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Back in the USA

Monday, 1. December 2003 12:20

I lied in my last entry. I might be able to update more often that I thought this week. Our hotel room as free Internet and we have laptops! Woo hoo!

So, in case you don’t know.. I am now in the United States. I left Australia and went back in time to land in Los Angeles, California.

I have 2 huge suitcases and Ryan has 3 medium/small ones. When we got to the Perth airport, one of my bags weighed 35 k and it can only be 32. He told me that there was no way I could go over that limit. Fortunately, my other suitcase was only 28 k, so I was able to move some stuff and even them out. Phew. Ryan, on the other hand, almost had to pay $160 for his third bag. You’re only allowed to have 2 and they’re pretty stict about that. However, he managed to talk himself out of it and the Qantas worker just let him have all of them for free.

The flight wasn’t too bad. The time went by pretty fast and there were some good movies to watch. On the long (15 hour) flight, there was a man between Ryan and me. We had been worrying about who was going to sit there, but he turned out to be really nice.

When we got to LAX, we had to go through customs. It was SO different from the Australian customs! The US doesn’t care much about what gets in, I guess. They were so careless! Australia is just really strict, I suppose.

We managed to get all our bags to the rental car place and picked up our bright red Dodge Stratus. I won’t be able to drive it because I’m not covered, but I’m kind of glad about that. It is SO weird to be driving on the opposite side of the road again. I know, I know, I grew up in the U.S. and I didn’t even drive while in Australia. I just got really used to having cars drive on the left in the past 5 months. It’s going to take a while for this to feel normal again. It’s all good though.

It felt SO wonderful to take a shower! ahh. :) Ryan’s in there now, and then we’re gonna go out and explore the city. I hope we don’t get killed! Isn’t LA pretty dangerous? ;)

Category:Australia, Diaryland | Comment (0) | Author: Megan

no more AUS

Sunday, 30. November 2003 8:43

WOW. It has been crazy around here. I am so stressed out right now. ::Cries::

My room is a disaster area. I’m trying to pack up everything, and it is so hard. It didn’t help that I spent yesterday getting Ryan packed. ::Sigh:: So now, I’m leaving Australia tonight to go back to the United States and I have crap everywhere. I started to pack two days ago, but I never finished.. so now my stuff is just all over the place.

Plus, yesterday I spent 4-ish hours in the emergency room. The night before, Ryan got something stuck in his eye. We flushed it out for hours and it was still really hurting him. It didn’t help that this was at 3am. Therefore, when we woke up on Saturday morning, we went to the emergency room to see if there was something in it. The on-campus health center isn’t open on the weekends and we don’t know any doctors here.

We waited for a long time and he finally got to go in. I waited in the waiting room (and watched The Babysitter’s Club movie!) when he saw the doctor. Well, it turns out that they didn’t find anything in it or any scratches on the cornea. So he still has shooting pains whenever he moves his eye around. ::SIGH:: Did I mention we were leaving the country tonight? It sucks!

It’s Sunday morning and I have to go to Mass. I don’t want to, because I’m too stressed. The rental people never came to pick up Ryan’s TV and microwave in his flat (thankfully they took mine), so that’s another thing for me to stress about. I just can’t deal with it. I’m going bonkers.

Ugh, I don’t have time to complain about all the other stuff stressing me out.

**This will be my last entry for at least a week. I’ll be in LA from Monday – Saturday, and arriving back at my house late Saturday (December 6) night. Therefore, don’t expect an entry for a while! :-)

Category:Australia, Diaryland | Comment (0) | Author: Megan

Aussie Entry 18

Saturday, 29. November 2003 12:00

*Note to my devoted friends, family, and stalkers who have been itching for an update to this page*
Okay, I lied.  Time for more disappointment.  I didn’t update my journal or all of my pictures.  Tough luck – things have been so friggin stressful over the past couple weeks (and especially the past couple days).  In case you didn’t know, I had to take a trip to the emergency room of the hospital on Saturday, which put a major damper and delay on things.  First time I’ve been in a hospital since the day I was born, though!  I’ve been able to do so many things for the first time here in Australia and that’s one of them.  Oh, right.. everything is basically fine.  I just had/have some eye trauma, and Megan convinced me to go to the hospital for treatment.

But anyways, now I have less than 24 hours to vacate my flat.  Plus, I need to figure out what to do with our rented TV and microwave that should have been picked up today – another major headache!  But yeah, things have been crazy around here.  Thus, I’ve only posted my itinerary and added pictures from our Perth Zoo trip.  Enjoy them!  For those who really want to pry into my life, I’ve even put together my semester schedule for next year at UMBC.  I might not be able to do a journal or add more pictures (even though I’ve been working on narrowing them down and creating captions).  But, that just means that I get to show you them in person when I get home!  Hooray!  See you soon!

Category:Australia | Comment (0) | Author: Ryan

no turkey

Friday, 28. November 2003 10:50

Well… Happy Thanksgiving to all you States people (even though it’s already Friday for me)! It was weird being in Australia on such a US holiday. No one here cares, and they shouldn’t. Ryan and I had spaghetti and corn for dinner. I know, I know, a good combination, right? lol. We didn’t want to go buy more food since we’re leaving on Sunday.. so we’re just trying to finish up all the odds and ends. It was our first Thanksgiving where we were actually together, so that was nice.

I started to pack yesterday. Yikes. My suitcases are heavy. I had to ship a huge box home.. 10 kg (22 pounds) for AU$84 and it’ll take 3 months. Nice, huh? That was the cheapest. By sea. :-\

Today I need to do laundry and then finish packing. ::Sigh:: It’s such a chore. I’m looking forward to going home though. I wish I could stay, but I know that I can’t. I’m getting to the point where I’m starting to miss stuff from home. Maybe I’m forcing myself to miss it so that I won’t be upset when I’m actually home. But either way, it should be good.

Ryan and I rented Ned Kelly to watch today. Heath Ledger and Orlando Bloom are in it.. it’s about an Australian Robin Hood figure. It doesn’t come out in the States until the spring and they might change the name to The Kelly Gang. It’s neat that we get to watch it before everyone back home. :-P

Alright, I’m gonna go! Cyas!

Category:Australia, Diaryland | Comment (0) | Author: Megan


Tuesday, 25. November 2003 17:25

Yay! I just took my last final exam. The semester is over! :)

Category:Australia, Diaryland | Comment (0) | Author: Megan

brekki pls?

Sunday, 23. November 2003 8:44

Yesterday, Ryan and I went to Fremantle to buy souvenirs. Ugh. Souvenir shopping sucks! It is so hard to stay within a budget and still get nice stuff. I think I managed pretty well though. I still need to find something for my parents, but other than that, I guess I’m done. I’m not getting very many people things, so I hope no one expects anything nice. It’s way stressful.

While we were there, I saw the necklace that I wanted. A couple months ago, when we were in the airport, I saw this really pretty necklace. I told Ryan that I wanted it (lol), but he didn’t get it there. Good thing too, because it was $16 cheaper at this place. So yeah, he bought it for me. :)

It’s really nice. It’s a gold outline of a heart, with an opal in the center. I love it! It was suppose to be a Christmas present, so that I’d “forget” he bought it.. but he gave it to me now. I have such a wonderful boyfriend. :)

Today we’re going to an Anglican church, instead of our usual Catholic one. I’m Episcopalian, while Ryan’s Catholic. My mom wanted me to check out the Aussie version of an Episcopalian church (which is Anglican, in case you didn’t catch that), so we’re going to do that today.

Then, I shall spend the rest of the day studying for my exam. Right.

Category:Australia, Diaryland | Comment (0) | Author: Megan


Monday, 17. November 2003 13:45

I’m back from my little holiday on Rottnest Island. It was fantastic! It’s a half hour bus ride and a half hour ferry ride away – nice and close.

Ryan and I really didn’t know what we were doing when we first got there. We had “checked” our bags on the ferry and then weren’t sure how to get them back! It turns out that they deliver them to where you’re staying on the island, but we didn’t write that on the luggage tag. We managed to collect them before they were taken away, thankfully.

Although there are several options for lodging, we decided to stay in the campground. It was way cheaper and more fun. Plus, I have a hard time staying in dirty hotels/hostels. I just can’t have a good time knowing that I have to sleep in a disgusting bed. Therefore, I felt much better sleeping in my own tent and in my own sleeping bag.

After we had set up camp, we walked over to the place to rent bikes. The island has about 30 km of roads to travel on, and the best way to get around is by bike. Ryan never learned how to ride one, but I convinced him that he’d be fine. Actually, he had told me that he hadn’t done it in a long time, but later he admitted that he never learned.

I had to hold the bike steady for him, so that he could try to pedal it. It reminded me of a little kid and his father trying to teach him. He was really unsteady at first and I didn’t think it was going to work. We tried for quite a while, and finally I was able to let go of it. Success! He was able to do it after some practice. I am so proud of him for trying something new like that. Riding a bike isn’t easy – I didn’t learn until I was 7, way later than all my friends. He knew that I really wanted to use the bikes, because it’s hard for me to walk for a long time (because my foot hurts too badly, which is why I’m getting surgery in early December).

The first day, we rode roughly 12 km. It was crazy though. The island is SO hilly. I’m way proud of myself though, because I rode up every hill (::cough:: while Ryan had to walk ::cough::). We had gotten single speed bikes to save some money, and that made it even harder. I killed myself, but I did it!

The island is gorgeous. The beaches were so beautiful. The water was the most awesome teal color. It was just amazing. We had so much fun. Also, we were told that we went at the perfect time. It was not too hot and not too cold, and it was the week before all the high school seniors come to party.

I could go on forever about what we did, but I don’t want to make this entry too long. Plus, I need to study for my final exams. But yeah, it was a super duper first day.

That first night wasn’t so great though. The ground was really hard, and neither Ryan nor I slept very well. Thankfully it got better after that though. We woke up really early the next day and got on our bikes to see the sunset. We were a little late, but it was still nifty. It was awfully cloudy, but after a few hours, the clouds were completely gone. It was bizarre.

One of the cool things about this island is that there are tons of quokkas. They’re little pouched mammals that inhabit the island. Because there aren’t any predators, they’re everywhere. When people first came to the island, they thought they were giant rats, which is where the name “Rottnest” came from – “Rats nest.” They were cute little guys, but it was sort of freaky when they were all over the place at night.

Ryan and I were lucky (or unlucky?) to see the most venemous snake on the island — twice! The Dugite snake. It was a little bit scary, because we didn’t see them until we were practically on top of them. But no worries, they didn’t attack. We also saw heaps of lizards.

On the second day, we biked around the island in the opposite direction. We went all the way to the far west end, which is the closest to home that we could get. It’s neat that while in Australia, I’ve been the farthest west and the farthest south than I have ever been. I find that amazing.

On the third day, we took it a little easier. We went to the beach for a little while, where I used my scuba mask and snorkeled around for a bit. There wasn’t that much to see, mostly just sea grass. I’m told that if you go farther out, there is pretty coral. The limestone rock of the island extends into the ocean, and it forms a weird floor thing that is hollow underneath. The plants grow on it, like an upside-down forest. After that, we took a scenic train ride. It brought us to the top of Oliver Hill, where we got a toured guide down into the military underground tunnels. It was way cool. There was a military base on Rottnest for WWII, and one of the cannons is located on Oliver Hill. It was never fired in anger though, just for practice.

Looking at the map, I calculated how far we biked each day. Day One: 12 km (7.5 miles), Day Two: 24 km (14.9 miles), Day Three: 7.4 km (4.6 miles). That’s a total of 43.4 km (27 miles) in three days. I’m impressed, especially since I biked up every single hill. Also, especially on the second day, the wind was blowing against us. That made it extremely difficult to get up hills and even ride on flat roads. Throughout the three days, we covered every road on the island. It was quite an adventure. I loved it!

But now that I’m back, it’s time to hit the books. Or, at least *try* to motivate myself to study a little bit. Ugh, I don’t wanna.

Category:Australia, Diaryland | Comment (0) | Author: Megan

colour me tan

Tuesday, 11. November 2003 19:53

Ry and I went to the beach again today. It was very, very hot. I did not like that. Once we got wet, it was wonderful. There weren’t as many waves, but they were possibly bigger. More spread out, I guess.

I’m having trouble getting tan because I’m so friggin’ anal about putting on sunscreen. I’ve been obsessed with it my whole life, because I *do not* want to get burnt. However, when the goal is to actually get tan (instead of shield myself from exposure to the sun), the sunscreen doesn’t help. I’m really scared about getting burned though, because the sun is way strong here. I missed a few small places when applying the sunscreen, and they definitely got burnt. I can’t find the in-between between being safe and getting tan. I’m still getting loads of colour, but I want to be dark when I go home. I suppose repetitive days of being safe will do the trick.

I feel like I should be doing work. Classes are over, but my first exam is exactly a week away. I don’t know how much studying is required to get above a 50%. I don’t *want* to do work, but I just feel like I should.

We got Subway for dinner tonight. Yum. And I didn’t make the mistake of asking for “American cheese” in Australia, like last time! I rock.

It’s below freezing at home and it’s in the high 90s here. Ha ha ha.

That is all.

Category:Australia, Diaryland | Comment (0) | Author: Megan

beach bums

Sunday, 9. November 2003 15:45

Yesterday, Ryan and I went to… the beach! It was such a great day. We took the bus and then the train to get out there, but it didn’t take very long at all. There were lots of people, since it was the first *really* good weekend day. We found a spot on the sand and enjoyed the gorgeous weather. The waves were impressive as well. We don’t have much to compare them to (Cape Cod, Ocean City MD, etc), but we thought they were perfect. Big enough to be fun, but not too big to be scary.

After a while, we decide to walk along the beach. It extended really far, so we explored a bit. The area that we started out in was definitely the most populated and then it was empty in most other places. Sometimes there would be a lifeguard in a random place, and there would be a few people. For the most part though, it was desolate.

Eventually, we walked back towards the train and I called a family friend who lives in the Perth area. His father was friends with my grandfather’s brother. He is a professor at Murdoch Uni, where I’m going to school. It’s such a small world, don’t you think? Him and his family invited me and Ryan over for dinner, so we called them and he came to pick us up from the train station.

I was a little bit nervous, but it all turned out wonderfully. I’m so glad that Ryan was able to come too, because he’s excellent at talking to strangers. We met the guy, his wife, his daughter, his daughter’s partner and their neighbour. For dinner, we had really good lasagna.. mmm. So much better than if we were to cook ourselves last night. lol. The conversation was good.. they are very well-travelled. It seems they’ve been/lived in almost every place! Way crazy. The man is very educated and talked a great deal about several boring-but-interesting topics. I’m really glad that I was able to catch up with them. It was a wonderful day that ended just as wonderfully. :)

Category:Australia, Diaryland | Comment (0) | Author: Megan


Friday, 7. November 2003 13:22

It’s 95 degrees Farenheit right now. It totally does not feel like November. I’m really glad I’m not staying in Australia any longer than this month, because the heat would kill me. It’s not even summer yet, and it’s already pretty damn hot. I’m gonna have to get a nice suntan before I return home to winter weather.

You know what kicks butt? My semester is over – I just finished my last class. It was my religion class, and it was actually pretty fun! We had wine and snacks for a little party, while we shared our artistic projects.

I made a poster with the earth and a cross, and pictures of animals and plants. I also wrote a poem, that I introduced by saying, “I wrote a really bad poem..” and the teacher was like, “Um, Megan. Let me start over for you. Megan wrote a poem that she’s going to share with you and I’m sure it’s very reflective of her beliefs.” Bah, I was so embarassed. The poem does suck and I didn’t really want to read it, but I didn’t know what else to say. Here it is:

When I step into the great outdoors,
I can always feel God with me right at my side.
The natural environment surrounds me
And I’m filled with a feeling that can’t be denied.

It’s special to me
To be amongst the forest full of trees,
And to hear all the animals
Living together completely at ease.

If I need to think and pray,
The nature helps me connect,
Filling me with God’s company,
And I’m able to reflect.

The beauty of everything:
The trees are green and the sky is blue,
The wind gusts and the birds sing.
It helps me to see everything anew.

But who are God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit?
It’s nearly impossible to define these three
There are different qualities about them
To which I try to understand and agree.

The Holy Spirit fills me with wonder.
God created this beautiful earth
To which his son was able to visit
Through a very special virgin birth.

Nature has always been important to me
And as I mature and grow older
My Christianity and my faith continues
Developing and getting bolder.

So yeah, that’s that. I was shaking so much trying to read it. I SUCK at giving presentations/speeches and I truly wish I could figure out how to get better at it. I just freeze up because I’m so nervous. 

My afternoon is (hopefully) going to be devoted to writing the paper that goes along with that presentation. Then I’ll really be able to celebrate about the semester being over, because my first final exam isn’t for a week and a half.

Category:Australia, Diaryland | Comment (0) | Author: Megan