The Do’s and Don’ts of Visiting Your Hometown

gig harbor

Last month, I was fortunate enough to visit my hometown (Gig Harbor, WA) for the first time in almost two years. To say that I have missed home, my family, and my friends would be a massive understatement. I enjoyed my time back in Gig Harbor and thought I would share some of the things that I did with you guys!


DO Eat at all of your favorite restaurants.
DON’T Worry about your waistline while doing so. You only live once, right? Well, in this case, you only get to visit your hometown once every two years so… five extra pounds won’t hurt nobody.


DO Hangout with as many friends as you can.
DON’T Cry when you say goodbye.


DO See all of your favorite touristy sites.
DON’T Be frustrated when it rains (c’mon, it’s Seattle).


DO Support your local sports team.
DON’T Stop cheering for them when they lose.


DO Snuggle your precious pets as much as you can.
DON’T Think about how much you will miss them when you leave.


DON’T Be too sad when you say goodbye.
DO Start planning your next trip to your hometown as soon as you get back down under. 🙂


The Top 8 Things I Did In 2014

Okay, guilty. It has been far too long since I last updated this blog and I would like to apologize! I started this blog in the hopes of showing my American family and friends my assumedly different life in Australia but the truth is that, after a few months after moving across the world, life kind of just feels … the same. Just as you would expect, I got used to the day-to-day life here and now, honestly, I consider Australia just another home of mine.

Anyway, in 2015 I have made a resolution to update this blog once a month. I thought that a great way to begin the year would be to recap 2014!

Without further ado, here are the top eight things I did in 2014 (in no particular order):

2. Australian Open

1. I went to the Australian Open with Brent. We saw two matches in the evening in the Hisense Area. We watched Mens Singles (Tommy Robredo v Richard Gasquet) and Mens Doubles (the Bryan brothers v Paul Hanley and Jonathan Marray). During one of the last sets of the singles match, it began to pour rain so we even got to see the stadium’s roof close! All in all, it was a very fun evening of tennis watching.


2. I got my first job in Australia and outside of college. Granted, the job was in the hospitality sector, not within the field that I studied in university. For six months, I was a front of house manager at a brand new restaurant. I learned a lot about the industry as well as the responsibilities that come with being in charge of 15 staff and a restaurant. I had a great time working there and look back on the job highly!

4. Seahawks Winning Superbowl

3. I watched the Seahawks win their first Superbowl! Brent and I got up super early (because of the time change) and went to the grocery store in search for some American food. We watched the game while eating hot dogs and Skittles and sipping on some Budweiser. So excellent.

5. Getting A Bike

4. I purchased my very first road bike. Brent and I began cycling weekly on a trail near where we live and I have fallen in love with the sport.

9.3 Lakes Entrance

5. I went to Lakes Entrance twice! Lakes Entrance is a beach town on the coast of Victoria, it’s about a five hour drive away from Melbourne. Brent, his best friend Matt, and I first went to Lakes on the second day of the New Year and again in early December.

9.1 Lakes Entrance

We played two games of mini golf, spent every day at the beach, drank a lot of beer, and cooked a lot of meat on the barbie.
9.2 Lakes Entrance

One of the coolest things we did while in the area was check out the Buchan Caves. About an hour away from Lakes Entrance, the Buchan Caves are a popular tourist attraction (and rightfully so)! We toured the Fairy Cave with a dozen other people, a lovely park ranger telling us all about the cave and its’ history. It was definitely an experience to remember!

9.4 Lakes Entrance

8. Great Ocean Road6. In September, Brent and I went on a short road trip to the Great Ocean Road. This is the second time that we have driven along the beautiful and winding road. On our first night, we stayed in Port Campbell. We ate dinner at a small Italian restaurant and finished the evening by eating a pint of (very expensive) Ben & Jerry’s!

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On our second day, we drove down the Great Ocean Road to Apollo Bay. Along the way, we stopped at a dozen of the lookout locations and took a lot of photos.

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When we made it to Apollo Bay, we hiked up to an awesome lookout of the small beach town.

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It rained almost the entire time we were in Apollo Bay but with views like this, we forgave the weather gods.

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We ate dinner at a posh restaurant that had a Sangria happy hour. When we got back to our hotel room after dinner, we shared a six pack of local beer and had an early night.


The next day, we drove back home. On our way, we decided to make a quick stop to see one of my favorite things: a waterfall. After descending down a couple hundred stairs, we were at the bottom of Erskine Falls. You could explore the area around the waterfall which was probably my favorite part of the experience. It was such an awesome way to end our little getaway together.


7. For seven years now, I have participated in NaNoWriMo. For those of you who do not know, NaNoWriMo stands for ‘National Novel Writing Month.’ The challenge: for the entire month of November, you must attempt to write an entire novel (they mark that as 50,000 words). Though I have participated for so many years, this is the first year I have ever won NaNoWriMo!

In other nerdy news, I also participated in my own challenge of reading every day for 100 days in a row. Doing this rekindled my love for reading and created a valuable habit for the future.


8. In late July, I was able to travel to Hawaii in order to see my family. Seeing my family for those two weeks was just what I needed to combat the homesickness that I had. Unfortunately, Brent was not able to come with me.


We ate lots of delicious foods, visited a handful of beaches, and went hiking. The above photo is from Salt Pond beach where we went during sunset.


This photo is from one of our hikes along the Waimea Canyon. Picture: me, my dad, and my sister.



All in all, 2014 was a pleasant year for me. And I’m especially looking forward to what 2015 has in store for me.

Until next time!

Work, Work, and Let’s See…. More Work

I sincerely apologize for my lack of an update on this blog! How long has it been, a year? Ten?

Unfortunately, my absence has not been because I’ve been really busy doing super awesome cool things. I haven’t posted simply because all I do is work. I work full-time and when I’m not at work, I’m being super lazy at home [by watching TV or a movie, surfing the web, reading a book, or sleeping]. So very glamorous, I know.

However, this is all about to change. I’ve been at my workplace for nearly six months which means, because of a visa restriction, I legally have to quit. August 24th is my last day at my first full-time job [and my first job in Australia]! This job has taught me so much about patience, Aussie culture, responsibility, and cooking. I got to know a lot of people who work there very well and will miss getting to hangout with them every day.

I plan on taking some time off to work on some personal things before I attempt to reenter the job market. This means that I will have time to *actually* blog again. Wahoo!

Stay tuned for some real updates!

In the meantime, here’s a photo of Brent’s dog bathing in the sun. Oh how I miss summer! Enjoy!


I Got A Job! & Other February Things


As most of my Facebook friends know, I GOT A JOB! I was interviewing and working a trial shift at the end of January, heard back that I got the job at the beginning of February, had my job induction in the middle of the month and (finally) began working two days ago.

I’m working full time as a Front of House Manager at a brand new, gourmet and healthy alternative fish and chips shop. So far, my bosses and staff have been an absolute joy to work with. My first two shifts consisted entirely of running errands, cleaning, mopping, scrubbing, and setting up shop. I can’t wait for the store to open so I can try all of the delicious-smelling foods they’ve been cooking!

Honestly, the best part about getting a job and making money now is that I’m able to afford plane tickets to Hawaii in June to see my family. Excited!

Other things I’ve done in the last month:


  • Celebrated the Seahawks winning their very first Superbowl! I’m so proud of my city. Brent and I got up early (the Superbowl aired around 9am in Melbourne) and drove to the grocery store to purchase Budweiser beer ($4 for a bottle), Skittles (THE BEAST), hot dogs and buns, and Doritos. ‘Murica.


  • Went to ACMI’s Spectacle exhibit in the city where we watched countless music videos, learned all sorts of neat facts about the music industry and how music videos have changed over time, and saw cool props used in some popular videos (my favorite: pictured upper right, from OK Go’s This Too Shall Pass).
  • Experienced multiple days of over 40C/110F weather, and my first bush fire warning.
  • Joined a tennis club! Brent’s mum invited me to be a part of the tennis club that she plays in. I hadn’t played regular tennis since high school and have been wanting to get back into it for some time. So far, I’ve played two doubles matches: won the first, lost the second. I’m really excited for the season to continue!


  • Celebrated my 23rd birthday by eating delicious Thai food and boozy drinks at Melbourne’s Cookie (which had been on my to-do list for a while) and getting drunk in the city with Brent and his best mate. An A+ celebration.
  • Learned how to drive a manual car on the Aussie road! Alone! Without killing myself or anyone else!


  • Visited the Bathing Boxes in Brighton, otherwise known as my new favorite place in Melbourne.

As I was about to hit ‘Publish Post,’ a spider started to climb on my arm (!!!) and I had to kill it (after screaming, of course). The fun part (HA) about living in Australia is realizing that any spider could have the ability to poison and kill you (I should probably learn the difference between ‘normal’ spiders and ‘OH SHIT RUN THE HELL AWAY’ spiders) … actually, it seems that ANYTHING (bush fires, snakes, jellyfish….) in Australia could kill you.

Until next time, folks!

Christmas In Australia

I know that it’s been a while since my last post and that I’m in need of catching you all up on life here in Australia. I’ve been thinking about writing this post about Christmas for a few weeks now and I’ve finally gotten around to it!


I’ll start with some background of a typical Christmas for me in the States. My immediate family lives on the west coast while almost all of my extended family lives in the midwest or on the east coast. I’m lucky if I get to see any relative of mine once a year, if that. My family (mom, dad and sister) start the Christmas celebrations by having a crab and shrimp dinner on Christmas Eve. My sister and I set out cookies and milk for Santa before bed then we usually call it a night before eleven o’clock. We wake early on Christmas morning to open presents in our pajamas with Christmas music playing on the radio. Santa always gives my mom a couple packets of scone mix for Christmas and after we finish opening gifts, she’ll make a batch of scones for a late breakfast. We spend the rest of the day lazing around, enjoying the holiday and our new presents. We finish the day off with a delicious steak and mashed potatoes dinner that my dad slaves in the kitchen all afternoon cooking.

As you can see, most of my Christmas celebrations have been very relaxed. This Christmas in Australia was much different.

Unlike my family, Brent’s extended family all live in the same state. The weekend before Christmas, Brent’s family and I drove a half hour to a Christmas party that his dad’s side of the family was having. This was my first taste of Aussie Christmas. It was a muggy and warm day, not surprising considering that it’s summer. There were fifteen people, including a few children and one baby. We all stayed outside for the most part, drinking beer and enjoying conversation. Because I was the newbie, I was asked all sorts of questions (including how my family celebrated Christmas). Brent’s aunt, mother and cousin served up lunch to all of us.

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On everybody’s plate, there was a Bon Bon (or Christmas Cracker). Before eating lunch or dinner, everyone takes their Bon Bon in their hand, crosses their arms in front of them (making sure that they’re holding one end of their Bon Bon in one hand and the end of another person’s Bon Bon with the other hand). After counting to three, everyone yanks each Bon Bon. All of them are filled with paper crowns that everyone must wear throughout the meal, while only some are filled with little gifts. After everyone wore their crowns, it was time to chow down on lunch (and then dinner).

christmas pudding

On Christmas Day, Brent’s mum’s side of the family came over after we (his immediate family and I) finished opening gifts. We all celebrated the holiday by drinking beer, eating lots of food and giving gifts. Another Christmas Tradition that both sides of Brent’s family practiced involved the Christmas Pudding. I had never even heard of Christmas Pudding before traveling to Australia (I know, I know – so cultured). The pudding is made by actually boiling pudding and then adding about a bucket of brandy as well as lots of dried fruit. The alcohol keeps the pudding preserved for up to a year! The fun part about Christmas Pudding is that the chef puts in a few five-cent coins. Whoever ends up getting a coin in their slice of pudding (and nearly breaking their teeth) is blessed with good luck for the next year. Because Brent’s aunt is so sweet, everyone at the table ended up being blessed with good luck for 2014.

Hopefully with this good luck, I will find a job this year!

Fifty Days in Australia!

Today marks the fiftieth day since I moved down under! Since it’s been a while since I last wrote, I thought that I would make this post in bullet form.

Here are some of the things that I’ve been getting up to these last fifty days:

  • I’m still on the unemployment train. I took a short break from applying to jobs for about a week (it’s hard to deal with so much rejection) but I’m back at it once again. Keep your fingers crossed for me!


  • I was lucky enough to be invited to a large dinner party at the Mexican restaurant Taco Bill, located in the city. Since we had a sweet party package, happy hour was extended, we got to hit a piñata and we had the *lovely opportunity* of being force-fed tequila and lime juice. It was a blast!



  • Brent and I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for him and his family. This was the first time that I have ever cooked for Thanksgiving and given that it was Brent’s (and his families) first Thanksgiving ever, we were a little nervous. The menu looked like this: turkey (of course), stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, and pumpkin pie. 


  • I saw my first big and scary spider! I was outside on the porch with Brent and his mate, when I saw a Huntsman spider on one of the poles that held up the roof. Despite them having a creepy appearance, they are apparently quite harmless to humans. Still – just thinking about the spider again gives me the heebie-jeebies. 
  • On Thanksgiving day, Brent and I signed up for a virtual holiday running streak. The deal? You have to run one mile every day until New Years Eve. Today marked day 18 (halfway!) and thus far, I have only broken the streak twice because I was ill. Nineteen miles in sixteen days ain’t so bad. Running has sort of taken over our lives. 


  • I had my first theatre experience here in Melbourne. A couple of weekends ago, I saw Short + Sweet at Chapel Off Chapel in the city. The play had six odd and entertaining acts. The venue was great, I hope to go back there soon!
  • I’ve decided to try and take up crocheting. So far, not great. I am so untalented with yarn!


  • Unfortunately, on the day after Thanksgiving, Brent’s cat Comet passed away unexpectedly. He was totally healthy, to our knowledge, before he died. Such a shame, he was a fantastic kitty.

A great and crazy fifty days! Here’s to the next fifty!

Week Three in Melbourne: A Birthday, A Job Search & A Zip-Line


Brent turned twenty-three this week! This is the first time that I have ever gotten to celebrate his birthday with him in person, so it was kind of a big deal. I cooked him up a big breakfast while he was still in bed. I also got to sing happy birthday to him with his parents which was great! These all seem like such trivial things, I’m sure, but to me it meant a lot. I can’t wait to be there for his next birthday.


Besides Brent’s birthday, nothing too thrilling has been happening over here in Australia. I attempted to hand out my resume in person a few days ago (and was told that I had to apply online at every single place instead). I’ve applied for (and been rejected from) so many jobs during my three weeks here that it’s starting to take a toll on my self-esteem. I’m realizing how naive it was for me to believe that I would get a job easily here. I guess all I can do is continue to grit my teeth and trek on with the applications.


As I said, it’s been a quiet week. Let’s see, what else have we been doing?

Brent and I went on a couple of runs (which I’m proud of). He’s been trying to fix up his car so it’s drivable again. I am extremely behind on NaNoWriMo (but am determined to catch up and finish on time). We’ve been spending a lot of time at a playground nearby , usually around dusk so there aren’t any children around. There is a zip-line (Aussies call them ‘flying foxes’) which is by far the best part of the little play place. Basically, we’ve been trying to do various fun and free things here in Melbourne, which is challenging to do. And until I find a job, I’m going to have to continue being frugal!