Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Home Stretch

Tuesday was an incredibly boring day, I woke up ate breakfast, started to study and then went back to bed for an hour. It started to rain which gave me a no desire to leave the apartment, which was probably a good thing since I had to study for my Marketing exam that I had the next day. I also did some yoga/Pilates which I hadn’t done in forever so it felt good to get some exercise. I studied for a while then when Josh came home our electricity went out, I think we just had too many things going at one time. We looked in our circuit breaker which is in our apartment but nothing was out so then I thought maybe it was the whole building, but when I went upstairs I found Julie had power and it was just us. I had to go downstairs and use the main controls to turn our power back on. When I went upstairs to talk to Julie I found out the free internet “Netgear” was working so of course I came back down and spent a good hour or more on the internet, mostly on Facebook, although I did take a few online quizzes for my exam. The rest of the day was mostly just hanging out and studying, so exciting.

Wednesday I woke up early so that I could have a decent breakfast before my exam, then headed off in the rain to take it. It went pretty well I think, I can never really judge especially with multiple choice. After my exam I went to the Library to use the internet for a while, hung out there and ran into Emma. I came back and didn’t really do much the rest of the day, hung out with my roommates for a bit, read, and then went over to Jeff’s apartment to watch Master Chef.

Thursday I got up and planned on going for a run but had no motivation to do that. I went online instead but then after talking to Peter for a while he motivated me to go for a run, I did that and some yoga/pilates, took a shower and got ready for the day. I went to campus around 2 to participate in a research study which I got $15 for. I was surprisingly tired when I got back here and took an amazing nap while my roommates left to go see year one. They said it was pretty good but I really have no desire to see it. They were gone most of the night, hanging out with Jeff because he was leaving to go home the next day. I watched Master Chef and talked to Brian from upstairs for a while then read and went to bed.

Friday morning I got up and went upstairs to say goodbye to Brian, he was leaving for New Zealand later in the afternoon and wouldn’t be back until after I left to go home so it was the last time I’d be seeing him. After that I went over to Jeff’s apartment to say goodbye to him, it’s finally starting to set in that we’re all leaving soon and may never see each other again. Although I will see Jeff because I’m going to Pittsburg to visit and get a food tour of the city, including Primanti brothers. After saying goodbyes I headed into the city to do some last minute shopping and wandering. My plan was to go to the rocks market however once I got downtown I realized they don’t start until Saturday. They did have the farmers market so I walked around that for a bit, then stopped at the Museum on Contemporary Art but that was a bust because the “good floor” was being changed and only the other two wee open. After that I decided why not take a walk to Paddy’s Market, it’s probably a good 10-15 blocks but the weather was nice and I stopped at a few stores along the way. I also got lunch at Ogalos which was recommended by some of the guys here as being really good. It’s basically a burger/chicken fast food place but it’s Portuguese style chicken and it was delicious. I got a few more souvenirs and some food at Paddy’s and then headed back to the apartment. I was motivated and went for another run and did more yoga/Pilates. After it started to rain so my plan of staying in was confirmed and I just hung out with my roommates and watched master chef and the American “SYTYCD”. I also read my book “world without an end” which I’m almost done with and is getting really good.

Saturday I woke up to rain, which has been the forecast for every day since Brian left basically. Sat around for a while, working on some things, read, studied a little bit for my last exam. The rest of the day followed pretty much the same pattern, the weather really never cleared up which gave me little motivation to do much of anything. I talked to Marie for a while, she baked a funfetti cake so I had some of that which was delicious. I also read the boy in the stripped pajamas which Jeff gave to my roommates to read. It was a really good book and now I need to see the movie.

Sunday I woke up around 10 to a sunny day! Yes, rain was predicted but someone was looking out for me because I had planned to go to the market that day rain or shine, although we know I would have been crabby had it been raining. I stopped on the way to the market at a jewelry store and decided that I needed/wanted/deserved a necklace to match the opal earings that I got for my internship. Everything was half off at the place I went to which was awesome and the sales lady was really helpful, no doubt working on commission. I ended up buying a really cute little pendant necklace and when I got home realized it matches my earnings almost perfectly. After that I headed to the market, wandered around for a bit and bought the present for my mom that was the whole purpose of me heading to town. After that my plan was to get some Gelatto but I wasn’t really in the mood but didn’t want to head back to campus yet either. I walked around, headed to Darling Harbor and then storm clouds were rolling in so I decided it was time to come back. I got back to campus just as it was starting to rain, started to do a little studying and then fell asleep around 4 to the rain. Woke up around 5, hung out for a while before making dinner and sitting down for Master Chef. I made pasta with zucchini for dinner, pretty impressive for the amount of cooking I actually do here, and it wasn’t bad either. Watched Master Chef with my roommates, so sad I’m going to miss the finale of that show, I guess I’ll just have to watch it online. Then hung out/studied for a while before calling my dad at 12 to wish him a happy fathers day. Talked to my mom and dad for close to an hour, and then passed out.

I had been planning on sleeping in Monday because I had nothing much to do other than study for my exam, however the dump truck outside had different plans for me. They were dropping off a massive dumpster for who knows what but were apparently having trouble with this process because they made a ridiculous amount of noise and of course it was right outside my window. I gave up on sleeping in and decided to just get up. I went online for a little bit, ate breakfast and then decided I couldn’t sit any longer. Went for a run because it was once again nice out, thank god the weathermen suck at predicting the weather here. After my run I was feeling motivated so I did some Yoga and Pilates, showered, and then resumed my position on the couch. I semi studied but mostly was on Facebook for a good hour before Tamara asked me to go to the mall with her. The plan was to study at Borders but she said she couldn’t concentrate and left shortly after. I stuck it out for a good hour, stopped at Woolworths for a few things and then headed back here. I studied for a while, read Gino’s blog and then made dinner (soup that I bought a while ago and needed to eat before leaving) and watched Master Chef, Desperate Housewives, and Brothers and Sisters. I really haven’t watched much TV here but Monday night is my TV night. I got back into Brothers and Sisters and Desperate Housewives is pretty much just a filler between the two.

Tuesday had my exam, hopefully that went well, it was three essay questions and I knew most of the parts on all of then so I should’ve done fine. After that I came back to the apartment and spent all day putting off packing. Worked out, showered, did some laundry, ate, went on Facebook, then finally started to pack around 5. It shouldn’t have been that hard because I just had to pack everything but it was still annoying. I finished though and then hung out with everyone in the apartments for my last night here.

Today got up early, hoping to tire myself out for the long plane ride home. Went for a run just as the sun was rising which was a perfect start to the day. I ran by campus and realized I don’t want to leave but I guess I’m okay with it. I really do miss everyone back home and can’t wait to see them. After that I showered, did some last minute packing, returned my key and now here I am typing my last blog in Australia. I leave for the airport in about a half hour and then 24 hoursish of travel before I’m home.

See you all soon!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tour Guide for a week

Wednesday the 3rd I woke up at 6am to head down to Canberra for the Export Hero’s awards that I had planned with my internship. After a 3 hour drive we arrived, in the rain, which I guess never happens in Canberra but we were just that lucky. We were going to check into the hotel and Kyle and I were hoping to take a nap but then we were told that our room would not be ready until 1pm. We had about 3 hours to kill before we could get into our room so we had to go do some sightseeing, Kyle had already been to Canberra about a week before so he didn’t’ really want to do anything, plus it was raining so we didn’t’ really want to walk anywhere. Our hotel wasn’t’ in the heart of the city so we walked to parliament house and figured we’d kill some time there, we took a tour of the place which was kind of interesting. After that we were going to go to the Art Museum but then we decided to just get lunch and head back to the hotel, hoping that our room was ready. After checking in we took a nap, in the most comfortable bed I’ve been in for a few months now and woke up at about 4 o’clock, just in time to get ready and then head to the dinner. The dinner/awards were a lot of fun but we also felt kind of stupid because we were just the interns and everyone else there was pretty important. There were free wine and drinks then we had dinner while the awards were presented. The only people that really talked to us were the guys from Nab bank who were pretty drunk and one of them ended up offering me a job and told me not to go home and to just work for Nab. Lisa and I decided he was full of it and was mostly just hitting on me.

Thursday morning I had an early start, caught a cab from the hotel at 5:15 to go to the airport and fly back to Sydney to meet Brian. Because of fog all flights were delayed and I didn’t end up leaving the Canberra airport until about 8:30. I was worried that Brain would end up waiting in the airport for me but his flight was delayed too, he actually had to land in Brisbane and then leave awhile later to fly to Sydney. We finally left the airport around 10 and then headed back to campus, getting here at like 12. I had 2 classes that day so we went to those, did some grocery shopping and then just hung out for the rest of the night.

Friday we got up and headed into the city. We walked over the Harbor bridge which was really cool, and then walked around the harbor and up by the Sydney Opera House. After a few touristy pictures we went to the Botanical Gardens, walked through and wound up at Martins place station. There we caught a train back to the stop that’s by my work and went to visit all of my coworkers. Everyone was excited to see me again and to meet Brian, we had a few glasses of wine and then Lisa gave us a bottle of wine and told us to go out to dinner and find a BYO restaurant. We walked around for what seemed like forever before we finally found somewhere that said they would “make an exception” for us. We got a pizza to share that was pretty good, and then headed back to my apartment after a long day.

Saturday we woke up to another beautiful day and decided it would be a good day to head to manly beach. When we got there we found that there was a wine and food tour going on so there was a ton of people there. Some of my friends from my apartment were also there so we met up with them for a while. We also ate meat pies, I have yet to try one and I figured Brain should as well so we went to what my roommate says is the best place to get a meat pie. I knew I wouldn’t’ like miced beef so I got a chicken and vegetable and it pretty much just tasted like a chicken pot pie, not bad. We had to leave Manly semi-early because it takes over an hour to get there and we had to come back and get ready for the Rugby game that night. We went to the Sydney Football Stadium to see the wallabies which is Australias national rugby team play the barbarians which is the National team that’s made up of players from all over the world. The game was pretty good, wallabies won. After the game we went back into the city, I tried calling a bunch of people but because exams are coming up no one was in the city. We went to Friend in Hand which is supposed to be one of the oldest pubs in Sydney although there is controversy because a different one was physically there before it but not serving alcohol. Anyways there was live band covering tons of American songs which was pretty cool so we hung out there and had a few beers before coming back to my apartment.

Sunday we slept in a little bit before getting up and heading into the city for a day of shopping in the markets. We started at The Rocks Market which has more expensive things and lots of nic nacs. We found a few cool things but most of it was overpriced so it was more window shopping and getting ideas. Next we went to Paddy’s market which is the discount market, did a lot of souvenir shopping and bought some fruit since it’s a lot cheaper there than in the supermarkets. By the time we were done shopping we were starving so we headed to Chinatown to get something to eat, which I’ve been meaning to do all semester but haven’t yet.

Monday we knew the weather was supposed to be nice so we planned on waking up early and going to Bondi Beach. On the way down I remembered that there was a Jazz festival at Darling Harbor to celebrate the Queens birthday so we changed plans and headed to that instead. We got there before the music and stuff actually started so we went to a café on the harbor and got breakfast first. I had my first French Toast since home and it was delicious, we also walked around and saw the rest of the café’s, bars and restaurants, listened to a few bands and then decided to head into the city and see what else there was to do. We were going to do the Sydney tower but decided that it wasn’t really worth the price and walked to Hyde park instead. We laid down to relax and enjoy the sun for a while and then decided to go to the Olympic park and see everything they used in the 2000 Olympics. There are a bunch of stadiums and the area is pretty cool, a nice park, fountains, hotels that probably barely get used anymore, and restaurants. After walked around we headed back to the city to Darling Harbor to catch a few more bands and take advantage of Happy Hour. It was another long day so after a few drinks we came back to my apartment, enjoyed some left over Chinese and called it a day.

Tuesday I was planning on going to campus to study for my econ class but when my alarm went off I decided that sleep sounded like a better idea. After lounging around for a few hours we got ready and went to Taronga Zoo. You take a ferry to get there so it was a cool ride across the harbor and then the whole zoo is on a hill so you can either take a sky safari, a ride that reminded me of the sky glider at state fair or summerfest to get to the top or you can start at the bottom and walk up. We opted for the sky safari and then worked our way back down to the bottom. It was pretty cool, saw some kangaroo’s, koalas and then the typical animals you see at any zoo. After the zoo we went back to the city and then caught a bus to take us to Little Italy for dinner. We shared a pasta trio that we meant for two and it was pretty good. After dinner it was two more buses and back home. I swear I spend half of my time on public transportation here. It was funny, on about his third day here Brain told me he was sick of the bus ride. The bus that I’ve probably taken over 100 times being here, I told him he had to be kidding.

Wednesday was a bit colder but it was the last day before our travel passes expired so we made the trek to Bondi Beach. I say this because it takes 3 trains and a bus to get there and takes close to two hours. Once you get off though it’s an amazing view and really cool place to be so I guess it’s worth it. It wasn’t exactly the best day to be at the beach, we found out later it was the coldest day since last October. I was wearing a sweatshirt and boots, never thought I’d go to the beach in that weather. Needless to say the beach was a little empty, other than suffers and tourists. We walked around, took some pictures and got lunch and then decided that was about all there was to do and made the trip home. Once we got there I decided that I should probably study for my exam so I went to the library and left Brian to amuse himself in my apartment. That night we walked over to the ranch which is the bar basically across the street from my apartment. After being there for a while some of my friends showed up so we all hung out until around 12 when Brian and I decided to leave because we had an early start the next day.

Thursday we had to get up early for a 3 hour commute to Newcastle. It would have taken less time but they were doing trackwork on the train line that we had to take so we had to get off after 2 hours and then take a bus for like a half hour and then get back on the trains. Overall it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be and I got a good chunk of my book read which was good because I haven’t gotten the chance to read that in a while, I’m almost done too, only 250 pages left to go. Once we got into Newcastle Loraine from the bed and breakfast came and picked us up. The place was really cute, typical overkill on the decorations but pretty much what you’d expect from bed and breakfast. After relaxing for a while we headed into town for another beautiful day. Despite the fact that it’s cooler and windy we were really lucky all week with sunny days and no rain. Newcastle is a smaller town, not really a lot to do but there are some amazing views of the harbor, nice beaches and some really cool ocean baths which are basically swimming pools right on the beach that the ocean overflows into.

Friday we had another early start to the day, breakfast was served at 8, which was delicious, I got banana pancakes with maple syrup and whipped cream. Then at 9 Tex picked us up for our wine tour. It was just Brian me and one other older lady on the tour which was kind of nice so that there weren’t tons of people everywhere. Hunter Valley is a gorgeous area, lots of rolling hills, and wineries. We stopped at about six wineries total plus a really neat village area with shops and café’s where we had lunch. The final place we went to is known for their “dragons breath” which is chili schnapps. Definitely a unique product and not something that I ever really want to have again. That night we had to make the long journey back home which was really annoying especially since the train we were on decided it didn’t’ want to stop at Epping which is where we were supposed to get off to catch a connecting train back to the university stop. We had to go one more stop, wait 15 minutes for a train and then head back to where we just were. By the time we got back to my apartment I was exhausted, took a shower, ate and sat down to study for my exam I had the next day. I was so tired I could barely focus and decided to go to bed and make an attempt the next day.

Saturday morning I got up and the whole day was pretty much devoted to school. I went to the library, checked out the book I needed for my econ test and then sat down to study for about 2 hours before heading to my exam. It turned out a lot better than I was expecting. I have never felt so unprepared for a test in my life and was literally expecting to fail, but I feel semi-confident that I at least passed the test. I really hope I did because even though it wouldn’t be a big deal I really don’t want to have to retake that class.

Sunday was another lazy day, after the past week I was exhausted and still had more reading and studying to do for my last two exams. The weather was also not looking very promising so we decided not to spend money to go into the city and just hung out around the apartment. We bought food and I actually cooked dinner which I rarely if ever do here because our apartment is so shitty and we have nothing to cook with. That night my roommates Josh and john realized that it was Brians last night and said they were going to have a guys night. A bunch of us were going to go to the ranch but then I remembered that it closes at 10 on Sundays so the guys ended up just drinking in the apartment, playing hall cricket, and hanging out until about 3 am.

This morning we got up, Brian packed and we headed to the airport. I took the train into the city and then sent him off to the airport, I’m sure he’s looking forward to over 20 hours on planes and in airports. I know I can’t wait to do the same next week. Now I’m in the library, catching up on emails and putting off studying for my marketing exam. It’s on Wednesday and hopefully won’t be too hard. After that just one more and time for me to come home. I’ve been talking to everyone from home more recently and I can’t wait to see you all. There are so many things I want to do this summer and so many people that I want to spend time with. Thankfully I don’t’ start classes again until the 8th of Sept. so my summer isn’t too short.

2 tests, 9 more days, the dreaded packing, 20+ hours of transportation and I’ll be home!

See you all soon,
Love you

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

100 days

So I was bored in class and counting how long I’ve been in Australia and yesterday was my 100th day here. Once again the past week has flown by. I haven’t really done much of anything, I’ve been busy with a lot of school work. I cant’ believe next week is already the last week of classes.

Last Wednesday I should’ve gone to my internship but I took the day off with the plan to go to the library and read/study for my Econ class which is near impossible. I couldn’t concentrate in the library and it didn’t help that there was absolutely no where to sit, I actually walked around the entire place until I found a spot right by the stairs that was nice and noisy. I gave up after about a half hour and opted to go grocery shopping instead. I felt that my day was wasted, so I opted to go for a run trying to feel somewhat productive. About halfway through my Ipod froze and then it started downpouring on me. It just wasn’t my day I guess, when I got back my roommate Josh and his girlfriend were getting ready to go to Beer Bingo at the Ubar and asked if I wanted to go along. I’ve never been and the semesters almost over so I figured why not. It wasn’t really that exciting, Josh’s girlfriend won a game so she got a free jug of beer but other than that it was basically just hanging out/drinking in the Ubar. Jeff and I left a little earlier than everyone else because it was getting boring and we wanted to make it back for Master Chef which is my new obsession here.

Thursday I spent all day on campus, literally. I had my Econ tutorial at 9, lecture from 11-1, MKTG tutorial at 2 and then my other Econ tut. at 3. By the time I was done with all of that I was ready for a nap but that night we had our dinner for the Internship program. I showered and got ready and then headed downtown with Rachel and Cassie. The dinner was at the Australian Hotel where we tried all kinds of interested pizza. Kangaroo, Crocodile, Emu, Duck, Tiger Prawn, Pumpkin, and Veggie. I think I tired all of them and the only one I really didn’t like was the duck and the only reason was because it had some weird sweet sauce on it. Not my idea of a pizza. Reguardless though I miss the pizza from home, even “fast food” pizza here sucks. We’re not really sure why, I think it might be the cheese, but it’s just not as good as pizza from home.

Friday I went into work, sooo boring. I mostly worked on the database all day and talked to people on facebook. I know I’m such a good employee, but there really wasn’t anything else for me to do. We finalized most of the work for the Export Hero’s awards and the Export Awards launch was the night before so all of that work was done. I also processed a few new membership that came in but after half a day I was bored out of my mind and decided to call it a day. The weather was pretty shitty and by the time I got home I was too lazy to do much of anything. I made dinner and hung out with my roommates and then decided to get a head start on my enourmous paper that was due this week.

Saturday I woke up early, not on purpose, but since I couldn’t fall back asleep I decided to just work on my paper. After a while I took a break to hang out with/ talk to my roommates girlfriend. Who he left here for the weekend while he went a field trip for his Marine Biology class – kind of odd but she’s really nice so it wasn’t’ that awkward. The rest of the day was really uneventfuly, went too the library, sat on facebook, did some shopping, and then just watched a movie that night because the weather was shitty again and no one was really up fro doing anything.

Sunday we went to the Sydney Swans Futbal game which was pretty cool. It was one of my roommates program events but since him and one of the others from their group were on their fieldtrip his girlfriend and I took the extra tickets. The game was kind of boring but the day itself was a lot of fun.

Monday I was finishing up school stuff, my paper and starting to study for my Econ test. That night I had another GLP event, this one was on Career mapping and actually kind of interesting. Between that event and my Econ. class I sometimes reconsider my major/what I want to do when I grow up.

Tuesday I was having a good day until I went to my econ lecture and like usual was completely lost the entire time. The material is confusing and it doesn’t help that our professor is a horrible teacher. He’s one of those professors who are too knowledgeable and don’t’ know how to break it down for students. I was in a horrible mood after class but after talking to my Dad and Brian I was much better. Went to the library to finish my paper, turned that in and then came back before going back to campus for another GLP event. I thought it was going to be interesting because it was about Aboriginal Australians but the lecturer was really boring. Some of them try to include group discussion or little projects but she just sat there talking to us. She did show a dvd clip but that was pretty boring as well. I did learn something though, I didn’t’ realize how recent the problem was, and the severity/reality of stealing children. It was still going on in the 1970’s.

Yesterday I went to my internship again and this time it wasn’t too bad. We’re finalizing things for the event next week. Lisa’s kind of annoyed because the room we are holding it in is fairly ugly and she wants to make it look better but we have virtually no budge. I was looking into chair covers, and more table decoration so hopefully those enhance the room. Friday I’m going in, my last day, and we’re going to run to IKEA to get candle holders and a few last minute things for the event. I had my Econ test this morning, so I spent most of the night studying for that last night. It was another crappy, rainy day so I didn’t feel too bad about just sitting in the apartment.

I don’t really have any exciting plans for this weekend, if the weather’s nice Cassie and I wanted to go to Palm Beach but with our luck it’ll probably rain. I’ll probably spend a good amount of time in the library writing my internship paper and studying for my Econ final. It’ll be hard to concentrate though because Brain gets here in a week and I cannot wait! I just booked a wine tour and bed and breakfast yesterday so that should be fun. I’m hoping there is good weather for when he comes but right now it looks like high 60’s so that should be good, as long as it doesn’t rain. I still can’t believe what they think “really cold” is here. I wish they could experience the joys of winter in Wisconsin.

It’s less than a month now and I’m still having mixed emotions. Most days I’m super excited but then I also realize how much I’m going to miss it. Yesterday at work my boss Ian asked me if I’m going to miss them and I really am, even though I complain about it a lot I love my internship. I was just telling Brian yesterday I wish that I could’ve worked there double and dropped another class (specifically Econ). Right now I really don’t mind that time is passing quickly, I can’t wait for next Thursday!

I’ll see everyone in a month, miss you all!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

School, Melbourne, and more school

Oops it’s been a while, I’ve been typing my blog on my computer for a while now so it might not make sense at some parts and I might repeat because I was too lazy to go back and read what I already wrote. This entry is enormous so you might want to make sure you have a lot of time before you sit down to read it….

My test went okay I studied for a majority of the day on Tuesday and then went back to rest before I had to take the test at 6. I met up with Matt, Kyle, and Zach and then after the test matt told me he was going to have people over to his apartment for Cinco de Mayo. A few of us went over there and the guys attempted to make margaritas, not the best. I didn’t drink very much because I had my internship the next day but it was fun just hanging out.

Wednesday I had work all day, it wasn’t too bad, went fairly fast. I found out that I’m invited to go along to the Hero’s Export Awards which is the main event that I’ve been planning. The only problem was that it is on June 3rd and we would be staying overnight until June 4th, not getting back to Sydney till around 10 and Brian flies in that day at like 6am. I found a flight through Virgin Blue for only $65 so I emailed Lisa, my supervisor, and asked her if the company would be willing to pay to have me fly back. She checked with Ian who’s basically the boss and he said they would be able to do that. So I get to go and fly back early so that I’ll be at the airport to meet Brain.

Thursday I was on campus ALL day, I had my Econ tutorial in the morning and then my Marketing presentation that afternoon. The presentation went pretty good, we should be getting our grades sometime this week. I’m interested to see what I get on that, it’s hard to tell because the grade basically depends on what the tutor thought of your presentation and I feel like our tutor doesn’t like me very much, but who knows. Thursday night we were all hanging out upstairs and then a group of us went to UniBar. Rachel has a friend from home visiting so she wanted to take her out and show her the bar on campus. We met up with a bunch of guys from our spring break trip which was a lot of fun. Those guys are always in a good mood and fun to be around.

Friday there was a speaker at noon that everyone that’s doing an internship had to go listen to. He was talking to us about building connections and networking. His presentation was actually pretty interesting considering it was basically a one hour lecture. After that I stayed on campus for a while to use the internet, I was working on figuring out what I want to do when Brian comes to visit. I feel like there’s so much to do it’s going to be hard to fit it all into one week. That night Julie, Cassie, Kevin, Kim and I went to see the school’s production of Cabaret because we knew a few girls who were in it. It was a pretty good show, interesting topic but amusing. I think I’ve been spoiled going to Greendale though because any amateur theater I’ve seen outside of a GHS or GCT Summer performance isn’t even comparable. Just goes to show how awesome Greendale is. The show went until about 11 o’clock so no one was up for going to the city after that, except for Kevin but that didn’t happen.

Saturday I got up early even though I was planning on sleeping in, so I decided to try to be productive. First I finished the book I’ve been reading, Pillars of the Earth, it was really good, not something I would usually read but I liked it. I didn’t feel like walking anywhere to use the internet and didn’t want to read any of my textbooks so I decided to go for a run. While I was out I ran into Rachel and she told me they were planning on going to Bondi Beach and asked if I wanted to go along. It was a pretty nice day out so I decided to go with, it was nice on the beach until the sun started to go down and it got cold and windy. I was rushing to leave and forgot to take a sweatshirt so I wound up wearing Matt and Zach’s sweatpants and sweatshirt. it probably didn’t help that I had a huuuge ice cream cone, but it was delicious so I sacrificed being cold. No one was in the mood for going out that night, some people drank up in the guys apartment above me but I went over to Rachel’s to watch a movie with her and her roommates. We watched Pineapple Express which I’ve never seen, interesting movie, probably wouldn’t watch it again though.

Sunday was another attempt at getting some work done, I went to the library with Marie but didn’t really get anything done. That night Rachel wanted to go into the city to take her friend to Hugo’s which is a really cool club/restaurant that has “Sneaky Sunday’s”. It’s a 5 dollar entry fee but then they have delicious 5 dollar pizzas (which is super cheap here) and 5 dollar drinks. We made it a girls night and there were only a few of us there but it was a lot of fun.

Monday I had my internship again, Lisa wasn’t there so she left a list of things for me to do. I had to process a bunch of membership forms and put together their packets/certificates which I actually enjoy doing even though it’s kind of busy work. Then I had to finish up work for the Hero’s event, booking the photographer, finishing the slide show, and finding music to play during the dinner and awards. I also had to select a menu for the Export Awards Launch which is next week. That was cool because I got to select six different dishes from an elaborate menu. I actually had to google some of the dishes because I had no idea what they were. Hopefully Lisa likes the things I picked, I was kind of surprised she left the whole choice up to me. I left work early because I’m going back in on Wednesday to discuss some of the stuff with Lisa.

Tuesday I had to go to the morning Econ lecture because I had a global leadership colloquia that night. It was actually kind of interesting, about how to market a better you. Basically telling you how to promote yourself for job interviews and stuff and learning who you really are. Kind of cheesy but not as boring as some of the other ones I’ve been to. Wednesday I went to my internship, I really didn’t feel like being there, it was a long day and I ended up leaving earlier than I planned because I want to get my hours done before June but I was dying of boredom. I basically worked on stuff for the Hero’s event, everything is starting to get finalized. I’m excited that I get to go, it should be a lot of fun and it’s helpful that by going I’ll be at the airport just in time to meet Brain. Wednesday night I packed and got ready for our weekend in Melbourne.

Thursday morning we were picked up by the airport shuttle at 5:30am, not the best start to the day..waking up before the sun. I’m turning into more of a morning person but that is still very early. Our flight was on time we caught the shuttle to the Hostel but check in wasn’t until 11 so we had to wait for about an hour. After we got checked in we walked around the city and had lunch and this really cool place called Tjanabi, it was supposed to be more authentic aboriginal Australian food. They had duck and a lot of seafood, I decided to get the seafood risotto which was delicious, squid, oysters, scallops and fish. Kevin and my meals were taking forever and to make up for it the waiter offered us a free drink which was awesome, so I had a good glass of wine to go with my meal. After lunch we went next door to the Art Museum and walked around to look at some of the work. Everyone was dead tired by that time so we decided to go back to the hostel and take a nap before getting ready for the night. After a nap and shower Rachel, Julie, Cassie and myself headed to Wicked. The show was amazing, I was a little hesitant that the Actors were going to have Australian accents but they didn’t and I’m really glad I went. AT intermission they were selling “ozmopolitans” in these awesome light up martini glasses so of course we all got one, they were delicious. After the show we tried to meet up with the rest of the group but some of them were just drinking in a park with friends that they had met up with from their spring break trip and we didn’t’ want to do that so we went to the bar that was below our hostel and hung out for a bit before heading to bed.

The next morning we woke up early, well some of us, because we had to catch a 9 o’clock train. We ended up running to the station and missed the train by a few minutes. It was the only train that could take us to Philip Island in time to see the penguin march which is the major reason we were planning on going there. Kevin informed us that there was another train that would take us to some city where we could take a ferry over to Philip island and still get there in time. We put our faith in Kevin and tried this option, after arriving in Frankstown, a few stops from where we wanted to be, we found out that the ferry was shut down for the day because of bad weather. We were about to turn around and head back to Melbourne but Kevin was determined to get us to this island. He decided that our best option was to rent a van and drive there ourselves. Long story short, after about an hour and a half we wound up at Thrifty where we got a great deal on an 8 passenger van and were headed for the island. Some of us were hesitant about going but I’m glad we did. The hostel we stayed in, which I found was called the chill house and was basically a house renovated, added onto, and turned into a hostel. there was a courtyard with a pit for bonfires a nice bathroom, living room area and then two bedrooms with bunks. After the penguin march, which really wasn’t as cool as I was expecting, and really cold. We stopped at the grocery store, bought supplies for s’mores, which was hard since they don’t have graham crackers, and some drinks and then headed back to the hostel. The owners built us a fire and we hung out there for a while, went over to a Mexican restaurant because Julie was super excited about the margaritas, which were horrible, I’m not really sure if there was actually any tequila in them. After that we went back to the hostel again which was only about a block away and drank for the rest of the night and hung out with the two guys that ran the place, Mark and Paul who were really cool.

The next morning we got up early, drove off to see the nobies which is where there are supposed to be an abundance of seals but with our luck we didn’t see any, however the scenery was beautiful and it was free so still worth it. The island was pretty cold, and extremely windy so that made me a bit crabby but overall it was a lot of fun. We had to have the car returned by 1 so after that we left, took the car back and then caught the train back to Melbourne where we checked back into the hostel we had stayed in two days before. After that we had some time to kill so we took the free tram that takes you around the city and points out all of the “tourist” attractions. It kind of reminded me of the trolley tour in Milwaukee. After walking around one of the parks and part of the city we went back to the hostel where we hung out and then started to get ready. We were planning on going on a ghost tour at the prison in Melbourne however it was sold out so only 4 of us had tickets. The girls that didn’t have tickets, which included me decided to get ready and then go out to dinner in little Italy. We walked there and started looking at menus along the street of all the different restaurants. We got to one where there was a host sitting outside who pulled us over and gave us a 5 minute talk about why we should eat at his restaurant. Part of the “presentation” included that we would receive free garlic bread and a free glass of wine. We felt bad turning him down so we decided to stay. This guy was a real ham, kind of annoying but we gave him credit for being so persistent. The food was actually really good and so was the wine, also it was all a pretty good price so even though it was an awkward situation with him constantly talking to us and making sure we had everything we needed/pushing more wine it was worth it. After dinner we met up with the rest of our group who were done with their ghost tour and at a rooftop bar in the city. We hung out there for a while before returning to the Hostel to rest before our 6:40 bus to the airport.

Surprisingly we were all up and ready in time to catch the bus that took us to the airport. We had a van reserved at Avis which we were going to rent to drive the great ocean road. When we got there we were told that the van had engine problems and would not be available for us to drive. The guy tried to tell us that he could get us two cars instead but that’s not what we wanted and we only had one person who was really willing to drive. There were other car rental companies there so we tried checking with them but they had nothing available. We returned to Avis where we planned on demanding a great deal on two smaller cars because of the inconvenience. After about a half hour of talking we found out that they actually didn’t’ have two cars, one of the ones were manual and none of us could drive that and the other was a Rav 4 which apparently you can’t rent to someone under 25. Our next plan was to rent one car from Europcar and one from Hertz but we had to wait for the one from Hertz to come back which was supposed to be at 10:30. While waiting the guy from Thrifty came over and asked us if we were still looking for a van because he had found a set of keys in the drawer to a van that he had forgotten about and thought was being rented. We filled out the paperwork and left by about 10:30, after sitting in the airport for close to 3 hours. We were finally on our way thanks again to Thrifty. On the way out we stopped at Bells beach and a few other lookout points which provided amazing views of the ocean. There was a marathon being run from Lorne to Apollo Bay so we had to take a windy detour through the woods to get there. It was actually pretty cool and I don’t’ think it was much longer than the original route. We got into Apollo Bay around 3:00, checking into our Hostel, got some food, and then headed on down the road because we wanted to get to the Twelve Apostles before sundown. Unfortunately it was cloudy, we got there right as the sun was starting to set and the view would have been even cooler if there would have been clear skies, but it was still really pretty. After a few minutes there we got back in the car to return to our hostel. We all decided we were sick of eating out and spending money so we bought stuff to make a stir fry in the kitchen at the hostel. After that we just hung out and went to bed, ready to get up for another fun day of driving and traveling.

Monday we got up, loaded the car and headed for the airport. We really didn’t have time to stop anywhere because people had flights to catch and we had to have the rental car back by 11. Between all of us we were on three different flights so some of us had to wait in the airport for a few hours before coming back to Sydney. The flight went super fast and thankfully Rachel had schedules a shuttle to take us back to our apartment so we didn’t have to deal with taking the train. I was back here by about 5 o’clock, showered, ate dinner and then watched TV with the girls upstairs before passing out. It’s weird, both of the “vacations” I’ve been on here made me more tired than staying in Sydney. I guess that proves that there’s a lot to see and do here.

Tuesday I had a GLP colloquia which was one of the most boring things ever. It was about intelligence, basically we talked about the CIA and different agencies for 3 hours. Then after that I had an econ lecture which thankfully ended early. Now the rest of this week I’ll probably be living in the library since I have a huge paper due next Tuesday and then a test on Thrusday. I can’t believe how fast the time is going, Brian will be here in about two weeks, I have finals, and then before I know it I’ll be home. (Which I’m super excited for because I miss you all and it’s starting to get cool here so I want summer weather back!)

Love you,

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Back to Reality

I thought once I got back from my trip I would have time to relax, but that hasn’t really happened yet. I couldn’t sleep in the first day back since I had to go to the dentist and get my tooth fixed. I left that excitement out of my last post, a few hours after getting back from our trip I was sitting in my room eating and my fake tooth broke off. Not really the best ending to the day, not to mention all of my roommates were gone, and it happened after the medical center on campus closes so I had no idea what to do. I went to campus to use the internet and found out there is a dentist in the shopping center which is a few block away from my apartment so I planned on going there first thing the next day.

So no sleeping in for me Thursday morning, I woke up at 8 so I could get to the dentist right away. They thankfully had an opening but it wasn’t until 3:30 so I had all day to walk around looking like a hillbilly. It actually worked out because I had a group meeting for my Marketing presentation scheduled for 10:30 so I was still able to go to that, even though I really didn’t want to talk to anyone while missing one of my front teeth. The dentist wound up being one of the nicest people I have ever met in my life, he really turned my mood around 180 degrees. Before going in I was worried about the whole situation but he was really understanding and assured me everything would be fine. I’m still waiting to hear back from my health insurance company, with the international student health cover you have to pay up front and then file a claim which they review and decide if they want to pay for anything.

Friday I decided that something had to be done about this apartment, it was a mess. I vacuumed, swept, washed the floor, took out the overflowing recycling and trash, did the dishes, and even washed the bathmats. After that I went to campus to use the internet, I had to set up my classes for next year, check my bank statement and e-mails and book a flight to come home. I did all of that, and by the way I’ll be home June 24th at around 7pm. Friday night there wasn’t much going on, a lot of people were still gone on break and the rest of us were all exhausted from our trips so we just hung out.

Saturday was Anzac day which is a big holiday here. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian in WWI. There’s a mass at like 4am, but mostly it’s just a day for people to go into the city and drink/celebrate. Joe, who lives upstairs, birthday was on Sunday so we decided to celebrate Saturday in conjunction with Anzac day. The plan was to get ready and start drinking at noon and then head to the city because there was supposed to be live music and stuff in the afternoon. As usual no one was ready at 12, we all met up in Joe’s apartment around 2, hung out there for a couple of hours and then headed into the city. We went to a bunch of different bars and then later in the night we all met up with people from our trips and most of us split up. The group I was with decided that the rocks wasn’t fun and that we should go to Bungalow8 which is on Darling Harbor and a good 20 minute walk from where we were. I’m stubborn and didn’t want to pay for a taxi so we walked the entire way, which was probably a stupid idea since my knee still hurts from white water rafting and I had flimsy sandals on for walking. We got there eventually and it was actually a lot of fun, pretty similar to Cargo bar, which is also on Darling harbor but it was cool to see someplace new.

Sunday I tired to be studious and go to the library, got there around 1 and didn’t really get that much done. I checked facebook, e-mailed my mom, and researched a few articles for my paper but couldn’t concentrate enough to actually read them all. I woke up craving Mexican food so Marie and I decided to make tacos for dinner, which were delicious. The finale of the Australian version of So you think you can dance was on so Marie and I watched that and by the time it was over I was ready for bed, especially since I had to get up for my internship the next day.

By Monday my lack of sleeping was catching up with me, I had to hit the snooze button a few times and struggled to get out to the bus stop on time. I made a poor decision in wearing heels and my feet/knee were killing me by the time I got to work. I figured work would be decent since I hadn’t been in a few weeks and theres internet there so I could always facebook if I was bored. Well just my luck, the internet was “down” so I got the awesome job of putting together 40 binders for a conference they were having later in the week. Around lunch time the internet starting working again and it was funny because within minutes my supervisor was on facebook so I figured it was okay for me to do the same. Then she asked me if I wanted to do some shopping because we needed gift bags for the wine we were giving to presenters. Again, this would have been fine except that I was wearing stupid heals, and my knee still hurt so the walk during lunch wasn’t so enjoyable. I did get an extended lunch though so it all evened out. I feel like I had to wait for eternity for the bus that night and got home about ten minutes before I had to head out for my meeting with my Marketing group. We wrote our speech for our presentation but gave up soon after that because we were all tired and hungry, I came back ate some food, watched the new show Master Chef, and attempted to work on my paper.

Tuesday was a much better day, I got up before my alarm, showered and had breakfast (which I usually don’t do before work). We had a staff meeting at work which was pretty boring until the power went out around 10. I guess this is like the third time in the last month that Sydney has had a blackout. It lasted for about an hour so we just sat there, kind of continuing the meeting but moreso just talking about random things. The rest of the day went pretty fast, I had to write a Media release announcing the Export Hero’s for 2009 so that was kind of cool.

Wednesday I thought I would finally get to sleep in but woke up at 8:30 and then again at 9:30 so I just got up. I was at the library pretty much all day, group presentation; paper and huge test all in the next two weeks. It would be fine but the test is in my ECO200 class, the one that I barely understand so I have to study a lot. I didn’t buy the book so I have to go to the library to read it which you would think is a better place for studying than my apartment but the library here sucks. There’s really no good place to study there, and it drives me crazy that they allow you to eat because when I’m trying to read and it’s quite the sound of chewing drives me insane. If you know me at all you know how much this annoys me.

Thursday is my busy day as far as classes go. Luckily I didn’t have my ECO tutorial this week so I didn’t have to start until 11 which is my Econ lecture. I actually like that professor and although it’s somewhat boring the 2 hours go fairly fast. My marketing tutorial was completely pointless this week but gave my group time to work on our presentation that we have next Thursday. That night no one was really doing anything, school’s finally catching up with everyone. I watched Harry Potter with Jill and was yelled at because I’ve never seen any of the movies, I didn’t mention to them that I haven’t even read the books. I might do that this summer though, seeing as I own them all. Speaking of reading I’m almost done with the Pillars of the Earth, it’s really good and I just found out Julie upstairs has another one of Ken Follett’s books so I might borrow that from her when I’m done with this one.

Friday I went into work because I want to make up some hours. I’m hoping to finish a week early and I know that I’m going to be missing a few days when I go to Melbourne. My boss told me not to bother coming in until the afternoon because that way I could stay and have cocktails. Work was actually kind of fun, I thought it was going to suck at first because one of the computers was broken so I didn’t have one for the day but then we re arranged and I did have one. I confirmed the booking for the photographer and audio systems for the Hero’s awards in June and then I started working on a slideshow of all the Hero’s and past Hero’s that’s going to play during the dinner. They got out the wine at about 4 and I thought I would just have a glass and then be home by 5. We were sitting in the board room drinking and talking about before I knew it, it was 6 o’clock. We were talking about how expensive University is in the states and all kinds of random stuff, it was actually a lot of fun, I’m going to have to start working more Fridays. that night when I got home everyone was hanging out upstairs in Joes apartment so I went up there, we left soon after to go across campus to some other girls apartments and we all just hung out there for the night.

Saturday I decided to tag along with the CEA group to go to the Blue Mountains. CEA is just the program they are studying abroad through, basically they paid a little bit extra and then have prearranged trips every once in a while. We went up to the Mountains but on the way stopped at a aboriginal place and tried throwing boomerangs and then learned about their culture. After that we went to a few lookout points and then started our hourish long walk. The guide, Murry, told us we’d be climbing down some stairs and that it was a pretty long walk and then we’d take the train back up the mountain. The stairs were extremely steep and there were more than a “couple” I think the whole walk was 2km, kind of long and my knee still is sore but it was an awesome experience with some amazing views. Along the path we met a bunch of people that had numbers tapped to them. Turns out there was a race in the Mountains, they started at 8 am and were hoping to finish by that time the next day. In total they were doing a 100km hike all around the Mountains, non-stop through the night. Personally I think they are crazy but they were doing it as a charity even to raise money and awareness some wildlife foundation that’s trying to preserve the natural beauty of Australia. It was actually pretty cool talking to some of the people, you could tell they were really passionate about it. When we finally got to the bottom we were waiting for the train to take us back up, turns out it’s the steepest train in the world, we thought it’d be a good idea to sit in the front row...kind of scary. After that we had lunch/dinner in town and came back, I was exhausted so I just hung out, typed my blog, updated pictures, and did some reading. I have a huge test on Tuesday, and presentation on Thursday so I’ll probably be living at the library for the next few days.

Sunday I went to the Market with a few people, mainly to get some fresh produce. We also walked around for a while and since I was cold I decided to finally buy the Australian Zip up that I’ve been wanting. It was only $10 and actually decent quality which I was skeptical of since it was at the market and so cheap, but I like it. Kim and I bought a ton of fruits and vegetables because we’ve decided that we’ve been eating like crap here and we were both talking about how much healthier we are at home, just living in general, and we want to get back on track. Joe found a store that sells North Face fleece and jackets incredibly cheap so I’m going to have to go back there and probably buy something. That night I had a meeting with my marketing group to work on our presentation which is this Thursday, after that it was pretty much tiem for bed.

Now here it is Monday, I’m taking a break from studying. I have to check the book I need out of reserve and you can only keep it out for 3 hours at a time so I did that and read from 9:30-12:30. Soon I’ll have to go back in and hopefully the book is there for me to use.

Only a month till Brian comes to visit me and then not long after that I’ll be home! Can’t wait to see you all!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

$1500 and 13 Days later

Well I just got back from 13 of the best and most exhausting days of my life. Our “Spring” break trip was awesome, but now like someone on the trip said, I need a Holiday after my Holiday. I feel like I’ve been going non-stop and I haven’t had a good nights sleep in ages. Just a warning this entry is going to be extremely long seeing as I have two weeks of non stop adventure to update everyone on.

Out trip started Friday the 10th when Rachel Jackie and I got up at the crack of dawn for our shuttle to the airport. Our flight got us into Cairns early in the afternoon and then we just walked around and hung out at the Hostel for the rest of the day. There was a really nice pool and bar area which is where we ate dinner. It was $10 for your pick of mean (steak chicken fish) side salad, break and a drink. It was interesting because they just gave you the raw meat and then you had to grill your own, but it was delicious.

Saturday we got up early for our 2 hour bus ride to the Tully river where we did white water rafting. This was intense, our raft consisted of 3 strangers, our guide who didn’t speak very good English, Jackie, Rachel, Dana and myself. We did 2.5 hours in the morning, braked for a bbq lunch and then another 2 hours in the afternoon. It was grade 4 rapids which are pretty difficult, but it was nice because after each rapid we had a calm period to rest. About 15 minutes before our lunch break we were approaching a rapid that apparently had a cyclone on the right hand side that was pretty tough to get through. Our guide told us we should go left but after the first three rafts went right we just followed them. Bad idea, we got to the cyclone, stopped and knew we were doomed. Our raft went straight into the air throwing all of us into the water. I really don’t remember much because it all went so fast but I do remember not knowing which way the sky was. Eventually I came up, just quick enough to get a breath before another wave pushed me back under. Our raft flipped in the middle of the rapid so we ended up floating/swimming/ getting pushed down the remainder. They advised us that when your raft flips you should go into the float position which is on your back with your feet out infront of you. Yeah, well this is easier said then done. I was spinning around doing somersaults running into rocks while trying to get to that position. I remember floating past one of the other rafts that was trying to pull us in except they couldn’t reach me. Then eventually one of the guides in the other raft threw me the rope and pulled me in. Everyone in that raft said I looked horrified and they were all pretty concerned for me because they said our flip/swim through the rapid looked pretty intense. I got a nice cut on my knee and many bruises all over my legs but I’m fine and now I have an awesome story to tell. Our guide told us that he owed us beers at the bar afterwards since our raft flipped, but when we got there he never followed through with his promise, what a jerk. The afternoon went smoothly although we were all a bit apprehensive about getting back into the river after our tumble but all in all it was a good day.

Sunday we got up early yet again, this time to head north along Captain Cook Highway which has awesome views of the ocean. Our bus/tour guide Scotty was awesome and on the way told us tons of ways that you can die in Australia, the jellyfish and crocodiles were what he liked to talk about most. Our first stop was at a Rainforest Habitat where we got to see tons of wildlife and pet/feed Kangaroos and Wallabies. After that we got back in the bus to head up to Daintree National Park in Mossman George, here we did a rainforest walk and saw some more wildlife. After that was a stop at smaller beach where we had a delicious lunch before we headed north to the Daintree River. We took a “cruise” down the river in a small boat where we saw some crocodiles, birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. Back into the bus and another long drive until we arrived in Cape Tribulation where we spent the night. It was cool because our hostel was being remodeled so we got upgraded to the Cape Tribulation resort and spa. It was a really neat place, all of the units were kind of like little log cabin/tree houses in the middle of the rainforest. The best part was probably the bathrooms though, there were large glass showers AND hot water. We ate dinner at the restaurant there event though reception told us it was “a bit pricy” as if because we were students/backpackers we couldn’t afford it. they told us it would be very busy and they would try to fit us in which was bogus because the restaurant was half empty when we were seated. The food really wasn’t that great and somewhat expensive but I’m still glad we ate there because our only other option was a 20 minute walk down to the tiny grocery store in town.

Monday we got to sleep in a tiny bit, 7:45 pick up, to head out to the Great Barrier Reef. We all got on board a boat and headed out to the reef which was about an hour away. It was awesome to relax/suntan on the front of the boat during the drive out there. When we got there we had an introduction about snorkeling and then they let us out into the ocean for about 2 hours to explore the reef. I’ve never been snorkeling before but it was awesome. We saw pretty much all of the wildlife they talked about, coral, fish, sting rays, turtles, and even a reef shark. Some of the girls said it wasn’t as beautiful as some of the snorkeling they’ve done in the Caribbean and other places but that’s because the Reef is slowing dying/disappearing because of all the pollution in the world. I’m just glad I got to see it before it’s gone. In between snorkeling we had a break for a huge lunch and then after we headed back to land where we caught our bus for a 2 hour ride back to Cairns where we returned to our wonderful Bohemia “resort” hostel. We had dinner there again, this time it was included in the trip and instead of one of the meat selections you got a small portion of all three. After that everyone packed and got ready and then we all played drinking games by the pool until it was time to get on our bus at midnight to head down to Airlie Beach. This was probably one of the funniest nights of my life. We played Kings Cup and with all the rules we added it was a ridiculous game, not to mention there were like 20 people in on one game that just made it insane. We didn’t’ realize at first that we had to get our own transportation to the greyhound terminal so we ended up calling taxies to get us there. The last taxi was running late and according to greyhound rules you have to be at the terminal 20 minutes before departure. The last taxi with about 5 people from our group arrived at 12:30 which is when we were supposed to leave, and our asshole bus driver left without them even though we begged him to wait. They all were drunk and retarded arguing but it really sucked for them because they ended up having to take a taxi to the next town where they could catch a different bus.

The bus ride was ridiculous, we stopped at 3am for a meal break, not sure what meal that’s supposed to be, but some of the drunk kids got off to get snacks. After that it felt like we stopped every hour for a break or to pick up more passengers. We finally arrived around 11 to Arlie beach and had no idea where we were supposed to go. Josh, one of the guys on our trip was amazing at organizing things, he helped the stranded bunch of kids get to Arlie beach and figured out where we were supposed to go when we got there. Once we arrived in the office we found out that we were only allowed a small backpack of things for the trip and that we were supposed to leave the rest of our luggage in their hold room. I wish I would have known this before because I just took my large travel backpack and then a tiny cloth backpack. I ended up stuffing everything I needed in there and then we had the day to hang out in town before getting on the boats. It would have been a lot of fun except that we were all tired from the lack of sleep we got on the bus the night before and it was raining so no one really wanted to walk around o explore the town. We were supposed to leave at 1 but since the group that missed the bus was still on their way we were postponed. Then at 3, our second scheduled arrival time we found out that they were fixing the “freight train” which is the sailing yacht that I was supposed to be on, that made me feel good. Finally everyone got there and the boat was ready and we ended up leaving around 5. It was still raining so it wasn’t that much fun to be on the top of the boat, for me at least, I hate being cold and wet so I just went under the boat and hung out. Our sleeping arrangements were very interesting. It was like bunk beds in the side of the boat, and I was on top. It was hot and kind of smelly but I’m still really glad I did it, it was an awesome experience and made a great story to tell. The way out was a bit rocky, and I was a little nervous but I got used to it. Our skipper was Jason and then we had another guy Patrick that was supposed to be the diving instructor but he was basically in charge. Then there was Erica who was the cook for us, I can’t believe the meals she made in that tiny kitchen with limited resources, while sailing. The first night we had spaghetti and garlic bread which was delicious. The rain stopped so we sat up top for a while, and then we went to a bar on one of the islands. We stayed there till 12 but it was a pretty chill night because all of us were pretty much exhausted from our long day. The most annoying part of it was that we had to walk to the bar, and Patrick told us that we didn’t’ need our shoes because it was just a short walk. Well he was wrong, it was a long walk through mud, and rocks, all of us were tiptoeing through these rocks screaming every time we hit a sharp one. This guy Patrick was pretty cool but could also be a complete asshole.

The next day what was it Thursday the 16th I woke up pretty early, before anyone else and went up on top the boat. I was just in time to catch the end of the sunrise which was GORGEOUS, I got some good pictures of that and then while I was waiting everyone else woke up and we had breakfast. We sailed out to Whitehaven beach which is again another beautiful place. Everything on this trip was so pretty and amazing it was hard to take it all in. I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of this beach in magazines and on posters and stuff. It has the whitest sand I have ever seen in my life and it’s so fine. The only problem is it gets in everything, we were constantly covered in sand and they warned us to be careful with our cameras because the beach has been known to take the lives of many digital cameras. I was careful because I’ve already lost one camera to sand damage and did not want to loose another one, especially in the middle of this trip. We got to the beach at like 8:30, did the touristy picture thing at the lookout and then just hung out there until about 10. We left early because we had a 2 hour trip to another area of the islands where we were doing snorkeling. On the way to that we all just hung out on the boats, the weather was gorgeous, sunny and warm so all the girls were sprawled out on the deck tanning. When we got to our next location we had lunch, which was so good, I was expecting basic meals on this trip but we had potato salad, roast chicken, pasta salad, bread, and some other things. After that we went snorkeling for a while, but the water was kind of murkey from all the rain they had the day before so it wasn’t as good as it should have been. After this we just sailed to anther area where we stopped to anchor for the night. We all started drinking “good’ (it’s what they called boxed wine here) on the way and just hung out the entire night. It was crazy, we were blasting music, singing along, dancing, all in all a great end to the sailing trip. The skipper also thought it would be a good idea to do a snorkel bong. it’s kind of like a beer bong, basically you just fill the tube of a snorkel with wine and then chug it. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and the first one was fun, the second one not such a good idea though.

Soo I woke up the next morning not feeling so hot, I think the mixture of hangover, smelly wet people that hadn’t showered in two days, and sea sickness was a deadly combination. I made my way up to the deck and puked overboard, it was a great start to the day. We had breakfast soon after that and Dana told me tea should settle my stomach and I figured a piece of bread would be okay to eat. Well I was wrong again because both came up within a few minutes. I’m pretty sure I saw some fish eating my puke. Sorry to anyone with sensitive stomachs but I figured I’d include all the details. We didn’t spend much time on the water that day, just headed back to Arlie beach where we had the whole day to sit around, waiting for our next overnight greyhound bus which left at 8pm. The first thing we did was showered and washed our clothes at the facilities they had by the marina. That was one of the best showers in my life and I didn’t even have a towel to dry off with, I just drip dried and then put on my swimsuit, since it was the only clean clothing I had with me. After that we found what they call the Arlie lagoon, which was pretty much just a huge public pool. Rachel and I weren’t really hungry but after a while decided that it would be better to eat something than have an empty stomach all day. I had Mc Donalds for the first time (except ice cream of course) in probably 2 years,maybe more, and it was a big let down. It was beautiful weather again and we hung out there until about 4 which is when we had to pick up the rest of our luggage from the sailing office. After that we just went to a bar and got drinks and dinner while waiting for our bus. We all made it on time this time, thankfully, except the bus ride still sucked. I feel like I didn’t sleep at all however the time passed pretty quickly so I must have just been in and out of sleep a lot.

We were supposed to get into Hervey Bay on Saturday at like 9am. Somehow the bus made up a ton of time and we got in at like 6:30. The hostel thankfully provided a courtesy van, but since we were so early they weren’t ready for us and we had to hang out at the hostel for a while before we could check in. Everyone was dead tired from the drive, some of us just hung out by the pool and some decided to go find a place to eat. We sat around until about 8:30 when they finally had us check in. The rooms were really cool, it was like a little apartment with a kitchen, living room and two bathrooms and then like 6 bedrooms. There were 19 people per unit and my unit was all people from our trip which was really cool. After we checked in we had the whole day to ourselves to just hang out, we went to the beach because it was another beautiful day. The beach was really nice, not too busy and the water was pretty shallow for the first part so it was a good beach for just hanging out. The boys bought a soccer ball, Frisbee and football so we played games for most of the day. We went back and got ready and then people from the hostel took us on a booze run so that we could stock up for that night and our camping trip. I really didn’t want to drink that much so I just got a box of wine that I was planning on sharing with Dana. After we all went on our run we came back to the hostel where they had a bbq dinner for us, it really wasn’t that good, just their sausage type hot dogs that I’m not really a fan of. After that we hung out in our apartment thing and played some drinking games, then headed down to Hollihans an Irish pub on the beach. They had a live band doing cover songs of a ton of American music and the group of guys I was with was insane. The guys were dancing with all of the older women there, and they were loving every minute of it. One of the women had a video camera with her for some reason and ended up recording some of guys dancing because they were so ridiculous.

The next day we had to be checked out of our Hostel by 6:30 and then down in the meeting room for our briefing for Fraser Island. They had us watch a movie on all of the basic rules of camping, as well as how to drive the trucks that they give you. We thought the trucks fit four but it was actually made for 10, there were the two in front and then the back of the trucks were bench seats on the sides so that you could fit 8. You had to be 21 in order to drive the trucks so that took out like half of our group and then we found out the trucks were manual and there were only a few people that knew how to drive stick. We had a girl try to drive our truck but stalled it like 3 times on the way to where we packed up our camping equipment so they decided to send a driver with us. At first we were all mad because we thought the driver was going to be strict and keep us from having fun but we were completely wrong. They ended up sending two people because the one guy didn’t want to go out alone. We had 12 people in our truck and one of the other trucks only had 8 because they were all separate from the STA group. The first day out Rachel and I rode with them because we thought it would be easier than stuffing 12 people into our truck. That kind of sucked because we got separated from the rest of the trucks for the majority of the day and didn’t think that we would ever meet back up with them. On the way to the campsite I told Rachel it would be awesome if we got there and all of our stuff was set up with dinner cooking. She told me not to even say that because it would get her hopes up, but when we pulled up that’s exactly what happened and it was awesome. We had spaghetti and I cracked open my wine to go with it. We found out that we couldn’t have a campfire in the area we were set up at (which I actually knew already since I watched the video at orientation) but this came as a shock to everyone else when they realized we’d just be hanging out in the dark. We sat by the beach except I was freezing and didn’t’ really feel like drinking so I think I ended up going to bed pretty early.

The next morning we woke up to find that the Dingo’s ate all of the meat from our coolers, so we didn’t have much food for dinner that night. We decided that we would camp at the same location that night so that we did not have to pack up all of our camping gear and then unpack and set up again that night. We left around 8 because you have to drive when the tides are low and we headed up the east coast of the Island. The ride was a bit scary, it’s so weird driving in sand you just swerve back and forth and with all of the weight we had on the top of our truck it felt like we were going to tip over. There were a few spots where the tide was pretty high so we almost got stuck in some of the water. there were also spots where we had to go over rocks which was pretty intense, and kind of scary. After we got over one patch the park ranger stopped us and told us to be safer because he didn’t want another accident like the one they had the day before, that freaked me out a little bit. After about 2 hours we got to the top of the Island to what they call the champagne pools, it’s an area where the ocean washes over rocks and creates neat little pools of water. We hung out there for a while and some of us started drinking, some may have thought it was early but we reasoned that it was okay because it was 5 o’clock at home. We packed back into our trucks and headed south again, stopped at the Maheno shipwreck which is basically just a rusty ship that washed up on shore. After that we went to Eli Creek which is a really neat shallow creek that runs into the ocean along the beach. We walked up and down that and then hung out there for a few hours because we had to wait for the tide to be low again so we could drive on the beach. I laid down to tan and ended up taking an amazing nap on the beach, I guess the wine/sun combination made me a bit tired. The rest of our group was playing football in the creek so when I woke up I joined in with that. Some of the guys thought it would be more fun to play football with me so one of them picked me up and they started passing me around. It was actually really funny and kind of fun, most of them were joking that I would be covered in bruises the next day because my legs were basically one big bruise as it was because of the white water rafting. Once the tide was low we headed back to camp where we made some delicious sandy grilled cheese sandwiches, chips, and any other random food we had. The other groups had some extra sausage and cheeseburgers so they also shared these with us. That night the Dingo’s must have remembered where the food was because they came back for a friendly visit. All of the guys thought it would be a good idea to go Dingo hunting so they tried to make spears and one of them picked up a shovel. I think they ran around for a while but then they just gave up and continued drinking and acting like retards, pretty much normal behavior for those guys but extremely amusing. I went to bed early again that night, as did most of the group, long days of sun, 4 wheel driving, and drinking will do that to you.

The next morning we had to get up and pack up all of our stuff before we headed out for Lake McKenzie. It was about a 2 hour drive but once we got there it was beautiful. The lake had the bluest water I’ve ever seen in my life and some of the softest whitest sand. It actually squeaked when you walked on it, I’ve never been on a beach that’s done that before. The water was a bit cold, but having not showered for 2 days it felt amazing. While most of the girls laid out in the sun the guys invented a new game, human beer pong. Basically they stood in two lines about 30 feet away from each other and then took turns throwing a football, footy ball, and Frisbee at each other. If you got hit with any of these you were out, but you were also out if you flinched as one of them flew at your body. I must say it was quite amusing to watch. We left there around 1 and ate the rest of the food that we had left, I had my apple and a peanut butter and jelly, which I didn’t mind at all. Some of the guys were complaining because there was only whole grain bread, but then they found a package of hot dog buns so they ate their PB and J on that.

Completely off topic but talking about PB and J made me think of this. They don’t have Jelly in Australia. It’s either Jam or preserves, so when one of the girls here told a local that she loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches they thought she was crazy. Apparently what we call Jello is called jelly here, so they thought she was making some crazy new sandwich.

Anyways back to the trip, after lunch we headed back to the west side of the island where we had to meet the barge which would take us back to Hervey bay. Once back we had to unpack all of our gear and check back into the Hostel. This was an interesting point in the trip, 31 filthy smelly people and limited showers. Our room had about 11 people from the trip and one shower, we took turns and unfortunately we all got a cold shower. The hot water at this place seemed to run out ridiculously fast. As I showered sand was constantly pouring out of my hair, it was ridiculous, and despite the fact that it was freezing cold and I had to dry off with the dirty towel I had been using all week it was still one of the best showers I’ve taken. That night the hostel set up a deal where you could pay $10 for all you could eat Dominos pizza. I wasn’t really that hungry but I did it anyway because everyone else was and there were really no other options for dinner. That night was spent on the balcony of our room drinking and once again acting like complete idiots. I had a stomach ache and wasn’t really in the mood for alcohol so I just hung out with everyone. I’m actually really glad I didn’t drink because they provided the best entertainment I’ve had in a while. The guys did a great rendition of backstreet boys, follow by the girls doing spice girls. Around 10:30 they wanted to head out to the bars but I was dead tired so I just went to bed. I was woken up at 12 by them returning home and was once again provided with a few good hours of entertainment. I also collected all of the valuables, ipod, speakers, and phones that were left around the room. Many people thanked me for that in the morning.

The next morning everyone got up and started packing, sadly it was our last day of the trip and we had to check out of our rooms by 9:30 and be at the airport by 12. The flight home went by pretty fast, I slept for about half of it, read a chapter and we were there. We had scheduled an airport pickup so that we didn’t have to mess around with taking the train. Because we had so many people it wound up being about the same cost, a lot faster, and a lot more convenient, I am hoping I don’t have to travel on the train at all with luggage, I can only image what a pain that would be. It was good to be back but I was a bit disappointed when I walked into a messy, empty apartment, thanks roommates for leaving the garbage full, dirty dishes in the sick, and shit all over the living room. It was awesome though because I had two cards in the mailbox, thanks mom!

Now it’s back to reality, I had a group meeting today with some kids from my marketing group because we have a presentation/paper due in a little over a week. This week I have another paper due and then a huge test the week after. I also have to register for classes for next year in La Crosse, sort out the details of my lease, and figure out traveling plans. I have a flight to Melbourne with about 5 other people from my apartment building for May 14th so we have to book our hostels and activities for that. Then I have to figure out what I’m going to do with Brian when he comes….juuust kidding, I can’t wait for that, only 2 months!! I also booked my plane ticket home, June 24th, get excited! And start planning my party!!!

Well I guess I should wrap up this novel. I’m typing it on word right now and I just got to page 8 so I think that’s probably enough to talk about. The weather has started cooling off here, not too excited about that. I just got an awesome tan on this trip and now it’s probably going to fade because I don’t think it’s going to be warm enough for beach days anymore in Sydney. I’ll probably be living in the library for the next few days, usuing the internet to talk to everyone, update this blog, figure out classes, oh yeah, and do homework. Wish me luck with my tests, I’m still not used to being in school!

Love you and Miss you,
See you soon!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Almost halfway

Time's flying by here, I was just realizing that i'm halfway done with classes, and once I get back from break i'll be half done with my entire time here, roughly. I can't really tell if it's going too fast or just right. I'm enjoying myself and haven't felt rushed to do anything, so I guess it's going good. I was talking to someone the other day that said they heard of a lot of people who are really homesick and some that even moved their flight home to an earlier day because they're anxious to get home. I think it's mostly that everyone is ready for a break, school is stressful in that I have no or little motivation to study or do my homework since I know I only have to pass. The other problem is that in two of my classes the test averages so far were right around a 50% and the professor said that was good! I dont' get it, I guess the major differnece between here and home is that at home when the class average is that low the professors just curve it to bump everyone up, not the case here. Although i have little motivation I still do the readings, go to class, and study, but it's tough to focus when there are so many other things on my mind/ that i'm wanting to do.

We made it to Luna Park last Friday and that was a lot of fun. The special was "friday frenzy" and you got an unlimited ride pass for $25. It was worth it because otherwise rides are $10 each, kind of rediculous. The only problem was that I get motion sickness pretty easy and a majority of the rides were spinning. After a few I was done for. Me and spinning just don't get along very well. We ate dinner down there too, I had Calamari and chips and it was delicious, then as if I hadn't eaten enough we opted to get some ice cream, which was also delicious.

Saturday was a slow going day, we didn't do much of anything. Everyone was overtired and studying/preparing for all of the stuff that was due this week. I actually dont' have a hard week this week but when we get back from break I have 2 tests a presentation and a paper due so I've been trying to keep up with that knowing that i'll get nothing done over break. Saturday night I hung out with the girls upstairs and we got to talking about high school/college and just all kinds of random stuff. It was a nice relaxing night, something I think we all needed.

Sunday we had plans to go to Manly beach for Beth's 21st birthday. Despite the fact that it was kind of cloudy/cool we still went. It wasn't the best of beach days, but we stuck it out. I'm reading "The Pillars of the Earth" right now which I borrowed from my roomate John. It's about 1000 pages long, but it's really good so far, and i'm about 1/4 done.

Monday and Tuesday I had my internship which i'm enjoying. I found out that I will be able to go along to a few conferences in May. One of them is to Coffs Harbor which is suppsoed to be beautiful so that'd be cool if I could take a free trip out there.

I'm getting anxious to plan what i'm doing when Brian comes to visit, but i'm not even sure what days he's going to be here for sure or what the weather is like so I guess i'll leave some of that till after break. I also would like to know when my finals are so that I can figure out waht my schedule is going to look like for June and when i'm going to be coming home. Right now it looksl ike if I don't have finals towards the end i'll be coming home on the 23rd or 24th, but if I have finals that last week i'll probably wait until the 28th or 29th becasue flights are a lot cheaper then.

My next post probably wont' be until after my "fall" break but i'm sure it will be a long one talking about everything I did. My wall is filling up from the cards i've been getting so thanks to everyone that has sent one so far, I love getting mail!

Love you all, take care