Finally I get to talk about the very reason why I even have a blog: I get to talk about my thoughts of Australia.

Above is a parrot that I took right outide of our house, the other is a kangaroo that we took near the war memorial. It's interesting for me because in our backyard in Utah, we only see robins. Here we get to see parakeets, parrots, magpies (you see magpies in Utah but here in Australia they are noisy) and other animals and birds whose names I don't even know. We went to the war memorial where we looked at the statues and old canons and tanks. We hiked up a hill to take a look at the kangaroos. It is interesting to know that at the memorial, which has people who tends to the lawns, the grass is green and soft; but at the hill, nature does its thing and there are lots of weeds, bark on the ground, lots of trees, and lots of insects. We got to see a few kangaroos. Australia, unlike other places, has a lot of nature in its cities. The insects are cool, too. I saw a tiny, horned praying mantis that was black. The bugs I saw are the species of bugs that you don't see in Utah, and maybe not in the US. We saw a Huntsman spider which you don't see in Utah; they aren't lethal, but I probably wouldn't want one of their bites; it was as long as my index finger. The mosquitos are huge. I have quite a few bug bites.

Well you might be noticing as well as I that I am only listing what I have seen, but not what I feel about Australia. You know in those movies, where they show you some kind of wonderland where there is like a harmony with city and nature like in Stuart Little. In the movie, New York is beautiful and it is really green. New York isn't a bad place to visit, but it wouldn't match the splendor of Australia. Unlike New York, I don't have to smell tobbaco smoke everywhere I step. And I have noticed that many of the houses have yards that are totally decorated with trees, flowers, green grass (of course), bushes, etc. I have always been a lover for nature, a country boy you might say. For me, Australia is like a wonder land. There are two types of teenagers: the type who only watch TV and video games; and there's the type who love to play outside, explore, or just go outside just for the fun of it. In Australia, I am like the type who goes outside. And for a boy who almost all his life has been in Utah, it is especially fun because everything is new here.

Posted by Joe on January 8, 2009, Canberra.


Oh my gosh, it is early in the morning the day after we arrived in Australia and I am exhausted. In Utah it is probably Saturday while here it is Sunday. In Utah time: On Thursday morning at 8:00 we got up, we had some breakfast and packed all of the extra stuff that we didn't pack up. Mom gave me two books that she said were cool; Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow. I started up the car to warm it up so that we wouldn't freeze in the car. Wes and Anna Parish came and packed as much as they could in their car (which was practically everything). We started driving. We got to the airport and started unpacking, except that I mistakenly left the computers in our van. We started registering for Delta airlines and it was about then that we realized that I left the computers. Dad called Dave Parish who said that he would wait at Wes Parish's hous (because Wes was driving the van with the computers in it). Dad waited for Wes outside the terminal. We decided to go through security and wait for dad at the gate. Mom reluctently took us all security with a look on her face saying, 'I never want to do this again' (that is, she doesn't want to got through security without dad again). So we waited at the gate for about a half an hour and then dad came. We all greeted him warmly. We had some drinks and some sandwiches and we waited for another half hour; then the plane came.

We all loaded up onto the plane. We waited for about a half an hour and the plane left the terminal. The trip was only two hours, so it wasn't bad. I started to read Ender's Game and decided that it was interesting.

We arrived in LA and we got out. But just the two words 'getting out' are not totally all they're cracked up to be; we have to carry a total of 12 bags while making sure that my little sisters didn't get lost. We went through security again and got on the plane. Now this plane was for the Air Tahiti Nui airlines, this plane was big. The trip on this plane from LA to Tahiti was about 6 hours. Air Tahiti Nui airlines was amazing; they gave out FREE MEALS; not the peanuts in a bag and a cup of juice/soda meals, these guys gave out actual dinners. On the back of the chair in front of you, you had a screen, and on the arm of the chair a remote. This remote looked like the Wii game controller in which it is a remote and a game controller. They let you watch a selection of eight movies (in English or French) and a selection of twelve games to play for free. For about half the flight I read Ender's Game and decided that it is cool. We got to Tahiti, and omigosh it was beautiful. But Tahiti was also hot and the air was moist. All of the workers had a little fun with Rosie and Evie (my little sisters). It seems like everywhere we go, even out of the country, Rosie and Evie makes people's days. We waited for about another hour and then we got on the same plane to go to Sydney. This trip was about 8.5 hours. I read my book a bit and watched Hancock on TV. My little sister watched Wall-E; all the while she would laugh and say 'Wawee!'. The night was okay, I didn't get much sleep though. I woke up and still thought it was night because it was dark and everyone was still asleep. But I opened the window and a huge burst of sunlight came in. I drew a cloud as was my drawing assignment that my drawing teacher assigned me to do. Two hours later, we arrived in Sydney.

Well, you people who are reading this think that I finally got away from school and don't have to worry about school again; but let me tell you something, as we were getting our luggage, I heard it: my school bell. If any of my fellow Maeser students are reading this, it's the warning bell, not the class is beginning bell. The ghost of Maeser school has come to haunt me!

We got on another plane that left for Canberra. It was only 50 minutes so it wasn't bad. We landed and we met our contacts and we headed for our house. Susan, one of our contacts, invited us to dinner. We headed for her house in our new minivan that we rented. I found that in Australia, my mom and dad always tested the window wipers while driving. Of course that's not true. In Australia, as we all know, the steering wheel and everything in the car is on the opposite side. You have to drive on the left side of the road, the steering wheel is on the right side, and the signal light switch is on the right side while in America, it's on the left in Australia. So instead of turning on the signal light whenever we had to turn, they turned on the wipers.

We got to Susan's house and we had some dinner. The boys fell right to sleep right after they ate. We got home and I decided to read Ender's Game, but after I read one paragraph, I instantly fell asleep.

The next day, we went to church. Of course on the way there, dad checked the window wipers. The ward that we are going to is fairly smaller than the ward that I come from (no offense to anyone). But it's a friendly ward, everyone was nice. We got home and quickly got dressed and went to Susan's house again. She made us one of the best lasagnas that I ever tasted. It was awesome. We got home and watched The Best Two Years.

The next morning, I noticed that something strange was happening to me and I mentioned it to mom; I was going to bed and waking up at reasonable hours. There must be something, some kind of element in Australia that makes all the American visitors (who go to bed and wake up at insane hours) go to bed and wake up at reasonable hours. Later that day, we all had to go shopping with mom and dad. We had lunch first at McDonalds. We went to the back and exchanged some of our American money for Australian money. Then came the hard part: going to the grocery store. We went grocery shopping for at least three hours. Finally we all got in the car and went home. Dad, Mom, John, and I went exercising. I ran a mile, walked half a mile, and sprinted 1/8 of a mile. I fell asleep that night reading Ender's Game, again.

Posted by Joe on January 6, 2009, Going to Australia.