Sunday, March 30, 2008

Rotten potatoes

So, here I am sitting in the dining room (you heard me) dining room (the internet came back on all of a sudden!!!!) eating and writing to you. I am sort of holding my breath, I don't really know what happened, but two things are certain, I am not getting internet from Heath, cause he's not home yet, and if this is the neighbor's, they haven't put a password on. That still leaves one question, where did it go? Anyway, I just hope it stays back. Over here they mostly charge your internet based on dowloads (how much you download in a month...) I don't download much, so if I just keep that to a minimum, I won't feel bad about using this, cause otherwise, it doesn't matter how long you're on. So, about the rotten potatoes, I found that the bag of potatoes that I bought a while ago were growing... gook. So, I decided to do something with them, I threw the really bad ones out, and made the rest into a very glumpy batch of hash browns. I've never made hash browns before, and I actually wasn't planning on making hash browns, I just saw the shredder and said to myself "I'll use that instead of just cutting them into pieces," it actually didn't dawn on me until I had been shredding for a minute or so that I was making hash browns. That might sound boring, but I thought it was kind of funny. :P

I am very excited that the internet decided to work cause I have felt really cut off from everyone not being able to use Skype ( I know this must sound really funny to those of you who grew up in the letter days... like most people, even I think it sounds kind of funny, I'm very lucky to be able to talk to people all of the time!). I've been feeling really lonely the past few days (it doesn't help that I have not essentially nothing), but it's really made me realize even more that I need to work on making more friends, especially Australian ones. :) I think this hash brown concoction is growing on me, which is good cause there's a lot left. :P I think I should add that I added green pepper, onion, and cheese, and the potatoes are very stuck together. :P So, when I was on the bus today I got to talking to the driver and he asked me what I was doing and all that good stuff. Well, when I went to get off of the bus he told me that he raised horses, and race horses, and told me that if I ever was really bored on weekends or anything and wanted to come and see them or ride any of them that I could give him a call (he made sure to add this was not a pick up :P). He also said that he could help me get down to the Werribee zoo if I decided I wanted to go down there and volunteer or something (I think I will try that on my own, but it was very nice of him to offer). He seems like a really nice guy, and even though it might seem a bit creepy, I didn't get that impression at all. He told me he was an exchange student in London and he knew what it was like to be stuck bored in your room and that he didn't want me doing that, which I have been doing a lot of (no transportation will do that to a person). I also mentioned about possibly getting a car and all of that, he said I should sell my car in the US and buy one here. I half don't like that idea cause I've had that car for a while and Dad has done a lot to it, but I will have to talk with him about it cause I don't actually know when I will actually use it again.

And I guess the last little bit of news is that it's turning into fall weather now, long pants and a light jacket are good to have on now.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tassie day 5 &6

We met another American girl from the Waurn ponds campus at the hostel, but we just talked a bit. Anne, Loretta and I were going to go get some breakfast when we invited Talene (other American from our tour) and we went to a store and chipped in for yogurt (or yoghourt as they spell it here), muesli, and some fruits. It was yummy, Talene and I split a mango. :) We then went back to the hostel and parted ways, her and the other American girl from the trip were going to go climb Mt. Wellington (the mountain next to Hobart) and we were going to go to the museum. The museum was really nice and fun, but my feet were ready to be done! We also wondered around the town a bit. We saw some of the others from our trip one last time that night, said goodbye and went to bed. The next morning we got up early, checked out, put our stuff in day storage and then we went for a hike on Mt. Wellington. We had to catch a 2:55 flight to Melbourne, so we kept a close watch on the time. We took a bus up the mountain to where the walkways started, then climbed up. It really was beautiful, but they don't have things marked very well up there. On our way back down we stopped at a little cave and had peanut butter and apples, yumm! It had started raining, and it just kept getting harder. We didn't know it was going to rain that day so we weren't prepared. When we got down we had realized we had taken a wrong turn at some point and so had to walk down the road in pouring rain. We weren't sure exactly where we were and so we stopped at a house to ask where the nearest bus stop was (we needed to make the 11:50 bus). The guy that came to the door was really nice and helped us out, he kept saying "oh you poor buggars." It was raining hard! So we walked down and found a bus stop (it was neat, it was made out of rocks and had couches and tables and some books inside!) but then realized it wasn't the right one and went down to the next one. We ended up catching it, which was REALLY good. When we got back Anne got a muffin and I went into the book store, we then caught the airport shuttle (which cost $16 each!!) I was mad at the cost, but what else could we do? Our flight was delayed almost an hour, but it was nice just sitting there relaxing. We made it back to Melbourne, and then found out that the only way to get anywhere (we needed to go to the Southern Cross Train Station) was by shuttle bus ($16 each! :S ) or the taxi, which, for three people, was $2 cheaper. So we took a taxi, again mad at how much one has to pay for transport from airports when you can take a train from Melbourne to Geelong for $3! Anne went her way and Loretta and I got on a train to Geelong. We then walked right to the bus station (in town) that you catch to go to Waurn Ponds, and we saw it leave, when we made it over to the stop, it said 7:35 and I looked at my watch and it said 7:35, we had missed it by less than 1 minute! So, we had to wait for the 8:40 bus. It took us back to Deakin, but I thought it would go to Monterey Drive (my street) cause it usually does, but the driver said they stopped that one 30 min ago (which I would have made if we made the other bus), but he was worried about my and didn't want me to walk home, so he said "I really shouldn't be doing this, but I have 7 minutes until I am scheduled to leave here." So he drove me (quite quickly I might add) to my street. God bless him!! Then I get home to find my internet no longer works, and I am really out of money, and I have no way to get to my job interview in Ocean Grove the next day (today) and so I am a bit down in the dumps. Hopefully it won't last long. :S

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tassie day 4

The next day we woke up in ate breakfast, then went to the Port Arthur prison museum place again (same place as the ghost tours except this time, in day time) and we played "The Lottery of Life." We each chose a card from a special group of playing cards, they all had different pictures on them. We went down stairs and found our card on the wall and it stood for a real prisoner, whom we got to be for a day. We got to read all about them and what happened to them. Mine was a 13 year old boy named Peter Brannon who was turned in for stealing a handkerchief. Boys from 10-17 were put in prisons, and the worst came to Port puer (right across from Port Arthur). People were imprisoned for really dumb things, like being drunk or stealing bread, and they were punished badly. They taught them professions to try and rehabilitate them, they stopped giving them lashes after a few years because they realized that it wasn't helping to rehabilitate them. If you ever get the chance, it's a sad place, but also beautiful, I really advise seeing Port Arthur! There is an island just out from Port Arthur called the Isle of the Dead, everyone from Port Arthur was buried here, the prisoners were on the lower part of the island in unmarked graves, there are over 1,100 people buried there. We got to take a short 22 min boat tour around the bay, it was nice. When we left Port Arthur we stopped at the isthmus (that's why Port Arthur was a prime place to put a prison, and that's why the worst went there, was because it was essentially an island because of the narrow isthmuses and most people in those days couldn't swim). They used to have what they called the dog line, bull mastiffs were chained up across this isthmus just far enough away from each other so that they couldn't touch, and they were starved and tortured and tormented so that if a prisoner were to try and get through, these dogs would tear him apart. They have a statue there now and a little path to the beach, very pretty. Our next stop was the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Reserve. We got to see the devils being fed, it was amazing. They are sooooo cute!!! It is really amazing though, they have the second largest jaw pressure compared to their size, next only to sharks (or crocs, I heard both, am not sure). You could really hear it when they ate too, the bone would crack. We also got to feed kangaroos and wallabys (the wallabys are more shy). There was this cockatoo that would walk up the side of it's cage, right in front of your face and would tap it's beak on the wire, but if you started to walk away it would say "hello" in a very Australian accent. It was so cute, and when we really walked away it followed us, talk about making us feel guilty! We also got to see a lot about the Tasmanian tiger (Thylacine). We stopped at Remarkable Cave on our way to Hobart, and let me tell you something, it truly is remarkable! I loved it!!!! I can't wait till you can all actually see pictures of all of this. Then we were dropped at our prospective accommodations in Hobart. Most of us stayed at Central Backpackers, all of us there went out to eat together at a seafood place. It was really good food.

Tassie day 3

The next day I got up early and took a shower borrowing someone's shampoo cause I didn't bring any (mine was too big to fit in my bag so I thought I could buy a small one, but hadn't had the chance yet). We then ate breakfast, and Kharni had bunny ears on and 2 bowls of little chocolate Easter eggs. :P The chocolate didn't turn out to be of very high quality, but hey, it was Easter, we weren't picky. We then packed up, and went down to see the Bicheno blow hole. There was this bit of rock on the coast that when the waves wash up into it, they shoot between the rocks creating a blow hole, it was neat. The Dutch couple also saw some penguins, we only saw the yellow penguin yield sign. :) We then drove to the Freycinet National Park and went on a hike to take a look at Wineglass Bay. There were 3 choices, we could walk to the lookout point and come back, walk to the lookout point then continue down to the beach and back, or hike up Mt. Amos and get a really good view of the bay. I thought it would be neat to do the hike, but I didn't feel like exerting myself that much, but the walk I took was intense enough. :) Loretta, Rachel (from near Nottingham) and I all kind of walked together for part of the way. We made it to the lookout, it was gorgeous! Then we continued down to the beach. The water was FREEZING but Loretta and some of the Germans went in, kudos to them. After sitting for a bit on the sand (by the way, the sand on the East coast of Tassie squeaks because of all of the silica in it, I like it, Anne hated it!). We then headed back up because we had to be back by 12:30. We then went to eat lunch, and the beach there was also beautiful! We had yummy chicken wraps, then we were off again. Oh, by the way, just in case you were wondering, and I just remembered to mention it, Tassie is about the size of Virginia. Anyway, I also forgot to mention that we passed the bunny ears around all day and everyone had to shape them a little differently, Matt (from S. London) had them on during his hike to the top of Mt. Amos. :P I felt a bit bad for our guide, Khani, cause he had to go up to Mt. Amos (for other's safety reasons)and he was getting sick, he had a bit of a hard time playing the didgeridoo for us the night before, but it was still awesome, I couldn't tell he was sick! We then had a bit of a drive down to Port Arthur, but we got to stop and have a bit of a walk in the rain forest on the way, where we saw a huge bridge made out of huge really old trees. When we got into Port Arthur Kharni told us the story of how in 1996 a guy went around and killed a total of 36 people (in different places) and how it was a real sore spot for people. He made sure to tell us not to mention it because many people were of course still emotionally wounded from that. The man ended up getting 36 life sentences, and is currently in prison in Hobart. It was the largest massacre by a single person ever; apparently he will ask the guards if he still holds the record, but they are given specific instructions to ignore him. Anyway, so we got unpacked and ate dinner quick before those of us going to do the ghost tour around the old prison area of Port Arthur left. I went on that, it was a lot of fun, I do not believe in ghosts per se, but I don't completely not believe, I would have to see something myself before I believed it(which I realize is a bit hippo critical because I am a Christian and believe in God without proof ... faith). ;P I am glad I went on that, it was heaps of fun, and I did get a bit creeped out a few times. On our way back to where we were staying (it was in walking distance) we say a bush tailed possum, that was neat. :) We also saw some patty melon's that night too (wallabys).

Tassie day 2

So, the next morning we had to get up early and walk for 30 min to the YHA where we were getting picked up, the driver thought it weird that they had told us we couldn't get picked up from our hostel, but oh well. There were already 12 people on the bus who were doing the 6 day tour, two young German couples, a Scottish couple in probably their 60's (who were living in Adelaide for a few years), a Japanese mom with her two (probably in their late teens/early 20's)daughters, another Japanese girl, a British 33 year old girl from near Nottingham, and a 24ish year old British boy from South London, and of course the driver, Kharni (probably in his 40's). We had to drive to the Spirit of Tasmania dock and pick up two American girls who had done the overnight boat trip (both my age and who are going to school in Melbourne). Then we drove to Launceston and pick up two more German girls (in their 30's, both lived in Melbourne). We also picked up an older Dutch couple (in their 80's?). So, there were a good range of ages, which was kind of nice. :) Kharni was really nice and fun, and funny. We stopped at Scottsdale, where we saw some huge oaks that were carved into figures as monuments to 7 men who had fallen from there in WWII. The trees were the monuments, but then they got too big and posed a danger so were carved. It was really neat. We ate at a little park, it was nice to walk around and we even saw some little wallabys! We then stopped at a place to see the second largest waterfall on Tassie, it was a beautiful little walk and they waterfall was very nice as well. The only bad thing was that was when my camera decided to stop working properly. I noticed that when I would turn it a certain way a black thing would cover half of the screen, well, now the screen is totally black and only takes black pictures. So, it still works, but there is something loose inside that is over the lens, so I need to get that fixed. But for this trip I relied on everyone else to take pictures. We then went to the Bay of Fires, near St. Helens. The beaches here were voted the 2nd most beautiful beaches in the world by a travel magazine, and I agreed. I can't wait to go back there. The best thing about Tasmanian beaches, other than the fact that they are beautiful, is that there is hardly anyone on them! Tassie only has a population of about 400,000, and half of those live in Hobart. We stayed the night in Bicheno, we all chipped in to help for dinner (we did every day, lunch and breakfast too), then some people went out to go see the little fairy penguins. I almost did, but it was $20 and I was told you can go see them for free on the beaches in Melbourne, so I will see penguins later. :) Instead I stayed back with the others who weren't going and talked, played Uno and had a great time.

Tassie day 1

Ok, so I am now at the school library and so have time to write more. So, Anne, Loretta, and I took the Spirit of Tasmania (a boat) down to Devonport on Friday morning. We had to take a tram and a taxi to get down to the port, it was a bit hectic trying to find out how to get there because it was Good Friday. Anyway, so on board we watched Ratatouille and it wasn't until the very end of the movie that I started to feel the waves. We went up onto the outer deck and found out why, we had just gone out of the bay. It wasn't long after that that I started to feel sick. I had taken medicine, cause I know that I get sea sick, but it didn't work. I tried to hold it back and we went and ate a bit cause we were all hungry, and then went back in the theater room to watch some documentaries, I hoped maybe I could sleep through them. I was really tired cause we had to get up early that morning and I didn't sleep so well cause I was just on the floor, so not that comfortable. So, it didn't work, I then went outside to get some fresh air and watch the horizon, which seems to help me with seasickness. A guy came up and started talking to me, he seemed drunk or something, but I found out that was just how he talked, he was 25 years old. He was really hard to understand cause he kept turning his head away and talking, but I just agreed with stuff and it seemed good. :P Even though he was a bit weird I was glad to have him there cause he kept my mind off of the whole sick feeling for a while. Anne and Loretta came out after a bit, Anne suggested buying some of those wrist things, cause that's what she had and they worked for her, after she put pressure on my wrists and it helped I decided to do so, even though they were $15. It did help and after a bit I was able to go back inside , which I was thankful for because it was cold out there, and we watched Mr. Magorium's Magical Eurphorium (or whatever that movie is called). By the end of that movie the waves had stopped and I was all better (I never got SICK if you know what I mean) and I was very happy I had not given in because I knew that if I did I would be miserable the rest of the day, it's happened before. We got to watch the approach to Tassie during sunset, it was beautiful! We then walked to our hostel (we had to eat at McDonald's because it was the only place open). The guy at the hostel let us have free towels and blankets (it's usually $5 extra), and it was a nice clean hostel. We roomed with a girl who had just been dropped off from the tour group we were joining the next day, that was funny. The tour is a 6 day tour, you can do the whole thing or just the West or East coast (3 days), so she had just done the 3 day West coast, and we were joining the 3 day East cost one, so there were some people doing the whole 6 days on the bus. We were a bit mad at the Adventure Tours people in Adelaide (where I had to call to see if they could change our pick-up location) cause they said they couldn't pick us up from our hostel, so we'd have to walk 30 minutes out of the way, which we found out they actually had no problem picking us up there. The driver said he would talk to them about that.

I'm back!

So, I'm back from Tassie, and it was the most amazing place! I could easily live there! I couldn't wait to go back before I left.
I will have to write about this more later because currently I am at McDonald's using the internet and only have 4 minutes left of what I bought. The internet at my house isn't working anymore, so the only things that could have happened were that I was getting it from Heath, who is now in Perth and won't be back until Tuesday, or I was getting it from the neighbors and they put a password on. I don't know what I'm going to do. I will try and write some more later.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hanging out

Ok, so it's been a while since I last wrote, but now I have more to write about. Classes are going well so far, I have had both of my labs (or pracs as they call them here) for Animal Bio and Physiology. I had to buy a lab coat and safety glasses (their's are much nicer than the ones at U of I ;P) I had to order my lab coat cause they were out, and so I had to pay a $5 fee to borrow one for my Physio lab, but my teacher was nice and convinced them to let me borrow the glasses with no added charge. :) We only have pracs every two weeks here, which is nice, both labs were fun, but both I had done similar things before, but it was good review cause I didn't remember a whole lot. :P So, I have been hanging out with a girl named Abby (from Indiana) who is living with her sister and brother-in-law. They are here (with their two little girls and another baby on the way) to help out their church . . . Presbyterian I think, as well as work. Anyway, so Abby and I went down to Geelong central on Friday and walked around (it was REALLY HOT so it was good to go inside buildings. :) Then, her birthday was Monday (St. Patty's Day) and so they were all going out for Thai food with some other friends and Abby asked me along. That was really nice, and her sister even paid for my food, which was really nice of her. The food was amazing, we went back to their house after and ate ice cream and talked for a while. Abby called me again today and asked if I wanted to go to the beach with them, that was cancelled due to the fact that right when they were thinking about going the weather got crappy, but they still invited me over for dinner. It was really yummy! The youngest (like a year old) wasn't having a good day today though, but the almost 3 year old was being cute. :) We played Scrabble (and I won!! I got a 66 pointer with joys!) then watched some TV. It was funny, later on some pants that were sitting on the couch arm fell down when I moved so I went to put them back and there was a jumping spider there, so as anyone who knows me will know, I freaked out. Abby too is petrified of spiders, so I wasn't alone. Abby's brother-in-law (Brandon) found it and put it outside, then as I was checking to make sure the coast was clear to sit back down I saw another little tiny spider on the wall crawling behind the couch (not a big deal but it was funny nonetheless). A little later on in the evening, while we were watching TV I was just casually looking around and my eyes wandered to the computer desk where Abby's sister, Megan, was sitting. There on the bottom drawer was a huntsman! For all of you who don't know what a huntsman is, well, they aren't dangerous, but they are the spiders down here that just scare the shit out of you! It was funny cause we had just been talking about them earlier and they had mentioned how they had one in their mailbox every now and then, but had yet to find one in the house. Anyway, so I casually said "Um, I think I just found one of those spiders." Abby freaked out and Brandon just grabbed the back of the rolling chair Megan was sitting on and pulled her towards him. So, he tried to kill it with a broom, but it just got away under the drawers, so they pulled one out, not there, another one, and there it was against the back of the dresser. So they got a cup and gathered it up (it lost a few legs in the process) and he put it out in the very far corner of their back yard. During all of this Abby had gone to her room, and I followed shortly after when I realized Brandon was going to have to bring it in my direction to go outside with it. :P The funniest part, when Abby saw it, she was on her laptop on Facebook and wrote "we are having an encounter with a huntsman, sick sick sick sick sick. . . " and so on. :P Anyway, we were joking about how they just needed me to come over every now and then to find out where the spiders were. :P So, anyway, other than all of that, the biggest news for me is that Loretta, Anne and I are all leaving on Friday to Tassie (Tasmania)! Loretta and I are taking the train to Melbourne Thursday and spending the night with Anne. I will tell you all about the trip when I get back. :)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

1st week of school

Hey all, so I am still getting the picture situation figured out, hopefully soon you will all be able to see my plethora of pics. :) So, the first week of school was pretty good. I got free lunch on Wednesday. :) I think I am really going to enjoy my Physiology class, I don't think I'll enjoy Animal Biology, even to the point that I think I will drop it. All it deals with is very small organisms (like protozoan and such) and the largest thing we will go over is crustaceans and animals of that sort. I had a lot of that sort of biology in high school, and it was the stuff I was least interested in. I thought it would have a little more to do with larger animals than that. Anyway, I'm still figuring out if I'm going to drop it, or if I can. Australia Today I think will also be a really fun class, the prof is pretty neat too. There are like 7 Norwegians in the class too, so it was neat to be able to talk to them a little bit in norsk. :P I've met a few more random people here and there, one girl I met in my Animal Biology class knows Sachi (the girl I live with), that was a coincidence. So, I just have one class on Friday and it's at 8 AM, so I have the rest of the day. I took the chance to print off a bunch of resumés and going around to different places and giving them out. Hopefully I get some bites from that. One of Sam's (other room mate) friends told me he knew the owner of Muffin Break and that's one place I put in a resumé, I told him to put in a good word for me, don't know if he will or not, but I hope so. :P Also, Sachi told me that she heard of another place on campus that was hiring, so on Monday I will go and put one in to them too. I really hope I get something, I am pretty depleted of money at this point. So, yesterday (Saturday) was pretty boring, but it was funny, at the end of the day Sam had 3 friends over and they were doing some pre-drinking before going out. Then they were like "how are we going to go out, who's driving?" They wanted to go to a Casino in Melbourne, I told them I could drive them. I made sure they knew that it was my first time driving on the opposite side, but that I had been driving for longer than any of them (they start at 18). Sam has an automatic (I wasn't going to if it were manual) and so I drove them to Melbourne! Sachi came too, she only started drinking a bit after she made sure that I was ok driving (she could take over if I didn't feel safe), but I was good, it was almost entirely highway anyway. It was really good though, on the way back home it even started to feel more natural. The weirdest thing about it wasn't the other side of the road, it was I kept turning on the windshield wipers to signal (cause their signals are next to the window too, but of course that's on the other side for us), and looking in the mirrors was strange because the angle was different. Also, I kept drifting to the left in the lane so I had to pay attention to where I was in the lane. So, those are the things that were the most different. I felt ok driving though because I have gotten pretty used to it since I've been here, and even ride my bike a bit on the road. Anyway, the boys lost most of the money they put in to gamble, but won a little bit. :P Sachi hadn't had anything to eat and so even though she just had some wine, she got pretty drunk, but it was funny and entertaining to have her there. We talked all night, it was fun. So, anyway, today I have to do some homework, but other than that I have just been reading "The DeVinci Code" and am close to finished; I read a bunch of it yesterday. Well, wish me luck in finding a good job!