Archive for the ‘Emma in Australia’ Category

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Emma: Meat pies & Relay for Life

May 15, 2010

Happy Autumn! I realized the other day that in the year 2010, I will never experience the season of spring…weird! It’s getting cooler in Sydney and the beach days are coming to an end, but I am embracing the situation and continuing on with my Australian adventures.

This past week was pretty relaxed with heaps of uni work and hanging out around the village. I was battling with a paper all week and finally finished on Thursday. After I finished my paper, Betsy and I went and played in the park. Victoria Park just recently opened up a little playground, so we walked down there and played: went on the swings, giant spider web, flying fox, etc. and then played frisbee as well. We felt like such children, but it was a gorgeous day and just nice to be outside and celebrating the start of the weekend!

Friday night some of us headed out to Olympic Park for the Dragons vs Bulldogs Rugby League game. It was at ANZ Stadium, which is where the Opening Ceremonies, Track and Field, and other events took place during the 2000 Sydney Olympics. When we got inside we walked around a bit got meat pies (it’s the thing to do at sporting events) and got our seats. The game itself was awesome. I seriously love Rugby; it is so fast paced and fun to watch. It was neat to see how the crowd got into it as well. They were pretty rowdy with huge flags always waving and most them wore scarves of their team colors around their necks. New goal: find a maroon and gold scarf!

So the game is ending and we decide to leave a bit early to catch the train before the rush. We get on the train and the three of us are just chatting away… A while later it feels like we had been on the train forever so I get up to check the map and see how much longer we had. To my surprise we are not even in close proximity to where we were supposed to be. Long story short: we had missed our stop BY AN HOUR! So when we got to the next stop, we got off, asked the people there how to get back or what to do and they basically start to laugh. We were a $100.00 cab ride away from home!

At this point I am laughing, one friend is near tears, and the other is figuring out what to do. We then head to the other side of the tracks and wait for a train to get back home. It was after 11, but we had to sit and wait. There are some other people waiting: drunk, obxoxious, on some sort of drugs also waiting, and then the night gets even better. The police arrive and begin to question the situation. We tell the police we are not with the other people there so they leave us alone for a bit. After talking to the others, writing a ticket or two, doing a few strip searches etc. the police come back to us and ask what we are doing… We explain, they wish us well, and then the train arrives! An hour or so later we made it home safe and sound! Oh the many firsts we experienced that night, Rugby, getting lost, being questioned by the police. I’ll never forget the town of Asquith, Australia!

Saturday was the day I had been waiting for: RELAY FOR LIFE! I was so excited not only to be going to a Relay For Life, but just to see how it was different in other countries. The event was at the McKay Sports Grounds in Centennial Park. The Relay here was 24 hours. There were bake sales, sausage sizzles, bands, and performances all day. The energy was not as intense as Relay back home, but just being in the atmosphere was indescribable. Relay For Life really never fails to amaze me. It was a perfect day and made me appreciate my time over here a little bit more.

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Emma: Coozies

May 10, 2010

Last week’s exciting events started on Tuesday when Betsy and I headed out to the Olympic Park is to watch friends play water polo. Before coming here I never really watched water polo, but it has really grown on me!

When we arrived at Olympic Park, thoughts of all the people from all over the world that walked on the grounds started racing through my head. We saw that outside of the ANZ Stadium where the opening ceremonies and track and field were held and then we saw the inside of the Aquatic Center where the water polo game was taking place. Crazy to think that some of the best athletes in the world swam there! Unfortunately the boys lost their game, but it was still heaps of fun.

Wednesday night I went on a harbor cruise around Sydney and Darling Harbor with all of the Human Movement Majors (Kinesiology). It was circus themed and people got pretty into it. We went as circus animals, there were heaps of Mims, acrobats, clowns, ring masters, etc. So interesting to see everyone’s creative outfits. It was a lot of fun and nice to see some friends outside of class.

On Thursday we got lunch at Hoochie Mama’s with our water polo friends. Hoochie Mama’s is the café at the place I live and it is SO yummy. I eat there numerous times a week and we tell the owner frequently that he needs to open one in America. My goal by the time I leave is to try everything on the menu, and I am well on my way. That night Betsy and I took the train out to Olympic Park to watch some more water polo. They lost again but, but something very exciting did happen that night! I DROVE A CAR! On the other side of the road! It was awesome. First time driving in 3 months, so I was pretty bad at first, and it was hard to adjust to being on the other side of the car but I eventually got used to it after turning on the windshield wipers a few times instead of the blinkers, and scaring the people in the back seat a little too!

Friday Michelle, Betsy, and I ventured to leichhardt, which is just a suburb of Sydney and a short bus ride away. It has a large Italian population, which means absolutely amazing gelato. I got tiramisu, and I literally never wanted it to end. It had huge pieces of cake in it and the gelato was so creamy it was pretty much heaven in my mouth.

Saturday afternoon we went over to the uni cricket oval and hung out with the water polo team (I swear I am not obsessed. Their season is over now so they have heaps more time to hang out.) It was fun meeting everyone’s families, the coach and other players. That night we had the most delicious pizza ever for dinner and went out in Newtown once again and later to Darling Harbor. Successful weekend over all….gosh I never want this to end!

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Emma: Roo

May 3, 2010

May…how in the world can it already by May!? As my other friends studying abroad in Europe begin to end their semesters, it is starting to hit me that I only have a short time left. Not much to report back to about the uni part of this past week, I don’t have any big assessments due for another two weeks so its smooth sailing for a little bit.

On Thursday we had an Asian Feast at Sydney University Village. Some of the different Asian student groups came and made their culture’s delicacies for us to try for free. We were also able to learn how to make dumplings, some form of chicken, and also Mochi, which was the consistency of overcooked gnocchi. It tasted like play dough with a peanut coating… Disgusting to say the least. But everything else was good and it was interesting to see all of the Asian people interacting with each other in what seemed to be their own element.

Friday was a rainy day in Sydney (sad) but we spent the day planning our epic adventure to Katoomba for the following day.

Saturday, my friend Montana and I leave for the train station at around 7:45 for the 8:18 train to Katoomba. After grabbing a coffee and some raspberry banana bread, we start walking to the station not realizing we were walking to slow and just chatting. We looked at the time and realized it was 8:12. So we took off running but still missed it and had to sit around for an hour waiting for the next train.

When the next train got there we found ourselves in what felt like the 1930’s with leather olive green seats and some nasty carpet on the ground. We then made ourselves comfortable for the 2 hour train ride to Katoomba. On the train we heard a man talking about frying up a kangaroo for dinner, and also catching a snake to eat as well. Then while looking out the window at one of the stops we saw a woman walking with a parakeet on a leash. As this is happening I sat wondering where in the world the train was taking me and what I was about to get in to.

When we arrived in Katoomba we got off the train and were greeted by the smell of pine trees and camp fires. It reminded me so much of Eagle River, Wisconsin. It was small mountain town with lots of cafes and mountaineering stores. Very quaint and the air was crisp and cool. It was nice to be out in the bush for a bit and out of the hustle and bustle of the city.

The trail we hiked was around a 2.5 hour hike and included a GIANT stairway, The infamous Three Sisters, water falls, a mining town, and ended with a cable ride back to the top. We met an Australian band called Blue Juice on the trail, took so many pictures, went off the trail and climbed on rocks in a river, carved our names in everything we could and had a great time in the great outdoors. The views were gorgeous, and throughout the morning it was so neat to see the fog gradually rise above the trees.

By the end of the day we were exhausted and ready for the train ride home.

Sunday was just another lazy day at the beach and man do those never ever get old! I honestly don’t know what I am going to do when I can’t wake up in the morning and spontaneously just go to the beach. This week we are going to watch some friends play in their water polo finals out at the Olympic Park, go on a Harbor Cruise, and continue to live the dream.

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Emma: Sydney Adventures

April 26, 2010

The time continues to fly by and I cannot believe I have already been back from Easter Break for two weeks now. Since Easter Break I have been busy with uni work and just exploring Sydney some more. It’s so nice that I now know my way around town, Sydney definitely makes me feel right at home.

Right after East Break, some of my friends that I had met while in New Zealand and Mike my friend from Minnesota came to visit. I was so excited to show them the amazing place we live. I also took them to Bondi Beach and did the Coastal Walk with them as well. The Coastal Walk will most likely be one of the last things I do before I come home because it’s gorgeous and will never get old.

That following weekend we went to the Sydney Aquarium which was well worth the money. We were able to see one of the largest crocodiles in the world, walk through a glass tunnel filled with heaps of sharks, manatees, sting rays, and also see the tiny creatures such as jellies, sea horses, eels, clown fish, etc. After our day at the aquarium, we headed to the Lindt Chocolate Bar. Yummm! All of the cakes, ice cream, and drinks were made with Lindt Chocolate.

The next day some friends and I went to Glebe Markets which we had gone to when we first arrived but wanted to check out again. The markets were a successful day for everyone with Betsy buying new outfits for her birthday which was last week Tuesday, and I got a skirt for FREE! There was a stain on the back of it and the women just let me have it because she said she wouldn’t be able to sell it.

On Sunday we did our weekly run to Paddy’s Markets, and then Betsy and I went to eat brunch at St. Johns College. We had met some friends there who invited us to come over and eat and once again I felt like I was eating at Hogwarts. The dining hall had long wooden tables, a head table where Dumbledore would sit and huge rounded windows amongst the beautiful architecture. I literally sat there waiting for the owls to fly in with mail… Not only was the dining hall gorgeous, but the cathedral attached as well!

This past Friday, we ventured out in fancy dresses to the area of Sydney known as The Rocks, had a fancy dinner (this was the first actual nice restaurant we had been to since coming here), and hung out that night in the many pubs around The Rocks including The Lowenbrau, The Argyle, and also the oldest pub in all of Sydney. It was a good change of pace hanging out with some people of the older generation.

It was ANZAC Day here in Sydney this weekend. ANZAC stands for Australian, New Zealand, Army Corps: in other words Veterans Day. All the soldiers were out in full force playing a betting game called 2up. And like I have said before, Australians love their public holidays.

And now for the best part: quite possibly one of my favorite nights in Sydney. On Saturday night we were invited to one of our friend’s (who plays water polo at Sydney Uni) 21st birthday party. It was at a great venue in Sydney that included food all night long, music, and speeches given by his family and friends! It was neat to experience such an extravagant event. That same night we got in VIP at a club in Darling Harbor.

As you can tell I am still living the dream and even as the weather gets a little cooler nothing can take the smile off my face.

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Emma: overdue Easter break post

April 16, 2010

Well here goes nothing! Prepare now to dive into what has by far been the best week of my life. Never did I expect to have such an amazing break and meet so many life long friends.

Surfers Paradise


Straight away we met some people from Wollongong who were staying the floor above us. Since they had been to Surfers before, we figured it may be a wise decision to see if they would show us around. First night there we ventured out into the nightlife that Surfers had to offer. The Gold Coast is like Australia’s Florida so it’s full of spring breakers, night clubs, and you guessed it more night clubs.

Our first night there we also went for a night swim in the ocean…best time of my life! The waves were HUGE, The rip was incredible but we all made it out alive with huge smiles on our faces.

On Easter Sunday we woke up early (after being super confused about day light savings time) and went to a local church “Surf City,” expecting it to be a beautiful Easter service filled with singing and flowers. Well it turns out we were completely wrong and ended up leaving half way through. Yes I know that is horrible especially on Easter, but it was just not our scene and was way over the top. And to make matters worse, there was no singing or flowers. So instead we walked along the beach said a prayer to ourselves and got a huge Easter Brunch right along the beach. It turned out to be a great day exchanging Easter Baskets, playing in the ocean, laying out, and soaking up the sun.

Byron Bay

When we got off the Greyhound in Byron Bay I fell in love immediately! It is a small beach town where basically all people do is surf, eat, sleep, love life, and live the dream on repeat everyday of the year. It is so chill and laid back.

We then trekked up to The Cape Byron Light House for the afternoon. Along the hike we saw dolphins, surfers, beaches, more surfers, and finally made it to the Eastern most point of the Australian mainland! So cool to say that I stood on the Eastern most point! Even after being here for 2 months I still get butterflies when I see how beautiful this country truly is.

That night we were tired from traveling and knew we would have a big day the next day so we hit the sack early to catch up on some sleep. The next day we went on a day trip to Nimbin. Early that morning after a breakfast of chai tea and the best walnut cinnamon apple muffin I have ever eaten in my life, “The Happy Bus” pulled up in front of our hostel. This old hippy bus would be our transportation for the day and man was it a bumpy ride. After driving down dirt roads through the rainforest, seeing koalas along the way, and making a pit stop at Minyon Falls, we finally arrived in Nimbin. Not much can describe this place besides the two words Peace and Love. Yes, there are hippies everywhere, peace signs, Bob Marley, the smell of marijuana, and not much more. It was a quick in and out and that was enough for me.

After an interesting day in Nimbin, we travelled back to Byron Bay where we made dinner and mingled with the others staying at our hostel. This is the night that I fell in the love with the backpacking culture because you honestly meet so many amazing people from all over the world. The girls and I played some card games with two British boys James and Tim, a guy from Denmark Michelle, and a guy from Orlando, FL, Tyler. It was a fun night getting to know others in the hostel and checking out the nightlife in Byron.

The next day which was supposed to be our last, we beached it all day. As I laid on the beach I seriously thought about how I never wanted to leave Byron Bay. Later that afternoon when we were supposed to be getting ready to board out bus to Brisbane, Betsy and I looked at each other and said we didn’t want to leave just yet. So what do we do? Yep you guessed it: be spontaneous and change our bus ticket for the following day. At this point we didn’t know if this was going to be a wise decision but later we found out it would be by far the best decision of our lives. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Emma: Hunter Valley Time

March 28, 2010

Hello Again! The weeks here seem to fly by even faster then at home and I constantly find myself asking where is all the time going. I just wish everything could slow down. But like everyone told me before I even left, “your time abroad literally flashes before your eyes.”

On Tuesday night we randomly heard about a free, yes I said FREE Ke$ha concert at a park a short bus ride away from where I am. So naturally we hopped on the bus got to the park ran to the venue that Ke$ha was apparently performing at. Sweating and tired from running we pushed our way through the crowd of screaming 12 year olds to get a better view of the stage. The whole time I am laughing saying that it is probably not even the real Ke$ha but either way I was excited. Finally she came on stage, yes the real Ke$ha sang about 5 songs (I only cared about Tik Tok) dumped glitter all over herself and then left the stage.

Wednesday was the “Messy” (Med Science) Pub Crawl. We went out for a few drinks with the future doctors of the world. People here seriously love pub crawls. There was another one going on the same night of all exercise science majors. They all had to wear their white lab coats and that eventually turned into a huge graffiti party.

Friday was Beach Day. Oh how I am living the dream. We got up early, went to Bondi Beach, laid out, jumped the waves, got a nice tan, took a nap, listened to Bob Marley. Okay I guess I will stop bragging. But seriously this NEVER gets old.

Saturday was a day filled with wine, cheese, a sausage sizzle, beer, and you guessed it more wine. We boarded the bus with Ronnie as our driver and took off for The Hunter Valley. There are hundreds upon hundreds of wineries and vineyards in The Hunter Valley.

The first stop was Drayton’s Family Wines. Here we sampled different reds and whites, a white chocolate liqueur, and also port. Our first wine tasting experience was a success. During out tasting out driver Ronnie grilled up some bangers for our sausage sizzle and the best part about it was THEY HAD HOT DOG BUNS. The first buns we had seen since being here.

The next winery we went to was called McGuigan Wines. Here we were able to try a wine that has won numerous awards at the Sydney Wine Show and many more red wines. A lot of them tasted very earthy but still good. At this point we were becoming such wine connoisseurs. At this same place we did some cheese tasting; it brought me back to the day of cheese judging at the state fair.

Finally we were off to our last stop, which included basically all liqueurs. Butterscotch, “Love in a Bottle”, a few more and we finished off with a shot of “Dragons Breath.” It is pretty much chili infused schnapps and man was it hot. They gave you chocolate to eat afterwards to calm the spiciness. It wasn’t all that bad and after you got used to the spice it was actually like a really warm feeling inside. Never ever would I buy such a thing, but it was a good experience. We then trekked out to the rose bushes that surrounded the place and took a ton of pictures. There were roses of every color all in a row.

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Emma: Hanging with the kiwis

March 23, 2010

I don’t even know where to begin with my New Zealand Adventures. It all started on Thursday night when I arrived at the airport and entered the Duty Free Shop in the international terminal. HEAVEN on EARTH. After my little bit of excitement over some of the cheapest things I have seen since coming here, my flight took off to Auckland, New Zealand—the City of Sails.

The weekend was off to a great start when we got on the ferry to Waiheke Island right off the coast of Auckland. When we arrived on the island, we hiked around for a few hours and saw some of the beautiful landscapes. We then rented a mini-bus and learned to drive on the “other side of the road.”

We made our way to U-Save Car and Truck rentals to pick up our 10 person mini-bus. The old man who gave us the keys warned us of people getting killed and bad car accidents and you know pretty much everything you ever wanted to hear before driving for the first time in a foreign country. He then ended with “make sure you put the club on the wheel whenever you leave the car.” HA! (One of the those red things you people used to lock their steering wheels with about 15 years ago in the States). We were then off taking “short lefts and wide rights.” For about the next 4 hours.

When we arrived in Turangi, we drove to the campsite, only to find the office closed… So what do we do!? Pitch our tents, stay the night, and head off in the morning without saying a word. Yes that meant free camping for night number 1. After finding out we missed the bus to Mt. Doom that day and also that there were 55 MPH winds at the top of the mountain we had a huge change of plans. We headed into Taupo and went on a hike to Huka Falls.

The next day, we caught a bus to Mount Nguaruhoe, AKA Mt. Doom (from Lord of the Rings) and started out on the most strenuous trek of my life. We hiked for about 5 K and then came upon the bottom of the mountain. Now as the bus driver said “Mount Doom…it’s between you and God,” we started up the mountain with no trail just rocks and sand everywhere. I was literally crawling on all fours up this thing with my limbs flailing in every direction. If this was not a sight for sore eyes I literally do not know what is. There were numerous times I was asking myself what the hell I was thinking but eventually I made it all the way to the summit of the volcano and looked straight into the crater. SO AMAZING and the view was not all that bad either—lakes, hot springs, mountains. Miles of the most beautiful landscape I had ever seen.

Finally after we made it down (we skied on the dirt the whole way) we continued our trek for another 15 K. All in all we hiked a total of 15 miles that day, and man was I tired. Most people train for things like this… New Zealand is gorgeous, and there is so so much more that I would love to see. I guess I will just have to go back some day.

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