Just wanted to share some photos of my dogs; Alaina Puffins and Charlie Nugget! Technically Charlie is my moms, but she loves me heaps. 💕
Well, it’s been a while friends. Like 242 days to be precise. Oops.
While in Australia, Carli and I started to plan a trip to go to Thailand and Vietnam for summer 2016. So after getting back home, I worked my ass off for eight months to save for summer! Obviously home life is never as exciting as traveling.. So I’ve been missing on here, but now I’m adventuring again! Which brings us to the title..
It is summer (yay!) and I’m blessed to say that I am currently in Thailand with my best friend, Carli! We have been here for fifteen days and we are already halfway done with Thailand! (Vietnam comes next, but we’re not there yet). Let me tell you what, Thailand is insane. I have never experienced such culture shock in the first fifteen minutes of being here as I have in entire trips elsewhere. We traveled from Milan, Italy to Bangkok, Thailand on June 20th. Our layover was in Amsterdam for two hours, which was not too horrible because the airport was insanely beautiful. I also found the most beautiful bathroom I have ever laid my eyes upon! Haha! Plus the airport is huge, so we had heaps of time to just roam around and check everything out. The flight from Amsterdam to Bangkok was eleven hours long.. To be honest, it was not the most enjoyable flight I’ve ever been on. We flew with KLM and the seats were so crammed, the food was pretty haggard, and the entertainment system was awful. I pretty much read a book the entire time and Carli watched like six movies. They didn’t even have somewhere to charge your electronics.. Which really sucks because we were landing in Bangkok at 9:00. So we were obviously going to need my phone for the day to get around. Overall it went by pretty quickly though and suddenly we were in THAILAND! Eek!
June 21st – The first thing to hit me was the humidity. That’s right, not the fact that I was in Asia.. But it was the humidity. My dear does it hit you. It is seriously like walking into a sauna and never getting to leave. Bangkok airport was actually really nice and we had no problems navigating leaving. We quickly found the exit and was hit hard with the humidity while looking for the taxi service. Wow! The taxi section is SO organized. I’m not kidding. Like we took a number and were put in a queue line to wait for our number. It was great! Especially after having to travel for eleven hours and getting zero minutes of sleep! The taxi driver understood very little English and I couldn’t understand him, so it was fair. Also, I guess I am back onto the left side of the road again! I didn’t realize Thailand drove on the left. When you get taxis here I was always warned to get a metered taxi so they don’t over charge you, but I am ninety percent sure that this guy managed to over charge us anyway. He used a meter taxi, but he seemed to take the longest way into Bangkok. I had my GPS going in the back and I was just watching him miss all the turns my phone was telling me to take. The hostel email said it should be shout 300-450 baht and it ended up being 740. Oh well.
We stayed at Niras Bangkok Cultural Hostel close to the famous Khao San Road. I seriously loved this hostel. It was a hostel with a full cafe downstairs. The iced lattes were bomb and the staff was even better. We checked in and they showed us to our room on the third floor. We were in a 6 female bedroom and it was so cozy. Sometimes you get hostels with heaps of beds all smashed together in a tiny room, but this one was great. There were 2 single toilets and 2 single showers and off in the corner was a shower and toilet mix. It was so clean too! I took top bunk and Carli took bottom and we showered and relaxed in our beds for a bit. (It was was like noon and we were dead). I think I got like a quick twenty minute nap in, but then hunger won and we went off to find some food.
Here comes the culture shock..
We walked outside and looked around. We didn’t know where anything was and the girl we asked at reception told us where to go, but we didn’t want what she suggested. We put the famous Khao San Road in my maps (luckily my phone works in this country) and we were off. We ended up going down this side road and wound up in some people’s houses and had to walk on a tiny ledge next to a canal to get to the other road. It was really smelly, there were rats and garbage was everywhere. This side road seriously hit us hard.. At this point we were pretty shocked and thinking “What have we done?”, “How will we survive 42 days in SEA (southeast Asia)?”. In our defense we hadn’t slept in over thirty hours and haven’t eaten a good meal in twenty. Hungry and tired are never a good mix. Don’t worry though, we eventually made it to Khao San. I found some mango sticky rice yum! We drank fresh juices for like 30 baht ($1) and finally were full. The food and fresh juice here is pretty much indescribable. I’ve never had such impeccable fresh mango off the street. We roamed around Khao San for a bit and shopped around. I found a cute surong for cheap and some flip flops for the showers here.
Did I mention traffic is insane here? Like people do not care if you’re on a crosswalk or not they keep going. Motorcycles bob and weave around everyone and it’s just crazy.
Back at the hostel we laid down for a while and eventually our new roommate came in! Her name was Kari and she’s from London, England! She seemed super nice and genuine! She went out for dinner and we did eventually too! We went back to familiarity on Khao San and I quickly found some delicious Pad Thai with chicken for 50 baht ($1.42) from a street cart! It was awesome because she cooked it fresh right in front of us! Wow, it was soooo good. Best pad Thai ever. I’ll probably eat it every meal and not feel guilty about it. We turned in for an early night for some much needed sleep. Of course I slept horribly though. We chatted with Kari for a bit and invited her to come with us to Ayutthaya (the ancient city filled with historical monuments about an hour north of Bangkok).
June 22nd – Since we all slept horribly, we ended up sleeping in and deciding not to go to Ayutthaya. Instead we went to the Grand Palace for the day! It was about a twenty minute walk and Kari joined us! We grabbed a latte from Niras and we were off! The walk was pleasant enough, but obviously very hot haha. Carli ended up slipping on this mud and when I tried to catch her I ended up burning myself on Kari’s cigarette. It was chaos and I didn’t even catch Carli, but she caught herself. We ended up laughing on the street for a solid ten minutes while Kari was apologizing profusely for burning me! It was such a time.
To get into the Palace we had to cover our legs and shoulders, so we bought skirts to put on and I rented a haggard shirt to cover my shoulders. I looked very fashionable. The Palace was beautiful and huge. It took us a solid 2 hours to get through and the weather was insanely humid and hot. The walls were shining and the statues were incredible. Such history and culture in one giant area. We got lucky because the sun was out and it made it that much better.
After the Palace we walked to the river so we could catch a river boat. We got some coconut ice cream from a street cart and it was delectable. It was coconut ice cream inside a fresh coconut, topped with coconut milk and peanuts. I died. I could seriously eat that all the time too! We were trying to figure out the boat situation for a while and it was so confusing. There were a million boats and no English. Eventually we found a boat that was going to Khao San, and hopped aboard. The river was huge and muddy. There were boats everywhere and I was amazed that no one was crashing. It’s worse than car traffic. We got off at the next stop thinking it was Khao San, but it wasn’t. Oops. We ended up right back by the palace and had to walk like twenty minutes to get the Khao San. Once we got there I got more pad Thai from the same nice lady! It’s seriously so good.
Back at the hostel we hung out for a while and relaxed after all our walking. We got a new roommate, Emmanuelle, from Australia (who has lived in Paris for the last fourteen years). She’s really awesome too! We also got two New Yorkers, Janet and Meena. They’re awesome too! We’ve lucked out so far!
For dinner i took a TUK TUK to China town with Kari, Carli and Emmanuelle! It was insane! He drove all over the place and I was on the ground! I loved it! For those who don’t know, a TUK TUK is like a cart on wheels with a bench in the back. Fastest way to get around Bangkok. Just make sure you come up with a price before getting in. We roamed around the streets and all got different varieties of food. I couldn’t find coconut ice cream so I didn’t get anything until later. We ended up at a SKYBAR called Grand a China. It was crazy! It was like the 25th floor and it literally rotated in the sky. We enjoyed a drink and looked at the crazy view of Bangkok. It took about 1 hour to almost get all the way around! Meena and Janet joined us about halfway through and we all just hungout! I bought some mango sticky rice before heading back to the hostel. We took a taxi back to Niras (all 6 of us in one taxi) and our driver was hilarious. He was singing and yelling pad Thai over and over again! Back at the hostel we got ready for bed and passed out for the night.
So far Bangkok was really awesome. At first it was a bit of a shock, but getting around and becoming comfortable was not a problem! It was fun getting to know people from our room and learning ways around Bangkok. There was this one girl at the hostel who literally helped us with everything. She was always writing stuff down in Thai for us and giving us directions.
June 23rd- Our supposed last day in Bangkok, we said our goodbyes to Kari. It was sad, but she’s going to come visit us in Manchester in the fall! We took a minivan to Ayutthaya (ancient city) and rented a TUK TUK to drive us around the city to see all the monuments. He was really nice and had a postcard to show us what place he was going to take us next. The ancient temples and city walls were crazy! So old and still standing. The laying down Buddah was HUGE and there was a Thai guy trying to sell us flowers to give to Buddah. When I politely declined he then called me Vietnamese? It was strange. We also saw the biggest Buddah in a temple in Thailand reaching at 9 meters. He was huge and very gold. At one of the buildings I tried to climb up the stairs, but had to quickly abort because it seriously smelled like dead people. It was awful. Carli was dying laughing at me. We said goodbye to our driver and rode back to Bangkok. It took us a while to find a TUK TUK driver who wasn’t going to charge us 400 baht because of rush hour. We finally found a guy to do it for 250. He was really awesome. He was singing and pretending to be a race car. Eventually it started to down pour on us and the driver was just laughing at us at we all three for soaked. At the hostel I showered and got into some dry clothes and went downstairs to enjoy an iced latte. They gave me a hot latte instead, but I didn’t want to have them remake so I just drank it. Come to find out, it wasn’t my latte. Oops! So I got a hot and iced one and they remade the girls hot one. For dinner Carli, Emmanuelle and I went to Khao San for some pad Thai and spring rolls. We went to a vegan place for Carli and met some weird French Canadian old dude who chatted us up for a bit. He was really nice but wouldn’t stop talking to us even when we tried to leave! I bought a new rhomper and Carli got a dress! Emmanuelle and I were on a hunt for coconut ice cream with the coconut milk on top, but no one had it. We had to settle for plain old coconut ice cream, but it was still amazing. Of course it started to pour on us while walking back to Niras and I got my toms soaked! When I got back to the hostel, I tried on my rhomper and found a giant hole down the seam.. Ugh. (Don’t worry though, I closed the hole with my handy sewing kit.. Only to find out it didn’t even fit).
June 24th – Today we were supposed to go to Lopburi, but we changed plans and ended up deciding to just head straight to Chiang Mai. We slept beautifully until 11:30, and checked out of our hostel. The nice girl (wish I knew her name) called the train station for us to make sure there were tickets left for us. Luckily there was because usually you have to book a few days in advance! Eek! We took a TUK TUK to the station, bought our tickets and headed to Khao San for one last meal! Our usual pad Thai lady wasn’t there so I just got some spring rolls instead and sat with Carli at her vegan place. I got some mango juice too! Fresh juice here is so good. We hung out at the hostel for a while relaxing and drinking coffee. I actually ordered an Oreo shake thing and it was so yummy! At around 17:00 we took a TUK TUK to the train station for our 14 hour night train to Chiang Mai.
I really liked Bangkok. At first I was a little skeptical because you never know with big cities, but once we kind of got a sense of direction and where to go it was fine! We met some really awesome people there and had bomb food! We have to go back to Bangkok one night before flying to Vietnam and we will definitely be staying at Niras again. It was one of my favorite hostels so far.
Trying to write in a journal, keep my family updated and do a blog is a lot of work. But I am going to try and be better about it because people kept asking me when I was going to write.
My best friend asked me today, “what happened to The Chronicles of Emmy?”
And that got me thinking.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted as I am well aware, but I guess I had the lame excuse of being super busy my last month in Australia.
Now my excuse is i’m back in Bend, Oregon (my hometown) and I don’t know what to write about. Because what can I possibly say that’s exciting after living abroad in Australia ?
So instead of some crazy cool story on my adventures, I kind of just want to write what’s on my mind lately.
Being back home has really thrown me into a new persepective once again. Traveling really expands your mind and changes your ideals quite often. See, I grew up in Bend and except the classic resort tropical holidays, I hadn’t seen much of the “world”. Laying on the beach for a week in Mexico isn’t exactly a thorough cultural experience. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of fun and needed every once in a while, but the difference between the lazy week at the beach and diving into a culture in a foreign country is monumental. Sometimes we forget how big the world actually is, especially if we grow up in the same small town all of our lives. I hadn’t really grasped how far away Australia is until I actually got to spend 15 dreaded hours on a plane to Brisbane and another 6 to get over to the opposite side of Australia for my last month. I hadn’t realized that not everywhere has table service and nice customer service. Or the fact that not everything comes in gigantic sizes. Or that there is different food that you’ve probably never tried or other countries have different ideas of specific foods. Anyways, as I was saying, I came home with a new perspective. I realized just because I have gone off and saw things in a new way doesn’t mean I can come back to Bend and things will be different and that’s what’s been really hard on me since I got back.
As most everyone knows, I am pretty shy and awkward. I have a hard time making new friends and tend to spend majority of my time with my dog or in my bed. Haha. Being a defined traveler has got to be easiest and best way to make friends instantaneously. When you’re traveling you always have things to talk about and you can always open up your conversations with “where are you from?” Or “what made you travel here?”. I could easily walk into a cafe and make a new friend because they’d hear my accent and ask where i’m from and what I was doing. We would instantly click and get along. It was marvelous. So now being back home, in search of new friends, i’m having quite a hard time. I’ve been so accustomed to the same group of people my whole life, the idea of branching out and wanting to find some new people seems foreign to even me. The worst part is the friends I do have are quite busy or have a hard time remembering that i’m back (or they just use that as an excuse not sure which). So on the search of new friends I wouldn’t even know where to start. I’m back to being a minor, so bars are out of the question. I can no longer go dance my heart out in a club and I don’t go to school here. I can’t just go to a coffee shop and strike up a conversation because I wouldn’t know what to say (that would be my shyness coming back). So where do I find new people? I have yet to figure it out. Maybe once I get a new job I can meet some new people. Until then, my bed and Netflix will suffice.
Another thing is, I never really thought I could get culture shock from my own country, let alone my hometown, but I was wrong! I am back from Australia and i’m having such a hard time adjusting to some American things. For one, I cannot enjoy a cup of coffee anymore. Which is quite unfortunate as I love my daily dose of coffee, but I just cannot do it. Most places around here literally taste like dishwater or worse. My first cup I had being back I actually could not physically drink. It was awful. So now I have to cringe and suffer through my daily dose. I wonder when I will adjust back to horrible tasting coffee? Also, I literally thought that my parents bought a new dishwasher because ours just looked so wrong. I swear it’s new, but they have yet to admit it yet. The littlest things that I’ve grown up with have become foreign to me and it’s so strange. Light switches seem wrong to me. I always go to flush the toilet at the top but it’s on the side here. I sometimes think about waning to drive on the left or go backwards around the round-a-bouts.
I am also working on eating right. I’m trying not to have processed foods or things with GMO’s. It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be to adjust to my new lifestyle back home. My parents think i’m crazy for some of the things I refuse to eat or do. Like I won’t use microwaves anymore and i’m done eating orange cheddar. (Why the heck is our cheddar orange anyway?! It doesn’t naturally come like that). Oh well. I guess it’ll all just take some getting used to.
All in all, I guess you could say i’m struggling back here in Bend. I miss my best friend Carli (Italian) and now I miss my close friends who are back in Australia! I love to travel, but having close friends across the world really pulls on my heart strings.
I’ve already planned my next adventure! I’m am going to be heading off to Manchester to meet my best friend (Carli) to see her in her UNI habitat before her and I head off to Asia! After Asia I’ll do some more traveling around Europe with Kristy (Canadian who I met in Australia) and hopefully by then I will have somewhat of a goal for my life. Right now I love to travel and I think that’s what I will do until everything else falls into place for me.
Until next time.
As most of you are aware Australia is located in the Southern Hemisphere. Why else would they call it “Down Under”? Because I am actually quite far down underneath the rest of civilisation. So naturally for the five months that I have been living here, while you’ve been in warm toasty summer, I have been in winter. I know some of you are thinking that Australia is only warm weather, beautiful beaches, and sun-kissed skin, but in case you were doubtful it does get cold here! It actually gets quite cold, especially in Toowoomba, and I’ve bought plenty of clothes that I now have no room for in my suitcase.
I’ve been in cold weather for roughly the last year and so last weekend I went down southwest to Perth, Western Australia. If you’re wondering where that is located, feel free to look it up on a map. It was actually quite warm last weekend and guess what?? After a long hard week of watching the five kids by myself (with a bit of help from grandma) I was in desperate need for some time off. I am living in Australia, but I am jealous of everyone back home hanging with friends and doing summer stuff. So I was ready for some adventures! Perth is a beach city and I even had some friends to hang out with! SO I had warm weather, friends and could finally work on my tan.
Perth is a six-hour plane ride west and for any of you frequent flyers, six hours SUCKS! However I must say, I flew with Qantas and they are the best airline I’ve ever flown with! Remember when you used to fly and you’d get these cute little bag of pretzels? You’d also get a complimentary soft drink! Well, most airlines these days are stingy and barely even want to offer you a drink. In Australia most airlines don’t even offer you a free soft drink! What is this?! We pay heaps of money to fly and you can’t even comfort us with some beverages! And this is why I love Qantas. It was the best flying experience of my life. First off they feed you dinner! I’m not saying it’s the most delicious home cooked meal you will ever experience, but it is certainly free and tasty. I had some pasta carbonara with peas! They also offer complimentary beer/wine, but I don’t drink or like it so I got some orange juice! While serving your dinner they ask if you’re going to want tea/coffee later on and I eagerly took the coffee cup! After dinner they come back around and offer some crackers with cheese and fill up the coffee/tea cups! I have to be honest it was probably the grossest cup of coffee, but that’s okay! I forgive you Qantas. I mean I wouldn’t expect good coffee made on a plane! I hate to say it, but I’ve become quite the coffee snob and unless you have an espresso maker it couldn’t really be good coffee anyways! Some time after the crackers they came back by with some ICE CREAM! Well, technically it was a mango sorbet bar, but it was delicious and completed my meal indefinitely. Needless to say, it was the best airline ever! Did I mention that there was no one next to me? I sat back, watched all the newest movies and really quite enjoyed my flight.
I got in quite late (like midnight) and so my trip didn’t actually quite start until Saturday morning. I stayed with my Canadian friend, Kristy, at the house she’d been nannying at! I met her back in April when I first got to Australia. She was the former nanny for the family I work for and we got to hangout for like two weeks before she left for Perth! When she asked me to come visit I couldn’t say no! Remember the warm weather, beaches and friends? We can’t turn that down. Kristy is friends with another nanny down the road and she’s from Germany! Her name is Vanessa and she is the sweetest thing! I love her accent and she makes me nostalgic for Germany! I also have a friend, Courtney, from back home who just moved to Perth a couple of weeks ago and we knew we’d have to meet and catch up! She’s awesome and I’d known we have a wonderful time making these next few days full of memories.
Vanessa came over bright and early the next morning and we took off for the beach! We walked because it was only 2.5 k’s (1.55 miles) and walking is good for me! It was a nice walk and we all bonded quickly! Firstly we stopped at a Cafe and got me some coffee to revive my life and sat to chat for a bit. Afterwards we walked along the beach and climbed on some rocks to take cool pictures (of course)! The water was freezing, but the sand was beautifully white and soft. There were these little blue things on the beach that we later figured out were probably jelly fish! EEK! Luckily unlike most of the creatures in Australia, I think these jelly fish were safe. Otherwise I would have read a danger sign! Especially considering beaches over here have signs for everything: Weather, how big the waves are, whats swimming in the water that day, is it safe to swim and surf and sometimes other weird stuff! So I think they’d warn us about some deadly jelly fish! We hung on some signs and ran around the beach like kids it was great! Don’t get me wrong, I loved being a nanny and love the family, but I am nineteen years old and I need a little fun in my life. Or before I know it I am going to be an old grumpy lady (ewe) and therefore I will run around the beaches and throw some sand! We got some Heath Freak burgers for lunch and I got a red espresso apple juice thing! It was quite strange, but yummy and supposed to be really good for me! After lunch we went back to the beach to hangout for a while and Vanessa and I ended up in the water! It was so cold and sand ended up in places I would prefer to not be. We took some pretend pregnant pictures for a joke with Vanessa and borrowed some guys surf board for pictures! Lets be honest, I wouldn’t actually surf in Perth! Like 89% of the great white shark attacks are located west coast Australia. I’d prefer to make it home alive with all my limbs attached! We walked all the way to Scarborough and back which ended up being about 22 k (about 14 miles) and on the way back from the swim adventure I was wet. Being wet, sandy and pantless on a 7 k walk is about as painful as it can get. I chafed the whole way back and not even the ice cream from the store could make me feel better! And ice cream always helps! I felt like my skin was on fire! Finally after a long awkward walk back, we made it back to Kristy’s and I went into the house to shower. One of the little boys looks at me and yells, “I can see your knickers!” in front of the whole family! It was so embarrassing because it was my swim suit! Fail on that child’s part! We got all showered and went over to Vanessa’s to get ready for the night out! In a unusual circumstance I ended up wearing a dress, make up and heels! I even straightened my hair! We left Vanessa’s and it was a bit cold, but we knew we be warm once we got there! Kristy was cold, I hated my heels because my feet hurt and Vanessa wanted to wear pants! I should have known this was going to be a failed attempt at going out! We get to the train station (yes I walked 4 k’s in my heels) and as we attempt to buy tickets my card is failing to work! The train was coming and we are running trying to make it on. Vanessa is already there, but Kristy and I are not quite there. Because life loves me, we missed the train, Vanessa had to hop out. We had to wait another half of an hour for the next one while freezing to death! We contemplated a taxi, but already paid for the train tickets so we waited! We finally boarded the train at like 10:15 and headed into the city to endure a Saturday night out! Kristy and I hadn’t eaten dinner and so we get to a bar and order some pizza! Have you ever had pizza at like a kids play place? Like Pappy’s Pizza or the bowling ally? That was the quality of the pizza we ordered and it was $23! It was outrageous, but I was hungry and ate it! I had an apple cider with my pizza and the three of us are just sitting at a table kind of zoning out. At this point I’m exhausted and I think everyone else was too! We seriously all looked like we hated life, so I suggested that we go to a new bar and try to liven up. We start walking to the next place and my feet are killing me and we are all cold. About halfway to our destination we all unanimously vote to grab Uber and go home. We were beat! I guess that is what we get for walking all day long and attempting to survive more walking! It was a wonderful adventurous day and at least we tried to go out right? On the walk to home from Vanessa’s, I found the cutest looking snail! I took a picture of him and probably blinded him with my flash! Poor little guy!
The next day Vanessa had to work so Kristy and I rode the train into Fremantle to check out the Sunday Markets! We walked to the station and on the way bought a coffee and raspberry white chocolate muffin! It was warmed up and so yummy! The train ride is about an hour and it went pretty fast! We got to Fremantle and walked around a bit before heading to the markets! It was a beautiful day out and I was finally soaking up some vitamin D. I found this cool jumper from a store that was made in Napal and was totally something I wouldn’t normally wear! But when buying something from across the world I wanted to buy something I couldn’t get back home! We ran into some street performer and stopped to watch! He was really good, but he kept staring at me! I never ever stand in the front of street performers because I’m shy and keep to myself, but Perth was a time to go out of my comfort zones. So of course when I stood up front he came up and pulled me out of the crowd into the circle and starts dancing with me! It was so embarrassing and I just couldn’t stop laughing! Kristy was dying of laughter also and when we went to leave, he started dancing with Kristy too! It was so great! We finally made it to the markets and roamed around! It was so busy, but beautiful inside. It smelt wonderfully of random foods and there were cute shops everywhere. I love rings and I ended up spending over $100 on rings.. Oops! I got some acai smoothie and Kristy got a real coconut to drink from! I tried a wee bit and it was so gross, but the smoothie was bomb. After the markets we walked around a bit more and stopped in a store called Cheap, everything inside was $10 and under. They had flannels! Back home flannels are always so expensive, so I had to get one at this store! They were vintage flannels, therefore none were the same size or colour. So I tried them all and bought two! I am sure the store clerks hated me because they didn’t have a proper fitting room. We had plans at 5 o clock to meet Courtney (Bend friend) for some dinner and drinks and so we got on the train and headed back for Kristy’s house! Courtney got dropped off and we drove to the beach for the sunset and dinner! We may have been a tad late and watched the sunset from the car, but at least we didn’t miss it all together! Dinner was delicious as I had pizza and cider! Courtney and Kristy got duck tacos! Weird! The restaurant was really nice, but insanely busy and what not for a Sunday night! After dinner we drove back to the house to drop off the car and we walked to the train station! We stopped at a bar on the way and grabbed a drink and kept going! We called Vanessa on the way and told her to meet us there, but she’d have to run because the train was coming in fifteen minutes! Unfortunately, she didn’t arrive on time so we missed the train and had to wait for the next one, but I was really glad Vanessa came! We walked around a bit taking pictures and goofing off. Not a lot was open super late because it was Sunday and so it took us a bit to find somewhere open. We got to some bar called Boheme and ordered some drinks and sat outside! I ran to the toilet and when I came back some guy was sitting at our table and he brought drinks with him. We are not stupid and of course didn’t accept the drinks! He was really strange and gave me his jacket because I was cold (which was nice), but still so weird. It was a sunday night, he was really drunk and alone. We went inside after a bit pretending to be cold because he was a bit freaky! After some more chatting we decided to head home because it was getting late. On our walk back to the train station the one guy showed up out of no where and yelled “TAG” and started to chase us! We were all running, but I couldn’t breath so I stopped and he kept running! Then he kind of just disappeared! It was so strange! Then I asked some guy to take our picture and he was clearly way too intoxicated to take the picture, but he still said he could do it. He stood there for like five minutes with my phone, but wouldn’t take the photo so I grabbed my phone and asked someone else. He didn’t even take one picture! I know he was intoxicated, but he didn’t even attempt to get a blurry one! We finally get to the train station and got back to Kristy’s and fell into bed after a long walk home!
The next morning Kristy was planning on taking me to the city to see during the day, but we woke up to a phone call from Vanessa inviting us over for pancakes! I can’t say no to some good ol’ pancakes! The best part is we get there and she is making German pancakes! The kind I’ve grown up with! Talk about nostalgic flashbacks! I love Germans and their pancakes! Alex is the little boy who Kristy watches during the day and he loves German pancakes too! Especially with hazelnut chocolate spread and strawberries, just like me! After breakfast Courtney, Kristy, Alex and I drove to Hillary’s Boat Harbour and walked around, grabbed some lunch and took heaps of pictures! Lunch was a delicious mocha and blueberry muffin that I didn’t eat! I bought Alex a Babychino and he was ecstatic! It was adorable! I love little kids. Kristy had to pick up the kids so she dropped Courtney and I off at the house so I could walk Courtney back to the train station! I had one full day left and at this point I was starting to realise that maybe I didn’t want to go home yet. I dropped Courtney off and started walking back to the house by myself. I stuck music in and enjoyed the beautiful day to myself. Thoughts twirling and mind spinning I was on the verge of making a life decision. I get back to Kristy’s and we hangout at the park with the kids until dinner! We had delicious chicken wraps with homemade sweet chill sauce! I loved it! After the past few days, we called it an early night!
My last full day in Perth us four girls and Alex went to Kings Park to walk around! The trees were dressed up and the biggest tree was the queen! We walked around the whole park and saw all these neat plants! There was these flowers that look exactly like a flower, but they felt like tissue paper! It was the strangest thing! I wanted to pick many and take them with me, but I left some for other people to enjoy (even though they were everywhere)! After we worked up an appetite walking around Kings Park we headed to the city for some lunch! We initially went to go to a restaurant suggested by Vanessa but it was closed so we ended up at some cafe place! I got some poached eggs and sour dough toast with a mocha (coffee is life). Poor little Alex ended up peeing himself because he realised he had to pee too late and didn’t make it! At least he’s only two and can’t be scared for life! Kristy had to pick the kids up again so we dropped Vanessa and Courtney off and Kristy dropped me off at her house with Alex while she ran to get the other kids! For dinner we walked to grab some pizza and ate it in the park. I love just being able to grab some food and chill with friends on a nice warm night. It’s so what I needed. We went over to Vanessa’s for a while and I painted my nails for the third time that day. We had another early night! I guess we had been doing a lot of stuff! I didn’t realise how tired we were until we kept passing out so early!
My flight was at 4 pm the next day! So we woke up early and went to the beach! It was supposed to be at least 30 C (91 F) and so it was a lay out on the beach kind of day! Courtney met us at the beach and we all relaxed on the beach while I read my book! The water was still freezing! We walked by some rocks and Kristy was flicking the snails into the water! Poor guys! I could feel my skin burning, but I wanted to get some colour before I went home so I didn’t use sunscreen (sorry mom!). We grabbed some lunch at a fish n chips place and since I don’t like sea food, I got chips! The old guys were so nice there! They threw in extra chips for me with Kristy and Courtney’s meal because he felt bad I didn’t like sea food! They were really good chips and possibly one of the best I’ve had in Australia! We had to obviously cut our day short because of my flight so we left for the house shortly after lunch! I quickly showered and packed up my stuff! Kristy drove me to the airport (so much traffic) and we said our goodbyes! The flight again gave me dinner, cheese/crackers and this time a MarsBar ice cream! Yum! I love Qantas!
As some of you may be aware, I was going to come home early! My original return date was January 20th, but with some consideration I changed my flight to September 12th! My parents planned Disneyland and I thought it would be cool to meet them there! Don’t get me wrong I love Toowoomba and my family there, but like I said before I am nineteen and I don’t want to be responsible for children at the moment! It was fun for the time being and I’ve made yet another family in another country, but it was time for my next adventure! For a few weeks I thought my next adventure would be back in Bend, OR, but my time in Perth made me realise that I need a little more time here. I came to Australia to experience culture which I did, but I also came here to adventure, meet people and get my tan on. So being around friends, warm weather and the beach made me realise maybe my next adventure is going to be held in Perth. Well, when Vanessa mentioned that she’d have an open house for a month and I could stay with her for free I wasn’t sure I could pass that opportunity up. I really wanted to go home and see my family. I wanted to do Disney with my parents and brother Micah, but I knew if I went home on the 12th I would forever regret not staying. It’s okay to regret not doing Disney because I can still go home and do it someday, but I couldn’t live in Perth for free surrounded by friends. My heart is an adventurous one and my (black) soul yearns to travel so it was a tough decision, but I couldn’t say no. I feel awful I gave false hope for my family of an early return, but they love me and surely understand. It’s only four more weeks and certainly is way earlier than the end of January.
So now I am sitting in the airport waiting to head back to Perth. I’ve had to say goodbye to the family I’ve come to know and love the past five months. I’ve had to say goodbye to Toowoomba and my room downstairs and I have left a piece of me in the house, with that family. Saying goodbye to the kids and especially BJ really hurt my heart. I know I will see them again someday, but not for a while and they will be all grown up. With technology these days I can hold hope that BJ won’t forget me. He is at an age that he could easily forget me, but I hope not. I will really miss Queensland. I would recommend becoming an Au Pair to anyone. Female or male. Getting to live with a family and experience a new countries culture while bonding with some kids is indescribable at times. I’ve come to grow and love these kids like they’re my own. I love the steep hill climb to get into Toowoomba. I love driving my ancient little Mazda around town and taking BJ and Isaac for baby chino runs. I’ll miss waking up and collecting fresh chicken eggs with BJ and running around the tennis court playing freeze tag. I’ll miss hanging with the older kids going for walks to the park or sliding in boxes down the gully. I’ll miss Mikayla making me a fresh mocha every morning (and night) and I’ll miss library runs. I will really miss my Australian family.
Perth here I come.
How you going?
Anytime you go to a different country you will most likely experience culture shock. Especially if you choose a country with a language barrier. Now when you think of Australia, you think, “noo what shock?”, all because they speak English (yes.. They speak english down here). So naturally everything must be normal, plus everyone knows Australia is just another US but a few years behind. NOPE, you’re wrong. I mean of course Italy was a huge shock to me, but those Italians pretty much culturally served everything on the platter within the first few weeks of being there and everything made logically sense. Australia is still shocking me verbally after five months of being here and so I thought I’d finally share a little bit about it.
First off it is not “what” when you didn’t understand what I said, it is “pardon me”. If you think about it, when someone is talking to you and you can’t hear them or you missed what they said, saying WHAT sounds so rude. I love pardon me. So formal! My favourite is using “I beg your pardon” in a sassy way when the kids talk back! Haha
Anyway, we drive on the other side of the road over here. Yep, I had to sit on the other side of the car and remember to “Keep Left”. I remember when I first got here I hadn’t physically driven a car yet, but I was in a shuttle bus taking me to the Gold Coast. I was looking out the window in my hazy sleep deprived mode and every time we passed a car I freaked out! I glanced over at the passenger on their phone or sleeping and thought it was the driving side! It was crazy at first! Learning to drive on that side of the road was a whole new challenge. All of my life I’ve always known to keep right, but now I keep left! Round-a-bouts were terrifying and Australia has these weird six way intersections without stop lights you just have to know who goes and when to yield!! I got used to it quickly and now when I watch shows based in the US I think to myself “Hey they’re on the wrong side (the right side)”. I’m all messed up. You also wash your windscreen with your windscreen wipers and stick the groceries in your boot! Having some issues with your car? Please pop your bonnet!
Quick! How do you turn on a light? You flick it up to turn in on right? Well, don’t worry Australia likes to be different and since they are on the opposite side of the world, why not have the switches opposite? Oh and the toilets flush the other direction too! And the drains!
Remember being a kid having to go to the dentist and having to receive that foamy stuff to swish around for a minute? I always had to tell the assistant that I was not allowed to have it and then she would proceed to give me the look. (You know the, “Your mom is wrong” look.) Or in elementary school taking the fluoride pills (I did try to sneak a pill or two because I just wanted to be included)? Well, don’t worry they just add it to their water supply around here, and I don’t really get a choice now (Sorry mom!!).
Food is another interesting one and I still have trouble deciphering. One of my first mornings here BJ kept asking me for capsicum for his morning tea. First off he was two and I had a hard time understanding him especially with his accent. So I had to keep asking what he was trying to say. I felt so bad while he looked at me like I was stupid because he was saying the word so clearly and I just didn’t know what to do. I thought maybe it was some kind of tea, but why would he want tea? Eventually Kristy (the other nanny) woke up and was able to help me locate the bell PEPPERS! I know what you’re thinking, “Why the heck does this little boy want some bell peppers?” (Because the two-year-old eating bell peppers makes much more sense). Yeah I don’t know the answer to that either, but at least I know what a capsicum is now and that snack time is referred to morning or afternoon tea! I also cut up some rockmelon that day which we like to refer to this orange melon as a cantaloupe! Lo and behold I was yet again confused for dinner that night when we needed ketchup for our sausages and there was none in the fridge. Only this red tomato sauce, but we weren’t having pasta! Heck no I don’t want pasta sauce on my bun! Oh wait.. Tomato sauce IS ketchup. My bad..
Like I said, I am always confused! Australians are always shortening things and coming up with crazy names, but then maybe they think Americans are the weird ones. I really quite enjoy the challenge of having to figure them out because it keeps me on my toes. I also indulge in getting to use funky words with the kids and hearing them say adorable things! I really do love culture shock and the puzzles of the world.
I have even gotten a few people asking me if Australia speaks English.. Well, yes they do, but it’s a little strange!
I have compiled a list for you!
(I’ll put my terms on the left)
Parking Spot – Car Park
Truck – Ute
Bell Peppers – Capsicum
Eraser – Rubber
Elevator – Lift
Rent – Hire
Tape – Sticky Tape
Cookies – Biscuits
Fries – Chips
Popsicle – Ice Block
Gas Station – Petrol Servo
Shopping Cart – Trolley
A lot – Heaps
Ketchup – Tomato Sauce
Meals – Tea
Chicken – Chook
Windshield – Windscreen
Snack – Morning/Afternoon Tea
Garbage Can – Rubbish Bi
Duvet – Doona
Diaper – Nappy
Sweatshirt – Jumper
Icebox – Eski
Oh and heres some photos ❤
Throughout your lifetime you endure many friendships. Some are short-term and some are in for the long ride. Sometimes they’re remarkable and sometimes they are easily forgotten. We meet people who change our lives and yet it does not always benefit us.
I have had the pleasure of meeting many people in my life. I’ve made lots of friends, maybe even more than the average person. Friends are such a wonderful thing to have in all cases. When you’re sad they know exactly the pick me up you need. Or they know perfectly the way you like to have fun, whether its going out and partying or staying in bingeing on Netflix. My favourite thing for friendships is the midnight milkshake runs to catch up and indulged in some delicious malt shakes (you know who you are!). During high school I ran through plenty of different friend groups while experimenting trial and error. I just wanted to grow up really fast and forget about all my childhood memories; including friendships. I abandoned people and kept to myself. For some odd reason I thought growing up meant giving up close friendships and just adopting the job life, but I was wrong. I miss friends. I now realise one cannot survive in life without a few good friends.
Lately this has been on my heart and while being away I have had an outside perspective on my friendships back home (or in other countries, don’t worry I didn’t forget about you Carli). I have seen who are my true friends and who are my friend just for the benefits or when they need something. For the true friends, I’ve come to realise that I love all of you dearly and miss you so much. I have such special people in my life and cannot express the endearments in words at the moment. I have friends that know me better than myself. I have friends who know when I’m sad even if I’m smiling and I have friends who never give up on me. I have the milkshake friends and the late night butte walk friends. I have the spontaneous adventurous friends and the ones where we can sit and do nothing. I have those friends I can text anytime about anything for some advice and the ones I can call randomly for a chat. Most importantly I have friends who love me for exactly who I am and never try to change a thing. You know exactly who you are and I just wanted to say thank you for always being there for me.
If you ever miss the feeling of being a kid, there is always a great solution; a carnival/fair. There is nothing more riveting than walking through a gate into a fairgrounds and literally nostalgically smelling your childhood.
I went to EKKA this weekend. For you non- Australian folk, that technically just means one giant fair. It is the Queensland (which is a state) fair and it is located in Brisbane. A lot like Oregon State Fair, but bigger and crazier rides. I’m not kidding these rides were massive, terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time.
I rode the bus from Brady’s house straight to EKKA (gotta love public transportation and big cities) and stepped off the bus into a whole different world. Here I am smack dab in the middle of a giant city and there is a real, live, legit, country bogan, fairgrounds. I was shocked. I expected the bus to take us into the country, but nope leave it to Australians to be country in a big city. Brady and I walked over to the ticket counter and waited in line. So here’s the thing, back home a day pass into fair is about $12, but EKKA was $30! Just to enter! Which normally I would say is absurd and leave because I hate spending money.. But it’s EKKA and a once in a lifetime thing. Naturally I sucked it up and handed over my colorful, plastic dollars and held back the tears. I mean I did step off the bus knowing I’d be spending some pretty pennies throughout the day. The instant I walked through the gate I looked to my left and saw a wood cutting competition (yes you read that correct). It was so strange and there was quite the crowd getting into it. Brady and I decided we’d walk around and check everything out before doing anything else. It was crazy! The rides were huge, the food smelled delicious and it wasn’t all too crowded. It was nice! Back home I never go to the fair during the day because it’s hot and crowded with little kids (plus riding the rides at night is the thing to do), but we wanted as many hours as we could get. It was supposed to be a nice day and not too hot, so we lucked out with that. We roamed around a bit and took it all in. This was my first time seeing corn dogs in this country (they call them Dagwood dogs) and there was fairy floss everywhere (cotton candy, not sure which name I like better)! Even in the bush covered in dirt!
Back home has nothing on the rides here, they were frightening. We picked out the least intimidating one and tried to figure out how to buy tickets. Unfortunately there are no tickets and you have to pay individual for each ride, which is $10 a piece (yay more pretty pennies). The first ride was just a swinging, twisting one. It didn’t go upside down or anything, so we thought it was a safe choice. We. Were. Wrong. It was terrifying. All there was to strap us in was a waist bar and I honestly would think to suggest a shoulder bar. I felt like a kid again though and was laughing hysterically in delight. As a kid I always wanted to be a super hero and wanted to fly, and so I would always swing on every swing set I laid eyes on. I honestly felt like I was flying (and then falling) and it went on forever. I loved it. I had so much fun and laughed the whole time, while Brady was screaming (hopefully with delight), but it was still awful at the same time. Naturally when I got off I was a bit nauseous and had to wait a bit before continuing my day. Brady and I felt drunk and were stumbling around trying to find a place to relax, it was hilarious. At this point I was extremely warm and regretting wearing a quarter sleeve. We also agreed that the crazy rides should wait until right before our departure so we wouldn’t ruin our day being sick.
They have these things called show bags and it’s just a bag filled with certain themed items. Brady bought a Star Wars one and it contained: a t-shirt, hat, poster, cards, cup and some other small trinkets. It was like twenty bucks. They were actually really neat and I would have gotten one if I had found a theme I liked! We sat inside the show bag room for a bit until I felt better and then went to roam around some more. Outside of the show bag room was a fireman calendar fundraiser and so naturally we took pictures and helped the cause (you’re welcome Mandy). We walked around this one area with the rides, some food vendors and animals for an hour or so before we realized that we were only in like 1/5 of the fair. We had to cross some train station to get to the rest. This place was huge. We were on a hunt for elephant ears (just the fried dough kind) and henna. EKKA has so much to offer and I am sure we only found the surface. We looked at the baby animal exhibit and checked out the dog show barn. I bought a yummy watermelon slushee in hopes of cooling me down a bit and then went to look in this market place. I bought a new ring and it was only $4, so i’m sure my finger will turn blue in a few days! Brady found henna, but I talked her out of it because you can’t move for a long time and what fun is fair if you can’t move!? My tummy started to grumble so I began my search for my late lunch and guess what I chose? DIPPIN DOTS. That’s right this country has Dippin Dots and I ate them for lunch (sorry mom). They were delicious! Back home the only place to find Dippin Dots is Clackamas County Mall in the food court and so I had to take advantage. Brady bought some chips on a stick (potato twist slice thing) with chicken salt seasoning. She didn’t like it so she gave it to me (yummmm!). She opted for a corn on the Cobb and we sat down to relax and eat our carnie treats. As we were munching on our food, I heard a tap dancer and thought to myself how strange. A tap dancer at a country fair? Well don’t worry, it wasn’t a tap dancer. It was a crack whip guy, making music with them!! It was crazy! His name is Nathan Griggs look him up! It was getting kind of late (4 o clock), so we decided it was time to finish off with some rides and hit the road. We had to come back across the train station to the ride area and noticed it had gotten insanely busy. I guess everyone else still likes to enjoy fair in the evening. Now there were long lines for all the rides that weren’t there before and we could barely walk without bumping into someone. We decided to end our adventure with three last rides. The first was a mini roller coaster that was so much fun. It reminded me a lot like a ride at Disneyland called Mall Hall n Madness. It jerks you around on the corners so feels like you’re going to fall out and then randomly starts spinning! The next was a lot like the scrambler back home and a couple times times I felt like I was getting whip lash!! The rides here go a bit longer and so just when I thought they’re ending it, it keeps going and i’m always caught off guard! The last one was an upside down one and to be honest wasn’t much fun! It kind of hurt and I ended up getting extremely naseous. While Brady was grabbing some show bags for her kids, I was lying on a curb trying not to die. It was awful and such a bummer ending to my day. Regardless I made it home without puking!
It was such a fun day. Something I really needed in fact. I have been a bit home sick and nostalgic for some of my past lately and I think EKKA really helped me out. I’ve come to realize I’ve grown up too fast and cut my childhood short a bit. It was really nice being able to let go and free the inner child for a day. Such a liberating feeling. I recommend a healthy dose of fair every once in a while for symptoms of nostalgia.
Traveling is a weird thing. Everyone always wants to travel. Go somewhere new. Usually, you grow up in the same town, live with your parents, work the same job, graduate highschool, but eventually you want to see somewhere new (every couple weeks in my case). People always have dreams and desires for a new destination. But the question is why? Why do you want to travel? Is it for relaxation? To experience a new culture? Meet new people? Get away from things back home? To go somewhere tropical or see a big city? When you say you want to travel what’s your reasonings?
I’ve seen so many different new surroundings and sat on many new couches. I’ve met a plethora of people (whom I all love) and made friends who I know will be there for a lifetime. I’ve felt awkward in my new surroundings multiple time (I thought it would get easier) and felt unwelcome in some places. I love it though and I wouldn’t change it. Ever since I could remember, I wanted to Go. I grew up in Bend, Oregon my whole life (a whopping 20 years) and so ultimately I grew up with majority of the people I know (and we all know everybody). When I didn’t have the highschool years I always dreamed of, I was ready to leave. The idea of going somewhere new, where no one knew me, intrigued me. To travel to a new place and be unknown sounded wonderful. It was like a fresh start and finally someone wouldn’t already have an idea who I was before I even introduced myself. Growing up I often roamed around friend groups. I didn’t exactly have a specific group and I kind of got along with everyone (for the most part). But in doing so, I ended up being commonly known. For a while that was cool, but eventually, like most things it got old. So I was ready to go somewhere new and be the stranger.
I graduated highschool, finally chose a place and made it happen. There is always two ways to travel. You can stay at a resort, relax and do the tourist stuff or you can stay somewhere local, and get a feel for the culture and people around you. There is nothing wrong with the first, but I personally always would choose the latter. Of course I’ve gone places with my family, but when you stay in a resort with your family it becomes a vacation, not a cultural experience. You see the touristic stuff and relax on the beach. But when I chose Italy, I traveled alone, stayed with a friend (now my best friend), got adopted by my Italian family, emerged myself in culture and experienced the country. While I was in Europe I went to four countries and over twenty places. I have learned words in different languages, I saw historical sites and jumped right into the culture. I really didn’t understand how big the world was before traveling. I stayed in Bend most of my life with occasional vacations to Mexico or Hawaii, but when I traveled in the second say way I saw it differently. The world became huge and I realized quickly how small I actually was. Even being here in Australia now, I am quickly realizing I am much smaller than ever before. To travel anywhere outside of Australia, it takes over twelve hours minimum. Europe is twenty-two hours away and home is fifteen. When people say Downunder, they really do mean the bottom of the earth.
I love to travel. I will probably continue traveling my whole life, even if I have to take shorter trips. I never want to get to the point in my life where I am stuck in one place for too long. I don’t want to forget the world around me. The different people. The cultures. The food. They will always be there and I will continue to experience them until I am no longer able.
Everyone always says something like, “you’re so lucky you get to travel. I wish I could.” Everyone makes it seem like traveling is impossible, but it isn’t. I did it. If you have a dream of going somewhere.. set a goal and make it happen. Life is so precious and short. Anything is possible if you set your mind to it. I understand most everyone has bills and life to pay for, but if you set aside money for your travels every paycheck and skip out on going out once in a while, eventually you can make it happen.
If I can do it, you can too.