Monday, November 30, 2009

The Great Barrier Reef

Well I am about to embark on my plane ride home and I am just wasting time waiting for my flight time. I am on my computer so here is the update that I wrote about the Great Barrier Reef. It was written the day I went so that's why it says today. Love you all and see you all soooooon :)

I experienced the Great Barrier Reef today!!!! It was AMAZING!! Actually that word doesn’t even half describe how it was.  It was beyond belief or comprehension. I still don’t think its fully sank in that I just got to see for about a full 5 hours one of the beautiful natural wonders of the world. I mean it was a once in a lifetime experience. There is coral everywhere and even lots of coral in some places, but it was just something about this reef that was breathtaking.

It isn’t anywhere close to the shore so you have to take a boat out there. The sea actually isn’t even that deep where it is and the coral comes up so high in most places that I would be able to touch it with my feet if I would have submerged only a few feet. There are multicolored, multi-shaped and exquisite fish swimming everywhere. They swim around you, away from you and even with you! I was flabbergasted. You don’t think they have much human interaction because they are in the middle of the sea but they didn’t swim away from you. I’m sure that if I was fast enough I would have been able to catch one. But I didn’t try because I didn’t want to disturb the nature peace of the underwater world. Some of the most unique fish I will ever see in my life were there today, and lots of them. One fish was huge, probably about the size of my midsection, and its body was mostly blue and green. There were what looked like big cracks or the edges of where huge scales would be and they were bright orange and pink. It was a neon colored fish but amazing. Nothing like a fish I had ever seen before. I have seen neon colored fish in the aquariums but these fish are incomparable. Their colors were so vivid it was hard to realize they were real fish. They weren’t one solid color either. In fact, I’m not sure I saw one solid colored fish. They were all multi-colored and extraordinarily shaped. You saw fish with the classic shape: round body and two points for a tail. Then you would see fish that had their mouths pointing upward and in place of were it’s hairline would have started, and it’s eyes were much further back and on top of it’s body, like it was constantly looking up. The strangest and coolest looking fish I have ever seen.

I also saw a reef shark! I guess they are afraid of humans though so there wasn’t any threat. I don’t even think it noticed me. It was lying on the bottom of the reef in the sand and it was either just not moving or sleeping because it was motionless. It was a little smaller though and white, or off white. I also saw a stingray or manta ray. It was sand colored because I didn’t see it right away since it was so expertly camouflaged.

Clams look nothing like what they are made out to look like. They just look like huge boulders of coral. There is no breaking point half way up to show that it might house something inside. But they were massive! Some were bigger than a van. In fact more than a couple could house my dads truck, with no problem. Everything in the sea is just so much bigger! It’s like everything is on steroids. Amazing.

The best part was that everything I saw was from snorkeling. I could witness so many amazing things happening all around me and all with just swimming the surface. I signed up to go scuba diving but because of the medicine I am currently taking, I wasn’t allowed, since they didn’t know what it was and the doctor couldn’t examine me to make sure I was ok. Honestly though, that was ok with me. It wasn’t really that deep and I could see everything from the surface so I wasn’t bummed at all actually. It would have been fun but I think I would have been a bit uncomfortable and I was so nervous that I really was a little relieved to find out I couldn’t participate.

On the boat, while we were all waiting to get in the water, a turtle was spotted. I wish I could have seen one in the water, I never did, but I was ecstatic that I got to see one at all. The coolest thing about the Great Barrier Reed is that from the surface, on top of the boat, you would never know that there is a magical world underneath. Just feet below! Nothing sticks out of the water and all you see is blue ocean everywhere. You might see some discoloration from the reef, like green in some areas, but nothing that you think is very neat looking. But just one look in the water, and you have to keep convincing yourself, “yes, this is real.”

            Even the coral was cool. There was coral that looked like brains, flowers, boulders, sticks with spots, or plain coral. Not only were the fish beautifully colored but the coral was also. Some coral I saw was blue but most was white or brownish. Sand colored and I think even pink. There was green stuff growing in some areas too. It looked like deep green lettuce was growing through the coral in some areas. Some coral even looked like a bush but it wasn’t green; it would probably be brown or whitish.

            Overall, the Great Barrier Reef is an adventure I will never forget and definitely one of the most diverse and unique experiences I will even have in my life. I’m so glad I came here and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone!! There were even older people on the trip. Not old people but like my parents age or older. The Great Barrier Reef is for everyone! :) Finally, my dream of seeing the Great Barrier Reef has come true. One of the Seven Natural Wonder of the World I can check off my list! :D 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Quick Catch-Up

Well I only have about 11 mintues to update you all so far. I'm currently in Auckland, New Zealand and loving it here! I think I might even like it better than Australia! Well as least so far I do. I think it's because there is water everywhere here, and LOTS of it. It's a stinking island though so what can you expect?
Molly and I are renting a car tomorrow and taking a road trip down to Wellington to take a tour of where they filmed Lord of the Rings. It's going to be fun! It takes about 8 hours to get there but we are stopping along the way to visit the Glow Worm caves and then on the way back we plan on stopping at Hells Gate to take a mud bath and stuff like that. It's going to be exciting!! A little intimidating at first because we will be driving on the other side of the road and the drivers seat is on the other side of the car. But they are letting us, crazy people haha. No I'm actually EXTREMELY nervous about it so I will definitely be the most cautious driver on the road! No worries, you don't have to tell me to be safe because there is no doubt in my mind that I will be. I will be beyond safe with myself and Molly.
New Zealand is actually quit a bit different from Australia. I didn't expect it to be but it is and I'm thankful for it. It's beautiful here. I wish I would have spent more time here. I REALLY want to come back here and I haven't even left yet!
Well I'm going to get off before I accidently lose track of time. I just wanted to update you all on what's happening.
I visited the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns last week and it was beyond amazing. I can't wait to blog about it! I've actually already written it but I'm not using my computer so sadly the fun story will have to wait :(. No worries though because oddly enough I will be home in a week! My plane leaves Tuesday afternoon and it's Wednesday afternoon here. Almost exactly 6 days and I will be on a plane back to America. Love you all!!! <3

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Goodbye Perth. It's Been Great

It’s finally here. The day my glorious adventures in Perth end. :( It’s a sad and exciting day. Actually it’s mostly stressful, but what else is new in my life. I tried to ship a suitcase home and the suitcase itself was too big so they wouldn’t take it. So I had to split the contents into three separate boxes and ship them. Now I am praying that the airline doesn’t mind that I have two suitcases as long as they are a combined weight of only 20 kilos. They will definitely be more but oh well.

            It really doesn’t feel like I should be leaving yet. I’m going to miss my time here but I’m not as sad about it yet as I thought I would be. That’s usually how I am though. I don’t really miss things a lot until I don’t have them anymore and then when I want them, I REALLLLY miss them. So it might not even hit until I’m back in America at home or even at OSU and want to do something that I always do here. Like get bubble tea. I’m going to miss that stuff. I don’t think anywhere in Ohio sells it. Trust me if they do, I’m tracking it down! Haha Well it’s a bittersweet goodbye. I’m happy because I get to finally go home (after my travels) but I will be leaving my fourth home. (I consider my house my first home, the restaurant my second, and OSU my third.) I like the laid-backness of Perth and I’m really going to miss that, especially at Ohio State, where it’s never laid back or even quiet for that matter.

            It was really cute because my flatmates all know I’m leaving today. Well Quan Yuan, from China, wrote me a message and stuck it under my door. It said something along the lines of “Have a safe trip. It was great meeting you. – Quan Yuan p.s. welcome to China! :) “ It’s definitely the best thing I’ve collected here. I saved it and it’s going straight up unto my wall at home for sure. Actually speaking of China and flatmates. Well first I just want to say that my flatmates are great. They have been so friendly and I just don’t think I could have asked for better flatmates. They really have opened up my eyes to the Asian culture and it’s helped my development tremendously. I’ve come to realize that Asians are a really nice and their culture is so vastly different than ours. I was talking to Shintaro (from Japan) about how he’s my first Japanese friend. He then told me that I definitely need to make more Japanese friends and I promised him that I would work on it. It’s really something that I plan on doing, making more Asian friends. I think I’m honestly doing to miss all of the Asian culture I’m so used to seeing now.

            I was thinking about it last night in bed, while I couldn’t sleep, about how different my outlook on life is now compared to what it was when I came. I feel like I’m a completely different person. One thing that has really changed is my opinion of myself. I might have already talked about this but it’s something I think is really important and something that is fairly new to me so I like thinking about it so I can retain it. But I’ve enlightened myself to the fact that I am my own best friend. Then I realized that everyone should be their own best friend. I mean I’ve known this but I believe that the only person you should ever worry about pleasing throughout your whole life is yourself. I mean you need other friends too obviously, but you don’t want friends that like you for someone you aren’t. You can’t fool yourself forever and it’s painful to keep trying. I like who I am and I hope that when I go back to Ohio State I keep this part of myself around, because I will be a lot happier if I do.  I’ve also realized that being my best friend involved listening to myself. I need to listen to myself more often. I need to journal more or just sit and think more because I know a lot of the reason I can’t sleep at night is because my brain is finally thinking about all of those things I’ve been ignoring. So I just decided my new year’s resolution. I’m going to sit and think to myself, kinda like meditate, for at least 10 minutes everyday. Yup, that’s going to be it. Yay! I’m excited to start actually.

            It’s weird to think that in exactly two weeks from today I will be on my way home. I’m super excited and I can’t wait to see all of my friends and family that I have been missing like a fat kid on a diet misses cake haha It’s painful. Before I came to Australia I thought that I would be able to live in another country, and even though I did for a couple of months, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to do it permanently. Of course it will be different if I’m married and have my own family, but right now my family is too important in my life for me to be able to live without them. It’s like part of me is missing. The fun part. Even though I have fun hanging out with friends and going out, my family just always make me happy. I would rather sit at home and play cards with my family than go out on some nights. Not allll nights. It’s hard to explain my though process and the only way I can explain it is like this: my heart refuses to smile in their absence. Even though I have fun and collect amazing experiences, I know everything would be even better if it were with my family. Especially trips like this. I mean at school and stuff its just school and partying but here, it’s almost like a vacation and I would much rather vacation with my family than any friends. Family is just more fun.

            Well Molly and I are headed off to the airport in about 2 hours. My room is unfamiliar because of the bareness of it. I took my suitcases out and there is only really a couple of small bags left and a few cords. It makes me uneasy since it reminds me of the nervousness I felt when I first arrived and that’s how it looked. Well we are headed off to Cairns to experience the Great Barrier Reef. I will take lots of pictures!! I even have an underwater camera so this will be good! And then this Monday we are skipping over to New Zealand for our last week. Tuesday, December 1 at approximately 3 pm I will be boarding a plane to come back to Ohio. :) I will try and get internet for these next two weeks but I can’t promise I will get enough to blog. Actually just don’t count on it. I will definitely blog though when I get back in America. I don’t know how soon since I will probably be pretty tired in the beginning. I’m not planning on this being my last blog. I hope to have at least one more. Geia sou or goodbye to all of you though. I can’t wait to see all of you when I return! :D Love you all more than you know <3

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Beginning of the End

Yay! Time to blog! Well the past week I’ve been really busy. I had my last final Thursday and I’ve relaxed a lot since then. I think I did pretty good on the final but I won’t find out my grade until a week after I even get back in the States! The teachers here have 3 weeks to grade exams and get the grades finalized. That’s crazy because in the US they only have a week from the time finals end. Then again, there their semesters are spread further apart so that could be why. It was my last and only final though and you could really feel the intensity in the room. The room I has it in was their gymnasium so it’s definitely the biggest room I’ve ever taken a test in. It was strange too because filling the whole room was hundreds of small tables. Four classes took our tests together in the same room so there were roughly 300 students all in the room. We had two hours of testing time and ten minutes of reading time. It was weird because for the first ten minutes you were allowed to read your test and take notes but you weren’t allowed to open you booklet to write anything. Only after ten minutes has passed were you allowed. Well there is no such thing as reading time at OSU so I had no idea what was going on. I tried looking around at the other students but then I realized they might think I’m cheating. Really, though, how could I be? It’s only reading time and the whole test was written. Plus the tables were pretty far away from each other. Eventually I figured it out though and everything was ok. You, also, aren’t allowed to leave the room a hour after it starts or fifteen minutes before it ends. You has to raise you hand when you were finished and they had to come get your test from you. They were stricter than in the States, well Ohio State anyways, and it completely surprised me. It was intense because with hundreds of people in the room it was DEAD quiet. You could definitely feel the anxiety in the air. Glad it’s over.


            But ok more about Bali! Well Molly and I had a nice relaxing time on the beach.  Outside of the beach though we did a lot of shopping. We went to Kuta, which is where the bombing memorial is. So of course we took pictures with the memorial. The memorial is probably the nicest part of the area. It really doesn’t even look like it belongs there. It’s really nice and new and shiny and the rest is just shops that are open all day with people sitting at the edges (because there are only three walls to these shops since they get so many people walking along the streets shopping) asking you to come in and look at their stuff. One shop we went into the girl told us that we were her first customers all day so far and it was like 1:30 in the afternoon. I’m pretty sure she meant someone who bought something but I’m not sure. We might have been the only ones who went in to look. But because people were so persistent on you going into their store when you didn’t want to, you had to learn to walk by, look no one in the eye, and ignore people who talk to you. Sad but it had to be done or you would spend your whole time there just declining people.  Everything there was extremely cheap. I mean DIRT cheap. Molly and I went to a nice Italian restaurant and I got a large pizza for $5 and that was good. The most expensive meal I found there was $12ish. Really I mean it’s all very cheap. A tax ride for half an hour was roughly $7.50. I mean things were priced realllly good. Our hotel for a full week was $175 and it was a great room with a free breakfast every morning!  You can tell it’s a poor country because they have sidewalks with huge slabs taken out and no caution signs or anything to warn you. If you weren’t watching where you were walking you probably would have fallen into a hole up to your chest… well my chest. So like four feet.  And it’s not just one or two here and there. It’s about ever 15 feet.


            The last day Molly and I decided to go to the Safari and Marine Park. It was probably one of the best parts of the trip. I got to watch Elephants give a performance on how humans were taking over their habitat and we need to be nicer to them. The elephants did cute tricks like walk on three legs, play dead, and one elephant even put leis on a couple of people. It was a really cute show. After the show we got to feed an elephant!! There was even a baby there and we took lots and lots of pictures. The elephant was actually so gentle that when I fed it a carrot it took my hands in its mouth with it but I didn’t notice because I was getting my picture taken. That’s how gentle it was!! Isn’t the so cute. Or maybe I took my hand out in time but I’m pretty sure it was fully in its mouth haha. Then after that I got my picture taken with a orang-utan.  It was really nice. It was taking pictures all day long and it would climb all over you and hold on to your neck and shoulders. Such a cute animal. Then I went and got my picture taken with baby tigers. They were ADORABLE. Mostly they were sleeping but I didn’t care because I got my picture taken with them hehe. After that we went on a safari tour and saw animals like tigers, lions, rhinos, apes, zebras, and just a whole bunch of animals. No kangaroos at this park :( That’s ok though.


            OH I almost forgot. My friends and I went out to dinner Friday night and I ordered the Kangaroo, Crocodile and Emu dish. The kangaroo was kind of tough and the crocodile wasn’t too bad but the Emu was delicious!! Here in Australia they put pumpkin in so many things too. I realized I don’t like pumpkin except in a pie. :) But I like pumpkin flavored things like coffee drinks too. Weird. This restaurant also didn’t let you take leftovers home, which baffled me.


            That’s all I got for now. I have to decide what I am going to pack. I am sending a package home that’s going to take up to 3 months to get home and I have to decide what I can live without for that long. This packing business is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. I don’t know where I accumulated so much stuff. I mean I have a lot of extra stuff that I definitely didn’t come here with! Oh well, it’s all worth it :) I had to say goodbye to my friend Patrick today too, and Chris. It was such a bummer. It’s like my family here is separating. They literally have become like a family because we were around each other so much and all we had were each other. Chris though is the Australian and he wants to come study in the States next year, like 6 months away because he would come for summer. And I think he might even spend a couple of quarters at Ohio State!! That would be so exciting to have my Aussie friend come and study at my school. Oh my roommate Laura was also thinking about coming and studying in the States and I told her that Ohio State was a good school, so she’s considering going there too. I swear, Ohio State should be paying me for all the recruiting I’m doing! Whelp, that’s all I got for now. I can’t stare at a computer screen much longer. Love you all <3

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Yay! I made it back from Bali alive! I arrived Saturday night at like 3 am (2 pm for most of you) and ever since then I have done a little bit of sleeping and a lot of writing. Obviously not for this :( but for my Creative Writing class. We had our final story due yesterday and no one could possibly be happier than I am that it’s over. I loved the class but I hated the teacher. I’m praying I get above a 50% on this final story or I might be in some academic trouble :I well not majorly, I just might just barely pass. Ugh. Anyways! Lets not hear me complain, lets talk about Bali!


Indonesia is a VERY different country that anything I am used to.  Well any of us are used to really I’m sure. Because unless you are reading this and are from a developing country, you probably can’t relate with what I’m about to explain.


Bali. Wow. I know people say all the time that they don’t know where to begin when talking about something, but really I can’t think of anywhere to start… I could talk about the living conditions, the beaches, the people, the driving, the food, how everything made me feel. They’re all a topic that’s interesting enough because they’re all first timers.


Well, I think I will just start with leaving Australia and arriving in Indonesia. The night before I left was chaos for me. Really. So the fact that I had to travel by myself to an unknown land didn’t relax me any. I had also just finished all my class work and assignments for the week so by the time my plane landed in Bali, I was not the least bit relaxed. I was actually very stressed out, and continued on like that for the first few days. I know that’s not exciting and something you would expect to here because I was in Bali right? What could possibly keep me from relaxing? I really can’t say, I think it just takes my body a couple of days to calm down and I still had my ridiculous story to turn in afterwards. My mind just refuses to forget those things.


Geez, I keep getting side tracked with all these negative feelings. Ok, switching to positive mode.


The airport in Bali is very different than one I’ve ever been in. It’s definitely not as advanced or even as clean as all the ones I’ve seen. It reminds me of a smaller hometown and very outdated airport. Everything was silver and shiny, it was all brown and worn. Oh, I forgot. On the plane ride over I sat next to an older couple who were vacationing in Bali. They had been there a couple of times before so they were telling me all about it and giving me advice. They were very nice and very helpful. They warned me that when I got off of the plane that there would be men there wanted to take my things and carry them for me because they then would expect a tip afterwards. But they don’t tell you that when they offer to carry your luggage. And they were right. Even leaving the airport there are just guys everywhere standing and sitting around wanted to do things for you for money. As I was walking to a taxi one guy basically took my luggage from me. He even put his hand on top of mine to grab my luggage. But thankfully because I didn’t let go he finally did. That irked me. 


As I was standing in line to get my passport checked and my temporary visa I saw a bribe happen right in front of me. Remind you that Indonesia is a very poor country so it makes sense that they are very corrupt. I don’t know why but for some reason the kid, who looked to be about 15 and I don’t know why he was travelling to Bali by himself, didn’t want to pay money for a visa. So when he got his passport checked he just slipped some US dollars in there. The security guy had a manager of some sort come over. The manager counted the money, right in front of the line of people mind you!, and stuck it in his pocket. That was the end of that and the kid walked away towards the next checkpoint.


Bali is a beautiful country… sometimes. It depends on where you are looking. If you are looking at the beaches and the scenery, then yes it’s gorgeous. But if you are looking at the everyday living such as the shops, houses, streets then you’ll be very disappointed.  The scenery was great most of the time. The sunsets were gorgeous and a lot of things had been untouched b/c they aren’t a very industrial country. But the homes were just shacks, well some of them. The ones by the beaches were just filth for the most part. It made me sad to realize that people had to actually live in those. They probably don’t have running water in some of them and they don’t have many material items at all. I mean I think hostels were nicer than some of those homes. It broke my heart. Those were the ones next to the beach though, so I’m assuming also that they were the people who were harvesting the seaweed right off shore. They probably just work during the day and that’s all b/c there were people working there till sun went down. Bali isn’t a country that closes down on Sunday’s either b/c I don’t think it’s in their religion kinda thing. So I’m pretty sure they work all day everyday, for close to nothing. So sad :(


Well that’s all I got for now. I will definitely be posting more alter though.


Love you all <3