Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I have quite exhausted my vocabulary for descriptive words, so this post may be a tad more bland than others...

I finally experienced the biggest city in Australia this weekend! Something odd-Flights are not allowed to arrive or depart from the Sydney airport between the hours of eleven pm and six am. Which also meant that any trains or shuttles leaving the airport also shut down... As my flight arrived right after 10:30, this meant I got the joy of waiting over an hour for an overpriced taxi. Well worth it, though.

All the other girls in my hostel were getting up super early on Saturday to tour the Blue Mountains, so I went ahead and got up with them to begin exploring the city. I've never really appreciated what other people see in big cities- I find them intrusive, cluttered, and claustrophobic. However, I really enjoyed this city, which may have been because I did all my walking around in the early hours of morning before everyone was up and around...

Nonetheless, I really enjoyed myself. The harbours are filled with amazing ships and sailboats, and the city is surrounded with fabulous gardens. I took an early ferry across the harbor to a suburb called Manly and spent the first part of the morning on Manly Beach. From the ferry are fantastic views of both the Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge.

Saturday night brought with it a trip inside the Opera House, where I saw King Lear (Shakespeare...). For the first time since I've been here I didn't get ready by throwing my hair in a ponytail and putting on whatever I thought would keep me the coolest without air conditioning. Although I have appreciated this, it was also nice to look nice again. The play was wonderful, and the Opera House intricately beautiful.

Sunday morning came the Blue Mountains, named so for the blue hue that they take on. I found out today that this occurs from all the eucalyptus found in the mountains. As the oils in the leaves evaporate, they create a blue haze, causing the mountains to appear blue in color. I spent right around five hours hiking through all the trails, both up and down all the mountains. I have Herculean lower body strength at this point.

Daddy and Kelly-you would have been extremely proud of me. I actually went almost to the edge of each cliff and guardrail with only minor heart palpitations at each one. (Here's one such lookout)

This formation is known as the three sisters. Legend has it that, once upon a time, there lived three beautiful sisters, of whom the local wizard was extremely jealous. So jealous, in fact, that he decided to turn them into pillars. Upon finding this out, our Prince Charming of course comes in to save the day. He chases the wizard until cornered, whereupon the wizard aims to get away by turning himself into stone, without thinking of the repercussions. Because of course, a stone has no arms, and therefore cannot hold his wand. Without the ability to use his wand, the wizard and the sisters were forced to remain in this way for eternity. And here they lie (stand).

Yet another weekend, yet another amazing adventure. This marked the end of seven weeks here, leaving me at this point with less than three remaining. I've thoroughly enjoyed all of my time here, and I hope to make the most of what I have left. Although I am very sad to leave, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little happy to come home as well. I will greatly miss all my kids, my colleagues, and Lauretta and Dave, and I hope to come back and visit them soon, but it will also be nice to be back with all my other friends and family... and Layla!

Love you all!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


11:30 pm.

Generally speaking, this is not an odd time for a person to be awake. However, a person who is awake by 5:30 every morning tends to fall asleep every night much earlier.

Which actually, I do. For some reason, however, my sleep lasts a mere hour or two, before I am back awake, in my dark, silent room, staring at the ceiling for hours upon end. -To Ashley and Hayden, As with at home, my falling asleep generally occurs on the couch, during a movie.

I'm going to choose to blame this on the weather. The "Sunshine State" of Queensland has not been keeping up to its motto as of late, with six of the last seven days being completely overcast and dreary. No storms, no downpours, just a constant drizzle of mist and humidity. I'm thinking due to this I'm sleeping more than I should be, so my body's lovely way of not letting me sleep to much is to keep me awake at the most inconvenient times imaginable. Either that or my body just plain hates me. I'd like to believe the former.

Despite the weather, life in Brisbane remains wonderful. Although I am becoming a little homesick at times now, I am growing closer and closer to my friends here. My departure date is going to be one of the most devasting, most exciting days. My supervising teacher has taken me in as family, as well as most of the other staff at school. I will sorely miss the Australian ability to treat all people with such amazing hospitality.

I continue to wonder at the education levels of some of my students. I gave the Year 8s a mid-term test just to see how they were doing (Students here only get two grades a term, one final and one project!) and it is good for them that it cannot affect their grade, as a little over half would have failed. We are still doing what should be review for all of them, such as adding fractions, using order of operations, knowing what a multiple is. As I went through marking their work, I got so discouraged I had to stop halfway through before finishing the next day. Are they really this far behind, did I really present the material that badly, or do they really listen so little? For their sake, I hope it is the last two, for my sake I hope it is the first. The Year 11s and 12s are bored with their work and the slowness of the curriculum, which worries me that the Year 8s should be as well. However, with the upper levels, we have covered new material which they do comprehend, which solaces me again.

With next weekend comes Sydney (thanks again Daddy and Kelly!), which I am extremely excited about. I keep forgetting to look up Opera schedules, but I am very much hoping I am able to attend one. The Blue Mountains are meant to be amazing as well, so hopefully I will have some good pictures for you all next week.

12:00 AM
Ugh. I am so bored, I want to write, but my thoughts as well are unbelievably boring. Guess its time to give sleep another chance. Or perhaps I'll have another dull post in thirty minutes.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Butterfly Fish

I realized that I left out a picture of my favorite fish... unlike the mean fellow we were introduced to in Finding Nemo, these guys are the most romantic of all the fishes. This, along with one or two other variations of the butterfly fish, are one of the only who mate for life, and die very soon after the death of their partner.

This is yet another reason the Reef is such a whirlwind of emotion. It's hard to imagine such commitment in such a small, seemingly insignificant life. We humans have rational thought, emotions to fit any situation, and yet we can't live up to the expectations of those of an animal one tenth of our size.

What a beautiful idea. That it really can be so simple.