Category Archives: celebration

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.

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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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.