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Where was I you ask? Well…

August 28, 2012

Postcard from the Handmade Shop in Canberra ❤


Cairns: Part Two

July 30, 2012

I am back in Americaa! And after readjusting to life here, and being lazy in summer once more, I am here to write the rest of my adventure in Cairns. THE ANTICIPATION.

On the way back down from Kuranda, we took the train back. This little guy was hanging out on a fence by the overlook. Apparently, you can eat his green butt..:0

Its the waterfall we could see on the way up!

Here’s a view from outside the train window. You can just barely see Cairns.

And there it is!

After we got back, we walked around Cairns, by the boardwalk. It’s a small city, but I think that’s part of what makes it so nice. And compared to Canberra, the night’s weather was perfect.

We got dinner at a restaurant right on the beach! We got a fisherman’s basket type dish, and an assortment of seafood in a coconut/curry/cream? sauce. Allll deliciousss.

We headed back to the hostile after a bit more touring, and got to sleep early because we had to be up at 6:30 for our reef trip!

The boat! Okay, so. Some people may know, I may not do the best with moving things. And so I was apprehensive to spend a night on a boat. But all the while, when we boarded, got our gear sorted, and sat down for diving instructions, I was fine! But then, I went below deck for a second. And that was my mistake. We were moving pretty fast towards the reef, and it took us about 2 hours to get to the spot, and I was feeling very sick. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one, and I only threw up once…yay : D!  But overall, the experience was way worth all the sickness.

During our very first snorkel, we saw a sea turtle! We didn’t even bring our camera, because we figured we just wanted to get used to it. But he was going to town on the coral beneath us, so we just watched him eat.

After we got used to snorkeling, we tried diving for the first time! The equipment is pretty heavy, and relying on a tank of air to breath can be a little daunting at first, but once you’re underwater, surrounded by coral, you forget all that.

Our diving instructor Masa was able to take a lot of photos for us:

These little guy we could brush our fingers up against and they’d pop back into their holes!

So during our first scuba dive, we held onto a rope to lead us down, swam around the ocean floor a bit, and then came back up. A couple that was a little more experienced was diving too, but surfaced soon after we did. Apparently, they had seen a shark, so the wife wanted to get out of their as soon as possible. But for some crazy reason we decide to go back out to snorkel!

To say you’re okay when your diving, you make the OK sign. A “thumbs up” means you want to go to upward.

Sting rays! We saw a lot

And here’s some pics we took ourselves:

Masa let us hold a starfish!

Me on the boat! Still a bit sea sick. The best I felt was in the water! haha

On our third, and last dive, we went through walls of coral, like under water canyons. It was one of my favorite parts, not only of the trip, but in Australia! Just being able to be there, swimming through coral reefs was unbelievable. The way it just began to rise above you on all sides was so humbling. It really is an entirely different world.

After a night on the reef, we headed back the next day. The last day, we souvenir shopped, and then hopped a plane for Brisbane, then a transfer to Canberra! I had an exam on Saturday, so I had one full day of studying  when we got back Thursday night.

….or that was the plan.

The flight from Cairns to Brisbane was taking way longer than usual. We later found out the runway was congested, so we were just circling waiting our turn. And during that circling our plane to Canberra left too ):

We finally landed and had to talk to customer services. There were no more flights to Canberra that night (I guess my hopes of studying left with the plane too D:) so the airline would pay for our hotel and food that night. After a bit more waiting a shuttle showed up to take us to our hotel. It was pretty late, but the hotel restaurant  was still open and we used ever last penny of the 100 voucher they gave us.

The hotel was nice, but the weirdest thing was that as we checked in, some sort of costume event was going on. People dressed as Pink Ladies from Grease, Scooby Doo, maids, princesses, you name it kept walking by.

And then, finally, back to Canberra! I locked myself in my room and studied like mad! And now in retrospect (and knowing I got good grades) everything went much better than expected!

It’s still so weird being back in America, after living in Australia for so long. I miss it so much, but it is nice being back home. And I know without a doubt I’ll be back one day!

Sydney and Cairns: Part One!

June 18, 2012

I am officially back from my week-long vacation to Cairns with many a story to tell. So let’s begin!

We left Friday June 8th from Canberra to Sydney. It was one of the last days of “Vivid Sydney” a giant art exhibition in Circular Quay utilizing light, projections, color, and the physical buildings. It was soo cool!

Markers commemorating each piece. There were around 60 in total!

View from the Opera House.

My favorite!

These Angler fish rode around the quay, weaving in and out of the crowds. They had bikes inside.

This building showed a typical day of 2 people in the city.

I ❤ you Sydney.

A lot of the buildings were interactive. One was a giant game of tic tac toe, connected to a small set of switches, so that you and an opponent could play at the same time. They had a bunch of food stalls set up at the Rocks, and I got a chocolate chip cannoli!

After walking around for a bit, we decided to head back to our hostel. Now, our hostel was located in a place called King’s Cross, which, as everyone else but us knew, is kind of like the red-light/clubbing district in Sydney. It looked fine during the day, just a lot more adult shops than you’d expect, but when we returned at night….lets just say we now know why King’s Cross has a reputation.

The next day we got up early, and checked out the Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art. It was cool to see modern aboriginal art combined with traditional paintings. We explored Sydney a bit more, but headed in early for our flight to Cairns.

We just missed the rain!

And hello to sunny, amazingly warm Cairns!

What I realized after I came to Australia is that I chose to come to the (literally) coldest city in the country, Canberra. So when I got off the plane, and felt warmth in June, it felt like home! We got a bus transfer to our hostel, Traveler’s Oasis, easily the best hostel I’ve ever stayed at, especially after red-light district hostel.

We dropped our stuff off, and then went straight out into the city! The first thing we did was cable skiing! It’s like water skiing, but instead of a boat pulling you, its a system of cables that pulls you around the lake. You can do it on a knee board, which is easier (and what I did…) or a snowboard-like board. It’s  really tiring but so fun. I just kept getting flung off at the far end of the lake and would have to walk all the way back to the launch area!

The next day we went up to Kuranda, a village in the rainforest! We took the skyrail up and then the train back down. The views from the skyrail are beautiful, but reeeally high up!

The skyrail lets you get off at some points, and walk around the rain forest.

Kuranda is a small but very nice town. At the top, we went to Birdworld, a world of birds : D! And it is here that I saw, against all of my Uncle Donald’s warnings….a cassowary!!!!!!! (the only bird known to kill a man!)

It just kept staring us up and down, and then doing this weird clearing-throat-breathing-thing. It looked so prehistoric, and the horn on its head was so intimidating.. Oh and when we first walked up to it, it pooped!

A warning sign? I think so.

Hungry birds ononomnom.

These macaws actually turned out to be the deadliest birds at birdworld! You can buy bags of seeds and fruits to feed the birds when you buy your ticket. They also warn you to remove any shiny jewelry or dangly things from your bag, because the birds will go after them. BUT THIS LADY. She has bright gold hoop earrings, and was trying to lure one of these macaws onto her shoulder for a picture. But instead they go after her earring! So her husband has to pry them off, but for the rest of the time, they just perch on her arm or bag, or move to her husband. All I could think of was Hitchcock’s “The Birds” D:.

 Stay tuned for part two….

Aussie Slang: Food Edition


muesli bars- granola bars

capsicum- bell pepper

rock melon-cantaloupe

sultanas- raisins

lollies- candy

Also on a food related note, what American’s call milkshakes- thick, ice cream-y goodness, are known as “thick shakes” here. Milkshakes in Australia are more like flavored milk!

One month to go…

June 4, 2012

As of today I have 25 full days left in Australia. Ack! Where did the past 4 months go!? I’m trying to make the most of it though: Sydney this Friday, then onto Cairns for 6 days! And then finals….):

But this past month has been wonderful!

There’s a theatre right on the edge of campus, and I saw a short one-man play called “I Love You, Bro.” It was about a chatroom dwelling teenager who tricks a boy online into thinking he’s a girl, her little brother, her cousin, and two secret agents, and the horror that ensues (based of true events!) It was really refreshing to see someone tackle a story of identity in our digital age.

My dorm, Burton and Garran Hall, had a soccer competition. It was freezing, but cool to see my friends play!

Last weekend, me and Heidi, my fellow San Diego-an friend, went to the Old Bus Depot Markets. Its kind of like a farmer’s market inside an old bus hanger. There was lots of amazing samples, and cool arts and crafts and clothing to look at!

More Aussie sport! A few days ago, I went to a rugby match, Canberra Raiders versus West Sydney Tigers. Rugby was pretty similar to American football, but with a lot less stopping! The game ended up being a shut out, to the favor of the Tigers: 40 to 0. Luckily, a friend of mine goes for the Tigers, so that’s who I was rooting for!

Proof of the score!

It was also pouring rain the whole time, but I think that made it more exciting.

Just yesterday, I went to Questacon, a science museum! Science museums are always awesome, but one of the coolest parts was this slide thing. You hang on this bar with your feet danging over the edge, and then you fall straight down! It was pretty scary but so fun.

A few weeks ago I went with some people from my hall to the travelling Melbourne Comedy Festival!

There were four comedians, two Aussies, a Canadian, and an American! They were all really funny.

Though the food in Australia is pretty similar to what we have back home, there are some subtle differences!  For instance, an Aussie pizza has an egg cracked on top right before it goes in the oven (actually pretty good!)  But one of the greatest things I’ve discovered here is Milo! It’s a malted barley drink, whatever that means, but its delicious!  Its like a different-tasting Nesquik but not…

I also tried lamingtons! They’re like a sponge cake-y thing covered in chocolate and coconut. you can’t go wrong!

Another delicious thing I’ll miss is Brodburger! It used to be a burger shop that parked right by the lake and sold burgers out of a caravan! But  due to health regulations they had to switch venues. And luckily while I was here they reopened!

This, in all its glory, is the Brod-deluxe. 2 patties, eggs, bacon, and aioli. I almost died trying to finish it, but it was deliciousssss.

And finally, here’s a pic of some of the closest friend I’ve made here in Canberra that will be sorely missed (:

So that’s what I’ve been up to! I leave for Cairns in a couple days, so hopefully I can blog about it sooner than later…heh heh…

Aussie Slang:

mucking- messing about, being bad (ex: Stop mucking around you kids!)

stuffed up- to ruin or mess up something (ex: He stuffed it up)

tucker- food! (ex: Wanna grab some tucker?)

good onya- said when someone does something good or bad/stupid if you’re being a jerk (ex: Good onya mate!)

Art in Oz

June 4, 2012

I can’t believe I only have a month left in Australia! But before posting about what I’ve been up to for the past month, I thought I’d do a quick post about the art I’ve been doing here in Australia. I’m taking 2 art classes currently- figure drawing and 3D animation!

So this is a combination of both casual drawings and drawing for my art classes:

It’s a Roo!

Drawn from the seal we saw at the beach on Kangaroo Island!

Figure Drawing! (both with nudes and clothed)

This model comes around in his towel to look at what we’ve drawn in between breaks. It’s awwwwwwkwaaaard.

And 3-D animation! A more updated version to follow:

It’s a space cadet!

I’m leaving for Cairns in a couple day, and I hope to be inspired by the reef and rain forest there (:

A more detailed post to come in a few!

Road Trip to Uluru and Kangaroo Island

April 27, 2012

ANU just had Easter break and for my holiday some friends and I decided to take a 11-day road trip to Uluru (Ayer’s Rock) in the middle of the Australian Outback.

Our journey to the Outback.

We left Canberra on April 6th. We passed through Melbourne and stayed there for a night at a friend’s place. I didn’t see much of the city up close, but it looked pretty impressive from afar. The next day we went along the coast on the Great Ocean Road. It’s similar to PCH in California, but the views are much more incredible. You can see steep cliffs, crashing waves, and huge rock faces in the water. The ones in the picture are called the Twelve Apostles, but I could never count all twelve…

Next we left Victoria and entered South Australia.

From this point to Uluru it was mainly driving and camping in the Outback. I even drove for a couple hours!  Not only did I have to learn to drive on the other side of the road and car, but I also had to learn to drive a manual! So scary.. The Outback is pretty desolate, but I was surprised there wasn’t more vast expanses of red sand! For the whole journey there were tons of trees and scrubby bushes everywhere. There were also so many flies during the day! Some other wildlife we saw were a goanna, a dingo, and an emu that lives at a caravan park (we saw him on our way to Uluru, and then on the way back a couple days later!).

Uluru! It was pretty massive, but we were able to walk all the way around the base. You can climb it, but it’s really discouraged; the information center even has a “I did not climb Uluru” guestbook you can sign.  It’s discouraged because it’s a sacred Aboriginal landmark; in some areas you can’t even take pictures of the rock because they’re sites that are used for ceremonies.

The rock has way more detail than I thought or could see from far away. The Aboriginals say that the various dents and knicks in the face are from a fight that happened between two beings a long time ago. I was really hoping it would rain, because the grooves create waterfalls all over the rock, but alas we had clear blue skies the whole time we were there.

The rock formation a few miles from Uluru is called Kata Tjuta, meaning “many heads.” There are about 30 individual rocks, and you’re allowed to climb all around them. The Valley of the Wind was one of the places we hiked to- it had the most incredible view.

On our last night there, we went to the sunset viewing area, where you could see both Kata Tjuta and Uluru. The next morning we took the long desert trek back down through Adelaide, to Cape Jarvis to catch a ferry to Kangaroo Island.

And it was incredible! There was wildlife everywhere (the amount of road kill on the road attested to this…). I saw so many wallabies and kangaroos. They really do use their tails to walk!

The Remarkable Rocks were remarkable! They get their color from deposits left on them over the years. You can climb in the different alcoves and recesses and look right over the edge into the ocean.

On the first night there we did a penguin tour! We got to see Little Penguins and they were adorable. They were breeding so they stayed close to their nests, but occasionally they would peek or waddle out to see us. It was night time, and the guide could only use a red light though so I don’t have any pictures ):.

The next day we went to the beach! We had wanted to go to Seal Beach to see the seals (good name) but you had to pay to take a “self-guided” tour on the board walk and we didn’t want to.. So instead we went to the next beach over, and guess what we found…

A seal! We thought he was dead because of the red spot on his chest, but it turned out he was just sleeping and it was red algae. Phew! We chilled next to him for a few hours, and built a sand castle. Over that time, the tide was coming in, and when it finally hit him, he just scooted away a couple feet up.

Later we went on a koala walk! They were unusually active when we went to see them, but it might’ve been because it was dusk. We were all looking for koalas in the trees and then the weirdest/funniest thing happened. A couple called us over to look at a koala that was on the ground.We ran over and saw a koala at the base of a tree. A man was crouching a few feet away taking pictures. Then all of the sudden, the koala starts climbing off the tree and onto the ground. Then starts approaching the man. Then starts running towards him. We all start backing away/ running (are koalas dangerous?) and when I turn back the koala is running towards another tree. We all start laughing. We think in the end the koala wanted to climb the man, but opted for a tree instead.

The day we left we stopped off at a fish and chip shop for a fisherman’s basket (a bunch of seafood) and then took the ferry back to the mainland. We camped one more night, and then drove back to Canberra! We were super tired, but it was great to see so much of Australia. Thanks to this road trip I’ve been to 5 out of the 8 states/territories!

Aussie Slang

Servo- Gas Station/Petrol Station

Shout- To say “my shout” at a pub would mean I’m buying

Arvo- Afternoon


March 31, 2012

Leaving Canberra


I went to Sydney a couple weekends ago with some friends and we pretty much did all the touristy things we could think of, but it was awesome. We stayed in a hostel at the heart of time (no crazy hostel-mates this time!) I finally saw the Sydney Opera House (or just the House if you’re cool) and the Harbour Bridge. We went to an aquarium and I saw a platypus!

Cute, but actually poisonous.

They’re only found in Australia, and are found on 20 cent coins. Speaking of coins, Australia doesn’t have pennies! So when you buy something in which you’d need pennies, they just round up.


I also saw little penguins, which are still my most favorite animal. The Powerhouse Museum was also running a really cool Harry Potter exhibit with props and sets set up from the movie (but we couldn’t take pictures ):)

The Opera House! Right before we went and touched it 😀

Sydney at night as viewed from the Sydney Tower.

I also tried vegemite for the first time and it was..nasty. I didn’t even have that much, but its just overwhelmingly salty and just blegh. On a much better note, I’ve had a meat pie which has to be one of the greatest food inventions of all time.

My sister Jessica came to visit this past weekend, after a massive road trip around Asia. It happened to be St. Patrick’s Day when she came, so we went out to a pub for a pint. We also saw Skyfire, a huge fireworks celebration over Lake Burley Griffin, in the pouring rain. I think that made it even more amazing.

I also took a hike up Black Mountain with a friend to a clearing halfway up the mountain, where I saw five kangaroos! They were pretty scared of us, but one stuck around to stare at us. I also saw a dead kangaroo by the roadside..they’re attracted to the headlights of cars..

I also went observing with my friend who does astronomy. There was a lot less light pollution than where I’m from in the States, and I was able to see Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, (complete with rings!) lots of shooting stars, and a bunch of other constellations I can’t remember the name of.

And finally, a couple of weeks ago these people stopped me to take a picture for the style section of the newspaper! I was very flattered (on also very self-conscious that I was wearing a floral shirt and backpack, but they liked it!)

Can you find me :D?

More Aussie Slang!

Instead of saying h, Aussie’s say “hay-ch”, so when they say “HD” its “Hay-ch D”. They also say “zed” for z!

Boot= Car Trunk

Utes= Utility Trucks/Pickup trucks

Thongs=Flip-flops (in New Zealand they’re called jandals for some reason..)

Dodgy- Sketchy