"To the end's of the earth will you follow me?"

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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

My Promise(s)

Over the past few months and years even,  I've learned the differences in the world, the haves and have nots, the societal restraints and the boxes in which we are meant to confine in. I realized that this is not a life I want. I want to feel alive, strong, and independent not confined by gender stereotypes or roles in which I'm supposed to be fulfilling because society says so. So instead of setting resolutions I made promises.

1. I promise to smell the roses. To savor every moment. To remember how I feel, now, today because life is pretty great.

2. I promise to always and unapologetically be myself because there is never any reason to be anyone other than me.

3. I promise to always speak my mind and be honest with myself, make decisions for me and not for anyone else. I promise not to apologize for how I feel, what I believe in, and what I stand up for. I promise to be unapologetic about my feelings, to cry my eyes out, to laugh until my stomach aches, and to smile every goddamn day.

4. I promise to make mistakes and a whole lot of 'em. I promise not to scare so easily, take risks and push my limits and fears. I promise to change my mind a million times, go down the wrong path, loose myself, and never play it safe.

5. I promise to live with grace and always forgive myself and others. Not to punish myself for my mistakes and bad decisions. I promise to forgive and forget, allow past lovers and friends happiness and move forward.

6. I promise to date the Wrong Guy, the Mr. Right Now Guy, the he's-super-cute-but-we-have-nothing-in-common guy, the he's-so-not-into-me guy, guys who give me butterflies and probably guys who make me cry. But mostly, I promise to ditch all the wrong guys and date the Right Guy, and never, ever confuse the guy who loves my body and the guy who loves my mind, but cherish the man who loves both equally.

7. I promise to continue learning, growing, and educating myself with music, literature, movies, love, language and culture. I promise to chase my dreams and never settle for less than what I know or deserve.

8. I promise to pay it forward and give back to those people before me, after me, and all around me. Not to fight back but fight harder for the people I love and for this precious earth.

9. I promise to drink to much whiskey, dance until my toes bleed, sleep in late and often, sing too loud, eat too many peanut m&m's, consume too much coffee, binge watch Netflix and not feel sorry about it.

10. I promise to dress how I feel, wear too-high heels and that little black dress, and not feel ashamed or mistake my femininity for sluttiness. I promise to appreciate my body and these curves.

11. I promise to keep making plans, for today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. I promise to always want more and always reach for exciting and better things than today.

12. I promise to be patient and not stress the little or big things in life. I promise to understand this journey, this place, this time, and the people in my life as a whole.

13. I promise to love, every day. I promise to fall head-over-heals in love, to be fully and passionately in love, to express my love, even if it's the single most terrifying act we do. I promise to equally give and receive love. I promise to tell my family and friends I love them all the time.

Happy New Year!

Xx

Monday, 15 December 2014

First Couple Weeks in Melbourne

If you could see my now I'd be jumping for joy because that is how Melbourne makes me feel!

We started off with a bang!

We arrived on Thanksgiving, which of course doesn't exist here. We were picked up by a friend of mine, Paul McMahon, and stayed with his family for a long weekend. They are American-Australian and we got to celebrate a beautiful, sunny, Thanksgiving with them. They have a wonderful tradition - each year one of their kids gets to choose the guest list. The table consisted of 3 Australian families, the McMahons, and the 3 random American girls. It was awesome.

We helped prepare pies, appetisers, and traditional Thanksgiving dishes. We shared stories and expanded our circle of influences, friends, and family.

Julie and Paul gave us lots of pointers and showed us around Melbourne a bit. We are so thankful they opened their home to us! 

On our third day in Melbourne, we rented a car, picked up our friend, who happened to be in the city at the same time, and took a road trip to The Great Ocean Road. Holy schnikes it was beautiful and probably the best day we've had in Australia! The company, music, and view was wonderful. And since I'm most likely to get car sick, I got all the front row action! (Proud to admit no sickness occurred!) 



Along the way we stopped at Bells Beach, or surfers paradise, and watched all the hunky men catch some waves. I can't decide if I was more impressed with the surfing or their bodies and sexy man buns ...oops.




Continuing down the winding, scenic road with the ocean on the left and wildlife on the right, we finally made it to the 12 Apostles, which is now only 11 since one collapsed. These giant rock formations stick out in the middle of the ocean creating the most beautiful, and breath taking views. We walked down the famous Gibson Steps, 86 steps total, to the beach. I was gently tackled by the waves. 


On our way back we stopped at the cutest little beach town, Lorne, grabbed some food and soaked up the sun.

When we got back to Melbourne, we went to St. Kilda to visit the ferry penguins. I was actually shocked how many there were and how close to you they come! Plus, their adorableness just makes you all warm n' fuzzy inside!

We decided that day that Melbourne was the best decision we've made yet.

Since then, we've been living with a woman who runs her own business, The Difference Global. And based on our personal skill set and education, we are helping her in all different aspects: filming, writing, editing, web developing, and brand communication. 

Kayce and I picked up an additional holiday job - the Reindeer People. We sell reindeer antlers to raise money for the Children's Cancer Institute. It's fun; we dance and kindly harass people on the street for money.

It seems like everyday we find something new in the city. We've wandered around finding awesome street art, amazing shopping, and the cutest outdoor restaurants. Melbourne is known for it's coffee and trust me, it satisfies every caffeine desire, want, lust, and need. There are a handful of Starbucks in the city but no one goes there. It's all about the locally sourced shop or stand. 

This is the first time I've felt at home since living in Australia. Melbourne is definitely a city I could live in and I'm so happy to be visiting! 










Xx

Saturday, 6 December 2014

10 Things You Learn While Working in Hospitality

1. Travel Stories - Some of my favorite memories were sitting in the kitchen, lounge, or by the fire listening to men and women of all different ages and backgrounds share their love for wanderlust.
2. You learn to take everything with a grain of salt. You can't please everyone, and you can't let one bad customer ruin your day.
3. You learn valuable customer service skills, and the power of a smile. 
4. Treat others the way you want to be treated. You can tell a lot about a persons' character by how they treat their inferiors. And trust me, in the hospitality industry, we've seen it all.
5. Don't kill the messenger. We don't make the rules; we just enforce them! And, no, I can't make exceptions just for you.
6. Cleanliness counts. Yes, I am a maid. No, I'm not a personal hand wiper.
7. Some people zig while you zag. But we learn to accept others because hey, we're all humans.
8. You appreciate the little things like air conditioning, free wifi, free towels... you catch my drift.
9. It's super rewarding when someone on TripAdvisor comments on your services.
10. You make new friends and connections with people from all over the world. And that my friends makes it all worthwhile.

Cheers!

Xx

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Great Keppel Island

The entire time we lived in Yeppoon everyone told us that we MUST go to the island.That it is the hidden gem of Australia. Well everyone was right. After our 3 month stay at the Coral Inn Resort, the girls and I took a 3-day mini vacation to Great Keppel Island. The island is located right off the coast of Yeppoon and is part of the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Blessed with sunshine, white sand beaches, and no job obligations, we spent three days soaking up the sun, paddle boarding, and snorkeling. 

We took the ferry from Keppel Bay Marina, Yeppoon, which took us directly to the Island. The island, even more beautiful than I had anticipated, has a few hostel resorts, a couple of private homes, and one restaurant. We stayed at the Holiday Village Hostel, which has a combination of backpacker rooms, private cabins, and private tents. We stayed in the backpacker room but if I ever make it back I'm staying in a tent; they were just so cool! There's no air conditioning, hardly any electricity, and definitely no wifi. We kept time by following the sun, and it felt amazing to be unplugged



Holiday Village Accomodation

Our days were spent on the beach, sun bathing, paddle boarding, and snorkeling. The water was a magnificent turquoise blue and very clear. You could see straight to the bottom of the ocean! Late afternoon, during low tide, we snorkeled and saw tons of fish, large and small, sting rays, star fish, and coral. The sting rays like to lay in the sand and when you get near one it will scatter out of the sand and swim away, normally. But Danielle accidentally stepped on one because they are nearly impossible to see. We all freaked out for a moment because that is the only time they will sting you. But luckily that didn't happen! We saw a starfish with 8 legs! I've never seen one so big before. It was amazing how comfortable the fish were around us. While some would immediately swim away, others floated around us. Some fish were so white/clear that you could lose them quickly until the sun made them shimmer. We saw a Dory, teeny tiny turquoise fish, large brown and yellow, and everything in between. 

(We decided to save our scuba diving for a bigger trip to Carins.)

I clearly got the technique down.



















The evenings consisted of sitting on the beach front, drinking a Keppel Sunset, eating fresh fish, and playing cards. Even Danielle had a Pina Colada! She was tipsy after one drink and we were all happy on life. We got to watch the sun set over our little Yeppoon and enjoy the ocean breeze. On our walks back to our bunks we star gazed. I'm still in awe over the abundance of stars you can see in Australia.

 
 


The best part about the island is it's exclusivity! At most there were a handful of people on the beach. It felt like were were on our very own private island. There are no roads or sidewalks, sand is everywhere! I constantly smelled like salt, sweat, and sunscreen and loved every second of it. Salty beach waves and sunburnt lips were inevitable. I'm 100% positive that I doubled the amount of freckles on my body. And everyone on the island, you know all 50 of them, is happy. I highly recommend Great Keppel Island. It is truly a hidden gem that you need to take advantage of. 


Xx






Sunday, 9 November 2014

Life in Poon Town

Yikes, it's been a while since I last updated my life here in Yeppoon. And I apologize for the sexual innuendo title, but really there had to be one joke regarding "Yeppoon."

Here's what you've missed:

Recently, we visited the Koorana Crocodile Farm - thanks in part to the free tickets we received from Tom and Gabi. To be honest I wasn't' all that excited to visit a croc farm but hey it was free so "why not?" (And yes, in case you were wondering I am singing Hilary Duff's hit single "why not" in my head and it has become a bit of a theme song for us!) BUT the croc farm was pretty exciting and I learned a lot of useful information, which of course I will share with you all because your lives may depend on it one day.

1. I always heard that running in a "zig-zag" formation will help you escape them faster because they run in straight lines...WRONG VERY WRONG. Crocs are smart and pick up on patterns. If you go left, right, left, they KNOW your next move. 

2. DO NOT RUN UP A TREE. Not that I could do that anyway. But for those who are a bit more athletic than I, a crocodile will wait 6-12 months (depending on sex) for you to return to land. 

3. They are extremely territorial and protective of their kin. Their nests look like small mounds, generally close to small patches of water.

4. They can control their blood flow, WOW! If a part of their body is wounded they can stop the blood flow to that area so they don't bleed out. Pretty cool.

So, if you ever encounter a fresh water or salt water croc or think they may be one in the water (since water is like an invisibility cloak for them) there are 2 things you should do. 1) Panic. It jump starts your adrenaline which helps in step two. 2) Run fast exactly the way you entered. 


Other than the fact that crocs will eat you alive, they are pretty sweet animals. They have the purest, leanest meat and their coats are literally worth thousands of dollars. 

Unfortunately, Yeppoon isn't that hoppin' but luckily we live 5 minutes from the beach and have a pool at our disposal 24 hours a day. Sometimes I forget that it is only spring time here when our days are averaging 88* and we don't have air conditioning. The pool keeps us sane and cool. On Tuesdays we go the the Cinemas for half priced movies. Everyone MUST see FURY. It was amazing. Brad Pitt and Shia Labouf's performances were Oscar worthy in my eyes. They have a mini car called Bruno that we are allowed to use regularly and we love taking long drives along the coast and seeing the rural side of Australia. 

The Jehle's have us over for Sunday dinners, which is pretty awesome. They are amazing cooks and it means that we get to eat real food. Lots of fish and fresh veggies and salads! Mostly I'm just in salad heaven.


Lobster Dinner
This was perfect for me because I'm already the messiest eater and I wasn't required to use silverware. Although, I made a mental note to never go on a lobster dinner date. 

I'm pretty lucky to be on this trip with Danielle and Kayce because they also share my love for reading and movie watching. AND the Jehle's have over 1,000 movies to choose from. Literally. On nights that we man the reception area is the best because it's a movie marathon and puppy snuggle session. 

On more recent news, I got inked (mom and dad that means I got a tattoo, sorry). Danielle, Kayce, and I got matching triangle tats. It's small and black and kind of makes me want to get another. But don't freak Carol, that won't happen anytime soon. I'm poor. 





 We have 2 more weeks left in Yeppoon before we start our next travels. I couldn't be more excited to see move on and see more. Our stay at Coral Inn has been good but (prepare yourself for a short rant) I'm a firm believer that proper training for a job makes a huge difference. Unfortunately, we were not trained at all to run the Inn. The owners constantly leave out seriously vital information and we are left to pick up the scraps. At first, I blamed it on the language barrier. But honestly, they speak really good English. Customer service is never an easy job but I've had lots of experience with it in the past, with proper training. Often times we are left to do reception/check-in with little to no direction about the customer needs, specific wants, or how much they have prepaid by using a booking agency. And so it seems, without fail, that every time we do check-in something weird and unexpected happens, which we were never prepared for. Or it gets really awkward when they forget to tell us a room to clean and then we show a new customer a dirty room... We were slightly warned by the couple who worked here before us and decided to take it upon ourselves to write a manual to help out the next workers. End rant. 

This, however, has nothing to do with how wonderful they are to us. They treat us like family, and their son, Elvis (pretty awesome name) considers us one of his best friends. We are lucky girls. 

Next on our travel agenda:

Nov. 23 - Our last day working at Coral Inn
Nov. 24-27 - Great Keppel Island to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef
Nov. 27 - Fly to Melbourne first to stay with a friend of a friend who is graciously allowing us to crash and celebrate Thanksgiving with them!
Dec. 1 - Move across to the West side of Melbourne to Jacqueline's and start our new job (working 2 hours for accommodation). She is an independent film maker currently producing a documentary!
Jan 14 - Fly to New Zealand for 2 weeks and a farewell to Kayce :(
February - Sydney!

Lots to look forward!

Xx

Meghan


Friday, 29 August 2014

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Well, we've been in Australia for a month and Yeppoon for 1 week! This small, beach town, 25 thousand people, is my new home for the next 3 months. Danielle, Kayce, and I accepted a woofing, work for accommodation, position at The Coral Inn - Flashpackers resort/hostel. 

However, our trip took 3.5 days! From Adelaide we flew 3 hours to Brisbane. We stayed at Blue Tongue Hostel. I don't recommend this joint. The location is about 2 miles from the city and it's on a hill so we had to lug our suitcases up very steep stairs, in the rain. For us, it would've been more economical to stay at the hostel in the city pay a few extra bucks a night, rather than paying for public transportation. But you live and learn, and we were only there for about 36 hours. Unfortunately, it rained the whole time we were in Brissy, so the most exciting things we did included: visiting an old church, climbing the bell tower, and sitting on the ferry that takes you around the whole city. 

View from the bell tower of the church we visited:




Next stop was Rockyhampton. We took a 7 hour train from Brissy to Rocky. I much prefer trains because there's always so much to see! But be warned, train luggage weight limits are often a few kilos less! I had to wear a few extra layers. We stayed one night in Rocky. Nothing noteworthy here, except we ate Dominios pizza!

Finally, we took a 30 minute bus to Yeppoon! The bus stop is about 500 meters to the resort/hostel, which is fine except we had 40 kilo of luggage and it was about 23 degrees Celsius. 

Alas, we made it! There are 2 dorm rooms for backpackers, 9 private rooms that accommodate 2-3 guests, plus a honeymoon suite. We have our own private staff room, which has a bunk bed, single on top and full on the bottom. Danielle and I are great snuggle buddies, except when I steal all the covers. Basically our mornings are busy with cleaning. We have to strip the beds, clean the bathrooms, vacuum, do the laundry, clean the kitchen and pool area in addition to any miscellaneous tasks the owners, Tom and Gabi, give us. Basically my life is fitted sheets and duvet covers. Remember trying to add a fitted sheet to your bunk bed in college? Yeah. I have to do that everyday. We generally work from 9:30a-2p - not a bad gig! If anything this job made me realise how utterly filthy my college apartment was...


Coral Inn - Flashpackers


In the afternoons/evenings we walk to the beach, go on a run, hike, and explore this little yet beautiful town. The beaches along Yeppoon are one of the only beaches on the east coast of Australia that you can swim in all year long because there are no-stinging fishies! There are loads of tiny of islands on the coast that we plan on visiting. Tom and Gabi have a boat and will take us on some adventures. They are really sweet people. Originally from Germany, they've travelled the world and moved here about 11 years ago and opened up this inn a little over a year ago. They have 2 kids and 2 dogs. I'm going to steal the dogs - they're sooooo cute I can't stand it. 

The other day was Danielle's birthday! Tom and Gabi made a cake and let us off early to celebrate. We went to Kepple beach and climbed the "mountain" to the turtle lookout! (People in Aussie call most hills mountains.) We saw lots of turtles and a school of fish. Then we walked along the beach, ate ice cream and made our way home. 


Birthday girl!!



On our way back from the beach we saw BATS. And not just a few, probably close to 100. Later, we learned that Yeppoon is home to 200,000 flying fox bats.







Today is the last day of winter! It's been a solid 75 and sunny all week but the nights are pretty chilly! I'm looking forward to summer weather and warmer water. Mostly, I just can't believe this is my life, everyday. Danielle and I have been jogging during our free afternoons or early mornings and honestly I don't think I've ever seen a prettier view. The sunset the other night, for lack of a better description, looked like Easter. A picture couldn't do it justice


Xx

Some other Aussie phrases:
People say "how are you going?" Instead of "how are you doing?" 
Instead of "hi"or "hello" EVERYONE says "g'day"
"Trackies" are sweats/sweatpants
Also, people make fun of us for our "Chicago" accent, especially how we pronounce A and O. 
Everyone associates Chicago as the "Windy City" or a mob city.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Our Hostess Is The Mostest

Adelaide has been too good to us.

Our hosts, Diane and Tom, have been more than welcoming and absolutely splendid. Not only did they invite us to stay with them for 3 weeks for free but they invited us to join their volleyball league, even if we are the worst players on the team we've been asked back every week. Diane has made us two amazing dinners. The first was salmon, veggies, and PAVLOVA. I'm actually obsessed with pavlova. Then, I mentioned how I love that all vegetarian options in Australia include pumpkin. Well, the next day she surprised us with homemade pumpkin soup and strawberry icecream. Among many other helpful dinners, snacks, car rides and much more, Diane and Tom have made this transition very smooth and easy. Much appreciated.

This past week Danielle, Kayce, and I have been to a number of places. We visited a cemetery, upon Kayce's request, which was actually pretty cool. It was a cemmetary of several different dominiations all segregated by heritage.We took a stroll through one of the city parks and visited the university, meanwhile getting our hands on all the major sweets and city cafes.

Our most memorable expierence was at Gorge Wildlife Center up in the hills of Adelaide. Here many animals, like kangaroo and many birds, roam freely. We were able to feed the kangaroo, camels, monkeys, and more. We saw grey and albino kangaroo, some even had little joeys! But the most magical part was holding a koala bear. Their fur is extremely soft and furry. Honestly the cutest animals!


                                           


It rained for 2 days so we decided to watch all the Lord of Ring and Hobbit dvds. Luckily, I'm not the only nerd on this adventure. Kayce and Danielle share my passion for geeky things such as Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Divergent, and now Lord of the Rings and more. So, when we're not exploring, eating, or sleeping you can usually find us all snuggled up reading or in some cases re-reading some of our favorite series. :)

Over the weekend we went to an Irish pub, PJ O'briens. We got our first drinks, even Danielle! The bar was filled with men because there was a footy game on and Kayce was hit on by a Brazilian/Australia, which made for a very interesting accen! 

We went on a 2.5 hour/ 5.3km hike at Morialta Falls. My butt paid for it the next morning... We saw a wild kangaroo about 20 feet from us and koalas everywhere! Apparantly koalas napping in trees here is just as common as deer crossing back home. So while the three of us ate our icecream, we marveled at the koala sitting directly above us but other trailblazers were not as impressed, except maybe the children under the age of 10. Morialta falls has 3 waterfalls but due to flooding a few years ago you can only hike to the second water fall. Danielle and I climbed on the rocks at the top of the fall and sat on the edge, which over looks the hills, Adelaide, and in the distant you can even see the beach. Truly beautiful.

                


We took a trip to Hahndorf, a German town about 30km SW of Adelaide. The bus ride was fairly scenic as it took us through the outskirts of the hills and farms where we saw sheep and cattle. The Hahndorf strip consisted of tiny shops, cafes, restaurants, lollies (candy stores), and small motels. None of the buidlings were over 2 stories high and often Kayce had to duck when walking through door ways. We ate a garden cafe, Herbees, and I ordered the vegi wrap that included: pumpkin, eggplant, capsicum, tomato, feta, lettuce, and pesto aioli. I died. Even though it was only 52 degrees, everywhere in Hahndorf, and Adelaide for that matter, has outdoor seating. It amazes me because everyone, us included, generally choose to sit outside in the cold (most places have spaces heaters but still, 50 degrees!).  In almost every shop we walked into we were immediately asked where we were from. One women asked us all about our plans and whether or not we will be "woofing" because she used to house travelers in Queensland for woofing (well, it's definitely on our bucket list!).




Finally, we went on a Haigh's Chocolate tour. Haigh's has been family owned and run since 1915 and originated in Adelaide. We got to sample all different kinds of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate covered coffee beans and almonds. I ended up purchasing Espresso Chocolate bars - amaze!

It's our late night in Adelaide, and we begin our adventure to Queensland tomorrow night. I thank Diane and Tom for their warm and lovely hospitality. We hope to see you in the summer!


Thursday, 14 August 2014

A blonde, brunette, and redhead take on OZ

Well, I've officially been in Adelaide for an entire week! It's strange how quickly one becomes accustomed to a whole new country, culture, accent, and more. My traveling buddies, Danielle and Kayce, and I have been doing lots of exploring the city of Adelaide all week. The first 2 days were mostly spent getting over our jet lag (I actually fell asleep at 7pm the first two nights!), setting up our Australian bank accounts, applying for our tax numbers, and learning how to use the 3 different modes of public transportation (city bus, o-bahn, which is similar a trolly but the tracks look like an old roller coaster, and the tram, which took us to the beach several times!) Driving on the left side of the road doesn't feel so foreign to me anymore. 

We spent Tuesday and Wednesday exploring the "downtown" area of Adelaide. It is very cute and quaint. The University of Adelaide, shopping center, museums, and the hospital are all located in the city. The University or "uni" is really gorgeous and looks like it could've been removed right out of England with all the ivy leaves and english influenced buildings. The shopping center is a strip about 3 blocks long with a pedestrian walk way through the middle and loads of shops on either side, a mini mall in the center that includes a food court and dozen other shops. Many shopping centers have aisles called "arcades" which often refers to higher end or boutique shops - nothing that us poor lil travelers can afford but lovely to browse through!  We've made it to two of the museums. The first was an art gallery from Indigenous people, Tandanya. While very interesting, we quickly learned quickly that none of us are that attuned to or can really appreciate art the way it should be so we quickly browsed and moved onto the South Australian Museum. This showed more history of animal life, rock and crystal formations, life before Australia, and the indigenous people. This museum was far more interesting to us and included lots of historical information. 

Panoramic view of Glenelg Beach, SA.


Thursday was a BIG day. Well, for me at least. Referring back to those "hiccups" that occurred during our 26 hour excursion to Adelaide, when we landed in Melbourne we had to go through customs since it was our last international flight, and then recheck our bags for our final domestic flight to Adelaide. Everything went swimmingly through customs until we were ready to retrieve our final boarding passes. I grabbed my wallet (which didn't exactly fit my passport and boarding passes) to NOT find my passport in my wallet. Slightly panicking, I checked my purse, backpack, and suitcase pockets  but couldn't find it anywhere. Before screaming and crying, I decided to retrace my steps. Melbourne Airport while large isn't quite the size of O'hare and it was early and not many travelers were there. I traced my steps exactly they way we arrived from customs, since that was the last place I had used my passport. It was nowhere to be found and had been a solid 15 minutes since leaving the customs area. Starting to actually panic, I asked a desk clerk where lost passports were returned and she informed me that all passports are returned to Immigration at the end of the day. So naturally immigration hadn't received anything yet and gave me their card to call back in 24 hours. Forgetting that my last flight was  a domestic flight I was freaking out that I would miss my flight and get left behind. But thankfully a kind airport attendant told me not to worry that I didn't need my passport to get to Adelaide and it will all probably turn up otherwise I'll have to make a stop at the American Embassy...oh sure. Because getting a whole new passport would probably be really quick in easy in another country. With no other options, I got on the plane and decided that it was out of my control and panicking was not worth the fuss.  If in the morning my passport didn't show up there was always plan b.  After sleeping for roughly 11 hours, I called immigration and YAY, THEY FOUND IT!  See no reason fret. They graciously posted my passport and it arrived on Thursday. Now I can finally get a drink, yes!

Sorry you had to find out this way mom and dad but there was never a reason to worry you.

The remainder of the week was spent at the beach soaking up the warm winter's sun, exploring new shops, the flea market and a book sale, and endless amounts of card playing, reading, and tea drinking.

Danielle, who has been our chef, has managed to slice her thumb! Kayce and I have put her on bed rest until further notice. She is now doomed to our feeble attempts at cooking dinner...

We will be staying in Adelaide another week and hopefully moving north east towards Brisbane for warmer weather and a potential job. Cross your fingers!

Xx

A few take-aways
> I highly recommend getting a travelers purse. I purchased one after my passport was returned safely and now I really don't have a reason to lose it in the future...
> A purse means wallet here and a bag means purse - the lady at the store was quite confused when trying to help us. Now we know.
> One does not "root" for a footy team in Australia. One supports a team. To root would mean to have intercourse with another person...that was awkward.

Sweet Home Adelaide

After 26 hours of travel and 4 flights, we finally made it to Adelaide! It wouldn't be an adventure without a few hiccups along the way. Our flight to Chicago was about 40 minutes late which had a ripple effect on our following 3 flights. Our lay over from LA to Sydney was only 38 minutes...We arrived at LAX 15 minutes after our scheduled departure. Luckily our flight was delayed 30 minutes so we had exactly 15 minutes to gather our carry on luggage, run to the next terminal, show our boarding passes, and find our seats on the plane. A little stressed and sweating from running and anxiety about missing our flight, we arrived just in time for take off. We were greeted with dinner and a movie of our choice (Thank you, United, for updating your airplanes!). Then I slept for the next 8 hours of our 14.5 hour flight. Our next stop was Sydney, then Melbourne where we had to go through customs and finally Melbourne to Adelaide. We landed in Adelade at 1pm on Sunday 8-3-2014...totally skipping over Saturday. Very strange. Since we were flying at night and into the morning, we saw the most amazing sunrise while flying into Sydney. Above the clouds was a beautiful crimson, orange, and blue rainbow like sunrise. It felt like a warm welcome to a new country and just what I needed after hours in the dark.

We were flagged down by a family friend, who has graciously welcomed us to her home with a place to stay and a home cooked meal. Exhausted from our flights and technically still on Chicago time, we slept for 10 hours and woke up early this morning to start our new lives in Australia.

Cheers

M

> Picture my mom took before Danielle, Kayce and I got on the plane at O'hare Airport!

T-minus 48 Hours Until Take Off!

After 5 months of planning, researching, learning, packing, and of course stressing out, my take off is finally in sight! As I make my final checklists and stuff the last "must have" items in my suitcase, saying my final goodbyes to family, friends, and coworkers is finally making this trip feel real and bit scary! I can't explain how excited I am for this new adventure and chapter in my life. I want to thank everyone who has supported me through this and can't wait to see you on the other side.