As I am currently writing this, I am in Guangzhou, China on the longest 17-hour layover ever from Perth to Calgary. It’s crazy to think how quickly the past two months have gone, but I could not be any more excited to finally get home into my own bed. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of being in Australia! Big thanks to the the three girls whom I’ve basically spent 24/7 with while in Perth and travelling around Western Australia and Bali. I couldn’t have asked for better roommates who made living away from home for the first time such a great experience.
From driving both north and south along the W.A. coast, to driving six hours east to Kalgoorlie, here’s a bunch of things that I’ve noticed while in Oz.
- Spiders. Everyone warned me about finding spiders everywhere I go, most significantly – the toilet! I’m glad to report back that this was not true, or at least in my case, and I am most definitely happy to say that.
- Ravens. No one told me about those huge black birds! They’ve got freaky, beady eyes and are always around. They swoop and make the most obnoxious sounds ever… yet surprisingly, I might actually miss that once I’m back home and thinking of my home in Perth. Click the audio link to hear them! (you may have to turn the volume up a bit) - Birds.mp3
- Roadkill. It didn’t even cross my mind that I might actually see a dead kangaroo or emu on the side of the road. Don’t worry, it’s not in the city, but our drive out to different towns made for an interesting view every so often. All I wanted to see was a kangaroo jumping in the wild, but unfortunately, my time with them at the wildlife conservatory will have to do.
- Quokkas. These animals have got to be my new favourite. They were the cutest things to see when visiting Rottnest Island, and are so photogenic. They don’t have many natural predators on the island and have become so accustomed to the tourists that visit, that they don’t mind getting close to people and taking photos!
- Sheila. This made my list because funnily enough, people actually know how to spell my name over here. It’s common back home to have it misspelled, but seeing as Sheila is slang for woman over here, it’s usually spelled right.
- The people. Australian’s have got to be one of the friendliest people out there. I never felt unsafe being out by myself and I am so thankful for that. Also, big shout out to some of our Uber drivers, especially the lovely lady who drove me on my way to the airport. It’s not often that we get a female driver, especially one who made such nice conversation on my last night in Australia.
- Frozen Coke. Macca’s (McDonald’s) equivalent to a slurpee, except it’s a little carbonated. Add in the fact that it was only $1 for any size, came in Vanilla Coke flavour and was such a refresher on those (few) long, hot days we had, I’m going to miss this one.
- Breadtop. This probably isn’t the most Australian thing ever on this list, but I am going to miss this place a lot. It’s an Asian bakery where the girls and I (most notably, Maya and I) found ourselves buying treats from. Also worth mentioning is bubbletea, something I love back home, but found extremely popular over here! In the main CBD (or downtown as we call it), there’s a street with probably 5 different stores selling it right next to each other. Special mention to Nicole, whom Maya and I have officially converted to loving it!
- Last, but definitely not least: The schools. If not for the experiences of visiting schools, this whole list would seize to exist. The people in the seven schools I got to visit were welcoming, and always very excited to hear about the Canadian students coming into their classrooms. It was so great being able to see how the different schools run, from the School of the Air and it’s unique online environment, East Kalgoorlie’s Indigenous presence, Scotch College and participating in their Highland Games, as well as my extended stay at Bannister Creek Primary with my year twos, I am so thankful!
So, what did I learn while here? A lot actually! I got to see different school environments and how they run, which for the most part, I think was pretty similar to back home, despite some of the unique schools we got to visit. I learned that the idea of travelling on my own isn’t that scary, but such a great time since I love my alone time (though, visiting places with less of an English language presence might be a different story for me… that’s a challenge for another time). I can’t wait for the next adventure I’ll be able to go on. I’m itching to travel again already, though with what money?
It feels like just last week I was preparing myself to come over to Australia, and now it’s almost over! I am so glad to have been able to participate in TAB. If you’re having any doubts about it… don’t! I know I was a bit hesitant to join at first, but I’m so glad I did. I was able to travel, complete my classes, and do something I’m passionate about – teaching!