Category Archives: learning

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.

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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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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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