1. 1 hour until the shuttle picks me up to start my journey back to tiffin. it’s been real, australia.

    for anyone curious, here’s my schedule for today (all in tiffin time)

    shuttle to airport at 2:55 pm (sunday)

    flight from brisbane to lax 8:15 pm (sunday) - 9:30 am (monday)

    flight from lax to detroit 2:30 pm (monday) - 7:00 pm (monday)

    flight from detroit to cleveland 7:45 pm (monday) - 8:39 pm (monday)

    then a drive to tiffin


  2. it’s been a while since i posted but i only have a little over a week before i leave australia so i figured i’d write one real quick. i finished all of my courses besides one so far. i’m preparing for my only exam in my business class which i take on tuesday. it’s strange because we have to take the exam in a gymnasium with around 100+ students who are all also in the course with us. i’m not looking forward to the exam but i’m feeling confident at the same time.

    as i’m getting ready to leave, i’m having some mixed emotions. by mixed, i mean i am ready to come home lol. i know that’s not what you typically read in study abroad blogs but i actually am ready to come home. i miss a lot of things and people back in america. that’s not to say i haven’t appreciated my trip. i got to see a totally different style of living and see the entire opposite side of the world and it was awesome! however, before studying abroad, i always thought that someday i would love to work overseas as an expat for a large corporation but i’ve learned that i would never want to do that; this trip has taught me a lot about myself and one of the main things that i got from it was that i value my family and friends way too much to be so far away from them. however, i made some new friends here that won’t be forgotten!

    i’m going to end up making another post after this about tips and more specific things that i learned or would suggest for those thinking about studying abroad but i just thought people might like an update (mom) hahaha. can’t wait to be back and see everyone in a few days!


  3. these are all just more pictures from snorkeling and scuba diving at the great barrier reef. the group picture, from left to right: jillian, me, heather, and leah. the fifth picture - of just me, is a finding nemo joke: i touched the butt (boat) lol.

    the fouth picture is probably my favorite picture from the day, that fish was so cool! i think they said it was a parrot fish but it just reminded me of that rainbow fish book.


  4. after the trip to sydney, we flew to cairns to go to port douglas so that we could scuba dive and snorkel at the great barrier reef. a huge shout out to my friend, luke. he is from port douglas and works on a boat dive boat there. he graciously gave us the friends and family discount and even went home for the break so that he could work the boat during our trip.

    scuba diving was really scary for me because i have always had ear problems in water. i probably read 10 guides to scuba diving to learn how to make my ears not hurt while i went and they didn’t really have much effect because i forgot everything as soon as i got into the water.

    the gear weighed about 40-50 pounds and we had to wear weights around our waist to help keep us under without floating to the top. as soon as i got into the water, i panicked a little bit because breathing underwater takes some time to get used to since your natural reaction is to hold your breath. once i got used to it, breathing underwater was one of the coolest things ever. it was just crazy to think about being like 12 meters underwater and breathing just as regularly as above the water. although as i sunk down to the bottom for the first time, slowly holding onto the rope, my ears had serious problems. i could feel water flooding them and pressure building up and it hurt terribly. our instructor took me up a few meters, told me to equalize my ears again and then slowly took me back down. that helped a bit for the pain, but i was very uncomfortable for the entire first dive. luckily it was an incredible scene so i didn’t think about it too much.

    after the first dive, we got to snorkel for a while before moving on to the second dive site. all of these pictures of the coral are from snorkeling because we could not take a camera down on our first dive because they did not want us worrying about anything besides learning to dive.

    when we got to the third site, we snorkeled for our second time and we were allowed to take our underwater camera down with us. again, thanks to luke for hooking us up with a camera! before the dive, my ears were really hurting and i was panicking because i didn’t know if i could do it again but as i was getting my gear on i was trying to get the water out and make my ears feel normal and literally right before i got in the water, they cleared and i was feeling great! i like to think someone was watching over me at that moment (thanks grandpa newhard and aunt beth!).

    throughout the entire second dive, my ears felt great and i was able to fully enjoy the dive. it was breathtaking, i got to see so many awesome things. i got to pick up a hand full of sand from the bottom of the great barrier reef! our dive lasted about 30-45 minutes each time which luke told us was longer than most people get to go for their first time because they breathe too fast and use up a lot of their oxygen. i have tons of pictures from here and its hard to pick my favorites so i’m going to post another set of pictures after this post. 

    picture 1 - me descending to the bottom on the first dive

    picture 2 - there was a fish that for some reason was okay with us touching it and the instructor held it and kept letting us pet it. that was one of the very few things we were allowed to touch

    picture 3-6 - coral from snorkeling, click on them to make them larger

    picture 7 - the boat that we were on


  5. first off, i just want to say thank you to my mom for even telling me about this cause i doubt we would’ve done this if it wasn’t for her. she was more excited about me climbing the bridge than i was before it started, but i was very happy that i did it! happy mother’s day!

    we all signed up to climb the bridge for an evening climb because it was the cheapest but they placed us in different groups so we had to settle for a later climb than we originally wanted but it ended up being really cool.

    we had to wear those suits, a belt that hooked onto the railing that you physically could not disconnect on the trip up, headsets to better hear our guide, and then a headlamp that we wore around our necks so that we could see the ground as we walked without blinding each other.

    we had an awesome guide who told us some of the most random facts that were very interesting. he knew tons about australia and the united states. one of the coolest facts that he told us was that new york state has a higher population than the entire country of australia. i looked it up later and while australia’s population is larger by ~3 million now, around 2004 they were almost the same. the craziest part about that is that australia is roughly the same in size to the continental united states.

    the actual climb was no where near as hard as i thought it would be. it was a very gradual incline and we did not move at a fast pace at all. as you can see in the pictures, the scenery was just incredible for the entire climb. i would highly recommend climbing the bridge if anyone ever goes to sydney. 

    sadly there isn’t much else to say about the bridge climb because it was mostly just an experience that you can’t put into words, you’d have to experience it for yourself.

    bottom picture from left to right: sydney opera house, leah, heather, me, and jillian


  6. another sydney post:

    while i was in sydney, i had planned on going to mass at the church right across from our hostel. we got to the church around 7 to make sure that we would get a seat for the 8 am mass. however, there were gates and people directing us on where to go and they told us that the 8 am mass would be cancelled because the royal family was coming to mass. we figured that waiting an extra hour to see the royal family was worth it, but the royal family didn’t come until about 9:40. it was a boring and chilly wait but when they got there, it was pretty cool because we got to see not only the royal family but also the prime minister, tony abbott. after waiting all that time, i was excited to go sit down and be in mass with them but then we were told that we needed tickets to get into mass. we ended up going to 5:30 mass.

    i also visited the royal botanical gardens, which i thought would be dumb but ended up being absolutely beautiful and just really cool. there wasn’t much to do there but the entire garden was just colorful and relaxing.

    a more disappointing part to the trip was visiting bondi beach. it was one of the cleanest beaches i’ve ever been to and there were literally no shells anywhere (i looked for you mom). but there was just so much hype built up about bondi beach being incredible and i’m not sure if there was more that we just didn’t see or couldn’t find but it was underwhelming. while at bondi beach, we did get a nicer dinner. we got to eat on a balcony at a fancy restaurant. i got chili shrimp pasta, it was so good! a cool part about this trip though was that as we were getting on the bus, i tried paying for my ticket with a $50 because it was all i had and the bus driver just waved us through and told us not to worry about it. then on the ride home, we tried to buy tickets at a convenience store where they sell tickets next to the bus stop but the guy told us that tickets are sold on the bus after 7 pm. we waited for the bus to come and the bus driver told us we couldn’t ride because we didn’t have tickets and we tried explaining that the convenience store wouldn’t sell us tickets but he had no sympathy for us. instead of doing the logical thing and trying to find a place to buy tickets, we just waited for the next bus. when we got on the bus and handed the bus driver money only for him to tell us to take a seat because his ticket printer was broken, so we got that ride for free as well!

    picture 1 - prime minister, tony abbott arriving at mass with who i am assuming is his wife

    picture 2 - prince william and the duchess of cambridge, kate middleton, arriving to mass. it was hard to get a good picture of them, this was the best i could do and the only one where you can clearly see both of their faces

    pictures 3-7 - the better pictures i took from the royal botanical gardens

    picture 8 - the main building at bondi beach. you can see people in the foreground that are learning bar tending tricks by practicing with empty bottles

    picture 9 - most of bondi beach in one picture, that’s how small it was for such a well known beach

    picture 10 - just a cliff type of thing right next to bondi beach


  7. just wanted to quickly apologize for not finishing blogging about my trip to sydney and the great barrier reef. i was swamped with homework and now i am sick. i have notes about my trip though so i won’t forget any details. i’ll get the next blog up when i’m feeling better.


  8. more pictures from the opera house and bridge.


  9. One of my favorite things that I did while I was in Sydney was visiting and touring the opera house. There were a lot of cool things about it but easily my favorite was all of the intricate detail and design that went into the building. Luckily enough I got to visit the opera house more than once while I was in Sydney. There was about 25 people in my tour group so it wasn’t too big and the leader give us all headphones were able to hear exactly what she was saying. The tour took us through the entire opera house. We were able to see the theaters, the lobbies, and even the balconies.

    The first picture shows the shells of the Opera House from a closer distance.

    The second picture shows the smaller of two theaters that we got to visit. There is actually seating all around the square so that they can perform in a round, which is a form of theater in which the cast and performance is surrounded by audience on all sides.

    The third picture shows the larger theater that we got to visit. This is where the more popular artists or groups get to perform. Some of the people that she said performed there were AC/DC, Kanye West, and various orchestras.

    The fourth picture shows the chairs of the larger theater. While they look like regular chairs, they actually are built with a very specific purpose. They are made it to give the performers the most similar sound in an empty theater that they will have with a packed house. The back of the chair has rounded edges to simulate a humans shoulders. The top of the chair is made of wood to simulate a humans for head and facial features. The cushions on the chair are placed to simulate a humans chest and stomach. The Sydney opera house is one of the only buildings in the world that uses these styles of chairs.

    The fifth picture shows Halo looking things hanging from above the stage. These are actually used to give the reverb back to the performer without a delay. They can raise or lower these depending on the setting and situation.

    The sixth picture shows some of the architecture that is used on the columns supporting the shelves. I thought it was interesting because things such as chairs and halos have specific purposes, while the columns are decorated and used mainly for aesthetic purposes.

    The seventh picture is a picture that I took on a balcony outside of the opera house while on the tour. They actually built the glass for the purpose of being able to see a reflection of the Sydney Harbor.

    The eighth picture is of the middle between the two shells. They actually call this area, “the cleavage”. I think it’s pretty obvious why this term is used. Lol

    The ninth picture is of a pirate ship that sales throughout Diesen the harbor. I’m not exactly sure what it does or if it’s just for cruises, but it looks really cool.

    The last picture shows the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the opera houses view.

    I will post more pictures from the opera house tour and of the building, but without descriptions. If you have questions about when, feel free to ask! I know that I didn’t use my typical lower case writing style this time, I actually read all of this to my computer so that I didn’t have to type it. This post took a lot less time and was much easier.


  10. this past week was our easter holiday (they give a full week and one day off for easter) and some of my friends and i spent our break in sydney and port douglas seeing the great barrier reef. because i have so much to say, i’m going to break it up into smaller sections, not day by day or anything but just as i remember stuff. i’ll add 10 pictures to each post because that is the max. i know this isn’t probably the best way but i don’t remember exact days, just the events and stuff i did.

    so i left sippy downs on friday night, the 18th to catch a flight to sydney. i arrived late so i there was nothing done that day besides for checking into our hostel and getting food. it was a very nice place however on one of the nights at 4 am, someone sprayed a fire extinguisher and it set off the fire alarms so a few hundred people were forced into the street while we waited for the fire dept to come (at this time we thought there was a fire and people said there was a fire in a kitchen on the 3rd floor) and i was panicking. evacuating from the 2nd floor (which we would call the 3rd floor but here it always starts with floor 0) took almost 15 minutes so it’s a good thing that there wasn’t a real fire.

    while in sydney, i toured the opera house, shopped, saw the botanical gardens, climbed the sydney harbor bridge, visited bondi beach, went to easter mass, saw the royal family, and explored the city. i’ll get to the rest of those things in my next posts.

    exploring the city was incredibly fun. being from tiffin, i always love visiting big cities. the architecture was so interesting because there was so many older buildings and modern buildings all intertwined throughout the city.

    1st picture - town hall which i stayed just across the street from, showing that i stayed right in the middle of the city. there were shops and restaurants all over around our area, it was great!

    2nd - court house which was right around our area too

    3rd - public library of new south wales, this was a massive library and just looked really cool from the outside. i passed this on the 25 minute walk to the opera house each time.

    4th - eric’s adult bookshop. i thought it was funny and had to take a picture of it.

    5th - a painted rhino. anyone from tiffin will know exactly what i’m saying when i say that the rhinos were their painted squirrels. if you aren’t from tiffin, people/companies painted the rhinos and they were displayed around the city all over. we saw about 4 or 5 of them but i didn’t get pictures of the first few because i thought that it was isolated things not a city wide event.

    6th - a cool fountain that was right next to the botanical gardens and also  along my walk to the opera house. there was a sign next to it that said “this fountain is the gift of the late j. f. archibald to his fellow countryman and is intended in terms of his will to commemorate the association of australia and france in the great war 1914 - 1918. it was erected in 1932 and is the work of francois sicard, sculptor, paris.”

    7th and 8th - a pig statue which is said to give you good luck if you donate money to the sydney hospital and then rub the pig’s nose. i’m not sure if the nose or the body is the original color but the nose is a different color from people rubbing it. obviously i’m a believer in luck so i donated a few coins and then rubbed the nose! on the trip, i had some lucky moments. i didn’t have to pay for a single bus in sydney (i only took 2). the first time, on the way to bondi beach, i tried to pay for the bus with a $50 bill because that was all i had and the bus driver was in a hurry so he said don’t worry about it. the second time, the bus pulled up and i got in and tried to pay but the bus drivers ticket printer was broken so he said everyone gets free rides. that was about all of the good luck i had though because my macbook got messed up on the trip (which is why i couldn’t blog as the days went), but i got it fixed in brisbane on the way back to sippy downs.

    9th - a really cool bank right across the street from the pig. also to show how the architecture is just so different all throughout the city.

    10th - some of the scenery along the walk to the opera house. pretty much the entire walk was beautiful with the buildings, plants, etc.

    10th - a really cool bank right across the street from the pig. 

    i have plenty more pictures and plenty more stories to tell but i still have homework and i’m getting tired of typing today so i will be posting more about the trip as i can, shooting for at least one a day until everything is done. feel free to ask me questions about my post if you have questions about what i wrote so far.