G'day! Hope you enjoy my adventures from Down Under!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

This is for Junior B:

Since several of you asked about my husband in your letters, I thought I'd let him introduce himself:

Take a look at the snow!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The End

My Aussie Adventure has come to an end. On my last day of student teaching, Junior B and Junior S threw me a party. All of the students gave me cards and brought in food. I can't post a picture of the students, but here is part of the spread they created for me. There were lots of great "Australian foods" including fairy bread (white bread with butter and sprinkles), lamingtons, and lollies (candy).
It was very hard for me to leave my students at the end of the day. I think it's always tough when you have to leave a group of kids you've become so attached to, but knowing I was going to the other side of the world made it even more difficult.
On the Saturday before I flew back, my host mum and Charlotte's host mum threw a farewell party for us. Over 40 people came to see us off. I knew it would be difficult to leave everyone when I went to Australia, but I really underestimated how hard it would be to leave all of my new friends to come home.
These are the two teachers I worked with everyday. Teresa (on the left) teaches Junior S and is in the classroom adjoining Junior B's classroom. Jo (in the middle) teaches Junior B and was my cooperating teacher.
Here I am with Helen, my host mum. We had lots of fun together!

More Aussie friends: Claire, Kandice, and Cameron
This is Charlotte (the other American student) and Chris (her new Aussie boyfriend). She came home to graduate from Auburn and spend some time with her family, but she is moving back to Australia in July.

My host family took me to the airport on Monday, May 3 and I flew out at 10:10 A.M. After a 14 hour flight to L.A., a layover, and another 4 hour flight, I landed in Nashville at 5:00 P.M. on Monday, May 3. It was the LONGEST day of my life, but it felt good to be home.

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo in Lexington with Anna, Cameron, and Katie! I was SO excited to see them again!
Graduation on May 8
"Kristina Ann Pickrell." Nothing like having the wrong name announced at graduation to brighten up your day.

Yay for participation!
With Mom and Dad afterwards.
Unlike Charlotte, I avoided the Aussie boys and decided to stick with the one I had before I left. With Mitch after graduation.

I can't believe how fast my time in Australia went. I'm sad that my time in Oz has come to an end, but I'm excited about (hopefully) getting a job and having my own classroom. Thanks for checking out my blog and I hope you've enjoyed my adventures!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hobart: A.K.A. Civilization

After driving around Tasmania for a day and a half, Charlotte and I were excited to see lights, cars, and people again. Charlotte went to New Zealand over the holidays and made a friend that lives in Hobart. He was kind enough to drive us to the top of Mount Wellington and show us around. Here we are at the top of the mountain. Hobart is behind us.

Another view from the top of the mountain.

Every Saturday, there is a market on Salamanca Street. We missed the market, but there are some great little shops in this area. You can see Mount Wellington in the background.

After going to Mount Wellington and shopping, we decided to go the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. This is the second oldest botanical garden in Australia.

Tasmania is further south than Geelong, so it is cooler than where I've been staying. It is Fall (or Autumn, as they call it) in the southern hemisphere, but it doesn't look anything like a Kentucky Fall. A few trees have changed color and lost their leaves, but not very many. In Tasmania, I saw a lot more trees with colorful leaves and it reminded me of the Fall I'm used to.

More of the Botanical Gardens

This is the Tasman Bridge, which is the main route from the center of Hobart to the eastern shore.

After spending some time in the gardens, we went to Seven Mile Beach, which is about 25-30 minutes from the center of Hobart. It was pretty, but also very cold. Charlotte and I were wrapped up in fleeces and hoodies and we were still freezing from the wind. This didn't stop two little boys from swimming in the water though.
Our last night in Tassi was spent in Hobart. We took Charlotte's friend's advice and ate fish 'n' chips at a place called Mures. It was a laid back atmosphere and the fish was fresh off the boat. This is the view we had at dinner.

It's hard to believe, but my time in Australia is coming to an end. I had a great last week at school and my cooperating teacher and students threw me a surprise party. They also gave me beautiful cards and I had a hard time leaving them on Friday. Last night my host mum and Charlotte's host mum threw a farewell party for both of us. It was great to see my new friends one last time before I fly back. I expected it to be difficult to come to Australia, but I underestimated how difficult it would be to leave. However, I'm very excited to see everyone back home and will begin my flight back tomorrow morning. Time to pack :(

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Port Arthur

Port Arthur was one of my favorite places we visited while in Tasmania. In 1830 the Port Arthur penal station was established as a camp for convicts to produce sawn logs. It later grew in to a punishment station for repeat offenders from all the Australian colonies. Eventually, it became a major industrial settlement with military and free men and their families living in the community, as well.

This is the Penitentiary, which is the largest building at the settlement.

Bushfires destroyed many of the buildings after the convict settlement was closed in 1877. The Penitentiary no longer has a roof and a lot of other damage due to these bushfires.

The Guard Tower

I thought the eeriest building was the Separate Prison. Here, the convicts were reformed through isolation. They were locked in single cells for 23 hours a day and never uttered a word unless they were spoken to by a guard.

This is one of the cells in the Separate Prison. The prisoners had to work all day, making things like brooms.
Even in the chapel, the prisoners were kept apart in these closet-like barriers. They had to stand up throughout the entire service.

Charlotte in one of the chapel spots.

This is the Church in which people were required to attend services each Sunday.

Port Arthur is a beautiful place, but its history is full of horrible events. In 1996 a gunman killed 35 people and wounded 19 others. Their names are on the cross below. For me, this was one of the most disturbing things I saw at the settlement.

A Memorial Garden was created as a place of remembrance for those who died that day. The building in the background of this picture is the shell of the Broad Arrow Cafe, which is where 20 people were killed.

A ferry ride away from the mainland is a small island called the Isle of the Dead. Members of the military, their wives and children, and convicts were buried here between 1833 and 1877. We didn't get to go to the island, but you can see a glimpse of it here. Beyond the island is a place called Pointe Puer Boys' Prison. Most of the boys were between 14 and 17 years old, but there was at least one as young as 9.
After spending the afternoon in Port Arthur, we drove to Hobart for our second night. Those pics will be added soon!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Australians celebrated Anzac Day this weekend to honor current and past members of the country's armed services. Monday was a public holiday in Victoria, so there was no school. Charlotte and I took advantage of this and went to Tasmania. We arrived in Launceston, where we were greeted by a torrential downpour and Verdi, the owner of a camper van rental company. Despite Charlotte's repeated requests for the only automatic camper van the company owns, there was a mix up and only manual camper vans were available. We were already nervous enough about driving on the left side of the road, let alone the fact that neither of us can drive a stick. Luckily, Verdi made some calls and we were able to meet up with our automatic camper van on our way to Freycinet National Park.

We got to Coles Bay around 6:00 PM and the entire town was shut down. Literally. Before going to Tassi we were told that it is really beautiful, but can also be kind of boring. With nothing else to do, we found our campsite and spent our first night in Tasmania.

In front of our "Little Devil" camper van

Since it was raining so much, we decided to make tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner in our camper van.

While it tasted good, it definitely was not our smartest decision in terms of dishes. Pumping water is NOT fun.

Charlotte in our tiny bed

The next morning we woke up and went on a hike.

The mountains here were unlike any I'd ever seen before. Throughout the hike we saw huge pink granite rocks that make up the mountains. The color was really pretty, especially when the sun was shining (which didn't happen very much while we were there).

The hike to Wineglass Bay is supposed to take 1-1.5 hours, but we were a little rushed and did it in 40 minutes. I still managed to take entirely too many pictures of rocks.

More rocks

Unfortunately, it was kind of cloudy when we got to the overlook, so we got an overcast view of Wineglass Bay.

By the time we made it back down the mountain and had coffee, the sun was shining. Here's a view of the bay from the beach.

More pinkish rocks

We left Freycinet and drove south to Port Arthur. Some of the roads were kind of sketchy but Nugent Road beat them all. There were times I seriously doubted we would be able to get the van up all of the hills. We drove for 15-20 minutes before we even saw another car. Both of us were glad to see a completely paved road again.

Nugent Road

We got to Port Arthur that afternoon and visited Tasman Arch before going to the historic convict settlement.

Tasman Arch

Pics of the convict settlement are coming soon!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Palm Cove

Our last day in Queensland was supposed to be pretty, but it ended up raining off and on all day. In the morning we tried to go to Trinity Beach, which is a small beach close to where we were staying. Unfortunately, about 15 minutes after we got there it started to rain and we had to leave.
Trinity Beach

From October through May, people have to share the coastal waters with deadly jellyfish. Nets like these are set up on most of the beaches so people can get in the water during these months without worrying about the stingers.

Stinger net at Palm Cove

On Thursday afternoon we went to Palm Cove. This is an upscale beach town about 5 minutes north of Clifton Beach. Several different spa places are the main attraction to this area. There are a few shops and restaurants, but I felt it was very overrated.
Shops at Palm Cove

Thick fog hung over the mountains all week long. This is a view of Palm Cove from the pier.
One more shot of the ocean
I will (hopefully) be going to Tasmania this weekend. Of course, I would get sick three days before I'm supposed to go... Charlotte and I will be driving a camper van around the island, so pray we can keep it on the left side of the road. I'm sure there will be lots of interesting things to share when I get back!