Thursday, January 8, 2009


I'M HOME!!!!

First of all, let me just say how sorry I am that I haven't blogged until now. I cannot believe that it is already January 2009! I feel like from the moment I stepped off of the plane at LAX I've just been in this whirlwhind and only now am I really getting my bearings.

But let's go back a bit.

December 16th I graduated!! I am now, without a doubt, a Graduate with a Masters Degree. :) It's such a good feeling. And like my grandma said, no one can EVER take that away from me. I will always have that degree and that knowledge that I did it.
The ceremony was held at the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre and some of my friends were able to go: Esther, Sallie, Sharon, Chris and even Bec! She flew up from Melbourne that morning to make sure that she was there to see me walk across the stage in my "silly robe". :) It was great.

After graduation, we just hung out in the city, did some shopping etc. Then that night we met up with everyone else at a little restaurant in the Valley called Garuva. It was a cool little place that had each table sectioned off by curtains. The food wasn't the greatest, but the atmosphere (and company) was fantastic. :)

The next day (Dec 17) was a day of packing, hanging out with Alanah (who graduated as well), and stressing over the fact that I found out I did not, in fact, have a plane ticket to come home the next day as I had thought... It's a looooong story, but apparently I didn't receive an email from the booking agent requesting more information before he could purchase my ticket three months earlier.... so he never booked me on a flight. Thank goodness I called the airline two days before to make sure everything would still be on schedule. Long story short, I ended up paying a little bit more than I had originally intended and got on a direct flight from Brisbane to LA for the same day as planned.

Dec 18, 12:05pm Brisbane time I was in the air destined for Los Angeles.
Dec 18, 7:05am Los Angeles time I was on the ground.

Interestingly enough, I didn't feel any kind of jet lag. The next day I was at Disneyland :)

So now I'm back home.
Christmas and New Years FLEW by... and now we're in 2009... the year of exciting stuff. New job, new home, and a wedding...

But it still feels like I'm going back to Brisbane. And I miss my friends.

But it's good to be home.

Thank you all for your encouragement, prayer and support throughout this past year and a half. It has been such an amazing and unforgetable journey. I'm sad to see it done.

"There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning." - Louis L'amour

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Last year I made it home just in time for Thanksgiving and the start of all the great holidays. This year, however, I couldn't make it home. So instead of having Thanksgiving at home, I thought I'd bring Thanksgiving to Australia.... and Alanah let this happen by giving me her home to hold it in. :)

Thursday, November 27th, Chris (the other American) and I caught a train out to Wynnum to begin preparing our Thanksgiving Feast. It was great. We had the lot:

Alanah supplied the Turkey and the home to hold the "function" in.
Chris had the Mashed Potatoes covered.
I brought along the Candied Yams, Cranberry Sauce (my favorite!), Stuffing and Pumpkin Pie.
Alanah's friends...
Vic & Tim were in charge of corn.
Mel & Danny opted to bring a salad.
Soph & Lee handled the dinner rolls and some drinks.
and Alanah's sister Jamie and fiance Darren contributed the appetizers of cheese and crackers.

The night turned out perfectly. Dishes were finished relatively at the same time. Nothing burned. Everything tasted great. The company was warm and delightful. It was the best Australian American Thanksgiving I've ever had!!

Everyone was genuinely interested in hearing what Thanksgiving was all about, and were keen on joining in. They were most impressed by the Candied Yams and Pumpkin Pie - dishes they had never had before!! How deprived they are!! They said of the candied yams that it was the most bizarre, most interesting, most delicious thing they had ever eaten. It was described as "ice cream, but warm!". And the pumpkin pie, although the crust was a poor, rock-hard and slightly burned, example, was a hit, "the mix of spices is great". They all thought the combination of foods were perfect as well. :)

So the Australian American Thanksgiving was a success!! Hopefully some of them will continue the tradition.... being thankful for the founding of America so that hundreds of years later they could be introduced to an American than introduced them to such awesome food!!! :)

Prepping the food.

Chris carving the turkey.

Good company.

The table's set!

Such gooooooood food.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A weekend away in Coolangatta

This past Sunday morning Alanah and I jumped in the car and took a drive down the coast to Coolangatta for a few nights to get some sand, sun and surf. It was perfect!! Exactly what we were both hoping for. We got a room at a hotel/resort located right on the beach and stayed for two nights.

Sunday was a bit of a shopping day, with an hour or two spent on the beach building our buddy Wilber Crush.

Monday was ALL about the beach. Chris came down for the day and joined in on the fun in the sun. Alanah and I continued our sand crafting extravaganza by creating a life-size mermaid. I don't think she had a name.

The remainder of the day was lunch at restaurant on the beach, a walk to the rock pools and some more sun. :)

Tuesday was a bit cloudy, so the beach wasn't as welcoming. So Alanah and I took our sweet time at a nice little cafe on the beach for breakfast. We jumped in the water for a bit, and then we were back to reality... but not without stopping at a petrol station on the way to pick up some essentials: Salt and Vinegar chips, Gummy worms, and Water. :)

SUCH a great weekend! Didn't want to leave!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mom And Dad Come To Australia!!!!!!!!!

The blog is finally here!!! :)

I've seriously been more busy this past week than I have all semester! Just trying to fit in as much as possible before I go home!

But here is the blog many of you have been waiting for.

November 4th I turned in my final paper... EVER!!! .....and now I wait. :) Hopefully I pass and hopefully I graduate. I've already paid for my gown rental, so I'm counting on passing!

November 5th, Wednesday afternoon I flew down to Sydney to meet mom and dad who had arrived in Australia earlier that morning!! :) It was great!!! I flew in, grabbed the train, walked to the hotel room, knocked on the door... and there they were!! Tears were shed, hugs were exchanged, it was great!! So the next few days was getting to enjoy Sydney (for the last time) with my parents (for the first time). We took the beloved bus tour, and did all the good ol' stops. We took an excursion through The Rocks. And Dad and I even did the Bridge Climb!!! Mom was content with walking up the Pylon and video taping us.

November 8th, a Saturday, we continued our journey by hopping onto a plane to Cairns - northern Queensland - where we were welcomed with a gloriously sticky heat. :) But, no worries, we found our apartment located directly on the Esplanade (or... the 'nard) and turned on the air con. The following day was a ride-de-force up to the Daintree Rainforest. The trip felt like a ride out of Disneyland.... a close cousin to the jerky Indiana Jones ride. At times the "big rig" rode so close to the edge of the hill, you felt as though you were going to just roll right off. But of course, you'd be fine, because the vehicle you were in was impenetrable. Thrilling! Scary! Exhilarating! The trip took us up the coast, over a river via a cable drawn ferry boat, through treacherous crocodile-infested wetlands.... okay, not really, but could have been... We stopped off at the beginning of the Rainforest and took a stroll, finding spiders, gripping vines, birds, wasps and so much more, then continued up to Emergen Creek and took a quick dip in the creek, followed by Afternoon Tea. The trip then proceeded to return down, where we stopped for a late lunch and were able to also feed Kangaroos and Wallabies and view the feeding of a crocodile. The rest of the trip allowed us a nap as we journeyed back into town.

We took the next day off to kind of relax and recoop. But Tuesday, November 11th we were off again, this time to the Reef on a Reef Crusie. Morning tea welcomed us during our hour and a half ride out to the Reef. And then we docked up against a pontoon. First things first, we jumped into the glass-bottomed boat and took a tour around the Reef, discovering turtles, Parrot Fish, giant Clams, coral and NEMO!! After the glass-bottomed boat, we quickly put on our incredibly good-looking, tight, bright Red, lycra suits and jumped into the water to get an up-close and personal look of the Reef. Took a little lunch break, then jumped back in again until it was time to leave. :( Fortunately, our departure was postponed so we were able to enjoy the water (from a inside the boat) for longer!! Unfortunately, it was a little over an hour, and a line and gotten twisted in the propeller.. but we got free drinks and food because of it!! Poor new guy. :( But we made it back to the mainland... safe and sound.

The next day, November 12th, we were on a plane again (two separate planes actually) back to Brisbane where we toured the city, had some dinner with friends and took the train down to the Gold Coast on a quick day trip.

But November 16th, Mom and Dad were back on another plane... this time destined for Los Angeles. :( Tears were shed, hugs were exchanged. And they were off..... but we had such a great time......

I apologize. I don't have any actual real footage because I'm unable to transfer footage from the video camera to my computer at this time.

It was easier to let them go, knowing that I would see them again in just over 4 weeks.

And here we are..... 21 days away from my return to the States!!!!!!!!

Just this past weekend I was able to go down the coast to Coolangatta with Alanah. Great fun... look forward to some pictures from that trip.

And tomorrow is Thanksgiving!!!!!!! And I will be celebrating it with a bunch of my Aussie friends... look forward to a blog on that as well. :)

Hope everyone is well!!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

October Celebrations

Only two more days until I turn my paper in!!! I turned in a rough draft of it on Thursday and got good comments from my advisor. So, just a few more revisions and off it goes! Then it's party time!!!

This past week has actually been quite eventful. Heaps of birthday celebrations and also Halloween.

It all started last week Friday (Oct 24) with Chris's birthday. Chris is a friend that I met at Vanguard when I was still doing my Undergrad degree in Costa Mesa. He's now studying his Master's degree at University of Queensland (UQ). For his birthday, Alanah and I treated him with a ride on The Brisbane Wheel, the city's newest "tourist" addition, a ride up the Brisbane River on the City Cat, dinner at a little Italian place north of the city, and then dessert at a fancy little dessert restaurant in the Valley. It was a fun night.

The next day I got to put on a dress and heels, wear my pearls, and join a bunch of girls from church for High Tea and Jason Alexander's in the city for Sallie's birthday. It was really nice. They didn't seem to have our reservation (even after Sallie called them a few times during the week), but it actually turned out perfectly. Not only did they set up a table for us on the second floor, overlooking the River, we were the only people up there! Furthermore, we got COMPLIMENTARY champagne for having to wait for them to set up the table! It was great! The tea was really nice. With light classical music playing in the background, we chose our individual teas from a long list of varieties. Then they brought out tiered trays of finger sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, and individual desserts. It was delicious!! And a wonderful afternoon just being a girl. After Tea we decided to go see a showing of 'The Women' - it seemed appropriate for the day we were having. :)

Tuesday, although I didn't really celebrate anything, it's still a day that deserves noting. During my shift at work I decided to clean a serrated knife with a paper towel (who hasn't done that before?). I didn't think anything of it..... until, for some reason, the knife turned a certain way and a cut through my right, ring finger. After hopping up and down for a second in writhing pain I ran to the sink and covered it in a paper towel. Because it was a workplace incident I had to report it to Security, Health and Saftey, my Manager, my Supervisor, and HR. AND... I had to see a doctor. So that night, Alanah, being the best friend that she is, took me to a Clinic after her shift. I saw the Nurse and Doctor and they decided that I did NOT need stitches (YAY!) but it would be safe to get a Tetanus shot (it's only safe... seeing as how it wasn't my knife). So the Doctor cleaned and glued up my cut, and the Nurse shot me up with something. :) After a few days, my finger is starting to look like it's healing properly. I just hope it closes up enough before my parents and I get to Cairns.... sand, salt water.... not the greatest combined with open wounds. Here's a picture I took of it while we were at the Clinic... it's probably not as cool as I've made it out to be... but it's relatively the size of my pinky fingernail... I sliced it from the bottom up and it wasn't just a cut, it was a slice, the knife was moving in a downward motion while it was slicing through my finger. If I had kept cutting I would have sliced off the entire chunk. :) Sorry... not for the faint of heart. Actually, I did almost faint when First Aid was initially bandaging me up.

Moving along...

This past Friday was Halloween!! And seeing as how I didn't really celebrate it at all last year (because Australia just doesn't do that), I decided I wanted to do something. So Alanah and I went to Movie World (Warner Bros teeny tiny version of Universal Studios). We got all dressed up and headed on down the the Gold Coast (where the park is located). Gates opened at 5:45 and closed at 9pm (don't ask why... I was bummed that it closed so early too), and we got there at 6:30..... left with enough time to stand in lines for two rides: Superman Escape (awesome) and Scooby Doo (okay). We also grabbed some ice cream and walked around the park.. which took us probably all of 10mins. :) But it was fun. If anything, it was fun to just see everybody dressed up... and get a bit of Halloween.

I took pictures during all of the celebrations, and compiled a little video.... so here you go... some visual stimulation for your brain after reading all of that boring stuff:

Next blog will be about my parents!!!!!
:) [wish i could make that smile bigger!!]

Friday, October 24, 2008

Delayed........ to pass the time....

Hi everyone!

Sorry I haven't been blogging. It's been a pretty busy month. Almost finished with Uni though... and then it'll be blogs GALORE!! :) I've got about a week and a half left until my paper is complete - or at least turned in - and the same amount of time until my parents come!!!! eeeeeeeeeek!!! :) So excited.

Okay... so for some reason, way back in August I didn't blog about my trip to the Ekka. The Ekka is basically a Fair (like the OC Fair) that Brisbane holds every year. I honestly have no idea why I didn't write about it. I know I had a video, and the sound wasn't working for some unknown reason, so I didn't want to put it up, but I still don't understand why I didn't at least put pictures up. So basically.... this is that blog... two months later. It's not all the pictures, but it's some of the good ones. :) I went with my flatmate, Vidya (Indonesian) and we met up with her friend Willy for a little bit (he's the guy in the video). The video is of a ride that Willy and I went on (Vidya was too afraid to go on it). It was pretty much awesome. I cried... screamed... and just about peed my pants. FYI... while you're watching, you might want to make sure your sound is down a fair bit... it is a bit loud. :)

Well.... that's all... just wanted to give you something to look at... and let you know that I AM alive! :) I have quite a few things I'd like to blog about (one being Church Youth Camp that was this past weekend), but just haven't gotten to it yet.

Please keep me in your prayers... that the rest of the paper will just flow out of my mind effortlessly.

Love and miss you all!

53 more days left!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Where did September go???

I CANNOT believe that it's going to be October next week. Seriously, it feels like Alison and Rob were just here. To be honest, it feels like Bryan was just here, and that was 2 months ago. CRAZY!

Spring has arrived in Brisbane! The sun is out. It's warming up and the skirts and tank tops are seeing the light of day! :) It's weird huh? I was just reading Holly's blog and she was beautifully describing the essence of Fall.... and it made me jealous. But then I saw the weather forecast for SoCal for the week.... 100??? And then I didn't feel so jealous anymore. :) Just don't be asking me how things are going in Brisbane in late November/early December when the humidity skyrockets and we're pushing the high 30s (celsius).

It is currently 1am (and now Mom is shaking her head at her computer). I worked tonight and drank a little too much caffeine, so I'm waiting for it to wear off. Still not tired though. Might have to force myself to sleep soon. :)

The girls (my honorary Australian bridesmaids - Sharon, Esther and Sally) and I went to try on some more wedding dresses today!!! :) It was soooo much fun. I can't wait to come home and try on dresses that I'll actually be able to think about buying!! And to do it with my US bridesmaids!!! The browsing outing didn't really do me much good though. If anything it only further confused me as far as what I'm hoping for in "the" dress. I tried on 10 dresses today, two of which I reeeeally loved. The only problem was that the two that I reeeeally loved were... well... they were reeeeally different. Nothing in common what-so-ever actually. So how do I choose?? How do I know what I want? When what I think I want one minute is something completely different than what I think I want the next minute?? (Are you confused yet? Because I most certainly am.) So... the search continues.

More in Andie's Australian news:

I was walking through Big-W last week. What's Big-W? Well... think Walmart... they're EXACTLY the same. Anyways... walking through Big-W/Walmart when I stumbled upon a newly altered aisle...

So Christmas is on it's way!!! :)

No other real news.
No real progress on the paper. :(
The pressure's starting to take its toll though.

There's a light at the end of the tunnel that's called home... in 2 and a half months. But there's this huge rock wall blocking the way that's called my paper.

Can't go over it. Can't go under it. Oh no! I've got to go through it!

I think I should go to bed now....


love you all!!