Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I'm embarrassed to admit that until coming to Australia I thought Tasmania was its own country south of Australia. Really, it's a state of Australia and quite a state at that. I got to Australia at the beginning of July and took an intensive class at the University of Melbourne. While in class I met and made friends with incredibly friendly, intelligent and thoughtful Australians (and some international students too!). One such Australian grew up in Tasmania and after regaling another friend and I with tales of the place, convinced us we had to take a trip. So, I bought a plane ticket for next to nothing, flew an hour south and fell in love with the great state of Tasmania, or Tassie as the locals call it.

As I have a tendency to do with islands, I completely utterly underestimated the depths and lengths of this "small" island. Three days was not enough to explore the diverse regions. But with my three days, I packed as much of the South, East Coast, Port Arthur and capital Hobart, in as I could.

The South: forested

Went on a platypus walk and tried SO HARD to see one but didn't
Forded some mighty rivers with on a ridiculously narrow swinging bridge

Walked on top of the forest on that plank 

Saw so many rainbows - at least 100 during our 3 days in Tassie
The East Coast: the landscape is so different from the South - more coastal, savannahish and full of wildlife.

See the joey in her pouch?!

Beautiful beaches with perfectly white sand
A wombat!
An unexpected blow-hole

Driving on the left side. Good thing there were no other cars to get confused by ;)
Port Arthur: a formal colonial penal colony, the most notorious in the Southern Hemisphere. They say it's the 3rd most popular tourist prision after Alcatraz and Robben Island.

Hobart and Richmond: the capital

The view from my bedroom window - perfect way to wake up

The oldest bridge in Australia - Richmond, Tasmania - build by prisoners
Oldest church in Australia - Richmond Tasmania 
Funny prayer found in the church

Tassie was wonderful. I wish I had more time to explore it. I'll have to go back someday.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Around the world in 90 days

Leaving Sweden and going to the States was the first leg of my literal journey around the world. I have never had the opportunity to circumnavigate the globe so these months between school years are proving to be pretty special. With the always-out-to-make-a-buck airlines charging insanely high prices to fly certain routes, it's become a game to find the best deals, the shortest flights or the most interesting places to add to your itinerary. Knowing my final destination needed to be Australia (work and study for the summer), I decided to play around with flights and see if I could not only save money, but throw in a little vacation on my way too. Ding, ding, ding, I won! It turns out it is astronomically cheaper to fly to Thailand first and then to Australia from there. And since I have a great Thai friend who was going to be in Thailand, I knew this wasn't an opportunity I could pass up.

Thailand. Oh Thailand. What an incredible country. I'm in love with this part of the world. The people are so polite, the food is always delicious and the weather is the hot muggy feel that leaves a healthy shine to my face and makes my curls defined and beautiful. And I think I will always come back to the food. INCREDIBLE. When living in Uganda I always said if I was to ever do the Peace Corps again I would pick somewhere with better food. I think Thailand is on my list now.

I spent time in both Bangkok and Chiang Mai with my friend Anne. Anne lives in military housing and she couldn't have visitors stay on the base so we ended up staying with her boss. Well, her boss is a pretty important person with the Thai Air Force and her husband is even more of an important person with the Air Force. Considering the country is under military rule, it was a pretty safe place to be. They were incredible hosts and I am so thankful for their generosity and kindness. At one point Anne's boss asked if I could help her with a little English editing project which I jumped at because I wanted to repay her for her kindness. It turns out, I am now the editor and voice of the Royal Thai Air Force promotional video!

I got to travel around a bit to some of the Thai tourist places with Thai friends. We went to a lot of temples, places with little shops and ate a ton of street foods. Did I mention I LOVE the food! All my new Thai friends did such a good job of introducing me to different foods, though I have eaten way more octopus, fried fish skin and chicken feet than I would have liked.

I went north to Chiang Mai for a few days to visit Anne's family. She lived on a little farm. I helped her grandma prepare meals and we went with her dad to his shop during the day while he sold herbal remedies. I showered with a bucket and had to splash water on myself after using the toilet because there was no toilet paper. It was reminiscent of my Uganda days.

Thailand was a beautiful country and I am so thankful for the people I met, the foods I ate and the places I saw while I was there.