Monday, December 20, 2010

"Just JUMP!!!!!!!"

Yup...here's another post...two posts in one day!! If there's great weather....and I'm not working...I'll try my luck at surfing or paddle boarding. And if I'm really feeling adventurous.. I'll hire (rent) a car and drive to other bodies of water and cool down from the hot weather!
 This was a couple weeks ago on a trip to Mt. Tambourine. It's a smaller mountain about an hour from Coolangatta. There's a ton of wineries around the mountain.. most of them around the small town of Mt. Tambourine. This is the view from the place that we stayed at overnight...

 This is the view of the valley from Mt. Tambourine...wish it was sunny, it looked like we could see to the end of the world!
 This is just proof that Christmas exists in Australia...even if it's just xmas trees on light poles....
 Yesterday we went to the Currumbin rock pools. It's only 20 minutes from Coolangatta..and probably the coolest thing I've seen since I've been here!!
 Is it weird that this sign made us more excited than scared???
                                                 This is one of our first views of the rock pools!
 Katie and Alyssa hanging out on the rocks. Katie's been visiting us for 2 weeks now!!
 Alyssa and I trying to help this kid work up the confidence to jump off...I even took deep breaths with him to calm him down....he ended up jumping 2 more times after this :)
 Me jumping off!! Definitely coming back here again...
 That's Katie sitting up there...hoping that we would tell her that she didn't have to jump off. Little did she know that we would make her jump TWICE. Both me and Alyssa missed her first jump on camera...haha!!
 Oh....and we didn't see this nice little informative plaque until after all three of us were completely reckless in the pools........WHY did Australia feel the need to post something like this???? Either way, it's not going to stop me from going to this place a few more times!!


You should all be fairly updated now.......next blog should be all about our Christmas. Not quite sure what the plans are yet, it will definitely be a unique Christmas to say the least. Until then...Happy Holidays to everyone!!

some pictures to illustrate the story!

 Fresh Garden Cafe..I work here about 3 days a week...making juices/sandwiches & working the till. My friend, Katie, took this picture...very au natural!
 This is most of the Rip Curl Crew at a Oakley product party. We go to events like this to learn more about Rip Curl products...NOT  to get free food and drinks =).
 Dreamtime Beach...about 15 minutes from Coolangatta. Very private beach..and super strange rock formations!
 Not sure what the island is called out there...BUT it's supposed to be surrounded by sharks..
 We didn't exactly hit it on the sunniest of days...BUT we didn't get a drop of rain the whole day.

 I was laying on the grass...turned my head...and this guy was just hangin' out with me!
 This is more of a secret spot on the sunshine coast..near a surf spot called Broken Heads. You gotta love the names of all of these surf breaks...!
Here's our compact car that we "hired" for the day...I drove manual on the wrong side of the car and the wrong side of the road for the first time ever!!! If your curious..the clutch is still on your left side...everything else is the exact opposite.


Aussie Lingo:

ok..i've been hearing some REALLY interesting ones lately...hope you're ready:

Skid-lid: A bike helmet
example: "eh mate, that bloke needsa skid-lid!!"

Ta: Thank you
OK....seriously, I've been hearing people say "Ta" to me for 3 months now......and I JUST figured out that it simply means Thank You...or Cheers. "Ta" is short for Thanks. Figure that one out....................

Fairy Floss: Cotton Candy
No example for this one..apparently fairies floss with cotton candy????

Plenty more pictures to come!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

thanksgiving lives on!!

 Happy Holidays!! Last Thursday we did as much as we could to throw ourselves a "proper" Thanksgiving feast...and I think it was everything that we hoped for! Ok, so we didn't have any of the traditional political debates...and we didn't necessarily have the hugest turkey...but what we did have was more than enough to bring us back home when we needed it most. The girls and I felt a little homesick on Thanksgiving (as we should be...)...and I think this thanksgiving celebration put us all at ease. We had two American friends with us, an Englishmen, and an Aussie that took part in the festivities. We had a turkey (not as big as back home, but it's unheard of to find a turkey any bigger than 12 lbs around here), homemade mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, roasted potatoes, RASPBERRY sauce (the necessary ingredients for homemade cranberry sauce don't exist here), two types of salad, AND apple pie. All in all, I would say we did this American holiday very proud.
 Of course, it wouldn't be thanksgiving if we didn't force everyone to make construction paper turkeys! Everyone had to write what they were thankful for on the feathers of the turkeys. Surprisingly, everyone got really into it.....notice the surfboard in the arm/wing of one of the turkeys....and the cocktail glass in another turkey. Chelsiah, being the teacher of the group, was beside herself with our great artwork ;).
 How did we get so lucky to find an american MASTER chef that lives down the street from us? Who knows...but you better bet that we were thankful for Ren on this special day. He saved the day and found a  turkey for us....not to mention cooked it to perfection! (Trust me..it's harder than it sounds out here!!)

And just to throw all of you readers for a loop...we decided that there was really nothing else we would rather do than twirl fire on the beach while in our food comas! I reckon I should bring this new tradition back to the states with me...it's not Thanksgiving if there isn't an injury!! just kiddddding!

All in all I think the girls and I realized that it's not necessarily where we are but the company we're with that seems to matter the most these days. We do get a little sick for our family and friends every once in awhile, but that's when we're the MOST thankful that we came here with each other. Not to mention meeting some amazing friends out here that are willing to spend their thanksgiving with us, even those who don't even celebrate the holiday! 

Should be doing some mean bbq'ing for christmas in the next few weeks..I reckon we'll want to be cooking outside considering the weather lately. We all seem to be living in bathing suits around here!! To give you an idea...it's been around 32-34 degrees celsius lately....(december 1st being the first day of SUMMER, this is proper weather for this time of year). Oh and to save you all from googling conversion for celsius-fahrenheit....34 celsius=92.3 fahreheit. Don't think these american girls are gonna get much of a break from summer this year!! Cheers!

Aussie Lingo!

Keen- to like something or be "down" with something. 
A: Do you want to go to the movies later?
B: Yeah, I'm keen!

Snag- Sausage on the grill
ex: Heaps of snags on the bbq!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

stopping to smell the roses!

I haven't forgot about this thing..I swear! I find that on a day to day basis...my day usually involves the same kinds of things...work...go on a run... go for a swim..walk to the store..etc etc. so I haven't really found that I needed to update very much. BUT for the sake of the blog... I'll give you the most recent developments. The newest thing in my australian life is that I got ANOTHER job...yep..so that's three jobs. Don't worry..Im not working myself too much...each job just tends to vary in the amount of hours that I'm given each week, so I thought I might as well get another job. So I now work at Rip Curl, the international surf shop. I still have my jobs at the juice bar and I'm still bartending here and there at Komune. Aside from that, things are going well for the girls and I. We all are staying afloat in terms of money..so we haven't had to entertain the thought of going back to the states any earlier than we planned. Here's some pictures of our local scenery...we really do live in the mecca of amazing surf spots...if any of you happen to have watched a surf movie in your life, you've probably seen pro surfers surfing these very same spots!
                                             "D-Bar"
                                            "Froggy"- you can't see in this picture, but theres a big
                                             green rock painted like a frog...hence the name!
                                           "heaps" of little pathways, benches, and surfboard 
                                            shaped picnic tables all in my front yard!
                                           "Snapper" rocks....one of the most famous surf spots!

                                        Rainbow Bay..this is pretty much our front yard swim spot!
                                                                      Our apartment!
                                         The view of D-Bar from a cafe up the street from us.
                                         
                                          


Quick aussie lingo! 

"Heaps"- A lot of something. "That was heaps fun!'

"Arvo"-another word for afternoon. "What are you doing this arvo?"


Hopefully we'll have thanksgiving dinner pictures to post in the next week!! The hardest part will be finding a turkey!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

new apartment..birthday..new friends..finally settled!


 





           On my bday, Mick Fanning's mom bought me a cake and roses for my bday...read on!
Hello everyone! It's been a few weeks, because lucky for us....we got a new apartment!! (which unfortunately meant that we were without internet for a few weeks). Aside from the internet, getting our apartment was definitely a relief because we were working to trade for our accommodations at Komune..and it was getting to be a little bit much when we literally would take the "lift" a few stories downstairs to our job. Sure, it was convenient....but we got to the point where we needed our privacy. We definitely don't miss getting the surprise roommates every so often (seeing as we were living in a shared room in a hostel, we got what we paid for). Now that we have our new apartment...it's definitely cheaper living in our own place, and we were lucky enough to have it furnished. They pay rent by the week here, the dishwasher has a "play" button, the oven works in celsius, and everywhere you go in australia you'll find an energy saving on/off switch for each and every outlet. California should maybe hop on that last train...
                                            Our first home-cooked meal...stuffed bell peppers!

I also recently got a second job. Komune was giving the three of us a couple days a week to work, but it just wasn't enough to get us on our feet. I was lucky enough to meet a friend that offered me a job at a smoothie/fresh juice/ sandwich/mom and pop kind of place. It turns out that Mick Fanning's (pro surfer) mom (or, "mum") owns the place, and she happened to need someone to help out with the sandwich making. My first day on the job was on my birthday this past week. My friend Craig had told the owner that it was my birthday that day, and upon walking in for my 1st day, Liz (the owner) had bought me a bouquet of roses and a birthday cake. I had never met the woman in my life, she was my boss, and she was the sweetest woman ever. I've never spent any birthdays (or holidays for that matter) out of california, so I made sure to write her a thank you card to let her know how much it meant to me that she would welcome me like she did. Since then I've worked a few days, and I'm pretty much getting the hang of everything. If you get the chance, the little cafe is called "fresh garden cafe" in coolangatta..so you can google it to get a better idea of the place. So far, it seems like the place is really popular, and it seems to have a pretty good reputation. 


           Out to dinner with some friends of ours..mix of english, aussie, and american in this pic.

So, on the note of my birthday..it really was a great day. I'll admit, the three of us didn't think my birthday would involve much more than just the three of us because it was so soon into our trip. It ended up being perfect, because 1) I didnt have to do a thing to plan it :)..... 2) it involved the three of us..and our close friends that we've met here 3) I wasn't as homesick as I thought I would be on the big day :). When i had gotten home from work at the cafe that day, the girls had surprised me with balloons, a 30 pack of beer, champagne punch, a birthday cake, and ipod speakers so we could bump some music in our new place! Not to mention, I got to talk to a close friend from home on skype, right when I walked through the door. We've met a few americans here that have spent some time in america and some time in Australia...and they were able to make it out to celebrate that night. We went to a great pizza place first, then went to a few bars over the next few hours to get some drinks. I also received some great presents from home...before, during, and after my birthday..which is also REALLY exciting. For instance, grandma and grandpa..I just got your card yesterday.. that means you officially are allowing me to celebrate my birthday for an entire week..i love it :) Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes, gifts, thoughts, etc....it could've been a day to miss where I used to be..but it ended up being a day of wishing you were all here with me!

 My birthday..the girls surprised me with a decorated apartment! Alyssa, Craig, me, and Chels are in this pic.
As far as Komune goes, we all bartend on the weekends for several events that the resort puts on. Last week for instance, there was a hens party (bachelorette party), a bucks party (bachelor party), an 18th bday party (when aussies are finally legal to drink), and a 21st bday party ( just a run of the mill bday party for the aussies). All of these events were held on the same night, so the bar was definitely busy. I ended up working a total of 13 hours the day after my birthday..can't think of a better way to spend the morning after ;) !! We actually all feel lucky to get such a great amount of hours in just one day of working...the aussies love the idea of having 3-4 day work weeks and the remainder of the days are spent mainly at the beach, bbq'ing, surfing, etc. We all are really liking Komune, and we've met some great friends so far. Oh, and it still remains the same, the drinks out here in Australia...still not up to par with us Americans :). 


 Aside from working, we also spend our time doing some promoting for Komune. We've been getting free trips up and down the coast to promote for a halloween party that they are having this weekend. Naturally, they HAD to use the California girls to help promote for this one...Halloween is definitely not as huge here in Australia. Regardless, it's been fun hanging out with Adam (our driver) as he drives us up and down the coast. He's an aussie that is currently engaged to an american girl who he met in coolangatta about 4 years ago. She was planning to originally visit australia for two years, but met Adam in her first month in Cooly...and now they're getting married. YIKES! We asked adam what the easiest way would be to get our citizenship in Australia..and he quickly answered..without hesitation, "oh, just fall in love!"

It still remains..I've never been so lucky at "pokies" (1 cent slot machines). I've officially won $150 bucks out of those machines!
Everything is within walking distance here...so there's no need for a car right now. Our apartment is about 100 steps from the beach and its about a 10 minute walk to work. To be honest, not having a car is a blessing..I would hate to feel the pressure of having to drive on the opposite side of the road..opposite side of the car...oh and not to mention I would be driving a manual car. No thanks.. I'll stick to walking! 


By request...I've been asked to clarify what they do for holidays out here (shoutout to you gma!). They do not do Thanksgiving..and they do not understand what it is at all. Regardless, our little group of americans and our aussie friends will without a doubt have a legitimate thanksgiving dinner (as good as we can get, at least). As far as Christmas goes, everything is pretty much consistent with America. Except, because Christmas is in the summer time, Aussies have christmas bbq's on the beach. Oh..and instead of santa and his reindeer, it's actually santa and his kangaroos..not kidding. Soooo... ok..maybe it's not very similar to Christmas in the states ;). 


And now..for the Aussie lingo:


BLT- BEETS, lettuce, and tomato. Today I was at work, and I told someone that BLT meant bacon, lettuce, and tomato. I quickly caught myself, and explained that there are definitely a few differences in America. 


"Cheers!"- Thank you. This one will for sure catch on with me.


"No worries"- you're welcome. This is kind of similar to the states..except this could be said both formally and casually.


"Too easy"- They say this usually at the end of a conversation. For instance, when someone orders a sandwich at work with a few modifications..and we say "no worries, we'll get that to you"...most customers will respond with something along the lines of "too easy, eh, cheers!"


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

brekkie and sunnies


I'm not sure if I've ever had everything fall into place when I had little to nothing planned from the beginning. I haven't updated the blog recently because things have been happening pretty naturally and there hasn't been any major bumps in the road that our worth telling the world about. But while we're on the subject of roads...let's just say that the most difficult thing about our trip so far is learning how to cross the street. YOU try getting used to crossing a street where you look: right, left, right (I had to look out my window at the street to remind myself).. instead of the American: left, right, left. This isn't so much an issue when you're using a crosswalk..but when you're jay walking, apparently cars like to speed up when they see foreigners like us looking the wrong way. So.....in all seriousness...getting run over is the worst of our worries at this point.
 Basically, within 36 hours of being in Coolangatta...we found ourselves with jobs and a place to live. The three of us were sitting downstairs for "brekkie" with our computers, and the general manager of Komune (the resort) came over to see what our plans were for the day. We let him know that it was a top priority for all three of us to get jobs..and we asked him if we could use the front desk printer to print out a copy of our resume to take to businesses. Turns out..there was no need to print out resumes...because he ended up hiring all three of us within that same day. He asked us to come back that afternoon to get behind the bar and make him some drinks. After that successful "interview" he proceeded to tell us that all we would need to do is some paperwork and we would officially be "working migrants", as our Australian bank likes to label us. For now we're working to pay for our accommodations here, but we hope to get our own apartment as soon as we find something that has as good of a view as this one.

 There are a lot of events that Komune puts on for anything surf related...with it being owned by pro surfers, I guess it comes with the territory. Between the friends that we meet through these events and through our job here, we have pretty much decided that we couldn't be working in a better place to get to know Coolangatta. On friday night, the Electric Sunglasses company had an event here and not only was it an awesome night hanging out with the company, but I scored some new "sunnies" that will forever be my favorite pair of shades. Ironically, I had rolled over onto my old sunnies that same day, and spent that whole day trying to find a new pair. Low and behold, a sunglasses company was staying in our very same resort..and Pete, the owner, was generous enough to give me a nice new pair of sunnies. He simply looked at my face, pulled some sunnies out of his briefcase..and I was back in business.

Pete the owner would be the man in the bottom left of the picture....quite the lively group, to say the least.

Our first day of work was on Saturday. Ironically, we worked Saturday morning, and were sent to clean up after the Electric party that we had attended the night before. Talk about bad karma! We're planning to email Pete from Electric and ask him for some more free sunnies since we cleaned up after all of the partiers! Alyssa and I also had a chance to work an entire shift behind the bar that night. There was an awesome group of Aussies that came in and were pretty understanding when it came to the language barrier...Aussie drinks are not exactly comparable to American drinks.  In other words, California knows how to party, and Aussie's fancy a shot of peach schnapps as opposed to a stiff shot of whiskey. As long as I know what they're talking about when they want a "fruit tingle", it's all gravy =). 
                                          This was with one of our manager's at his going away party.
As far as friends go, we’ve met our fair share of Aussie locals, and even Americans. There’s one guy from the states that we work with at Komune, so he’s been able to show us around a little bit and we don't have any language barrier with him! We also ran into a girl working at the gelato shop down the street; turns out she used to live in Santa Barbara for about 12 years and happened to have a bunch of mutual friends with Chelsiah. We all decided at the gelato shop that it truly is a small, small world and we should therefore meet up for a beer in the next few days…
                                            These huge lizards are everywhere!! Click on the pic to check this thing out!
                                                    
Now your FAVORITE PART..it’s Aussie lingo time!
“How you going?”- Nope, I did not mean to say “doing” instead of “going”. You’re probably asked this about 10 times a day. Oh, and if WE try to ask someone how they are “going”, the Aussies laugh and say something along the lines of :“Oh, so yous are on holiday?!”- and no, I did not misspell that last sentence either, they say “yous” as an abbreviation of “you guys”. And “holiday” is another word for vacation. We’re used to this now...but in those first few days, the language barrier was definitely in full force.

And here’s a bonus word..it was pretty much the theme of this blog, so I better explain it: “Sunnies”-This one has really caught on between the three of us..because lets face it, “sunnies” is way easier to say than that longggggggg word “sunglasses”. They very rarely say “sunglasses” or any long word for that matter. If a word needs an abbreviation, leave it up to an Australian to figure that one out.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

How in the hell did I get here???

I woke up at 5 am today…all because of the jet lag. Got out of bed, got some coffee (btw..brewed coffee is extremely hard to find in Aus..it’s all about espresso here)…. and walked across the street………………to Coolangatta beach. How the hell did I get here?????

There is no question is my (our) minds that this is definitely gonna be our home. You would think that the beaches of Coolangatta (otherwise known as Cooly) were natural preserves….protected by the government…and would cost a few bucks to even walk on the sand. Nope…environmental awareness just happens to be a top priority here in Australia and they have A LOT to show for it. It doesn’t cost a penny to park by the beach, nevertheless actually be on the beach…and it’s PARADISE. This whole trip so far has been a dream to me..mostly because I’ve been delirious from all of the traveling. But when we took our southward trip from Brisbane and arrived in Cooly..I was convinced that I was in a dream that I wouldn’t have to wake up from for at least six months. You wouldn’t believe how clean everything is..and no, there aren’t county workers trying hard to keep this place clean…everyone just pitches in and “sweeps their own front porch” to maintain this place. What a concept..

Ok, so about this place they call a “hostel”. I think they made a mistake..because this place is actually a “resort” for only $33 bucks a night. Yes, cheaper than Motel 6..but at the luxury level of a resort. We couldn’t believe it when we walked in. I had never stayed in a hostel before, so I know this experience is going to make me pretty spoiled. This place has surfing written all over the walls.. not literally..but you can just tell they have a lot of pride in the surf lifestyle.



 First and foremost..this place is about 100 ft from the beach.  They have a full patio including a pool, Jacuzzi, bar, bbq’s, outdoor projector screen for movies all day, hammocks, big lounge areas with big pillows, etc etc. Inside they have more lounge areas, restaurant/bar, and free wi-fi  (which is unheard of throughout Australia). There is free b-fast every morning..and we have two rooms, a bathroom, and a washer. Despite all the luxury..I still would describe it as simple, in a hippie sort of way. Everyone is really nice, as I expected...




As far as Brisbane goes (went)...we quickly decided that although the city was awesome...it was definitely a huge city and far too many people. We DID have some memorable experiences before leaving, though:


We visited the Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane which is pretty damn far from our idea of a "zoo". I've never been able to have such close contact with exotic animals before..somehow Australia is pretty trusting of the public..even Americans :)

Hanging out with "Nivea", the Koala.
  Got to feed tons of Kangaroos....there was no fence in between ourselves and the "roos" and they were the sweetest animals!





We also got to see Dingos, huge lizards that Alyssa almost stepped on, tropical birds, crocodiles, etc.


The rest of the day we roamed around Brisbane, got our first Australian beer, and found an awesome girl named Kate. We were crossing the street to a Thai food place and I asked her about jay walking....and from then on she was our personal tour guide. She proceeded to show us some night life around Brisbane after some of the best Thai food I've ever had. Our first stop was the casino...and I had the best luck I've ever had in a casino! 1 dollar turned into 70 bucks..I've never been so excited in my life!! ( I know you're proud of me, Julie!)



Kate ended up taking us to about 3 different clubs/bars...and showed us our way home. I couldn't have asked for a better tour guide!!! 

So now that we're in Coolangatta..we're gonna start finding a place to live (which seems pretty easy so far) and we're all going to find jobs hopefully asap. Stay tuned....
Word of the day: "MACCA'S".. (MACK-UHZ)..Otherwise known as the infamous Mc Donald's! You should've seen Kate when we looked at her completely confused when she told us, "There is free wi-fi at "Macca's".