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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Oh Germany

So this post is one of many regarding the incredible food that I have had here in Germany. First, the story of how i got here is pretty great. Normal flight from SLC to New York, normal flight from New York to Dublin...and that's where it all went downhill... So first I was at the wrong gate... so after running 15 minutes across the whole airport with a 20 lb bag (without wheels) I got to my right gate, only sit there for an hour for some unknown reason. Then... I get on the plane. And there I stayed for 4 hours. Frankfurt was snowed in, and it started out that we would only have a 30 minute delay, which turned into 50,which turned into an hour and a half, which finally ended at 3 hours. They started bringing the drink service through the plane we were sitting there for so long. So I finally got to frankfurt, only to sit at the luggage carousel for an hour to get my bags. The worst part was I could see max just outside security but I could not get to him cause I had to wait for my bags. Talk about awful. Once happily with Max, the rest was pretty easy, six hour train ride, then sleep. And now the FOOD!!!

1. Bread rolls with an assortment of spreads including:
chocolate cream cheese, some liver/meat spread thing that was amazing (and i didn't want to try at first), authentic strawberry jam, nutella, real german meat slices that reminded me of extremely good bologna.
2. The Christmas Market
a. Poofertjes - my new favorite treat. They are french, and these little puffy round disks made of a crepe like batter, but they puff up when they are cooked. They serve them with this amazing vanilla sauce that comes in cartons and with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar. They are heaven. You can eat 40 of them and still want more.
b. Salami - oh my gosh, real german salami is incredible. It's the perfect amount of spicy and mmmm... just wow.
c. Chocolate covered grapes - they come on a skewer and are so good!! Definitely an unexpected fruit to cover with chocolate.
d. Kase Breztel - cheese pretzel, big and soft, enough said.
e. Quark - i don't know exactly what it is. We ate it in a big ball, it's sort of like a spongy pastry type thing that they cook in a giant ball and cover with cinnamon and sugar. Very very good.
f. Schmalzkuchen - deep fried little puffy pastry squares served with powdered sugar. The outside is crunchy - flakey, and the inside is almost hollow, but there's a little bit of squishy yum in there.
g. Hot Chocolate with Peppermint - sounds normal enough, but the Germans make their hot chocolate with real chocolate, so it's kind of bitter, not like the over sugared american junk.
3. Other random food (I can't remember the german names)
a. Little sausages (brawtwurst) with real saurkrawt and mashed potatoes. Any meat here is flawless, it's so good. The saurkrawt is also real, not stuff you get out of a can in america, it's so yummy.
b. Noodles and beef - sort of like penne pasta topped with beef stew, but thicker, with better veggies, and better beef, so not like beef stew at all ha ha.
c. Fresh Sandwhich - Some amazing bread roll, dark, hard on the outside, soft on the inside, dusted with flour, just perfect. Then lettuce, huge slices of tomato and mozzarella, the real mozzarella, like buffalo mozzarella and big basil leaves all through it. It was heaven, cause I am a huge fan of those mozzarella stack appetizers at nice italian restaraunt, so this was perfect.

So there is my food diary for my first few days in Deutschland. So far i am loving this country. It is everything I imagined it would be, the quaint little towns, the old buildings, the trees, it's just lovely. And Max is better than I remember, things are all around just lovely. Life is beautiful.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I never knew I could feel such passion for something until Australia. Wow. I see pictures, I hear the word, anything with that country and my soul feels transformed. It's more than just a love. It feels like every part of that place has been intertwined with my veins, my bones. I know I was only there for 7 months, but who is to say that 7 months isn't enough to change your whole life?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Life keeps rolling on

So much has happened these past few weeks, it is hard to believe that I am back in Utah and not in Australia. I wake up every morning wishing I was waking up to the lorikeets and kookaburras outside my window. But Australia gave me some of the most beautiful things in my life, things that I will forever be grateful for.

1. Australia gave me love - I fell in love there, with a German man. I only had to go halfway around the world to find the perfect man. He is everything I never believe would exist for me. He is the love I only ever saw in movies, and I had convinced myself that I was too unique and weird to ever experience. Even though he is halfway around the world back in Germany, he has become my best friend. I am so amazed that he still loves me everyday especially after all the stupid things I do and say. I am so humbled to have someone like him in my life.

2. Australia gave me conviction - Living there made me realize I was living the life i should, and living the life i needed to be. It gave me stronger conviction to be true to who I know I am, who I've always been. There is now no question in my mind about the life I have chosen, the religion I live, the career I want etc. It gave me a further conviction that this is MY life, and I am the guardian of it, and it is MY choice to live the way I should.

3. Australia gave me peace - Every day I woke up to being completely happy. I found my place, and the most amazing peace and joy comes into your life when you find your niche in the world. I know we are supposed to find peace within, but I find peace living in a place I love, and now I know what kind of place that is. Oceans, fish, beaches, green, warm, and happy. Australia is a happy country, I love it.

4. Australia taught me to let go - when I first met my wonderful german, I was so afraid of what being with him would mean. I was so afraid of just letting go and jumping into the unknown. I am notorious for over analyzing everything, so Australia taught me to just stop thinking and do. I did that everyday. Just stopped thinking and did. Like hitch hiking. I met wonderful people doing that. Or taking a spontaneous trip to sydney. Or finally saying yes (after making the poor man wait for 3 months).

Yes of course there are things I would have done differently there. I would have said yes earlier, I would have said no earlier as well to some others. But after all is said and done, I wouldn't change it for the world. I learned so much about me, I hope everyone in life can find their place, find themselves where ever that may be, here in Utah, in the USA, in any country around the world.

Monday, May 24, 2010

In Memory Of:

This is in memory of one of my favorite dolphins: The Baiji (or Yangtze River Dolphin), now declared extinct.

When I was 7 I saw my first picture of the Baiji. It was in the Whales and Sharks book my mother had just bought me from Barnes and Noble. I saw this beautiful dolphin, all cute and chubby, and I fell in love. I read that page over and over again. The book falls right open to it now. This was 1996. I still remember the shock I felt when i read they were critically endangered.

Now it is 2010. No Baiji have been sighted in several years. A study was conducted in 2002 and 2007 in search of the Baiji. Aerial images were taken, and boats with microphones listening for clicks and whistles searched the whole river. No sounds were heard, no fins were sighted. I remember it was september 2008, and i was on the IUCN red list they day they were listed as extinct. I felt a piece of me die that day, I sat there in my cinderblock apartment and cried. I have never felt so helpless. I was not fast enough, I was not old enough to save them. One of my dreams had died, it was gone and would never be coming back. That is extinction everyone: the empty feeling that something is gone, and will never come back. No matter how hard we try, man can never create a Baiji. It was created by God, Killed by man. We were given stewardship over this earth. What kind of stewards are we? Ask yourself that, what are you?

I thought extinction was a thing of the past: the dodo bird, the carrier pigeon, the red fruit bat, the persian tiger, tasmanian tiger (thylacine), and stellars sea cow. I pray everyday this will not happen to the Vaquita (Gulf of Mexico dolphin) or the many other cetaceans (or birds, plants, reptiles, and other mammals) critically endangered.

Only divine providence will allow for some to be alive still. Heaven help us stop destroying. Heaven help us save our world. Heaven help us for what we have done. video

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

BEST DAY!!

So dolphin research has started back up! woo! Well, it started, and now it's over cause the fall season is really short. So I was only on three days before the season was over. They were the best three days of dolphin research I've done.

Day 1 - I watched two stingrays play tag with each other. They looked like they were having a royal good time. It was really cool. Then, later in the day I watched an eagle ray leap out of the water two times in a row! He lept out of the water, and flapped his wings, like he wanted to fly out of water rather than in it. It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen. It was very nice he did it twice in a row so I could see it a second time for a better look. (They will do this to escape from sharks, or to remove remoras. There were no sharks around so I'm guessing he was being annoyed by some cleaner fish.)

Day 2 - A pod of 96 dolphins showed up. Enough said... ha ha We watched them come right into the beach and spend the afternoon surfing. The waves were black with dolphins it was incredible. The surfers down at that beach were so lucky! It was sets and sets of dolphins rather than waves. So beautiful.

Day 3 (the best) - So today, tuesday, I thought would just be a normal day up at the lighthouse watching dolphins. Not so. I was out in the kayak today. it was a perfect day, low swell, hardly any wind, crystal clear water, we're talking 30 m. visibility clear! So it started out with me and Peta actually trying to get in the kayak. The process involved us tipping the kayak several times, and both of us loosing our swimmers and mooning the 20 people on the beach several times as well. We had a good laugh. We got out and it was a gorgeous day, the most perfect weather. We got a call from the lighthouse saying we had a pod heading over. We followed them for about an hour. The best part was right at the end, we were iddeling, and the pod turned around and came RIGHT AT US! We just held out breathe and tried to hold the camera steady. They swam right underneath the kayak, and right next to us. The dolphins were so close we could have touched them. They were popping up and staring at us, you could see them focusing on us, it was amazing! The video camera I was using is water proof, so I stuck it underwater and got sound recordings! you could hear them talking to each other, it was amazing! They are so beautiful up close! I love the sound they make with their blow hole when they come up to breathe, ah, I just can't even explain how incredible they are. There are not enough words to describe them, or they way they make me feel, especially when they are inches away.

After dolphin research was done, I went out for a little snorkel at the reef right next to the pass. What's amazing is that the pass is only known for surfing, no one even knows about the reef right there that is full of amazing marine life. Within 5 minutes of being out there, I saw a catskill shark, about 2 ft long. I have never seen one in real life, and it was beautiful (don't worry mom, they eat small shellfish, squid, etc, they don't really have teeth). Then, right after him there was a small silver reef shark about 1 m. long hiding out in a little over hang. He was gorgeous, with long sweeping fins, and beautiful silver lines. A juvenile green sea turtle came over to say hello, along with a school of about 200 yellow diamond fish. I could stay there all day, once again, words cannot even describe, the more i try, the more ridiculous I will sound haha

Just know, the ocean is an amazing place. It deserves to be protected and loved! To all those who don't have any exposure to it, make is part of your life. If you have never seen the ocean, put it on your bucket list. Any ocean will do.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

the beautiful and mysterious

One of my favorite natural anomalies is fog/mist. I love how one minute everything is clear, and the next minute you feel like you are in a different world. I love the way lights look in the fog, all muted and sparkly, yet you can see the individual beams of light reflecting through the fog. It always reminds me of the Lamp Post in the Chronicles of Narnia (not the movie, but the picture I had of it as a child reading the books).

Yesterday morning I woke up at 5:30 to go do some training/working out at the beach. The early morning drive to the beach is my ultimate favorite because of the geography here and the way the fog settles. Lismore area is all hills and valleys, so in the morning the fog settles down over all the houses and all you can see are the tops of hills and tree tops. It makes you feel like you are the only one alive. Then the sun starts to rise and because of the fog, it colors are this hazy splash that just grows into the sky. I love the little moments in life where nature covers up civilization and you can imagine what the earth was like before man and technology. I live for those little moments. Latter that evening after walking back to my place from a friends, 5 minutes after I had gotten home I stepped outside to just look around and the night fog had rolled in. It amazes me how fast it can happen.

I do not know where is comes from or why it comes but I'm grateful it does. It always makes the world seem a bit more natural to me.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What a wild month!

So I know it's been about a month since my last post, I am very sorry! So here is all the catch-up from the past month, and it's all very cool, I promise.

So first, I spent a week in the beautiful Fraser Island. It was one of the most amazing places I have been, it was gorgeous. It is the worlds largest sand island, so it's just a whole lot of sand...everywhere.... in everything.. all the time. you can't get away from it, but it's worth it. The wonderful thing about the island is all it's beautiful lakes, mangroves, and rainforests. Because the lakes are all aoliean lakes (wind formed), they are all filled by rain, so they are crystal clear and absolutely pristine. Imagine the most intense color of torquoise you have ever seen, and that's the color of these lakes. You can see for miles underwater too, without goggles or a mask or anything. Visibility is at least 200 m underwater. Too bad there are no fish or coral reefs in these lakes ha ha.

I got to witness some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life there. I love being a naturalist and being able to notice all the little things about life and nature. It makes the outdoors so much cooler. Hiking up to one of the lakes, all of a sudden everyone started crowding around and looking down and such. I came over and looked, and it looked like they were just staring at a vine on the ground or a piece of string or something. When I looked closer I noticed it was a trail of caterpillars! Never before have I ever seen anything like it! They were all crawling in a line, following each other. They also seemed to be connected, like they were holding on to each other. It was beautiful. I have no idea why they were doing that, it seemed like they were migrating or something, yet I've never heard of caterpillars doing it. I felt privileged to see it. Also, I have never seen a real tropical rainforest. There is a sub-tropical rainforest on the island, and it is beautiful, all green and lush, with leaves the size of your body, a crystal clear stream running through it, it was amazing. In this particular rainforest is an extremely rare plant, the king fern. And when I say king, I mean king, I'm talking a 12 ft tall fern. I LOVE ferns, i think they are gorgeous plants, so a 12 ft one nearly made me pass out I found it so lovely.

Later in the week, I was out on the jetty doing some snorkeling through all the wood posts just looking at all the barnacles and bait fish and such (yes I saw a giant ball of bait fish, it was gorgeous). There were some fisherman off the jetty and I noticed they were all pointing and such, and it was two dugongs (souther hemisphere equivalent to manatees)! So I just stuck in the water, and snorkeled with them! I mean, yes there were about 30 m. away, but I still felt like they were close because they are very very shy animals, and not to mention rare. I don't know why all these beautiful animals keep finding me, but I feel so lucky. The Lord just really knows how to make me happy.

The ultimate sight I saw there was on the ferry ride back to the mainland. I was sitting on the top deck, just listening to my ipod, not really thinking anything at all. All of sudden, I just had the thought to go to the back of the ferry, so I made my way down the stairs, and just sat, looking at the wake behind us. It was about 7 am, so the world still felt quiet to me. Then, out in front of me, a familiar sight popped up, dolphins! But when they surfaced, I automatically knew that they were not bottlenose dolphins, they were indo pacific humpback dolphins (or sousa dolphins to the marine community). These are an estuarine dolphin (found in freshwater as well) and they are shy, rare dolphins. Not very many people see them, they are a smaller dolphin and tend to occur in smaller pod sizes as well. When I saw them, I nearly fell off the back of the ferry. I literally had a small seizure and turned around to tell someone, but being on the back of the ferry, no one was anywhere near around. That was probably a good thing, because I would have scared them with my ultimate nerdy-ness (or passion) for these animals. My heart and soul felt so happy after seeing them, It was just so incredible. They followed our wake for a little while, then split off to probably go for a morning feed. I have loved these dolphins forever. I still remember the first legit dolphin and whale book my mother bought me, and that's where I first saw a picture of sousa, and I wanted to see them from that day on. I wore that book to pieces I have read it so many times (just one more reason why I owe so much to my mother, she encouraged my passion for sea life).

Also on this trip, I had some time to really think about the things I want in my life, and when i want them to happen. I was in a quite place, no technology, no drunken parties, I felt like it was just me and nature, so I really got to do some thinking. It was much needed, and much appreciated to have that time. There were some pretty big ideas pressing in on my mind, so the introspection came at the right time. I do know that Australia is the place for me. I love it here. It keeps getting better and better and it seems like I am getting more and more signs to stay here (dugongs and sousas). I am so happy I came, I am so happy I spent the long hard hours working to get here. If there is a goal you want people, I know you will feel so much more satisfied with your life if you achieve them. Never give up.

Other than fraser island, I've just been doing a lot of uni work, literature reviews, rock lobster reports, sea grass reports etc etc but it's been all good. Dolphin research starts back up in Byron this week, so it will be so nice to spend my mornings free at the lighthouse watching my marine friends.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Horizon

So this recording is about 4 years old, so my voice sounds a bit different (untrained) than it does now, but the song itself has remained the same. The lyrics and meaning are what are important here. video

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Oh the Australian Food

So as requested by my mother, here is the much awaited post on Australian Food.

1. Yogurt - I know it sounds ridiculous but the yogurt out here is flawless! I never really loved yogurt, and now I can't live without it. There are always two cartons in my fridge. With flavors like Apple Passionfruit Mango Peach, and Honeycomb Nectarine, who wouldn't always have yogurt around? And it's not just flavored yogurt, there is the entire fruit in there, seeds and all, so you know it's legit. It's better than legit, it's too legit to quit (please somebody name that movie).

2. Mi Gorheing - So even though it has a fancy name, it's just the oz version of ramen noodles, but better. Instead of just having the seasoning packet, it comes with peanut oil, this soy sauce stuff, dried onions, and chili sauce. And that's considered the cheap college food! It's amazing! It makes ramen noodle seem like eating wet cardboard. To make it even better, when your noodles are boiling, crack a few eggs in, I know it may seem gross at first but think of lots of asian dishes: They have egg in them! So it makes it amazing!

3. Sakata - These are these amazing disc shaped thin rice crackers about 2 inches in diameter. They come in all these amazing flavors like soy ginger, or chili lime, or barbeque, or just plain rice (which are the best ones). You wouldn't think something so plain would be so good, but I have serious issues not finished a package of them within the day, they are just that addicting.

4. Leechee Nuts - They are this little spiky red thing, that looks not that great. But you crack open the skin and there's this milky slimy looking thing. It looks slightly like giant fish eye or something, but they taste like heaven! Just avoid the huge seed in the middle. Too bad they are $8 kilo or else I would eat them everyday.

5. Bread - Everyone knows that in the US whole wheat, whole great, really good bread is always more expensive. Not the case out here, well at least at Coles grocery store. Everyday the fresh bakery makes the most amazing bread and then it goes on sale for 2 for $3.50. Total Bargain! The best one is Soy and Linseed bread. It's all whole grain with no sugar or anything. So good. Or whole wheat with seasame seeds. It's a good thing that white bread is more expensive because white bread instantly makes me fat. After eating a loaf of white bread I can look at my love handles and be like "Hey look, there's that piece of bread." So not good! So thankfully healthy stuff is cheaper.

As a general rule of thumb though, food in australia is about 2x more expensive than in the US. Take chicken for example: $10 for 2.2 lbs. That's $5 a lb. Not cool since chicken is my staple food in college!

6. Kebabs - So when I first heard of kababs I thought they were just like shiskabobs or something, just like meat on a stick. Oh I was sooo wrong. Kebabs are this wonderful creation. You take stuff like lamb, beef, lettuce, tomato, onions, sweet chili sauce, garlic sauce, etc etc and wrap it in this big pita flatbread thing: oh man they are amazing! It's like a rich mans burrito. They are so good! The first kebab I ever had was in Byron, and my life was changed from then on. I remember sitting on the curb, looking at the ocean thinking "Good thing there's not a kebab shop in Lismore, or else I'd be broke."

7. Vegimite - I've already written about it in previous posts, so no need for repetition. Just know it's really good! American's need to open their their "food minds" and try it more often (99% of american's hate the stuff). It's really is good.

8. Sausages and Rissoles - Sausages in the US are primarily a breakfast food. They are actually an exclusive breakfast food. Well here they are the cheap, good, barbeque food. If there is free food at the uni somewhere, it's sausages and bread. Oh, and coleslaw. Coleslaw is big out here, and it's really good. At the Uni Bar and party nights they have sausages. They are in casings, not just like free form sausages in the US, but these are legit, real sausages. They are really good.
Rissoles are just meat patties, but they have stuff in them too like onions and other veggies and stuff. They are made out of mince, so they cook and look differently than just a ground beef patty that you would make. They are pretty good too. Heaps of people have rissoles.

9. Veggie Patties - When I hear veggie patties, I think of vegans and tofu, and some soy imitation for vegetarian meat. They are not that at all. They are actually what their name says: veggie patties. They are made out of potatoes, corn, peas, and other veggies, all smushed together and crumbed on the outside. They are incredible! It's especially good to put coleslaw on top, and then a bit of barbeque sauce all on top of a piece of bread. So good!

Beet Root - So I normally don't associate beet root with anything, maybe Thanksgiving Dinner. I don't really think I've ever had beet root knowingly. Just haven't. Well out here, beet root come as a staple on all hamburgers. It's just like lettuce and tomato. Who would have thought of beet root as a condiment? Not me that's for sure. It's amazing though, I will never be able to eat just a normal burger after now. They put the most random things on their burgers here, and it always turns out flawlessly. Like hash brown patties, and pineapple, and egg and beet root. All on the same burger. It sounds intensely gross, but man is it ever good. The US is lacking in awesome burgers. You think Carls Jr. experiments with burger condiments, well just come to Oz.

All in all the food here is incredible. I love it. I know that if I ever return to the US I will certainly be bringing some Australian Culinary traits back with me for sure. And beet root and vegimite will always be found in my cupboards.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

20 Years of Waiting are Finally Over

So I have lots to say today, but don't worry it's all really worth reading, I promise.

Looking back on my life, I realize that I have spent 15 years studying fish and marine life, and I have spent 15 years not getting the kind of education or classes I truly want until now. Yes, uni back in Utah was great and I took classes I wanted, but nothing could ever compare to the want and passion I have for marine life. For the first time in my life I truly feel like I am getting what I have always wanted out of life. It's the most amazing feeling to be sitting in a class learning about tidal upwellings, the corialis effect, marine taxonomy, etc. I love it.

For my wetland ecosystems class, it is accompanied by a 4 hour field lab! Yesterday we headed out to lismore lake. In reality it's a total mistake of a lake. The council built it for a waterskiing lake, but made the genius mistake of making it ABOVE the water table, which mean it would need constant maintenance. So they decided to scrap that idea and just make it into a bird sanctuary. Much better idea in my opinion. So the day consisted of wading through grass/water/mud stuff (and getting my legs scratched to an oblivion!) to get water samples, do pH testing, salinity testing, dissolved oxygen testing, learn to do plant sampling, and fish sampling. Awesome fun. At one point during the day, I was out holding this pole about 10 m from shore (we were during quadrec plant sampling) standing in about waist deep water, with lots of algae and plants surrounding my legs. All of a sudden I felt all these little pricks on my thighs, not painful pricks, nothing like a needle, but just little pokes. I looked down, and there was about 40 mosquito fish (little guppies) nibbling on my leg! They were just picking off stuff, apparently I had a lot of junk on my leg! It was kinda cool. I felt like I was in some high end spa where people pay thousands to get pedicures with fish cleaning, but then I opened my eyes and realized I was standing in the pouring ran, 6 inches of mud, and I smelled like a fermenting lake. Not really thousand dollar spa quality.

My Coastal Marine Ecosystems class was just as incredible. Monday was our into to the lab. When I walked into the lab my jaw hit the floor. I'm used to the lovely smelly basement labs of USU, with their chipping turquoise linoleum counters, florescent neon lights, and the jars of who-knows-what specimens. Those labs however taught me so much. I learned all my freshwater fish species in those labs, I played with madagascar hissing cockroaches in those labs. I LOVE USU. I owe everything to that university. Without them, I would not be here right now, so those labs will always have a place in my heart.
This lab here at SCU is on the 2nd floor of the biology building, which means three of the wall are solid glass panes, so the lab is light mostly by natural light, which if you have to be inside is the only way to go. Florescent lights are for sucks. I could never have a desk job. The lab tables are huge, about 6 m. long, and they are hard wood lamanated counters, to the lab is just beautiful! Each table has 2 plasma screens mounted in the ceiling, with cameras so you can project what you're doing on the table. They all have really modern lab sinks at the end, and each table has about 20 cushioned leather bar stools on either side, ant there are 8 lab tables, so this is a REAL lab. It's huge and amazing, and I can't wait to do some serious research here. Everything is really just perfect out here. It's an incredible feeling to have.

NEVER give up on going out and getting what you want. It is worth it. You will work hard, and you may have people say you can't, but YOU CAN! The world is yours for the taking, don't let it pass you by.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Echidna!

video

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Zebra sharks and Eagle rays. Need I say more?

Yesterday was my second day of diving. They had cancelled all dives after my first little experience until this week, so I've just been hanging out waiting for it to stop raining. I will say that I was a little nervous driving to Byron, I was totally psyching myself out and letting myself feel sea sick. After that second dive last week, I was not a very happy camper, so I had reason to be nervous. It was a beautiful drive. In the mornings here, there's always tons of this wonderful misty fog that's very mysterious. It was covering the whole valley and all the hills. As the sun was coming up, you could just see tops of trees sticking out of the fog. you couldn't even see power lines, which never happens! It was so nice to see the world just natural, without any of our man made atrocities I felt like I wasn't even on earth, like I was in some sort of place I only ever dream about. It made me so happy to just be out there.

Heading out on the boat, it was beautiful. There was only about a 1 meter swell, and no current, so i did not get sea sick going out at all! Bonus #1! Visibility was mediocre though, only about 4 meters. I was hoping for something like 12 m, but visibility had no effect on the amazing things I saw. After about 2 minutes of being underwater, all of a sudden I saw out of my peripheral, this long animal, I turned and looked, and there was my zebra (or leopard) shark. I have LOVED zebra sharks my whole life. Every time I go to an aquarium and they have one, I am plastered to the glass. I can never tear myself away from them. They are so beautiful. They are even better in real life. I was so amazed just to watch it swim, it was amazing. I had the best mix of emotions, just total joy and gratitude for being in the right place at the right time. It was just one of those moments that no matter how hard you try to explain, nothing does it justice. It's one of those emotions that only you understand, and should probably just keep to yourself for sake of total nerdy embarrassment if you try to explain it.

So we kept diving on. I also saw tons of wobbegongs. They are gorgeous sharks. They have beautiful coloration and tassels, and are just a lovely shark. They are magical to watch swim. They move like liquid glass. It's the only way to think of how they move. Just imagine what liquid glass would move like. When we were diving, there were two large rocks with a channel between them, so we went down to swim through it, and we swam through a school of banded butterflyfish, yellow and black striped, they were gorgeous. When I looked down, there was a 2 meter (at least) wobbegong who was enjoying the calm water in the channel. His head was wider than my body, so he was a big shark. Everyone calm down, they eat really small fish, shell fish etc etc. As we were finishing up the dive, once again I looked to my right, and there was another zebra shark! Talk about the most glorious dive ever. Who gets to see two in one dive? Who gets to see one ever in the wild!! I don't know why I am so blessed, but I am truly grateful for it!

The second dive was just as awesome. We went to a place called the Split Bommie (Bombie, Bommy? who knows..) anyhow, and it was packed with fish! There were schools of snapper and sturgeon, tons of clownfish swimming in their anemones, lobsters hanging out in crevices, butterfly fish chasing each other around rocks, angelfish chillin out, just endless fish. My heaven. There were also beautiful knife fish, and some little black girabaldi, just like the ones that I had painted on my wall. It's so funny, I pretty much painted on my wall an Australian reef. So far I have seen every fish that I had painted. I love how subconsciously I was doing all these things in my life that related to Australia and brought me here. Funny how that happens. Well, at the beginning of this dive, the only thing I hadn't seen was a spotted eagle ray (my ultimate favorite ray). That fact was no longer true at the end of the dive. Watching a spotted eagle ray swim is better than anything. They fly, it's amazing. They look more graceful than any bird in the air ever could hope to look. THey are gorgeous. The same emotions that I had for the zebra sharks happened here with the eagle ray. Total unexplainable joy.

I love Australia.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A weekend to remember

This weekend was one I will never forget in my life. I am always so amazing at the things that happen in my life, the opportunites that the Lord places in my life. I believe it was friday night, we were all headed to a pub to see some friends play guitar and bass. Don't worry everyone, I was not going to drink, I was the designated driver for the night. Even though alcohol is practically a lifestyle here, I have no desire at all to give in. Anyway... I was just sitting there listening when this girl approached me and said "Hey can we talk in private?" I of course said sure. She pulled me over to an empty table and said "I heard from one of your friends that you are Mormon. I am an inactive mormon. I was raised mormon." I of course was so excited! We automatically became friends right then and there. She then just began to cry and tell me her story.

"I became inactive and started drinking and smoking. I really want to stop and I have decided to become active again, and I have been praying to have someone come into my life for support, because there is none here. I have been wishing for someone to come into my life to show me the way back to the gospel"

When she told me that I just felt to blessed to be part of this wonderful religion. I felt so blessed to be in the right place at the right time, and living a life where I would be able to help someone like that. Living a worthy life is so worth it everyone. To anyone who will ever read this: living a life in line with the precepts and principles you have been taught and know are right, whether you are religious or not, will bring blessings into your life. You will be able to serve others in ways you never thought you would. It will bring you more joy than anything else temporal ever will, so always lead a good life. It sounds simple, but when it comes down to it, black and white can be hard to decern, so know where you stand. I am so grateful to be who I am, and to be born with the morals and knowledge that I was.

As the night went on we became better friends. I am so excited to get to know her more. So also as the night when on, my friends got slightly more tipsy (obviously) and Mark decided it would be a good idea to start irish dancing, and then challenge me to do so as well. Little did he know that I did Irish for 8 years ha ha. So when he was just skipping around, I did a few irish leaps, and jaws hit the floor. I don't think anyone expected me to be any good, let alone get the air that I did. It made me really happy to dance again. I do miss dancing, so who knows maybe out here I will get into out here!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Going down, going up, throwing up.

This past week I decided to shell out and get my dive certification here in Byron Bay. Awesome idea! So the first two days were lots of theory and pool time.

The first time I breathed through a regulator I felt like a mixture between Darth Vader and like I was about to get some dental work/surgery done. Odd feeling. When I first put my head under the water, my lungs felt like they would explode because, oh yeah, I was holding my breath. Totally the opposite of scuba. Go Hannah. When I finally gasped for air, I was half expecting to breath in a mouthful of water, and have to come coughing up out of the water (we were in the shallow end), but no water hit my lungs (obviously). It was the most liberating feeling of my life. I have spend a good 8 years or so snorkeling, and a good 18 years swimming, used to fighting for air, swallowing water. etc etc. If I could have any super power in the world, anyone who knows me, knows that I would totally pick gills. The ocean is my love in life. It means the world to me. So after the first initial shock of "holy crap I'm breathing underwater", the complete bliss set in. I felt so peaceful and just a total sense of belonging in the water. Truly incredible.

Today was our first day or open water dives. Let's just say that the bliss did not continue. On the boat ride I felt totally fine, no sea sickness or anything, just happy to be heading out to Julianne Rocks. There was about 3 meter swells so the sea was pretty rough today, but we figured it would be alright (bad mistake #1). When we got out there and attached to the mooring line and started to put on our gear, that's when the sea sickness hit. It was like automatic awful. So the dive instructors just got me in the water asap. After doing the traditional backward-fall into the water with gear dive move, I felt totally fine just being in the water. When we started diving down the mooring line, I continued to feel just fine. we got down to the bottom, around 8 meters, and I felt completely happy, just so excited to finally be a "fish". As we were heading down, a batfish came and hung out next to me, seeming to just say "welcome to my reef". It made me heaps excited! I love batfish. They are amazing. We saw loads of stingrays, some schools of yellow damselfish, around a few thousand fish. It was magical. There was also a big blue parrot fish that followed us for a while, chomping down on his coral. There were some reef clownfish, some moorish idols, and some silverfish and everything. Visibility was only about 2 meters, so that was a little disappointing. After only about 20 minutes we headed back up unfortunately. The currents were a bit strong. I thought the dive was going to end fairly well, until we got to the 5 meter safety stop. The moment we got there I instantly felt nauseous, and started the whole dry heaving/verge of barfing motion. All I could think was "I will not last three minutes at this safety stop". The second my head broke water, I spit out my regulator and proceeded to just dry heave a whole lot. I only had a few rice crackers that morning, so I was just dry heaving lots of stomach acid up. So not fun. It is a different experience spewing with your face in water. I think I like it better if I had to choose between that and a toilet.

When getting certified, we do two consecutive dives, so one right after the other. We headed back to the dive center to grab new tanks (and sea sickness pills and an apple). The same scenario went down, fine on the ride out, slightly feeling queazy putting on gear, and just fine once in the water. The swell had gone down so we all though visibility would be better, currents would be calmer etc etc. Descending this though continued until we got about 3 meters away from the mooring line. Then it hit us like a brick wall: the E.A.C. Yes, for all you Finding Nemo watchers this is the same EAC, East Australian Current that holds all the turtles. It's a brutal current in real life. It hit us, and automatically threw us around the other side of Julianne. The dive instructors were all trying to get us to swim perpendicular to get out of the current, but to no avail. We were getting thrown around, and panicked. It was super fun. Not. After about 10-15 minutes of getting dragged by the current we all decided to surface. Once again, the 5 meter barf line hit. This time was even better though. We were now on the opposite side of Julianne and had to wait for the boats. And the swell had kicked right back up. So there we were, a little clump of divers going up and down, up and down. Somehow during the dive and ascent, the apple that I had eaten between dives had decided to compact itself back into a whole apple in my stomach, then proceed back up. There was no force behind this barf, just a giant mass that I could feel every centimeter of the way back up my throat. When I finally managed to throw it up, it was just this apple mass like "would you like to eat me again?" It was awful. So I just proceeded to spend the entire time floating, waiting for the boat, ralfing my brains out. I can't even remember the last time I threw up, so I hope this was my one time for the next 10 years or so.

The second dive did have it's beauties though. I saw a guitarfish, about 2 meters long. It was lovely. Also a whole school of sand rays, just hovering above a sand bank in the current. There was around 40 or so rays. It was quite a sight. I also saw a big black bull ray, about 1.5 meters across. He was big! Absolutely gorgeous though. The good thing about Julianne is now I know that there is tons of sea life out there waiting for me to explore it! I am very excited to go out again. Back on shore the dive masters said that if we could dive in that, we could pretty much go anywhere in the world and dive. They said it was the worst dive conditions to possible imagine. I just wanted to scream "WELL THEN WHY DID YOU TAKE US OUT THERE?! WE'RE BEGINNERS! THIS IS SUPPOSED TO MAKE US FALL IN LOVE WITH DIVING, YA IDIOT!" But i obviously kept my mouth shut. I am grateful for the experience so I know what it can be like, but I pray that I never have to go back into water like that again.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My first day of legit Australian snorkeling



Today after dolphin research was done I decided to stay in Byron and snorkle around. Oh, and speaking of research, today we saw two small sharks from the lighthouse! I was so excited. They looked either like spiny dogsharks, or some form of sandshark, most definitely harmless, and too small to really do anything.

Mark and Jared decided to drive up as well. Since both of them were born and raised here in Australia, I just assumed they would know how to snorkel, right? Wrong. Mark had only snorkeling once before in some nasty lake. Jared decided to go to the pub instead. So it was just me and Mark, which meant I got to teach Mark how to snorkel. It was pretty fun. I had my pair of flippers, and he didn't have a pair, so I let him use mine, which meant I got to swim twice as hard. I love it (I really did).

We walked about twenty minutes along the beach until we got to a more sheltered area with smaller and less waves, seeing as it was a pretty windy day. Because of the wind, pretty sure that every blue bottle in Byron Bay was washing towards shore. So what doest that equal? The top of my left foot getting stung like crazy. We were walking right along the waves because it was hot, and we could see all the blue bottles, so we were just jumping over them. I jumped over on, and landed right as another one washed up. Ironically, 2 minutes before that I had said to Mark "I wonder what it feels like to actually get stung by one of those, I'm just curious". Thank you instant karma. And it hurts just as bad as everyone says.

After about an hour of just sticking close to shore, and seeing only a few goatfish, I made Mark swim out to a reef with me. When we got there, I was automatically in heaven. Right there was a school of squid, just waiting to welcome me it seemed. They were pretty shy, so I only swam with them for a few minutes. I then just saw several damsel fish, a few angelfish, a school or some whitefish, and just some random other small reef fish. Then the real treat happened. I saw a peice of seaweed, and then did a double take. This was no peace of seaweed, it was a leafy sea dragon. I nearly had a seizure! They are so beautiful, and not very common, not to mention they are pretty easy to overlook. When I looked up to grab Mark, and looked back down, my sea dragon was gone, but I still felt insanely lucky for seeing him even for just a moment. It was incredible.

It was a wonderful day to spend snorkeling, a bit windy, but still worth it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's a great day(s) to be a scientist

These past 4 days have been solid research days for me. That means waking up at 5 am, getting on the road at 6, and starting observations at 7 in the lighthouse. We don't finish until one, so it's 6 hours on your feet yelling out:

"I GOT A POD! Looks like 6 adults, 2 calves... wait make that 14 adults, 3 calves! They are milling. Definitely milling. Oh, I got a tail slap! Wohoo! OH MY GOSH Did you guys see that leap? Full out of water porpoising! Calf is belly up. Oh man he is the cutest thing ever! Hey we got one more calf over here."

It's pretty awesome. On thursday we initially saw a pod of about 6 adults as soon as we got to the lighthouse. It then went dead. Completely dead. It was a perfect day though, no wind, no waves, and water visibility was awesome. We did not see another dolphin until 11. They were all at some secret meeting or something, and we weren't invited! When we did finally see a dolphin, it was coming around the southern point from Tallows Beach (the other side of the cape of Byron Bay). As I started observing with some binoculars, I slowly started to see more and more as they were making their way around the cape. It was a pod of 44 adults and 4 calves! A pod of nearly 50 dolphins! It was definitely a once in a life time sight. I don't know why I was so lucky to be there. They were so gorgeous. They were all traveling north, and you could see pairs of synchronized dolphins, some were mothers and calves, others were just good friends. Dolphins that are tightly bonded synchronize their movements. It's beautiful. I now know what synchronized swimming was adapted from! Thankfully it was such a perfect day. Looking down from the lighthouse you could almost count everyone with the naked eye, it was such a beautiful day. When they got around the point into the bay, all of sudden it was dolphin central! Another pod of 13 showed up, along with a pod of 4, then another pod of about 6. They then decided to play some tricks on us and all mix up together, and spread around, then clump back up. Lets just say deciphering pods was impossible. Pod D became Pod DE, Pod E became EF, etc etc. They certainly had fun messing up our data.

Saturday I was out in the research kayak. It was incredible. Me and Sara (the head of research at SCU) headed out and just waited for some dolphins to show up. And waited...and waited.... Nothing! The entire time we were on the water there were no dolphins! The lighthouse radios us where to go, and they had nothing for us to look at. Just because they had no dolphins for us doesn't mean there was nothing to look at. The way the currents were flowing was causing a huge amount of blue bottles to head into the bay. Blue bottles look like portugese-man-of-war jellyfish. The have this clear bulbous top that floats on the water, then their tentacles are underwater. Blue bottles have a few short tentacles right off the bulb, but they then have one really, really long tentacle that reaches out. Most tentacles were up to a few feet long, while the top floating on the water was only a few centimeters. The biggest one I saw was about half the size of a dollar bill, so one wouldn't expect it to have a huge tentacle flowing out from it. The reason they are called blue bottles is their tentacles are all this electric dark blue. I have never seen a color like that before. It's looks like that electric royal blue you see on peacock's necks. But it's brighter. So we were paddling through hundreds of them. It was another incredible sight. I managed to look down at the water at the perfect time, one blue bottle had a neon blue lizard fish, about 2 inches long wrapped up in it's tentacles. It had it's pectoral fins all fanned out, and it was beautiful. It was almost the exact same color as the tentacle, which I found very interesting. I also found a floating shoe, and we grabbed it to take it and throw it away. As it was sitting in the boat, slowly all these creatures started crawling out! This show was like a little ecosystem! When I looked closer I saw a bunch of little blue and white worms, sand flees, and this creature that looked like a mixture between a crab, spider, and clam. It was bizarre. There was also a blue bottle inside which I was very excited about, so I got to get a really good look at it without getting stung. It's incredible how versitile and flexible sea creatures are. They can make a home out of anything. However, that does not mean it is okay to have trash in the ocean! No excuses world.

Today I was back up in the lighthouse. It was actually a pretty uneventful morning. We saw a pod right away, then nothing until around 10. Seems to be the reoccurring theme with these dolphins. When there aren't dolphins around, I'm still looking for sea life. The bay is packed with turtles, schools of fish, and all kinds of rays. As I was following this ray just cruising around the bay, out of no where he just jumped about 6 feet in the air! This ray ( I believe it was a cownose ray) just launched itself right out of the water! It was like he wanted to fly out of the water as well. I have seen pictures of this happening with whiptail rays, and it's something I have always wanted to see, but seriously, what are the odds of ever seeing that? Today I felt to blessed to be in the right place at the right time. Dolphins did finally show, once again headed in from Tallows. There was 14 adults and 3 calves. One calf was probably only a few weeks old. he was tiny, the smallest dolphin I have ever seen. He was smaller than half the size of the adults. He was so darling. It was definitely play time for him because he was leaping, breaching, slapping, and swimming belly up for us. It was almost like he knew we were there and he wanted to put on a show. Seeing something that small leap it just incredible. It makes human babies seem so useless! They can't leap, they can't do anything! I want a dolphin baby! But seriously, they are such a beautiful species.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mark's Big Jump

yeah I was way too scared to jump off this cliff, but after some peer pressure we got Mark too. video

Waterfall Jumping


So you know how you always see commercials on the travel channel about Australia and there's people jumping off waterfalls into this amazing pools? Yeah, that was totally me this week. There are two waterfalls pretty close to Lismore, about 10 minutes away. One is about 15-20 feet high, and it's just like one cliff into a pool. It's amazing. The second waterfall is like a crater, so there is cliffs all around this pool. Some cliffs are probably 40 or so feet high on one side, and on the other they are smaller, anywhere from 10-30 feet high. There are trees everywhere around the edge that crazy kids climb up into and jump out of, and do back flips, which put them at about 55 feet up I would say. So pretty darn high. And it's not just kids actually. Yesterday when we were all there at the falls, there was a 40ish year old man, probably about 200 pounds who was doing cliff dives, like face first dives! It was incredible! We all thought he was dead for sure when he started climbing up the tree as well, but he survived the jump!

Don't worry mother, I was not climbing up trees, doing backflips, or even jumping off the 40 foot side. I hiked around and jumped off the 20 ft side. Much much safer, I promise. It was so much fun though. Everything was just beautiful, the sun was shinning, and we were totally surrounded by green forests that were stunning. So to climb out of this crater you can go the long way up around the cliff, or you can just climb up a rope right next to the waterfall. So being me, I totally climb up the rope! So much fun. So after a few times of climbing up said rope and jumping in, the 40 year old Aussie started totally hitting on me, it was great. He was like "That's really impressive to see a girl jump, then climb up a cliff face." I just said I was a rough and tough american who enjoyed adventure. He replied "oh, well i'm just a dumb Aussie." ha ha great come-back.

Over all though, it was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. This is definitely living.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Flying Foxes and Vegimite



So this week I discovered two great things about Australia: Vegimite and flying foxes.

Why is Vegimite so under appreciated in the USA? It's amazing! It's seriously the best salt substitute ever! I bought my first jar ever this week. I went home and made a vegimite and avacado sandwich, it was awesome! Also tomatoes and vegimite, delicious! What's that problem that america has with everyone eating too much salt? I can't remember the name of all the ridiculous diseases, but they would not exist if people used vegimite. It's healthy for you too!

My friend Mark here at Orion introduced me to Vegimite. He was making vegimite pasta, which is incredible. You throw some cheese and a spoonful of vegimite in a bowl, then pour the hot pasta over it and mix it all up. It melts the vegimite and it's so good! Thank you Mark. He's pretty cool. My first thought when I saw him was "wow I'm looking at an 80's musician, I didn't know they still existed". But in reality he's fun. Constantly insulting me though, or rather just my life (the music I like, the tv shows I like, the fact I use a mac etc). P.s. He's awesome (he's sitting behind me eating ice cream singing Toto Hold the Line.)

So enough about vegimite, now on to the flying foxes! I had no idea that Australia had fruit bats! They are huge! So cool! One day driving to the plaza my friend Jared was like "hey look over there" and there was just trees full of them! I nearly jumped out of the car to go look at them! Then tonight me and Mark walked to the plaza and we walked on the street with all the bat trees (I call them bat trees) and it was sunset, so they were all silhouetted hanging in the trees, by a pink sky. I just stood there and watched them stretch their wings getting ready to head out for the night. So beautiful. Why doesn't the US have flying foxes? They are by far one of the coolest land mammals alive. I think tomorrow I'll head down that road and watch them for a while again.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dolphins in Byron Bay.

So last saturday was my dolphin research training day in byron bay, which is about 30 miles away from here. There are buses running all day, but in order to be there in time, I had to catch the 4 am bus. Yes, that's right, 4 am. Lovely. So after about a 45 bus ride, I arrived in Byron at, ooh 5 am! It was absolutely gorgeous then. The sun was coming up, so the sky was all lavender and pink and just beautiful. All the old, hard core surfers were out, getting in their old style rides before all the young hot shots got there to hog their waves.

The lighthouse in Byron is the highest point there is in the area, which means it's a bit of a hike. When the bus dropped me off, I had about a mile beach walk before I actually got to the trail. The trail wound up around this hillside(mountainside) through a littoral rainforest, so some parts of the trail were completely surrounded by trees and moss and birds, just like walked through some mystical jungle tunnel. Other parts were right on the cliff side, overlooking all of Byron Bay. It was the best way to start a morning. I finally arrived at the lighthouse around 7, 2 hours before I needed to be there, so I just sat against the lighthouse and watched my ocean. I also watched a GIANT beetle climb up some metal cable next to me. He fell off once, and when I used my pen to turn him right side up, he hissed at me! I thought he was going to charge! I have never been more afraid of a beetle in my life. I then saw a lizard running along the path where it meets the grass. He was picking insects out of the grass line, while he ran along the warm cement. He seemed unconcerned with my presence. He let me walk with him for quite a while until he scampered over to a rock outcrop.

When the time for dolphin research came, I was so excited. I was the only one from the US there, so I was pretty psyched. Everyone seemed kind of shocked that I was from so far away. They were all mostly australian. So for the first half of the training we went up into the lighthouse to do observations, and learn how to run the program Cyclops. Using a camera scope and focus, it plots GPS points of where dolphins, fish, boats, etc are. We saw a pod of dolphins, one had a calf. They were gorgeous. I couldn't believe that they were just right there off shore. It makes me wonder how many times dolphins have been around me and I've never noticed. I also saw about an 8 foot manta ray! I just wanted to run out of the lighthouse and jump into the water and swim with him. He was so beautiful! I've never seen a manta in the wild, and it left me speechless. There were also multiple loggerhead sea turtles just kicking around. They are really big, much bigger than the green sea turtles I've seen in Hawaii. Australia definitely is the place to come for sea life. You don't even have to try to find it, if you just open your eyes, it's everywhere! I can't wait to get in the boat and do some water research!

Saturday, January 9, 2010



Arrival in Australia!

So Tuesday night (the 5th) I hopped on a plane headed 14 hours over the pacific. Best decision I ever made!

The plane ride over was pretty great. I was in the middle seat. To my left was an Airforce guy, with huge shoulders.. enough said as to the proximity of airline seating. To my right was this skinny canadian going to discipleship school. Pretty much the three of us just laughed for the first three hours of the flight. I'm almost positive that the guy in front of mr. airforce was trying to shut us up by out of the blue leaning his seat back as far as possible (right as Chris was leaning forward) and smacking him right in the head! Have you ever been on one of those 2 leveled airbuses? The seats in economy lean almost all the way back! It's great. Even though we were flying during the am hours and I should have been sleeping, I didn't. The whole flight. Lots of movies...

When I got into Brisbane it was overcast and humid and warm. Never been happier. I'm pretty sure all the Aussie's thought I was an idiot cause I was smiling like a fool. I just couldn't stop. As I was walking to the bus I was laughing. They were all laughing at me though cause I had a backpack on, and was somehow trying to wheel three suitcases along. Yeah, really don't recommend that.

Brisbane is a wonderful city. It's a beautiful mix of old world Australian Colonial and Ultra-Modern. It's fantastic. All the new buildings have all this wonderful metal artwork outside them, and all these beautiful glass walls. The same however can not be said about the transit center. It is this total ghetto building, that looks abandoned. It's full of back-packers there. Everyone backpacks through Australia! It looks like a blast.

The bus ride to Lismore was 5 hours. It was really fun though, cause all we were driving through were these awesome little coastal towns with rows and rows of surf shops, bead shops, hippie shops etc etc. Hippies are big here in Australia. I feel like I fit right in! There's this one town we drove through called surfers paradise that was literally just one road. On the left was the ocean, and on the right were surf shops for just miles and miles. I just wanted to get off and walk around.

Lismore Is 30 minutes inland, and just this country po-dunk kind of town. I love it! Lismore is built all over these hills and valleys, so my apartment is on a hill, overlooking the Uni which is in a valley. Oh here in Aussieland they don't really say University. They say Uni. So I do too. When I first pulled up to my apartment all I could think was "This looks absolutely nothing like the pictures online." The grounds hadn't even been looked at I think all summer, and the buildings just looked old. When I walked in, all I could think was that exact same thought, just worse. There were piles of dead cockroaches everywhere! There's a little pile in the hall, there's one in the kitchen, one in the living room, and one in the corner of my room. It's awesome! Then, I found a living one, running around inside my fridge! My FRIDGE!!!! talk about gross. Then I found one in my freezer, but I think he was just chilling on the door and fell in when i opened it. It was great.... All the bugs are just bigger here. Bigger spiders, bigger dragonflies, bigger beetles, every bug just looks like it could eat you! And probably can.

Having only been here 3 days, I already love my little apartment. I really do. I have a twin bed that I am too tall for, a shower that I have to totally bend over in to get my hair wet, and cockroaches for flat mates but I wouldn't change it! I love it here!

I would encourage everyone who has aver wanted to come here, do it! It's wonderful.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Really Really Unexpected!!

So this week has been truly a wild wild adventure! I origianlly was planning to move to Australia sometime in the first week of February, a reasonable time before school started. Well wednesday came around, and I logged on to check my SCU email, and had one in my inbox titled "Dolphin Research in Byron Bay". I opened it and what I saw was a dream come true. The whale research team at SCU needed more volunteers for a dolphin research project about their habitat use, and the effects of human vessels on their habitat use in Byron Bay (just outside lismore).
I of course immediately replied back to the email saying I wanted to be part of the project and if they could guarantee me a place in the project, I would guarantee I would be there, and the hardest working volunteer they had. Friday night they emailed me back saying they wanted me to come out and would guarantee me a place in the project! The great part about this project is I have to be in Australia on January 9th for training, meaning I needed to leave January 5th in order to get there on time! So in doing the math, I needed to be ready to leave in only 4 days, 6 weeks before I had intended. So this week has been quite an adventure, mainly just lots of adrenaline, frantic packing/running around, and really excited phone calls to random friends and family.
So my timetable just got thrown on warped speed, and I love it!