Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Specified work

As I have written before, I need to work in a regional area of Australia as well as do some specified work in the regional area to be eligible for a second working holiday visa.

Kevin very kindly told me he could check up on whether there was some work at his father and brother's caravan parks which are in NT. I thought it sounded great and I was about to say yes please when I thought maybe I should check if it was accepted or not with the Australian government. So I called the number provided on their website just to ask what kind of work would be accepted as specified work.

Harvesting.

That's pretty much all the lady told me. She wasn't really very helpful, she just kept asking what kind of job I was looking for and where I was, when my first question was "WHAT kind of jobs will be accepted as specified work?". But she did tell me that I should call them as soon as I was actually looking for a job since of course the harvesting is seasonal and depending on weather conditions etc, so I might just get a week of work and then a long time off, so it will be difficult to get a full three months worth of work in three months.... Oh well, I can't start yet anyway.

But I did have a closer look tonight at what kind of jobs I can get that will be accepted as specified work here, and I guess harvesting and/or packing of fruit and veggies really is my best option.... Anyone know of somewhere that might need a hand in February/March and onward?

Monday, 29 August 2011

Doggie

As I was playing outside in the sandpit with the youngest today a dog walked up the driveway.

I looked down the driveway and road to see if I could spot an owner, but there was no one there. Then I tried to get closer to the doggie to double check that it didn't have a name tag or anything, but he seemed scared and would come close, so I sat back down and played with the youngest. I'm actually a bit worried about how scared he was, every time I lifted my hand he would cower and walk away a little bit, I hope no one has hurt him or anything... Although that's what it seemed like.

After a while the dog started moving a little bit closer and I could see there was nothing around his neck or anything, so every time I spoke to him I just called him Doggie. I took a picture of him and sent to the mother and asked if she knew whose it was, and the dog followed me to the granny flat in the back so I could ask the grandmother if she knew anything. Neither of them did.
I felt sorry for Doggie, and I wanted him to be somewhere fairly safe so I though I'd try and look after him until we found the owner or got someone to pick him up, the mother said she would look for the number f RSPCA. As we have a cat I didn't want to let the dog inside the house, so instead I made it follow me into the back garden and I gave him a bowl of water and some chicken.
video
While the dog was in the back the cat was following him and looking at him through the window, I think she might have been teasing him... Typical cat behavior. Then I got a text from the mother saying she would make a couple of posters to put up at the local Woolies as she thought it might belong to this elderly man she'd seen walking a dog in the mornings.

Not long after the mother's text I noticed that I hadn't seen Doggie through the window in a while. I walked outside and looked in all of the back garden, but unfortunately he wasn't there anymore. As the cat is an indoor cat the garden isn't really pet-proof, and there is a couple of places Doggie might have gotten out. I haven't seen him anymore today...

I hope he's okay and that he's found his owner. I don't think it's too long since he ran away though as he only had a tiny bit of the water, and no chicken, so at least he wasn't starving or anything. I'm really more of a cat person, but I felt very sorry for the little doggie.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

After au pairing....

I know there is still some months to go before I need to worry about this as I'm working as an au pair until early January, but I'd rather start thinking about it now so that I might know what to do when the time comes to decide.

I want to travel after au pairing, and I WILL! But the thing is, I also need to have worked for at least 3 months in a regional area if I want to apply for a second Working Holiday Visa, which I might.

But I can't just go and work as an au pair for three months in SA or whatever, it also has to be specified work, like fruit harvesting or something, and it has to be full-time 3 months, meaning if I get a part-time job for 3 months I need to work for another month or whatever to get the required amount of hours....

I've been thinking about going south and then up the west coast as it's summer when I finish being an au pair. With a trip to Uluru as well at some point, and Cape York when winter comes again, maybe right before my visa expires (depending on whether and when I get the second visa).

What I'm considering doing at the moment is trying to find my next job before I finish as an au pair, but make sure I've got a month or something before I need to start it, then use that month to travel. Maybe get a hop-on-hop-off buss pass and just stop several places on my way to where my new job is, so maybe get a job in Perth or something so that I get to see loads before I get there...

I know that on a working holiday visa I'm not supposed to focus on the work as I'm only supposed to work to finance my travelling, but I just want to keep the option of getting a second visa open which is why I need to focus a bit on the working bit. I'm saving most of my money from au pairing and I've got a fair bit of money on my Norwegian account so I can definitely afford to travel, it's just the second visa like I said...

I would also love to do some volunteer work while I'm down here, but I think that will have to wait until I know I've got those 3 months sorted.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Letters to Juliet

I just finished watching the 2010 film Letters to Juliet, and I just loved it so much I just had to write this post about it!

On the back cover: In Verona, Italy - the beautiful city where Romeo first met Juliet - there is a place where the heartbroken leave notes asking Juliet for her help. It's there that aspiring write Sophie finds a 50-year-old letter that will change her life forever. As she sets off on a romantic journey of the heart with the letter's author, Claire, now a grandmother, and her handsome grandson, all three will discover that sometimes the greatest love story ever told is your own.

When I first saw the trailer for this last year I was kind of like: "Eh, whatever." I can't remember why exactly probably because I thought it looked boring or something, but then a friend of mine told me that she loved it and that I should see it, so when I saw it in the local video store a few weeks ago on offer I though "why not".

I finally got around to watching it today, and I am so glad I did. Just a super romantic film, it would have been even better if I had a guy to watch it with of course, but I guess that just means I'll have to watch it again when I get one. What a shame.... It's one of the kind of films I can watch several times. And like this first time I watched it, I will probably get a tear in my eye at the ending every time, and let me just tell you, I don't cry at movies very often!

Other than the cute story I also loved the scenery of the movie, I want to go to Italy even more than I did before after watching this! There is also a very cute male lead, Christoper Egan. When I saw him I though he looked a bit like the standard Aussie surfer dude somehow, then I looked him up to double check his name (or possibly just see some more photos of him....), and it turns out he IS an Aussie! Very tasty anyway.

So if you like typical chick-flicks then you should definitely watch this! Beautiful story about finding true love, although be warned: If you're single it WILL make you sulk about it (more than usual that is)!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Just a quick post....

...To ask you to check out my friend Nicky's blog. She's my friend that loves Marmaris, Turkey who I wrote about in this post.

Anyway, she's only just started her blog, she's very funny and it would be great if you would check it out!

Her blog is called: Little miss dreamer.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

3 books in one go...

Books number 19, 20 and 21 in the 100+ Reading Challenge. If you think I read these just to get some books in the challenge a bit quicker, you'd be right!


Trafalgar True
by Stephen Cosgrove

The book is about a dragon, Trafalgar True, who lives in a country called Kurium. Trafalgar likes to just sit and observe what's going on around him. One day a piece from the sun falls into the meadow and the creatures there start arguing which Trafalgar doesn't like.

Really cute book about learning to share. I did actually at one point think: Oh no!

Possum Magic
by Mem Fox

An Australian children's book about a possum who's been made invisible by his grandmother. When he wants to be visible again his grandmother doesn't know how to do it, and so they travel all around Australia to find something to make him visible.

Another cute kiddies book, it also made me want to try the food that was featured in it!

The Velveteen Rabbit
by Maggie Downer

Outer back cover: This classic story of how a toy becomes Real, is retold with beautiful illustrations and a soft-to-touch Velveteen Rabbit. Young children are sure to enjoy petting this cute toy and hearing how the power of love turns him into a Real rabbit!

This was the only book of the three that I'd actually heard about as it's mentioned a lot in American and English films, tv-series and sometimes books. This was just retold with pictures, I don't know if they'd shortened it or anything, so I would love to read the "original" one day. It's a really nice story and I can understand why it's so popular!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Potato balls

As I said in my earlier post I was going to make a Norwegian dish called potato balls today. I think they might have something like it in some other countries, and the way it's made and eaten (like "condiments") varies all around Norway.
I don't actually have a recipe for it, it's more of a "dash of this, dollop of that"-kind of thing.
I start out with some smoked pork on the bone, I got a small hock today as it was the only smoked pork in the store. That's supposed to boil for 3 hours, so the rest of the stuff is put in according to when the meat was started.
To make the potato balls I grate some potato, add flour and mix, until when I've got cold water on my hands and shape the balls they don't stick to my hands. I make a hole and add some raw bacon then close the hole and put it into the water (carefully so it doesn't go everywhere) with the meat when there is 1.5-1 hour left of the cooking time.
After I put the balls in I start peeling the carrots and swede and put those in when there is 45 minutes left. I also put some potato in it today as I peeled two too many (I peeled 7 BIG ones)
I fried the rest of the bacon that I bought and put that over it all when I served it up.
The girl didn't really like it, neither did the grandmother, but the mother liked it. She's also planning some "Aussie changes" to it. So I'll write more about that if that happens! I don't think it turned out too bad for being just the second time I made it from scratch!

3096 Days

Book number 18 in the 100+ Reading Challenge.

3,096 Days
by Natascha Kampusch

Outer back cover: On 2 March 1998 ten-year-old Natascha Kampusch was snatched off a street in Vienna by a stranger and bundled into a white van. Hours later she was lying on a cold cellar floor, rolled up in a blanket. When she emerged from captivity in 2006, having endured one of the longest abductions in recent history, her childhood had gone.
In 3,096 Days Natascha tells her amazing story for the first time: her difficult childhood, what exactly happened on that fateful morning when she was on her way to school, her long imprisonment in a five-square-metre dungeon, and the physical and mental abuse she suffered from her abductor, Wolfgang Priklopil - who committed suicide by throwing himself under a train on the day she managed to make her escape.
3,096 Days is ultimately a story about the triumph of the human spirit.It describes how, in a situation of almost unbearable hopelessness, she learned how to manipulate her captor. And how, against inconceivable odds, she managed to escape with her spirit intact.

An absolutely amazing book that I've been meaning to read since it came out.

Several times while reading the book I had to remind myself that Kampusch is actually 2 years younger than me. It felt like I was reading the story o someone who was older than me, and about something that happened a long time ago. I think it's because it's so far from my own life that it's hard to believe that Kampusch abduction happened while I was alive. And it's not even that long ago that she managed to escape!

I can't begin to imagine what it must have felt like to be trapped like that, and for so long! I guess she is very lucky to not only be alive but to have actually managed to stay strong for so long.

I especially liked Kampusch views on the Stockholm Syndrome, and after reading her book I don't just kind of understand it (as well as I can anyway) but I also agree with her.

I think everyone should read this book. It's just such a great book and it's interesting to know what she thought/did etc.

Perfect weather depends how you look at it...

Like today is perfect weather for making a Norwegian dish called potato balls... I think I might have mentioned them before. They're perfect on days like this as they are very filling and "heavy". I just hope they turn out okay, especially as they're one of my favourite foods, and I've only made it from scratch once before.
I will remember to take photos today and I will post everything tonight, along with what my host family thought of it.
The host family calls me the viking, so obviously I had to change the name of the food...

Sunday, 21 August 2011

A weekend at the Gold Coast and Byron Bay.

The family and I drove down to the Gold Coast on Friday. The father is starting his job away on Monday, and we were going whale watching at the Gold Coast on Sunday (today) so we figured we might as well make a weekend out of it.

We had an apartment booked at Mermaid beach. As we left home early we got to Mermaid beach at around 10am on Friday. The place we were staying at was very close to the beach so we walked there after we had gotten all our bags out of the car. The weather was really nice, and since it was early on a Friday, and most people were at work, the beach was almost empty! Which was good because we had a lot of the beach to ourselves, but bad because I didn't get to see any hot half-naked guys!
I actually knew about the Gold Coast a Mermaid beach from when I was looking to study in Australia. I remember looking at a map before I applied to Griffith University, I was thinking about Bond University and I could see on the map that Mermaid Beach wasn't far away from it. I remember the name just because it has Mermaid in it.
In the afternoon/early evening we went into town and to Surfers Paradise. We didn't really go on the beach as it was quite late and chilly by the time we had stopped by all the shops and got there. But we went to this arcade thing there instead, Time Zone I think it was called.
On Saturday we all went down to Byron Bay (back to New South Wales!) to meet one of the mother's friends for lunch. Almost as soon as we crossed the border into NSW it started raining!
I wish it hadn't been raining as I could have stayed outside and enjoyed the sight of Byron Bay a bit more then, but at least I got some photos.
Did you know that the lighthouse at Byron Bay is the easternmost point of "mainland" Australia? I didn't get a very good photo of it as I wasn't told about it until after I'd taken some pictures, so I didn't zoom in on it, but it's in the picture, if you look closely you can see it in the background.
While we were in Byron Bay the whale watching people called and told us that Sunday's trip was cancelled. They were expecting the same weather as in NSW and 4meter swells. At least since it was the arrangers that cancelled  we get to re-book it for later.
I think this picture turned out quite good despite the clouds... or maybe because of them...
Gold Coast skyline on the was back to the apartment.
So instead of whale watching, this morning we went to a shopping centre, Harbour Town, in the morning before we made it back to Brisbane. I've actually been looking for some board shorts for a while and I found some perfect ones at the shopping centre!! But they were too small, and they didn't have a size bigger... So I wasn't too happy about that as there are hardly any places selling board shorts for women! Well, not the longer ones that I want anyway.
It's a shame we didn't get to go whale watching today, although when I saw the lightning and heard the thunder when I woke up, and later saw the sea, I don't really mind. At least we get to re-book it! It was also a bit nice to get home "early" and relax a little bit. And at least I got to see some places I've never seen before!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Peanut butter chocolate brownies

I tried a recipe Samaiyyah Abidah told me about today: Peanut butter chocolate brownies. You can find the recipe here (Stonesoup).

I used regular wheat flour when I made them as I didn't want to go out and buy special flour just for this recipe. Again I forgot to take pictures as I was mixing all the ingredients, I remembered just as I put it in the tin.
I wrote the recipe down so I wouldn't need to bring the laptop in the kitchen...
Licking the bowl is my favourite thing to do when I'm cooking!
The mixture was really thick and I had some trouble spreading it out in the tin. I though it would "melt" and get more runny when it went in the oven but it didn't (luckily I did spread it out a bit).
Just spread out...
I left it in for a bit longer than the recipe said, at first because it wasn't done, and then I forgot about it (Ooops...) but luckily it didn't burn, just was a bit hard wen we were going to eat it later this evening.
Just out of the oven!
The end result was very nice if I may say so myself, but it was also really rich, I think instead of only dividing the whole thing between 5 people, I could have saved some for later!

As always: If you've got any ideas for things I can cook, just leave a suggestion in the comments below!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Touch is a powerful thing

Did you know that a newborn baby, especially a premature one, can't survive without skin-to-skin contact?

I was reading Kaby's post "touch" earlier today, you should read it too! It was a really moving post, I actually got tears in my eyes, and it made me think about how powerful a touch can actually be. It can say more than words, facial expression or other body language.

The touch from the right person can mean a lot. It doesn't even need to be a person you know.
A touch from, or just a brush against, the person you have a crush on, or someone you think is cute, sends sparks flying all through your body and sets off all kinds of thoughts and feelings.
A pat on the back can be supportive before a test or a competition or something like that.
A touch on the shoulder, stroke on the head or a hug can comfort and console when you're feeling down or you've hurt yourself.

But there are also negative feelings connected with a touch, and I don't just mean the abusive ones.
Someone's touch might creep you out and make you shrug away from their touch. Because you don't know the person, because of how they touch you, or what kind of words or body language accompanies the touch, or just because you don't feel like being touched.
A touch can convey hatred.

I liked Kaby's post better.... More positive, in a way.

What would we do if we couldn't touch?

I am not a hugging person. When I have a boyfriend I love cuddling, holding hands, kissing, etc, but I'm not one of those people that keep touching people when I talk to them. I don't like the whole kiss on the cheek of people I've just met, I don't even do that to my close friends! They might get a hug, but I don't get the kiss thing.... Kissing is for couples.

Anyway. Sometimes I think it would be nice if I was more of a "touchy" person. They often seem more open and friendly. I guess it's just the way I was raised though, we're not a touchy family.

When I have kids I will shower them with hugs and kisses everyday, up to the point they are teenagers and embarrassed by me, and then I will do it even more! Maybe. I can't know that for sure until I actually get kids.

How "touchy" are you? What are your views on the whole touch subject?

Love struck

Book number 17 in the 100+ Reading Challenge

Love Struck
by Melanie La'Brooy

Outer back cover: Following an alcohol-induced, relationship-combusting one-night stand, Isabelle Beckett finds herself suddenly single. Caught up in her big city career with an art auction house, her life is an enviable whirl of glamorous gallery openings, avant-garde ironing boards, and once-in-a-lifetime discoveries.
That is, until Isabelle faces the fact that being single in Sydney is an experience for which she is quite unprepared. Forced to contend with hostile taxi drivers, fanged spiders in the shower and the humiliation of being discovered by her latest crush in a wetsuit-tutu combo, she struggles to retain her dignity and belief in romantic destiny. And then, just when she seems to be regaining control of life, Isabelle finds herself on the hit list of a Serial Dater.

Another book I found in the bookshelf of my host family. The book made me laugh out loud a few times, it also made me think "Finally someone more afraid of spiders than what I am!".

Isabelle is the typical chick-lit heroine, most women will be able to recognize themselves with her in some way or another. She gets into a lot of weird situations and meet a lot of strange people, which most of the time just makes the book funnier, while at other times I was just mentally shaking my head thinking "You have got to be kidding me!". I would have loved for the book to go on for a bit longer to see what happened next, but at the same time it was a satisfactory ending.

My favourite part of the book was Isabelle's and Jack's meeting in the park, just because of the dialogue between them.

I enjoyed the book while reading it, but it's one of those book I can read and easily forget about as there is nothing particularly memorable about it.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

New phone...

 just ordered a new phone... After I ordered it I had a look through my post and I noticed I got the one I have now only 8 months ago!! I never did get to fix my iPhone as I need to go back to the UK to do it...

I think I might get tired of things too fast... I think I also want to get something new when I see someone else getting something new... I'm a sheep. I shouldn't be spending money on a new phone now, I should be using the money I've got for travelling! Try saying that to the "Ooooh, new and shiny!" part of my brain... It was less than AUD200 unlocked/outright though which isn't a lot, it's about half of what my current one was. I also think that because I'm living somewhere at the moment and earning money my brain kind of won't absorb that I actually AM traveling, in a way... I don't know.

Oh well, never mind. I'll have one phone to put my Norwegian SIM in now and one for my Australian SIM. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it! Also the phone I have now will randomly not want to work occasionally.

The phone I've ordered is a HTC Wildfire, I just hope it's good. I've never had a HTC before. It looked quite interesting. I'll probably want to switch that one for a new one in a few months as well...

The Pilot's Wife

My fourth book in the What's in a Name Challenge (life stage) and book number 16 in the 100+ Reading Challenge.

The Pilot's Wife
by Anita Shreve

Outer back cover: As a pilot's wife in the New England mill town of her birth, Kathryn Lyons has learned to expect intense exhilaration, occasional boredom and long spells apart form her husband - but nothing prepares Kathryn for the late-night knock at the door informing her that he has died in a crash.
Even before the plane is located in waters off the coast of Ireland, the tragedy becomes the subject of a media feeding frenzy. Could there be any truth to the bizarre, disturbing rumors that Jack Lyons led a secret life? Struggling with her grief, and fighting the urge to protect herself and her precious daughter from the mystery surrounding the crash, Kathryn is determined to learn who her husband really was, whatever that knowledge may cost.

Another book I borrowed from my host family's bookshelf. I mainly picked it up because of the life stage in the title, wife, but it turned out I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. When I first read the title of the book I thought it would be set during WWII or something like that, but it's actually set in present time (or a few years ago rather).

The book kept changing between present day and Kathryn's past with Jack. It was really exciting to read about Kathryn's life as she found our about the crash and what happened in the days following and how she found out about what had happened. But I think I enjoyed reading about Mattie's reaction more, how she, as a teenager, reacted, acted and dealt with it. There were also plenty of surprises which kept me "on my toes" and I had no idea what would happen next.

Since I don't want to give away too much, all I will say about my favourite part of the book is that it's part of when Kathryn is in London.


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Australia Zoo!

I went to Australia Zoo with my host family on Sunday, it was great!
I got to hold a koala, a snake and a baby alligator! ...or was it crocodile? Anyway. The snake felt fake! It felt like it was made of plastic or rubber or something! And it was REALLY heavy! The koala didn't smell very nice, I actually changed my top after holding it, but it was really soft ad I wanted to take it home with me.


And they didn't have any live spiders! Which was very nice as I don't think I could have handled more after the one I met the same morning!


 The bird below looks absolutely prehistoric!
 It's hard to believe that dingoes are actually fairly dangerous animals, they're just so cute!

I also got to fed and pet some kangaroos, they were really soft, I just wanted to grab it and cuddle it! I don't think it would be a good idea to actually do it though!
 I thought the lizard below was a snake at first as I didn't see it's legs. It wasn't in a cage or anything just by the path we were walking, and I just said "Oh hey, another snake!" very calmly but at the same time excited about seeing a snake, and the person next to me nearly freaked out. Then I noticed it's legs and said so and they calmed down. It wasn't until this point I realized I probably shouldn't be so calm about seeing something I thought was a snake that wasn't in a cage.




Poser!

If you're a resident Queenslander you can buy a ticket for the zoo before 31st of August (I think it was...) and it gives you free re-entrance until Christmas! Great deal as it costs the same as a single day pass!

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