Thursday, August 28, 2014


I’m in a bit of a quandary.  Either my photos of the cockroach-like bugs are terrible or no one really reads my blog.  I guess that’s not fair, perhaps the photos were excellent, but no one was able to determine what strange Australian species has been pestering me.  I’ve now had a total of three run-ins with the little buggers.  While the most recent encounter didn’t quite surpass the first surprise encounter is was a bit more disconcerting.  I was sitting on the lower bed (my room has two sets of bunkbeds) when I noticed one at my feet.  I was (of course) not wearing any footwear and as I leaned over to grab one of my trusty (and sturdy) flip-flops it scurried under the bed.  I quickly grasped the flip-flop and moved a safe distance from the bed before getting down on my knees to see where he had hidden.  I still don’t know if they can fly so it seemed best to keep my distance before moving in for the kill.  To my great dismay, he was nowhere to be seen.  There is only a bag with a container of rice and a box of laundry detergent under my bed, and he wasn’t hiding under or behind those (I checked, several times).  He had truly disappeared, and that was not a comfort.  It did seem to solve the mystery of how they’re getting into my room though, there’s apparently a hole somewhere in the floor or the wall.  There is a restaurant on the floor below me, so that would seem to verify my supposition that they are indeed cockroaches.  Anyway, I didn’t mean to write so much about these insufferable creatures, but I never did find him and definitely had more trouble than usual falling asleep that night knowing he could still be in the room.  I’m almost to the point where I feel like I should name them or something; it might make the story more interesting.
So today’s big news (the bug event was a few days ago), well, I’ll let you judge for yourself how “big” the news really is, but today I filled out the paperwork so that I can get my first paycheck!  I also set up my superannuation fund as well.  Retirement savings is compulsory in Australia, your employer has to contribute to a fund, well withhold money from your paycheck and deposit it in a fund; I don’t think they actually contribute.  Anyway, you can pick your own or your employer can pick one for you.  Since I’m not planning to live in Australia permanently I can close the fund after I return home and get the money back.  Since the current withholding is something like 9.5% of your pay, that’s a really good thing.  I guess the big news is that I did change my plane ticket and I’m now arriving home on March 6th.  I found out that my ticket expires on the 7thand I can’t change the route of the flight (fly home via Bali, Japan, or Fiji or something like that), so if I decide I want to visit another country before coming home I’ll have to do it before the 6th. Thankfully I only had to pay A$349 to change the ticket, there wasn’t a difference in the fare, so that was good news.  So, in another 6 months or so I'll be back in the good 'ol U.S. of A.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

FNQ Farm Tour

Not too much to report for the last two days.  Yesterday and today were my days to work for the hostel, but I wasn’t doing reception work.  They’re trying to attract more customers to the hostel so Agatha (my boss) created a brochure that we’ve been handing out.  The idea is to go to the farm areas near here where backpackers go to work so they can get a 2nd year on their visa.  Finding the packing sheds has been more difficult that you would originally think.  We drive past a field and find a road to take us in towards the farm, but they don’t exactly advertise where the packing sheds are located and it’s a lot of dirt roads and dead ends.  We’ve done more turning around in the last two days than I think I’ve ever done in my whole life.  We have found a few and we’ve also given them out at the working hostels that we find in the towns, so it hasn’t been a complete waste of time.  Plus, yesterday on our way back up to Cairns we detoured through Mission Beach and it was such a beautiful area, the photo below just doesn’t do it justice. 
The weather has been beautiful both days so I just get to sit back and enjoy the scenery.  Agatha is Korean so I’ve also been introduced to a lot of Korean music.  While I can’t understand a word they’re saying I’ve enjoyed most of it anyway.  Alicia is her sister and she’s the one who trained me for the reception position, so it’s been nice to get to know Agatha a bit better as well.  She’s traveled quite a bit herself and has some funny stories from her time working in Canada.  Well, I’m off to volleyball – still trying to baby my right knee and ankle without giving up volleyball entirely.  The church is having a prayer service tomorrow night so that will give me a night off from volleyball….

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Busy Bee

Things have been busy, so I'll try to give a quick update on the past few days.  We went to a Vietnamese & Thai restaurant that is run by Koreans, so Emma & I tried the Bulgogi and we both really enjoyed it.  Bulgogi is a Korean dish with grilled steak and noodles in some broth.  It's a bit hard to describe, but it tastes delicious.  Pukari's friend Simon (who I'd met briefly the night before) came too, so they all decided to play some pool after dinner.  I warned them that I was terrible, and let's just say that they now know I wasn't being modest.  Poor Simon got stuck with me as a partner so we lost; although part of the losing was simply because Pukari is really good at pool.  They have a free Zumba class at the park on Friday nights so we all agreed that we'd go try it the next night.

So, on Friday morning I had training at Nova again and after it finished up Shoko (the boss here in Cairns) talked to Vaughn (the gentleman training me) and when she came back out she said I got the job!  *Insert excited fist-pump here*  I still don't know how many hours I'll get, or how much I'll get paid, but I do know that my first day will be on Sept. 3rd (one of the other teachers can't work Wednesday's because of another job, so I'll be filling in for her).  Friday afternoon's activity was a BBQ down by the water, so I got to go with the afternoon group.  Some of the students even gave a hand with the cooking.  They all got to try some kangaroo as well, and it received mixed reviews from the students.  Most of them didn't seem to like the smell of it, but they said it tasted pretty good.

So after getting back from the school I had about 45 minutes until I had to go meet Emma and go to the park for Zumba.  We were a bit late, but Simon & Pukari were in the back and easy to spot.  I don't think Zumba is my style of workout, but we just laughed at how ridiculous we must have looked and had fun anyway.  After Zumba we decided to head down the esplanade to volleyball, but Emma got called into work so she couldn't join us.  Simon doesn't really like volleyball, but he was a good sport and joined in on a game anyway.  Sadly, when I returned to my room I had another run-in with those cockroach things.  Since he was inside my bag I nearly touched him before I realized he was there!  Luckily, my bag is clear so I was able to trap him inside and still get a nice close-up photo.  So, can anyone confirm the species of the little guy from my excellent photographs?
 After snapping a few shots I put the bag on my windowsill and unzipped it.  I kept poking and trying to move things around inside the bag to encourage him to climb out.  I didn't want him smashed inside my toiletries bag and he seemed to dislike the idea as well because he crawled out and away rather quickly.  I wasn't able to squish him (he's a quick little bugger), but I'm pretty sure I heard him fall off the ledge (and hopefully to his death) down to the parking lot below.  But, that could just be wishful thinking on my part.

Saturday morning was my first official teaching experience at Nova, but Anne (the other teacher) did most of the work because we kept the students in one big group instead of the usual 4 groups (2 have lessons, 2 have and activity and then they swap).  We were teaching them how to order in a restaurant, so we took a field trip to the local market for some practice.  After the little field trip we had each team come up with their own restaurant menu and then the students had to move around the room and order from all 4 cafes.  The morning flew by, and soon it was "graduation" time.  Anne and Shoko gave them all certificates and a little bag of snacks. we all got photos together and then we headed to the lagoon.  God saw fit to bless me with two brothers and a lake while growing up and it paid off.  Alex decided everyone needed to go swimming and was throwing kids into the pool (swimsuit or not).  He attempted to get me, but I was able to fight him off long enough that he gave up on me.  He did go in himself (in his clothes) so at least he wasn't doing something he wasn't willing to do himself. The kids had a lot of fun and some of the girls were cracking me up because they swam over to me to ask how they should properly request (in English) to take a photo with someone.  I told them how and they promptly started asking attractive men for photos.  At the beginning of the week they would just stare and giggle, now they'd progressed to asking for photos with boys, so I guess their parent's money sending them here wasn't a total waste.

Well, I guess that's all for now.  Tomorrow I'm supposed to go with my boss at Bohemia (Agatha) to pass out flyers for the hostel at some of the farms in the area.  Not exactly sure what we'll be doing or why she wants me to go along, but I guess it's a chance to see some of the country-side.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


After a frustrating morning yesterday, today was quite fun.  I'm working in reception now (well minding the reception desk, I'm not doing much work), but this morning I got to hang out with the kids for a bit and play a Twister-like game before the first outing.  There are photos of me on some Japanese cellphones that will hopefully never be seen by me or anyone else know.  It took some convincing to get some of the kids to play, but the ones who did play seemed to have fun.  I also got to chaperon the first group of kids for their activity of the day at Cairns Zoom.  It's inside the dome of the Casino (same as the Wildlife Dome we were at on Tuesday).  We all did the midZoom ropes course (they had me lead the way), which is a mid level Ropes Course with 27 crossing elements (hanging logs, old chairs, a rope ladder, etc.).  It was fun, but not exactly challenging (well, maybe for some of the younger kids).  By the time we were done most of them decided to do the HiZoom as well (for another $10 of course).  Because I had to leave early to come back for work I didn't do the HiZoom with them. The one guy working there decided that I needed to do the PowerJump since I wasn't doing the HiZoom with the kids.  He didn't exactly ask, and he just said, "Here, put a harness back on, we'll do the PowerJump."
I of course tried to politely hint that it didn't sound very fun, but since he wasn't taking the hint, I dutifully put the harness back on and followed him off to the tower (13 meters off the ground).  I had an inkling that I really wasn't going to enjoy this (I have a fear of jumping from heights), but I hate to disappoint people and he was letting me do it for free...  Thankfully, other than getting the courage to take the first step off the platform, the "fall" isn't a free-fall, more like an assisted descent, so it wasn't too bad.  The kids had a fantastic time and I got to take lots of photos for the kids while they were on the course.  For any of my readers who speak Japanese you can read a different perspective on the days events here at the Nova blog.  So, when I finish my shift I'm meeting Emma and we're going to dinner with Pukari and some of his friends.  Here's hoping I like Korean food!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ay, ay, ay!

I wish I had a bit more information to impart, but as it stands this post will mostly contain winjing.  What in the world is winjing you ask?  Well to be honest, I’m not entirely sure if that’s how you spell it, but that’s the Aussie term for whining or complaining.  I feel as if I’ve been quite busy the last few days.  Monday was my first morning of chaperoning the Nova students and it was good.  They’re between the ages of 14-17 and they’re all very sweet.  We did walking tours of Cairns on Monday and yesterday morning I went with the first group to the Zoom Wildlife Dome (it’s a small zoo on top of the casino in Cairns).
 About halfway through the morning Shoko and I went back to the office so I could get set up to do my training (using a skype-like setup) with Vaughn (he’s from New Zealand, but lives in Japan apparently).  Anyway, I really did not like the training.  I hate role-playing and it was a lot of pretending you have students and showing him what you would do, acting out the instructions and stuff.  I’d much rather he just explain it and then I sit in on a few classes.  I feel like I learned more sitting in on 2 of Anne’s classes than I did in the hour or so I spent with him.  On top of that, Shoko, Anne, and I all thought that I was being trained to teach the Adult Program, but Vaughn was teaching/training on the kids program.  When Shoko found out she was rather annoyed, but wasn’t sure exactly what to do about it.  Oh well.  We didn’t get through very much of the material and so he wanted to try using skype today.  I warned him that my efforts with skyping have a terrible track record, but we could certainly try.  Because of our previous difficulties with time differences I swear I double-checked that we would try at 10am Cairns time.

So this morning I logged on, got everything set up about 10 minutes early and waited for him to call.  By 10:10 I realized he must have meant 11am Cairns time.  Very frustrating as today was to be my only day off this week, and now I was wasting it, sitting around waiting!  Of course by 10:50am the internet at the hostel was connecting and disconnecting like it was some sort of game.  I had no way of contacting him to explain the issues so I texted Shoko to ask her to call Japan and explain the situation.  After half an hour of trying to connect I finally got a phone call from Shoko.  She said she hadn’t been able to get a hold of Vaughn, but she had left a message for him explaining the situation and giving him my phone number so he could just call me and try to set up a new time.  So now I’m waiting for a phone call from him and there’s a possibility I’ll have to go into the school to use their system later this afternoon.  I shouldn’t complain, it’s all in the hopes of getting a paid job (and the training is supposed to be paid as well), but I just hate waiting around and not being able to make any plans.  So yeah, the kids are great and I have lots of fun on our outings.  The company seems to be rather disorganized and lacking in communication, which seems ironic that they’re so terrible at communicating when that’s the whole point of the company: teaching students to communicate in English!!  Ok, I’ll stop now.

 In other news, today is my wonderful sister’s birthday and I’m so thankful she’s my sister.  I got a random box of Peanut Butter in the mail today from First Abroad so that was cool.  I had fun playing volleyball Monday night and Tuesday night.  Emma, Pukari, and I are going out for Korean food tomorrow night – my first time eating Korean food.  And on Friday I get to have a BBQ with the Nova students.  Think on the positives, that’s what I gotta do….

Saturday, August 16, 2014

La Cucaracha

Twice now, and I can only hope last night was the last time.  Where to begin...  Well, a couple nights ago I nearly freaked out because as I was shutting off the light in my room and walking out of the door when something really large caught my attention out of the corner of my eye.  It was a very large bug, and although I'm not certain, I think it was some type of cockroach in my room!  I held back my shriek and tried to stay calm.  It wasn't really in a spot where I could easily kill it with a shoe or flip flop and I wasn't certain if it could fly (the thought of it flying towards me makes me shudder even now).  I managed to get it to go out the door (by standing across the room and strategically throwing my flip flops to convince it to go out the door and not further into my room).  It went out into the hallway and I tried to kill it a few times but my flip flops weren't heavy enough and I didn't want to get too close.  It scuttled away and down into a gap between the floor and the door frame, so I had to content myself with it being out of my room.  Then last night there was another one!  Or perhaps the same one had returned to taunt me, I'm not entirely certain.  This time I was calmer and even took the time to get a photo of it to try to show you how big it really was, but I'm a bit disappointed because he looks so small in the photo!
 He was much further from the door, but this time I was determined to kill him.  I managed to use my flip flops again to herd him towards an open area where I'd have a good chance of giving him a good whack with my tennis shoe.  The first shot didn't totally kill him but at least he couldn't run (or fly) away from me so I hit him again, flicked him into the garbage can and quickly went to get a shower.

The real reason for my shower was because I'd just returned from about 3 hours of beach volleyball and despite what they tell you, girls do sweat.  Or at least this girl does.  It was a fun night despite flying solo (Emma had to work).  Thankfully, Wilson (a guy who I'd played with before and who is quite funny) sort of took me under his wing and got me to play with him and his friends so that was really nice.  When a lot of people are waiting you 2 teams play a game and if you lose you sit out and then another 6 people play the winner.  Wilson and his friends are quite good so I actually got to play for a long time.  About half-way through the night Pukari showed up and we ended up sitting out at the same time so we chatted for a bit.  We first met weeks ago at the Monday night volleyball clinic thing and I think I've mentioned him before, but as I said yesterday, I meet so many people that I can't possibly keep track of who has been included in my blog.  He joined our team for a few games and then I finally had to call it a night.  I'd been up since 5:30am and had to be up early-ish for church this morning.  Those three hours might have been to much for me, I was definitely limping a bit on my walk home, but thankfully feel totally fine this morning.  Well, that's been my excitement, and I certainly hope I don't get the opportunity to experience any more Australian wildlife in my room again any time soon.  I'm hoping they're coming in through the window (there's no screen and it's too warm to keep it shut all the time).  Crawling through an open window seems much less sinister than crawling through a crack in the floor or it would have to be a really large crack.

Walkin' on Sunshine

We had a beautiful sun-shiny day here in Cairns, it felt like we hadn't had one in so long.  Granted, it is winter here.... Anyway, after getting off work and having some lunch I headed to the lagoon. Emma met me there for a bit so we got some Vitamin D and chatted before she had to go back and get ready for work.  We went to volleyball last night, since it had stopped raining a bit earlier in the day, and that was a lot of fun, I'll probably head out there tonight as well, sadly, without Emma.  It's nice to have someone to chat with while waiting to get on a team.  She's been a good friend.  We don't have all that much in common I don't think - well except for volleyball, but we seem to have similar schedules and not too many other friends, so it's been really good.  Slowly starting to recognize what I'll call the regulars on the volleyball courts.  There's quite a few people who are there just about every night, so I'm starting to learn some names along with their faces.  Some people are just passing through though, so I learn their name and we play together 2 or 3 nights and then I never see them again.  Oh well, I guess it's good practice for my memory anyway.  When Emma and I go to volleyball together we always try to compare notes at the end of the night so we can learn more people's names.  We usually end up on different teams so we meet different people.  Well, nothing too exciting to report, but starting Monday I'll be busy all week with chaperoning for Nova, the Japanese language school where I'm hoping to get a job (hoping I got the job).  So it will be a very busy week.  I should spend some of my time training for the possible position though, and the training is paid, so it's not totally volunteer I guess.  If they're going to train me I feel like the job must be mine, but since they can't guarantee they'll have enough students to actually need me as one of the teachers I don't know how it all will work out.  I think it will be really fun though, so hopefully they get more students.  I sat in for about an hour each day (on Thursday and Friday) with the current class and they were all so sweet.  What can I say, I just love Japanese people.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A rainy day off

Well, the interview went well and I think I've got the job, but at the same time they didn't really offer it to me.  They're paying me for the training and they're scheduling the training, so I'm not sure how to take it.  Anyway, Shoko (the woman running the office here in Cairns) told me I was more than welcome to come by during classes and visit to see how things run, so I went by this morning for about an hour.  The students are so nice.  I hope that I get the job, because I'm quite certain I would really enjoy it.  I'll probably stop by tomorrow for an hour or two as well.  At least they'll know I'm serious about the job since I keep coming even though I'm not getting paid!

It was starting to spit rain as I walked back from the school.  I had some lunch and then made myself comfortable on the balcony (ended up wrapped in a beach towel because of the weather) and read for most of the afternoon.  So, I really can't complain about the weather.  I'd have been more than happy to read the book while getting my Vitamin D, but at least I had a good book to keep me company.  Unless it starts to clear up in the next hour or so I will unfortunately be stuck at 3 nights of volleyball in a row.  I was sincerely hoping to break my record tonight, but that might not happen.  Emma and I had so much fun last night though.  Pukari (a guy we've played with a few times) came and so we chatted while waiting for a opening on one of the courts.  In the end two French guys and a German joined us so we were able to make a whole team and play the winners.  If you don't have a whole team you have to hope someone wants to stop playing so you can jump in and sometimes it doesn't happen for quite awhile.  People are usually quite good about stepping out and letting others join if they've played a few games.  Anyway, the 6 of us had a lot of fun and then ended up playing another team several times and we were quite well matched.  The one guy on the other team was quite amusing and had a running commentary, or at least something to say, all the time.  So, although both teams wanted to win, we all had great fun.  That's the only reason I go anyway, so it's nice to have a really fun evening.

The last two books I've read have been Jane Austen based or related, so I think my next book will be Persuasion, which I don't believe I've ever read.  I've got two more work shifts this week, so I'll probably have it finished by Monday.  Of course, if tomorrow is as rainy as today was it might be finished by Saturday!  Hopefully you all are having much better weather, but since I know Western PA, I wouldn't be surprised if you're not....

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

It was bound to happen...

To be honest, I'm a bit surprised it took so long to happen, what with me playing so many games of volleyball since I've been here.  And of course the "it" to which I'm referring is me hurting myself.  Emma and I headed off to volleyball (since I didn't get off work until 6:30pm we missed the VB clinic) and had a lot of fun.  The group we played most of the games with were very relaxed and easy-going with lots of joking around.  After most of them had to leave we ended up playing a 3-on-3 game with 4 other guys and at some point during that game I bruised the palm of my hand.  The photo to took doesn't really show it very well (so I'm not going to bother posting it), but it's quite sore and it hurts to grip anything.  I don't really remember the event causing the bruise, but by the time I got back to my room you could start to see it.  Oh well, most definitely could have been worse.  On to the good news.

If you haven't already seen my FB status updates then let me enlighten you all.  I'm 75% certain that I will shortly be getting paid to teach English to Japanese students here in Cairns!  I met with Shoko, the woman in charge, this morning to go over the schedule for next week when the students are here.  Afterwards we talked about the job opening.  I got to help for a few minutes with the lesson for this morning's class as well, so that was nice.  The woman currently doing the teaching said that it's incredibly easy and you just follow the pre-planned lessons.  Shoko said that I still need to have a skype interview with her bosses in Japan (she'd already forwarded my resume to them), but the office in Japan is closed for the next week or so for school holidays.  With that being said, she told me that at some point next week she would have me sit through the 4-hour training session.  So I'm not entirely sure I've got the job, but she wants me to do the lesson for the students next Saturday!?  So, now I've got to try and figure out how to make the shifts here at the hostel work with the ones she needs me to work.  My boss here said they can work around the schedule of my paid employment when she first interviewed me, so we'll have to see if they really mean that or not.

It's a bit humorous to me, this whole situation. I've never really quite understood why God had me go back to Japan last time.  Without going into too much detail (that would be a whole post in and of itself) I didn't go to Japan to teach English, but that's what I ended up doing for 3 months.  While I enjoyed the experience it wasn't the easiest three months of my life, that's for sure.  It looks like maybe now I have my answer.  He knew this opportunity would come up if I had that experience and since I have the experience I feel capable of taking the job.  So things are looking good at the moment, besides the bruised palm.  And even with the bruised palm I'll still probably end up at the volleyball courts tonight anyway - just have to refrain from spiking the ball :)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Feeling Hopeful

Today has been pretty great so far.  I got up early (ok, that part wasn't that great) and headed down the street to go have a chat at Meldrum's Pies in hopes that they hadn't filled the Shop Assistant position I'd seen advertised over the weekend.  I feel like they post a job and then the first decent person that walks through the door they hire, so I arrived not 5 minutes after they opened.  I was told that they really don't want to hire a backpacker (wish that was the first time I'd heard that) because they ever seem to hold up their end of the bargain.  Stinkin' backpackers ruining it for the rest of us who actually mean what we say and stand by our word.... After a short chat she did ask to take my resume anyway, just in case.  While that may not sound like much, that is the first time anyone has ever agreed to keep my resume.  So that made me feel hopeful.  Then, after a bit of internet/computer frustration (attempting to skype so I could see everyone) I was able to just call and talk to my girls who are having a fabulous vacation in Florida with two of our aunts.  It was fun to catch up and hear about their vacation fun.  After we finished our call I headed back to reception with my computer to get back online and check emails and job search - the usual.  While sitting their I got a phone call out of the blue with some fantastic news!  I guess I should probably give some back-story.  A couple weeks ago while job searching I saw an add looking for volunteers to help out this next week with chaperoning Japanese students.  I emailed and told them that if I was still without work I'd be more than happy to volunteer.  They emailed back and said that they wanted to have a chat to go over things and we made plans to meet up tomorrow to talk about volunteering.  She called me this morning to ask if I'd found paid work yet (I'd already told her I was doing work for accommodation part-time), and I quickly replied that no, I hadn't found any yet.  She then told me that she'd had someone quit on her this morning and they had an opening for teaching English to Japanese students!  PAID WORK!  I told her I would most definitely be interested, so she was going to talk to her boss in Japan and hopefully when we meet tomorrow I can learn more about the position and will have a job offer!

After that lovely news I decided to head down to Xtreme Travel to use their fancy-schmancy computers to skype with the girls.  They have great internet and new computers, plus by now I was pretty sure they'd be open.  This time we got to actually see each other and it was so fun to get to watch them all interact.  I even got to skype with my parents & crickett for a few minutes before I had to head back to the hostel for my afternoon reception shift.  It's been a pretty slow afternoon (read: boring) so far - hence why I'm blogging now instead of later.  I've got the time and nothing to do so I might as well use it!  I found a country radio station to listen to, seems to be mostly Australian artists so I haven't recognized many of the songs, but then again I've been out of the country music loop for so long they could be American and I just don't know them...  Hope you're having sunny summer days :)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sunny Cairns

I finally got a sunny day!  So after finishing my shift in reception I had some lunch, grabbed my book and headed to the esplanade to have a read in the sun.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize that I was 96% finished with the book already.  I'd gotten a new book out of the library yesterday afternoon, but ended up reading the entire thing last night (it was rainy so I didn't have volleyball to fill up my evening).  The library was closed by the time I got off work today, so I couldn't get a new one.  After quickly finishing the book ("You Don't Sweat Much For A Fat Girl: Observations on Life From the Shallow End of the Pool" by Celia Rivenbark - aside from her penchant for throwing in some swear words, it's really quite a funny read), I decided to just sunbathe.  Lucky for me, shortly after finishing my book a band arrived and started playing.  They were very good and played nice, easy-going music.  There's to be a Bohemia BBQ tomorrow, but I don't think there are a lot of people going to it, granted, there aren't that many people actually staying here at the moment, but that should be a fun afternoon.  Well, I'll leave you with a photo of my usual view while blogging, and using the computer in general - aside from when I'm at the library.
Exciting, right?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Not sure what to say in this post, nothing too spectacular to report.  I went to volleyball again tonight (that's 3 nights in a row) and I'm starting to recognize the same faces and remember some names of people I've met before.  Everyone is very relaxed about the games and no one ever makes you feel bad when you screw up, so I keep going.  It's nice to get some exercise when I feel like I spend most of my day sitting on the internet or sitting at the desk in reception.

In other news, I felt like MacGyver today.  The picture below doesn't really show it very well, but I'll try my best to explain.
The window doesn't stay open on it's own and I don't want it blowing open (or closed for that matter) and breaking so I was trying to figure out how to keep it open.  It then dawned on me that I had the perfect size book that I could stick in the side to keep it from swinging shut.  I am a book lover, but I'm pretty sure it's not doing the book too much harm and it's extremely useful.  Anyway, I now had the problem of the window swinging open too far and banging on the ornamental cornice-type things on the outsides of the window.  As I pondered this new predicament it occurred to me that I had saved some pieces of ribbon (not really sure why, but I thought they could possibly come in handy at some point and it turns out I was right) and I could tie the handles together to keep the one window from blowing open too far.

Yep, that was the gist of my last day or so - MacGyver and volleyball.  Oh, and job searching, there's always job searching...  As so many people have suggested to me since they've started reading my blog, I started attempting to write a book today, but I guess I'm too picky and couldn't decide what to write about.  I actually wrote quite a bit, but by the time I was done I decided I hated it.  I just can't do fiction and I'd even tried to make it based on real life events so that I wouldn't have to make too much up, but that didn't seem to be helping me.  So for all those waiting for my book to be published, you'll have to keep waiting.  That is of course unless one of you lovely readers has some great topic for me.  I'm open to suggestions.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It really is the little things...

There are tons of blog posts out there about why you should travel (whether young or single), things you learn by traveling, ways travel changes you, etc..  Most of them are great, and as someone who's done short-term leisure travel and longer term travel, I can certainly relate to many of the points presented.  For me the things I've noticed most this time are the little things.  Maybe that's because Australia is the least "exotic" country I've ever visited,so the things I notice can't really be viewed as some sort of cultural difference to be embraced.  I had started a list of these little things to help you understand what I meant, but deleted them all because it just didn't seem all that interesting.  One of the reasons I keep blogging about my time here is because, as Angie Castells put it:
You lack the (and yet you have too many) words.  When someone asks you about your new life, you lack the right words to convey all you’re experiencing. Yet later, in the middle of a random conversation, something reminds you about ‘that time when’…, and you have to hold your tongue because you don’t want to overwhelm everyone with stories from your ‘other country’ and come across as pretentious.
One of the things I dread most about returning home from a trip, especially the long ones, is the inevitable, "how was your trip?"  I never know what to say because I don't know how much time they have or if they really even want to know, because asking how a trip went does seem like the polite thing to ask when seeing someone who just returned from overseas.  Like it or not traveling changes you and sometimes there's just no way to explain why you've changed.  For me, blogging about my trip, as it happens, is a way to get out of having to really tell people about my trip when I get home.  Maybe I shouldn't have admitted that, but I guess it really is true.  That's also one of the reasons I enjoy scrapbooking my travels.  Instead of telling people about the trip I can just hand them a book.  If they have questions they'll ask and if not they can just politely flip through the pages and at the end say, "wow it looks like you had a great time" and I can smile and say, "yeah, I did".

I have a terrible memory when it comes to these things and by the time I get home I'll have forgotten half the things I've seen and done.  I got a book out of the library the other day called "Letters to My Sixteen Year-Old Self".  It wasn't as interesting as I thought it would be, but it did make me realize that I couldn't write a letter to myself at 16.  I wouldn't know what to say because I don't remember what being 16 was like.  I'm sure I have a journal somewhere from that age and if I read through it I could then write myself a letter, but without that I'd be lost.  Anyway, as I stated earlier, it's the little things that you notice most, so say a quick "Thank You" to God next time you use your freezer, paint your nails, give your sister a hug, or bake some brownies.  Those little things are so nice to be able to do without giving it another thought.  Maybe it's not so much the little things in life, but the way travel changes your perspective on those little things.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Training Day

I finally managed to get a library card this morning!  Apparently getting a temporary library card in Cairns costs $37 unless you can prove you are a resident.  Thankfully they told me how and it's super easy (at least for me it was).  All I had to do was go onto my online banking and change my address, print a statement off and take it in to the library.  So now I can finally get some books to read and as an added bonus I get more computer data.  Since my new hostel has free wifi (that isn't usually too bad) the internet isn't as big of a deal now.  Anyway, I had my first training shift as receptionist today and it went pretty well.  A bit boring actually, which in the end I think will make it harder.  We only checked in two people, so I didn't get much practice at that.  Alicia, the girl who trained me, is Korean so there are some notes in English, but not a ton.  I have training with her again tomorrow and then on Sunday she'll be there, but basically just in case I need her for something.  The software system they use seems quite simple, so it's just a matter of remember all the non-computer steps.  Next week I'll train on the morning shift duties and apparently the morning shift goes by much faster because it's usually busier.  So, that's pretty much my only update.  Yesterday was spent mostly at the lagoon, joined in part by Emma, a friend from my other hostel in Cairns (and the girl who went to volleyball on Monday with me).  Still no luck on the job search, but I'm still plugging away!