A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Dykemah

June 25 2011


My 21st birthday started right at midnight with Abby and Michelle waking me up singing Happy Birthday with cupcakes. After they woke me up I got the chance to talk to my mom on the phone it was nice to hear her voice. Then I of course had to text Emily to let her know I was 21 and her the older twin was still only 20! I think that moment made me whole birthday!! It was probably the first and only time that will ever happen! After singing and talking with my mom and Emily we headed back to bed!

The next morning Michelle and I got up and headed for a lovely breakfast at a café right near the beach. We splurged a little and had scones and pancakes and a piece of “birthday cake”. It was a lovely yummy birthday breakfast. After breakfast Michelle, Abby, her boyfriend Kyle and I piled into the car and headed for the town called Fremantle. It was a cute old town on the water with markets and fun shops. We walked through town and up to the round jail, which was up on a hill with a great view of the harbor.
We got a chance to walk through the markets too. Michelle and I loved walking through the fruit part of the market, so much fresh fruit all with taste testing!!!
On our way out of the food part of the market we stopped at a booth that was selling Kangaroo, Emu, and Crocodile so we stopped to give it a try. I mean you can’t leave Australia without trying some Kangaroo right?! The kangaroo wasn’t to bad, tasted kind of like a chewy steak I didn’t really mind it at all. The Emu was my least favorite and surprisingly enough the crocodile tasted kind of like chicken!
Our day in Fremantle was a great one completed with a sunset on the water. Although it was a very cloudy night so the sunset wasn’t as great as we had hoped it was still a great ending to the day and the place we stopped to watch the sunset had some fun cave type rocks that we had a good time walking around on.
After heading home from Fremantle and the sunset my birthday was made complete, Michelle and I packed up headed into the city and before flying home we went to see WICKED!! My all time favorite musical! We had so much fun and Michelle had never seen it so I was glad I got the one to be able be there the first time! At intermission Michelle even got me a fun fruity green drink in a fun light up cup. Overall a great birthday in Oz although I am looking forward to celebrating with my fam in just a few days!
And so ended our whirlwind trip to Perth! It was a wonderful birthday spent with great new friends who I have come to know and care about so much. Perth and the west coast was a great experience and I am grateful for a chance to see that side of Australia as well.
To top it all off my wonderful mother had sent a package of decorations to a friend here on the sunshine coast and I came home to a room full of decorations for my 21st birthday complete with signs with my mom’s handwriting. It was a great welcome home. Then a few friends from the coast took me out for a wonderful birthday dinner down by the beach with ice cream to top it all off! Thanks for all the birthday wishes and the birthday cards here on the sunshine coast! I loved getting them all!! See you all very soon!!!

In Him,

Psalm 145:18-19

Posted by Dykemah 10:43 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

From the Sunshine Coast to the Sunset Coast


Michelle and I arrived safely in Perth Wednesday night just before midnight! We picked up our car and set off for Abby’s house. We are visiting and spending the next few days with my friend who I met in New Zealand who is currently living in Perth! We had a few set backs with our GPS not working and things but did make it safely to Abby’s house! We were so excited to see her but Exhausted at the same time because it was 2am Perth time which made it 4am our time, needless to say we went right to bed!

The next morning was a great morning, we got up and Abby had to work so Michelle and I took the bikes for a nice ride down the beautiful coastline. There is a wonderful path that goes on forever! So we headed off towards the harbor about 6miles down the path. We stopped about half way at a juice bar called Yelo a local hang out for surfers and locals in the area. It was such a cute café; we sat out on the porch and watched people walk by and enjoyed our fruit smoothies.
Once we finished our drinks we were off on the path again past a few pretty beaches and along the coastline. We ended up at a big harbor at the end of the path. We spend the afternoon walking around the shops, looking at the boats, and enjoying our first day in Perth. We had a wonderful lunch at a restaurant called Hippos African grill they had a great ten-dollar lunch deal where you got a hamburger and chips and a drink! It was a great burger and a nice meal sitting next to the harbor. After lunch we were so full so we just walk around some more and had a nice bike ride back to Abby’s house.
After getting home to Abby’s house we changed because it was getting colder and headed into downtown. We walked around the city and then up to a place called Kings Park a big park on the outskirt of the city. The park was really pretty with some HUGE trees and statues. The sunset in the city was really pretty we found out why it was called the sunset coast!
Before leaving the city we stopped at a little café and got to sit outside and had milk shakes sitting outside enjoying our first beautiful night in the city.
After a great night in the city we headed back to the apartment for some dinner and relaxing, Michelle and I were very tired so we fell asleep very fast! Overall a fantastic first day on the west coast!

The next morning Michelle and I were up and were up and off in the rain. It sadly rained almost all day but we made the most of it. We hopped in the car and headed for a place called Margaret River about a three and a half hour drive from Perth. Margaret River is a big wine country along with lots of other stuff. Along the way we stopped at a cheese factory for some cheese tasting, a candy factory, and our favorite the ice cream factory to do some tasting! The ice cream was So good!!
Then carried on to a winery and nougat factory and did a little wine tasting and got to taste some honey nut nougat.
From the winery we went to a chocolate factory and a nut and cereal factory. I got some great tasting mussel (granola) very fresh! After those stops we made one more on the way out of town a t a liquor factory. It was interesting, I had no idea they even existed. Michelle did a small tasting I sat that one out because I was the driver, but she let me take a few sips just to try them. It was a great last stop before the drive home. We got home in time to have dinner with Abby hang out before heading to sleep. Despite the rain our day in Margaret River was great and all of our driving gave us time to hang out and chat some more, we never seem to run out of things to talk about. After the first few days we were glad we got the chance to come to Perth and were looking forward to some sunshine and another good day.

In Him,

Ephesians 3:16-19

Posted by Dykemah 16:07 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Hiking and Fun on the sunshine coast

Over the past week we have done a lot of activities on sunshine coast, enjoying our last few weeks here. We have spent time at the beach enjoying the sand, and the sound of the ocean. This one gets me knowing even when I come home I will have a beach only a short drive away there is something about the sound of the waves in the ocean that is so different from lake Michigan and will defiantly be missed. These past few weeks are weeks of last. Last trips to the beaches, last trips to the plaza, last dinners and activities with friends. It is all sinking in a few short days I will be leaving this beautiful place. So we are trying to do all we can to make the most out of these last few days. So between studying and spending time at the beach or the pool Michelle and I have done some hiking and even took a trip to the zoo along with a lovely shopping day at the plaza.

The Zoo was a lot of fun! It was a beautiful day and we hoped on the bus and spent a wonderful afternoon at the zoo. Michelle hadn’t been to the zoo yet so it was her first time there and we had to do it all! She got the chance to hold at Koala and feed the elephants and the kangaroos. We spent the day in the sunshine walking around together enjoying each other’s company and the fun of the zoo!
Over the past few weeks we have done a few hikes. Trying to spend some time outside! We got a chance to head back to Kondialla Falls with a friend who I met in New Zealand they were driving down the coast so we met up with them and spend the afternoon hiking and had a great dinner laughing and talking about New Zealand again.
After Claire left we headed back to the apartments because that night was the end of semester party! So we hung out for a while at the apartments before some of the kids headed to the tavern and the club to dance the night away (I opted for a nice movie night but it was still fun to hang out for a while before hand!)
Over the weekend I got a chance to play in my last soccer game on the coast, which was fun, and we won which is a plus! Have a few movie dates with some good friends here who will be very missed when I come home. And have a lovely shopping date at the plaza with some girls!

Monday was my second exam which they do SO WEIRD here! I was better prepared for the way things would go down for the second one, which calmed me down a little. When you go to take your exams it is much different than taking an exam at home. Everyone takes their exams at the same place they call it the stadium but it is basically the gym. They cover the floor with carpet and put up tables an chairs in long rows. Two chairs to a table and each seat has a number on it. When they call you to go in you have to enter into the building through a specific door and take a number. As soon as you get into the building you have to be completely silent, its like hitting a wall of silence because outside the doors everyone is chatting and talking and as soon as you walk thru the doors dead quite. That was not the only difference. When you are taking your exam there is up to six different exams going on. You sit in your seat and a person on a microphone goes thru and talks about each exam and what you should have in front of you, So much different than home! You can’t touch anything until you are told to do so, your professor is not in the room typically, you have a ten minute perusal time which is like time to just read the exam you can take notes on your scrap paper but that’s all and some exams you aren’t even allowed that. After you are finished with your exam you must wait to be dismissed individually and exit through a certain door. They were really intense about it all, you can’t take any bags or anything into the exams you had to check it at the door and they gave you a number like a coat check. Also their were people walking up and down the aisles watching over you, they would escort you one at a time to the bathroom where you had to sign in with your name, date, time, and student number! All just to go to the bathroom I think it was more strict than the ACT. It was a very different experience than home that is for sure!

Tuesday came a morning of packing, which was so weird. I have my room nearly packed up, pictures are down and most of my clothes are packed away. My room feels like when I first arrived with bare white walls, all that is left is my “I-heart-you” pictures of Emily near my bed. Packing away the last five months of my life is so weird. To have it all sitting in suitcases on my bed is a new feeling. I can’t believe it is nearly over. Leaving the people I have shared everything with for the past five months will be so hard and different. The reality of leaving is setting in daily with the packing nearly finished! In the afternoon Michelle, Zac, Zacs friend Scott and Kim all went to hike in the Glass House Mountains. Michelle’s roommate was so nice enough to give us a ride there so we didn’t have to take a bus train bus! As we drove up we were all pretty surprised at how big it was because Zac said it only took him 20mins to climb! This thing was HUGE! But we were all up for a challenge. So we set off, it took us just under and hour to get up to the top because we took our time enjoying the views and the climb, yes I did say climb not hike because it felt like we were rock climbing at a few points looking straight up a rock face and having to pull ourselves up using small finger and foot holes.
It was an adventurous climb but one that was well worth it. It felt good to be at the top and the view wasn’t bad either!
On our way down we got the chance to catch a beautiful sunset over the other mountains.
Once we were down it was time to head off walking to the train station after about 40mins we finally made it! It was a bit chilly so I was glad I had packed a jumper in my bag. However the walk back to the train station wasn’t all-bad it was a nice night with a beautiful moon so I didn’t mind it. After the train and bus back to school Michelle and I headed to Stephs for dinner and to do some studying for a bit before we headed to bed because we were tired from our long day!

The next morning I was up early to do some last minute studying before my morning exam which after rocking up to the stadium ready to take my final exam I found out my exam was in the afternoon at 12:30 not 8:30! So I had gotten up extra early for nothing though I am thankful that I was early and not late! So I headed to Michelle’s for a morning cup of tea before heading back to my place for some more studying and packing for the weekend.

I am happy to say I made it on time to my final exam and I am completely finished with my semester here on the sunshine coast, what a bitter sweet feeling it is knowing I wont walk to that campus past heaps of Kangaroos for classes again. After exams Michelle and I ran a few last minute errands before heading down to Brisbane to Jet off for our final Holiday in Australia...Perth!

In Him,

Amos 5:24

Posted by Dykemah 19:40 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Our Final Island Bounty Island

Last Fiji one I promise!

Our final stop along the way was supposed to be the very little island of South Sea but when we got onto the boat the ladies in charge on board informed us that we would not be able to go to South Sea today and were being rerouted to Bounty Island because a private party had rented out the entire island of South Sea for the day and night!!! When we got on the boat and were talking to the ladies about us being rerouted a familiar face showed up…Britney! Her and Jon were on the boat headed to their next island too! It was a wonderful surprise and we chatted for a bit about how our nights were and the different islands we were on. it was fun to hear about their night because we had already been on the island they came from. But with the happiness of being reunited came the sadness of goodbyes again. we waved from the side as Brit and Jon headed off to their next stop.

So we arrived on Bounty to more singing and sunshine. We were briefed on meal times and things about the island and brought to our room before we headed back to the beach till dinner. The island there was a nice change from Manta Ray, there were like NO BUGS! It was epic, we also had a nice pool area with chairs to sit around although we did choose to sit down on the beach near the tiki huts! Our first night on the island like most was pretty boring. We walked about and enjoyed the new island had dinner and headed back to he room and chatted with each other and our new roommates who were both very nice! Two boys from Germany.
The next day we were Up and Atom early because we had gone to bed early so we were ready to take on the day! We headed for a great breakfast and then to the beach, first we stopped by the dive shop to talk to the dive guy because they said we could try out the equipment in the pool for FREE! So after we laid in the sun for the morning around 10am we headed for our scuba briefing! After we were taught the basics on land and he showed us all the equipment we headed for the pool. Once we got in the water we were naturals and had to try in the ocean!!
So from the pool we changed our tanks grabbed some flippers and headed for the reef! It was AMAZING! There was a hole other world down there so much more than what you see when you snorkel. We were diving down through caves and holes in the reef. We got to hold some sea cucumbers and starfish, touch different coral and see all sorts of fish. We got to see Nemo again and I felt like the diver in the movie when nemo gets captured coming up behind them with all my scuba bubbles. We had a ball and got to stay under for OVER An HOUR! we could have stayed a bit longer Dean (our dive master) said but we were late for lunch as it was!
After lunch we headed back to the sunshine. Not to much happened in the afternoon just hung out and swam and read some just enjoying our last full day on the islands. At Teatime we meet a group of American kids who were there after volunteering all over the area for two weeks with a program called International Student Volunteers. There were a few from Michigan and even a girl who went to Grand Valley! They were fun to talk to and had some cool stories about their volunteer experiences. After tea and a bit more sun we headed to the dorms to clean up for sunset. We went on a trek through what seemed like the jungle to get to the other side of the island for a beautiful sunset and a nice girly photoshoot! We realized we didn’t have many pictures together so we set up the tripod and gave it a whirl! The great sunset just made the whole night a lot of fun!
We headed back to the dinning area in time for dinner with our roommates who were nice as always we got to talk about so many things. They were very interesting. after dinner we headed towards the bar area to socialize and hang out, none of the four of us were must for drinking so we stayed kinda on the outskirts the boys played pool and Michelle and I just sat and talked and watched. After the boys headed back to the room Matthew one of the workers who we had talked to a few times asked us to play pool with him, we both said we couldn’t really play but he promised to teach us so we gave it a try, needless to say we got our butts kicked! After pool we walked down towards a kava ceremony and then walked around to the other side of the island to see it and watch the stars till the clouds blew in then it was time for bed! It was a great last day and night in Fiji.

Our last morning started with a great breakfast pancakes included! Then some sunshine and back to breakfast about an hour later for another piece of toast and cup of tea, we also slipped a few pieces of bread in a baggy for later because our boat was coming just before lunch and we wont be home till around 7:30 or 8pm tonight! So we needed some food for the way home. After a second breakfast brought the last of our sunshine till we had to pack up and catch our boat for the main land. We made it safely to the airport and all through security as I type this we are awaiting our plane enjoying our last bit of time in Fiji.

We are sad to be leaving the sunshine and the island life but are ready to head back to clean clothes, clean beds, and a clean shower! Back to exams and the life of a uni student. Excited to see what our last three weeks bring between a trip to Perth to visit a friend, packing and enjoying the beaches around us! I know God has big plans for our last bit of time here and after having some time to relax and refocus on him I am learning to be content and not stress about the time ahead or the transition home. Knowing God has it all in control and following his word in Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your request to God” with that I can take comfort in knowing when I return home God has the plan, He cares for me and his plan is better than I could imagine so there should be no stress. We have a lot planed along with exams for the last three weeks so pray that our time with friends, travels, and activities all goes smoothly and we have a wonderful time enjoying this remaining time on the sunshine coast! See you all in a matter of weeks!!

In Him,

Philippians 4:6

Posted by Dykemah 15:10 Archived in Fiji Comments (0)

Island Five - Mantaray

A one night stopover

We were greeted on shore the same way we have been everywhere we have gone with a lovely welcoming song and a few big Bula chants! Everywhere we go there are a few lovely staff standing on the beach guitar and all singing a welcoming song as we step off onto the short of their island. We also received a wonderful welcoming drink like we have at other islands but this one was cold! It was an orange and grenadine SLUSH! Yum! After filling out or check in paperwork and hearing about the activities and meal times we headed up to our dorm to set our things down. Then we were off to the beach for the small amount of sunshine left! It was a quite afternoon on the beach for Michelle and I, we munched on a few cookies we had gotten for teatime but missed teatime at Mantaray so we just ate them on the beach. we sat and talked some, played some cribbage (yes I won! I am getting good now!!) over all our moods were a bit somber still from saying goodbye and we were feeling a bit lonely being a twosome again. once the sun went down we showered and headed up to the dinning area to wait for dinner.
Dinner was AMAZING! We got a few choices of meals and they came around and took your “order” it was almost like a restaurant. And my pasta was GREAT!!! Michelle had fish and she said it was good as well. we also got Desert! YUM! We loved the food at Mantaray. After a fantastic dinner we headed for the dorms to do some reading and head to bed. We were exhausted after spending the day in the sun, and the boat and saying our goodbyes. Funny how doing nothing in the sun wears you out so much! Our beds were covered in Misquote netting. This was different to sleep in but I suppose it worked because I woke up bug bite free! It was a challenge to get in and out of bed once you put the netting down, I would know because I of course had to get up to use the bathroom in the night! The bathrooms on the island were also very weird. They were waterless toilets, basically “high tech” holes in the ground! Very different and I am still not so sure how I feel about them!

Our next morning brought a lovely swing in the hammocks before breakfast, I am sure going to miss the hammocks when I head home! Breakfast was another Great tasting meal! I was so full by the time we were done eating because it was a buffet and So Tasty! After breakfast we packed up and headed for the beach, another day of sunshine and reading! We played some cards in the morning in-between our reading and swims to cool down.
Lunch was great once again, we were sad to leave the wonderful food! We headed back to the beach for some fish feeding and to get a few pictures on the beach, because we realized we didn’t really have many together or even of each other! A girl we had met who was from Michigan! And actually goes to UofM! Came and took some pictures for us because we had taken some for her and her friend earlier that day. She got really into the whole picture taking and had us posing all sorts of ways! It was fun to get some pictures together!
Then it was time for our farewell song and all the staff came to shake our hands to say thank you and good-bye. As we were waiting for the boat to come Michelle was making a string bracelet for her roommate Sam and some of the staff came over and saw her making it and was like oh I want one I want one. So she gave away one she had already made to be nice even though she had really made it for a friend. Then another came over and saw them and was like make me one make me one??? So we were franticly making bracelets for the native guys who worked on this island, it was stressful and rushed. But we got them done in time and were off to meet our boat to head to our final Island! All and all another great day in Fiji!

  • **Sunshine coast update***

Today marked the two week left point in my journey here. I think it hit both Michelle today as we sat by the pool talking about what we would miss most and what we were looking forward to seeing back home. We both agreed we would miss the people and the overall environment of the sunshine coast. We have been trying to pack some last minute fun stuff here on the sunshine coast while we can. although our plans for the day didn't work out to well we are hoping for a trip to the zoo tomorrow! Yesterday I had a wonderful visitor, my friend Claire (who i met and spent a lot of time with in New Zealand) and her Boyfriend were driving down the coast from Cairns and finally made it sippy downs! We spent the afternoon hiking in the rainforest at Kondalilla Falls and then had dinner together laughing and reminiscing about our great time in New Zealand. It was a wonderful afternoon and evening before they headed out to finish their trip to Brisbane. I am so blessed to have met so many wonderful people and to be able to have friends all over the world! I look forward to the day I end up in London and get to see Claire again! We hope the last two weeks go smoothly, stress and anxiety free, Michelle and i have one last trip planed after our final exam next week which includes a Perth to visit my friend Abby (also from New Zealand) We can't wait to see another great friend again. Please keep us in our prayers as we wrap up exams, packing, final travels and prepare to head back to the states. It will be an emotional last few weeks full of fun activities, studying, good byes and packing. I will be seeing you all again soon!

In Him,

Philippians 2:14-16

Posted by Dykemah 06:59 Archived in Fiji Comments (1)

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