I’m back!

I know I know. I haven’t written since I’ve moved back to the states! I moved to San Francisco, CA  in February 2014 and even though the posts stopped, the exploring never did! Last year, I went to Eastern Europe (Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Croatia), New York, and Australia! I’ve been re-inspired to start up my blogging again after I saw the Places Pins on Pinterest!

Isn’t this amazing? All of my travel pins on a map! What an easy way for me to now share my travels and guides! This is my first travel guide, but I’m going to add all my travels from last year onward so that I can have them accompany my posts!  I encourage y’all to do the same!

Be on the lookout for more!

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The 5 things I miss the most about Australia

12 Apostles at Port Campbell on the Great Ocean Road

12 Apostles at Port Campbell on the Great Ocean Road


Obviously this list is endless, but I thought I would focus on the 5 things that have made Australia special to me and that will be irreplaceable. Living here has been amazing and I’m definitely going to miss it. I’ve had some of the best experiences hanging out with friends and studying. Sometimes I almost forget that I studied here as most of the great memories I can recall are the ones with friends. But okay, enough of this prologue, I’ll get on with the list.

5. Cycling: It’s no Denmark but Melbourne is definitely an amazing place to cycle. The streets are mostly wide, flat and some spots even have designated bike lanes. Living in the good side of the river has its benefits of great cafes and bike paths. Canning St is definitely the cycling super highway and there’s something to be said riding in a bike pack, with no cars in your way. I know a lot of people complain about how crap it is to cycle here and that drivers are aggressive, but compared to most cities…Melbourne is a cycling paradise. I wish SF wasn’t so hilly so I could continue cycling there, but then again, maybe I’ll just get some buns of steel to help me conquer those hills.

My ride!

My ride!

4. Public transport: I’m going to miss all the trams and trains here. PT in CA pales in comparison. I’m also going to miss all those funny ads about rhinos on skateboards. Now who thinks of that?! Oh, but one thing I won’t miss…myki. Goodness, what a horrible system? Melbourne, you didn’t invent the rechargeable travel card, so why didn’t you just copy any other existing system? To help sum up why myki is so dumb and expensive, here’s a site that explains things that are cheaper than myki.

Oh and I also will NOT miss running after the tram. Come on tram driver, if you see a lady in heels…wait, why don’t cha?!

Here are a couple of those funny ads.

Beware the rhinos!


Why is this woman riding a rhino?

3. Food: Anyone who knows me, knows that I love food. Basically I’m a fat kid in a small asian girl body. The best way for me to get to know a city is to eat. Melbourne has such amazing restaurants and so many of them are cheap eats. I love discovering new places and love trying new cuisines and it’s great that Melbourne is so multi-cultural in that respect. I’m even going to miss pies and sausage rolls. Who am I?!

Some of my reviews can be found here.

Now, does anyone know of a good curry laksa or pie in SF?

2. New experiences: From making new friends to exploring new places, I’ve had some amazing experiences here. I’ve been lucky enough to see more of Australia than many Australians I think. I’ve been to every capital, snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef, cross country skied in the Australian Alps, swam in the Indian and Southern Ocean, tanned on the famous Bondi Beach and dodged gators in gator country (ok, maybe not…it wasn’t gator season when I went to Northern Territory but still!).

Arnheim Land view from Ubirr

Arnheim Land view from Ubirr

Surfing in Anglesea!

Surfing in Anglesea!

Watching a Wallabies rubgy match!

Watching a Wallabies rubgy match!

Driving on the wrong side of the road!

Driving on the wrong side of the road!

Learning how to rock climb!

Learning how to rock climb!

1. Family: I’ve been amazingly lucky to have such wonderful friends that I can call my family. Without these friends, I seriously would not have enjoyed myself as much as I have and it would not be as hard to leave. I’m so glad that I was able to meet such amazing people in my masters program. Without them, the program would not have been as enjoyable. I’ll never forget all of our coffee dates, cheeky beers after CCPP, PEN nights, and catch-ups in the OEP lab. I’m so proud of all of us and I have no doubt we’ll eventually change this world and make it not so gloom and doom.

Being silly on Cinco de Mayo!

Being silly on Cinco de Mayo!


Last night in OZ with friends!

Last night in OZ with friends!

I’ll definitely miss my housemates, Nessa and Andrew. I’m going to miss all the delicious meals we’ve shared and all the times Nessa and I watched ‘Say Yes to the Dress,’ only to hear Andrew or Morten also comment on how bad the brides looked. It’s so hard finding good housemates and it’s even harder leaving them.

Andrew and Nessa being goofy.

Andrew and Nessa being goofy.

I’ll also miss all of my workmates. It’s been a blast working at Earthwatch for the last year. Everyone is so enthusiastic and passionate about their work, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for them in the future.

Drinks with my Earthwatch buddies!

Drinks with my Earthwatch buddies!

Lastly, I’m so happy to have Morten and Buddy. We’ve made a life here together and next year will definitely be hard without him and Buddy. He’s introduced me to so many people who I can call my own close friends and also to so many things, from cross country skiing to mountain biking to rock climbing. He’s encouraged me, pushed me to my limit and I’ve come up on the other side more adventurous and curious.

Enjoying some sun in Beechworth.

Enjoying some sun in Beechworth.

It’s definitely a bittersweet moment for me and I have no doubt I’ll see everyone again. So it’s not goodbye but more of a see ya later. Love you all and cannot wait to see where and when I will see you all next.

2012 in review

Whoa, people from 55 different countries visited my blog this year? That’s insane!!!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 8 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Middle Earth

Frodo, Gandalf, Aragorn (aka dirty human), Sam, and Legolas (well that’s all the LOTR characters that I can think of) had it special when they were travelling through Middle Earth. Now I didn’t do a LOTR tour, but totally not necessary as every place we went to looked exactly like the set. NZ really is a stunning place, filled with 100s of waterfalls, glaciers, cloud-piercing mountains, and sheep (lots and lots of sheep).

A few things about NZ:

  • New Zealanders are called Kiwis (too cute!). There is also the Kiwi bird and Kiwi fruit (tasted so much better in their own land).
  • Kiwis are not the same as Aussies. Don’t make the same mistake that Aziz made here.
  • Aotearoa, ‘land of the long white cloud,’ aka New Zealand was first inhabited by the Maori people, who travelled from French Polynesia about 1000 years ago.
  • NZ is rugby country. If you’ve never seen the All Blacks perform the haka, it’s chilling.
  • Keas, a native parrot, is a vicious bird. Do not feed it. It will attack your car trying to get food
    Kea attacking! I was eating a cookie at the time.

    Kea attacking! I was eating a cookie at the time.

  • Kiwis are outnumbered by sheep; the ratio stands at 1:9.Sheep!
  • Tramping, aka hiking, is a common activity.

Here are my highlights of our NZ trip:

Day 1: Akaroa & Bains Peninsula
Who knew we’d find France all the way in NZ? Akaroa is a cute seaside French town, complete with Frenchies and all! The views around Akaroa were amazing, definitely a good hideaway from Christchurch.

Overlooking Akaroa

Overlooking Akaroa

Day 2: Christchurch & Arthur’s Pass National Park
Christchurch was demolished in the 2011 earthquake and has yet to recover. The entire downtown is closed off with a wire fence and you cannot enter. Buildings are have there. Very sad that it’s taking them so long to rebuild. They do, however, have a really cool mall called the ‘Restart Mall.’ It takes old shipping containers and reuses them as buildings!

Restart Mall in Christchurch

Restart Mall in Christchurch

Day 3: Arthur’s Pass National Park & Franz Joseph Glacier
Morten and I camped in Arthur’s Pass Natl. Park which was freezing! We did the Otira Valley tramp, which ends at the footbridge but you can continue if you’re mountaineering.

Enjoying the walk through the Otira Valley

Enjoying the walk through the Otira Valley

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Otira Valley walk

Otira Valley walk

On our way to Franz Joseph Glacier, we picked up some hitchhikers, Mike and Steve, from the US. They were WFA-ing (pronounced woofing), which is short for Working for Food and Accommodation. Apparently that’s the best way to do NZ, as it’s free and you get luxurious meals and digs at the homestays.

Franz Joseph Glacier

Franz Joseph Glacier


Mike and Steve from the US

Mike and Steve from the US

Day 4: Fox Glacier & Wanaka
Starting to get tired on our long drives, we didn’t get up to Fox Glacier but did manage to do a walk around Lake Mattheson. Lake Mattheson has stunning views of Mt. Cook in its background and it a very well-maintained track. It is only 1.5 hours return, which we did in 1 hr.

Circuit loop around Lake Matheson with Mt. Cook in the background

Circuit loop around Lake Matheson with Mt. Cook in the background

Enjoying Lake Wanaka

Enjoying Lake Wanaka


Wanaka was gorgeous, probably one of my favourite spots. The residents are seriously spoiled by the views they have on their lake.

Day 5: Te Anau
Gateway to the Fiords and at risk of being totally bypassed by the proposed underground trainline from Queenstown to Milford Sound, Te Anau was gorgeous and the people were even friendlier.

Day 6: Milford Sound in the Fiordland National Parks
Before heading into the sound, we did a 4hr return walk into Gertrude Saddle. It was a challenging walk since I couldn’t tell where the trail was and it was pretty rocky. We stopped right before the saddle since we knew we still had a full day ahead of us in the Sound and needed to conserve some nergy.

Gertrude Saddle

Gertrude Saddle

Just out of LOTRs, there is an air of eerieness to the sound. We caught it on a good day, which is rare, but our photos didn’t come out as amazing as we’d hoped. On our way back, we picked up more hitchhikers, Magnus and Mads from Denmark. Nice dudes and Morten got on very well with them since all they could do was talk about cycling the entire 2.5 hours back to Te Anau.

Milford Sound in the Fiordland National Park

Milford Sound in the Fiordland National Park

Day 7/8: Queenstown
I didn’t know what to expect in Queenstown, adventure capital of the world. Seriously, this place was bumping. Everywhere you went, there were backpackers, young and old, signing up for jet-boating, skydiving, bungy-jumping…you name it. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t like going fast and I’m a big ol’ scaredy cat so there was no way I was doing any of those things. Probably better for it as it cost over $150 to do any of that. Morten and I were content enough to hang out around town, drink some Montheiths (their west coast brewery is here), and enjoy some Ferg Burger. Our kiwi housemate gave us a few recs before we came to NZ and one of them was to try Ferg Burger. Hailing from the land that brought us burgers and all of its glory, you can sense my skepticism of any other burger joint. Well, well, well…was I put in my place! Now let’s relish in these glorious, mouth-watering photos of the ‘Mr. Big Stuff’ burger that nearly ended my NZ trip (I was pretty much bed-ridden with a food baby after this beast).

Mr. Big Stuff = mouthwatering

Mr. Big Stuff = mouthwatering

Day 9: Mt. Cook Aoraki National Park
Mt. Cook or Aoraki or ‘cloud-piercer’ is 3,754 metres (12316.273 feet) and is the tallest mountain in NZ. One of the best things about Mt. Cook Village was the visitor’s centre, which carefully details all the history about the mountain, the region, the first glacial expedition, the first female mountaineers to climb it, the way it was formed and so much more! It was a mini-museum dedicated to the region. Very cool and a definite must if you’re interested in learning. We had gorgeous weather and rushed to climb up the Mueller Hut Hike because the next day was supposed to be rainy and windy. This was my first over-night hike.

Just look at this!

Just look at this!


Mt. Cook and Mt. Sefton

Mt. Cook and Mt. Sefton

Mt. Sefton and Mt. Cook

Mt. Sefton and Mt. Cook

camping

camping

Tramping!

Tramping!

Sunrise over Mt. Cook

Sunrise over Mt. Cook

Day 10: Lake Tekapo
After spending the morning enjoying Mt. Cook, we headed to Lake Tekapo. It was absolutely gorgeous, aside from the fact that it was so packed we couldn’t find a bed in any hostel! We ended up camping another night, but I didn’t mind since we had a view like this.

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

Day 11: Back to Christchurch
Our last night in NZ was spent driving around for about 1 hr trying to find a place to sleep. There’s an accommodation shortage due to the 2011 earthquakes. We pretty much gave up on finding a place and met up with Morten’s friend, Cyril, who he met during his North American adventure earlier in the year.

Scrabble!

Scrabble!


After a good night of catching up with Cyril, we ended up camping at the holiday park for our last night and managed to camp next to Magnus and Mads, the Danish hitchhikers we gave a ride to in Milford Sound! It’s a very strange thing to see people you’ve met traveling on the other side of the planet, where you plan it or not.

All in all, NZ is amazing place, which is unrivaled in its beauty. At any one time, you can be surrounded by mountains, lakes, creeks and dense old growth forests. Even if you aren’t doing anything but driving, it’s still more beautiful than some of the places I’ve seen around the world.

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Australiana with a dash of Americana

I’ll start off with, no football game is complete without a nice brew and some buffalo wings. Yesterday, it was the Australian Rules Football (AFL) Grand Final (GF) aka their superbowl and we were all gathered to watch it. Hawthorn Hawks vs. Sydney Swans. Now the thing about AFL that should be mentioned is that it is primarily played in Victoria but other states have teams in the league. Victoria is footy country whereas New South Wales and Queensland are rugby country. So I’m guessing most of Victoria was devastated to see Sydney in the GF over one of their other ten teams. Even more devastating was that Sydney won yesterday. Tears everywhere…unless you were a Geelong fan as their natural enemies are Hawthorn so you were happy to see them go down, if it wasn’t by your own hands.

Watching the game at an AFL viewing party is very similar to watching the superbowl at a superbowl party sans the wings, coors light/bud light, red cups, great commercials and an awesome half time show. Wait, what am I talking about? An AFL Grand Final is nothing like the Superbowl.

Tips to improve AFL Grand Finals:

  1. Add some glitz and glamour to your coverage.
  2. Get better advertisers, especially during commercials.
  3. Bigger and better halftime show (sorry The Temper Trap, as much as I love you, you were a bit out of your element there?).
  4. Note to self: Always bring buffalo wings to a viewing party. The only redeeming factor of sports bars are buffalo wings (disclaimer: I don’t eat meat, but I make an exception when it’s American inspired).

Venturing out onto the streets after the party, we milled around looking for an adequate bar and as a last resort, went into The Kodiak Club. To my surprise, it was a bourbon bar and you know what that means! America! Little fact: Bourbon is American whisky brewed in Kentucky. And what do you know, they had a late night kitchen and what was on the menu? Buffalo wings and all kinds of fatty American treasures (i.e. mozzarella sticks, sliders, grilled cheese) and so many American and Mexican beers to make you squeal like a little school girl! They even had some Canadian things to make it all so North American (mooseheads and smoked maple syrup).

So all in all, the night turned out even better than I expected. Got my Australian fix with the AFL Grand Final and also got my American fix with the buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks and Sam Adams. Thank you Kodiak Club for making an American feel at home in this strange land of koalas, kangaroos and AFL.

And now I’ll leave you with photos of the buffalo wings that made my night, the last seconds of the GF (boys are not too bad on the eyes)and the best commercial of the game.

(This is just one of the many great commercials featuring Rhonda, the safe driver. See below.

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Going to the Outback MATE!

Arnheim Land view from Ubirr

Whew, it is HOT! This post is about 2 mo overdue, but I’m still feeling the heat (and bug bites) from Darwin. As part of my goal to complete my bucket list before I leave, I decided to book some tickets with my girlfriends to Darwin…all the way in Northern Territory to trek through Kakadu National Park. It is a long way to go for just a weekend trip, but the Melbourne winter was making me hate all my friends in CA even more for complaining about all the sun they were getting, while I was getting pastier than the creme you find in an oreo.

I’m not sure why, but everyone we told about our trip to Darwin was making this face O_o. It’s no duckface, but it’s also not very comforting when we knew it was just going to be just us 5 girls, going around the Outback. I think it’s more because most Australians had never been to Darwin so it made them realise that I, an international kid, was seeing more of Australia in 2 years than they had in their entire lives! But then again, my boyfriend has seen more of the US in 6 months than I have in 24 years.

Well getting on to our adventures (or mis-adventures really), 5 girls in a 4WD…Darwin and Kakadu (and us) should have been warned.

Now, what’s funnier than 5 girls trying to navigate our ways in a 4WD? 5 girls trying to navigate in THIS 4WD.

our sweet ride. not!


just when I thought massive cock was bad…


(Seriously? Who thinks of these things?!). Everywhere we went, we were asked ‘Oh you’re the girls in the massive cock, right?’ ‘Yes, man old enough to be my grandfather, we are the girls riding in the massive cock. Glad you think it’s hilarious…’ I don’t think I could have been any more mortified, but at least that is the great thing about Australians, they can always laugh. I guess if we were 5 dudes driving around in that, no one would have thought it was hilarious, but fortunately we are 5 cute (or so we were told by everyone we spoke with) girls driving in a massive cock.

So lessons learned from our trip:
1. Travel with girls and everyone offers to help.
2. Always put on insect repellent (my poor legs!)
3. Stopping on the side of the road to take a break from driving is a foreign idea to men.
4. Karaoke at 1am is always a good idea, especially when the Asian hostess is begging you to sing Achy-Breaky Heart.
5. Even if it’s the dry season, crocodiles are still around. I swear I saw one when we were at the river.
6. Always be open minded. You never quite know who you’ll meet! Totally true seeing as we ended up camping alongside some awesome Darwinians on one of the nights in Kakadu.
7. I’m really good a busting u-turns in a massive van. My lack of direction requires that I master this skill.

Now here’s some photos to make you jealous.

View of Arnheim Land from Ubirr

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My traveling bucketlist

A bucket list? Really? Could I be anymore cliche? Why yes I think I could. Well regardless of how overdone these lists are…I’m still making one and should you choose to read it, then good on’ya 🙂

Here it goes:
1. Go to the Outback. Nearly 1.5 years here and I haven’t been to the outback? What am I doing with my life. New mission: go to Uluru asap.Uluru in Northern Territory

2. Eat crocodile and emu. I don’t care that I’m a vegetarian…or occasional for that matter, I’d still like to try these suckers. I’ve had kangaroo, now to move onto some wilder meats. [Update: totally ate crocodile and it has the consistency of calamari but tastes like chicken? strange. it was deep-fried and i dipped it in aioli which makes everything on earth better.]

3. Adelaide and Barossa Valley – time for me to sample the fine wines of Southern Australia. [Update: heading here on April, 7!] [Update 2: did not end up going, still on bucket list]

4. Perth and Freemantle, WA – 35+ degree weather all year round? Sounds like paradise. Must go here when Melbourne is too cold to function.

5. Kakadu National Forest and the Daintree Rainforest: Just look at this video! Kakadu National Forest, Northern Territory
Oh and I must go ziplining in the Daintree, just look at her go! [Update: Tickets booked for Darwin in August!]

6. Canberra, ACT: Lived here for 1.5 years and I haven’t been to the nation’s capital? Appalling, especially since I did a mini-lecture on the urban planning of it! [Update: Visiting Canberra in July and it’s a lot smaller than I thought. Julia was not there so I couldn’t hi-five her. Bummer.]
Parliament House in Canberra, ACT[/caption]

7. Driving on the left side of the road! [Update: Successfully accomplished]

8. New Zealand: I must find Frodo and the rest of the hobbits soon! I’m planning this for September!

9. Dingoes! I have to see a dingo in the wild! I’ve seen kangaroos, echidnas, koalas, wombats, wallabies, and kookaburras out in the wild. Time to fly up to Fraser Island to see these cute doggies! [Update: Dingoes = not so cute doggies. Spotted one walking around Jabiru in NT and I just felt bad. It was a mix stray dingo and I didn’t take a photo because it felt like animal cruelty…poor thing.]

10. Graduate! Not really a traveling thing to do, but it’s the real reason I’m here (as much as I try to forget lol). Just 6 more month til you can call me Master. Bow down minions.

This list will probs get updated the closer I get to graduating. Cross my fingers I can tick everything off the list!

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Getting an edumacation…

In total, I’ve lived in Australia for 1.5 years in the last 3.5 years and there are definitely a few things I’ve learned. I know you’re probably saying ‘Wait, Kristine’s over there to learn? We thought she was just hemorraging money via drinks, traveling, and shopping (more or less true).’ For all you non-believers, I’ve compiled a list of all the things that I’ve learned during my time abroad (or at least remember).

1. If you’re clumsy off a bike, then you’re clumsy ON a bike I know how to ride a bike, just not well. How does that work? Easy. I fall a lot. Thank god for helmets…I should really wear knee guards but I don’t think that’s acceptable for a 23 year old, right? My last fall was more embarrassing than usual. How, you ask? Well, imagine me coming to a stop and managing to fall off my bike as I was trying to get off. Is that even possible? Yes, I have my scars to prove it. What’s worse? The look from the dude who was walking toward me as I did it. Shaking your head at a total stranger should be outlawed.

2. Disco nap. How did I not know what these were called before? If you don’t know, they are naps you take before you gotta haul ass to get to a disco. lol. Going out here is so diff from home and sometimes I don’t come home until 5/6am, meaning, I need lots of energy to make it through the night. Red bulls, monsters, and V’s are okay but nothing is as satisfying as a disco nap to keep me nice and refreshed before a night of going out 🙂

3. Doing things with people is overrated. Shopping alone, watching movies alone, dancing alone, eating alone, traveling alone, drinking alone…you name it. There isn’t one thing that I haven’t done where I didn’t have to do it alone at least once. And you know what, it’s awesome. No one to rush you, to judge you (maybe on the drinking alone part…but you don’t know them), or to force you to do something that you don’t want to do. Awesome.

4. American-isms or just Kristine-isms? I’m not saying I’m a weird, but there sure are a lot of things I do that are unique. The two biggest things are probably my facial expressions and they way I pronounce/emphasize things. Now, I don’t necessarily know all of them but I have been asked numerous times by my Aussie friends ‘Do all Americans do that or is that just you?” That is HA-larious.

5. Every Australian actor that has made it in Hollywood was on Neighbors or Home and Away.

6. Americans rule when it comes to donuts, among other things. Lol, not that I really needed to go abroad to learn this, but my travels has just reinforced it. First of all, american donuts are bomb. Australians seem to believe that good donuts = jam donuts. Psh. They are rudely mistaken. Good donuts are bready donuts made by Cambodians, am I right?

7. Always carry an umbrella or jumper. Melbourne is the city of 4 seasons in one day, no joke.

8. Never read the Herald Sun, unless it’s for the quiz. One of the most right-wing and conservative papers, the Herald Sun spews more than a lightweight college freshman. Unfortunately it is one of the most read newspapers in Melbourne, so you have people actually listening to Andrew Bolt, among other spew-writers. Bleh.

9. Australia is the largest continent by area where everyone drives on the left side.

10. The coffee here is boss. Coffee snobbery has taken a new level here in Melbourne. Back in the 1980s, Melbourne underwent a massive city revitalisation project where they took back the streets and coverted dingy alleyways into beautiful laneways, boasting over 300 cafes. Two coffees a day is now typical for me. Don’t talk to me before then.

11. Summer festivities rock! From music festivals like Meredith to Falls, or outdoor cinemas, Melbourne is great at organising outdoor events during the summer months. Any day of the week you can entertain yourself by going to the night market at Vic Markets, to a movie at Moonlight Cinemas, or to Symphony in the Park! I’ve never known another city to be so dedicated to summertime activities as Melbourne and I gotta say, other cities should adopt their approach fast! http://www.broadsheet.com.au/melbourne/ and http://thethousands.com.au/melbourne/ are great blogs for all the happenings!

Well I’m sure I’ve learned more, but that’s all that my little brain can write at the moment.

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American holidays down under?

I wonder how ex-pats celebrate their holidays abroad…especially if the holiday is ENTIRELY foreign to that host country. Fortunately American television (god bless Hollywood) has infiltrated enough countries that I don’t have that problem. Naturally the best holidays to celebrate that aren’t typical in Australia are Cinco de Mayo, 4th of July, Halloween and Thanksgiving! Celebrating it here really makes you think about why you are celebrating it…whether it’s just to get drunk and eat candy or to celebrate our Independence (What up England?) or to give thanks and enjoy a nice meal with your loved ones (and to eat pumpkin pie).

Tac-O!

4th of July aka America’s Birthday – There’s nothing as American as apple pie…tru dat. Celebrating America’s birthday was awesome…aside from the fact that it was freezing winter! No fireworks, but we did have sparklers (note to self: sparklers burn holes in furniture…) Eating burgers, mac & cheese, and apple pie, what a better way to say ‘I love America!’ It was kinda strange celebrating with the Aussies, since they are still under the British crown…legally. Yay America for beating those redcoats out!

Apple Pie!

Halloween – Messy messy night…what turned out to be a relatively innocent party turned into mayhem. I guess what do you expect when it’s halloween? We had mummy and goblin cakes, ghost lollies..oh and plenty of booze. Quite a good showing from the Aussies, who really have only been celebrating Halloween for the past few years. The most typical question I got asked about Halloween was ‘What should I wear…should I go as something scary?” My response: ‘No, didn’t you see Mean Girls?” lol. I try to block out the rest of halloween since it was pretty traumatizing…let’s just say it involved me pretending to sleep while others ran around naked in the house…god, how have we not had the po po called on us yet?

Turkey Day! – Trying to explain Thanksgiving to others is a pretty strange thing. The origins are quite horrific…I recall msot of my elementary school days the teachers telling us that it was the first meal shared between the pilgrims and the American Indians…a peaceful meal. It wasn’t until later on that our teachers actually began to tell us what it really signified…the overtaking of America. What a shame. But despite the bad origins, it has evolved to become a nice meal shared between loved ones and that’s how I explained it to the Aussies. We had everything from turkey to green bean cassarole to pumpkin pie! Unfortunately they don’t sell canned pumpkins (imagine the looks I got from Aussies when I asked them about it…it looked something like this O_0) so I had to make it from scratch. Not too shabby, it turned out all right but not as sweet as I had hoped. Oh well, next time! Celebrating Thanksgiving abroad really makes you thankful for all the loved ones you have back home and all the new ones you’ve gained in your travels. I’m so incredibly fortunate to have met so many great people and to reatin my friendsships back home 🙂

Haha, why do all my holidays involve food? Oh well. I was a fat kid in another life, I won’t deny it.

2:15 finish?

Huzzah! 2:15 finish…what a long 2 hrs and 15 mins that was! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I finished the Melbourne Half Marathon in 2:15…maybe a little less, can’t recall what time I crossed the start line. But anyways, as my 2nd half marathon, I am pretty please with myself…considering that I ran this HM 20 mins faster than last years Nike run. Yay! The first 10 km was a breeze and then that’s when it went downhill…I didn’t see any markers until we were at the 18km and by that point I wanted to die. Once I saw the 3km, I thought ‘Breeze…I’ll finish this in 2hrs no problem.” WRONG. Running along I was like ‘Hell yes, I’m so there…where’s the finish line?? Um, yea…then I saw the 2km sign…say what? It took me 10 mins to run 1 km? YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! The last 3km were so brutal, I was about to give up but why would you give up in the last second? Yea, I pushed on and finally saw the finish line, you can’t imagine how happy I was 😀 (<-something like that) I guess I ran so hard during the race (approximately 6:34min/km) that I ripped my shoe! Hahaha! So glad for it to be over…this training has been more intense but it totally paid off. Now I can add this finisher’s medal to my collection. Thanks to everyone who donated and supported me. Until next year!

Only 2 km to go and in pain!