Friday, June 29

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This was an amazing experience and I want to thank you all to followed along with my posts! It makes it feel all worth while. I cannot believe it went by so fast and am amazed at how much I got to do. The best part was all the friends I made and I hope to keep for a very long time. I learned a lot about Australia and their lifestyle and about many other cultures, also. I think that actually living and studying with people from other cultures was the best way to learn about their cultures. I ended up learning more when I was just hanging out with friends than I could from a book or the Internet. By attending classes there I learned a lot about how other universities' programs work and definitely learned new styles of learning/teaching. The classes were structured very differently, which challenged me but allowed me to adapt to other forms of learning. I would definitely recommend this to anyone! If anybody has any questions please ask! I love talking about my adventure and giving more specific thoughts to people interested. If not Australia I would recommend to travel anywhere! The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.

Melbourne, June 15-19

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So I arrived home from my up north trip on Thursday evening; Scott picked me up and brought me back to his house (and Lyn's house). I spent the night there and then Lyn took me to the airport for my 6:30 am flight to Melbourne. The flight was only 3 hours and went by quickly. I arrived in Melbourne and took a shuttle to my hotel. This trip was planned with my friend Dave, who met my sister Laura when she was in Australia. He works on oil rigs right off of Melbourne and was supposed to get off work on Thursday and then spend the weekend with me in Melbourne and stay at his sister's house who lives there. But, they had weather issues and were a man down so Dave was not able to get off of work until Monday so I was left to explore by myself. After getting my room situated I went to explore around the city. It was a beautiful day so I walked down to Federation Square, which has lots of options of different places for tourists. I went to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, which had an exhibit on the story of film, television and digital culture. Melbourne is such a beautiful city to walk around and is so busy with all the shops, alleyways and shopping centres. It took me all day just to see everything in the main part of the city. Melbourne also has two buses/trams that go around the city to the major attractions that are free. The bus driver talks about each area so I did one whole loop around the city to see what places there were. Saturday morning I woke up early for a bus tour on the Great Ocean Road. This tour had about 20 people also but I didn't get to know too many of them because it was only one day long. The Great Ocean Road was built to attract tourists and follows along the coast. We went to Bell Beach, which is the first beach that surfing originated from and then stopped in a few small towns along the way. Stopped to see some wild koalas and then did a walk through a forest. We went to the 12 Disciples, which are huge rock formations in the water. Sounds like the Pinnacles but the Pinnacles are usually like 10 feet where these are 40 feet and much wider. They are in the water and created from the water breaking down the rocks/cliffs at the coast. We also went to the "London Bridge" which is a rock formation that used to look like the London Bridge but ended up breaking. 'London Bridge fell down.' We got dinner and I became good friends with a French girl who was working in Australia. We didn't get back into the city until 9 so I changed and then met up with one of my friends I made on my bus tour up north who lives in Melbourne but is from Poland. We met up at a pub for a drink and got to catch up. Sunday morning I walked around the the Botanical Gardens and through a few markets. In the afternoon I went to the footy game at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds. It is the largest sports arena in Australia and was huge! The game was a blow out but still very enjoyable. Footy will definitely be something I will miss. It started to rain after the game so I got dinner and then spent the night in the hotel. Monday morning I met up with Dave and we got lunch, walked through the casino (made money!) and then walked through the city a bit more. We went to the top of the tallest building and looked out on the city. Could not believe how big it was. We then took the train to his sister's place, which is about 20 minutes from the city. We got there and waited for her and her boyfriend to come home. That night we went out for drinks and then went to a nice pizza place for dinner. It was very fun spending the night with them and they are very, very nice people. Tuesday morning we woke up early and they took me to the airport to my trip home. So sad I had to leave but was excited to come home.

Up North Trip June 11-14

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After spending the weekend in Bunbury to celebrate Scott's birthday I took a tour up the west coast. Had a wonderful time spending the last weekend with all of my close friends and was hard to leave them! Hopefully I will be back soon :) Anyway, I moved out of my flat Monday morning so I was busy Sunday night packing.. which was quite a stressful situation. Sunday night we took Kerryn to the airport to see her off, also. Monday morning we left for the tour; it was 20 people + the tour guide. Ending up being 19 girls and 1 guy plus the tour guide was a guy. A lot of people were on their own and we had people from Denmark, Norway, England, Ireland, Germany, America, Taiwan, China and Poland, etc. The first day we went to the Pinnacles, which are tall rock formations that stick out of the ground across the desert. We didn't have the best of weather so we went to a look out over the ocean, stopped in Geraldton and then headed to our hostel for the first night. Since everything is so spread out on the west coast it involved a lot of driving time and getting to see many wild kangaroos. We stayed our first nice in Kalbarri. The next morning we woke up and went to a gorge at the Kalbarri National Park, where people were able abseil. We also went out to an area called Nature's Window, which is a rock that forms a window in the middle. As we headed to Monkey Mia we stopped at Shell Beach. The beach does not have sand and literally is all tiny shells. It was amazing! Probably my favourite part of the trip. We finally arrived at Monkey Mia and got settled in our hostel. It was right on the ocean and had a pub, pool tables, pool and a hot tub. We definitely took advantage of using the hot tub with the ocean in front of us. After dinner we hung out in the pub and then when it got late we walked out to the jetty and looked at the stars and watched the dolphins swim around the jetty. The next morning we woke up early to see the dolphins. The interesting thing about Monkey Mia is tourists are able to see wild dolphins. They swim up near shore usually and the wildlife program feeds them throughout the day. We got to feed them but not touch them because they are wild and not trained. We started heading south after this. We stopped and saw stromalites, which are thought to be the oldest living orgasm in the world. We drove for quite a while and then got to our farmstay. It was at an old shearing shed and literally in the middle of nowhere.. That night we had dinner and just relaxed. Thursday morning we woke up and heading south to Hutt River Province. It is a country that one man started in 1970 because the government had put a quota on wheat and it would have affected his whole land and income. It took quite a bit of explaining of how he did it but we walked around and were legally in a different country. Google it, it is pretty interesting! We stopped at a wildlife park and got to feed the animals and hold baby kangaroos. They literally felt like they were only 10 pounds and the size of a small chihuahua dog. Our last part of the trip involved sandboarding. We were supposed to go the first day but didn't have good enough weather. We went down a few times on boards while sitting.. like sledding and then tried a few times standing up. Lastly we arrived in Perth after four busy, fun-filled days with many new friends. I made quite a few good friends on the trip and everybody got along very well. Very glad I last minute decided to take this trip.

Friday, June 29

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Well it has been quite a while since I have posted! I am currently in America! I have a lot to fill you all in and I'm hoping a few of you will still check this to see it! I decided I will go back and do posts on each of my trips so this isn't so lengthy. Sorry this took so long I had pretty bad jet lag when I arrived home and then got mono so was pretty worn out for a week straight. Plus, I was busy trying to catch up with friends and family after being gone for 4.5 months!

Thursday, June 7

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Well posting to my blog is a good way of procrastinating so I figured I will fill you all in. Not much has happened here, still been studying for my final. Kind of wish I could just get it done with. My close flatmate Emma finished her last final today and is leaving to go home soon. It is so hard to say goodbye! Doesn't seem like it is real. I decided that since I get done with my final this Friday and don't leave for Melbourne until next Friday that I would plan a trip up North. I booked a tour with a company in Perth that takes us north to the pinnacles, Kalbarri and Monkey Mia. The tour leaves early Monday morning and gets back Thursday evening. The further north, the better the weather so I am hoping it is a bit warmer when I travel! I booked this by myself and the bus holds 24 people so I am excited to make some new friends. In Monkey Mia they let you go in the water right next to wild dolphins so I am very excited for that. The tour includes accommodation and meals so it will be nice to just relax and be taken care of. Not sure if I will have time to post this weekend.. Tomorrow is my final and then we are all going out to celebrate Kerryn and me leaving and our friend Ben's birthday. On Saturday we are heading down to Bunbury for our mate Scott's 21st birthday. He actually plays soccer in the US and is home for only a month. We won't come back until Sunday and then I will be busy packing since I leave in the morning! I will try to post if I can!

Monday, June 4

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Finals week started today! But, back to last week.. On Thursday I ended up attempting to study all day. On Friday I went to Kerryn's flat cause her and our friend Leigh made an Italian dinner. Leigh had two friends from her home town visiting so us girls all ate the three course meal and then headed into the city. A few of our guy friends met us in the city and we went to a few clubs. On Saturday night our friend Tom that took us to the abandoned powerhouse in Fremantle took us to an abandoned mental institution. We didn't go until it was dark outside and all had to bring flashlights because all the windows in the buildings are boarded up. In order to get in we had to crawl through a small hole where the metal was bent. The inside was covered in graffiti and it was all completely empty. A bit creepy at night but was really fun walking around inside. After that, Tom took us out to the hills to see a view of Perth at night. It was really pretty with all the lights and was a nice drive. On Sunday, Kerryn and I went into the city to do some final souvenir shopping. Trying to make sure I can get everything before I leave! Today I have really geared down to start studying for my final. My final is on friday but it is over everything we learned so I am glad I still have a few days. Can't believe that in two weeks from today I will be preparing to leave for America in the morning! I forgot to say on here but I decided to change my flight so I could head to Melbourne for a few days. Dave is working on the rigs in Melbourne and his sister lives there so he said I should go there for a weekend and he could show me around and stay at her place. My new plan is to leave for Melbourne on Friday, June 15 and stay until Tuesday, June 19. I am very excited because everybody says Melbourne is such a beautiful city! I won't be doing much this week because of my final but I will be sure to try to update with everything.

Wednesday, May 30

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Ah sorry I got so behind on this! Been a busy last week of classes and study break. Tuesday I had my last Marketing lecture and psychology class. On Wednesday they had Mexican Night at the Tav so I headed over with a few of my flatmates. Thursday night one of my mates plays in a band and had a gig in the city. A huge group of us went to see them perform at The Bird in Northbridge. They are called Crooked Colours, check em out :) After that we headed to a pub in Northbridge and just spent the rest of the night hanging out there. On Friday they had the End of the Semester Bash at the Tav. I can't believe it is already the end of the semester bash! Seems like just yesterday we were heading to the tav for the Orientation beginning of the semester bash. We walked over and they had an area with bands playing and another area with a DJ. There were so many people there so it was pretty packed. On Saturday, my friend Zane took Kerryn and me home with him to Bunbury (1.5-2 hours south). We got to his house and met his parents. His mom made chicken curry and it was so nice to have a home cooked meal. That night we just stayed there and hung out with a few of Zane's friends. On Sunday Kerryn and I went for a walk along a river behind Zane's house, watched the footy game and then they took us into Bunbury to the top of a lookout to see the view from up high. Our friend Ben has a beach house in Binningup, which is only 15 minutes from Bunbury so we headed there for the night. A few of our other friends joined us so we had a big group. On Monday morning I woke up early and walked down by the beach. We've been having really nice weather so it was nice to walk along the beach in the morning. That afternoon our friends Owain and Liam took Kerryn and me south to Margaret River. We went to a cute ice cream shoppe in Dunsborough and then to the jetty in Busselton. The jetty is super long and took us about half an hour to walk to the end of it. We watched the sunset from the jetty and then went into town to get dinner. Today and Tuesday I have started studying for my exam next week. Not sure what to expect but trying to put in a lot of time since it is my own final. Hope everybody is enjoying these posts! Hard to fit everything into such a small blog but I am glad I can share a few of the things I am doing :)

Monday, May 21

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Last week of classes! But, let me scoot back to this past weekend. On Friday, I went to a BBQ with Dave and then that night went to his friend's house that lives in the city. He lives in a penthouse that is on the 24th floor of a building in the city so the views were beautiful!! Perth at night is so pretty. That night we went to a few pubs that I had never heard about and really enjoyed going to places that I would have never gone to if it wasn't for them. Saturday night our housing area had a masquerade rivercruise. Anybody could come so a group of about 20 of us made masks and then got all dressed up. We pretended it was like our "Aus Prom 2012." We took a bus into the city and got on a really nice boat. It had two levels, a bar, a dj and tons of food. After that we all came back to our flats and hung out. On Sunday I spent the day in Fremantle. Kerryn's boyfriend and his parents came to visit so Kerryn and I took them on the train to Fremantle to show them around. We walked around the markets, by the beach and ate at a really good seafood restaurant. On the way back we stopped at Cottesloe Beach, which is one of the more popular beaches, to watch the sunset. We had such nice weather so it was perfect temperature for watching the sunset over the ocean. Today I just had my last class of Australian Studies! Our teacher made us all sing the Australian National Anthem! Still a bit of homework to get done :/ but so weird I am almost done with classes!

Thursday, May 17

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Hello everyone! It is so weird to think that all my college friends at home are done with school and starting summer! Only one week of classes left and one final for me though! Can't believe how fast school went. On Monday, I started out by skyping my mom for Mother's Day (It was still Mother's Day in America). I got to talk with my mom, dad, brother, sister and her boyfriend. Made me wish I was home to celebrate and be with all of them. Later, we headed into the city for a tour of Northbridge for Australian Studies. Our tour guide was a man who used to live in Northbridge so he told a lot of personal stories that were interesting. That day was Daniel's actual birthday so we got dinner and ate outside. The weather was soo nice and the sun was hot! A bit of a change from all the rain. On Tuesday I had to give a presentation and then worked on my last few papers for the semester. On Wednesday I hung out with Dave, my older sister Laura's friend from when she was here. I got in contact with him and he said he would love to show me around. We drove east of the city out to a small town called York. We had lunch there and ate outside since there was such nice weather. Then he took me to an area called the zigzags that is really high up and has a beautiful view of the city. It was weird to see the city from so far away cause usually I am in the city looking out. We could see everything from up there. It's called the zigzags because a road goes down the hill back and forth. That night Dave took me to the drag races. Dave and his two friends have really nice cars and have done a lot of work to them. We went south of Perth to a track for drag racing. A ton of cars lined up and then when it was their turn, two cars would pull up to the line and wait for the green line. They were timed based on how long it took for them to start/release and then get to the finish line. We were there for about two hours and just watched constant races. Some of the cars were insane and all decked out. Today, I had have class this morning and am attempting homework.. Beautiful day out again so I might have to enjoy that before the rain comes again!

Sunday, May 13

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I will start out by saying Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful mother :) I wish I could be home to celebrate. Anyway, Friday night two of my American friends were celebrating their 21st birthdays so we went to their flats and then into the city. 21st birthdays are a big deal in Australia and usually Aussies will have big parties with their family and friends to celebrate. It kind of symbolises becoming an adult here. Saturday evening Kerryn and I took the train into the city and walked around downtown Perth. In Northbridge, a close suburb of Perth, they had an outside movie theatre showing the movie The Goonies. We decided to get kebabs and sit on bean bags there to watch the movie. It was really nice weather and very relaxing. Today Kerryn, my flatmate Emma and I headed to Swan Valley which is about half an hour out of the city. The Swan Valley is located along the Swan River and is known for its vineyards and wineries. We first stopped at a chocolate factory where they had free samples and we could watch them make the chocolate. After that we stopped in a winery for wine and cheese tasting. We also got to walk around the and look at the vines. Then, we headed to a place that had honey samples and an area where you could watch the bees. Next, we headed to the WA Reptile Park. We got to hold lizards and snakes. The guy placed the snakes on our shoulders and then we just let it do whatever it wanted. After a while I wasn't scared and was able to move the snake around. It even slithered up my face and licked my nose! We also got to see dingos, kangaroos, crocodiles and peacocks. There is plenty to do in the Swan Valley that we couldn't do all today so we might head back to do more tours.

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