Monday, January 31, 2011

Australia Day

On Wednesday January 26th was Australia Day (if you'd like to read about the history of Australia Day follow this link: http://www.australiaday.org.au/experience/page76.asp). Justin and I took the train into Perth CBD (Central Business District) and walked the 242 steps of Jacob's Ladder up to the main entrance of King's Park (a 988 acre/or 3.8 square mile park in the middle of Perth) where we walked around then parked ourselves in a spot to watch the fireworks. We got their fairly early, so just chilled, it was nice. They light off fireworks from boats on the Swan River as well as from the tops of some of the skyscrapers.





We got slightly eaten by mozzies (mosquitos) cause we forgot the bug spray, but you don't notice them much here, you just wake up with bites. It was a good Australia Day.

In other news, I have been in contact with a 5th year vet student from Norway named Kristine, and we finally met a few days ago. Even though she's a 5th year, she's my age cause she came here right out of high school. We went to IKEA, talked in Norwegian and English, and then went to the beach with Justin. The weather was starting to turn because of the impending cyclone (more on that in a minute), but we decided to go anyway, and we were glad we did. When we got to the beach it was cooler (it was bloody hot that day) and off on the horizon the weather was bubbling and frothing. The waves were getting a bit bigger and the siren to get out of the water was playing. We took some pics and then the siren stopped. We went down to the beach whilst joking about how we were being like those people you see on TV in natural disasters that everyone watching is like "why didn't they get the hell out of there!". It really wasn't bad, and when we got in the water we stayed close to the beach just floating the waves. The water felt great, and a handful of more people joined us, it was about then that a lifeguard came around with his megaphone and said "if you are in the water we cannot save you!" it was hilarious! They even put up no swimming signs, which we got a picture next to. :P






There was even some lightening far away! Anyway, Kristine and I plan on hanging out more whenever she has time (her schedule's more intense than mine) :) Oh, and she's from Sandnes, where I almost went before Valldal, which is interesting, so we both speak nynorsk! Exciting. :P

About the cyclone, there was a level 4 cyclone headed towards the area south of Perth, and was expected to be here Sunday (a few days ago) and was to be a 1 or 2 category when it hit. We were getting excited cause neither Justin nor I had been near a tropical storm before, but it only came to a normal amount of heavy wind and some misting rain. Apparently there was some damage further south though. That was also the day that Emily (Justin's wife) got back from India, so we were happy that her flight came in ok.

Another fun activity was that Justin and I went to an outdoor movie, the new Tron; Legacy, and it was good. They have a few outdoor theaters here, one is in King's Park and the one we went to is in Bunburry Park on the other side of the river from King's Park. It was $9 concession (me) and $13 regular... a regular movie ticket here costs about $20 to put it into perspective. It's really neat, you can bring your own blankets/pillows/food etc. or you can rent these reclining bean bags for $6, and you can order pizza and beer/wine/other drinks there, and the pizza comes right in time for the movie, or you can order beforehand online and get it earlier. the sound and quality is really good too, and the best part about it all is that all of the proceeds go to children's charities (they switch them up each time)! Everyone who works there are volunteers, so it's a really neat way to see a movie.



I'll leave you with a few more pics from Australia Day and King's Park (you can visit the King's Park website to learn all about it!
http://www.bgpa.wa.gov.au/





Monday, January 24, 2011

Things getting underway

I will be moving into my new place in about a week or so, and so I have been getting ready for that. Justin and I went to IKEA on Saturday and I got a side table, a doona (or dyna in Norwegian ;P... a comforter) and a cover for that; a pillow and pillowcases, a wok, and ice cube trays ($0.75 each and their shaped like fish and starfish! cute!). I also looked on Gumtree (a better version of Craigslist) and I found a queen size bed and bed frame for $250, which is really good! Justin and I borrowed one of their friend's (another 5th year vet student) ute (pick-up) and drove the 20 or so minutes down to Rockingham. It was raining when we went, so we went into Rockingham first and got an ice cream (just in time, they were going to close) and walked around on the beach while we ate them (Justin and I have the exact same 3 favorite ice cream flavors! Cookies and Cream, Cookie dough, and mint choc chip). Luckily it stopped raining and we went to the people's house. They were a couple probably in their late 50's who were originally from England. They had had relatives from England over for 4 weeks and that was the only thing the bed had been used for, so it was practically new; they were moving, so were getting rid of it. It's very cute, and when I get everything set up in my room I'll have to post pictures. :) They were so nice, and we talked for a little bit, then drove back home with the bed, and luckily nothing fell off the back. :P

The next day Justin and I biked to Murdoch, and then down to my new house to see how long it would take. The ride was very nice cause there was a lot of parkland that we rode through; the ride took about 45 minutes, so kind of long. Then we rode the straight way back over to the cockburn (pronounced coburn) shopping centre were my possible new job is (more on that in a minute) and then back up to Justin's house. Even though that way is farther, if I did ride my bike to Murdoch that way would be a bit faster cause it's more of a straight shot and less confusing. To the shopping center it took about 20-30 minutes, I forget exactly. It was funny too cause we rode right by a bike store and we both noted that it was there, then only about at block away my bike tire popped (badly, the air went out in about 30 seconds and I could see the hole!) so we went back and got it fixed for $20. We didn't see any broken glass there, so don't know what it was, but that is one bad thing, Australian walkways are often riddled with broken glass, I remember that from Geelong too (I had a glass-related punctured bike tire in Geelong too!).

Now, about the job. Monday (yesterday) I had a job interview at Muffin Break (the same place I worked when I was in Oz last time) in the Cockburn shopping centre. It went well in that they would really like to hire me, but it really depends on my school schedule, which I don't know when I will get! Unlike U of I they don't give you an idea when your classes are until last minute. So, the job's contingent on that. She did say that she owned another place, a more posh sit-down place called "Jamaica Blue" that she would keep me in mind for too. They seem to be a little concerned about me not having my own transport, but the public transport is good enough here and I'll have a bike, so I'm not to worried about it. Hopefully something works out!
I am also going to drop off resum├ęs at a bunch of vet clinics on Thursday (tomorrow is Australia Day), and when Emily gets back I'm also going to talk to her cause she has an "in" with a guy who I guess is really nasty, owns a lot of the vet clinics around here, but likes Emily; so maybe she can talk to him and see if he could use me somewhere. I can't legally start work until school starts anyway (Feb 14th) so we'll see what happens.

Today I'm going to ride to Murdoch to get some things done there. I have started going to a gym around here (a free week trial) and I took a bodycombat class today that was INTENSE and now I'm going to be biking more! I think I'm going to go back there later on today and have a nice swim! UGG!
Coming up next: Australia Day activities
-Cassie

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I went for a bike ride today over to the post office. On my way back I stopped at this little park and sat underneath a tree that had a whole big flock of Little Corellas in it. I had a grand ol' time looking at them and the ducks and listening to all of the different bird calls. There were also some water bids that I have listed below and some little Willie Wagtails (they are so cute, they wag their tails every time they land). There was also a raven in the tree, which over here make a sound like a dying cat. Hear it here:
http://www.shades-of-night.com/aviary/sounds/ausraven.au

It was really neat, that's one of the things I love the most about Australia is all of the diverse bird life. All of the birds below were hanging around me today except the kookaburra (my favorite), and there were some others flying around that I didn't know. Sadly I didn't have my camera with me, so I have to rely on the internet for these pics.

Here are some common bird calls around here (the Kookaburra is less common but still heard now and again, especially out in more rural areas). This picture is actually courtesy of me from the trip I took to Perth in 2008.
http://www.birdsaustralia.com.au/images/stories/birds/kookaburra.mp3


Magpie
http://www.birdsaustralia.com.au/images/stories/birds/magpie.mp3




Pacific Black Duck


Little Corella


Eurasian Coot


Willie Wagtail


Australian White Ibis


Little black cormorant

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Week1

My stay at the hostel in LA was nice and relaxing, I got a shuttle back to the airport at 9:00 PM and got onto my Qantas flight at 11:50 PM. I met a family from Brisbane who had gone up to Canada for a white Christmas, and they were really nice. It was interesting talking to them about the floods. They figured their house would be ok as it was elevated but they did mention about a farm they had getting some flooding; they were, however, worried about the ride home as many roads were closed.
On the plane I sat next to a girl who had been an au pair in NY for a little over a year, and a girl from LA who was with her family flying down to Melbourne for her cousin's wedding. The girl who was an au pair also lived near Brisbane, but a few hours south, and again she wasn't worried about her house but about the ride home.
The plane ride was good, the two girls next to me slept almost the whole time, but I had trouble sleeping cause I was in the middle seat and couldn't get comfortable. I watched "Megamind", which was a really cute movie, as well as a few others. When we were flying over Brisbane about 13 hours after leaving LA I got some good pictures of the flooding. We flew right over the main part of the city, which didn't look like it had got it too bad, but it's hard to tell; and luckily it was a gorgeous day that day. Here are some of the pictures I took:





I then had about 2 hours to collect my baggage, go through customs (I had to give up some food items), recheck my bags, take a tram to the domestic airport, and get on my next plane. Pretty perfect amount of time for all that. :)
The trip from Brisbane to Perth was about 5 hours (maybe a little less as we got there a bit early). Because of the direction of the flight path we ended up flying over part of the Great Australian Bight, which was neat. Once land came back into view it was neat because David and I plan on getting a car over in Melbourne when he comes and driving back to Perth, and I saw the highway we'd be taking on that trip! I got some pics of that too, and a video of my decent into Perth can be seen on my Facebook page for those interested in seeing it (takes too long to upload here).






After landing I collected my bags and hunkered down in some seats by the baggage claim to wait for Justin (husband of a US vet student I met at Murdoch when I came to visit the campus back in 2008) to come pick me up. I was surprised that I was able to get a little bit of internet, only really enough to email and type chat on Skype. That was nice cause I thought I wouldn't be able to get any unless I paid.
I got in at around 1:00 and Justin came and got be at around 4:00, we then went to pick up a dog that he was going to be sitting (named Dexter).

The next day Justin took off of work and he drove me around to look at places and we went to Fremantle (Freo as it's called here) and had lunch at a brewery/restaurant called Little Creatures (right on the coast). He's been driving me around to get things I need (groceries, setting up a phone, etc.) and we've been hanging out at home watching stuff he's downloaded onto his awesome TV system, and yesterday (Sunday) we went to a beach and snorkeled a bit. We saw two stingrays, a giant sea slug (about the size of a small cat), lots of different fish, and tons of little blowfish (the kind without spines). That was awesome, cause yesterday was really hot.





We then went straight to another place to look at and I have decided that's where I'll move in. It's a bit far from Murdoch, but there's public transport and the girls have said that if they are able to carpool to their pracs (they're both 5th year vet) then I can borrow the other car on occasion. It's a really nice house, really nice girls, and 3 dogs 2 cats. I'll be moving in in a few weeks when they get the room all cleaned out (there's still stuff from the previous girl) and in the meantime Justin and Emily are letting me stay here. :) Oh, I forgot to mention that Emily is off in India on a vet prac, I am excited to hear about her adventures when she gets back.
That's all for this week. :)
-Cassie

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

transition

Well, I left Seattle at 10:00 AM this morning. David dropped me at the airport and then left to head back to Moscow. My plane flight was about 2.5 hours, and short and quite nice. I had a bulkhead seat, so lots of leg room and the seat between me and a guy was empty. Once I got into LAX I picked up my luggage, called the hotel I made a reservation at the night before and had them send their shuttle to get me. I got a room (cheap and close) cause I have a 12 hour layover here. I am currently in the hostel and it's pretty neat. I am glad I did it this way cause I get internet and it's much more relaxing than waiting in the stupid airport. The room is a bit gooky, but it's not bad and the bathroom's pretty clean; it's just what I need. :) My Qantas flight leaves for Brisbane at 11:50 PM and then I have a 2 hour layover and then a 5.5 hour flight to Perth. I'll be picked up my a vet student's husband (I'll stay with them temporarily). That will be very helpful. I am Skype-ing with David now, so more to come when I get settled. :)
-Cassie