Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I absolutely LOVED Sydney. I was excited about going but definitely underestimated how beautiful and fun it would be. Even going with the flu didn't take away from the wonderful city.

 I never got over the amazingness of the Sydney Harbor Bridge!! The first night we were there we took a ferry to Manly Beach and got to see the sunset behind the bridge. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. Monday we biked over the bridge which was equally awesome. I would go back just to see it again.

 Favorite part of the trip... biking through the rocks, over the bridge, through the botanical garden, riding up to the the opera house. I just love riding bikes and doing it in a wonderful city made it better.

The other big thing was the Opera House. It was really pretty too but I still think the bridge is my favorite. We ended up going inside for about 5 seconds before we got kicked out.... whoops. But now we can say we have been inside:)
Shocking part of the trip...this is the Kirribilli House where the Prime Minister of Australia lives. So the shocking part was that there was only two security guards. That would never fly in America. We talked to the guards about how there are so many more guards with the president at all times and they said "Well we keep it pretty low key in Australia." I guess the "no worries" attitude even goes with the government. What a trusting country.   

There was no way we were going to Sydney without visiting the Olympic Park. It was so fun walking around and reading all about the different events. We were able to see the plaques of the medalist in the base of the cauldron. I think we spent 30 minutes walking up and down the line of plaques looking for America. The US definitely dominated basketball and track in 2000. 

Freakiest part of the trip... we were walking through the Royal Botanical Gardens and look up and we see BATS! HUGE, UGLY, AWAKE BATS. There were sooo many of them and way larger than any I have seen in Texas. 

So there are a few highlights from one of the most wonderful places in the World. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Vegemite and Kangaroo.

Megan and I are probably two of the pickiest eaters, but surprisingly we enjoyed these typical Aussie foods.  

We tried Vegemite and unexpectedly liked it! It is super salty but if you put just a little bit of it on toast or crackers it taste really good! The mistake most people make is using a lot like peanut butter instead of just a little layer like butter. 

Well, we also tried kangaroo. Some of the girls down the street love kangaroo burgers so we decided we would have a girls night with kangaroo burgers and cider. 

It actually took me awhile to take a bite of my burger. I would pick it up, put it close to my mouth and then put it down again. When I eventually took a bite (which had to be documented), I really liked the kangaroo. However, when I thought about what I was eating it kinda grossed me out. The moment someone would say kangaroo, I would gag a little bit. It's something I will probably eat again but it might take me awhile to get over the fact that its kangaroo meat. The weirdest part about it is that the meat is really red even after being cooked. I'm not one to eat rare beef and that's what it looked like. It's definitely not the most appealing thing to eat.  So I guess if I don't look at the meat or think about what it is, I will enjoy eating kangaroo. ha.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

a sunny, winter weekend.

This weekend was so incredible. The weather was in the high teens! So like 65-70ish Fahrenheit.(I'm trying to work on using Celsius) We spent it finding cafes, shops and being outdoors as much as possible. 

 Saturday we decided to go to Sydney road and find a fun cafe for lunch. Sydney Rd is a really popular, funky, hippyish road that is about a twenty minute walk from our house! We had a heard about a really fun, trendy cafe and were determined to find it. On the way to where we thought the cafe would be, we came across an American Biker Cafe. It was right across the street from a Harley Davidson shop, of course. Once we failed finding the cafe we wanted, we decided it would be a great idea to go to the biker cafe. It was perfect. The people loved talking to us about America, the food was great and the environment was definitely entertaining. It was a perfect start to the weekend.
 Saturday night the CRU (Lemon Tree House) girls had a Geeks and Freaks party at their house. As Megan said, " Who said you had to grow up when you graduate college?" It was heaps of fun putting together a cheap outfit with things I mainly already owned and then getting to have a huge dance party in the living room. Plus, I got a Australian " bum bag"! Why carry your phone around when it can so conveniently be carried around your waist. Pictured: Nina(the clean freak), Michelle(geek), me(geek) and Megan(freak)
This little bird a Magpie. Megan and I have been fascinated with them since the day we landed. The are really cool looking black and white birds. We discovered this weekend they are the mascot for the #1 Footy team right now, Collingwood. Such a random mascot. In two weekends we will be going to a Geelong Cats (the team we "barrack"  for) vs. Collingwood Magpies game. I can't wait to see how Australia Rules Football (footy) actually works. 
Sunday after church was the perfect day for a picnic by the Yarra. We ate lunch and laid in the sun for a good while. It was been very rainy and cold the last couple of weeks in Melbourne, so the sunny weekend did not go unappreciated. 

Here is the view of the other side of the river. A little part of downtown. 

We also found a fun, Sunday afternoon market downtown. There were tons of local crafts, art work, lotions. etc. I will be going back there as many Sundays as I can. 
This was my favorite thing we saw! Just wanted to share the panda love with everyone. 

A sneak peak inside the tram. Nothing special but a huge part of my everyday life. The big box overpowering the pictures is for Metlink Cards (one of the ways you pay to use public transportation).

And I couldn't end this blog without sharing the public transportation stories from today....
Many of the school I teach at are a few suburbs away so I may take a bus then train then another bus to get there. I always map out exactly how to get to each school and pretty much only know that way. If I ever miss a bus or train that is usually a guarantee I will be a little late to work. Well today, on the train going to my school, the train stops for about ten minutes at the station before my stop. I kinda start to worry but don't let myself get too worked up until I hear, " Passengers this is your captain. This train will not being going any further due to.... There are buses waiting to take everyone to the next stations." Ok, not ideal but at least there are buses right.... Well 45 minutes goes by, I am already about 20 minutes late to work and there is still no bus. So I start asking all of the workers around me what I should do and they all give me different answers so I become flustered and immediately bust out in tears(embarrassing). Well the workers see me crying and start running to look at all the maps to help me. One man finds the best way and takes me to the bus stop. I am still crying as I get on the bus. Luckily the man across from me is nice enough to help me figure out where to get off!... Then tonight we are on a tram and all of a sudden it stops going and we are told the brakes are a jammed and it could be a long wait. After 45 minutes another tram comes to pick us up. This tram goes to stops and then ends up stopping for about 20 minutes for an unknown reason. A very interesting day with transportation. Hopefully, it was a once in a lifetime type of situation. Oh the picture is from the tram tonight. 

We are going to Sydney Sunday- Wednesday! Can't wait to tell everyone all about that adventure. 

Love y'all heaps. 
New Slang:
Fanny pack- Bum Bag ( fanny pack means something dirty here... who knew.)
Skipping Rope- Jump Rope
Barrack- cheer for a team.

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Roommate. New Adventures.

 This is our wonderful, new housemate Melanie. She arrived in Melbourne Saturday morning around 11. We spent the day finding her furniture and showing her around town. She is a coffee drinker which means we will most definitely get along!

Saturday night we decided to check a few things off of Bec's Top Ten list. Lygon Street is a very popular street in downtown Melbourne. There are tons of great Italian and Greek restaurants. A  man stands outside of each restaurants and tries to get you to choose theirs by making you offers on cheaper food and drinks.  

 The first place we walked up to a man stopped us by saying ,"Ladies, let me tell you what we have to offer. It's the best deal you can get."(so typical) He sold us when he said free bread and free wine. Everything is so expensive here so that was an excellent deal! The food was wonderful and the conversation was great. It was definitely an experience.

After dinner we went to the Sofitel Hotel. The best, free view of the city is through a window in the bathroom on floor 35. It was absolutely amazing. When some of y'all come to see me, we must go see the view! Who knew a bathroom could be such a beautiful place?! The stadium you see is the Melbourne Cricket Ground. That is where the cricket and footy games take place. 

Earlier tonight, we had a knock on the door and it was a lady coming to collect our census. Since we just moved into our house, we had not received the papers, but don't you worry they made sure to leave one for us. Megan and I were super excited about it! It is so cool that we will count on an Australian Census. 

I joined Mocha Club tonight. Which is a Christian organization that sends money to help different project groups in Africa.

"Our Vision

Mocha Club is an online community of people giving up the cost of 2 mochas a month – or $7 – to fund relief and development projects in Africa. We work in five main project areas: Clean Water, Education, Child Mothers + Women At Risk, Orphan Care + Vulnerable Children, and HIV/AIDS + Healthcare." (
I started a team for the Orphan Care + Vulnerable Children. You can join my team and donate $7 or more a month.  If anyone would like to join let me know! Here is my team link: Definitely checkout the website to find out more about the organization!

New Slang:
Toilet- which most people call the bathroom . "I'm going to the toilet" just sounds so weird. 
Roobs- Hicks
Tomato Sauce- Ketchup 
Bin- Trashcan

Friday, August 12, 2011

our home.

This is my room! It's slowly but surely coming together! Most everything is the cheapest way I could do it! The pictures are on pieces of twine. The mattress and the headboard were some of the things we found on the side of the road. The bedding is all from Big W ( kinda like Walmart but less cheap and less awesome). I bought the books for 20 cents each at an Op Shop (thrift store) which I'm using to make a bedside table.And thats my open closet. Wardrobes were way too expensive and so this is what I found. I am using lace curtains as the doors for my room. I think all of the openness and lack of privacy will help hold me accountable to keep my room clean. Everyone probably knows how bad I need to be held accountable for that. :/

Here are a few little snapshots of the house. How completely awesome is it that we have stained glass windows on our front door!? I think one of my favorite parts of the house is the balcony and the fact that its right outside my bedroom!!

Megan, Sarah and I had a houseWARMing party last night. We decided to bring a little summer to MelRose so everyone dressed summer attire. I took it as an excuse to throw on nike shorts and of course chacos. We had fun hanging out and jamming to some beach boys, california girls, summer lovin'... ya know all of the best summer music! The picture is some of the girls that came to the party (Bess, Michelle, Emily, Sarah and me)
Summer isn't complete without some ice cream with SPRINKLES!

Monday, August 8, 2011

"I think that might be illegal?!"

MelRose move in day was this past Saturday (the 6th)!! It was quite an adventure! It started with us dragging our HUGE suitcases, lugging a mattress and carrying a few chairs down a main road. Each trip we passed the same group of people sitting at a cafe. Needless to say, they weren't holding in their laughter. Afterwards, we had a friend drive us to a house to pick up a bed frame. Well, we got there and found that the frame didn't necessarily fit in the tiny car... we made it work.  
I sat in the back and held the bed parts with one hand and held a rope tied to the open door with the other. We were quite a sight driving down the road. Illegal or not, it worked. 

Driving back to our friend's house for lunch, we  happened to pass a wardrobe on the side of the road. We stopped and realized it was absolutely usable and decided to load it up. 

We tied the wardrobe to the top of the car with the rope. After having it completely secured down, we realized we had tied the doors shut. Oops. Nothings more fun then crawling through a car window.  Later that day, we found a mattress, cute doors and chairs on the side of the road as well.  Our rooms mainly have free furniture filling them. 
Successful move-in day. 

[I have been working on decorating and organizing my room. I will have pictures soon!]

Thanks to our wonderful friends, we have a cute little collection of house warming gifts! The succulent and cupcake were from the Shepki's (who also supplied Megan with the bed frame and us a kitchen table), our flowers were from the girls down the street in the "Lemon Tree House"( there is an awesome lemon tree in front of their house), and the INCREDIBLE coffee canvas is from our friend Emily(who also helped us get furniture from the road). 

Just keeping y'all updated!:)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Ms. Abby, what does y'all mean?"

I started work this week! It has been so interesting getting used to the way the school system is here. I have really loved it so far!!
 Anzuk is the teaching agency that is finding me jobs each day. At Megan and I's first interview with them, they gave us all of this supplies. We are supposed to carry it all with us each day. 
Check out those hats!! We are required to wear them for yard duty during the first and third term. Right now we are in the second term. Thank goodness those hat can stay in our backpacks for a couple more weeks. 

 This little travel mug saves me each day! With coffee I can conquer every early morning and stressful tram ride. 
 South West Brunswick is the school I have taught at Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and then I will be there tomorrow. It is a ten minute walk from the place I am staying. Most schools will be around 30-70 minutes away. I really lucked out with having the place! 
 Here is the school!! I love it! Monday I taught art, which was interesting. I have never taken art, so I had no idea what to do. I ended up having each class draw and color a picture that related to a book that I read. You can never go wrong with coloring. On Tuesday, I taught a 3/4/5 grade class. I got lucky and the student teacher for the class was with me! He was able to explain the work the students needed to do. This was a class full of personality. I loved hearing their ideas for different activities and even their creative excuses for not working. Wednesday, I was at Preston West with a 1/2 grade. It was also a good school but I missed the comfortable feel of South West. Today and tomorrow I am with 3/4 again. It is different class but they are equally as fun. Tomorrow I am able to go on a field trip with them!! I think I am more excited than the students. We are going into the city to watch an play about "The Ugly Duckling." I mean I am a little nervous to be in charge of 24 students on trams and walking around the CDB (downtown). It should be a good day filled with great stories!

Things I have learned this week:
-If you ask a student to "put up" their computer, he/she will stare at you blankly then ask you why you want their computer in the air. Supposedly this is something only southern states say. Neither the Canadian student teacher or the Californian girls I'm staying with understood what it meant either. 
-When they ask for "textas" they want markers.
-If they are complaining that their friends are not sharing their "rubbers" they mean erasers. No reason to worry. 
-Most schools have the students call the teachers by their first name. I'm not Ms. Probst, I'm Abby. It's weird. 
-The schools I've been to do not have a cafeteria. The students bring their lunch to eat in the class or on the playground.
-At least once a week the teachers have morning tea. America needs this!! Kids have recess and the teachers hang out in the staff room with yummy goodies. 
-The students have no idea what catch a bubble, crisscross apple sauce, or ducktail means. ( I dont really know why I thought they would.) 
- If they continue to squeal, "Ms. I'm busting. I'm busting. Please, I'm busting!!!" let them go to the bathroom. 

Miss y'all!