Category Archives: Australia

Reflection of Australia Internship

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First, I’d like to apologize for these last three posts about Australia being so late. When I got back to America I had a lot to catch up on and school started so I’m just now getting to sit down and update. This will also be my last post about Australia.

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I had the best summer of my life this year. I still can’t believe I was in Australia for 10 weeks. It went by too fast! My intership in the media and communications department at AgForce Queensland couldn’t have been any better. It’s hard to land a good internship here in America, and I fully believe my internship could compete with some of those good internships. The first week I was there I was doing telephone interviews (which scared the crap out of me, I was just praying I’d be able to understand everyone) and writing articles for Envoy – the member magazine produced at AgForce. I learned so much from Stacey and Nadine. I’m thankful for all their help and encouragement while I was there and for hauling me here, there and yonder.

Not only was my trip to Australia a great professional experience, but a wonderful personal growth experience for myself. While I was in Australia, I had a lot of time to think. To think about what I wanted to do the rest of my life, what I want out of the rest of my life, and how I want to live the rest of my life. One big difference in Australia and America is the way of thinking. In America, we live to work. Meaning, everything we do revolves around work. In Australia, they work to live. Meaning, as soon as they leave work they try not to think about it until they arrive back at work. For American’s, it’s very hard to flip the work switch off. We also aren’t afforded the opportunities like they are. Typically, American’s get a two-week vacation time off from work. Australia gets a three-week vacation time off. They’re also a much more laid back society. They drink, a lot. It’s not uncommon to have a drink at lunch and on a Friday afternoon around 4 p.m. for the CEO and whoever wants to join in have a few drinks at work before going home. That would never happen in America!

Being in Australia helped me to realize that I need to change my way of thinking. I believe that having a Momma who worked two sometimes three jobs at a time and growing up on a ranch with my Daddy, who has a full-time job in conjunction with the responsbilities of the ranch, and having a paying job since I was 15, it’s just engrained in me to work. Now, I’m working toward the “work to live” mentality and really trying to turn work off after I leave. Leaving the time I’m not at work for myself so I can do what I want. I’ve started doing this, and I already feel like a new person. I’m not constantly checking my emails. I’m more productive at work so I don’t have to bring my work laptop home to do things. I feel like a small weight has been lifted off my shoulders and that I have more time to do things that I want to do.

Many of the things I observed and noticed while there are hard to explain because sometimes it was the little things that really stood out to me. For example, at lunch most took their full hour break and took their break in the kitchen area (which was the biggest kitchen area I’ve ever seen in a work place). They weren’t taking their lunch to their desks unless they absolutely had to. It’s small things like taking your full lunch break and getting out of your office that make a difference for your mental state.

I really enjoyed getting to know everyone while I was there. Our lunch conversations were always so fun because there was an American, Australians, and a Pom (someone from England). Who knew all the different ways people say things?! For example: cilantro = coriandor, peppers = capsicums, arugala = rocket, butternut squash = pumpkin, and the list goes on and on. I loved listening to all the traveling adventures everyone has. They’ve been all over! Most people in American don’t get outside of the American borders! Everyone I worked with probably doesn’t even know or realize just how much they helped me grow just by sitting down and having a conversation with me.

I loved my experience and wouldn’t trade it for anything! I mean, I held two koalas and snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef twice! Australia is an amazing country I’d love to visit again someday and would highly recommend to anyone looking to vacation somewhere. It really was a great professional and personal growth opportunity that came at just the right time! Right before my last year of my Ph.D. program, and I get a big girl job and try to figure out the rest of my life. But, honestly, I don’t have nor need to figure it out right now. That’s in God’s hands and he has a plan. I just figure out bits and pieces along the journey.

The word cloud of Australia is what was created after I uploaded my reflection to a word cloud generator. I used Tagxedo. The larger the word, the more it occurred through the text.

I appreciate everyone who’s kept up with my blog while I was in Australia and now. I’m glad I decided to blog! Not just for me, but to also share what I’ve learned and hopefully to spark an interest or curosity in those who have read this. Thank you!

EKKA 2013

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The last big event I went to before I left Australia was EKKA. EKKA can be compared to a state fair in America. They have a midway, livestock shows, and food. The only disappointing part is they don’t have the crazy fair food America does. In America, we fry and put everything on a stick. They most definitely don’t do that in Australia. Regardless, I was like a little kid in a candy store as soon as I walked through the gate. I was sooooo excited to be there! I was basically raised in barns traveling from fair to fair showing cattle, sheep and hogs. I was anxious to see the differences, if any.

I took a leisurely stroll through the carnival. Surprising, they have a lot of rides that we also have here in America. They also have this place where you can just buy bags of candy and random stuff. Below is a slideshow of the carnival.

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My mission while I was at EKKA was to watch the Brahman show. They didn’t have many entries, but they had some good quality cattle. Below are some pictures. The bull that’s in the bigger picture, notice his hump. I’ve seen a lot of humps in my life, but never one as big as his. It was huge! The picture of the two bulls in the bottom right is the grand champion drive and the older bull won. The cow/calf pair in the top right corner won grand champion female. Yes, those showing the cattle are wearing frocks. I’m not sure the reason behind it. One thing that came as a surprise to me was the quality of reasons the judge gave when placing the class. I’m used to a judge going over the good and bad things and there’s usually several for each calf. They also speak in a conversational style. Not in Australia. The reasons were very straight and to the point and I felt they would only talk about one or two specific things. It was a bit weird to listen to, for me.

After the Brahman show, I walked through the barns. It was somewhat of a surreal experience. I’ve grown up judging livestock and in some contests they make you do breed identification. So, ever since I was knee-high to a grasshopper I’ve been identifying breeds of cattle, of which some I’ve never seen before. Well, at EKKA that changed! I saw breeds of cattle in person I’d only ever seen in pictures. Plus a breed I’d never heard of before – Square Meaters. This breed is basically a Murray Grey but shorter and meater. In Australia, they have a breed called Droughtmaster which is similar to America’s Beefmaster. Simmentals are also their original red and white color, not solid black. Below is a slideshow. My apologies for the quality of the photos. Like an idiot, I forgot to charge my camera before I went and it died on me at the beginning of the Brahman show. So these photos were taken on my iPod.

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One thing I found interesting was about the barn set up. There’s these storage rafters above the stalls for breeders to keep feed, hay and tack. In the dairy barn, there were also storage rooms at each end of the aisle. Here’s also a picture of a typical truck and trailer.

Like I mentioned earlier, Australia doesn’t have the crazy fair food like America does, which was very disappointing because the food is one of my favorite parts about the fair! Especially to see what new concoctions concessionaires have whipped up.

The two food items I was told to get while at EKKA was a dagwood dog and a strawberry sundae. The dagwood dog is very similar to a corn dog. I’m not a fan of strawberries, so I only ate the strawberry ice cream and it was the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten in my life!!!!!!!!!

Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed myself while at EKKA. I was there for 6 hours and never had a dull moment!

Red Meat Awards 2013

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One of the events I got to attend while in Australia was the Red Meat Awards. I know it was about a month ago, but between traveling and school starting back up I haven’t had time to catch up on my posts. Sorry!

The Red Meat Awards are put on by AgForce and showcase the best of Queensland red meat. I was the official slide girl making sure the PowerPoint slides appeared at just the right time. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it! 😉

The food was yummy! They served both beef and lamb, and, of course, I had the lamb.

For dessert, we were served mini lemon tarts and chocolate raspberry mousse.

I ended up sitting at the table with the Red Meat Award Retailer of the Year – Clancyjames and the Queensland Country Life Red Meat Achiever – Dr. Arthur Rickards. I had the pleasure of getting to chat with both of them. I enjoyed hearing their stories of how they started out and where they are now. They are some wonderful, inspiring people.

I think the Red Meat Awards is an excellent way to showcase producers, retailers, and young innovators in the Queensland red meat industry. It was interesting to hear everyone’s story and how far they’ve come.

Here’s some pictures I took at the red meat awards with some people from AgForce.

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I had so much fun at the awards meeting and talking to people. Stacey made a video to show at the start of the night and I was in it talking about how barbecue is different in Australia. In America, a barbecue isn’t a barbecue unless you have barbecue sauce dripping down your face and hands, and that brisket is probably the most popular cut of beef to barbecue. Below is the video.

This was very interesting to many Australians because they don’t eat a lot of brisket. In fact, when I was chatting with the owners of Clanceyjames they said in the past eight years they’ve been the owners, they’ve probably only sold 4 or 5 briskets. That blew my mind!

Byron Bay

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This past weekend Victoria and I went to Byron Bay. Victoria works at AgForce as the Executive Coordinator. She’s a Pom (from England) so it’s really funny when several of us sit at the lunch table and we start talking because I swear there’s a different version of everything! Especially when there’s Aussies, a Pom and an American. Anywho, we took the coach to Byron Friday afternoon and set out determined to eat good food and have a relaxing weekend.

Bryon is such a fun, hippie, beach town. We got there about 4:15 p.m. checked into our hostel (Backpackers Inn) and set off to find ciders and watch the sunset. After the sunset, we went in search of food. We were going to try The Balcony, since Nadine suggested it, but it was fully booked for the weekend. We decided on Mexican at Miss Margarita. It was pretty yummy! We then headed back to the hostel and called it an early night since we planned to get up early to hike up to the lighthouse.

Saturday morning we found some breakfast and then headed up to the lighthouse. It was such a pretty walk, even though it was all uphill. After making it up to the lighthouse, we decided to head down to the easterly most point of Australia. Along the way we saw some whales splashing around out in the ocean, but they were too far out for us to really see them. This time of the year is when the whales migrate to Northern waters and then they’ll start migrating back down to Southern waters starting in September with their baby calves.

After doing the typical Bryon Bay lighthouse walk, we walked along the beach back to the hostel to change and head to the beach. The weather could not have been more perfect! Not a cloud in the sky and sunny! We laid on the beach for a while and then started getting hungry for lunch and decided to see if The Balcony was available. Luckily, it was! I had the yummy catch of the day which just so happened to be Barramundi. It was soooo good!

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We headed back down to the beach for the rest of the afternoon and had more cider at sunset. We took showers and then went into town for supper. We decided on Bryon Fresh Cafe. Again, more yummy food! They had a lamb shank special which is what I had and then they had sticky date pudding for dessert and I wasn’t about to pass that up! I love being in Australia because lamb is quite common to find on the menu. I typically order it when I see it since the only time I get lamb in America is when Daddy butchers one. I love lamb!

The first Sunday of the month Bryon has some amazing markets. We wanted to explore them, but first we had to have breakfast. We went to Twisted Sista and I had these amazing pancakes with blackberries, banana and cream.

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The market was amazing and huge! There was row after row of Australian goods and produce. Needless to say, Victoria and I both found some goodies to splurge on.

After the market we went back to the beach and had a lazy afternoon soaking up the sun and enjoying our holiday before heading back to Brisbane that night. The water was so clear. Byron has to definitely be my favorite trip so far. It was such a neat little town!

Westaway Property Visit

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When I was at the SEQ (Southeast Queensland) Regional AgForce meeting in Gympie, I met this lovely couple, John and Sherry Westaway. They invited me to come out and visit their property and after a few phone calls we decided August 1 would work. So yesterday, Nadine and I headed out for the Westaway’s. They live between 1.5 and 2 hours Northwest of Brisbane. It was a beautiful drive.

When we arrived Mrs. Westaway had smoko (morning tea) ready for us. She made this yummy Damper bread with butter and syrup and Lamingtons (all very Australian).

After morning tea, we set out to see their property. Mr. and Mrs. Westaway own a 2,000 acre property and run about 200 breeders. The cattle are crossbreds implementing Brahman, Santa Gertrudis and Charolais. We drove around their property for about 2 hours looking at the cattle. They also have red deer on their property which isn’t very typical in Australia.

Looking at the Charolais calf, you’ll notice in the ear on the left it has a white NLIS tag which is the National Livestock Identification System for Australia so they can track the animal from birth to slaughter. The tag in the ear on the right is the Westaway tag. They use different colors for different years. Pretty smart if you ask me!

In the bottom right picture, those calves are in an oat pasture. The Westaway’s plant about 20 acres of oats and then leave the calves on the oat pasture for about 100 days and then sell them as fat calves.

I also learned that this mound is actually an ant hill and it’s really hard to control for them so it’s easier to just let them be. To get rid of it, they’d have to bring the tractor out and lift it from the base. It’s quite a tedious task.

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Another thing I found interesting is Mr. Westaway prefers to create his own wooden fence stakes instead of using t-posts.

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Mr. Westaway also makes his own lick stations. They’re pretty awesome!

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On our way back to the house we stopped and took a look at their working pens. In Australia, they dip their cattle for ticks. This is a whole new concept for me. They walk down the stairs on one side, swim across, and then walk up the stairs once they reach the other side. It’s important to dip for ticks in Australia since the ticks carry very harmful bacteria and the cattle can catch tick fever and die.

It’s also required that cattle be branded. The Westaway’s use this piece of equipment for that. The calf walks in, gets squeezed and then turned over on its side to be branded. It’s similar to the way a hoof trimmer would lead a calf up onto the trimming table and then turn it over, except they do it all by hand. There’s no cracks to help them get the calf back upright!

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They also just got a brand new crush. It’s quite nice, don’t you think? It also came with a neck support. The silver part on the back of the crush is a set of scales.

Then the Westaway’s made us a very nice lunch. They grilled steaks and prawns and there was potatoes and broccoli. I was so excited I forgot to take a picture. I did, however, take a picture of the Pavlova she made for dessert!

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I really appreciate the Westaway’s for allowing me to come and see their property and for their great hospitality. It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed every second! Mrs. Westaway is a vet by trade and Mr. Westaway has farmed all his life. Another interesting fact about the Westaway’s is they’ve been AgForce members since AgForce first began in 1999.

The Whitsundays

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I took myself on a lil holiday (vacation) over the past few days to the Whitsundays. Saturday I hopped on a plane and headed for Airlie Beach. Crystal came to Australia a few years ago for an internship and while here she met up with Brooke Prather who was doing the American Junior Brahman Association Australian Exchange Program. They met up at Airlie Beach. Crystal ranted and raved about it (here’s a link to her blog) so I decided I had to go see what the fuss was about myself. I couldn’t find anyone here that could take off for when I was planning to go so I headed out by myself. I know my Momma did not like this idea, but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t like the idea of me being in Australia. Don’t worry Momma, I’ll be home soon!

I arrived in Airlie Beach around lunch time so I dropped my bags off at Magnums (the hostel I stayed at) and ventured out to find some grub. Airlie Beach is a small town that you could easily walk through in 20 minutes. That’s going down, back up and on both sides of the street. There was a 20% chance of rain and luckily it rained so I found a book store and bought a book. My Godmother, Sharon, had suggested a book to me at New Year’s and they just happened to have it, A Painted House by John Grisham. I’d highly recommend it. I read the entire thing while I was there. It’s from a 7-year-old boys perspective in Northeast Arkansas in the 1950s on a cotton farm. It was hard for me to put the book down!

Anywho, Saturday wasn’t very eventful but Sunday and Monday were! Sunday I went out on the Big Fury that took us to a place to go snorkeling and then we went to Whitehaven Beach. This beach has been rated as one of the top beaches in Australia and now I know why. It was beautiful and like my sister said in her blog, pictures don’t do it justice! The sand is white, there’s trees all behind you because it’s a secluded island beach on the Whitsunday Island, and then when you look out at the ocean all you see are the other islands and the scenery is gorgeous! I LOVED it!

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After we returned to Airlie Beach, I took a shower and when to Fish D’vine and Rum Bar for some seafood and a nice cocktail. The food was amazing! I had a tiger prawn which was so big it took me three bites to eat it all! Then, I decided on the seafood chowder and boy am I glad I did!

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Monday I debated on what I should do and after asking around I decided to hop on the ferry and spend the day at Daydream Island. Daydream Island has a couple resorts on it, one on each end. It’s not very big by any means. You can walk from one end to the other in 30 minutes. When we got there it was a little rainy so I read some more in my book, ordered a Chia Latte and waited for it to pass. By the time it passed it was time for them to feed the wild fish in the ocean at Lovers Cove so I went to check it out.

From all angles of this island, the view was seriously something I’ve only seen in movies and pictures. I could just sit and look at it all day and practically did. There were a couple of different beaches on the island and I was surprised to find out that the beaches weren’t all sandy. Most were made up of washed up coral and shells from the reef.

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Then I walked through the rainforest to the other side and snapped a couple pictures of the view. I still can’t believe I saw this all in person.

After the walk through the rainforest, the first thing I saw was this lil chapel. After all, it is God who made this beautiful place, why not worship him while admiring it? There was also a couple wallabies hanging out.

I decided to take the boardwalk back to the side I arrived on and stumbled up this. A good ole treasure story!

After fighting seagulls for my lunch, I ended up spending most of my time on Mermaid Beach. It was so nice and relaxing.

The resort had living coral and aquatic life. I snapped a few photos. There was a massive sting ray!

Then Tuesday morning I flew back to Brisbane. I absolutely loved this trip and would most definitely go back to the Whitsundays in a heart beat! If I do ever return, I plan to stay on an island and do a sailing tour for a few nights. There was so much more I could’ve done and seen. Maybe, hopefully, I’ll make it back! But the next time will be with family and friends!

South Bank’s Regional Flavours Festival

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This past weekend was South Bank’s Regional Flavours festival. I thoroughly enjoyed myself! What better way to spend a couple of days than to hear and see live cooking demonstrations from some of Australia’s finest chefs and eat some yummy food?! I love watching cooking shows at home so this was a nice little change of pace to actually be there watching it first hand.

Saturday I ventured down to see what was all going on. I was excited for all the food trucks that were going to be there and was caught by surprise when I saw this…

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I got a bit of a laugh out of it, but they’re quite cute don’t ya think?

After walking through all the booths, I decided to venture over to the Smokehouse Beef stand. This stand was sponsored by MLA (Meat and Livestock Australia) and was all about beef. The first demonstration was entitled American Smokehouse Short Ribs. I had to watch this to see what their take on American short ribs was. Luckily, this extremely good-looking gentlemen (he was really hot) gave the demonstration.

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Hayden Quinn was on MasterChef Australia in 2011. He was very encouraging of questions throughout his demonstration and I finally gave in and asked one. I asked what part of the U.S. he likes to go to for barbecue. Then he asked me what part of the U.S. I was from and said I should be the one giving the demonstration instead of him. Come to find out, he studied in New Jersey for a bit and returns to the U.S. every year because he loves the East coast. Personally, I thought he did a great job and really was pretty spot on as far as American short ribs goes.

I decided to go listen to another demonstration and moseyed over to the Epicurious tent. Paul West, who has his own show River Cottage Australia on The Lifestyle Channel, was giving a demonstration. I really didn’t care for him too much.

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It was lunch time so I wondered over to the MasterChef food truck where they had crispy lamb tacos. While I was standing in line, this guy stood in front of me and started talking to the crowd. I had no idea who he was and thought it was slightly rude of him to do that. He then started taking pictures with people and signing books. Turns out, it was Gary Mehigan who’s a judge on MasterChef Australia. Needless to say, I was a creeper and took this photo of him.


I headed down to the River Quay area and watched Dan Cossart, chef at Popolo Kitchen and Bar, make ricotta gnocchi. I really enjoyed watching him. Poh Ling Yeow was emceeing and was quite lovely. She was runner-up on the first series of MasterChef Australia in 2009. There was also a wine expert on stage with them, but I wasn’t too fond of him.

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Back to Smokehouse Beef I went to watch Damon Amos’s take on Texas brisket. I wasn’t impressed with him at all. He’s the head chef at Public likes to cook his brisket in a water bath. No one in Texas, or involved with American barbecue, would ever do that!

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I walked around a little more and found this grilled halloumi stand. Halloumi is a type of cheese and unlike Americans, where we’d fry it, they grilled it. It was delish! I also wondered to this nice fresh raspberry and cream stand. They were yummy!


I caught the tail end of Annabel Langbein’s demonstration before I called it a day. Annabel has her own show The Free Range Cook: Simple Pleasures on LifeStyle FOOD. I enjoyed her a lot.

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Sunday rolled around and day two of Regional Flavours commenced. I went and got a scone with jam and cream and then headed over to watch Adam Liaw demonstrate Adventurous Asian Dinner Party food. Adam was the winner of MasterChef Australia’s second series.


Afterward, I met up with Victoria and Nadine. We ventured down to the River Quay area and found these yummy drinks! I can’t remember what they’re called, but it’s got liquor, prosecco, and soda water.


We wondered around for a bit and Nadine had to scoot off with her friends so Victoria and I decided to go check out The Hunting Club and catch up with Sheree and Corrie. I decided I’d try the cider flight which included pear, apple and hot apple cider, but they were all out of pear so I substituted a pale ale for the pear. They were very good! I also got an order of these prawns on a stick!


While there, we saw Alice Zaslavsky who was on MasterChef Australia so I decided to be a creeper yet again and snap a picture.

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Needless to say, I had a wonderful weekend surrounded by food, famous Australian chefs and some lovely ladies I’ve been able to work with while here in Australia!

Rugby League Broncos vs. Sharks

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This past Friday I attended my first ever rugby game. This was a rugby league game between the Brisbane Broncos and the Cronulla (south of Sydney) Sharks. There are two different rugby leagues here: rugby league and rugby union. The leagues have different rules and depending who you ask, you’ll get a different view point on the two each time, but from the sounds of it I’d probably prefer rugby union.

Now, I know nothing about rugby or footie as they call it over here. I’m more of a college football fan myself (SEC!) and football is just starting to break through over here and they call it gridiron. In rugby, they don’t wear any pads, no breaks between plays, and it’s still full on contact. Anywho, off to Suncorp Stadium I went.

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Suncorp is a small stadium compared to what I’m used to. It only holds bout 52,500 people and Friday night there were just over 25,000 in attendance.


The cheerleaders’ performance before the game was also not what I’m used to. Needless to say, they need some more practice so they can all be in sync with one another.

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There was also this random bright, neon pink pig. I still don’t know what its purpose was.

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The sharks were in the blue uniforms.

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The broncos were in the maroon and gold uniforms. Yes, those short are really that short!

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Then a horse and rider came out on the field. Made me think of Tech! Guns up!

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The first half wasn’t very exciting since no one scored. During halftime these kids came out and played their own games of rugby!

Then one minute everything was fine in the section of the stands I was in and the next beer was flying and I look up and a massive fight broke out. These guys were throwing fists and ended up falling down about five rows and it’s all stadium seating so I’m sure hitting the backs of those chairs didn’t feel none too good. It was pretty epic though. There were no security guards and no one tried to break it up so it went on until they were done. It was the most excitement I had seen thus far!

During the second half, things started picking up. The broncos scored then the sharks flew past the broncos. With about 1 minute left, the broncos scored but ran out of time and ended up losing 19-18. I still don’t exactly understand the game, but it was fun to watch.

The only odd thing to me was I went to buy a T-shirt so I could support the team. Couldn’t find one for the life of me! They wear jerseys instead and girls wear scarves, but I didn’t want to buy a scarf just to wear once. In the States, you’d basically get hazed for not wearing team colors. Not the case here. You can wear pretty much whatever you want. Thank goodness since I couldn’t find anything!

Long story short…I think I’ll stick to watching football. Kickoff is August 31!!

Noosa Beach

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This past Sunday I went to Noosa Beach. Noosa Beach is up the Sunshine Coast and is quite a cute lil town. When we got there we ate some lunch and then headed to the beach. It’s so pretty with mountains in the background, clear water, and this beach wasn’t very crowded so you could really enjoy it. I soaked up the sun for a while because the water was quite chilly and I had to work my up to gettin in.

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After sunbathing for a while, I decided to go take a dip. There wasn’t gross seaweed surrounding your feet and the water was nice and calm.

Once we dried off, we decided to take a stroll down Hastings Street; the main strip of the town. There’s lots of nice lil shops and we stopped for an ice cream cone. I had a honeycomb and butterscotch one and it was soooo yummy!

We wondered down to the Noosa River since we saw rental advertisements on our way in. We ended up renting a boat and took it for a nice, leisurely cruise. We took turns driving which was fun because I’ve never driven a boat before! We also saw pelicans! This is the first time I’ve ever seen a pelican in person!

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It was nice to finally get out and go to a beach. I don’t know about you, but one of the first things I think of when it comes to Australia is beach. The beach I’m most excited about getting to go to is Whitehaven Beach at the Whitsundays at the end of the month. I hear it’s breath-taking and one of the most beautiful places in Australia!

Catching up on Adventures

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Basically, this is going to be a photo dump post of the recent places I’ve ventured to.

I’ll start with Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Lone Pine was a lot of fun! It’s like a mini zoo. I held a koala for the second time, but this time I was also allowed to take pictures with my own camera. I hung out with the kangaroos and saw a wombat. Which, I might add, was soooo cute! There were heaps of different birds and a Tasmanian devil. Below is a slideshow of all the fun creatures.

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I went up near Maleny with work. There a Minister launched a nature refuge website for AgForce. I went and took pictures, but holy cow was it beautiful! Maleny overlooks the Sunshine Coast and Glass House Mountains in the Hinterland area. It was a bit cloudy, but Charles, the CEO of AgForce, was nice enough to stop on the way down to let me take some pictures. The Glass House Mountains were on one side of us and the Sunshine Coast was on the other.

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Another neat place to visit was Mount Coot-Tha. Once on top of Mount Coot-Tha you have a beautiful and clear view of the Brisbane city. You also see how bendy the Brisbane River is and in the distance there sits the Pacific Ocean. I ate an ice cream cone while I was there taking in the view.

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Mount Tamborine is located in the rainforest near the Gold Coast. I went on a Skywalk which takes you up into the canopy of the rainforest. The actual small town of Mount Tamborine reminds me a lot of Mountain View, Ark. There’s lots of little shops and places to eat.

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On my birthday weekend, the ladies at work threw me an American themed barbecue (which I cooked brisket and chicken for them). Some had never even heard of brisket! Stacey took me to her local butcher. Wow! I wish we had local butchers like this back home! Then the next morning, we had breakfast on the barbie. This kind of blew my mind! I would have never thought to cook eggs on the grill.

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This Friday I’m going to my first rugby game. Should be interesting!