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Sweet home California

December 19, 2009

In N Out burger + strawberry shake: $4.25 (in Perth, $12)
Round trip train ride: $8.50 (in Perth, $2.05)
parking at the train station: $3 (in Perth, N/A)

Also, I now look right-left before crossing the street and want to make left turns into the left hand side of the road. I’m sad that the transit systems are separate, but I am glad BART runs every 20 minutes on the weekends.

I met up with my frosh year roomie from Cal, who will be studying abroad in Melbourne next semester. She asked me questions and I tried to answer all her questions completely. I hope it will be a good break for her, just as Perth was a good break for me. Where the students work hard and party hard, that’s where it’s at. They know when they’ve done their best and that’s enough.

Home!

December 16, 2009

Where I’ve been in the past 2 weeks since my parents flew home:

2 Dec to 6 Dec: Bicheno and Hobart, Tasmania
6 Dec to 11 Dec: Port Douglas and Cairns, Queensland
11 Dec to 14 Dec: Sydney

It’s my first full day back and I haven’t really ventured out in the world — the American world — yet.

My bed at home is downright luxurious, though, and it’s been ages since I took a shower with bare feet. Even in Perth I used slippers because my feet were always cold. There’s food in the kitchen and I didn’t need to buy it! It’s almost as exciting as finding food labeled FREE in hostels.

Also, I have so, so, much stuff at home. Before I left I couldn’t imagine living out of 1 suitcase for 5 months, but now I’m home I realize how much stuff was in my room: clothes I don’t wear, memorabilia, trinkets, and documents everywhere. I need to throw it all away before I get too attached to all of it again. Since I had organized my room a bit right before I left, going through all my shelves was like going through a sister’s room. I recognized most of the stuff but hadn’t thought about it in 5 months and wouldn’t be able to tell you where to find it.

I’m going through photos slowly and will post more in the coming weeks. Here’s a teaser of my last 2 weeks in Australia!

Tasmania countryside, bussing from Launceston to Bicheno on the first day there:


Eating croc burgers in Queensland with my cousins (on the right) and a lady they met at the airport and again on the dive boat (on the left):


In Sydney, people in front of Town Hall stand together to support the “350” movement during Cophenhagen. The movement supports a limit of 350 ppm carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Kevin Rudd is Australia’s prime minister.

Melbourne

December 1, 2009

Happy belated Thanksgiving! Wrote this post right before we left Melbourne for Sydney (5 days ago) and am getting a chance to update now:

Have been on day tours these past 3 days.

A koala! In the wild! Just chilling in the eucalypts.

Vic countryside (Victoria being Melbourne’s state).

An alley by Flinders Station.

Since then, spent 4 days in Sydney and 1 day in Canberra, Australia’s capital city. Returned to Sydney tonight for morning flights tomorrow. 6 AM back home for my parents and 9 AM to Tasmania for me 🙂

Pinnacles Desert and Kalbarri National Park

November 18, 2009
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Be back Saturday night. Flying to Melbourne Sunday evening.

Hamelin Bay

November 15, 2009

We camped for 2 nights at Hamelin Bay, about 5 hours south of Perth.  Walked around the beach, did a self-guided tour of a cave, and visited the Margaret River Chocolate Factory.

Looking north along the bay:

Really beautiful karri (a type of eucalyptus) forests:

My parents arrive in 13 hours. I consider the arrival of my parents the end of the study abroad experience. Now I’m back to being a tourist.

Midori Lemonade

November 12, 2009
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Today was my last full day in Perth before my parents arrive. Tomorrow morning I’m heading out camping with a friend to Hamelin Bay, about a 4.5 hour drive south of here. I’ll be back on Sunday afternoon. My parents arrive on Monday. Camping will be good and I will post when I get back.

In the meantime, more goodbyes.

Shelley, Australia and Matilda, Autralia. Go to Subi for a drink and ice cream. Giggle, but not as crazily as during study sessions.

They're among my favorite people I've met here.

Siying, Singapore and Damian, Singapore. Eat prawn noodle soup and drink bandung (rose syrup milk drink). Almost die via UV and humidity on the way back home.

Summer means strawberries

November 12, 2009

I love summer and cheap Australian produce. $4/kg, baby.

I finished my last exam on Tuesday, so I have a month of summer before I go back to California and winter.  These few days I’ve been saying goodbye to my friends in Perth, so I’ve been baking to give them a little something. Since it’s summer down here, strawberries are in season and they are cheeeap. $4/kg, which is about $2/lbs. Don’t think I have seen strawberries cheaper than that.

I love this strawberry bread because it’s relatively quick to pull together, especially once your walnuts/pecans are chopped and your strawberries sliced. I feel the nuts add a big part to the texture, so try to keep them in there if you can. You combine the dry and liquid ingredients separately, fold the liquids into the dry, then stir in the nuts and you’re done!

This bread is lovely and the crusty parts are even lovelier.  Slice thickly because the texture is crumbly.

Strawberry Bread
adapted from All Recipes

makes one 9×5 loaf

½ cup sugar, divided into ¼ cup and ¼ cup
2 cups strawberries, sliced or mushed

¾ cups whole-wheat flour
¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

1. Sprinkle strawberries with ¼ cup sugar and mix in.
2. Sift together dry ingredients: other ¼ cup sugar, whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.
3. Combine liquid ingredients in a separate bowl: beaten eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.
4. Stir liquid mixture into dry mixture until just combined.
5. Fold in chopped nuts.
5. Bake in greased and floured loaf pan for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees F. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing.