Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Missin' home

Lately I have been longing for the familiarities of home, I think all of us have! I'm not sure why, but it's just sinking in lately.

It could be that school is wrapping up in Eau Claire right about now, and I still have about 5 weeks to go. I cannot concentrate on school anymore!!! It's difficult. I feel like I will be leaving here with a much more relaxed outlook on school-not sure if that's a good thing. But I am positive that I will go home STILL not being used to the Australian school system. It's something I could never get used to, but great to see how they do it here!

I still can't believe I am studying abroad. Almost three years ago I went to Eau Claire for freshman orientation. I NEVER would have guessed that I would spend a semester in a whole different country halfway around the world. It's something that never crossed my mind, never thought I'd be one of those lucky people. My freshman advisor actually told me that I "probably wouldn't" study abroad... maybe I was out to prove him wrong! Anywho, it's changed me as a person no doubt. I feel like I can do anything now... well not anyyything. But I feel more confident and independent, which I wasn't really before. I feel more cultured, hanging out with people from ALL over the world. It might be weird being back in Eau Claire where obviously the majority is Wisconsinites.

Right now there isn't much exciting going on, since school is my top priority right now. I finally had the chance to visit Kings Park on Saturday. It is the biggest inner city park in the world, bigger than Central Park in NYC! It was soo gorgeous there! They have so many things to see: war memorials, views of the Perth skyline, botanical gardens, bridges, fountains, and a multitude of weddings!! I can't wait to go back and bring a book and just lay in the grass for hours! Even though it was kind of a trek to get there, it was so great!

Only 23 days until I leave for New Zealand! That will be the perfect way to bookend my amazing adventure! I can't wait.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I reckon it's time for a new post...

Hey there! So I have not written since I got back from Cairns!! Yikes. It hasn't been that interesting though. Since I got back it's been mostly all about school. It's actually been getting more intense for me lately, which I like! More work to do means staying busy! I have been working on a group project in photography. We had to do a studio shoot and show that we could direct it creatively. My group decided to do portraiture by using colors to express emotion. After two hours in the studio one day, we got some great shots!! I think we will have a good presentation, which we give this Friday.

It seems like all my classes are based on group work... probably because here, they really want it to seem like you are actually out in the real world working with a team at a real job. This aspect is nice in the long run, but sometimes not so great if you don't have good group members. Luckily, I've had some great dedicated group members so far. In my marketing communications class, we got back our first big report that 4 of us worked on together. We got the highest grade in the class!! I was so happy/surprised. We have another report coming up that is due in a few weeks, hopefully we can ace that one as well!

Finally, in my marketing management class, we have been working on our semester-long group project. We have to create a marketing plan for a waste management plant that is nearby Murdoch. It is due in less than two weeks and we still have a lot of work to do!! But, I work best under pressure so hopefully that is a good thing.

In other news, I got another care package from my family! That is the third one! They send the best care packages... exactly what I need, plus a few surprises! They sent me my fave, Kraft Mac n cheese! I made it one night and my flatmate Ashleigh freaked out at how orange the "cheese" is. I laughed so hard! She tried it and said it tasted like plastic. I don't care, it's my favorite!

Today was an exciting day, we booked our trip to New Zealand!!! I am so excited that I get to go there! I've heard so many great things about it from people who have already had the chance to go. They said it's the most beautiful place in the world. We leave on May 20th, and embark on a 9-day tour around the south island. It was surprisingly cheap for what we're getting, and it sounds like we get to do A LOT of stuff! I cannot wait. Other than that, not too much new!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Living it up in Cairns!

This past week has been just amazing!!! I saw and did so many amazing things. It was a great experience for me because I did a lot of things that I wouldn't normally do, and I'm glad I did it all!!

We took off from Perth late Friday night and landed in Cairns at 4:15AM saturday morning. From there, we stored all of our luggage at our hostel-since check in wasn't until 2PM- and were on a bus to go white water rafting by 6:30AM. It was the perfect start to our adventure filled week! White water rafting was a thrilling and exciting experience! I had never gone before, and these were going to be 4-5 grade rapids! The highest are grade 6. We had a raft of 7 plus a tour guide. It was SO much fun!! We had to learn the basics of rafting such as leaning left or right, the 'get down' position, the 'hold on' position, etc. We even flipped one time, which was pretty shocking for me, I didn't like this as much as everyone else seemed to! But other than that, white water rafting was a great time, and I'm so glad I did it!!

Our rafting group!!

We went back to the hotel after our extremely long day! We all pretended like we were up for going out, but in the end we ended up in bed around 10PM. I slept great that night. The next morning we were up early again to catch our boat to the Great Barrier Reef. I was sad I couldn't go to Easter church like I had planned, though... It took about 2.5 hours to get out to the actual reef where we would be snorkeling. I didn't realize how sea sick I was going to get, so the ride there was pretty torturous. Once we got out to the reef, we had to put on sting proof wet suits to protect us from the jelly fish. The snorkeling was the best I've ever done, and I've done it quite a bit! I even got to pet a wild sea turtle's shell as it was coming up for air!! It was amazing. We went to another spot for snorkeling as well, then headed back to Cairns. We ate dinner at the famous Woolshed bar and grill and had a pretty low key night. Once again, we were all wiped from the day's activities.

Me in my sting proof wet suit!

The next day, a few of our group members decided to go sky diving... which they said was the best thing they've ever done. I kinda wish I had gone.. maybe I can go in New Zealand.. that is if I get to go. The rest of us explored the city and went souvenir shopping that day. Out of the blue, I decided that I wanted to get my nose pierced! I got it done at the shop that was right next to our hostel, Gilligans. It hurt, but only for 10 seconds while it was being pierced. Since then, it hasn't hurt at all!! I love it!

Nose ring!

The next day we went on another day long tour, this time to the rainforest! We boarded a bus with about 20 people and had a crazy tour guide who knew a lot about everything we saw! Even though it was absolutely pouring that day, it was still great! We saw a lot of waterfalls and powerful rapids! We stopped at a chocolate and cheese factory and saw some farm animals. It was a jam packed day, and it was worth it for only $45! That night, we went out to a Mexican restaurant with the group and some new friends. It was so good! At Gilligan's that night, there was a jello wrestling competition that some of the girls did! It was so funny to watch. I also had to register for my fall classes at 1 AM that night, so that was interesting!

At boulder ridge rapids

Wednesday was amazing!! We were supposed to do a day trip up north to Cape Tribulation, but 5 of us were too tired to go and we didn't want to spend the money. Instead, the 5 of us went and rented mopeds for the day! I was the only one who had never done it alone, so I had to have a mini lesson. Turns out I was a natural! Even on driving on the left hand side of the road, which is what I was most worried about! We drove around the city and then into the rainforest where we stopped at Crystal Cascades-some rapids. Once we got back I had to get ready, because I was meeting up with Stef and her family! They happened to be visiting Cairns the same time that I was! Ashlee was also there with her mom, so it was a great reunion!! We all went out to dinner together, it was great to catch up!

On my moped!

Stef and I on her hotel balcony!

The next day a few people went bungy jumping, but I'm too much of a wuss for that! We all ended up doing some shopping at the mall in Cairns. We didn't do much else during the day. That night I met up with Stef again at her hotel. We ate at Macca's )McDonalds) and went shopping at the night markets. Such great deals! There was a man there that had snakes and he was letting people hold them. I held one!!! It was so cool/freaky. I'm glad I did it. After the markets, we went back to Stef's hotel and tried to swim in the hot tub, but it had been switched off for the night, so it was basically bath tub temperature. Stef and her dad walked me back to Gilligans, but then I went out to meet up with friends who were at the Woolshed bar. It was a great last night in Cairns.

Holding a snake, AH!!

Our last day, we had to check out at 10AM. Then we went to the public pool that is right on the ocean. It was free and so beautiful out! This was the one day I got some sun, actually burnt! We got a taxi to the airport around 4:30 and got back to Perth at 9PM.

The public pool in Cairns

I've been back for a day now, and it's really hard getting back into the swing of things! I have so many deadlines looming! I can't imagine going to school here full time. It's too hard to stay motivated when there are so many awesome things to see and do! I'll do my best though!

Friday, April 2, 2010

GAGA Oh la la

Oh my goodness. Last night I had the privilege of seeing THEE Lady Gaga live in concert. Now, originally I wasn't going to go, but thank god I did!! It was one of the best things I have ever seen... I have not been to many concerts, but even if I have--this one would probably top them all. Lady Gaga is known for her outrageous and extremely "out there" performances. It was incredible. Just when I thought her dance moves and outfits couldn't get any stranger, she comes on with something even more crazy!! It was one of the best nights in Perth I've had so far... and one of the best nights ever!

Anywhooo, I'm spending my Friday packing for Cairns! Once again, in Cairns I'll be exploring the city, going snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, white water rafting, touring the rainforest.. etc! I hope to do all these things and more! I really want to get out of my comfort zone and do things that I wouldn't normally do.. who knows what that will be! We are leaving for the airport around 8 and our flight is at 10. We arrive into Cairns at 4:15 AM.. good thing our hostel has 24 hour check in! Then we are hoping to start off the trip right by going on a day tour of boating and snorkeling! Next time I update, I will tell all about my trip!!

Here's a picture I took of Gaga!