Friday, December 31, 2010

The Last of 2010

This is the blog where I talk about all of my resolutions for the New Year. I feel like New Years resolutions are really… just a big joke. However, I like stetting goals because it feels like I’m making steps in the right direction. I’ve found that when I at least set goals, I end up accomplishing them. Blah Blah Blah…. Words of wisdom…. Okay, I’m going to set them now.

1. Finally make it to the “ideal weight” my doctor set for me.
2. Keep up with fitness and make healthy nutrition choices.
3. Read my bible more often.
4. Paint a lot… I really need to create a diverse body of work.
5. Be a good R.A. and keep an open mind about things.
6. Be a good friend to everyone who needs it.
7. Put an end to all of my procrastination.
8. Improve my GPA more and more each semester.
9. Cut it out with gossip. Try to do less of it.
10. Do my best with the things I commit to do: Activities Director, R.A., Painter, Spring Sing... etc.
11. Work at being happy everyday, no matter my predicament.
12. Be more giving to my community.
13. Get more people to sign up for HUA!

Well… I guess that’s it for now. I’ve got to go take a walk with my family. No complaints there.

Peace and Love (P.S. I am coming up with a new phrase for the new year because this one is just so cliché).


Thursday, December 30, 2010

An Assortment of January Stories

Here I am, sitting in the living room, watching Regis and Kelly. Words cannot describe how much I enjoy this show.

This morning I slept through my alarm at 7am. Then I slept through the one at 8am. I didn't wake up until my mom texted me and said, "Robert Downey Jr is on T.V." With that message I soared out of bed and into my sock-monkey slippers with a speed that could start turning the earth in the opposite direction. I barely remember even stopping to pee in the bathroom.

And then I remembered... it's my Daddy's Birthday! So when I reached the downstairs, I gave him a big hug and then plopped down on the rightfully-named Lazy boy chair and stared at the screen in front of me. Oh Robert Downey Jr. ha ha.

What's the plan for today? Hmm, well I'd like to work out a bit. I think the whole family is going to go see "True Grit." in the theatre. It should be fun.

Yesterday, Andrea and I went to Grandma and Boo Boo's house. I feel like I've developed a very special relationship with them over the last few years. They mean so much to me and I always look forward to visiting them. Well anyway, they wanted to take us out to lunch before we were both back in school. Luckily, we went to my favorite restaurant in Indianapolis, Santorini's Greek Kitchen. MMM! I ordered the Souvlaki, which by the way, is absolutely delicious. Everyone wanted an appetizer so Grandma ordered their flaming cheese. The waiters bring it out, light it on fire, and shout "Oppah!" Then you eat the cheese on some wonderful pita bread. sigh, it was a great meal.

Here's the building, they recently had a fire, but quickly renovated.

The flaming cheese...

This is our waiter... literally, that's him. I've seen him before in Santorinis and I could have swore that he was Paul Giamatti. But he isn't and he's a pretty nice guy if you ask me.

Afterwards, we ended up going to a grocery store. Grandma gave me a couple of bucks and told me to go in and buy five slightly green bananas. So, I went in on my own and grabbed some bananas. I couldn't help but feel a little uncomfortable, because I was on my own and we were downtown-ish. There were some sketchy people in there... and they started talking to me. Except, they were really nice! That's what I get for judging people before I know them. The one man saw my tattoo and said it looked very cool. Somehow we started chatting about how I got it in Australia and recently got back from my trip abroad. It was a very satisfactory meeting. I have met more stuck up, angry, rude people in the suburbs.

Anyway, that's what's been going on. I think I'll save more posts for later.

Peace and Love (I am tired of writing this stupid phrase, because I think it is cheesy... But I keep doing it because I've done it everytime).

Monday, December 27, 2010

I Fainted.

Ugh, I may have taken things a little far this morning. I've decided to jump back on the "exercise" bandwagon (whatever that means). So, this morning I woke up at 8am, ate frosted mini wheats, and went for a lovely run. It was great. I was setting a good pace and I wanted to make it to four miles without stopping or slowing.

I did it, but immediately after I'd stopped running and started walking, I got light headed and passed out... like fainted... like a stupid helpless baby. I hung over the top of the machine and my legs kept walking at 2.5 mph. Somehow I regained consciousness and realized that I should turn the machine off. I did and finally made my way over to the couch. My tooth hurt. I guess I'd hit it on my way down.

I didn't think that four miles was that bad. In the summer I was running about 6 miles most days. Of course, I'd built myself up to that gradually, but I guess I wasn't quite ready for the intensity of that run. oops.

Good news, I am going to run tomorrow. I won't let falling down, keep me down! ha ha. Thats the thing about goals, even if you're having a difficult time, you've got to keep getting up and trying again.

But, maybe I'll give myself a little bit of a break and lower the intensity next time.

Peace and Love.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


It snowed last night. My Dad is outside shoveling snow off of our driveway. He did it yesterday too, which is kind of funny because now he has to do it again. I love the snow.

After months of basically warm weather it is strange and wonderful to see it everywhere. Its pretty rare to see this much snow in Indianapolis before Christmas. I've seen more snow than earth over the past two weeks. When I was little, I used to stay up late and pray for a "White Christmas." There was one year, I started praying near Thanksgiving and begged God everyday to "Just please let us have a White Christmas. It would be so wonderful."

Its pretty neat because it did snow that year, but most of the time it didn't snow. It was usually to warm. BUT NOT THIS YEAR! I just heard the meteorologist say it. We have snow showers on Christmas! I think that just adds to the magic of it all. Maybe its cliché but Christmas is my favorite holiday. There's just so much you can do with it.

I love the wrapped boxes. I love the lead up. Even if I get a bunch of useless junk as presents... for me, its all of the events that lead up to that morning. Maybe it's childish to be this excited for Christmas, but I don't really care.

I am so lucky! I get to rush downstairs with my little sister and spend Christmas morning in our cozy family room with my parents, grandparents, and a cup of joe. There's something truly wonderful about cuddling up with my Grandpa and Grandma.

I can't wait for someday when I have my own family and have the opportunity to make Christmas a wonderful experience for them.

Sorry for ranting all about Christmas. I can't help myself!

Peace and Love!!! (and goodwill towards men?)

Photos from Christmases past.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Angela: The Christmas Slave.

Hello Blog!

Its a wonderful Thursday morning during my extra long Christmas break. I love that this vacation is 6 weeks long, because if I were back in high school it would only be 15 days long. LAME. I remember sitting in high school French class counting down the days until my christmas break and complaining about how short it would be.

Now a days, I am actually looking forward to going back to school. I feel confident about who I am and I'm glad I've finally figured it out. Its kind of funny how that happens, and then inevitably, I have to figure it out again. That's life in a constantly changing world.

So, what's been going on lately? Tuesday, I went shopping ALL-DAY-LONG. There is one blister on each of my pinky toes, a painful souvenir. But I'd do it again... its all for the sake of CHRISTMAS! I baked some cookies on Monday... I think?

Yesterday, I spent hours wrapping presents until it felt like my back would never straighten out again. I think I’ve discovered how so many old women get the old lady “hump.” Oh crap, I just had this terrible image of me as Quasimodo ringing bells and wrapping presents like some kind of a drooling sleep deprived maniac. Actually, I’m not so sure that the vision is far from the truth. It won’t be long before I start talking to Santa Claus figurines asking them for advice on my love life.

I am only twenty-one years old! I shouldn’t be a slave to the holidays yet! Aren’t most people immune to these terrors until they have their own families? I’m not even dating anyone… I shouldn’t have to be “Santa’s little helper” until I’m 28 at the earliest.

Anyway, I got all of MY presents wrapped. It is good to have it out of the way, but I am the only one in my family finished. The only presents under our tree are my presents and the one from my Aunt and Uncle. Its not too exciting to look at the wrapped packages and knowing the contents of 98% of them. It takes the mystery out of it.

But really it hasn’t been too bad. I am hoping to go over to my Grandparents house tomorrow. I would have gone today but it snowed a lot and I don’t feel like it would be wise to try and make an expedition when I haven’t been a driver for three months. So, perhaps tomorrow I’ll get over that way.

Then, on Saturday, I am going to participate in a 5K run/walk downtown! I am really excited about this, because I don’t think I’ve ran in a public event in years. The only memories I have are mom or my elementary school gym teachers making me run little races with classmates. Then of course there was Mom and Dad making me run around the yard for all the neighbors to see, as punishment for any rule breaking. Growing up is the pits.

Thankfully, that part of my life is over. Now that I’m past the scarring… I enjoy running. It will be fun to go for a happy little run among friends, or random strangers.

Well… I suppose that’s it for now. Gotta run! No, really. I’ve got to go run.

My sister, me, and my cousin Courtney.

Peace and Love!

P.S. Bad news on the internet front. Apparently I won't have it again until Monday... SOooooo If you need to get ahold of me. Please call the cell. Here's a photo of Dad and me at Panera bread, mooching off of their free internet. Thank you panera. Thank you.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What Day Is It Again?

Today is Saturday... I think?

This whole week has been a blur but its been a pleasant blur. I've been looking for some seasonal employment, but even though I am back before most people are out of school... it may end up being pretty difficult to find anything. I kind of knew this beforehand but it can't hurt to be hopeful.

Christmas in my mind is very odd. I feel like I should be buzzing around the house with Christmas cheer, but instead I wander around like a zombie and fight to stay awake when 5pm rolls around.

I tried to trim my fingernails last night. Unfortunately I was only 60% successful before I got to tired then lost my nail clippers.

My bedroom is in a constant state of chaos. All of my clothes have been washed, folded, and put away but for some reason there are still a ton of random possessions littering my room. It makes me feel like I am back in the polluted streets of Hanoi.

Well, coffee and bagels are calling, and I am not one to ignore that call.

Peace and Love!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Good Tidings!

It is about 5:30 am here at home in Indiana. I am wide awake. This is an improvement from yesterday when I woke up at 4:00am and just tried to sleep for 45 minutes.

It seems weird to think I was wandering around Tokyo, Japan just a few short days ago, like a dream. You know, "they" all said I would miss it, and I do. I miss being able to sleep in until 8am thats for sure.

However, flying to Indiana was not too bad. I was able to get a clear view out of my airplane window of a marvelous snow covered landscape that truly filled my heart with joy. Then, running to my parents in the airport was like a scene from a movie; it was emotional and perfect in every way.

Since then I've been chilling out. I went to visit my radio teacher from high school, Steve George, and I was able to pop in and visit a few of my other favorite teachers, Susan Tomlinson and Kristy Donley. While visiting, Steve George said I should look into being a substitute teacher over the break. So, I am looking into that. I just want to try and make a few extra bucks before I go back to school.

I got an email from one of my friends at school asking if I were interested in doing the comics for our school paper at Harding. Its a paying job and right up my ally, so I responded enthusiastically. Hopefully that means I get it!

I changed my hair up a bit. Hello bangs! I feel like after this trip, I have truly become the "Angela DeCamp" I was born to be. I am glad to be me and ready to follow where God leads me. More posts later!

Peace and Love

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Peace Out HUA

Here I am sitting in the Narita Airport. Japan... I am about to board a plane to Detroit and then fly to Indianapolis! HOME! I am beyond excited for this.

I have loved Tokyo... really the whole world! Its been an interesting several days. First I had fun at Tokyo Disney, then Victoria Partee and I got completely lost on our way home. We ended up having to stay one night in a random hotel... we had no idea where we were. We made it to a warm bed by 3am. What a disaster... an awesome disaster.

Yesterday I hit up Shibuya and Harajuku... and more. It was really quite fun. We ate dinner at a place where you have to order your meal from a vending machine. Then a lady came out and gave us food. It was beef, corn, pepper, and rice sizzling in a hot plate. We got to cook it right in front of our eyes! It was so delicious and I am really good at eating with chopsticks. Just saying.

And now, I am on my way home. A place where dreams really do come true: Indiana. ha ha. I love my home so I am very excited. Its going to be a good long while before I get there... but I don't mind. I am finally going to get to WASH MY CLOTHES!!!!!!!!... and where deoderant... (crickets)... yeah.

I don't really have a lot of time in detroit before I have to board my next flight to Indy, so just pray that I make it. I have to get all of my bags and go through customs and all that jazz. bleh.

Serious Stuff:

Do I feel different? I don't know. I feel sick of fast food. I don't really know if I am a changed person. I guess I probably am. I am definitely thankful for the trip regardless. My Parents and Grandparents have been so kind and wonderful by making this trip happen. I could never have dreamed of a trip as wonderful as this one was. I've had some great memories and some less than great... but I wouldn't change a thing.

Peace and Love!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Things I need

Things I really actually need when I get home
1. Deoderant (sp)... It will have been two and a half weeks without it... gross I know.
2. Leggings... lots of leggings.
3. Waxing
4. Pedicure
5. hair cut
6. Jeans... probably just some winter clothes in general.
7. Photo albums... nothing fancy just something to put the good photos in.
8. fruit and vegetables... normal food.
9. Crest White Strips
10. Facial Scrub... something with exfoliants
11. New bra.
12. Probably a warm drink upon arrival? This one I will probably purchase for myself regardless.
13. Shampoo and Conditioner and tooth paste and a new toothbrush... all of those things I will be throwing out because they're empty or trashed.

Okay, I think that's all I can think of for now. Most of these are necessities, but some are no big deal. Here's a flight calling me to board the plane to Singapore. I'd love to talk about how much I loved Cambodia and had my feet chewed on by a bunch of little fishies... But I guess that will have to wait.

Until then... I AM SEEING HARRY POTTER tonight.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cambodia... Land That I Love

Oh Man, am I sad to leave Cambodia or what!

I love this place. It is beautiful, the people are nice.... it is truly one of the most amazing places I have ever been to. Today we went and took a boat around the Tonle Sap... So wonderful!

P.S. it is swelteringly hot here. No joke. I am coming back home: Tan! ha!

I am actually kind of sad to be going to Singapore tomorrow, but also sort of excited too... secretly.

Peace and Love

Friday, November 26, 2010

No Rice Included.

Ah yes, I have left Vietnam for Cambodia. Immediately I feel a relief. Thankfully I was not car sick at all throughout the 6 hour drive over here, I was happily knocked out with Dramamine.

Yesterday was thanksgiving. We spent another 6 hours or so driving... Checked out some interesting stuff, but practically everyone in our tour group was/is sick: throwing up. They've got some kind of virus and its knocking everyone out. I was depressed yesterday... to a maximum level and took zero photos. I am sure I will regret this, but I think I just needed a break.

Then we got back to the hotel pretty late. Chris, our guide, told us to be down in the lobby for dinner in thirty minutes, looking nice. Everyone grumbled and forced ourselves to rinse off. Then we headed back downstairs to a very wet Saigon. Like animals on the ark we loaded into our own separate cabs and were driven to a swank hotel.

It was then we realized... thanksgiving was happening. No rice included. I guess they spent fifty dollars a person to let all 39 of us students (plus extra faculty) eat a real western meal: Buffet style. No chopsticks. No mysterious fish. Just turkey and beef and chicken... just what we needed. It was one of the nicest hotels I've ever been to.

Like children with no limitations, we filled our stomachs to the brim and kept coming back. We all knew what everyone else was thinking... "These are Americans. Figures. Look at all the food they were eating." But for once in my life, I didn't care. I was content to fit the silly stereotype on our holiday, celebrated in Vietnam, with a couple of Australians.

Now we're awaiting dinner in Cambodia. Will it include rice? yep. Fish? Probably.

But I've got ten days left and I am going to keep holding on until I can go home for some REAL food...

first on the menu: Giant glass of skim milk. mmhmm.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

We all knew Thanksgiving would be really difficult for us. A lot of people on the trip, myself included, have suffered here and there with intestinal issues. Nothing too bad though. It's like... our bodies are completely run down and ready to be finished, but we still have a few good days.

Too many days.

I don't want to make this a depressing blog because I do love the trip, but I want to be home so bad sometimes that it just... stinks. Dinner tonight is rice. Happy thanksgiving. I've heard they're going to try and include turkey, somehow... but you know, its not the food that I am bummed out about.

It is just, I wish I could be home helping mom cook, and pestering my sister. I am so ready to be home.

Peace and Love

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Vietnam... Vomitam?

Here I am somewhere in Vietnam... I don't even know.

It seems like everyone has had stomach issues, with the exception of myself. Knocking on wood. I don't know if a bug is going around or what but I'll be washing my hands frequently.

Dear Mom: please write another blog. I am so dang bored of getting internet and not seeing new ones. YOU WERE on a roll too! lol.

I've found myself craving things I've not craved in years... ie, McDonalds.

Today I had tofu/shrimp soup, fish, rice, and squid. Not my meal of choice but at this point, I don't even care. I am really starting to love seeing this country. It is very beautiful and full of life.

I feel like I've kind of become a loner though. Pretty much I sit by myself on the bus, near the front so I won't get sick. I don't have one person I spend most of my time with. I just kind of hover around everyone and make my rounds. I can't wait to go back to the states, Back to friends who really care. sigh. Miss you guys.

Speaking of Awesome friends: I miss you guys!

Someone please update me on your lives. I need some distractions.

Peace and Love

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hué Times

Here I am in Hué. and I am getting sick of writing blogs. Sorry.

We did a lot today... it was a long one. Woke up at 2:45 am.... to get on a plane.

It was fine. I am getting much more comfortable in airplane seats than I have ever been.

I am dying to read the second and third book in the Hunger Games Series. All I have is some stupid sappy love story that is completely cheesy and over the top. I was hoping it would be a historical fiction, but it turns out that it is like romance with a little bit of history thrown in. Lets hope I don't find any super awkward sex encounters. Too bad it's the only book I have in my possession right now. sigh.

I really can't put my finger on vietnam. It is a confusing place for me. In some ways, it is very modern and in others, it is very traditional. You can tell they've had a lot of influence from china.

All of their houses are NARROW and tall. the cram them together, side by side, and keep adding more stories on top. They will often paint the front of the building but leave the sides unpainted, plain, cold gray, cement. I am not a fan of that. But I'm sure they have their reasons.

Also, the rules of the road are very few and far between. Sometimes when our bus drivers get impatient on the interstate, they swerve over into lanes with oncoming traffic and drive there for a while... attempting to pass other vehicles on their own side of the road. They do a lot of honking to say the least.

We visited the forbidden city today... as well as several ornate tombs. I am completely taken aback by the beauty and scale of some of these leftover buildings.

Also, Vietnam is a prime vacation spot for French people... oddly enough... I know. I've been stalking them a lot trying to understand what they're saying... and really it hasn't been to hard.

The grossest food I have ever put in my mouth happened at lunch today. Thinking about it makes me want to vomit. But I suppose thats the fun of it all. It isn't an adventure unless you eat really disgusting stuff. I had a shrimp inside of a big goopy pile of sticky rice, wrapped up inside of seaweed? or some sort of leaf. Seriously... everything at lunch today is gag worthy.

Dinner made up for it though. We had dinner on a boat and listened to traditional music performed live... right in front of us. It was very peaceful. After the performers finished the music we went out to the end of the boat and sent floating candles, in the shape of lotus blossoms, down the perfume river. It was very lovely and symbolic. The Vietnamese value the Lotus over any other flower.

I still can't believe I ate prawns today. Plus, yesterday I ate squid and didn't hate it. What has gotten into me? what happened to that silly, potato-eating, land locked, heartland girl? When did I start enjoying seafood?

P.S. Vietnamese Emperors were pimps. 140 documented children to one guy... with 500 wives... he never got to sleep with them all.

This is a lot like some guys in college today. LOL. I crack myself up.

I can't wait to be home with my family and then finally back on campus with all of my close friends!

Peace and Love... I am missing everyone of you.

p.s. I know my blogs are riddled with all sorts of grammatical errors. I am well aware. I always read through these posts AFTER I've posted them and have no desire to go back and edit them again. Please don't think I am a four year old... I just really don't care about grammar that much when my main goal is to update my mom and grandma on my life... then get to bed.

No one has mentioned anything... but I've just noticed that I have really bad writing habits. My apologies.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Brief Update from Nam

I can't write much because I have to go to sleep to prepare for an early morning. I am waking up at 2:45 am. blah.

I am loving asia.

I am missing home.

Can't wait to see everyone.

P.S. I swam in Ha Long Bay yesterday. woot.

Peace and Love


I am posting this b/c we don't think internet will be so reliable soon.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Greetings from Hanoi, Vietnam

Silly Angela,

I was so bummed out because I didn't have an adaptor for Vietnam, and then yesterday someone told me they use the same outlets as the U.S. So, I've been not communicating out of my own ignorance. sigh. Well, What can I say.... I am in Hanoi, Vietnam and it is very different from any other place in the world. First of all, it is the exact opposite of time as my home. So while it is 6:40pm in Indy right now... it is 6:40am here in Hanoi.

Another thing... TRAFFIC... woah buddy. There are pretty much no rules. There are a bagillion motorbikes and very very few pedestrian crosswalks. You're just supposed to slowly start walking across the street in the way of oncoming traffic. I think I may have peed my pants a couple of times. It is truly scary.

As expected... some of the food here is a little bit hard to stomach. But I'm getting by. Yesterday a couple of us ran to a little hole in the wall, store to grab some junk food. I found a tin of those little Danish Butter cookies that Boo Boo always has!!! I bought some and it was like Christmas! Speaking of food allow me to describe to you my dinner. First of all, they set a plate of cold white noodles in front of all of us. Then the brought out a skillet full of oil and fish. You are supposed to add some green vegetables (Morning Glory) to the skillet and cook it yourself. It is actually quite good. Then they bring out this purple substance called Fish Paste and tell you to try it on the whole mixture. Unfortunately, I read a book on vietnam and know what fish paste really is.

It is where they put a bunch of fish in some sort of big tub and let it sit, and sit, and sit, until it completely liquifies, then they put it on their food. It smells like poop. But I actually tried it on some of my food and it wasn't too bad. This is my new way of eating... I don't ask, I just put it in my mouth and start chewing.

Yesterday We went to Ho Chi Minhs Mausoleum. I was really sad an homesick so I don't have a lot to say about it. It was super strange to walk past his body on display. I don't think I would want to be on display like that after I die. Oh, and there are a lot of government officials around everywhere. Sometimes it makes me nervous.

I can't get on facebook. Apparently it's blocked here.

Instead of going to the ceramic village, we had to go somewhere else because the road was being repaired. So, we went to a silk village instead. It is a little community full of people who make and sell silk. A bunch of people bought scarves.

P.S. I was a millionaire yesterday. 1,000,000 Dong= fifty US bucks.

There is so much I want to write about! But I keep forgetting everything. I will try to journal about as much as I can remember So I can tell everyone later. Hanoi is really a very interesting city. Its easy to get lost in... as a matter of fact, I have been lost here lol.

Anyway, I'll try to keep in touch.

Peace and Love

P.S. We're all going to go see Harry Potter in Singapore! Beat That Andrea!!!! ha ha!

OH! and I've had to pee squatting in over those little hole in the ground toilets. Just thought I'd tell everyone.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thoughts On Malaysia.

1. It is hot and humid
2. I used two squat toilets yesterday
3. It smells strange.
4. McDonalds and KFC are everywhere in the world.
5. Those little crispy things are fishes.
6. There's a hose for your butt after you poop.
7. Iced Blended Corn?
8. Chicken... its served a little differently
9. You aren't allowed in temples during your period... but who's gonna know?
10. People take photos with you if you are blonde and have blue eyes.

Basically I miss home a lot. I can't wait to be home and sleep.

Its still fun but... I just really miss everyone.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kuala Lumpur!!!... almost

We’re almost ready to leave Australia for Kuala Lumpur, and it feels like we’re supposed to be boarding the plane home. I feel like I’ve learned so much that another leg of the trip does not seem possible.

Last night Christy Parent, Meghan White, and I wandered over to a familiar section of Broadbeach for some ice cream at “Cold Rock.” (Very similar to Cold Stone). I ordered Milo flavored ice cream with cookie dough… and let me tell you, best ice cream I have ever had… ever. Its sort of like a farewell to Australia and New Zealand.

I want to blog right now, because I really have no idea how reliable internet will be in Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc. I don’t really know how anything will be in Asia. A lot of people are pretty anxious for that reason. They don’t want to be the minority in a group of people who don’t speak English.

A lot of them complain about how our teachers were supposed to prepare us for this and they totally didn’t! I think they need to suck it up and stop being cry-babies. I really don’t think there is anyway for our teachers to have prepared us any differently than they did. Especially considering they’ve never been to these countries either.

Actually, its come to my attention that our group likes to complain… a lot, and I can’t handle it. I really don’t understand what they were expecting to know when it came to Asia. Really, they need to stop peeing their pants and just go with the flow. It will go a lot easier for them.

Heck, maybe I should take my own advice. I can’t lie and say I’m not a little nervous… but I think it’s the good type.

That’s all for now.

Peace and Love

Asia Here I Come

Okay, I am going to write this as fast as I can, because I have a limited amount of internet available to me.

Currently I am sitting in an apartment along the Gold Coast. Our group is only staying her one night before we wake up to fly to Kuala Lumpur. We just got back from a week long cruise on the “Pacific Dawn.’

I have decided I don’t like cruises all that much. It was fine, but I think it was really meant for old people who like to drink, not for Christian college students. Apparently, when some of the people from our group tried to order virgin drinks the bar tenders refused them. Jerks. Some of the big activities on the boat were bingo, and art auctioning. It seemed fun in theory, and there were a lot of fun activities on board but it still wasn’t my cup of tea.

One of the good things about the cruise was the fun dancing from 11:15 pm onward. I went twice and it was a complete blast. You really can’t beat watching Ellis, Taylor, and Marcus getting footloose.

Most nights we ate at the ship restaurant. The boys made a habit of trying to order as many courses a possible. It seemed like the length of our dinner grew each night. I think Barrett ordered eight or nine courses once.

My favorite part of our cruise was the Great Barrier Reef. We took a boat out to Knuckle Reef, (which is part of the Great Barrier Reef). I had planned on just going snorkeling because it was free! However, the day was kind of rainy and gray, and the water was very choppy. Somehow Stacey Williams talked me into spending the money to actually do SCUBA diving. I do feel guilty about spending 100 bucks… but I think it was worth it. It turns out the group of people who when snorkeling had a terrible time. They could hardly see anything and the waves were so big that they kept getting knocked over.

SCUBA diving, however, was so worth the money. The sensation of breathing under water was out of this world. I can’t even describe it. We got to be right down with all of the creatures… speaking of which… coral is an ANIMAL, not a plant. Our guide let us touch some it. And woah man…. I can honestly say it is one of the most amazing and inspiring experiences I’ve ever had.

After our session under the ocean, Jordan Norton and I took turns going down this tube slide right into the deep ocean. That’s where we were the middle of the ocean. There was no land anywhere; the people just built this station in the middle of the reef.

Now we’re back in Broadbeach. I’m not sure how I feel about that. All I know, is I am really stressed out. I am worried about how much money is in my account. I am worried about the weight of my bags… and I am trying to figure out what stuff to trash if it gets too heavy, and it very well could.

First and Foremost, I am hungry. And I have fourteen dollars to spend on dinner and breakfast… p.s. that doesn’t go very far.

Stressing out about Tokyo, but I talked with Andrea Alt, and I think a bunch of them are going to make plans to stay in a YHA hostel. I asked to join them, but if they’re going to book some fancy pants, expensive, private room… I may want to stab myself. Just sayin’

Currently, I don’t know if I am gaining weight or losing it. I am always worried that I am gaining, and it has felt like I was gaining… however, my clothes seem to fit a bit looser than I remember. A lot of the girls were able to check their weight on the ship, and were surprised to find out they’d lost two pounds.

I didn’t check. I have no idea what I weigh… but as long as I fit into Alyson’s bridesmaid dress… I don’t care.

Speaking of ALYSON STROTHER! I miss her and Eric and Nathan. I was remembering out trip to my house just a bit ago, and I just can’t wait to be hanging out again.

Sigh, I suppose this should be a sufficient blog. Here’s some random info, I’ve started reading The Hunger Games because everyone on this trip is psycho-obsessed with it.

I miss my family a ton. Just today I was thinking about Christmas time and wishing it were now. It’s the little things that remind me of home. Everyone in Australia already has Christmas stuff out for purchasing. I was really surprised at all of the decorations, but then Christy Parent made a point by saying that they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, so they probably just get started with Christmas right after Halloween.

Anyway, it just makes me think of home more. I am so excited to NOT live out of a suitcase. I will be able to eat HOME COOKED MEALS!!! Ahhhh!

Well, this is probably going to be it for a while.

Peace and Love

Monday, November 1, 2010

LA LA LA Last days in New Zealand

As my time in New Zealand is ending, I am once again finding myself scrambling to get everything done on time. I'm sending a box home full of random stuff: Clothes, Photos, New Zealand Souvenirs. Hopefully this will be enough to allow me to go through airport security without the stress of being told my bags are too heavy. I am going to probably throw away two pairs of jeans. In my defense, they're a little baggy on me anyway. Oh, and I have to pack... AND I have to figure out this whole Tokyo thing.

Apparently now that I have a tattoo, staying at certain places is not allowed. Go figure. I haven't really looked into the hostel I thought I was going to end up at, and on top of that... I missed some group info meeting where they all went to gather information... So I may end up wandering the streets of Tokyo for a few nights... I know, this probably isn't something a mother wants to hear. Whatever. I'll figure it out.

Today is my lovely roommate, Meghan's, BIRTHDAY! So, tonight we're all going into Queenstown (best place on earth) and having dinner at "The Cow." When we return... I will probably look like a cow. But it is all okay because it's her birthday.

I've finished my papers and finals... Minus a little bit of revision I am planning on accomplishing tonight... I am all done with school until January. This is exciting. I am truly ready to immerse myself in Asia. Although, I am a little bit torn. I really LOVE New Zealand, more than I loved Australia. Its weird how much this place has really become a home away from home. Hopefully, Asia will not disappoint.

I am also, extremely excited to go home and hug my family. I want to chill out with friends and relax before school at Harding.

Sometimes, I can't believe this is for real. Like, this is my life... I am living this amazing life.... I couldn't have asked for a better one.

Peace and Love

P.S. S.I.M. You're the same you've always been... too bad for you.

Christmas List 2010

Here's the deal. In a few days... I don't know when I'll be able to get on the internet. I'm taking this opportunity to write out my Christmas list for anyone who cares about me.

1. 3M... LOTS OF IT. hooks of various size... TONS of adhesives. Want/need them.
2. Espresso Machine and/or griddle. The more food I can make in my room the better.

Since I'm on the topic of rules that I am technically not allowed to do at harding... but everyone does and I am going to do anyway:

3. Candle warmer and lots of yummy candles from yankee candle company.
4. Art supplies.. and a good quality easel for my painting.
5. Books... art books?
6. Stamps
7. Toms
8. Winter Clothes.

And pretty much anything else that you want to get me. Just letting you know ahead of time.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Camping with the Sheep.

There is so much updating to do. Sometimes it makes me sad to think that I am going to forget things, just because I haven't documented them all.

Well, I haven't been online for a little while just because I've been at a sheep shearing... place. It's called Mt. Nicholas and they farm sheep for wool. We left on Thursday morning to board a boat on lake Wakatipu. It was about a thirty minute boat ride and Savannah fell asleep on my shoulder.

When we got there half of us chose to sleep in the sheep shearer's cabins and the other half chose to pitch tents on the beach. Well... you better believe I was pitching a tent! Christy Parent and I set up our two person tent without help from the boys! And, it was much sturdier than theirs at that. It's funny that I take pride in silly little things like pitching tents.

After we set up camp, we had a packed lunch and then went to learn about sheep. It was interesting because we got to watch a herding dog jump fences and scare the crap out of some silly sheep.

Dinner was delicious! We ate lamb, Chicken, and Steak! ALL THREE! then for desert we were treated to a rhubarb cobbler. It was some of the best food I've had since leaving America. Plus, I got to have some really wonderful conversations with everyone in the group. I love sitting down and learning a bunch of unexpected things about people I thought I knew backwards and forwards already.

Amount of work left before freedom: 2000 words and 4 final exams... oh and one spiffy journal.

Eventually we all gathered around a roaring fire on the beach and had a singing devotional. I am always impressed by the harmonizing our group does, and really... everyone else is too. If we're having chapel or some sort of devo when strangers are around... they usually comment on how amazing we sound. I don't mean to sound like a snob... but I guess I didn't realize how good we must sound.

We're a bunch of random college age Americans. No Kiwi would expect us to sing such passionate songs together and know all of the parts so well. I think we just catch everyone off guard.

SOOOOO.... back to the camping.

We slept in tents. It was cold but I loved every minute of it. When I woke up, breakfast was ready. Nothing like hot coffee and hot food. I think the reason the food was so good was because the family who lived on the sheep farm made everything. Fresh eggs, bacon, and hash browns. Plus there was greek yogurt and pears. It's wonderful to find out that the "Tomato Relish" is homemade and grown in their yard. Figuratively, it takes me home to Indiana when we have our fresh tomatoes. Sigh, I love it.

After Breakie, we went on a hike to a "waterfall" aka... drippy water. Our guides had never taken that particular trail before, but kept assuring us that it would be "an adventure!" Ha ha, we ended up walking through a couple of streams, some how I ended up in water that was knee deep. Most of the people kept complaining about how much they didn't want to get wet and how they kept stepping in sheep poop (and let me tell you... the poop was EVERYWHERE, I started calling them land mines). I however, enjoyed the little journey through Middle Earth. I needed the exercise.

Finally when we got back we had some yummy lunch and packed up to go back to Queenstown. By then everyone was wet, muddy, greasy, and covered in sheep excrement. I kept thinking... "I can't wait until I'm back at the Glebe."

We floated back over the lake and sooner than we realized... we were warm and clean... and avoiding homework/studying.

Here are a couple of random bits of information I deemed it important for you to know:
1. I have been suffering from homesickness on and off. Really I'm just craving Christmas with my family... p.s. I've already compiled a Christmas list. I'll post it sometime before I leave.

2. If anyone wants souvenirs, speak now or forever hold your peace.

3. I am going bungee jumping at 10:15 in the morning tomorrow. If you want to know the details it is the "Nevis." you can look it up online.

4. JAPAN, I can't believe I am already planning for Tokyo. I am going to probably stay at a hostel with a really unique name: Tokyo Hostel... yep. It's located in between Uneo and Asakusa, whatever that means.

5. I still need to ship stuff home, and I don't know how much money that's going to be. But I need NEED to do that because otherwise I'm gonna have to throw a bunch of stuff away.

6. I am SO psyched for finals to be over with and papers to be written.

7. I've been working daily on trying to be an artist. New Zealand is the best place for inspiration.

8. I craved McAlisters today for the first time. sigh, American food... Sandwiches here are just so weird, I can't put a finger on it but they're just incredibly different.

9. I drank coffee without creamer yesterday and today... I like it.

10. I need people to talk with me and send me some love. I think about my friends and family constantly. Miss you guys.

11. Mom, I am still in the Glebe, in fact we have a much larger apartment with FOUR bedrooms and a fireplace. I believe we have the largest apartment out of anyone in our group. Meghan and I are still sharing a room but we don't mind.

Again, I am sorry for the lack of pictures but here's the deal. Pim-Pam pays for us to have internet, and photos eat up all of the internet she pays for... she has already spent 1,200 NZD on the internet in New Zealand alone! We have been told to only upload a couple of photos and not to watch ANY videos... etc. AND, since I uploaded a ton of photos from Milford Sound, I didn't feel like it was fair for me to upload anymore while I am here unless it's the last day and we have a bunch of leftover internet. Either that or I have to pay for it at an internet café. So... Here's to being frugal!

I will try to upload pictures whenever I get a chance, but I don't know if that is going to happen on the trip anymore at all. No promises.

Peace and Love

Sunday, October 24, 2010

STRESS overload.

Here we go. I'm tired and my head has a slight ache. I've got only about 4,000 words between me and being done with serious homework.

And you know something funny, I thought I would be worry free by now, but I'm not. I'm going to gave to ship some of my stuff home... which is going to cost some money. This is a bummer for sure, but it will be a relief not to have to worry about how much my bag weighs anymore.

Recently, I've started worrying about my life and future and all of that crap again. I've started just looking at potential grad schools, because at this point... thats what I'm going to have to do. I don't hate the idea of it, I just dread spending more money for the uncertainty of my degree. I want to be successful so badly, but I am really afraid of failing. I am worried that I'm not talented enough or driven enough to succeed.

If I want to do well, then I need to be working on being an artist EVERYDAY... not just when the time is right. I need to make it my life and drown myself in it. I need to be developing a strong portfolio now, if I have any hope of getting into any kind of well known grad school. I don't want to go to some po-dunck little ho-hum grad school. I want to learn from people who really know what they're talking about. sigh.

Mom: If you want, while I'm gone you could look up some when I don't have internet.

Anyway, Right now I'm just worried about internet usage. We can't upload photos, or watch videos or anything anymore because it costs a lot of money. Pam has spent 1,200 dollars on internet just in New Zealand. I blew it this morning when I uploaded photos and I feel super guilty about it. So, News Flash: I can't upload anymore. Most of you guys will just have to wait until I get home in early December.

OH, and I worry about money: I know I shouldn't because everything all works out, blah blah blah. But I am going to be UBER broke when I get back. I was wondering if I should try to find seasonal work somewhere when I return from my trip abroad, but I don't even know if anyone would be hiring. sigh.

listen to me all paranoid. I need to take a chill pill.

AH, Also I think I need to take summer classes. I want to take something like ceramics or more painting classes. I need to be doing art all year and that definitely needs NEEDS to encompass the summers.

Okay, I want to talk about my awesome trip to Milford Sound and all of that mumbo jumbo, but I honestly cannot think of anything else right now besides all of these things stressing me out!.

Peace and Love

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Angela Versus the Mountain...(A.K.A. Really Big Hill)

Dear friends, It is an idiotic thing that I am right now blogging.

I really have so much on my plate right now, what with school and all. Here's the Dealio: Don't be fooled, classes abroad can be really intense. Especially if you have teacher's who are already strict at school. Ugh, I know there's only two weeks left of classes, but that only makes me more nervous about getting everything done on time.

Somehow though, I found time on Sunday to take a leisurely walk. I told everyone in the apartment that I had a headache and just needed to go for a quick little walk to get some air. Little did I know, this was not what fate had in mind. I walked over to the sink to refill my water bottle then mindlessly jammed my feet into my tennis shoes.

I figured I would just walk around town for maybe an hour at most, you know... see what Queenstown had to offer. So that's what I did. I walked around and went into this bead shop I'd seen earlier. It was an adorable place with beads... EVERYWHERE, but it was also unnecessarily expensive, so I left almost as soon as I'd entered.

I started to grow a little tired of the whole town thing. It's nice, but I needed fresh air and there were a lot of car emissions down in the valley. Lucky for me I read the sign that read, "Queenstown Hill Walking Trail." I love walking and I love trails, so I thought to myself..."why not!"

Well, turns out hills are much steeper than I thought they were. This one was no exception. I began hiking up the sidewalks to the trail head. Passing several people who were going the opposite direction. The key in trying NOT to be seen as an American is to pretend like you're not out of shape. They way I do this is hold my breath and smile as I pass others while I secretly feel like my heart is going to pound out of my chest. As soon as the Kiwis pass, I huff and puff like an 80 year old man with emphysema... okay not that bad.

Finally I made it to the beginning of the trail... and let me tell you, it was truly the beginning. The trail was heavily wooded and fairly remote. Being in a tourist town, I assumed it would be, I don't know, busy. However, I was pleasantly surprised to be alone most of the way.

And It was wonderful to be on my own. This is a hike that most of the people from HUA took in groups, but I am so glad I chose to go it alone. I was able to contemplate things like spirituality and who I am. There's just something about nature and God's creation that inspires me to think inward about my life and outward about the whole world. I like to imagine that the hike was actually, in itself, its own church service. (If this were the case then I'll have you know the preacher went WAY over in his allotted time, ha ha).

I wasn't sure how far I would go when I started out, but after a while I became determined to make it to the top. I wanted to say that I did it on my own and have it symbolize (for myself) what I've overcome in my own life. The longer it took, the more adamant I was at summiting. The scenery changed the further up I climbed. It started out looking like a fairy tale forest and got darker as I kept trudging upward. Eventually the trees were leafless, save for the top branches in the canopy. The branches below were numerous and bare, like little bones reaching down to capture a lone hiker who wasn't paying attention.

As an imaginative person, I let my mind get the best of me. I started wondering who I would run into on the path. Rolling my eyes at my own stupidity, I realized that I'd wandered up the hill... into a dark forest... completely alone just like every other stupid Horror story or murder victim. Genius... not. Of course I started hearing things and that only pushed me up the hill faster.

I finally reached a point where the trees had cleared and I was nearing the top. This was the steepest and most difficult point in my "epic journey." The Summit was 15 minutes away and the wind was whipping at my cheeks and biting at my lips. My legs were aching and I was running out of time before the scheduled church service... and the sunset. It took a lot of strength but I somehow forced my body to the top. I was half expecting to see more inclines and required hiking, but it was such a relief to see nothing besides one of the most spectacular views I've ever seen.

New Zealand. It feels like it could go on forever. It really is exactly like what you would imagine a fairy tale land to look at. Think of any fantasy novel... I bet it was based on New Zealand. If I could live anywhere out of the United States, it would be here. I heaved a sigh and said a prayer, then began my hasty descent down the "mountain..." Ahem, hill. (it really stinks that it is considered a hill... because it makes my hike sound wimpy). I enjoyed smiling at people on the way down... I know they were secretly hyperventilating.

I made it back in time for church and before I nearly peed my pants. It was wonderful and I am so glad that I challenged myself in that way. I think it was good for my soul (and my butt, which is still sore).

Peace and Love

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Queenstown Adventures So Far

Well, its Sunday Morning in Queenstown and luckily, I'm the first and only one up in the apartment. We won't have church until seven so I suspect most of the other girls will be asleep for a while. This is a relaxing thought for me.

Well, Queenstown... what can I say... It's my favorite place on this trip so far. The views are absolutely breathtaking. We're located right in with this mountains called the "Remarkables" and they're pretty remarkable.

On Wednesday I went skydiving. I jumped out of a plane at 12,000 feet and free fell. Woah man, what a rush! It was so much fun and not nearly as scary as I had anticipated it being this summer. Really, if you can do it then you should. Everyone was gushing about the guy that I was lucky enough to jump the plane with, Marius. My whole apartment thought he was some hunk of man. lol. My photographer was pretty cute too, but I have a hard time thinking I matched their "attractive-rebel-jumping-out-of-a-plane" look with my dorky hat and goggles on. Anyway, both of them were nice guys.

Saturday (Which was yesterday) I went horseback riding through Glenorchy and Paradise falls. This is where they've filmed beaucoup Lord of the Rings sequences, Chronicles of Narnia clips, Wolverine scenes, and (believe it or not Andrea) some scenes from The Lovely Bones. My horse's name was Biscuit and we became kindred spirits. I'd never had to ride a horse with an English Style saddle but it wasn't bad at all. The only scary parts of the ride came when Boris, Carter's Horse, decided to infringe on everyone's territory. Biscuit was not about to be a wuss, so he wouldn't let Boris through... unfortunately that meant infringing on Zodiack's territory. Zodiack decided to frighten biscuit away and it worked fairly well. Biscuit went running towards a cliff.

After several worried shreeks from the guides and attempts to get biscuit turned around... I finally succeeded. (and was scolded for not knowing what "Shorten your reigns" meant. Sorry, I don't ride horses everyday. At my house we drive cars). However, the whole trip was a worthwhile one. Nick said I should be a horse woman because I looked good in the helmet. I also couldn't get past the fact that I was where Orlando Bloom once was. ha!

The guide pointed out different Lord of the Rings scenes. We got to see where the fellowship was caught by the Elves when they entered Lothlorien forest. We also got to see where Boromir was killed, and where Isengard was flimed as well. LEGIT!

I loved hearing a bunch of behind the scenes stories, but I really loved the landscape more. I can see why so many filmmakers love to come out here to film. It's so much more amazing than anything I've ever seen.

After getting back from the ride, I went back to the apartment, ate a Peanut butter and Jam sandwich (b/c they don't have jelly) and fell asleep until dinner time. It was a good day.

Peace and Love

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My First Days in New Zealand

October 11th 2010

Hello from Queenstown, New Zealand!

We made it successfully here after spending several days in Christchurch. Here’s the play-by-play.

THURSDAY: We arrived in Christchurch and moved into the YMCA, and let me tell you; it is fun to stay there (Pun intended). 6 of us to a room… not unusual and I got the bottom bunk. I don’t mind the bottom bunk, it’s not a bad place, however the bed above me was a bit janky and when Meghan slept above me, her butt was inches from my face. Lol. I didn’t mind so much except for when I would sit up and get my hair tangled in the mess above me.

One thing about New Zealand that I was aware of before: it is cold. We wandered around Christchurch for a while outside and my first souvenir purchase was a pair of cheap “All Blacks” gloves.

We found some botanical gardens right across the street from the YMCA and explored a bit. There’s this lovely river that runs through the town filled with ducklings. And the gardens were full of huge green trees. It was a perfect escape for about 40 college students who spent the majority of the day crammed like sardines on an airplane.

Also, I sorted everyone on our trips into Hogwarts houses. It was something that Jim Hassell and I did while we were bored before one of our econ classes back on the Gold Coast. This was just a silly idea but most people in our group have taken the idea and run away with it. We already have house rivalries between Slytherin and Gryffindor. Jennifer Mills lets us do things because: “As the Head of Gryffindor house, I give you permission to go shopping before the Cathedral tour.” Its funny, however it seems like all of the Huffelpuffs are mad they didn’t make it into Gryffindor. Sorry guys… What the sorting hat says: goes.

FRIDAY: Breakfast was fake eggs. Yum? It wasn’t as good as Harding’s fake eggs though. After breakfast a bunch of us headed into the city to buy outdoor sports clothes. I fell in love with this legit jacket from “macpac” but it was 160 NZD and I couldn’t bring myself to buy it. I left my heart with it though. Instead I bought a cute beanie (hate that word. It reminds me of stoners and crack heads) from Colombia.

After Shopping, Taylor Kee, Marcus Brinley, Laura Kelly, and I all paid 12 NZD to see the “Ron Mueck Exhibition” at the art gallery in town. Woah man. It was absolutely amazing. He is a sculptor and he creates sculptures of people…. And chickens? Well, I was going to upload pictures but the internet here in New Zealand is less than satisfactory, so you’ll just have to look him up on your own.

The museum was wonderful! You know me and art. Taylor and I enjoyed critiquing everything and then journaled in the artists annex. Then we all headed back for lunch as a group. We had these (yucky) sandwiches with cucumbers and slimy turkey, plus some meat pies.

P.S. Aussies and Kiwis alike, enjoy putting Beets (beetroot as they call it) on any and all sandwiches… even hamburgers. I don’t mind, because like a good mother. Nancy DeCamp always made me eat my beets with dinner. Yay for having an awesome Mom!

Soon after eating we all crossed the street to go to the Canterbury museum. It was a lovely museum dedicated to New Zealand! We learned about the Extinct “Moa” and other important birds including (of course) the Kiwi! We also had a chance to discover a little bit about Maori culture. I can’t lie It fascinates me. We learned all about the Haka and the tattooing practices of their culture. Something interesting is the “greenstone, or jade.” You can buy all sorts of trinkets made out of it.

Personally, I wanted a simple ring made of greenstone but our guide told us that the jade is only lucky for the person you give it to. It isn’t considered lucky if you buy it for yourself. Naturally I buy into local folklore and animism so I was pretty bummed out that I could buy myself a lucky ring. Oh well, that’s life I suppose.

Somehow after all of the museum fun I found myself in a marketplace right out front of the cathedral. You know, a bunch of people selling tourists random crap they don’t need. Yeah, that one. I wound up buying a cloth headband from a guy for 7 bucks. In my defense, I have always wanted an artsy-fartsy headband. Plus when I tried it on, the cute shop guy said, “oh… that’s hot.” Who can resist buying random junk from a guy that speaks the truth?

Later on I bought a few souvenirs from a three-story souvenir store: a patch a couple of tea towels, and some postcards. I’ve always wondered why tea towels are so popular to buy. What are they? Why are they here? But Christy gave me a genius idea; I am going to make throw pillows out of them! Yes!

Soon we left and went to eat dinner, but while at dinner my wonderful friend, Michelle, “proposed” to me…. Pulling out a simple greenstone ring! She had bought me one, not knowing that I had wanted one so badly. I was so excited and happy and I don’t think I’ll ever take it off! What a great day.

Friday is also the night, after my shower, we discovered that Meghan’s hair dryer smelled disgusting, and stunk up the room at the YMCA… which is odd, because it’s been fairly reliable. Not knowing what to do with wet hair before bed, I discovered that the room radiator was just as good at drying hair. So, kneeling next to it on the carpet, I flipped my head over and dried it all in a reasonable amount of time.

SATURDAY: This was our last full day in Christchurch. Our first activity was a tour of Christchurch Cathedral. I enjoy going into these cathedrals, because I just love the genius of it all. The whole design is mesmerizing, even though most of them down on this side of the equator are much smaller than their European counterparts. (I threw in that last word to sound smart, but I am well aware that it probably means something completely unrelated to what I wrote).

We climbed to the top of the tower in the cathedral and looked down. Sigh. It was nice. And It worked our bums! Yay, Alyson’s bridesmaid dress, here I come!

Soon after the Cathedral we went Punting, which as we all know… is like one large Gondola ride on a river. It was fun because I sat behind Marcus and Ellis, and next to Taylor… this meant complete hilarity the whole way through. I had a hard time listening to what out boat guy said because they were making me laugh the whole time.

After the “Punting” we took a Gondola…. Which as we all know is actually a large ski-lift-esque contraption that keeps you enclosed while it takes you up to the top of a mountain. It was lovely, but I had a bit of a headache at that point. I am not a nice person when I’m in pain. But, I thought I faked it pretty well. The view helped boost my spirits of course.

We left the mountain and drove to a place called Sumner. It was nice, blah blah blah. I have a hard time remembering it all because I was so tired and had an uncomfortable headache. I remember going back to the room and sleeping, then later on, Christy and I went for a run though the park. It was the highlight of Christchurch.

I just love the freedom of running and It was lovely to be on our own running around the beauty of the botanical gardens in Christchurch. I’m gonna miss it….

Tell you about Queenstown soon!

Peace and Love

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Last Day in Australia

This may be the last blog post for several days, because tomorrow morning we are leaving for New Zealand. We will be staying in Christchurch for a few days then flying off to Queenstown which will be our "home base" for the following three weeks.

It is sad to think that we're already leaving Australia. I know that we will return briefly for a couple of nights in Brisbane before our cruise, but it still is sort of sad.

Last night was our "farewell" dinner. No one was told where it would be we were only told to meet in the lobby at 5:45pm. Soon we boarded a bus and drove 15 minutes to "Australian Outback Spectacular: Heroes of the Light Horse." This is the Australian equivalent of the "Dixie Stampede" (minus Dolly Parton... and all of her glory). While there, they fed us us as we watched a variety of different performances on horses based on Australian history.

My favorite part was when James would come around and refill my glass with more sprite. Just kidding! (sort of). The food was great. We had a salad wrap for starters. The main course consisted of green beans, carrots, mashed potatoes, pumpkin, and the rarest steak I have ever eaten. Not kidding, the meat was definitely RED. But it was pretty tender and I didn't mind all that much. For desert they had this... marshmellowey thing with fruit sauce, but the real kicker was the steaming hot coffee. mmmmmhmmm. You know coffee is the love of my life.

We laughed and cheered and enjoyed the show. Our side, Warrego Station won the little competition, then we all went home happy, wearing our "outback cowboy hats" (Ellis was, of course, wearing his light up pink bunny ears he'd purchased). I am a little sad that I won't be able to bring the hat back with me. It's a cheap little thing but it was a memory and I'd like to have kept it. oh well.

RANDOM AUSTRALIAN THING: When they want to ask you how your day is going they say, "How are you going?" I find this strange because we're so used to saying, "How's it going?"

Today: Bittersweet. A lot of it was spent studying for an Energy and Pollution test that I most likely failed. ugh. Whatever, "It's College."

Most of this afternoon/evening will be spent packing, or should I say... trying to throw crap away. I honestly HATE going through airport security and trying to check bags/see what I can get away with. I would rather go to Verizon Wireless then a used car dealership than have to deal with airport weight restrictions anymore. I don't understand how to pack for three months in under 30 kilos. For goodness sakes, I don't even know how much a kilo is! Tomorrow could be a bad bad day.

I lost the goop for my new tattoo. Don't know what to say about that. I'll just have to look around the apartment.

Today was the last time I will have bought a Latté from my favorite coffee joint in the mall. I go about everyday, and the guy that works there recognizes me and knows what I will order. sigh. He doesn't know, but he's never going to see me again. Sorry dude.

Other than that, I'm going to miss the warm weather. NZ will be colder and three hours different than what I am already used to. Don't ask in what direction because I don't know.

Now this blog is completely unfocused and random. Oh well.

Peace and Love

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Homework and Rain Make For a Sad Australian Sunday

Well, I've been writing in my blog fairly frequently. I keep trying to think of ways to describe what my life is like in a way that everyone will understand it, but I know that it is fairly unlikely to do so.

This morning I was going to wake up, Jump out of bed and go for a run. Well, I woke up, slid out of bed like a sloth, and made coffee instead. It was pouring outside and the air was rather chilly. This was a bit discouraging because I really want to be healthy and I feel like I am failing tremendously. So, instead of doing anything remotely healthy for me, I decided to do homework. I got as far as my computer in that particular venture and found myself (not surprisingly) ambling onto facebook. Curse this addictive drug.

The problem with facebook is that one thing surely leads to another. OH, Johnny is engaged to Laura!? Is that a new profile pic? etc... blah blah blah. And it's even worse if I have the chat button on. I may as well accept the fact that when I look at my computer screen with the hopes of completing homework, I can certainly assume that It will take me at least two extra hours. (and if it's science... just tack on two more extra hours).

Oh, and don't forget the coffee. You may as well stick a syringe in my arm and pump me full of the warm brown liquid. I'm at the point where I'm drinking two to three cups daily. It makes me feel sad for the smokers in the olden days. They didn't know smoking was so bad for them until after they were completely addicted... what if that happens to me with coffee? What if someone comes out with this study and discovers that drinking coffee causes dementia and 77.6% of people who drink it will get the disease? I think I would just about pee my pants... then forget the whole message (because by then I'd have dementia).

Anyway, So Australia has been wonderful, but not nice enough to spend any considerable amount of time on the beach, which sort of breaks my heart. Maybe I wouldn't feel so bad about it if I lived in florida or something, But... I don't. I live in Indiana. after this trip, who knows when I'll see the ocean again.

Now. I just need motivation for doing homework.


Peace and Love

Friday, October 1, 2010

At Home Across the Ocean

Mmmmm. I loved being settled in. It finally feels like this place is "home."

I went running on the beach this morning, avoiding all of the blue bottle jellyfish corpses that littered the shore. Then came back and chillaxed. I've painted my nails, ate a healthy breakfast and lunch... and even though its kind of a rainy day, it's been perfect. I think everyone is bummed because it's not extremely sunny and warm, but I think it's perfect.

The ocean looks different every time I see it. In the morning, it sparkles with the sun's light. When it's rainy, it has this dark and adventurous color to it. Oh, I just love it. I could never get bored of looking at the ocean.

Tonight we're going back to Surfer's Paradise... a bunch of us girls. (no boys. Sorry Pim-Pam). Then we're gonna come back for pizza (I may skip out on that), and Bridget Jones. It turns out that pretty much EVERYONE has not seen this movie. WHAAAAA??? I feel like it is my personal duty to educate them on the most perfect movie to ever grace the silver screen.

Good news: the sun is making a cameo appearance in the west windows right now. I love my life. Australia, Why must I leave you on Thursday? New Zealand: How can I love you, when my heart is with Australia...

Answer to that question, They may be filming "The Hobbit," while we're there. If so... and if I meet Hugo Weaving.... I could go home and feel complete. New goal: Be an extra in a film.

Peace and Love

Mission Almost Accomplished.

Ah, hello blog readers! I suppose it's about time for an update on my life.

Well, I went to Surfer's Paradise again tonight with Michelle and Ashely. We were there on a mission, of course, however it wasn't quite accomplished tonight... instead we will be returning tomorrow night for completion. However, a 100 buck deposit went towards this mission already, so it will definitely be happening. Sorry for being vague. If you know me well enough, you'll know what I'm talking about soon enough.

Anyway, about Surfer's Paradise. Its a pretty cool city. Its about a 45 minute walk from our apartments in Broadbeach, and well worth it. There are all sorts of shops and places to eat, however our director Pam Little (aka Pim-Pam) has stressed numerous times that we should not go there without men and definitely NOT on a Friday or Saturday evening. Well, I've been to Surfer's Paradise twice, both were with just girls... both were on a Friday night.

The only thing that has happened to me has been some whistling and cat calls... oh and tonight I was sitting at a bus stop, waiting for our friend Christy Parent to meet up with us and join us for our... "mission." While sitting there, minding my own business, a group of guys passed me (mind you this was 6pm, not drunkards) and as they passed one guy jumped up then sat on my lap. Weirdo. He said something like, "Hi there!" and motioned to his friends.

I gave him a look that said, "I'm surprised and you look like a complete idiot, get off of me." Thankfully, this guy was good at reading expressions and obliged. Of course, Michelle just giggled and giggled about it. I have to admit, it was kind of funny. He didn't do anything super inappropriate... just really awkward, and I LOVE being put in those type of situations.

In other news: I've been ordering really strange Subway sandwiches lately. Usually its turkey but tonight it was tuna. On wheat... No cheese or sauce. Only red onions, lettuce, and black olives. I really must be an old person because I like food that I would have hated even just a year ago.

MOM, you are going to be so proud of me. Tomorrow is a Saturday, and guess what I'm going to do. That's right... go for a run at 8am! woo!!! That means you have to be careful about being healthy too. Because we are not alone; We're in it together. Also, remind me that I am not allowed to eat any more cake. Really, I shouldn't be eating sweets at all. But I'm starting with just avoiding the cake in our fridge.

Well, It's midnight... so I'm gonna sleep it up. See you tomorrow you beautiful world you!

Peace and Love

p.s. does anyone know if my grandma reads this blog or not?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Energy and Pollution is an Annoyance in my Life.

Finally, I am alone in the apartment. Everyone is either out celebrating Andrea Alt's birthday or at the potluck/devo. I, however am studying... erm... was studying, in my room while listening to Mumford and Sons and the wind outside. It is so rejuvenating to be away from everyone else. They drive me crazy. Strike that... I am not alone.


I thought I was, DANGIT! lol. Can you tell its that point of the trip where you just really want to be alone? Well, it is. I'm trying to be patient with everyone but we all know eachother's flaws now.

I really have nothing else to talk about right now. I need to finish... erm... start my project for Energy and Pollution. I have to give the class lecture tomorrow. I think I'd rather eat a live worm... seriously. If I could get out of doing it by eating a live worm, then I would do it. The problem is that I am not a science-ey person. I am an art person. I want to paint. I do not want to calculate the Coefficient of Performance of a heat pump.

I can't wait until we are all done with classes here.

On a happy note. I bought a shirt. (sorry mom)

Peace and Love.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Weight Gain Paranoia: Life Story

Good morning from me to you.

Today is our first Free-Day (and last for a while) while we are here on the Gold Coast. A lot of people are planning on doing super fun things. I, however, am planning on doing a lot of homework. (shock shock). Sometimes it just feels like that's all there is to do.

I would really like to go for a run right now. I am afraid of gaining weight again, because I am going to be in Alyson Strother's wedding and I've already ordered my bridesmaid dress. It fits perfectly, but I am NOT allowed to gain an ounce, or it may not fit so well. I'm paranoid about it, but of course my kitchen is full of nutella and one of my other roommates got bored and made a bunch of puppy chow!

One other thing. Here in Australia it's been convenient and easy for me to find and eat fruit, but vegetables are another story. I can't eat raw vegetables unless I clean them and chop them up myself. There are no easy little carrot bags. I know this sounds incredibly lazy of me, but the truth is I barely have time to do any of that stuff. It's been Class-Homework-Class-Homework-Bed for a good amount of time. I would just really like to lose weight I've gained, and not gain anymore here... but its proving to be more difficult than I'd anticipated.

I did go on a run the other day. But that was the first one all semester, and it was because I actually had time. Usually I don't. So, If I gain weight, blame my teachers for loading me with a bunch of work that I just don't have time for.

Hmm. Well I was going to post about some other Australian happenings, but I'm just too angry to do that right now.

Peace and Love.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Life: Devoted to Studies.

Well, I'm still here enjoying Australia. I ought to be doing some homework... but sometimes you just have to live a little bit. If I did EVERYTHING these teachers assigned, I'd never leave our apartment. I love the teachers on this trip, but sometimes I wonder if they know exactly how much work we've got. I suppose they have a lot of work with grading everything but still. I feel like I'm not truly experiencing Australia being cooped up like this all the time!

So, because my life is pretty much devoted to my studies... (I guess when you go on a study abroad program they REALLY mean the studying part). This blog will show you the kind of studies I've been up to.

In bible, we had to give a presentation on Paul and where he was from. Was he from Tarsus? or Jerusalem? Would he have been more Judaic or Hellenistic? And how does that affect his writings? Well, I'm pretty satisfied with how it all played out. We had a really well thought out powerpoint and somehow sparked a rather heated semi-debate in class. I felt like some kind of dramatic teacher from a movie like Freedom Writers. You know, Inspiring the masses to make a difference! (or not).

At some point this week. Tuesday night maybe? Some of us girls went out to eat. We found an Italian place called Valentinos. The waiters were very friendly young guys (perhaps this is why I enjoyed the place so much). They asked us if we were Canadian, which I took as a total compliment. You see, I don't know if you watch the news at all, but apparently everyone hates "Americans." Americans being: Fat, southern-hick accent, loud, obnoxious, walking on the wrong side of the sidewalk, Selfish, inconsiderate, meanies. This is kind of the United States citizen stereotype here.

I've even found some books in the mall devoted to how terrible Americans are. Not kidding. Several best selling books dedicating to reveal the evils of the U.S. from the fat ladies in the malls to how (God forbid) we have people bag our groceries for us. (I didn't even know that was wrong!!!) For some reason, being Canadian makes it all better. I think the Aussies consider Canadians to be a bit less like the stereotype (this is my hypothesis anyway). So, I've made it my goal to be nice, polite, and mistaken as a Canadian.

After Dinner, we grabbed some gelato and went to watch a movie required for class. It was called "Rabbit Proof Fence," and it was actually really good. I would encourage everyone to watch it. Plus, the "bad guy" is played by the same guy who played, Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter. Unfortunately, we weren't able to start the film right on time, because we were locked out of the classroom for about 40 minutes and Chris, our Southeast Asia guide had to give a presentation on water treatment and testing.

We all LOVE his presentations...

Yesterday we actually went to the Tallebudgera river/ creek and tested the water. I can't remember all the details of what we did, but my favorite was finding and catching all sorts of different critters.

After we got back to broadbeach, we went shopping at Woolworths and I bought some disgusting cereal which may actually be granola.... (oops. looks like I'm going back for nutrigrain). Then came back and did homework all evening.

I have a feeling tonight will be much the same.

Peace and Love, Mate!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Rainforest Experience

Well, I'm back from the rainforest.

It wasn't quite what I expected. For one, it was Cold. I really should stop expecting Australia to be warm. I mean, it's not freezing or anything but it certainly isn't what I was expecting. The first night we arrived in BInna Burra was a bad day for me. I think it was the first day that I started feeling a little homesick. I think it just had to do with getting my feelings hurt several times. And I had my head bashed by Michelle's during a game of frisbee. ugh.

I started thinking about all things of fall at home: pumpkin bread, hot apple cider, bonfires, hay rides, high school football. sigh. BUT, then I slept on it and remembered that I am in AUSTRALIA and fall at home can happen without me.

Before we went about to the cabin to sleep and chill Chris, our southeast Asia guide had some special presentations. We sat outside over looking the valley while he talked about the ecology of the area. I suppose I would have been much more enthralled with his information if I weren't completely frozen solid. We were all chilled to the bone but Chris just kept talking about the different calls for birds of the area. This is okay, because it is pretty interesting... but a lot of us didn't have patience without food or heat.

Don't let this photo trick you. It was chilly.

Finally he led us inside of the lodge. We thought we were getting food... turns out we were just going to watch a video about the history of the lodge. Cold and hungry, we forced ourselves to peal our eyes open to the screen. It was one of those old fashion education videos from the 1960's, complete with creepy music that popped in and out. Ironically there were several clips showing people eating delicious sandwiches. I was bitter.

Finally we went to eat dinner. It was good and I ate fish! (plus I liked it). After dinner we watched a 2 hour presentation on the Alberts Lyre Bird. Let me tell you, Chris LOVES this bird. Unfortunately... most of the rest of us now hate this bird. But we do know a whole lot about it.

After his presentation we all went to this cottage and ate Tim Tams and warm Milo (kind of like hot chocolate but better). If you haven't had Tim Tams... I feel sorry for you. This stuff is SO GOOD, They're these Australian cookies that embody everything that is good in the world. They have this thing called a "Tim Tam Slam" where you are supposed to bite of both ends of the cookie, dip it in warm milk or milo and then use the cookie as a straw. This causes the inside of the cookie to melt. Then you eat the cookie and it's warm goodness fills your soul with joy. I haven't tried them like this yet, but I plan on doing so.

FINALLY, we went back to the cabin... errr... closet? 9 people to a room sleeping on three level bunk beds. We were so cold that Megan and I had to cuddle together to keep warm. It worked pretty well. Before we drifted off to sleep, the girls in my cabin came up with several ideas for fun on the cruise ship... which shall be kept under strict confidence.

We woke up in the morning and after being told to dress in shorts and a tshirt... we headed over to the lodge for food then met up with our guides for our 18 kilometer hike.

Guess what, it was cold. I was shivering practically the whole time. So much for "DEFINITELY wear shorts." But it was a really nice tour. I learned about a lot of really interesting things. We found homes for trapdoor spiders and Chris taught us all about these fig trees that strangle other trees. (you know any girl loves some good natural violence). I saw a red bellied black snake and at least a dozen wild turkeys. they wander around all over the place.

Finally, we returned and loaded the bus. When we got back to the apartment, I took a long hot shower and made soup. Warm soup does wonders after a cold day.

Peace and Love

p.s. I still haven't tried vegemite, but Mr. Adams loves it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Binna Burra and Sushi!

Okay, in my last blog I complained a bit about having to close the curtains... I realized it probably wasn't a big deal but I think I was just caught up in the moment. I told her if she wanted to close the curtains it was okay. (I've got the whole living room to enjoy the sunrise in).

So, that's in the past, Now, onto the future. Today we have a few classes this morning and then we head off to the rainforest. We're staying at a place called Binna Burra. Then I think tomorrow we will be going on an 8 hour walk! This makes me so glad that mom and I walked so much together this summer. However, we didn't have to face leaches. EW! Chris (our southeast asia/Rainforest walk guide) said that if it has rained we will have to deal with them. Luckily for us, Rain is NOT in the forecast.

What else is new? Life here on the gold coast is a peaceful one. The grocery store, Woolworths, is a walk away. We are allowed to take our shopping carts from the store all the way back to our apartment (the Capricornia). When we're done with it, we just scoot it downstairs and leave it on the lawn in the front. I guess someone from the grocery store comes around and picks them all up. Weird? yes.

Last night, Christy Parent and I went and picked up some extra groceries we'd neglected to buy the first time around. aka, fruit and vegetables. It was not very fun to eat only bread and cheese all day yesterday. bleh. While at the store I found HUMMUS!!!! I bought the stuff that said, "skinny" "85% less fat" ha! Now, I am set for life. also, they spell hummus differently here. "Hommus" is how they say it.

I ate sushi for the very first time yesterday. After classes I was supposed to go right to the grocery store but I guess I didn't. Instead I was talking to Taylor Kee and he said that he was going to find sushi. I told him I'd never tried it and he said... "well come on." Then we went to get some.

On our way we past a japanese restaurant called "FUKU" and made a couple of jokes about that. When we finally found sushi I was pretty skeptical. However, I think Taylor knew a lot about it and helped me pick out some to try. I took it back to my room and... I LOVED IT! Sushi is super good. Where has it been all my life.

Anyway, good times. I'm making a lot of new friends and hanging out with all sorts of people. Life is good.


p.s. Still can't really hear out of my right ear.... I think it's getting better though. :)