Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lovin' the Country

As I promised to all yous back home updated on what has been going on in the past three months, I shall continue my storytelling with our trip to visit the capital in Canberra on, let's see, oh my gosh!--the 19th of August! I'm so behind. But oh well, that's why i'm writing yous now right?

So our story tonight, or this morning, whatever it may be for you, begins way too early in the morning. We were up around 5 in the morning for our long three hours trip down to Canberra (pronounced can-bra, for all yous back home). So we got up way too early and headed off to the school, luckily our host family took us so we didn't have to worry about public transit. Arriving around 6a.m. at the school we quickly got all packed into the bus and began to the capital.

Now, something you must know before we go too much further into our story today, is that Aussies here hate going to the capital and they think that it is rather pointless to drive all the way down to visit it. This may seem odd to us because there is so much to see in our capital but let me tell you why. For starters, Australia is very young compared to the states. Secondly, they really couldn't decide where to put the capital so they decided that this little town three hours from Sydney would work and thus basically created a capital for themselves. Another reason they don't care to visit; its no where near the coast which is where all the Aussies truely live. No one really lives far from the coast because there is nothing of interest in the middle, therefore no one has interest in going to a small city far from the coast and with nothing to do.

Continuing with the bus ride; with it being so early in the morning, one would think that we might sleep the way there but no we didn't. For most of the ride we conversed betwixed ourselves and Kaylyn and I had some fun playing would you rather. Love it! Anyways, we stopped for morning tea at McDonald's which just so happened to be in the pouring rain, not fun, I totally wasn't expecting the rain. We got to Canberra later on that morning and drove straight to the Parliament House for all of about 5 minutes. we got out, went to the front, took a few pics ( like the one below and above) and then drove around to the embassies.

Kaylyn and Jacob Posing for the camera
Once on embassy row or drive or whatever it was we got to see all the different embassy houses and many of them were grandly decorated to represent their country and what not. Paupa New Guine's was my favorite and then we came around to the US embassy! Woot! We all got really excited to see the America flag waving at the top; I have a pic but it isn't that great so I'll spare you.

 Quick little lesson: Did you know that they imported bricks from Virginia to make our embassy building in Australia? Yeah, me neither until today, or that day rather.

From there we drove to the National Museum which was really fun and exciting. As with the parliament House thought, we got barely any time inside so we had to rush through everything to be back out in the foyer for lunch. I spent much of my time on this trip with Kaylyn (my roommate for those of you who don't know) and with Jacob.We decided to go first to play around in the kids section and we built these cool 3D space ships and planets and would have gotten to see a movie with the, but the thing didn't want to work for us,  so we continued on the the rest of the museum. The photo here is of us having fun with the kids side!

School house rock?
 Our next stop was a revolving theater that told of Australia's history and it was really cool. Then we just wandered around for a bit. I'll let the pictures explain from here for a bit. :-)

So the picture, that looks like a dead stuffed extinct looking creature...well its just that. It's the extinct Tassie (tazzy) Thylocean, which was a cat/dog type animal that was hunted and killed in the early years because farmers thought that it was killing all their animals and herds of sheep.

The windmill picture of Kaylyn and Jacob being well, Kaylyn and Jacob. Not quite sure why there was a windmill in the museum but it turned out to be a fun cool photo. The next is of us at one little spot that showed the old school. school houses and the inside of what they looked like. I love this photo because I look like i'm in trouble whilst Kaylyn is looking on as if I am doing something underhanded.

As this is getting to be rather long, I think that I am going to end this Canberra trip story here and for those who are more interested in what happened next, you'll have to email me or wait till i get back to hear more!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Black Tie @ Bondi

Wow, its been a really long time since I have been here to write you guys about my adventures here in the land down unda. So much has gone on and I'm not sure where to start to catch you up, so it’s a good thing I have little reminders for me here in my computer.

 I'll start out by telling ya'll about the Sydney Flash mob that I got to be apart of that was pretty rad.

Its called Black Tie @ Bondi and the point was to dress up in really nice "black tie" attire and go to the beach and play in the sand and surf like its just another ordinary day. It was tons of fun. Myself and three other ASC kids were there along with a few Aussie guys and gals. 

It was such a blast to be out there in a dress, in the cold and wind and just play in the sand building sandcastles. There weren't that many people there from the facebook group as this was how it was organized and we thought there would be more than the two people that were there to start it off, so we set off to the beach and just had a blasti blast. Our group went down and began to build a sand castle with a moat and all, that was soon washed away by the surf and we were scared away by the numerous blue bottles there too. 
After that we decided to go for a beach run in our dresses. Anna and I were the only ones to actually run the length of the beach and when we got to the south wall we started to stretch out our muscles, it was a long run! And the other people that were there stretching from the real runs were all looking at us quite funny like, but I don't blame them, I was looking at them funny too, I mean why wouldn't you want to go for a nice run in your floor length prom type dress?! Ha 

So we got back to our little picnic and decided to burry Caleb in the sand and make him into a small person and then Alyssa and Katherine made him into Patrick Star. We then decided to gather up the new people and make a massive pyramid and this was fun and all too, but the best was the run down to the water and getting drenched in out suits and dresses. 

We all lined up on the beach,  and then ran full speed to the water and got fully drenched from head to toe. Now not all of the people there followed suit and I think that Anna, myself and Caleb were the only ones to get fully drenched in all our garb. We then came back to the beach, grouped up for pics and then headed off to find a shower and dry clothes.
 Oh what fun!

Friday, October 14, 2011

I'm Terrible at This

Sydney Opera House, from the ferry to Manly Beach
I just recently realized, quite late actually, that I am a horrible person when it comes to keeping you guys updated on what is going on over here on the other side of the world. So much has happened since my last post and I have absolutely no idea where to begin to get yous caught up on my life. So I guess the next few posts will be me trying to slowly update yous on what I have been doing, where my travels have taken me and maybe you'll even get to see some of the awesome photos I've been taking. If you want to just skip all that though and just see the photos, feel free to check out my facebook, as I know many of you probably have been. 

Crashing waves from the Bondi to Coogee Walk

So let's see, as a teaser for you, the next few blogs will be about; a flash mob I was in on Bondi Beach, my trip to the Jenolan Caves with Kaylyn and our host mom, travel to the Olympic Park, a crazy awesome beach hike, our walk across the Harbour Bridge, eating saltwater crocodile pizza with coconut sauce, surfing at Manly, school stuffs, a general blog about life here,  and of course the Outback trip we took--oh my goodness-- like over a month ago! Wow, I've been busier than I thought. I'll leave you with a teaser photo too! Cuz I'm just that nice :-)

Catch yous later!     Dani :-)

Monday, September 5, 2011

I finally got to pet a kangaroo this weekend!
It was so awesome to finally get out to a park and see all the Australian wildlife. I can't believe it's taken me this long to go. I had so much fun out there.

The park we went to was a reptile park with crocs, alligators, all the poisonous things I hope to never see outside of a cage and all the cuddly fuzzy aminals that make Australia famous, sorta. 

The roos hopped all over the park and emus wandered aimlessly around trying to not get pet by all the people.The roo here loved being scratched right on his jaw bone and we even kissed after a bit and then he left to go back to sleep in the roos sleeping area. 

Elsewhere in the park,  dingoes slept through the warm sunny day koalas eagerly waited for fresh eucalyptus to be put in their enclosures and Tasmanian Devils ran wildly around their park area looking for more food.

Elvis, the huge crocodile from Darwin, showed off his massive form as he was fed and led around his pond at showtime. They were training him to go around his water park, coming up in the middle of the water and snapping at the food dangling from the stick that the ranger was holding. They said he was 5 meters long and weighed so much. This picture really doesn't do him justice.

It was peaceful there and yet so busy as there was so much to see. There were families there to eat in the park with the roos and emus walking around, children running from place to place and lots of tourists and non-tourists.
As we were waiting for the Elvis to be fed I overheard a little girl point out to here mother that there were so many tourists there to see the animals. It was the funniest  thing in the world because she herself was being a tourist. All in all a great day!     -Dani

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

You Did What?!

Where I've been and what I've done
  • Opera House
  • Luna Park
  • Manly Beach
  •  Bondi Beach
  • Watson's Bay
  • Hyde Park Barracks
  • Observatory
  • The Rocks
  • Canberra
  • Art Gallery
  • Parliament
  • War Museum
  • National Museum
  • Embassy Drive
  • Wollongong --> Kiama --> Jambaroo --> Minamurra Rainforest
  • Botanic Garden
  • NSW Art Gallery
  • NSW St. Library
  • Black Tie @ Bondi
  • Flash mob --> Improv Everywhere
  • Darling Harbour
  • Paddy's Markets
Where I want to Go and What I want to Do
  • Featherdale --> pet things
  • Aquarium --> feed sharkies
  • Sydney Tower
  • Olympic Park
  • Newcastle
  • Janolin Caves?
  • Blue Mountains
  • Cockatoo Island
  • Bridge Tower Climb
  • Beach walk/hike
  • Cronulla Beach
  • See filming of Australia's next top model
  • Find Leo/ see someone famous
  • Bungee Jump
  • Surf
  • Camp on the Beach
  • Palm Beach
  • Walk across the Anzac and Harbour Bridges
  • Ride a sailboat
  • Eat a meat pie with mash
  • Eat Greek, Mediterranean, and Indian (curry)
  • Eat Kangaroo
  • Observatory @Night

New Zealand
    • Zorbing
    • Possible Bungee here
    • Zip line

Learning from the Best

Here is one of my daily devos that I thought you guys and gals might enjoy! 
Matthew 9:9-26
  • Vs. 9-13  When Jesus calls Matthew to follow Him, he goes without hesitation and even invites Jesus to dine with him later for dinner that night. He didn't know who he was other than Jesus was calling him to follow. What faith is that to have some random dude walk up to you and tell you to follow him and you do it?! That's so mind boggling to me. I'm sure if I would be able to do the same today, and yet I kind of have been called by a man that I really and truly don't know. But He has called me to follow Him and I will with all my hear and soul.
  • V12 Jesus always seems to hear what the Pharies have to say even when they aren't talking to Him. Jesus doesn't want the people who think they have it all together and the people who are already His. He came to gather the people who think they don't stand a chance and whom the world has told they aren't worth their time.
  • Vs.14-17 pretty straightforward and obvious
  • Vs. 18-26 The kicker. I love verse 18 so much. The more I read it and think about it the more I fall in love with it. The ruler here has so much faith in Jesus that he goes up to Him and says that if He will just go, his daughter will be healed. The ruler expects it. He knows that Jesus has the authority to do anything, all he had to do was have the faith in that statement. And it’s the very same with us. We just have to believe and expect in Jesus, that He will fulfill what we ask of Him. This man is different from the other people who have come to Jesus asking and saying "Lord if you are willing;" this ruler came telling, not asking. His faith is so bold and real that he demands it almost of Jesus. I wish I had faith like the ruler.
  •  Vs. 20 How foolish those flute players must have felt after they say the little girl awake.
  •  I wonder what it would have been like to be one of those people  that were healed or touched by Jesus or even brought back to life? How much their lives would have changed from Him is unimaginable. And yet, I am one of those people. No, I haven't seen Him in person, but I have seen His hand in my life and I have known that he is, was and always will be right beside me. My life has been changed by Him. I am just like that little girl. I was dead/"sleeping" before He came into my life, and now I am live and awake in Him. He has given me a new life and a new chance at being His daughter. Thank you God for waking me up!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I'm giving up

So you know how when you tell yourself that you are going to do one thing and then you decide later that there is no point or logical reason as to why you told yourself you wanted to do what you decided to do? Well i'm right there with ya.
I decided before this trip that I was going to continue working out and staying fit and in shape. My roommate and I began to go running every now and again at our local park to "stay in shape." We have also been walking everywhere we go which  is good and keeps us in shape. But....we have been eating heaps of food with dessert at every single meal. There is  so much food to eat and and so many new things to try, that I have finally decided to forgo the constant worrying about not getting fat and gaining weight and to go all out. Eating all the food I haven't ever heard of, all the Tim Tams I want and not worry about anything. This is the time of my life and there's no need to waste one delicious morsel of it worrying about my figure. I'm going to follow Julia Roberts' footsteps and find my self not fitting into my jeans and going on a carb spree.

: D

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Grades in HD

Why on earth did I just get a "D" on this paper I worked my butt off on?

This is one of the many common questions one might hear an American say to themselves after getting an assignment back from a professor here in Australia. But this isn't a bad thing here--at least not to the Aussie students.
You may be thinking how on earth is a "D" a good grade? Allow me to explain. "D" stands for distinction. So to get a distinction mark is really good.
To an Aussie (pronounced ozzie), a "C" is the common grade letter to shoot for and the most common one to get.
For the American students coming to Australia hoping to keep up their GPA up,  this may seem slightly alarming, I was sure alarmed. In order to get a good grade you have to work really hard, and I mean more than back in the States. An "A" here is referred to as a high distinction and its apparently really hard to get them (plural because there are three levels to getting an HD or H mark). Grades here aren't called grades either. They are called marks.
Students at Wesley seem to not try to hard to get good marks and are perfectly fine with getting C's. Which freaked us all out. In our handbook, getting a "C" is doing a "good, above average level of achievement." No thank you! The number grade is still a "C" and it actually translates into a "D" back home (the US).
C = 74% - 65%  :-(
C = 60 - 55 no good
All the other grades are pretty similar, in that they are still confusing, but its such a long list I wont bother you with it.
With most of us are here on scholarship we all want to get good marks. This then leads to a little bit of Aussie teasing, because they first of all don't have GPA's here and second of all don't really care about their grades in the same way we do back home.  When we got here we found out really soon that Aussies don't really care about grades. Since the school we are at is a performing arts school, they care more about the experience. At least this has been my understanding so far. We get made fun of here too, for always having our stuff finished before the Aussies. Its rather funny actually because we'll be in class and have something due and the Americans (us) are the only ones in some classes that will have the assignment completed and completed on time. We also seem to be too early for all our classes. I found out quick that Aussies are never early and are always late or barely on time. So naturally I started to adopt that mannerism and always wait till the last minute to get to class, which I did back at home anyways, so, there's really no change there.
Another thing that threw us all off and continues to throw me off all the time, is their way of handing out assignments. On the first day of classes you get your syllabus and inside is the entire semester's assignments and its our responsibility to keep ourselves accountable for turning things in on time, asking our own questions and finishing the assignments without reminders from the teachers. Its really annoying and in my personal opinion, stupid. You forget about things so easily and I absolutely love the way Howard Payne (my home University fyi) runs their classrooms and I will never ever complain about my classes again. And they don't call it University here, its Uni. They simplify everything!
We also seem to have all our assignments for every class due on the same days. This gets really hard as well.
*Side note: My brain keeps thinking of things to say and this is getting longer than I thought.*
Something else I just remembered is the way we hand in our papers. You never ever hand in anything to your teacher here! And ones wonders why they lose papers all the time? There is a bright yellow sheet that you attach to everything you will ever turn in, and you have to have it filled out with all this information--its also really annoying. You then turn in everything to the assignment box in the foyer and after they receive it you get the bottom slip of your yellow paper back saying they officially got your paper. I love America!
These are just a few of the random things that are so different about grades, classes and papers here in the land down undah (cuz that's how you have to pronounce anything ending in an "r" here if you are Australian).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Hey guys! Sorry its been so long since I last updated my site here. I had a hacker take over my account and haven't had it until just this very moment. So hooray for Google and boo for hackers.
More updates to follow with pics and the works later. Its nighty nite time now.
Love yall
D :-)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Vegemite, Tea and Tim Tam Slams

So many of you will be wondering what on earth this post is talking about. Trust me I would be too, but not to worry I am about to explain everything.
Vegemite: the most interestingly salty junk that you will ever wish you hadn't tried just to say you tried it. It is some sort of yeast extract from meat, that Aussies put on toast. Everything you ever heard an American say about it is true. After both Kaylyn and I had our share of a nibble on some toast we promptly agreed it was terrible and thus confirmed our status as Americans and failed the test to see if we might possibly pass for Aussies. We failed miserably. I will however say try it just in case because there is not point in ever saying something is going to be awful if you have never tried it. Good luck!
Tea: for all you Texans out there reading this back home tea is not iced or full of sugar here. It is served hot in varying flavors usually with milk or sugar.
Tea: also called dinner for those of you living in the southern or from the southern part of Sydney. It gets rather confusing so you have to listen to your context clues you hopefully learned in English a long long time ago.
Tim Tam Slams: possibly the greatest invention ever.  Two chocolate biscuits (cookies) coated in more chocolate with chocolate or caramel or mint in the center. The slam part comes later, you get a nice steaming cup of tea or in my preference coffee and you take your Tim Tam and bite off the ends then while holding the Tim Tam stick one end in the beverage, using as a straw and once you get the drink melted through the center ( so your beverage actually reaches your lips through the cookie) you slam it all at once ( shove the whole thing in your mouth). Its sooooo wonderful. I'm probably coming home with ten packages of them.
D :-)