Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Birds

I'm not exactly sure where my fear of birds started.  Maybe it was when I watched Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 film "The Birds."

All I know is that for as long as I can remember I feel like I am a target for birds to mess with.

I have been pooped on by birds multiple times in my life.  Twice at school, and one of those times the poop landed on my head.  That day I had a job interview right after school so I faked being sick and had my mom pull me out of school so I could go home to shower.  It is like that bird knew I had to be somewhere right after school.

My relationship with birds has only gotten worse since I arrived in Australia.

Every time I am at the beach a seagull either fly's over me at way to close a radius or one walks way to close to my towel.
Henry the Gull

 However, since coming to Australia, it is not just seagulls that like to terrorise me.

Our first week in Australia we traveled to a zoo where there were hundreds of parrots that would fly around and land on random peoples heads.  I really did not like the thought of  a bird landing on my head so put my sweatshirt and my arms over my head, not caring if I looked like an idiot.  There was NO WAY I was going to let one land on me!

Don't they just look so vicious!?

These parrots are not just at the zoo, they are EVERYWHERE on the Gold Coast including at school and sometimes they will even land on our balcony!

They are also VERY obnoxious and wake me up almost every morning.  But they are pretty to look at!

Another bird here in Australia that is not so pretty to look at is the Australian White Ibis.  This bird has a beak so long and pointy it looks like it could stab you with it!

Not a great picture but you get this point!

The first time I saw one of these birds I was sitting at the bus stop and one came waddling up next to me.  It freaked me out a little bit and I had to get up and move.  

Though these birds look scary, they are harmless and usually just walk around looking for crumbs of food on the ground.  But they are EVERYWHERE in the Gold Coast just like the parrots! 

The real terrorisers are the Magpie's!  According to Wikipedia, spring in Australia is magpie season, when a small minority of breeding magpies (almost always males) around the country become aggressive and swoop and attack those who approach their nests, especially bike riders.

Magpie at school

At Griffith University this sign is posted during "swooping season."

And let me tell you, the sign is necessary!  One day I was sitting at a table at school doing a little reading before my class and suddenly a bird swooped down and pecked my head!  I thought maybe I'd imagined it but I looked to my right and the girl next to me said "did that bird just peck your head?" I instantly knew that in fact, yes, a bird had just "swooped" me.  I wasn't even walking!  I'm a target I tell you!  

Magpie getting ready to swoop

In September a little girl in New South Wales was attacked by a Magpie and the police decided to kill the bird because of it!

No joke, as I was sitting here writing this post, a Magpie came and landed on our balcony!  Unfortunately, as I went to get my camera to take a picture of it, it flew away.  I think I must give off some kind of aura that attracts birds to me, in a negative way.  Hopefully I won't become like the little girl in New South Wales or Tippi Hedren in "The Birds."  Tippi's character, Melanie Daniels, dies at the end of the movie because she is so badly attacked by the seagulls.  I think they should make an Australian version where the characters die from being attacked by Magpie's.  Oh wait, people actually do get attacked by birds here!  I guess it would have to be a documentary!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Griffith Uni

As of yesterday I am DONE with my Australian education and it feels great!  Especially after spending so much time studying!  It feels pretty weird to know that I am done with the reason I came to Australia.  This whole experience has literally flown by!

Now that school is done I figure it would be nice to show everyone the place I have spent so much of my time at, especially recently.  Griffith Uni!

The campus is very green and pleasant!

Where all the moped riders park their bikes

And finally the place I spent most of my time on campus!  The Library!

It is hard to tell from the pictures but it is a very nice campus.  There are lots of places to sit and enjoy the sunshine as well as a few cafe's where you can grab a bite to eat.  The only thing I will not miss about Uni are the stairs!  The campus is not flat like Chico and I feel I get a work out every time I go.  Then again, that might not be so bad!


Monday, October 17, 2011


I know what you must be thinking...Why is the title of this post T.I.T.S.?! How inappropriate!

Well, give me a moment to explain.  T.I.T.S. stands for Team Island Tall Ships and it is a party put on by the Canadian Students Association, a club on Griffith Uni's campus,  apparently there are quite a few Canadians running around Australia.

Anyway, this party is designed to raise money for breast cancer, hence the name of the party being T.I.T.S.  I think the reason it was named Team Island Tall Ships is because it is a team of people, going to an island, on a boat owned by Tall Ship Island Adventures.

I first heard about this party because my roommates Kevin and Clint played on Griffith Uni's baseball team with a few Canadians.  I thought it sounded like a lot of fun so we all decided to buy a ticket and help support donations towards breast cancer.

On Saturday we got to Mariner's Cove Marina around 11 am and set sail around 12 pm.

After enjoying about an hour and a half boat ride we arrived at Mclarens Landing Island.

I really had no idea what to expect when arriving on this island.  But I was pleasantly surprised when I saw tiki torches and tiki huts.

The day was spent playing volleyball and throwing around a football with friends and eating the delicious BBQ'd meal provided for all the partygoers.  Opportunities were given to people who wanted to kayak, jetski, or tube.  However, after hearing rumors that there were bull sharks in the water I decided to spend my time on land.

Around 4 o'clock a storm blew in and it began to pour rain.  At first everyone ran for cover but the DJ kept playing music and eventually everyone made their way to the dance floor to dance in the rain!  It was a little cold and I was soaked after but it was a great way to end our time on the island!

Eventually the people operating the boat decided it was time to leave and we were all herded back on to the boat.

Back on the boat we all enjoyed the gorgeous sunset!

After another hour and a half ride on the boat we made it back to Fisherman's Wharf Tavern for an after party.

The night was spent hanging out with friends, dancing, and listening to the live band!

A fun way to end a super fun day!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Surfers Paradise

I mostly blog about fun things I have gone and done here in Australia and I realize those posts are probably more fun to read, but I haven't talked much about the place I am living!

I thought it would be fun to take you all on a little tour of the place I have been calling home for the past 3 months.

Surfers Paradise, according to wikipedia; Colloquially known as 'Surfers', has many high-rise apartment building and a wide surf beach.

I live about 5 blocks from the town center where all the shopping and activities take place.  

Might be a little difficult to see, but these are Surfers Paradise Meter Maids.  The Meter Maids were introduced in 1965 to help beat the bad image created by the installation of parking meters.  These girls dress in gold bikinis and Akubra hats and they walk around the tourist strip putting coins in expired meters.

1965 Meter Maids

In Australia most grocery stores are located inside of shopping malls.  Not exactly sure why but this is where I walk weekly to do my grocery shopping.

Woolworths is the largest supermarket chain in Australia.  I spend quite a bit of my time here because I have to walk about 5 blocks home. I can only buy as much as I can carry home so a trip to Woolies is a weekly occurrence.

Ever since I have been here there has been quite a bit of construction, if you didn't notice in my first picture of the Surfers Paradise sign there are fences posted and you cannot walk under the sign.
The cause of all the construction, a new skyscraper

Construction workers taking a few minutes off of work for a chat

Surfers century peaking through the buildings

my home!

Enderley Ave beach entrance (Enderly Ave is the street I live on)

Surfers Paradise is quirky little town.  Every time I step out of the house I know I will be entertained. Whether it is a strange person, a curious tourist, or a vicious bird, Surfers Paradise always has something to offer.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

An Act of Spontaneity

One of the reasons I decided to study abroad was because I wanted to learn to be a tad bit more spontaneous.  People might argue that simply studying abroad is an act of spontaneity however, I disagree with this.

Studying abroad is NOT spontaneous.  Going through the process of figuring everything out for study abroad proved to me that going abroad CANNOT be done on a whim.  It takes MAJOR planning.

However, once abroad, there is room for spontaneity and this is where I hoped I would learn how relax and go with the flow.

One day back in August I was feeling particularly spontaneous and I decided to get a hold of my friend Austin whom I know from Chico State.  Austin is studying abroad in Melbourne, Australia and I decided that I wanted to visit him.

So right then and there I booked a plane ticket for three nights in October.  There was no turning back,  I was going to Melbourne October 7-10.  How spontaneous of me right!?

Okay so it wasn't that spontaneous because I had two months to plan for it but it was a step in the right direction!

Last Thursday I spent my day in preparation for my 6 am Friday morning flight to Melbourne.  Yes.  6 am.  I didn't really take in to account that it takes about an hour to get to the airport from my apartment therefore I had to take a cab which was expensive.  I should have just paid more for a more convenient flight time but oh well.

At 4 am my cab was outside my apartment waiting to take me to the airport.  

I arrived in the city of Melbourne at about 11 am.  Austin was waiting for me at the bus station and we spent the rest of the day exploring the city.

After walking around the city for a bit we met up with a few of Austin's friends from school and made our way over to the Queen Victoria Market.

It is probably a good thing I was not visiting a girlfriend because I probably could have spent the entire day walking around and shopping at the market. 

I found some fun hats to try on!

After the market we did some more walking around the city and we ended our night with some dessert on top of the Melbourne Skydeck. 



A pretty spectacular way to end a great day!

Saturday morning I slept in a little bit which was much needed since I got barely any the night before.  We spent the day window shopping at a shopping center closer to Austin's house near Deakin University.

Later that day we attended a BBQ for one of Austin's friends birthday's followed by a "Crazy Hat" party.

Note: Shirt was bought on  "Me Day"

Had to get rid of the Giants hat as soon as I got there.

Some how I ended up with a transformers mask by the end of the night?

Sunday morning Austin and I got up very early to go on a bus tour to the 12 Apostles which is a collection of limestone rocks off the shore of Port Cambell National Park located on the Great Ocean Road south of Melbourne. 

The tour began at 8 am and we were on the Great Ocean Road by about 10 am.

We stopped many times along the road for photo opportunity's and I have just to many beautiful pictures to include them all here.  

The most beautiful view however was that of the 12 Apostles and what better way to see them than from a helicopter!?

It was such a fantastic view from the helicopter and such an amazing experience!

We made it back to Austin's house at around 9:30 pm on Sunday night. 

The next morning I got up very early (again) for my flight back to the Gold Coast.  It was such a fun weekend and I was glad I got to spend some time with Austin and see more of Australia! 

My act of spontaneity made for a great weekend!  Maybe I should be spontaneous more often!?