Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Birthday in the land down under- part 1

G'day blog mates!!!! As some of you may or may not know, today is my birthday! Wahoo I am the big 22!! Since Australia is 12 hours ahead I am taking this time to milk my birthday to the fullest!! The way I see it is that I really have 36 hours of birthday fun! haha When I told dad this the only reason he agreed is because it was raining alllll day today :(. Earlier in the week Dad asked me what I wanted to do on my birthday and of course there was only one response: FISHING. Unfortunately due to the 30-35 knot winds and the rain this was out of the question and it is a shame too because this is the boat we were going out on:

But of course we still made the best of it! We had breakfast together and then I talked dad into getting a pedicure with me!! This was a WILD experience because dad always says "I don't want a pedicure I like my man feet" everytime I ask him to try it so seeing him get pampered was sooo funny! I almost lost it when they were scrubbing his feet with the pomus stone because he is super ticklish like me!! He may not tell you but I know he enjoyed it ;).
                           (he might kill me for this picture as well..... hahah)

After getting pampered, there is really only one other thing to do in the rain...SHOP. Luckily I found the Cairns mall! I think dad knew about it but would always steer me in an opposite direction.... but none the less, I found it! I tried on a few things and it was fun to shop around but once again I only bought one thing, a Pandora charm! Here is the one I got to signify my Cairns leg of our Australian adventure:

I got the fish because of all the fish we saw on the reef and for the fact that if I couldn't fish on my birthday then I was going to "catch" one in some way! haha After we shopped we decided to have lunch and a few beers to celebrate!!!
                        (XXXX Gold is apparently what all the Queensland people drink (so our waitress told us the first day so dad and I are just blending into the local culture.... ;))

That is where we decided to cut off my Australian birthday, and tomorrow night we will pick back up to celebrate my American birthday! (Thursday night in Cairns is a much better night for live music and entertainment). To leave y'all, I will end on some pictures from the day:
                          The big 2-2...geez I'm gettin old! haha
                    Nothin better than starting the birthday off right with a fountain diet coke! (please take note that this is the biggest size they sell and it was $3, AND I hadn't had a fountain one in about 3 days so this is a big deal!! haha)
                    This is dad being silly and fighting off the wind...aka Mariya
                   When its raining in Cairns there is only one thing to make it better... ice cream. The lady at the shop knows us.... tragic or awesome? I'm going with awesome.

Keep your fingers crossed by some miracle the weather clears up either Thursday or Friday so we can go on our fishing adventure but the odds aren't in our favor :( Miss you all.... For those who are in Tally, Be ready to celebrate my birthday when I return, Kens/HCB style.


Monday, May 16, 2011

To my wonderful sister....

I know it is a day early (or even 2 days Tallahassee time) but I wanted to wish my sweet sister a Happy Birthday! For those of y'all that don't know, my sister and I have the same birthday but are 3 years apart! As cool as it might sound, we get in an argument about it just about every year!! haha I think this year my parents secretly thought that us being apart would be a good thing but to tell you the truth it is really weird being so far away from her on our special day! As much as we may bicker and steal each others clothes and make up, I am so blessed to have the relationship we do! My sister means the world to me and I know she will always be there for me no matter what! I feel so honored and cant wait to stand next to her this October on the biggest day of her life! So happy birthday sister, I love you!!!!!
                         Here we are last year at my 21st birthday waltz
                                          LOVE YOU SISTER!!


New Adventures!

Well today dad and I decided we would tackle the open road! I say tackle because the Aussies here drive on the left side of the road, and the cars are all set up so the driver sits on the right side of the car! It was quite the experience, but dad and I of course made the best of it. He drove first, and we drove from Cairns to Port Douglas which is about 65 miles north of Cairns! The trip up was beautiful! The road twisted and turned all along the coast and through the mountains of the rain-forest and it was alot of fun!! Port Douglas is alot like Cairns but less "rustic". There was a main drag nestled in between the beach and the boat docks with alot of shops and restaurants! I was so excited to actually see a beach!! There are alot of beaches north and south of Cairns, but none right here and Bondi was WAY to cold in Sydney, so it was really nice to be on one today! Unfortunately it was again VERY windy and pretty cloudy so we were only on the beach for a short second and the swim flag was red! But we had lunch and walked around all the shops and visited the boat docks! I drove on the way back and boy was it an experience! I felt like I was doing something wrong the whole time! Also, the blinker is on the right side of the wheel and on American cars it is on the left and so every time dad or I would go to turn the blinker on, the windshield wipers would shoot on! I got annoyed when dad kept doing it but then I quickly realized when it was my turn to drive that it was harder than it looked not to..... Dad started keeping count on who did it most and we made jokes the whole time so we had a ball! On the way back we stopped at a few "scenic" spots to take pictures and the  once we were back in Cairns we headed to dinner and now we are calling it a night! Here are some pictures from our day on the open road:
                        On the beach in Port Douglas
                      Dad looks buff in this picture ;)
               Didn't turn out too good hahah "captain and the first mate...AUSTRALIA"
                       The boat docks in Port Douglas
                   About to tackle the Aussie roadway!
                                 The view from our drive!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Most unbelievable day...EVER

I don't even know how to put into words how AMAZING today was. I have never seen something as truly breathtaking as what I saw today. It is unreal to me to think that there are hundreds of miles of this natural wonder and I only explored a piece of it today! The great barrier reef is truly a sight to see.
Our day started bright and early, dad and I ate breakfast then loaded up on the boat called the "silverswift" at 8 am and were off to the reef by 8:30. There were about 30 people going out with us, so it wasn't too crowded which was really nice! Dad was reallly skeptical about going out today because the winds were.... brace yourself.... blowing 25 to 30 knots. Dad is BIG on wind and so he was really against going today but this was the best day seeing as the wind is projected to only pick up from here. I am glad I have dad to keep my head straight because I was like 25 to 30 knots?! Who cares, it will be fun I love big waves! Well big waves is what we got! At the end I will post a bunch of pictures but I don't think the pictures are going to do these waves justice. I am talking we went for an hour out to the reef in 6 to 8 feet waves, white caps everywhere. I am not exaggerating in the least bit when I say that 2/3 of our boat got sea sick. Everyone was out on the back deck with their little brown bags and dad and I were just laughin about it! This is where I met another girl who was laughing about it named Alex who is from Canada but lived in Destin for the past 3 summers and just moved to Sydney and we became good friends! After an hour of riding the waves, what I thought was great fun, we finally arrived at the reef!! The entire day we stopped at 3 different reef sights! The first sight was probably the sight we went the deepest, probably about 25-30 feet. The second sight was my favorite because we literally swam through caves of coral and it was the most unreal experience ever. These coral heads were 20-30 feet high and at least 15 feet across. I have truly never seen anything like it. Even dad goes "Not much impresses me, but I am truly impressed by this", and that says something! I was thinking it would be alot like the reefs in the keys but this was 20 times that. We saw all sorts of fish, large and small, with the most spectacular colors. We swam with turtles and saw all different species of coral and underwater life. The whole experience was just perfect! The diving, the reef, the crew, and all the members on board were all part of what made it great! Dad and I dove on our first dive with Kento, and it was his birthday! Then on our second dive we dove with Paul! All of the crew was so nice and helpful and really fun to experience everything with! Also, I owe a large part of this perfect day to all the people we met! Like I said I met a friend Alex who I layed out with and chatted with alot, as well as her brother Spencer and his friend! We also met a group of Aussies that sat across from us who kept making fun of me for my fruit loops! I love to eat cereal on the boat (its the perfect boast snack!) and these Aussies thought that was soooo funny and kept makin fun of me! We had a ball and it was truly an experience of a lifetime. It is something I will forever remember and I cant wait to take my kids to! We ended our wonderful day with burgers, beer, and ice cream on the Promenade listening to live music... truly doesn't get any better than that!! Here are some pictures, I am sure I will post more on facebook later but these are the best ones!
                   The view from the back of the boat on the way out
                        Dad and I on the first dive!!
                           The picture doesn't even do it justice! These coral heads were HUGE
                             Had to throw the chi omega up :)
              I know this isan't the best quality picture but I am swimming through caves of massive coral heads... UNREAL
                           We got to pet him too!

                      There were massive fish EVERYWHERE..... dad was pretty upset they wouldn't let him have his spear gun...

                     The view of the reef from the sun deck!
                       Dream come true!!!!

One thing I really loved about the reef encounter is that 6 dollars from everyones fee goes towards a program that works to preserve the reef! Even though I know dad is upset you cant fish or shoot anything...I think it is pretty cool that they are working to make sure this is something people can enjoy for a lifetime!!


Saturday, May 14, 2011


This weekend is FSU cheerleading try-outs and it hurts my heart that I am not there. I wouldn't give up my trip to Australia for anything but it sure is weird not being in Tallahassee for this weekend! It is weird to think my time is over but being an FSU cheerleader was one of the greatest highlights of my life thus far and I have met some of my best friends and made the best memories from this time in my life! I am dreading the first home game because I just know it will be bittersweet for me!
                           This is me in 2009 when I made the team for the first time ever.
               This is my amazing stunt group from this past year- aka the Barbies

Good luck to all my sweet friends trying out, I love you all and wish you the best of luck!


Friday, May 13, 2011

"I think we're finally here"- Dad

The title couldn't explain it any better! As we flew over Cairns and saw the beautiful blue water and the sunset over the mountains of the rain forest dad looked over at me and goes "boo- I think we're finally here" and boy was he right! Cairns is the Australia we have dreamed of going to! It is a quint little town with lots of character all focused around the water. You can walk everywhere and down every corner is a cute little beach cafe, surf shop, dive shop, or tourist shop! It reminds me of an Aussie style key west minus the bums and roosters....haha. The main drag is called "The Esplanade" and it is a boardwalk that runs along the water. On the esplanade there is what they call a "lagoon" which is a huge swimming pool right next to the water. This place is ALWAYS crowded. There are "barbies" aka BBQ's available for anyone to use, the pool is public, and there is usually live music from what I can tell! Both mornings we have been here thus far dad and I have gotten up early and walked through the esplanade to the marina to check out all the boats going out that day and scoping out which reef encounter we wanted to go on! We also found a fun little cafe called 12 bar cafe which is right next to what we call "the shroom" which is a huge bandshell looking mushroom thing that is a stage and sound area! Dad and I sat at the cafe and listened to live music for a few hours yesterday afternoon and we had a ball. Like me, Dad is a sucker for live music and local musicians so we bought the guys CD. He was pretty good but has nothin on Michael McCloud!! (for those of you who don't know who Michael McCloud is, he is dad and I's absolute favorite live entertainment in the Keys at a bar called The Schooner Wharf!!) Basically it has been a low key past few days for us! I have been by the pool, dad has been watching golf, and of course we walk down by the water a few times a day! I will leave you with some pictures but keep looking back because tomorrow we are diving the Great Barrier Reef!! I am SOOO excited, this is seriously going to be a dream come true!! Hope America is treatin y'all well!
                                       The view from the boat docks!
                                             The boat docks!
                             I will take this as a sign I am meant to be here....
                          Dad and I at 12 bar cafe just listenin' to some music!
                          "The shroom" with the live entertainment :)
                                       This is part of The Esplanade
                                       "The Lagoon" on The Esplanade
                         One of the many beautiful views from The Esplanade
                  We stopped to take a few pictures after our morning walk along the water! Low tide for sure.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stuck at the Sydney Airport....

G'day Mates! Yesterday was the first day I actually heard that and I wanted to squeal! haha Well dad and I are now stuck at the Sydney airport :/. Our flight to Cairns which was scheduled for 7am got cancelled and so the next one out isn't until 3:30 so here we are for the next few hours! For those of you who don't know dad gets realllly cranky when there are airport issues so it was a very eventful morning for us but once we got him some coffee, me some breakfast (and a diet coke ;)) we are doing better. I just see it as the perfect time to catch up with everything and everyone in America and update my blog!

So yesterday, dad and I ate at the fish market!! This was our second time going here (the first was early in the morning and we didn't feel like eating) so we had to try the cuisine! It was very.... interesting! They call shrimp "prawns" and make lobster with this cheesy mix baked into it! It was all really good and I am glad I got to try it but I think I will stick with Florida fish prepared by dad with our secret tarter sauce. We decided to try the fish bites, fried prawns, the lobster with the mix, salmon, and fries. The salmon was soooo good as was the lobster! They had a sauce called "fish dip" instead of cocktail sauce and I don't think I even want to know what was in it but it was pretty good. It was just a really cool experience.
                                             Here is all the stuff we ordered to eat!
                                       One of the many fish counters
                         Another fish counter!
After lunch, I talked dad into doing some city exploring which really means shopping in my language. I am very proud to say that I only bought one thing, a pandora charm! Instead of buying lots of touristy stuff I decided I'm going to get a pandora charm for each different city we visit! I got my pandora bracelet from my parents for my 21st birthday and since then have received many meaningful charms such as one from my sister when she asked me to be her maid of honor as well as a garnet and gold one and a football on my last home game cheering! So I figured buying charms would be more meaningful than a t-shirt! Here is the one I got for Sydney:
I bought it in this beautiful shopping center called the Queen Victoria Building! It is an old victorian building (go figure) that they turned into a shopping mall. I don't know why I didn't think to take a picture of the place but the inside was just gorgeous. There were wrought iron spiral staircases, eclectic architecture, and beautiful crown molding detail everywhere! Luckily for me, Sydney has all their fall fashions out so I don't feel a need to shop for anything because it is all boots, sweaters and dark colors! 

After shopping, we went back to the hotel to rest. Dad isn't much of a shopper so I think the hour we were out did him in! Then, last night we went to see Sydney's rendition of the Broadway musical Jersey Boys!!!!! I have grown up LOVING musicals and my family and I go to them all the time! One of the ones I had never seen was Jersey Boys! My family got to go when we were all in New York city in Thanksgiving of 2006 when I was in the Macy's parade but I was in rehearsals when they all went and all I have heard about is how it was every ones favorite so seeing it last night was wonderful!! I absolutely love the music from the 50's, 60's, and 70's  and that's all this was! It was songs from Frankie Valli the 4 Seasons like "cant take my eyes off of you", "walk like a man", "sherry" and "bye, bye baby". It was the perfect way to end our leg of our trip in Sydney!

That's about it for now! Keep checking back because things are sure to get exciting because Cairns is not only the "gateway to the great barrier reef" but it is also a rain-forest and a high class fishing area!! 


Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Well, we have arrived!! After a full 27 hours of being in airports and on airplanes, we arrived in Sydney at 7 am on Monday the 8th (Sydney is 10 hours ahead of Tallahassee). The plane rides really weren't bad at all, dad and I made the best of them and I watched a bunch of movies. Planes are so advanced these days. We each had our own TV on the flight from LA to Sydney that had TV shows, movies, games, news, and even a web cam that was on the outside wing of the plane where you could watch the plane take off, land, and just cruise through the air!
As soon as we got here we headed to the hotel to check in then straight to the famous Sydney Harbour where the opera house and bridge are! Sydney is BEAUTIFUL! I kept telling dad that it reminds me of a mix between the big city feel of New York with the harbors of San Fransisco. There are so many different harbours and coves and areas of Sydney that are all so unique!

                                                                Me at Sydney Harbour
                                                               The Harbour Bridge!
The Opera House!!
We took a ferry around the harbour and then up to the Taronga Zoo! This was one of the coolest zoos I have ever been to! I love zoos so dad and I had a good time at this one. The reason this one was so cool is because they are so laid back about everything. There is one part called the "Outback walk through" where you literally are in the same "cage" with kangaroos, koalas, emus, wombats, and all sorts of birds! They also have just huge exotic birds just walking around everywhere and they come right up to you!
The next day, dad and I visited the Sydney Maritime Museum that had the history of the Australian Navy so we went through that and then got to tour an old Australian Navy battleship, submarine, and even the boat that made the first landing on the Australian coast called "Duyfken". Dad is big on museums and boats so it was fun to tour these with him! It always amazes me how much he knows about all sorts of boats. He was giving the tour guide a run for his money!!

                                                    This is the view from Taronga Zoo!!
                                                           Dad fighting a seal.... haha
              A sweet little Kangaroo and her little baby joey!! This is literally how close we were to them!
The Battleship and submarine we went on!
Our hotel is right on a different harbour called Darling Harbour which has a ton of restaurants, the largest IMAX screen in the world, and some shopping! This is where we have been coming alot because it is on the water and has so much to do! From here we walked to the Sydney Fish Market where they bring in all the seafood from the coast to get cleaned and sold! Dad and I are going there for lunch so I will keep you posted on how it compares to Florida seafood!

Darling Harbour
Overall, it has been a great transition! I think dad and I are finally caught up on sleep! The only complaint I have is what dad and I are calling "The diet coke issue". As some of you may know I drink ALOT of diet coke. I will stop my day just to drive to zaxby's or steak n shake to get a large fountain diet coke, sometimes even twice a day its that bad. Well here in Australia, it is not easy to get diet coke in large quantities! haha Every time I order one it costs an arm and a leg and they usually serve it in a little 8oz glass bottle. So luckily we are making due and I stop in just about every McDonald's we can find to satisfy my diet coke need!
So that's about it for now! We fly to Cairns tomorrow which is the tropical part of Australia and where the great barrier reef is!! I don't think I will Be able to sleep tonight I will be so excited! Keep checking back for updates!! Love and miss ya'll!