So I have been so preoccupied with traveling I have not been keeping up with my blog!! This week I will try and get completely caught up!
For now all you need to know is Australia is amazing! Everyone needs to visit at least once and come to Perth to and to Rottnest Island. Also, kangaroos give the best Eskimo kisses and have really soft fur!
Stay tuned for updated adventures...
Sunday, 13 November 2011
Well I have not been keeping up with my trip! Lots has happened in the past few weeks! It has been exciting and adventurous.
School has been pretty good! I am learning a lot and really starting to feel welcome there! I have already been teaching a handful of lessons here and there, which have all gone pretty well. I am looking forward to teaching more and more! There aren’t a whole lot of differences from schools in Australia to schools in America, but there are a few. The kids language is so different! They use curse words often. I am in shock, but it is pretty normal here. The only word I haven't heard them say is the f one. I guess that's good! But they say damn and shit and bitch. It's crazy! I have been learning lots about how the education system works here. School has been good and I have begun to get into a routine.
This past weekend we had a long weekend, no school on Friday because of CHOGM! CHOGM is a big event where the Queen and Commonwealth get together and discuss things going on in the countries involved in CHOGM. Since the Queen comes to it, it is a huge event and lots of preparation and hype come because she is here. But tt was very nice to have the extra day off school! I wish we had a few more days off school because I would love to do some more travelling. Anyway, Friday I was going to go to Mandurah with Carly, but we got a late start so we decided to go into Perth and see what was going on there. It ended up being a great day to go to the city! There were a lot of free events going on, as well as different markets set up right by the train station. We walked down to the river to go see the Bell Tower. We figured we might as well check to see how much it cost, since we were there. It was our lucky day because it was free admission! Almost the entire outside of the tower was made in glass, containing a spiral staircase on the inside, going all the way up. This made for an interesting journey up to the top, especially when I have a terrible fear of heights… There were six levels and several of them had rooms with history about the tower and lovely window views of the ocean. We finally reached the top, which was stunning! Well one way was stunning, I turn to the other side of the tower and it has a 360 degree with a grate-like floor, walk out. I was terrified! I started sweating, my legs were shaking, my palms were clammy- basically I was freaking out. Carly started to walk out, I told her I probably couldn’t go out there. I walked to the other side to look at the view of the ocean and get some lovely pictures! I did take some pictures of the skyline, but I didn’t dare walk on the walk out. After being up there for awhile, taking in the lovely view, and snapping lots of pictures, I started to think. I knew if I walked by down the tower and did not walk out to at least say I had and snapped a picture, I would be mad at myself. Another few minutes passed I told Carly I was going to do it! I wanted to walk on the walk-out! So I grabbed the rail and slowly braced myself to walk out on the platform. It was really terrifying, but I am glad I did it! Even if it did take me forever!! Some people towards the end of the half circle asked if I was scared of heights. I wanted to ask them whatever would give them that impression, but I was too scared to be sarcastic! It was an adventure to say the least! The lady working up at the top told me congratulations when I had finally made it around, that made me feel proud! After we left the tower, we walked down to the ferries to see times. The ferry takes you to the zoo and into South Perth. It was really our lucky day because that was also free so we decided to ride it over and see what was in South Perth. There was a beautiful view of the cities skyline behind us! Of course we got some pictures in front of it. We wanted to figure out how far away the zoo was so we found some signs and followed them. We passed a delicious looking ice cream/waffle place and decided to stop and eat, we were both starving! They were the best waffles ever and huge! We finally found the zoo, not far at all from where the ferry dropped us off. We are definitely making a trip back to South Perth! By this time it was later evening so we decided to head back to Carly’s, relax some before we went out on the town!
Thursday, 3 November 2011
Well a new tradition I think ALL schools should implement: wine night on Fridays! Friday after the kids leave the teachers have a few glasses of wine out. It was a lot of fun! Just a little something to unwind after a long week of teaching and dealing with children five days! I had a really nice time. I definitely think more schools should do this! Even if you go to someone's house. It is also a good way to have outings with the staff, making it easier to get to know the people you will be working with.
Friday night Carly and I decided we wanted to go out. We went to North Bridge. It was of course interesting figuring out how to get there! The train to Perth was easy, after that it was a bit more confusing. We ended up asking a police officer, she was very nice and helpful and got us to the area we were looking for! We met some very entertaining Australian people! It was nice to meet some people our age! We got asked where we were from a lot! When we would say Kentucky, people would automatically say, "Oh! Like KFC!" It was funny, but there is a lot more to KY than KFC!! I don't even like KFC! Still interesting what people from Australia think about America and Kentucky. We went to a bar called 'Brass Monkey.' It was fun, very similar to places they have in Kentucky. However, a lot of bars have dress clothes, one of them being you are not allowed to wear flip flops, or thongs, into bars. So we had some trouble with that! We didn't stay out too long because we wanted to make sure we got back home, kind of like Cinderella! Had to make it home before midnight to catch our train and bus! :-) It was a good first night out though!
I stayed at Carly's on Friday night, it was just easier and I didn't have to worry about getting home. Carly's host mom, Jeanette, is very nice! She dropped me off at the train station and wrote down what I needed to do to get back to my place. I got on the train and into Perth with no problem. Of course, the next problem came with the buses! I heard some people chattering about one train line not working. I wasn't paying much attention to details because I only needed the bus. Well I go outside, ask the guy at the information desk which bus I need to take to get to Mt. Claremont. He informs me I need bus 28, which is the one I go to wait for. I realized one was just leaving with I got off the train, but I figured the next one would come within the next 15 minutes. As I am waiting, all of these people start to gather around my bust stop. I start thinking I am not going to make it on the bus I need because everyone is pushing to the front of the line to get on the bus. Then I hear that the train is closed because there was a fatality and all of those people who needed the train have to take a bus. So there are about 80 people waiting for this bus. The people working said 5 minutes and the buses will be here...for an hour and a half!! Mind you, I still have NOT seen bus 28. I am getting frustrated. People are pushing. Flies are landing on my face, ears, and mouth. Sidenote: the flies here are VERY friendly! They love to get up close and personal. It is really quite annoying. That is one thing I will not miss! Anyway, so I finally see my bus coming and surprisingly, no one else needed that bus! I'm feeling better that I made it on. I decided to ask the bus driver just to be sure he is going in the right place. Well I ask him if this bus goes to Mt. Claremont. He rudely tells me this is the wrong bus, he does not go there, and I need to be on the other side of the street for bus 27. I am so mad by this point. I have been waiting forever for this stupid bus and I get on it to find out it was not the bus I needed. I end up calling my host mom, Merrilee, to see if she knows what to do. She just says she will come get me! I am very relived, although feel bad that she is gonna drive to get me... I walk around the shopping center while I wait for her. I had to get a Diet Coke because I was so stressed! ;-) It was delicious, yet expensive! It was almost $4 for a coke! Oh well, definitely worth it. Merrilee finally arrived and I felt so much better! We stopped at a shopping center so I could get an internet card. The internet is also very expensive here (and very slow), many people have internet cards they plug into your computer, exactly what I got! As soon as we got home, I set up everything for it and got online! It was really nice to be connected to the outside world via email and Facebook! I am sad that I got so excited about getting online...
Saturday night Carly and I went to Bayswater, where Vidya and Anna are staying. We finally met the other girls from America who are student teaching in Australia as well. Anna, Lauren, and Vidya have all been here since September!! I am a little, okay, a lot jealous because they have had more time to travel and see more of Australia! I think that just means I need to come back for a longer visit when I can travel and see more! Well it was nice to finally meet everyone! All three are so nice and we all got along really well!
Carly and I out Friday at Brass Monkey Future amazing teachers :-)
Sunday we went to this little café called Chapel. It had really amazing food! We walked around a little while but all had lots to get accomplished for teaching the next day! Lauren, Carly, and I took the train to Warwick and John picked us up and dropped us off at all of out homes. It was a great weekend in Australia! Looking forward to seeing what happens the rest of my stay...
Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Some pictures from my trip:
View of Australia from the plane
One of the first things I saw to welcome me to Perth! :-) He came right up to me! Oh and he was wild!
At Hilary's Harbor. The first place I went to after arriving in Perth. It was a beautiful first day!
Western Australia's state flower: Kangaroo Paw! I wonder where they get the name...
The Swan River from King's Park, a beautiful park over 1,000 acres!
Tuesday, 1 November 2011
Day 11 22/10/11
Well it has been an exciting and exhausting first week of being in school! Monday was a professional development day, so no students. There was a speaker that came in to talk to the teachers about the Literacy program. She did have some good ideas for lessons or activities to use in the class, but it was really similar to what you would learn in your methods classes during college. I found some of the information interesting and perhaps useful, as for the other teachers they did not enjoy it, a few said they did take away some activities to use in their class, which I think is a positive. That was for the first part of the day. We had lunch, fish and chips (or fires). It was yummy and I was starving! For the second half of the day, we went to another school to work on moderation stuff with some other teachers, the same year, from similar schools in the area. We talked about what an A, B, C, and D meant in terms of grading the kids papers. I thought it was interesting to hear and discuss. A lot of the teachers complained that it was useless and a waste of time. Yvonne did say she enjoyed it, but our group was on task and agreed on almost everything. It was good to actually think about what each grade means because, as teachers, then we will know exactly what to look for when we are grading, especially to have those specific guidelines to look for in an A, B, C, and D.
The kids have been really interesting. They are well-mannered and listen to Yvonne really well; she has great control over her class, even other classes she hasn't taught yet. My students seem bright and ready to learn. I am really looking forward to teaching them, especially about where I come from and what makes Kentucky so wonderful! The learning environment is very relaxed and laid back compared to the states. The language the kids use is something that in the States would be viewed as inappropriate, but it isn't even mentioned when kids here say 'shit' 'damnit' or 'hell'. I have even heard 'bitch.' I just think it is interesting the small differences I am beginning to notice between American and Australia. The teachers also don't seem like they are in as much of a rush, as I think a lot of teachers seem to be in America. They are just all laid-back and really relaxed, something that I think can really help the atmosphere of the school.
Monday and Tuesday we stayed at school until 530! The latest I have stayed at school so far! It wasn't necessarily a bad thing, Yvonne and I got a lot of work done for the theme for the last term. Wembley Downs is broken into 4 terms and each term a new theme is introduced and taught throughout the duration of the term. All subjects are taught around this one theme. Having a new theme every ten or so weeks allows the kids to have a new bunch of information and activities to look forward to. It might help keep their interest up since they are learning a new concept and not the same thing every new term. The only downfall for me, there is no teacher reference books. Everything I teach will have to be from what I know and the research I do to prepare myself on disasters! Luckily, Yvonne has taught this theme before and has been very helpful giving me resources she has used in previous years. Even though it is going to be a lot of work, I am looking forward to this challenge and teaching about disasters. I think the kids are really going to enjoy learning about them. I will also be meeting my goal for my second placement. I wanted to push my teaching style away from the book, with having to teach from a theme, I will really be pushing myself out of my comfort zone!
Wednesday we didn't leave to late, so Merrilee, Yvonne, and I went to a food market and had Asian food. I got my meal at this Malaysian place, it was so good!! I had leftovers for lunch, even better! It was also one of several places where you can bring your own wine or beer with you. I think that is interesting and a nice way to save a little money! Merrilee told me there are several places in Perth that you can BYOA! Neat!
Merrilee loves to cook! I am getting so spoiled having home-cooked dinners almost every night!! And leftovers for luches! Thursday night for dinner she made a roast lamb, gravy, potatoes, carrots, green beans, broccoli, and pumpkin, delicious! She has made lots of yummy food... Just can't remember it all...
Day 4 16/10/11
Well yesterday was another lovely day in Perth! Carly and I decided to venture on to one of the many beautiful beaches! It was a bit windy and chilly, but we decided to give it a go anyway! Dr. Happs picked us up at my place and off we went. He gave us a few suggestions of different beaches to go, since it was windy. We finally decided to stay at Scarborough, our original plan anyway. It was very crowded, which was good because there were more people our age there.
The sand is very different here, more grainy and course than American beaches. It was still wonderful to be on the beach! The waves were also a lot bigger than around the Atlantic Ocean and the water was a lot clearer. It was beautiful, just a bit chilly! The beach was very active with many different kinds of people: young, old, teenagers, babies etc… Merrliee had informed me that Scarborough was more of a tourist beach, which is did seem as such. However, there seemed to be a few locals as well. Well we weren’t there too long when one of the lifeguards pulls up in his truck, looking frantic at the ocean. We are sitting right by the water and have not noticed anything unusual. Well the lifeguard, who is very attractive I might add, grabs his board and runs into the water. Not long after, another lifeguard runs down with his life preserve and into the water. We see the first guard go towards a group of girls. He takes one and puts her on his board. There is also a small rescue boat that takes one of the girls and an older man. The last guard that came in takes the last girl still in the water. They all come up to the shore, one of the girls is holding her stomach, one is crying. Two of them lay down in the sand and the guards put oxygen masks on them. By this time there are at least 5-8 guards around them. They ended up being ok, one laid down for a while with the oxygen mask on. It seems as if they may have gotten caught in a rip current and the man was trying to help them out. It is a good thing the lifeguards know what to look for because Carly and I had no idea anything was even wrong. Hazel and John did tell us the first day we were here that the current is very very strong in the Indian Ocean. Good thing the water is freezing because I don’t think we will be getting in until the temperature starts to warm up, especially after that! I do want to swim in the ocean really bad! I love the ocean and riding the waves, but now I am a little apprehensive about it after seeing what happened to those girls...
After that we just laid around on the beach, watching the different activities going on. There were a lot of people passing footballs and other types of sports balls. One popular water sport we noticed was kite surfing. It looked like a ton of fun, but also a lot of work because you have to hold onto the kite while riding the waves, to us it seemed a bit complicated. Maybe one day we will try it though! I am up for many new adventures while here. Being on the beach was very exciting! I absolutely love the beach and everything about it. One of the places that we have been thinking about going to is, Rottnest, an island off the coast of Perth. I believe it takes a few hours to get there and is a little expensive to travel there, but many people have said it is a must to see while in Perth. There also are no cars that drive on the island! I think that is really neat. You can rent bikes for the day and ride around the island, so neat! The other top place to see is Margaret River. They have wine tasting, cave tours, and other fun things to do there. Carly and I were thinking about taking a weekend trip there. So we have a few items on our list of must - do things already! Also, we want to go whale watching! They have a boat that is guaranteed to see whales or you get to go out again to make sure you see the whales. I think that sounds like a blast! I would love to do some kind of daring adventure, but I am not sure if there are many of those types of things close to Perth. They do have an area you can go to swim with sharks, but I believe it is pretty far, same with riding on camels. That is one of the only downsides to Perth, everything is far away. The other downside, it is really expensive to live in Perth. I have been told it is one of the top 5 most expensive places to live in! Kentucky isn't that expensive, especially compared to the living here. After a while, it started to get a lot colder so we decided to pack up and walk around to see the shops and maybe get something to eat. There weren’t any shops, but there were several places to eat. Something else I noticed is that there aren’t a lot of restrooms in places, they have more public restrooms and they don’t have mirrors, just a toilet and sink. Just interesting! We ended up walking around in a circle and came back to this fish and chips place to eat. We both had calamari and fries, it wasn’t badly priced- $10AUS and it was pretty good and a lot of food. While we were eating we had some interesting entertainment. There was a group of younger kids, couldn’t be more than 18, hanging around the beach and where we were eating. They were drinking, carrying around a case of beer and a bag of wine, smoking what looked like illegal things, and using very foul language. It was interesting. I had made a comment about wondering if that type of behavior is more laid back in Australia, not five minutes later, a police officer came by shooing them away. So I take it that is not allowed in public! However, the police officer didn't say anything to them, just waved them away.
After eating, we took a walk back to the beach to watch the sunset. However, it was too cloudy to see anything, but still pretty! We had another guy (in his car) honk and yell something about being hot, so silly because clearly nothing more than being obnoxious is going to come from that! Boys are so silly, even Australian boys! Merrilee came and picked me up with her friend Emma. We went down to Fremantle to have dinner. I would have loved to eat because they were eating at this food market with lots of Asian food, cheap too! But I literally had just eaten. I ended up getting a Strawberry Smile smoothie. It was quite yummy! The food they got looked good as well! I only tried the seaweed and rice, almost like sushi, that Emma had gotten. It was good! It was very crowded there, lots of different types of people. It was a great place to people watch! I could have sat there forever!
We got home around 8:30/9 and I was exhausted and ready for bed! So I went up to bed when we got home and slept in until 7:30, went back to bed and didn’t get out of bed until 9:30 the next morning. I am wondering if this is where my jet lag was setting in or if I was just tired from the past few days of excitement and adventures!
Today (Sunday) has been more of a lazy day. When I finally got out of bed, I had an apple and Nutella then uploaded some pictures from yesterday, then took a shower and got ready for my day. Then made plans for later today, but we might postpone them to one day this week, ate lunch and now watching the New Zealand vs. Australia rugby game. It is very interesting. The New Zealand team did a weird cheer at the beginning. I guess it is part of their culture or part of the beginning of a game. But it is interesting, I like it. There are also a lot of attractive, muscular men!
I also tried Veggimite! It is really different. I kinda like it though! It is nothing like Nutella though, it is much saltier. Definitely something to put on bread or something, not to be eaten alone.
October 15, 2011
Day 3 Adventure
And the adventure continues! I have finally arrived in my lovely new home in Perth, Australia! This is the second morning awaking in my lovely little house with my host mummy, Merrliee. She seems like she will be great fun to live with!
I am absolutely in love with this city, and it is only my third day, not even full day here! Everything is just wonderful, the people, the food, the animals, the flowers, all of the land- just great. I have been to several places already that are on the top of the list of things to see in Perth. Yesterday, Merrliee took me to King’s Park and I met some of the ladies I will be working with at my school, Wembly Downs. I met my cooperating teacher, Yvonne, who seems absolutely wonderful. I think we are going to get along well. I told her I already want to move to Perth and she gave me a big hug and smile! I also met Anna and her two daughters, Mia and Chloe, Beth, Maxine, and Vicky. They were all very lovely and it was nice to meet some of the people I will be around for the next few months. Anyway, we ate at this little café, Botanical Café. It was delicious! I had raspberry pancakes with a fruit stew and vanilla gelato. After I finished eating, I went for a small walk while everyone else finished eating and chatting. I wanted to walk around to look at the park and all of the (naturally) grown wildflowers in Australia. There are tons of them, all quite nice! In addition, there was a lovely view of the city and the Swan River. It was just beautiful. I could have stayed at that park all day just walking around, which is very well possible since the park is over 1,000 acres! It was very peaceful and calming. I noticed there were lots of people having picnic there, something I would love to do all the time! There was also a war memorial statue, honoring the men who had died for their country/city.
By this time, everyone had finished and they came out to join me and show me around the park. Yvonne and I got along well, she informed me of the history of the plants and trees. We walked over, what I thought, was a good portion of the park, but we didn't even cover half of it. They took me to a couple of look out points with some wonderful views of the city of Perth. I saw were the Swan River and Cannon River connect, beautiful and huge. Then we walked over this enormous bridge! Very high. I have a terrible fear of bridges, so I did not really stop to take any pictures, just walked briskly over it. I want to go back to actually get some pictures on the bridge! Then we walked back on ground level (thank goodness), saw the pond with fountains that shoot up every few minutes and then walked back to go to our respective cars to return home. It was a lovely afternoon and King’s Park is beautiful and a place I know I will return during my stay for sure.
When we returned home, Merrliee and I had a nice little chat and looked up different palces near Perth and Kentucky. Not long after we had been home, John came by with Carly to pick me up and take us to Fremantle, a local beach with lots to do- shops, restaurants, museums, and the original prison of Perth, that was up and running only about 15 years ago. We walked around for a while, looking at some of the shops in the area. We went to the Round House and toured around there. The Round House was used as part of punishment for people who caused different crimes. They were locked in shackles and people were allowed to throw objects (i.e. food or rocks) at them. We were able to take turns sitting in them, with them closed! If they were really bad, as extra punishment, their ears were nailed to the board. Talk about having pierced ears! After that, we ventured to the Western Australia Maritime Museum, but decided we would come back and visit there another day. We both really wanted to see the Fremantle Prison. So we ventured over to find that! With a little help, we finally made it! Of course we had some adventures along the way, getting turned around which direction we were going and forgetting to the look to the left and not the right when we were crossing the street! Good thing we had each others backs, we might have ended up taking a trip to the hospital!
We finally arrived at the prison and were ready to take a tour! I must say, the prison tour was absolutely AMAZING! Our tour guide did a wonderful job, very entertaining and insightful on the history of the prison. It was a little under 2 hours, and not very expensive at all! Well worth the 18.50AUD we spent. It basically took us around the whole prison, got to see inside of several different cells, solitary, the different yards for recreation and separation, where various guards were injured, in Division #3 where the prisoners started a riot and set the prison on fire in 1988 (also on YouTube). We also saw were the prisoners on death row were taken and where they were executed. IT was very interesting. I learned a lot of history about the place. There is also a movie coming out called Sundown about local brothers were supposedly were set up by police officers for stealing gold- something worth seeing. Carly and I were thinking of going back on a Wednesday or Friday night when they do the night tours of the prison! Sounds like they would be a blast and perfect time, given Halloween is coming up and we will both miss it in the States.
Before dropping us off at Fremantle, John took us to Cottletstone. Cottlestone was Heath Ledger’s favorite beaches, as is where his memorial was held. Heath Ledger is an Aussie native, born in Perth! I knew he was from Australia, but I did not know he was from Perth. Cottlestone was beautiful! I would love to go back and lay out there.
Taking the train home was very interesting! First, we had to figure out where the train station was, which took us a little while to find since we weren't exactly sure our way around. However, we finally made it to the train station and were able to figure out which station we needed to head to. I think the train is a wonderful mode of transportation. It is easy and fairly quick, especially for bigger cities it makes it easier than driving everywhere.
Things are going wonderfully! I love everything I have been doing and can’t wait for more adventures and to start teaching. I am getting a little more nervous as the days get closer! But I think I will be just fine once I am in there and have met the students!