Monthly Archives: October 2012

October-Bugs

When I think of my elementary school days, I have fond memories of splashing around in the pool in our backyard with my parents and Zack. We played the “relax” game at night, where Mom or Dad would gently spin us through the jacuzzi singing “reeeeelax”. Zack and I used to dive for toy hoops and sticks at the bottom of the 5ft “deep” portion in the middle of the pool. However, one specific memory was brought back to my mind during our water polo game last night: playing with June bugs. 

ImageYes, I used to play with June bugs. I used to be absolutely fascinated by the way a beetle would suction cup onto my finger if I lifted it out of the water. It almost felt like a tickle to me. So, between ages 5 and 7 (give or take), I spent hours “rescuing” these bugs from our pool. 

Last night at MSAC, there was an influx of black beetles that landed in the pool. A few times, they landed on me and their legs suction cupped onto my, just as the June bugs used to do when I was younger. Thus, I dubbed them October Bugs. I supposed that the name doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, and I now find the beetles to be rather disgusting and in no way fascinating. However, the positive side of these little bugs populating the pool as we played water polo last night was that they brought me back to the kidney bean shaped swimming pool at the house where I grew up. 🙂

As far as our game went last night, we had our first loss of the season. However, it wasn’t just a loss by a few points. I hate to say it, but we got downright smashed. The ending score was 9-21, which is about the usual score for us against other teams. It’s hard to pinpoint the reason for our loss, but I think that there were two main factors: not having our usual goalie and having more subs than usual. Our goalie did not play due to having exams this week, which left us trying to fill an important role. We asked the girl who was nominated to be goalie for our U16 team to play. However, she is typically a field player, who was turned into a goalie two nights ago. Thus, just about any shot that was inside of the frame went in. Secondly, we had 3 more substitutes than we usually do, so that meant less water time for everyone. 

I think that our loss last night was a good way to keep us on our toes! We have two more normal season games left, including a trip to Aubury to play O&M two weekends from now. Then, its into the grand finals! Wahoo! I love water polo! 🙂

 

Alicia’s Aussie Word of the Day: grand final. Meaning: a sweeping term for the playoffs for a sport, including the actual grand final, or championship game. Usage: Our goal for the season is to have all teams, U16, U18, SL2, and SL1, play in the grand final.

 

Adelaide, South Australia

Adelaide was a fantastic weekend trip. We were able to attend two practices with the Adelaide Jets national league team, and explore all of the city in just two short days! After the end of this week, the three of us will have completed thirteen straight practices from last Sunday to this Friday morning. Wow! Even at Davis we did not practice that much! It’s safe to say that we are pretty tired girls.

Our road trip to Adelaide took around nine hours each direction and saved over $150! Even though nine hours in the car seems like a long time, it was actually quite fun and the time passed quicker than it does during my 6 hour trip down the 5 Freeway from school to home in CA. Our soundtrack of the trip was Taylor Swift’s new song, Never Ever Getting Back Together. The lyrics are a little strange, but it is definitely a catchy tune!

The Beginning of a Wonderful 9 hour Adventure

I took this picture right as we left Melbourne. (US friends and family, check out the right side drivers seat!! What is weird to me though is I am completely used to it!) We ended up leaving around 3 and arriving in Adelaide around 12:30 AM. We stopped in a city called Nhill to find food and gas, but the local diner had already closed the grill at 4:30PM. So, we kept going until arriving at 9PM in Bordertown, which as the name dictates, was on the edge of Victoria and South Australia. Unfortunately, their local pub stopped serving food at 8:30 and we were again out of luck. Thankfully, we found the town’s pizza joint that was open until “LATE” and each bought a personal pizza to eat. I got a hawaiian pizza, which is served with shaved ham all over the pizza, rather than “canadian bacon” circles of ham as it is in the US. I much prefer AUS Hawaiian pizza. 🙂

View from the M8

Then we finally, finally completed our road trip, and arrived at Rob’s hotel. He was in Adelaide for the week to finish his construction project, and his company booked him a 2 bedroom hotel instead of a single because the singles were fully booked for the week. Score for us!! Nic and Rob took the double bedroom, Chels took the single, and I called the pull out couch my home for two nights. It was quite an uncomfortable pullout bed, but luckily, we only slept for 4 hours that first night, and woke up for a morning swim training session at 4:30 AM. Yahoo.

The swim training that we attended went really well. It consisted of a ton “singles” (25m swims) of pulling, kicking, and technique work, and we finished the session with 6×200 (or whatever you can finish) coming in on the 2:30, leaving on the 2:45. We were moving. A 200yd on the 2:30 is a hard interval, but those 200m on the 2:30 just kicked my butt. My only savior was running out of time in training to finished the last 200, so we completed 5 total.  Even though we haven’t been training an extreme amount (polo on Sunday, swim (hard) with the boys on Monday, game on Tuesday, swim on Wednesday, training swim/polo on Thursday morning), we were still the fastest girls in the pool! It was very nice to see!

Post training, we went out to brekky at a cafe named Argo. I ordered poached eggs on toast and a smoothie called Oatarian. It had strawberries, bananas, greek yougart, and oats in it, and it was to die for. I would make it at home every morning if we had a blender! After brekky, we took showers and napped back at the hotel, before heading to the Haigh Chocolate Factory. We took a self guided tour of the local equivalent of Ghiradelli and were able to see two ladies hand dipping truffles into their chocolate coating using a warming table! It was amazing to watch. While we were there, we bought small bags of assorted “messed up” chocolate, meaning that they were not perfect enough to sell in stores, but are still delicious chocolates. Needless to say, I had quite the tummy ache by the end of the day. 🙂

Hahndorf, SA

Our next stop was out to Hahndorf, a small, quaint German town. It was around a 45 minute drive from Adelaide and was absolutely worth it.  There, we spent three hours just walking around and exploring. We were able to do a cheese tasting from a cute store called Udder Delights, ate free strawberries from a treat store, and Chelsea bought a vintage leather wallet for only $8 from an antique store. Before we left, we visited Beerenberg, a farm responsible for providing most of Australia with portion serves of jams. In fact, I used Beerenberg Strawberry Jam for my fruit toast in Sydney. It was fun to see the small farm that has become such a huge success throughout Australia.

After napping (again) at the hotel, we went out to get dinner by the beach at a restaurant called The Strand in Glenelg. (AUS has such weird names for their towns!) It was a lovely restaurant and the three of us all ordered delicious salads to end the day. Yum.

The next morning, we were up again at 5:30 for 6-8:30AM practice with the Jets. This time, it was a water polo practice, and it was tough. We did a 4v4 scrimmage (not enough girls for 6v6) and I was absolutely exhausted afterwards. However, I loved every second of it! It was so good to play really intense water polo again, that it even made me reconsider my decision not to stay to play national league in January! However, I’m sticking with the decision to come home. 🙂 After practice, we went to an adorable restaurant called Doof Doof (food spelled backwards) which served all organic foods. It is safe to say that Australia is absolutely filled with delicious cafes!

That day, we went wine tasting in McLaren Vale, 30 minutes outside of Adelaide. It was my first time wine tasting and it made me feel so sophisticated! I learned a lot about different varieties and types of wines, along with discovering that the sweet taste of Moscato is very good! McLaren Vale was gorgeous and I was able to take a ton of good pictures!

Our first winery, Ekhidna

Oliver’s Grove

McLaren Vale, SA

Beach Girls 🙂

 

Afterward, we drove down to the beach shown in the picture above and had a “pub meal” for dinner. Pub Meals are pretty popular here, and they’re cheap and yummy. Later that night, we met up with some of the Jets players from both the boys and the girls teams, and they showed us the nightlife of Adelaide. However, we were exhausted and retired back to a teammate, Jess’s house around midnight. Then, we were up and at it again at 6AM to drive back to Melbourne to make it to MC practice at 4:30PM.

It was a long, exhausting weekend, but it was such a blast!

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Queen Vic Market

It is a really good thing that Chelsea’s phone number is only two digits different then mine, because today was the second time that I’ve had to use a pay phone to call her. (no, I am no better than using my cell phone to return calls and texts here than I was in the US!) so if my phone number is ABCDEFGHIJ, hers is ABCDEFGHJI. Easy peasy!

Long story short, today I left my phone at work and had to use a pay phone to confirm meeting up with Chels outside of the Queen Vic Market! It was stressful, but luckily we met up just fine. The market was huge! It was full of produce, poultry, seafood, and an entire building full of random vendors selling everything from cheap tourist souvenirs to expensive leather jackets to gardening supplies. It was actually quite overwhelming. The two of us walked out essentially empty handed with the promise of returning to find Christmas presents for family and friends! 🙂

However, we did leave with very full bellies! To start, we ate lunch from one of the mini stands. I had a salami, tomato, and cheese panini, and Chels got a pumpkin, capsicum, and tomato panini. They were delicious and especially satisfying because work always leaves me very hungry. Then , before we left, we stopped by the food court for coffees, and ended up getting mini pancakes, smothered in chocolate and powdered sugar, surrounding two scoops of vanilla ice cream. It was almost too much to handle but gosh it was delicious!

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Alicia’s Aussie Term of the Day: double parked. Meaning to have a drink in both hands, especially with alcoholic drinks. Usage: a very drunk man at the pub was double parked with two beers.

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Another Adventure Planned

 

I found this image on Pinterest today and it seems to perfectly define this current adventure that I am on! As of today, the three of us officially have plans to visit Adelaide for the coming weekend. We’re borrowing Nicole’s boyfriend’s car and road tripping together for 9 hours each way for a 2.5 day trip. I’m so excited to explore the city where Nic played Nat’l League polo this weekend!

Take the Time, Spend the Money

Even though Australia could be considered my place of residence, I still feel as though my time in Melbourne has been an extended traveling adventure. I’ve had time to work and play the sport that I love, along with exploring the well known tourist attractions and the local hidden nooks and crannies of this amazing city. Now, we’ve been able to explore elsewhere in Australia, starting with Brisbane two weeks ago for the Club Nationals tournament, and now with Sydney this past weekend.

When I replay our 48 hour trip to Sydney, it seems as though our adventure was on fast forward. We were able to cram so many different, exciting adventures into such a short period of time. Busy, busy, busy, just the way that I like it. We arrived in Sydney at 7:30AM and took the train to our hostel, called The Maze. The lobby was fully decorated for Halloween, and I felt right at home. However, check in time was not until 2PM, so we crossed our fingers and our toes that we would still have clothes at the end of the day, and left our bags in “Storage”, also known as a giant room downstairs that any of the guests can easily access. Then, it was out to explore!

We made the most typical first stop that any Sydney tourist makes: The Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge. In my mind, they are the most well known symbols of Australia. The Opera House was absolutely breath taking. The photographs and TV images of the building cannot compare to its immense size, looking over the harbor. It is a gorgeous building. After, we took a thirty minute Jet Speed Boat ride through the harbor, searching for giant wakes to pelt us with sea water. The three of us were absolutely soaked by the time it was over! It was a fun alternative to the ferry to see the gorgeous houses that line the different beaches around the harbor.

A Tunnel at The Rocks

My shorts were still dripping with water for the next hour as we searched for and found The Rocks. We fully expected to visit something similar to a large boulder, but found a very quaint, historic district of Sydney. Apparently, The Rocks was one of the first neighborhoods in Sydney, with buildings made primarily out of sandstone, hence the name. Here, we found a small market and bought lunch. Between the three of us, we split two serves of grilled salmon with couscous salad, and had a banana and chocolate crepe for dessert. Yumma! After eating, we wandered our way to Darling Harbor and the Sydney Aquarium. On the way, we walked past the Sydney Observatory, which showed a nice view of all of the water that surrounds Sydney. Gosh, it was gorgeous. I fell in love with all of the water, but not with all of the trash and hustle of the city.

Sydney Aquarium Magic

The aquarium was amazing. There were two different rooms where a tunnel was build through the middle of the tank, like this picture with Nicole. I had never seen anything like it! I want one for my house when I’m older 😉 haha.

Excitement over our hostel!

After the aquarium, we went back and finally got into our hostel, which was pretty sweet. It was cheap, clean, and all that we really needed: beds and dorm style showers. It was absolutely worth saving money by taking the early, early flight and staying in a hostel to be able to spend extra money on meals and adventures! That night, we skipped the free hostel meal that was offered (hamburgers, yum! long line when very hungry, no fun!) and went to a nice Italian place called Macchiato. I tried Australian wedges for the first time. They are thick cut fries with sour cream and sweet chili dipping sauce. Yum! After dinner, we met up with one of Nicole’s friends from high school who is living in Sydney! I know she loved having a little piece of home half way across the world. It reminded me of having Eric at UCD with me. 🙂

View from the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge

We got up early the next day for another full day of activities, starting with climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge to the top. It was absolutely gorgeous and a perfect day outside. Our tour leader was quite entertaining, telling stories about So. American termites that are infested in the bridge in very regular patterns (aka the bolts holding the bridge together!) He definitely made the walk enjoyable! The bridge is the largest single span bridge in the world and we climbed to the top! 134 meters high!

Our last stop of the trip was to see the famous Bondi Beach! It was gorgeous, but unfortunately it was a windy day, so laying in the sun wasn’t much fun. Nicole and I did some good body surfing though! 🙂

The icing on the cake of our 48 hour adventure was eating dinner in the Darling Harbor, and watching fireworks over the harbor! It was gorgeous, with good food and great friends. 🙂

This was definitely a trip to remember forever! I am so glad that we paid the money to do some amazing adventures! 🙂

 

Alicia’s Aussie Word of the Day: bloke. Meaning guy, person. Usage: He’s a good bloke, but doesn’t really understand how to play water polo.