Thursday, March 31, 2011

Little Fuzzies

I got to go play (aka take care of) the little fuzzies today.  Yep. Koalas. They are pretty awesome. If you want to watch a little movie filled with pictures and videos it's posted below.

Right now I am packing for the outback. I leave tomorrow (!!) at 4:10am. From there we [the international students] take a bus to Brisbane then fly to Alice Springs.  Then we will spend the next six days traveling around the outback; we'll get to see King's Canyon, Uluru (Ayers Rock), and lots of other neat things!

I am so excited and I hope that you all brace yourself for a ridiculously long blog post filled with lots of pictures/videos when I get back!  Cheers until then!


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Birds

The birds are loud. Very. You can even ask my mom who hears them when I Skype her.  Sometimes they are louder than me!  Crazy!

I had a little melt down today.  I was really sad about my grade in tourism. I'm not used to this referencing style and was not prepared. Ugh. Such a hard grading system! Oh well, good to learn a new system anyways.

But I'm happy now.  =)  I got my housing application mailed (for fall 2011), a quiz taken for biology, I read my text biology, I turned in two papers for Perspectives on Australia, I applied to be an Undergraduate Teaching Fellow as well as a CNR Ambassador, and I did my laundry!  Whew... I did a lot today!

And I think I'll make fettuccine alfrado with chicken and veggies.  Sounds like a good dinner to me!

And yes. I realize I have issues with grammar and spelling. It's part of my personality.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Caramel Brownies

When I started writing this blog post, I was going to write something to the effect of, "Today was a normal Monday."  But in fact there was nothing normal about today at all. Because I realized after I typed that sentence that I am in Australia. Which is not normal at all! Granted it was a dull Monday and it rained all day, but hey I'm still in Australia livin' the dream!


I felt that I needed to spice my Monday up a little.  Which resulted in me buying brownies. Not just any brownies... but caramel brownies.  So good!  I write about food a lot, but you have to understand: I love food.  It's so delicious and amazing!  Plus it's an adventure to create food in another country where everything is measured in mLs.  Oh I long the 1/4 cup to come back...

If you really want to make your mouth water, check out these brownies: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/05/salted-caramel-brownie/

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Surf's Up... Dude

Oh yes. I went surfing today at Lennox Head!  It was awesome!! Thank goddess I have balance and actually managed to stand up a lot.  I had a massive board, so that helped, but I impressed myself.  (And as a side note, I'm really tired.  Whew!)


Something totally awesome that happend while I was surfing was the fact that I saw dolphins! They were right there chillin' with us in the water!  Is was so neat!!

So I surfed. In Australia. With dolphins. Right on.

Heres some surfer slang I picked up on today:

Surf's Up!
Hang Ten Dude! 
Wipeout
In the soup - when a surfer is in the white foam of the wave after the wave has broken

 I wish I had some pictures to show you, but they didn't take any and I wasn't going to bring my camera out into the open water. So you'll just have to trust me.  And do you know something else?  I get to cross "Try surfing" off my bucket list.  =)  A picture of me chilling on the beach should satisfy though.


Once surfing completed I got to hang out with my friends at Byron Bay before catching the bus to Lismore.  We grabbed some grub (pizza) at a local shop then went down the the beach.


While my friends laid on the beach attempting to tan (despite the fact it was overcast), I walked around and collected some really neat seashells.  I think it must have been low tide when we went to the beach because they were everywhere. I couldn't help but grab one or two. It's something you probably aren't supposed to do, but I wanted to have a memory of where I'd been.

When I came back to Lismore I hopped in the shower then went to a Relief Society activity with the Lismore LDS Ward.  It was really neat because we celebrated the RS Birthday.  It was so much fun!  I honestly wasn't expecting it to be as much fun as it was, so I'm glad that I went!

 I am getting to meet more and more people each day and I love it!  Besides, who wouldn't want to chat with friends and indulge in good food!  Plus we ate an amazing cake.  Seriously. It was so rich but so good!


Well; I'm lovin' life right now.  Time for bed.



Friday, March 25, 2011

Sun & Shop

Today I spent the majority of the day lounging about and laying by the pool in an attempt to tan. Which did not work. I guess I over did the sunscreen, but I would rather stay cancer free so it's a trade off.
Why yes. That is an awkward smile because I'm
carrying shampoo in my hand & have my sunnies
in my mouth.
After the tanning attempt I pretended to do homework. (Which I must actually do after I write this.) Then I went to the shops in Lismore with my flatmate.  Oh what a perfect day for a walk down and back up.


 I managed to pick up some things for my outback trip... that happens in 8 days!!  I got a long sleeve shirt, some hiking pants, a water bottle, bug spray (a must), and more sunscreen (another must).  Oh yes. And a hat.  A perfect wide brim Aussie lookin' hat.  Outback here I come.

And, as tradition would have it, I bought shoes! In case you didn't know, I have an obsession with shoes. Especially buying shoes in another country.  Today I bought my first official pair of Aussie flats. Good shoe sale!


On a side note; I was walking back to Orion College and saw bats (flying foxes) just hanging in the tree. They were in the process of waking up because it was dusk.  Crazy huge bats at that!


So bats and hats and shoes oh my!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Every day an Adventure

It's come to be my philosophy that every day is an adventure. That doesn't mean that you have to go out and do something fun or crazy each day; but find the things in your day that are meaningful. Adventure it out there, but it's also all around us.


My adventure today was in the cooking department.  While in Australia I have been eating three main meals for dinner.  Pasta (Spaghetti/Fettuccine).  Rice & Veggies.  Or sometimes meat and potatoes.  While I love these food groups, it's nice to have a real meal.  In fact, it's even nicer to have two in the same day.


This morning I made french toast and hot chocolate.  It was so good!  It was a little luxury meal that made the morning nice. And tonight I'm making pasta.  But I've amped it my normal pasta meal up.  Tonight it's a three cheese pasta bake with garlic bread.  So yummy!

So make sure that you find the adventures (whether they be big or small) that are in life and enjoy them!

Here are some of my favorite quotes about adventure:

“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.” — William Feather (American Publisher & Author)


“Adventure isn’t hanging on a rope off the side of a mountain. Adventure is an attitude that we must apply to the day to day obstacles of life.” — John Amatt (Founder of "Adventure Attitude", he's a really neat guy with a neat take on life.  If you have the time check out this site: http://www.adventureattitude.com/aaphil.htm)



“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.”  Hellen Keller
And as Elizabeth Taylor (who played the leading role in one of my favorite movies, National Velvet, and who passed on today) once said, "I feel very adventurous. There are so many doors to be opened, and I'm not afraid to look behind them."  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sunset

Last night I went to my first official outback trip meeting. I am so excited to go!!! It's an eight day long trip; two days are spent traveling to and from Alice Springs - living six days in the desert!  I don't know a lot of information yet, but they will email me an itinerary soon.  :)


After my meeting I came back and watched the sun set from my bedroom window.  A great ending for a exciting day!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Eltham Rainforest Remnant

Field trips. Are awesome. Why? Because it means getting out there in the real world (instead of the classroom) and getting your hands dirty... Or muddy.  Actually it wasn't my hands that got muddy but it was my feet. Poor shoes.  Poor pants.  Poor white backpack that now has small brown spots on it.


But, aside from the mud, this was a great experience. I felt like exploring this rainforest remnant gave me a new perspective on how ecosystems work.  The rainforest was extremely diverse and it was neat to see the vines and weed trees.  Even the smallest tree can have four or five different plants growing on it, trying to reach the canopy.

I also had a great team to work with, so that was a bonus!

Tomorrow is my tourism class (nothing too exciting happening in it)... but after that I have my first official outback trip meeting!  I am so excited!!


Well, today was certainly adventurous and so was yesterday.  If you haven't checked out my Nimbin blog post from Monday I hope you do.  You can either find it below or by clicking here.

Cheers!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Nimbin

 Today I had a field trip for my Perspectives on Australia class. We first went to the Djanbung Gardens. Djanbung means platypus in the local Wyabul dialect and was given to the gardens when they first began in 1994.  Djanbung Gardens is Au's leading permaculutre centre where living sustainably and within your means is practiced. Let's just say that the gardens looked like an overgrown jungle and I honestly didn't get much out of the experience.  But it was neat to walk around and take a look at things - like awesome bamboo clumps.

After the walk around Djanbung, the class was bussed to the Rainbow Power Company. We heard an overview of how it works in general and how solar power is helping Nimbin live off the grid.


Then there was Nimbin itself. A  hub for dreadlocks, marijuana and strange looking people. Everything is technicolor, bright, and "happy".  Nimbin was an iconic site in 1970s counter-culture movement (in Australia) and it hasn't changed much since the 70s.


Although I had to decline buying marijuana over and over, it was neat to see the how the culture thrives.  Without a police presence, marijuana and other drugs (despite the fact they are illegal) are extremely present in the society. Perhaps that would help explain the crazy colored buildings on Cullen Street.


Going to Nimbin was definitely  an interesting experience.  I gained a glimpse of the 70s and bought a neat ankel bracelet to replace the one I bought in Byron Bay (that broke) and bracelet for my wrist.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hiking Fail

I was going to go on a hike today. To Minyon Falls. But that failed because it was cancelled. Due to rain. Stupid Rain.


So instead of going on an awesome hike I went into Lismore with my friend Julia. Which turned out to be a lot of fun.  I attempted to find a dress for race day. Which failed.  I attempted to find a pair of shoes I wanted.  Fail.  But I did manage to eat a sundae. Big plus. And develop the pictures from my underwater camera. Also a big plus!

So take a look at some sea turtles.  Quiz time - anyone know which sea turtle this is? (I do!) And enjoy looking at the rest of my pictures!
Chocolate!! [Lismore]
Snorkeling in the ocean!  Thumbs up for fun! [Byron Bay Trip]
The Kayaks after lunchtime. [Evans Head Trip]
I ate all my icecream!


They were selling American 5 dollar bills at an antique shop! haha
Julia & I

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Saint Patricks Day Down Under

Yesterday (which might be actually be today; depending on where you live) was Saint Patricks Day.  Good ol' Irish man. Well, down here in Oz St. Patricks Day means drinking.  And a lot of drinking.  Some Aussies started at 7... in the morning!  But I had better things to do.  Like go work at the koala centre!

I have a feeling that the koalas didn't know it was a holiday.  But they certainly enjoyed eating new leaf! Working at the centre is really neat and I just love the little baby koalas! They are so much cuter than the older ones!  Actually, most animals are cuter when the are babies.  Take cows for example.  A calf is cute, a bull is not.  Yep yep.
Well, here is my attempt at green!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Box

This is David.  Holding me  in a box.  Love skype!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Meebunn-bia

On the wings of an eagle.

Day One:
After a night of packing my rucksack I was ready to wake up early and head to Meebunn-bia; which is an outdoor education facility.  It's a two hour drive from Lismore and is in the most beautiful country.


When we [our outdoor education class] got to Meebunn-bia it was straight into hiking. Along the way we got to play some neat challenge games.

 For lunch we went hiking up a super steep hill which was challenging and I sweating like a horse. But it was well worth it!  After lunch we hiked several more kilometers (or k's) and camped near a high ropes course.  Awesome!  It was so much fun to get up there and play around.  My favorite part was the flying fox - or zipline!!!!  It was so cool!  I wanted to do it again and again! Haha.  After a tiring day we hiked for a few more minutes then got to camp.  I was so tired but so glad to be outside in my element.  It was a lot of hiking but I'm glad.

Day Two:

Woke up early. Before everyone else actually. It was amazing to be up early and see the sun come up.  There was also a wallaby in camp!  It was so funny to watch it hop around and investigate our camp.  Once everyone was up and had breakfast we began a navigation course to see if we could handle a map and compass.  Thank goodness that I have practice doing that.  The only thing that freaks me out when hiking around in Australia is spider webs.  And huge spiders. And nasty webs. Yuck.

 After the nav course we packed up and hiked more k's to our final camping spot.  I loved it there.  We got to climb a small hill and watch the sun set.  It was amazing.  But I was glad when we came back and got to go to bed. My legs are so not used to working that hard!  Makes me appreciate my horse that much more!


Day Three:
Woke up at 5:00 and watched the sunrise. SO much more amazing than the sunset. I loved it. After brekkie it was off to another high ropes challenge in pairs and then I got to do a free fall. The free fall was awesome because you climb up this huge tree then jump from the top (while attached to a belaying system).  You free fall then the rope catches you and it's like a giant swing. I loved it.  After those activities it was more hiking then finally the day rolled to an end and we climbed on the bus to Lismore.

I am really sad that it's over because I love the outdoors so much and would spend all my time outside if I could!  But I am glad I got to go!  :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Heading Out

If you don't hear from me - don't worry. I'm heading out for the weekend to a place called Meebunn-bia. It means in the company of an eagle. In short it means that I am going camping over the weekend. Challenge by choice. So bring on the challenge!

High ropes course. Zip line.  Can't wait!  I'll be sure to update you when I return!

Cheers!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Evans River

Today I went kayaking with the SCU Outdoor Adventure Club.  First off, it's awesome that SCU has an adventure club. I love that word. Adventure.

We drove up to Evans Head (population 3,100) and proceeded to the Evans River.  This river meets the ocean - so it's very sandy and the tide pulls it in and out each day.  It was raining when we started so I'm sure everyone that went looked really attractive. Sunnies. Raincoats. Life-vests. And kayaks. Oh yes!

I was in a purple (two seater) kayak with a girl I met today who is also in the club. I purposely chose that color. Purple is a good color; so my logic was that purple should be a good kayak. And it was!  We went up the river and got a chance to see some really neat things like an aboriginal midden. (A midden is basically a very old garbage dump.) Paddling against the wind was a challenge both ways, but it made it exciting!

We also paddled through a mangrove forest.  Navigating the trees was so complicated but really neat.  And the highlight of the day was probably the water fall. No. Not an actual waterfall but rather a water... fall.  Aka we put the kayaks on the dock, got in the kayaks and pushed into the water. Get it? More like falling in the water via kayak! It was awesome!! My friend and I managed to keep our kayak from rolling like some others did. Haha.

Once again I didn't bring my digital camera (too afraid of getting it wet), so I'll post pictures later when I get them developed!  If you haven't looked at my Byron Bay post you should. Because that's what I did yesterday and it was equally as awesome!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Snorkeling


Today was awesome! Amazing! Heaps of fun!!

In case you didn't already know what I was doing this weekend, I went snorkeling at the Cape Byron Marine Park. I saw tropical fish, coral, sharks, manta rays, and of course - sea turtles (green sea turtles to be exact)!


Although it is rather stormy here today, the trip went off without a problem!  We took a short boat ride out into the sea then dove right into the water and swam for about an hour. And yes... my legs are jello. I'm not used to swimming so much or against the current!  I took a disposable camera with me; but I haven't had the film developed yet and probably won't be able to put the pictures online.  What you see on this post are pictures provided by the Byron Bay Dive Centre.  But I saw all of these animals!  And more fish I couldn't identify.

Exploring the ocean was an experience I hope I never forget!


After snorkeling ended (sad) we hung around Byron and walked through shops and around the town. It's a neat town with lots of things to see, so it was good.  When it started raining really hard, my friend and I sat down at "The Beach Hotel" (aka cafĂ©/bar/hotel/) and watched a football game (aka soccer).
A great ending to a great day.  Now it's time for me to eat some dinner. Sit down and watch a movie. Do some reading for uni, and sleep.  My legs are jello and tomorrow my arms are going to be jello.  Kayaking the day after snorkeling should be interesting - but fun!  I'll update on how that adventure goes too!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Money

One of Lismore's many roundabouts...
Why does it cost so much to buy things here? Either way I have to buy certain things. Like an underwater disposable camera.  A must when kayaking. No way I'm taking my expensive digital. A fork/knife/spoon set for camping.  A cup.  All purpose cup really - you can drink out of it, eat noodles out of it, and wash it easily. Headlamp.  Gotta have a headlamp.  I'm sure I could have bought a cheaper one, but I bought a Coleman LED with 25 hours of running time. And some quick dry shorts. And a cute modest bottom for my bathers.
Interesting Tree
Oh least I forget my biggest purchase today.  A trip to the outback! It's official. I got the e-mail. I am headed to the Red Centre of Australia. I checked out a book from the library and I love the description of the outback. "Australia's outback - endless horizons, vast desert of red sand, mysterious monoliths, and cloudless blue skies. If there is a soundtrack, it is the rhythmic haunting tones of the didgeridoo." The guide also describes the sprawling Aussie cattle ranch, ancient mountain ranges, and Uluru.  Can you say excited?!  I am willing to bet this will be the highlight of my time in the Land Down Under.

On a different note, I walked to Lismore today and was able to see Rotary Park, a remnant rainforest.  It was so neat.  Here in the middle of Lismore is rainforest.  Amazing.


Before I went to town, and the downpour of rain started, I got to work a two hour shift at the Koala Care Centre.  Which was awesome! I got to help weigh a koala, clean their pens, place eucalyptus for them to eat, as well as scrub out all the pots and volunteer for a great organization.  As a service learning scholar at Utah State I am really happy that I get to volunteer overseas.

Especially at a care centre for koalas! Who gets to say they have done that?!?

All in all, today was a fantastic day.
One of the pens I cleaned. This one has six koalas, two
of which are babies and so cute!
Although i didn't get to go play badminton because I got back late from shopping and needed to put things away. Plus it was raining cats and dogs outside at the time.  But still.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Week 2

Monday.  Monday was fun.  Biology confuses me because I am not familiar with the local plant life here and honestly am not good at biology in the first place. Cultural Perspectives. Extremely interesting. There are so many ideas about culture and place. It's intense.

Clouds over Southern Cross Uni. 6:30am. Before the heat!
Tuesday. My biology lab was super interesting because we got to look at plants and inspect them. So much better than lecture!  And outdoor education was, once again, awesome. We are starting to plan for trips and get ready.  So excited!  Except today is was really, really, hot.  I'm talking 95 degrees and 80% humidity.  Good thing for swimming pools! It just making sleeping a little difficult at times because it's so warm at night.

I also booked something exciting today with my friends. Something that will hopefully be awesome.  Something like Sea Turtle Snorkeling at Byron Bay on Saturday! Woot! And Sunday is kayaking the Evans River!  Booyeah!

 Now I just have to buckle down on my studies and work hard so I can play on the weekend. Which is what I am going to do right now.  I'll be sure to post more later!