day and good night. oh, and i saw the most beautiful boy/guy i have ever seen in my ENTIRE life. he should've been walking down a runway in italy compared to being a crew for a tour company. but yeah. thats beside the point.

on sunday we had a couple of more stops before heading back to brisbane. we went into the rainforest and went to central station which we just learned a lot about the history of the island and such. we then went to this gorgeous creek where the water is pretty much drinkable because you can see to the bottom. you can't even see the water sometimes because its so clear. another interesting fact about fraser island is that they produce their own water from random streams from all over the island. oh, and i got bit by soooo many bugs in the rainforest. minor detail. we then headed to lake birabeen which was gorgeous (check out pictures later), and that was awesome. we went swimming in the lake...the most popular lake is lake mckenzie but birabeen is known to be better because its the same thing without all of the people in 3 times the space. so that was definitely a great way to end the fraser island adventure.

we made our way back to brisbane via the barge, via rainbow beach. we stopped at rainbow beach for lunch and had a delicious t-bone steak with chips( fries) and a salad all for $ 11...which was also overlooking the beach and the ocean. sweet life. we then hopped back on the bus and made another stop in matilda where our bus broke down. but i was hanging out inside talking on the phone when ALYCIA sits down next to me. and then monica! it was great seeing them because it had been almost two weeks since i had seen any members of the 6 and i missed them a lot and i mean...a rest stop in matilda? i'll take it. eventually i made it back to brisbane (still with no bag), and then they were supposed to deliver my bag that night to the hostel but of course it never came and i was leaving at 6 am back to melbourne on monday. monday i made it back to melbourne and started to stress out about my paper and chem assignment that i had due that i hadn't started yet. i got both of them handed in on time which was solid which has now finally allowed me time to write in this blog. oh and about my bag. i got it on monday night back in melbourne...thank god. but i got it and at that point...that was all that matters.

this week hasn't really been that exciting. its been great being back with the crew and the girls but i've been locked in the library finishing my work which is now thankfully done! oh and yeah, my mom, bishop and yvette got into australia on wednesday. they've been in brisbane and i am meeting them tomorrow (friday) in sydney for the weekend before heading back to melbourne. so. now i am done. and i will be now more frequently writing. it probably wont be until monday... but i will be back! cheers!



Monday, October 1, 2007

ghosts, devils and prisoners

i thought that maybe that would frighten you but i figured not so much. anyways. i left off at port arthur. i am going to give you all a quick history lesson about port arthur and australia. i'm sure that most of you know that australia and new zealand were both initially founded and established as a place to send all of the irish (australia) and english (new zealand) convicts. now, when those prisoners in australia did not learn their lesson they sent them to port arthur (tasmania). now, most of these convicts were robbers and they had more harsh sentences then the convicts who were murderers. crazy, i know. but yes, so we went to the historic port arthur after our day at wineglass bay to check into our HOTEL. being in an actual hotel was great because although most of the hostels and backpackers resorts in australia are not dodgy and relatively clean and nice...nothing is nicer than an actual hotel. so we got our room...it was me, anna and siobhan and then kristen and alycia had their own room too. and guess what, we had joined rooms and didn't even know it! it was awesome. so we went and had a very nice dinner and the restaurant at the hotel before setting off on our ghost tour adventure of port arthur (yes, the prison) at night. it was pretty sweet. although no one in our group saw or were disturbed by any ghosts, we had a very good tour guide (todd, who has seen ghosts) and were pretty freaked out by the end of the night. we then went back to the hotel and played taboo with the whole IES crew which was at times way too competitive but all in all, a very fun time.


the next morning we went on our day tour of port arthur to learn more about the prison and see all of the buildings in the day time and were actually happy that we went on the ghost tour before we knew the actual map out of the place. i have a lot of pretty sweet pictures of the barracks and other places that we saw which were pretty sweet. we then hopped on this sweet catamaran and head off to an isle of the dead tour. the view of port arthur from the boat was sensational as was the ocean. our boat tour lady let us know that we were only 800 nautical miles from antartica ( i think) which was pretty awesome. however, we definitely weren't able to see it. the isle of the dead what you probably think it is. it was a small island off of the shore where they burried all of the convicts and members of staff...etc who died while at port arthur. i'm not one for cemeterys but we had the...i guess funniest tour guide (but he really wasn't funny), he was just out of a PBS special....

we left port arthur and then headed to the tasmanian devil conservatory. yess, i saw tassy devils. as yes, they do exist. and no, they do not look like taz nor do they spin. they are actually one of the most ugly creatures you will ever see...they look like giant rat/cats. GROSS. unfortunately, we learned that the tasmanian devil is on the basis of exstinction but the conservatory that we were at help breed more tassy devils which was pretty cool. the problem is that a lot of the devils that are in the wild or even at the conservatory (we didnt see them though) have this face cancer that is killing them. they spread it to each other very readily and scientists and doctors have yet to find out how to treat it or exactly how it is caused. they can only spread the cancer to each other though...not even other animals. strange and sad. however, we took many pictures and also videos of them during feeding time which was definitely the highlight of them. the conservatory also had other various animals including kangaroos (i was a little bored of them) but they also had this awesome parrot. he/she kept talking to us and that might have been the highlight of that adventure. his only three words were "hello" and "shut up". haha.

we then hopped back in the bus for our 2 hour drive back to hobart (capital cityy) and on the way stopped and got some delicious oysters. another random thing about tasmania is that they are known for their seafood. apparently, there are some lobsters that measure up to 3 feet long. yes. 3 feet. INSANE.

i think that is where i am going to stop for now seeing that i have a major paper due that i have yet to begin. i will probably be back later to continue and hopefully finish the journey of tasmania. g'day!

Monday, September 24, 2007

its been a while...but for good (kinda) reason

well, the past week and a half has probably been the most insane of my life. i have never expect the most insanely diverse amount of emotions as i have experienced in this time. i don't know if i will be able to talk about everything in one post but i will begin from the beginning of tasmania (mid-semester break).

so we headed out to tasmania for an early morning flight on the 15th and we were all pumped. although we were all pretty exhausted, it was a nice short plane ride to hobart with the IES crew. when we arrived at the airport in hobart, tasmania which is insanely small for being an international airport (1 terminal), we patiently awaited for our luggage on the one carousel meanwhile there we started to notice a little crowd forming around this guy. come to find out, he was an australian celebrity from one of the big aussie tv shows, "home and away". so we took some pictures at a distance but didn't formally introduce ourselves because lets be realistic, we had NO idea who he was. however, he was a very attractive guy.

so we head out of the airport and hop on our little mini coach bus on the way to the big city of hobart. the best way that i can explain the whole state island of tasmania is as a very hippy,organic, bogan sort of a place (bogan being the aussie word for a kinda hobo, mainly an american redneck). it was a pretty sweet place though all in all. so we head out on our coach bus with our first bus driver, matt, who will definitel come up some more later. he was very informed so he taught us alot about hobart and tasmania and you could definitely pick up the fact that he was from born and bred in tasmania. we headed to salamanca markets which is this big open air arts and craftsy sort of market which took place down by the river and pier and is only open on saturdays. for my gdub/DC friends, it is very much like eastern market but maybe not quite as big. it was a beautiful day so it was great getting to just walk around for a couple of hours and getting the feel of hobart. we then then found ourself with a little bit more time then needed to cover the market so we went and found this cute little park in hobart with a nice water fountain and chilled out 'til our 2.5hr bus ride to coles bay.

we spent a lot of time on the mini coach bus which became our main rest period. so we arrived at coles bay for the night which was a pretty cool location. it was the epitomy of a small town, i mean one store, one restaurant, one cafe type of small town but it was by a gorgeous bay and we were only there for the night. we were able to take in an amazing sunset (pictures will be up in a couple of weekends) then had a very nice dinner. dinner was good except that our waitress was absolutely awful. she was a mean old lady who seemed bitter at the world but thats beside the point. dinner was very good and then on our way out we hung out ran into some people who asked us if we were from perth (the 4th largest city in australia) and although we were excited that some australians thought we were aussies, we said no but then met three cool aussies from sydney. it was two girls and a guy and they were in their mid twenties celebrating their birthdays in tasmania. they gave us some cool headers about some of the things on our trip and we ended up going down to a bonfire on the beach with them. it wasn't sketch, trust me. but it was sketch because you just walk down to the beach and there was this bonfire burning with no one there. very strange. but i guess what the locals do is they start the bonfire and when the only pub closes everyone goes down to the beach. they also call it a "wee-fire" which is fun. it was really cool and the stars were once agan absolutely unbelievable. we left before all the townies came down which was fine with us because we were pretty exhausted from the day anyways.

the next day we set off on our mountain climb and descend to wineglass bay. boy, what a hike. but it was definitely worth it. wineglass bay is definitely named for the shape but the water was once again absolutely gorgeous and the beach was amazing too. we just hung out at the beach for an hour or so and had a nice picnic lunch. sweet day. but i won't lie the hike was pretty insane. not only were your going up FOREVER but then you descended down FOREVER to do it again on the way back. it however is great to see nature that has been uninterupted and unharmed by roads and modernization. some of god's natural beauty needs to stay the way that it is. oh, and it was also another beautiful day.

we then hopped back on the bus for another 2 hours to head to port arthur. i think this is where i'm going to stop for now but will be back sometime to finish it up. g'day!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

life is a highway...(or a great ocean road)

well. so i would have updated a long time ago but the only time that i had to sit own at my computer for an extended amount of time was given to my 2500 research paper that was due today. so yes, finally I am DONEZO and can unofficially begin my "holiday" (how the aussies refer to as mid-semester break or what we refer to as Spring break). you have NO idea how relieved i feel and how excited I am for the next two weeks. i will eventually get to that but first, i am going to walk you through the end of last week leading up to the amazing weekend.

so on thursday, i took my test for bio which went very very well and that was really exciting. it was only worth 10% of my grade, but it was good to do well on my first graded assignment of the semester (which is weird, seeing how it was the 7th week of class...and there is only 12 weeks). so that was pretty much thursday...the girls came over and we made a latenight run to safeway before tucking in and watching "must love dogs" which was ok. friday was typical...a trip to the market, girls came over again, watched another movie, should have written my paper...but then i packed for the weekend.

on saturday, 11 of the 13 IES kids (and 13 other kids) headed off with the International Students Outdoors Program (the same group that took us to Phillip Island) to the world reknown Great Ocean Road. i have been anticipating this trip since i read Bill Bryson's "In a Sunburned Country", and so i was unbelievably excited to finally get the chance to do it. so, our first stop was in the beach side town of Torquay (try to pronounce that one, you'll fail) for a surfing lesson. sooo pumped. surfing is definitely one of those things that i always wanted to do, and was definitely on my list of things to do while in australia (separated by oceans from my parents). it was unbelievable. we put on our full body wetsuits (the most flattering thing ever), got our boards had a lesson by our awesome instructor Rose and then started catching some waves. well, it wasn't exactly like that but you get the drift. a random fact is that although australia is the most deadliest continent/country/island on earth in terms of wildlife, they never have shark attacks. Or so they tell us...but yeah, so once i got over the fear of sharks and stingrays it was just me and the waves. our lesson was only 2 hours long but i could've stayed out there all day. it was such an awesome experience...i was even able to get up a couple of times which was...i don't even know how to explain it. but yes, i am in love with surfing and am thrilled that i am going to "surfer's paradise" for the second week of spring break because all i want to do is get on a board and get out there again.

then it was lunch time. we brought our lunches with us and we stopped at this really cool beach town, Lorne, and had a wonderfully nice picnic lunch with the IES family. we also walked on the beach (Lorne Beach) for a while after lunch, took in the gorgeous coast and the sand that is SOOOOOO soft and just basked in the beauty of australia. we then headed off to erksine falls which was pretty sweet waterfall in the rainforest. that is why everyone needs to come to australia because it's pretty much the most insanely beautiful country ever. not only one minute can you be taking in beautiful coastlines and the deep blue ocean, but then next minute you can be in a rain forest...and in a few hours you can be in the dessert. its a little insane. but the rainforest was pretty sweet. and the waterfall was gorgeous.

following erksine, we headed out to teddy's lookout. unbelievable. its really hard to explain the beauty that teddy's lookout was because even pictures can't do it justice. however, i do recommend that you check out my pictures to kind of get a feel of what i am talking about. but teddy's lookout from a hill on the great ocean road which you see the unbelievable coastline combined with this gorgeous green hills and valley. it was breathtaking and it is just one of things that you don't really believe your experiencing because its so unbelievable. its hard for me to imagine not being here right now because everyday my life changes just a little bit more and always for the better. so yes, teddy's lookout= God's glory.

it was then off to see more koalas. koalas are pretty cool but i am definitely koaled out but it was cool to see them in the "wild" and i saw one that was awake and also had a baby koala which was pretty sweet. i mean koala's sleep 20-24 hours a day so, you're extremely lucky to catch them awake.

we then headed to the hostel for the night...we had a "camp" shower session which consisted of the 6 of us girls (i love us, by the way) in our swimsuits showering. ahh, those are the moments you live for. we then went into town (Apollo Bay), got some dinner and ice cream and then hung out at the "happening" pub in town that really wasn't happening but it was nice nonetheless. i had fish and chips for dinner which was delicious, by the way. that night, the girls went for a nice midnight stroll on the beach which was an interesting turn of events. we obviously went the wrong way to start off, and ended up at the "southern drop off " point which lucky for us, we had cell phone lights guiding our way. but we eventually made it there and it was unreal. i have NEVER seen stars like this in my entire life...even in the middle of nowhere new york. never. i think it has to do with their thin o-zone layer here (which is also the reason why you burn and tan easier), and overall environmental consciousness. there isn't a lot of pollution in the country, even living in the city...but those stars were absolutely unbelievable. that is something that i can't really explain and can't photograph...you just have to come to australia and see it for yourself. the stars reflected off the ocean which was...well, you kind of get the picture.

the next day, we headed off to the main attractions of the trip the twelve apostles. but before getting there, we took another stop over in another rain forest that was pretty cool. but yeah, it was pretty much just more trees. then we finally arrived at the twelve apostles (there are only 7 now--> erosion) and it was more beautiful then the postcards can even capture. the twelve apostles were initially twelve large monoliths off of the coast but over time, some have eroded and collapsed. the last one to collapse happened in 2005, so the base of it is still there crumbled in the ocean. but yes, it was beautiful. look at the pictures, please. oh, and it also made you think that god is just brilliant to create things with such beauty. we then proceeded onto Loch ard gorge which is another monolith type "structure" a little further down the great ocean road. the story to Loch Ard gorge is pretty sweet but pretty much all you want to know is that along with being the great ocean road, it is also shipwreck coast. so i think you kinda get the picture. but loch ard was really cool beause its almost like a little bridge off the coast and the arch looks very small from the side view but once you are parallel to it...you realize how massive the arch part is. you really need to look at the pictures to understand what i am saying. but, the water is also absolutely stunning. the ocean here isn't really a crystal clear but its more of a deep turquoise/coral blue. its absolutely stunning. a really cool part of the gorge was that we could go down on to the beach by it, and we played in the sand. then, that was it.

i was a little dissapointed because we didn't get to go see the lighthouse and "london bridge"(another famous rock formation...also has a cool story) but i was still very pleased by the weekend. we stopped for lunch in apollo bay on a sunday...so it was pretty lame before heading home. all in all it was a pretty unbelievable weekend and i could definitely see myself buying a beach house one day on the great ocean road.

well, this week has pretty much consisted of me writing my paper. but i have officially decided to take part in Uni games which i am pumped about. i realize that this is the ultimate once in a lifetime opportunity, and so i don't want to live this experience with any regrets. on a maybe sadder note, i think i'm going to not really row while i am here anymore. although i love the coaches and the team, its really not fitting into my schedule and because i am going to be gone for the next two weeks, then my mom, yvette and bishop are going to be here...so who knows. maybe, maybe not...i think i've made my decision but i usually stay on the fence with these things. but yeah, this week was pretty uneventful.

however, saturday marks the turn in everything. off to TASMANIA!! i am sooooooooooooo pumped. i can't even begin to tell you. i would tell you all of the cool things that we are doing but i will leave it for the posts while i am there doing them. just know, i will be going to the cadbury factory which is both a good and bad thing. good because it will be unbelievable. bad because i need to not eat all week up until that point...just kidding. but not really. so yes, soo excited. but i wont spoil the surprise for all of the cool things that i will be doing.

so tomorrow will consist of going to my last two classes...wooohoo and then getting everything ready for tassy. oh and its been a while since i gave you a australian vocabulary lesson...so here is something interesting...they don't call running sneakers here "sneakers" or "running sneakers" but they call them runners. pretty sweet, huh? and they call sunglasses "sunnies"...i am pretty fond of that one. and something really strange but awesome is that they don't have skunks in this country. i was in my chem class the other day and my professor was talking about how in north america they have an animal called a skunk which gives off an awful sulfur odor...and i was taken back that they don't have skunks or even know what they are.

well. thats enough for me right now. i'm blogged out but i will most likely be writing tomorrow at some point and hopefully at least once or twice while in tassy. until then...cheers!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

so many choices, so little time...

hmm. well. it has been an interesting week sofar to say the least. so on monday, i was pumped to finally go and play some bball. its definitely been a while but i was excited to throw on the jordans and shoot some ball with the aussie girls. so it wasn't exactly what i had expected because I was just expecting some good 'ol fashioned pick up but it was actually their practice. they were of course EXTREMELY nice and just threw me in there with everyone else. there were 8 other girls there and i guess there are 9 total, so i met the whole squad which was cool. after practice, we were stretching and such and having a "team" chat and what not and they asked me if i wanted to go with them to Uni games on the Gold Coast! YES, crazy i know. Now, i have heard of Uni games because a bunch of the rowers are going so i knew exactly what they were talking about but I wanted to be like, "i sucked today, why do you want me?" Uni games takes place the second week of mid-semester break and I am already going to be in brisbane so i am currently debating on what to do.

there are plus and minuses to both sides of the situation to whether I stay with Monica and Alycia in Brisbane for the week or whether I go to the Gold Coast from Tues-Friday and then hang out with Monica and Alycia on From Saturday-Monday. me and this conscience of mind have been doing a lot of battling lately because I don't want to be a lame friend and back out on Monica and alycia even though they have given me the ok to do so. but thats really not me. however, this is the opportunity of a lifetime and when will i ever be able to say again that I played basketball in the Australian University games! So, I think i have made my choice...but i'm still not quite sure. Until I actually pay that deposit, it won't be final but I will keep you updated. Or better yet, let me know what you think I should do! OH, but i think the most brilliant idea is for Monica and Alycia to come with ME to the Gold Coast because supposedly its cooler down there anyways and a bunch of our fellow IESers will be making their way there too throughout the course of the week. so maybe, i'll be able to have it both ways...which would be perfect.

so the week sofar besides that has been prettydull. i have a test tomorrow and a big paper next week so that has been consuming all of my time. no fun. it is crazy weird because i am pretty much in our equivalent of midterms and all of my gdub friends and most of you all for that point are JUST starting classes. CRAZY. I can't believe Tasmania is less then two weeks away as is middle of the semester. which isn't really the middle of the semester because after we get back, i will only have 1,2,3,FOUR weeks of class left. what a crazy wonderful life i lead.

the weirdest thing this week has been keeping track of everyone on facebook going back to school and especially gdub. i got used to this whole being abroad thing but then when everyone has been posting new pictures and all that stuff and going to class(gdub just had their first day!), has pretty much put this whole being abroad thing into perspective. and although i am sure that all of my friends wherever they maybe are going to have a most amazing time studying abroad; i couldn't not be happier with my decision to come to australia for numerous reasons but a big one being is that i am here for 5 months. i have already been here for 2 months, i don't know what i would do if i had to leave again in a month. so yea. i'm sure you're pretty sick of hearing me talk about how much i love it here...but i do.

well, i must be going now to study for the rest of the evening! yay me! but i'm just thinking two weeks from now...i'll be chillin' out in TASSY.

actually one more thing. this week is elections here on campus, so it has been really interesting to see how they do their student elections. its much different from Gdub (then again, every school is MUCH different from Gdub), but there student government is more associated with the actual government and world issues then i expected. they are not as concerned with the actual "student" problems rather they are concerned with protesting Wars and the education system in Australia as a whole (among other things). This will probably be the first and last time that i say that I prefer Gdub's crazy and insane Student association to another university's student government. I think that it is good that the aussies are very concerned with world politics and current world situations but I also believe that those issues are separate and should remain separate from "student" affairs and representation. Similarly to Gdub, they harass you and hand stuff out to you wherever you go. However, they do not have the same wonderful poster artwork on each and every building nor do they give out cool free stuff and food. a step down from elections gdub style.


thats it for now! until next time (tomorrow after my test). CHEERS!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

thank heaven for seven eleven

well, not really. but one thing that i don't think i ever told you is how many gosh darn seven elevens in melbourne. they're not on every street corner because there are more than that. heaps i tell you. heaps. on a smaller block, you'll probably have about three and lets not even get me started on the main streets downtown. i'm pretty sure that there are more seven elevens here then there are in the state of new york as a whole. in this one city. and i have no doubt that the number in australia far outnumbers the number in the states. but thats neither here or there. well, at least i know that as the weather continues to break that a slurpee will be easily accessible.

and yes, the weather is beginning to break which is wonderful. but i have referenced that previously. now, we are officially into spring and its wonderful! i don't think i've ever been this happy despite my upcoming tests and papers. so lets recap after my wonderous fall into the yarra on wednesday.

the rest of wednesday was good...pretty much just getting work done and going to classes. we stayed in pretty much all week long until saturday...but i will get there. oh, but tuesday night we had an IES dinner with Liz and Luke and it was awesome. we got to hear about all of the amazing things we are doing in Tasmania for the first week of mid-semester break which is rapidly approaching! two weeks away...wow. I cant wait...we're doing things from biking down a mountain to white water rafting to cadbury chocolate factory. so it might just be one of the best weeks of my life and i cant wait.

thursday and friday were just basically more class and more work. friday night was actually a lot of fun though. love actually came on to one of our 5 australian tv stations so all of the girls came over and we had an official movie night full of desserts and wonderous laughs. we watched hairspray (illegally) afterwards and it was equally as great. so all in all, it was a fantastic friday ( I also was very very productive throughout the day).

saturday morning, leah, siobhan, anna and I went to the newman vs. st. mary's girls footy game to watch kristen and alycia play and that was a lot of fun. they both played really well and it was so exciting to see your own friends partake in a wonderous game of australian football. we later actually went to a pro footy game, which we only stayed til halftime but it was good because i finally got to go to MCG! so that was exciting...it got me really excited for the soccer game in two weeks-> australia vs. argentina. the MCG seats about 100,000 people and the game is sold out and we have tickets!!! so its gonna be awesome and i cant wait!

saturday evening, siobhan, alycia and I went to see this aussie band play at a club in richmond. alycia had actually heard the band in the states so she turned us onto them and i was a little skeptical at first but it was awesome. definitely one of my new favorite bands...there called the Lucksmiths and supposedly they've actually been around since the early 90's. they're pretty world reknown too...they do world tours all the time and theyre actually going to the states in a couple of weeks! all my gdub friends, they're going to be in DC so look them up and go to the concert. if you like guster, you'll love them...they're pretty much the australian equivalent. one of the coolest things about the show is the lead singer/drummer. because he's the lead singer as well as drummer he drums standing up. so that was awesome since i've never seen someone play standing up before! sooo good.

today was another productive work day as well as i made it to the gym and then went to church. i absolutely love this church already and it was only my second week there! i'm kinda bummed though because i wont be able to go for the next two weeks (since i'll be gone on vaca), but today was their live album recording and it was unbelievable. just non-stop praise & worship for an hour and half which is honestly, just what i needed. absolutely perfect. i cant wait to get more involved in the next few weeks. they love god soo much and really really let loose and praise and worship god. they are also soooo nice. so yeah. another thing that has made me fall in love with this place.

so now im just hanging out and getting ready to get back to work. we dont have rowing this week (officially) because the coaches and a bunch of the girls are in new zealand for this big youth cup race. so thats pretty sweet for them. so, i shall get back to you later in the week...or perhaps tomorrow if something awesome happens...which is always likely. until then, Cheers!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

don't tell me melbourne that i never gave you anything...

so my morning was so interesting that i couldn't even wait to post what happened. the following story is pretty much my # 1 most embarassing moment ever, so enjoy friends. laugh it out.

this morning at practice, it was finally decided that i needed to learn how to scull. for all of you non-rowers that means rowing with both arms by yourself in a small boat. i was excited to finally learn how to do this because it is a very useful way to train. now, in the states from what i gather, usually when you first learn how to scull its very hands on. you have people helping you, directing you what exactly you need to do in order to not fall in and actually move the boat. well, australia is not an individualistic culture but they are definitely not hands on in regards to sculling.

so, ian (one of the coaches) told me what boat to get, what oars to use and such. but then...he was gone. he had left down the river in his speed boat coaching his 4. I then gather that I am supposed to just figure it out on my own. thank god for really nice old men at the boat club who helped me put the boat together, and get off the dock because i probably wouldn't have even made it on the river without them.

i'm on the river and have absolutely no idea what i'm doing. not only am I zig zagging every where but I am incredibly off balance and i'm scared for my life. my goal was not to crash into anything...which i succeeded at, so that was a positive of the morning. but yes, back to the horrific sculling. all i was thinking when i was barely creeping down the river was "if I had someone teaching me what to do right now, I would be so much better off". however, that was not the case so i decided to suck it up and figure out how to do this. i started with arms only which ended up being not that bad and i started getting the hang of it a little. i slowly added my back into it, and i eventually even made it to quarter slide but then thats where things turned ugly.

as i have slowed down again (numerous times) to regain my balance and stability in the boat, i see a quad coming rapidly towards me. once again let I remind you that I was told NOTHING. at this point i am thinking "you know what would've been great karri, if ian would've told you what to say when another Boat is HEADING TOWARDS YOU". hmm yes, that would've helped. by the time i yelled "sculler", it was all too late. they didn't crash into me but we got a little tangled up. so as we were trying to push away from each other, it all ended. somehow someway, i ended up in the water. oh yarra. trying not to panic because i am a little fish, i realized that it would be impossible for soaking wet karri to maneuver herself back into the boat. lucky for me, the shore was quite close so i was able to swim to shore(with my boat), and with the help of two amazingly friendly aussies empty out my boat, regain what little composure i had left, and head back up the river.

although i finally sorta kinda not really got the hang of it, i was freezing. i was able to actually successfully cross the river twice without hitting anything or anyone and make my way back to the boathouse. phew.

i hope you have laughed very hard because despite my incomplete embarrassment of feeling like a stupid american who didn't know what she was doing...i'm finding much humor in it. i'm sure that i will be telling this story for many years to come. i mean its a great story. and NOW this makes two rivers, one on each continent, that i have inadvertently gone for a swim in. maybe i can get in some sorta guiness book of world records for swimming in the most rivers on the most continents or something. who knows.

the crazy thing is that i can't wait to get out there again. it might sound ridiculous but learning how to scull is like being able to go for a run. there is a certain amount of independence that is involved with it and it is about 98 THOUSAND times better then erging. now, i hope the second time around i have a little more direction but i will definitely have more experience. oh, and i pretty much am guaranteed to only go up from here.

oh and on a side note...in the process of falling into the yarra, i managed to lose my socks. sweet. my socks (new socks, might i add) are at the bottom of the Yarra River. so melbourne, australia don't ever say that I didn't give you anything. you have my socks and they will be forever yours.