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.