Blog

Top Ten Favorite Australia Photographs

Hello, friends and family!

I’ve been doing lots of reflecting, looking back on memories, and remembering all of my fun times in Australia. For one of my last posts, I wanted to include a list of my top ten favorite photos/memories of my time in Australia! Most of these have been included in earlier posts, with a few new ones. Enjoy!

IMG_7542
#10 – Taken at Yalumba Winery in the Barossa Valley. I like this picture because it’s so strange to think that I experienced two autumns in a row (and will soon experience another!).
IMG_7261
#9 – Taken at Eureka Skydeck in Melbourne. I chose to include this picture because it symbolizes the opportunity studying abroad gave me to see old friends that live in Australia!
img_65621
#8 – Taken at the Fringe Festival in downtown Adelaide. I like this picture because it symbolizes the opportunity studying abroad gave me to meet NEW friends that live in Australia! It was so nice to be taken in by locals. They truly made the experience worthwhile.
IMG_7034
#7 – Taken in Auckland, New Zealand. This photo represents the travelling I got to do while studying abroad. I would’ve never gone to NZ had it not been for studying abroad in Australia. I got to see many different areas of Oceania and look back very fondly on my travels. This photo also reminds me that I need to cut my hair more often! 
img_6462
#6 – Taken at Adelaide International Airport. This is the first photo I took in Adelaide. I distinctly remember how happy I was to finally be done with the journey over to Australia! 
IMG_7525
#5 – Taken at Gorge Wildlife Park. Can you say you’ve held a Koala?? I can! I’m so lucky to have had incredible experiences in Australia, such as holding a Koala! I felt like a true Australian as I held the native animal. It was experiences like this that reminded me how lucky I was to be studying abroad. 
IMG_6716
#4 – Taken at Glenelg Beach. I took advantage of sunset lighting for this selfie. What you can’t see is the beautiful Adelaide Sunset on the horizon! Other than liking this picture in general, it reminds me of how much I enjoyed myself down under, and what it felt like to overcome challenges and have a great time.
IMG_7611
#3 – Taken at Port Elliot Beach. Port Elliot had the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen. I had been waiting to see a stunning beach like this, and it just so happened to be on the most disgusting day during my time in Australia. It was so beautiful I went back the next weekend!
IMG_7582
#2 – This photo is very important to me for a few reasons. I met so many other international students (including Magda, seen in this picture) and we all got to experience Australia for the first time together. It was so heartwarming to have like-minded friends that were always ready for adventure!

IMG_7704

#1 – Taken in Mawson Lakes. Every time I see this photo, I get a little teary-eyed. This was the last photo I took in Australia, on my second to last night. This photo, above all else, symbolizes something that I thought I wasn’t ready for – leaving Australia. I was so terrified to leave the life I had made in Australia, the routine I had made, and all my new friends. I didn’t think I had the strength to board the plane in Sydney and fly over the ocean to the States. But this photo reminds that I did it. And it’s one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. But it brings hope, too. Deep down, I know that I will someday return to Australia. Be it for work, or “holiday,” or  anything in between. I know that I will get to come back and remember why I fell in love with Australia.

Advertisements

In Conclusion

In case you didn’t hear; I made it back to the States!

I had a very nice trip home. When I last checked in, it was roughly 3:30 am on the day of my departure. At lot has happened since then; here’s what I’ve been doing.

So, remember how I was going to pull an all-nighter to help my sleep on my flight home? Well, it worked great. But not without some shortcomings… while in the Adelaide airport, I left my laptop in security. What happened was, I was so tired that I forgot to take my laptop out of my backpack and sent it through the scanner. The security agent had me go back, take it out, and walk through again. Went I sent it through, I picked my backpack up and nothing else. I boarded the plane almost an hour later and had the worst feeling in my gut that something was wrong… I looked in my backpack and sure enough, my laptop was not there. Thankfully, people were still getting on the plane and we had some time before departure. I asked the flight attendant what to do. She called the checkpoint and asked if it was still there. Meanwhile, I’m in my seat freaking out, hoping nobody ran off with it. Ten minutes and lots of anxiety later, the flight attendant handed it to me and all was well. During the flight, I walked up to the galley and thanked her profusely for her help. She told me it happens often, and that Adelaide is a good airport to have that happen to you, because it has only one security checkpoint.

The flight attendants were so nice, after the flight, one opened the cockpit door and asked if I wanted to “see the boys up front.” I told her what I was studying, so she knew I’d get a kick out of that. Unfortunately, my connection in Sydney was just over an hour, and we were a little late, so I had to decline her offer. I was so upset! Shout-out to Qantas Airlines for helping me out that day.

After getting across the Sydney airport, I boarded my next flight to Los Angeles. They held me and another passenger back to make sure our bags made it on the plane. After getting the go-ahead, we boarded and the door shut behind us. I got to my row and it was empty! I had an entire row to myself for the 13 hour flight. It was incredible. I slept for 7 hours (crazy, right?) and watched two movies. We took off at 10 am Sydney time, and landed at 6:30 am pacific time. I was rested and ready for my seven hour layover in Los Angeles!

On the next flight, I got lucky once more! The middle seat on the leg from Los Angeles to Seattle was empty! I sat next to a woman from Tallahassee, Florida, visiting her niece who lived in the Seattle area. Between business class on the first flight, an empty row on the long haul, and an empty seat next to me on the short flight, I’d say I got incredibly lucky with my travels!!

The night I got home, I went to bed at 9 pm, and slept for a whole nine and a half hours. I woke up and felt it had been one of the best “sleeps” in my life. I hadn’t woken up at 6:30 am for quite some time – it was a strange feeling!

Since then, I’ve been seeing some friends and hanging out with family. Although I miss Australia dearly, it’s so great to be home. I shed a few tears as we lifted off out of Sydney, and deep down I know I’ll go back at some point.

So now you know how it all came to a close. Although the trip has concluded, I’m not done yet! I’ve got a couple of more posts I want to make, about my favorite pictures and memories, along with a reflection of some things I’ve learned. Stay tuned for more! And, now that I’m back in the northern hemisphere, happy summer!

It’s Time.

Today is the day.

After four incredible months here in Adelaide, the day has come where I will be heading home.

It’s currently 3:17 am in Adelaide, I’ve been up for about 20 hours. During these 20 hours I’ve finished my last essay, moved entirely out of my apartment, and said goodbye to 6 of my closest friends. It’s been busy and stressful, but I’ve made it. All that separates me and my own bed is three flights and a few car rides!

It’s unreal to think that my time here is done. I’m feeling a lot of different emotions, from relieved to sad (pardon the weak adjective but it’s all I can think of at this time of the night) and many others. I’ve done everything I feel compelled to do, and above everything else, I am thankful. There are many people who helped make this trip possible, and who I’ve met here that made the trip worthwhile. Here’s to all those people!

I’ll be sure to let you know how my travels went when I arrive in Seattle (or perhaps the next day- I will likely be going straight to bed when I get home!). Although the “study abroad” portion of my semester is over, I’ve still got lots to look back on and reflect. I’ll be sure to update you all as I do so. Thanks for reading thus far – being a blogger has been of great pleasure for me.

Next stop, Seattle!

Finals

With the semester coming to a close, two things are certain. The days are becoming shorter, and finals are coming. Since it’s the last week of the semester, both of these statements are being very clear. Here’s what’s happening in my classes as I wrap up my time here in Australia;

Before I leave, I have to turn in three essays (nobody uses this term, however- they’re called ‘assignments’). One is a group essay for my aviation management course. My group is analyzing the feasibility of starting year-round airline service from Sydney to Vancouver, Canada on Australia’s flag-carrying airline, Qantas. My job is to analyze business opportunities that will arise from this, such as partnering with Canadian airlines and creating flights from Vancouver to the United States.

For my film course, our final assignment is to write an essay about one of the twelve films we’ve watched, and the theoretical framework (theme) surrounding it. I’ve chosen Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954), with the central theme of The Gaze and “the art of looking” as I’m calling it. I’ve been conducting lots of research for this paper, and I’m looking forward to writing my thoughts down. This paper will be my longest, with a word requirement of 2,500 words (roughly 6-8 pages- Australia doesn’t do page requirements).

My third essay is a report for my communications course. I’m analyzing the effectiveness and professionalism of a document regarding communicating with those who have disabilities. This one is going well, and I like it because it’s broken up into different sections (abstract, intro, analysis, recommendations, conclusions) so I can structure it much easier.

You might be thinking, ‘but what about finals? You know, like final exams?’ The answer is great news for me- I don’t have any. And to be honest, I’m ecstatic I don’t. Not only because I hate the pressure of having a cumulative final exam to be constantly worrying about, but because Australia does their final exams much differently than the United States. From what I’ve been told, all finals are held at the fairgrounds in town. You sit and take your exam for the allotted time (usually about three hours) and then get up and leave. But here’s what’s crazy- you’re accompanied by about 600 people. They hold finals for 5 or 6 courses at a time. So, while you may be taking an exam for marketing, the person next to you might be taking a final for Spanish. Since most courses don’t have regular exams throughout the semester, the exam grade counts for a large majority of your final grade. I find this system to be rather cutthroat, and am glad I won’t be taking any exams.

For now, this is what I’m working on. All of my assignments are due over the weekend, before I leave. I’m trying to get them done early so I can focus on moving out of my apartment and stopping my utilities. Until then, back to writing!

Getting it All Done

In my last post, I mentioned I’ve been trying to spend my weekends away from home and get out of the CBD as much as possible. With only 15 days left in this country, I understand that I’m running out of time and I have to do everything I want with the time I have left. This weekend, I managed to cross even more outings off the list.

On Friday, my friend Magda and I rented a car and headed north to visit several tourist attractions. We managed to hit the Whispering Wall, Old Gold Mines, Lavender Fields, Jacob’s Creek Winery, Mengler’s Hill Sculpture Garden, and Maggie Beer’s Farmhouse all in one day!

IMG_7580
Taken at the Whispering Wall. I forgot my flag so I had to borrow Magda’s!
IMG_7582
Magda and I on our way to the Lavender fields! Special shout-out because she is officially done with her studies this week!!
IMG_7593
View from Mengler’s Hill, overlooking the entire Barossa Valley and the Mengler’s Hill Sculpture Garden.

The next day, I went to Port Elliot and the Urimbirra Wildlife Center with three of my Canadian friends! It was very rainy, and we almost had to cancel our trip. Luckily, by the time we reached the ocean the rain had let up and allowed us to take some pictures!

IMG_7603
In Port Elliot. The water wasn’t too cold! I thought about taking a swim.

IMG_7611

IMG_7615
Overlooking the beach we had just been walking on.

IMG_7620

As I mentioned- I’m now down to just 15 days left in this amazing country. I’ve got three major papers due before I go and can already feel the stress beginning. But the adventures aren’t over just yet! I have more trips lined up for this weekend, and even more memories to make. I’m looking forward to sharing it all with you!

A Weekend Away

Because I live in the central business district (commonly referred to as ‘The CBD,” or jokingly, the “Sih-Buh-Duh”), I don’t usually get out to the suburbs, unless I’m in class or have something cool to check out. This weekend, I made it a goal for myself to spend time away from the city, and explore areas I had not yet. Here’s how it went;

On Friday, I visited one of my friends who lives in a suburb called Tranmere (near the UniSA satellite campus in Magill). We’ve had a running joke about me owing her a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, so I decided to make an unexpected delivery. She was more than thrilled, and appreciated the gesture so much.

Today, I took a bus out to Henley Beach- a local favorite. It had been quite a while since I had visited. I walked all the way from Henley Beach north to the town of Grange, and the beach there. From pier to pier it’s about a 1.25 mile (2 km) walk. It was an absolutely beautiful day- I’m glad I didn’t let it go to waste!

Finally, saving the best for last, yesterday I visited the world famous Barossa Valley! Home to over a hundred different wineries, I was accompanied by a friend from America, and two other students from China and Hong Kong. Here’s what we did:

IMG_7518
We started our trip at Gorge Wildlife Park- I’ve already been, but the two other students I was with had not yet been. Another excuse to hold a Koala!!
IMG_7527
Inside the tasting room at Seppeltsfield Winery, our first stop. Their specialty is Port Wine, which has a very nutty, sweet taste to it. One of my favorites from the trip! 
IMG_7542
Our next stop was Yalumba Winery. They had, in my opinion, the most beautiful property of the three wineries we saw. 
IMG_7547
The square just outside the tasting room. On this property, it’s easy to tell that autumn is in full swing. 
IMG_7550
We ended our day at Artisans, a unique winery that is made up of six independent vineyards. Because none of them are big enough to have their own tasting room, they have combined for tasting and sales purposes. Here we watched the sun go down, and ate a lovely dinner after our tasting.

Because Australia’s legal age to consume alcohol is 18, I consider myself very lucky. I was able to taste many different types of wine that I wouldn’t have otherwise known existed. When I return to the United States and become of legal age, I’ll be able to show my friends what I learned during my trip to the valley.

A weekend well spent, indeed!

Mother’s Stay (Pun Intended)

Although Mom couldn’t be here for Mother’s Day, we had an incredible time to close out her trip to Adelaide!

IMG_7471
Monday, Mom and I took the tram out to Glenelg Beach- one of my favorite beaches here. We had a lovely afternoon of shopping, and had a great meal in the town square.
IMG_7479
She really enjoyed watching the sunset, too!
IMG_7486
On Wednesday, we took a bus out to Norwood, a nearby suburb. There are lots of shops on The Parade (the main street in Norwood) we got to through. We stopped to take this picture because there is a “Paul’s Seafood” in the city that we ate at last week!

Thankfully, Mom had a much easier time travelling home than she did coming here. Her flight from Los Angeles to Seattle did get cancelled, but they were able to put her on another flight later in the day.

So, what now? This past Saturday marks the beginning of my last month here in Australia. I have to say, I’m feeling very ambivalent. On one hand, I’m beyond excited to spend my summer in Seattle, as I didn’t get to last year. However, I am nowhere near ready to leave Adelaide and all the great people I’ve met here. The past three months have been nothing short of amazing, and I am so glad I took this opportunity to go abroad.

Thankfully, I’ve got lots of cool things planned for the remainder of my stay, and I’m excited to share it with all of you! Here’s to my last month down under.

Mother and Son Take on Australia

So far, Mom has been loving her time in Adelaide! We’ve been sure to stay busy each day, and it’s been so much fun showing her around the city. Here’s what we’ve been up to!

IMG_3306
On Monday, my mother, grandfather, a colleague of his, and I, took a mountain biking tour down Mt. Lofty (you may recognize this name from an earlier post). My grandfather is officially the oldest person to complete the trek down with the tour company!!
IMG_3506
Here’s my grandfather, mother and I out to dinner on Wednesday- Grandpa is dressed up because he has been speaking at a Medical Conference in town.
IMG_3563
Mom and I woke up bright and early on Thursday and flew to Cairns, in the state of Queensland! We spent the day walking along the beach and exploring the town.
IMG_3652
On Friday, Mom and I got to see the Great Barrier Reef! This was such a cool experience and I’m so fortunate to be able to say I’ve seen it. Check out our lovely stinger-suits!!
IMG_3654
Mom and I after a long day of snorkeling the GBR. Photo taken on the vessel that brought us to the reef. We both got super sunburned!!

On Saturday (yesterday), we made our way through the rainforest and visited the town of Kuranda. It’s a very isolated, touristy town accessible by train, gondola, or a windy road. We took the gondola up, overlooking the rainforest from above the treetops. We visited several wildlife parks (mainly so she could hold a Koala- check that off the bucket list!) before taking the scenic train back to Cairns. We got back to Adelaide just a few hours ago and are already missing it!

Unfortunately, Mom only has a few days left here in ‘Straya. We’ve got just a few more things planned for her to see before she heads home! Stay tuned!!

A Visitor

Hello!

I waited to post this until the last possible minute, and I’ve got a good reason why. I was waiting for something that was happening today. Or rather, someone- my mother! That’s right, I’m lucky enough to have my mother with me over the next week or so. I’ve missed her lots since leaving home and it’s great to have her here. Also in town is my grandfather. He is a retired doctor who is speaking at a medical conference in town this week. Pretty good timing, huh? When we found out he’d be in town this week, my mom booked a trip for the same week! We’ve got lots of fun activities planned, and are even going on vacation this week.

However, it can be a struggle to get to Australia from the United States. My mom was actually supposed to arrive yesterday (Saturday) with my grandfather. Due to a closed runway in Los Angeles, however, my mom was delayed out of Seattle and would’ve missed her connection for the long haul flight. After lots of phone calls and new bookings, she was set to arrive tomorrow (Monday) by taking five flights (which would have been incredibly tiring). But, after working some things out, she was able to fly in today! Unbeknownst to her, you don’t need a boarding pass to go through security in Australia. I was able to walk right up to the gate her plane pulled into and surprise her! She had no idea I was coming and it was an excellent surprise.

After we got into the city, we attended an Australian Rules Football Game (referred to as “The Footy”), and watch the Adelaide Crows win by over 60 points! If you’ve never seen gameplay, look for a YouTube video of some gameplay. It’s a really fun sport to watch, combining Football and Soccer.

I’m so excited to show my mother and grandfather around this week- expect lots of pictures of them on my next post!

The Conclusion of Break

The bad news is, classes start back up again tomorrow…

The good news? I had a killer end to my school break!

I got back from Melbourne on Thursday, which gave me the weekend to get settled back in and prepare for classes this week. Although I’m sad I have to go back to school, I’m excited as my airline operations class is starting a new unit AND we get Tuesday off, for ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) Day. Australia celebrates veterans on this day, as well as on November 11. I got to see a large war memorial while in Melbourne, the Shrine of Remembrance. It was interesting to learn about Australia’s involvement in both World Wars, the Korean and Vietnam War, and their part in the Middle East today.

Although I could continue to talk for hours about all my travels… why don’t I show you instead!

IMG_7247
Federation Square in Downtown Melbourne
IMG_7256
Inside the National Gallery of Victoria, an art museum!
IMG_7258
Strolling through the backstreets
IMG_7259
My lunch one day at “Grilld” a true Australian staple!
IMG_7261
My lovely friend Ashlee and I at the top of Eureka Tower!
IMG_7264
In front of the Shrine of Remembrance