Aloha party people! Let’s get to some blogging.

A couple months ago at my mom’s ceremony, someone told me that I would begin to see blessings sent from heaven in the form of sunrises, sunsets, rainbows, and other spectacles of that nature. She said that these would be little pieces of my mom, bestowed upon me to remind me of her unfaltering love for me. At the time, I just nodded my head and muttered the appropriate thank you’s, but now I realize that these words have resonated with me more than anything else. Since that conversation, nature has presented itself to me in ways that I have never before experienced. The colors have become more vibrant, each landscape is even more picturesque than the last, and being outside evokes a strange sense of peace and calm within me. I have found myself actively seeking out sunrises and sunsets, waiting for those special moments when the sun touches the edge of the Earth and explodes with color, and I know that my mom is with me. There’s no feeling quite like it. So this one’s for you, mom.

This week began bright and early Monday morning when Ruthie and I woke up at 4:30 am to go see the sunrise at the beach.  The struggle was real to get up, but once we got to the beach all previous regrets disappeared. We planned our sunrise beach excursion so that we could do the Sculpture by the Sea walk (mentioned in the previous post) as the sun rose over the water and it was probably the best decision ever. When I had done the Sculpture walk the day before, it was hot and crowded, making for a pretty unpleasant and rushed experience. But at sunrise, the weather was cool, the beaches were empty, and the backdrop was breathtaking. Have a look.

When we returned from our adventure, I got an email saying that my class for the day was cancelled and I physically jumped for joy. Life is just great sometimes. After a nice long nap, I spent the rest of my day grocery shopping and dabbling in school work to prepare for my week at work. And another week of work down means a new installment of…

Garden Talk

Oh man, what an eventful week at Lucas Gardens! Considering that Lucas Gardens is probably more involved/excited about Halloween than the rest of the Australian population combined, the school was abuzz with energy all week.

Trick-or-treat table filled with treats that mostly
went in my tummy

On Tuesday, Kaitlin and I traveled with the Purple class on an excursion to, once again, the shopping mall near the school.  We, once again, bought some Halloween decorations (kind of) and went to Maccas (that’s McDonald’s for you silly Americans).  The trip went smoothly and we arrived back at school in time to finish decorating the classroom for the next day’s Halloween celebration.

Even though Halloween wasn’t until Friday, we celebrated on Wednesday at school.  All the kids dressed up in the most adorably scary costumes and the teachers went all out with face paint, wigs, and masks. I wore a toned down version of my Hamburglar costume that I made for the weekend and was definitely the least scary person there, even compared to the students.  Regardless, I had a blast (and so did the kids obvi). The senior school hosted a haunted house and trick-or-treat for the primary school and all the kids loved it. After all the classes had a chance to go trick-or-treating, the whole school gathered on the lawn outside for the judging of the pumpkin decorating contest that each class had designed a pumpkin for. Of course, each pumpkin won its own individual prize, but I’ll let you all decide which one you like best for yourselves.

The rest of the week was pretty routine after Halloween, but it flew by. I’ve started to realize how much I’m going to miss these kids when I have to leave them in four weeks. But I’m sure I’ll talk about that more in a later blog post so here’s some of my favorite pictures from Halloween @ Lucas Gardens.

These pictures are from the bi-weekly school newsletter which I will post a link to as soon as it is put online.




Well that’s it for this week! I hope that everyone had a great Halloween!!


In the world outside of Lucas Gardens, the rest of my week was pretty eventful as well. On Thursday, a group of us went to a Halloween party at a bar called Frankie’s dressed as…dead things? It was all very last minute. We made our best attempt to be scary and fit in with Aussie Halloween traditions, but as soon as we walked into the bar everyone knew we were American. Literally. We stepped one foot inside the door and a guy approached us and asked us if we were from The States. Ugh, being foreign is hard.

Lucas Gardens goes scary
A robber, a dead flower, a dead monster, and a dead flapper

On Friday night, BU hosted a Halloween party for the entire program. It was super fun to see everyone all dressed up in American style Halloween costumes and here’s the kicker, there was an open bar! My tuition is being well spent. At the end of the night, they announced the winners for best costume and I got third! Hamburglar comin’ in clutch.

The winners! Hamburglar, Darla, and Ms. America
Honorable mention to the grandmas and The Obamas + their Secret Service
The three gypsies and a rugby player
Quite the night indeed.

On Saturday, we awoke for our 7 am departure to the Blue Mountains to go abseiling and canyoning (we clearly didn’t think this sequence of events through very well, open bar + hiking = ?). On the bus ride there, we had some crazy deja vu from our first trip to the Blue Mountains with our lit class, bringing to mind countless hours of hopelessly climbing up stairs while Natalie suffered from a seemingly unstoppable infection on her leg. Good times. After a quick pit stop in our favorite town of Katoomba, we made our way to Boar’s Head where we were supposed to spend the morning abseiling down the cliff face. We got out of the van and began to unpack all of the equipment when our instructor told us all to come take a look at a small bushfire that was burning just beyond the road barrier that we were standing behind. Suddenly, right before our eyes, the bushfire began to grow as the strong winds picked up the flames and blew them across the highly flammable trees. Our guide immediately called the fire brigade and instructed us to quickly reload the van and get in because it was no longer safe to be in the area. Thank goodness we got out of there when we did because the fire grew to ‘out of control’ status.


Obviously, we could no longer abseil at Boar’s Head, so we headed to what was supposed to be the location of our afternoon activities, Wentworth Falls. Here, we wiggled into wet suits and began our canyoning adventure. For those of you who don’t know, canyoning is basically walking through the rivers and streams at the very bottom of the mountain valley and falling a lot on your face. But in between falling, laughing at each other, and falling again, we did some sick rock jumps and saw some amazing views.


Matrix jump aka running on a wall. Dat centripetal force doe.

We’re soarin’, flyin’


 When we finished the canyoning trail, we found ourselves at the top of a waterfall that we had to abseil down. Abseiling is basically repelling down the side of a mountain while attached to a rope, pretty intense stuff. But it was tons of fun! The instructor sent me down the rope that was directly under the waterfall the entire time so I got drenched. And in case you all were wondering, abseiling is actually quite difficult. Muscles I didn’t even know I was using are sore and the wedgies that we all had afterwards from the harnesses were all too real. Since we didn’t get to do the morning abseil, the guides let us do the canyoning and abseiling down the waterfall twice. I definitely felt more confident the second time and even managed to do a little singing with Darby on the way down (s/o to Ke$ha).
Me doing abseiling wrong



I would love to say that I came out of this trip unscathed, but then I would be lying to you. In addition to many bumps and bruises, I managed to smash my hand into the rock on my first abseil, cutting open most of my knuckles on my hand. It would have been too good to be true to leave Katoomba without an injury. But I didn’t let it stop me, I still did the second abseil and had a great time!
The rest of the weekend has been pretty relaxed because we all have two papers due today, ick. I guess I better go to the grocery store now so that I have more in the fridge than Jell-O.
Thanks for reading! See ya next week!