The Rebirth of Adventures in Downunderland

Left: arriving in Australia Right: leaving Australia 2 1/2 years later

Left: arriving in Australia
Right: leaving Australia 2 1/2 years later

This blog has been dark for awhile now and not without good reason. For those of you who still read this, or receive email updates I will do a quick bullet point  on why.

  • I started my Masters Degree in Educational Studies: Creative and Performing Arts Media and Learning and Educational Research. This involves a rather in depth thesis on the benefits of music education for high functioning children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I am in the final stages of this and it has been taking up most of my writing time. All of my coursework is completed and now I am just finishing up revisions on my thesis.
  • I met Nathan and in three weeks we will be married. :) So if you want to find out about that you can visit our wedding website here: http://www.mywedding.com/nandkaussieamericanlove/
  • And finally I no longer live in Australia. After two and a half amazing years, a masters degree, and an engagement, Australia has come to an end (for now anyway). And on January 31 I moved to Canada.
    The snow depth in Nathans front yard

    The snow depth in Nathans front yard

    Now how that happened is a post in itself. The short versions is that Nathan (who is an Australian) was offered a job and we decided that he should take it. So, we now live in the Rocky Mountains in Canada. So in three years I have lived in three countries and for the first time in my life I live in the snow. This California girl is adjusting to a much colder climate these days.

There you have it. A very quick update on the many changes that have taken place in the past two years. Right now I am back in Portland for two weeks prepping for the wedding and finishing my thesis. We are getting married in Hawaii so there is lots to prep before we leave in 10 days for paradise! It is going to be one big international event, full of Americans, Canadians, and Australians. So this blog will be getting a facelift in the next few months as I return to blogging and start new adventure in a new country. I hope you join me as I step through yet another looking glass.

Nathan and I

Nathan and I

Oops!

Looks like I have kind of forsaken this blog. August….so bad. Much has been happening, which is why the blog went on blog hiatus for awhile. In short, I studied, I moved, I got a new job. And once again everything is in flux. So just when I feel like I have my footing everything is once again up in the air. I don’t even remember what it feels like to be stable, ha! Maybe I was 18 when that last happened. Its been awhile, but at least I can say that my life is never boring. I know this is vague, but it is a start. More to come….

Once Upon a Time…There was Byron Bay

I was really sad the day my parents left to head back to the US, but lucky for me I already had plans to head up to Byron Bay with my friends Chris and Eliane for the long Easter weekend. One of the things that Australia does really well is long weekends. For Easter you get both Friday and Monday off! Which means 4 days of fun.

Byron Bay is a wonderful beach city located near the very top of New South Wales. Chris, Nathan, and I left Thursday afternoon and drove the 8+ hours up the coast to Byron. It finally felt like summer as we went swimming at the beach, in WARM ocean water, and spent most of our time outside in the “summer dresses” weather. Eliane joined us later that weekend and the four of us spent time enjoying Bryon and Chris’s family. To this day this is still one of the best weekends I have had since I have been here in Australia. It recently got bumped to second best, but it is still up there on the list for one of my favorite Australia memories. Byron is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to visit and the best part is that if you don’t want to drive the 8-9 hours to get there you can take a cheap flight and be there in about an hour and a half.

Once Upon a Time…We went to the Zoo

On their last day in Sydney we decided to head out to the Taronga Zoo. I had not been to this either, and since they had yet to see any native wildlife we figured this would be the best option, plus you get to take the ferry there and it was another beautiful day! It was bitter sweet, because I knew that they next morning bright and early they would be headed back home. We had so much fun seeing the Kangaroos and Koala’s, but unfortunately this was not a park where you were allowed to touch the wildlife. So no Koala holding for them. :( Truthfully we ran out of time. There is still of ton of things for them to see and do, so I guess they are just going to have to come back and visit soon. However, next time I think they should stay for a few months instead of 10 days. There you have it…it may have happened in April, but now at least it is on the blog. :)

Once Upon a Time…There was Bondi Beach

With just two days left I had to bring out the big guns of Sydney. I was taking the next few days off from work so I had all day to spend with my mom and dad. The night they met Nathan, we went to Bondi beach, but it was night and raining, and really it was about getting to know Nathan, not the scenery. So for their second to last day in Sydney we went to Bondi Beach and did a hop on hop off bus tour of Sydney! It was really fun to play tourist in a place that I had been living for over 6 months. This is one of the things I regret about my time in Los Angeles, I never really played tourist and didn’t see quite a few things before I moved away. There is still lots to see and do in Sydney, but I feel like I managed to knock off a huge chunk while my parents were here. The beach was BEAUTIFUL the day that we arrived and the bus tour was informative and took us to places that I had never been to. All in all it was a great day!

Once Upon a Time…Sight Seeing was Had

We are nearing the end of my parents time in Sydney. We did lots of site seeing, but I also had to work. So on this particular day they met me at the office and I gave them a little overview into what I do. I put hair fibers into my moms hair and had both my parents try on uncut hair pieces. :) They had a good time. After they office they got to try their very first sausage role and meat pie! An Aussy delicacy. :) I really like sausage roles, they seemed to enjoy them too. After our rather quick lunch we headed up to the opera house for a tour of the building. That was my first time in there as well and it was SO fun to do something with them that I had not yet experienced. Unfortunately you are not allowed to take pictures in the opera house, so we made do with pictures out front.

That evening I had arranged a dinner for my parents to meet all of my friends at a local pub near my apartment. We all had such a wonderful time. I loved introducing my family to all of my new friends who have made my time here in Sydney so much fun. The best part is that they were able to meet Chris and Eliane who just so happen to be in the US and Canada right now and will be staying with my mom and dad for a few days! :) I love seeing me two worlds combine and for my parents to see what amazing friends I have made here in Sydney.

Once Upon a Time…Back to the Parents

I am really really behind in my blogging, so I am just going to pick up where I left off…with the visit from my parents. For those of you who need a catch up just go the posts before this one.

Ahh…Cairns! We had such a fun time up there. Our last day was spent walking on the board walk and enjoying the warm 30 degree (80s for you Fahrenheit people) weather. I was sad to leave my few days of summer that I actually got this year, since Sydney failed in the summer department. As you can see from the pictures above it was beautiful and sunny! Not only that but you can see the reef from the airplane which was just as beautiful from far away as it was up close! We returned to Sydney and rain. And as an added bonus a really wonderful man picked us up from the airport to meet my parents. Now he is my boyfriend, but at that time, he met my parents on our second date. Such a trooper :). But that is another story, and this is about my parents visit. ;) We had a great time in Cairns and it just so happens that I will be back there in a month when Lisa and Rosie come to visit me! Yay for warm summer weather!

Once Upon a Time…I Left the US 10 Months Ago and Landed in New Zealand

Yes, I realize that I have been a terrible blogger as of late and really do have LOTS to write about and catch up on, but until I back track lets start with the present…

I am currently in Auckland New Zealand…yup…not Sydney, Australia. This is a twist in the story that I did not see coming, there have been a few twists since I have last blogged, but this is the biggest of late. Around month 6 I started praying about what my next step would be when my visa would be up in September. Where would I live, what would I do for work and so on. After much prayer I decided that after many years of putting it off, it was time to go back to school and start my Masters in Music. So I started to research music programs all over the world to find the best fit. I looked in the US, Europe, and in Australia, after a while of searching I found the perfect program for me and it happened to be in Sydney. Best part, I get to focus on contemporary vocal production and write a thesis based upon my interest in the field, as well as study with excellent musicians. Once I decided to apply for the program I was accepted and the term started the second week of July. I was informed by Immigration in Sydney that I could easily switch my visa to a student visa in country. That was incorrect information and the reality is that I need to apply for this out of country. The cheapest flight was to New Zealand, so here I am, as I wait for my visa to process. I have already been in school for three weeks and HATE that I am missing class, but this is where I am. I arrived on Monday July 23. Thankfully I have friends who have family and friends here in NZ that I am currently staying with as I wait.

God is teaching me a lot. This is once again a game of trust. There is nothing I can do at the moment, but pray and wait. Funny thing, a week ago I had no idea that I would be in New Zealand. This is becoming the theme of my year in Australia. Trust and curve balls. :) I had a “plan” for my year in Australia thankfully I have held that “plan” loosely for it has not turned out how I expected. Overall the last 10 months have been better than anything that I could have planned, including the trails that have come. Yes, at first I freaked out when I had to leave Sydney, but now that all I can do is pray and wait I am choosing to trust God. The months my change, but the lesson remains the same: no matter what the circumstances God knows best and He is trustworthy. His plan for my life is far greater than anything that I could design. And truthfully sometimes God and I have words as I get upset and confused as to why this has to happen now, but even in that I am thankful that I have a God who can handle all of me, even when I get upset.

For those of you who read this, please pray that my student visa processes quickly so that I can get back to school in Sydney! Thanks to everyone who has been praying for me these last 10 months, and I promise, from here on out the blog is back! :)

Once Upon a Time…Our First Trip to the Reef

The whole reason we went to Cairns is so that my parents and myself could experience the wonder that is the Great Barrier Reef. I have some amazing videos that I am working on editing and will post as soon as I can, but for now enjoy the pictures. :) I have never seen or experienced anything like it in my whole life. We awoke early on our second day in Cairns to head out to the charter boat that after 2 hours would port at a large barge in the middle of the ocean. It was absolutely beautiful the day we went out. The sea though was a bit choppy and many people, though none of us, were puking on the boat from sea sickness. Any of you who know me know that I am a sympathetic vomit-er. If someone around me gets sick, I will too. Thankfully the minute I saw the green in their skin I would book it across the boat away from the ill person. ha!

Once we docked we headed out into the water and on a semi submerged submarines to view the amazing beauty that is the reef. My mom is not a swimmer, nor a fan of water, so my dad and I tried to get her to go snorkeling with us on a snorkel tour. We failed in that attempt, instead I think we just made her more afraid of the water by having her try it before the tour departed. I at first had an issue with my mask and water kept seeping in. Problem…I have a child sized head. :) Once I figured that out and got a mask that a 7 year old could wear, all was fine :) Because I have an amazing under water camera I was able to take the most awesome video’s of the reef. The colors are brilliant and the animals so unique. We saw a giant sea turtle and a 6 foot clam, just to name a few. And though I am deathly afraid of fish. I managed just fine up until the very end when we were surrounded by a swarm of bright blue fishes…I caught this on video. :) Going to the reef with my parents is by far the best thing I have done since I moved here and am planning on going back to experience it for more than just a day.

Once Upon a Time…Cairns

Our room originally contained 3 beds…I told my mom she could sleep on the little middle one Later they took it out. :)

My parents headed off to Melbourne for a whole 24 hours….as I went back to work. After our brief time apart I flew up to Cairns to meet them for my first real vacation, or as they say in Australia…Holiday…since I have moved here. It was glorious! Also for all you Americans out there here is a tip you don’t pronounce either Melbourne or Cairns as they are spelled. I know…its a little strange, but I guess we can’t really say anything we have tons of words where there are silent letters. :) So Melbourne is pronounced Mel-Bin and Cairns is Cans.  I digress. Ahh…Cairns. It was a tropical paradise. I actually felt like I was far away from Sydney, best part, it is only a little over 3 hours away by plane, but worlds apart. After my miserable summer of rain it was great to get a few days of warms weather and sun. That first day up in Cairns all we did was lay by the pool, read, eat, and drink. It was SO relaxing. Also we saw bats….lots and lots of bats! My mom and dad had never seen anything like that before and were amazed as hundreds upon hundreds flew past our hotel room as the sun set. It was pretty creepy. :) This was just the beginning of our Cairns adventure!

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