Hey guys so I kind of let two weeks get by me without sitting down to write about it and tell everyone what was going on. I will do my best to remember it all, but no promises since it unfortunately has been so long. I sort of had to force myself to sit down and do this right now, when what I really wanted to do, is start working on an itinerary for mom and dad’s trip out here. Dad is actually flying over Afghanistan right now, so I doubt the last thing he wants to do is get on another plane haha. Now I will attempt to write about February 14th to today which is February 26th.
I had a pretty good Valentine’s Day here in Australia, although I didn’t get to spend it with Andrew. I was awoken by my desk phone ringing about 10 am and I was very confused, since no one actually calls me on that number. It was a very sweet lady and the conversation went a little like this:
Lady: Good morning Miss Kaitlin
Kaitlin: Uh hi?
Lady: Happy Valentine’s Day
Kaitlin: Uh thanks? You too.
Lady: This is Ms. Kerry from the mail room. I have a lovely surprise waiting for you here.
Kaitlin: Okay thanks. I will be in shortly.
Lady: Have a great day.
Haha she is super sweet and after I skyped with mom, got out of bed, ate a delicious chocolate croissant, and hung out with my friends, I went to the mail room and had beautiful roses waiting for me. I carried them back to my room and got stared at the entire way! That afternoon I went to Varsity College which isn’t actually a college but a K-12 school and we get to tutor middle schoolers. I do that with the same club that I go the retirement center with. I had fun and got paired with a little girl in 7th grade, who had a bunch of different math problems to do. I was a little nervous at first, since I don’t remember much about 7th grade math, but we worked through it and were able to do all of the problems except one since we didn’t have a protractor. Afterwards, I went to my ethics lecture and I went to bed too early, so I couldn’t sleep all night and woke up at 5.
On Friday it was a pretty exciting day because Lia, Kathleen, and I went to the Australia Zoo commonly known as Steve Irwin’s Zoo with Peter. We had to wake up really early and take the bus to the train station. This wasn’t a problem as I was already up at 5 haha. We rode partially into the city when Peter picked us up and drove us the rest of the way to the zoo. Once we were getting closer north the rain really started to pick up and we began to get a little worried. We decided to keep on going and take our chances and we actually lucked out pretty well. While it was still raining when we arrived, it wasn’t too bad and we had a lot of fun. All of the animals were still out and it wasn’t very crowded or hot at all. By the end I merely had a wet umbrella and wet sneakers. It was totally worth it to pet the kangaroos and koalas. On the drive home we got stuck in traffic and it took us forever but we had nice views of the local suburbs and the Sunshine Coast. After arriving home, that evening was The Let’s Get Physical Party. We all dressed up in our colorful clothes and had a great time at Don’s the school pub and then went to Melba’s in the city. Around 1 Lia, Hillary, and I decided to ditch and come home. That night I barely got any sleep because we had exciting plans the next day too!
On Saturday the 16th Allison (our friend who goes to UD), Rachael, and I were supposed to go on a hike to Mt. Warning at 8 am. After driving an hour there with the hiking club, we saw that the national park was closed because of so much storm damage from the cyclone a couple weeks ago. It was still a really nice scenic drive and then they took us to the rock pools where I went the first week here in Australia. We were able to walk around a little and watch people swimming in the cold rainy weather. I would love to go back again when it is warm. Oh and I was so excited because as we were driving to Mt. Warning, it was the first time I saw wild kangaroos hanging out in some guys field it was so cool! I came home and literally crashed from having a very long weekend already. That evening we went back out to Surfer’s Paradise to go The Hard Rock Cafe to celebrate Lauren’s 21st birthday. On our way back, we had to wait in the rain a long time as the bus was like 20 minutes late.
I don’t remember anything too significant that happened on Sunday.
On Monday it was my first day at the local elementary school Merrimac State School. I was very excited and nervous about the whole situation with the buses, since I had to transfer and didn’t know where my end stop was, but everything went fine and it all worked out. It was very confusing because their schools are set up as a bunch of little permanent trailer type buildings instead of one or two large buildings like we are used to here in the states. I finally found the office and signed in, then found my contact Trish who is the special education director. She had called me on Friday and had asked for me to come in which was very exciting call to get in the middle of the crocodile show. She showed me around the school a little, gave me a map, my own name tag, and introduced me to my teachers. I work in 6 different classrooms throughout the day in a range of grades. From 9 to 10 I am with Mr. Elliot in 5th grade, I really like him and his class is great. We do the weekly pre-test of the spelling words and then work with them in their spelling books. Then from 10 to 11, I am with Ms. Riis in 6th grade and that is pretty tough. She gave me three of her difficult boys to work on creating a story pyramid, with rising action, climax, falling action stuff and they were pretty obnoxious. From 11 to 11:30 is morning tea, so I hang out in the special ed room with Trish. Then from 11:30 to 12:30 I am with Ms. O’Mallane in 3rd grade and she is super sweet and asked me to come to her room all day, every day. I helped her kids get set up on a website where they can do practice reading comprehension games at home. From 12:30 to 1:00 I hang out with Ms. Boff in 1st grade and help the kids with their classwork. It’s pretty crazy in there and she doesn’t have great control of the class. From 1 to 1:45, I have big lunch back in the special ed room. Then from 1:45 to 2:15 I go back to 1st grade with Ms. Brink who I really like and help out a little girl who has learning disabilities and do reading and letters flashcards with her. I end the day back at 3rd grade with Ms. Bird and I can’t remember what I did. After getting back to Bond, I did homework and prepared for my busy Tuesday.
I cannot remember if anything exciting happened on Tuesday.
I did get to skype with Jessie Roarty on Wednesday morning once I got up. Yay! That was so much fun and then I also spoke with the florist about my roses because they never quite opened and she said that she would bring me something today. Unfortunately she arrived when I was in class, so she dropped them off at security and after class/dinner I walked there. She brought me these beautiful lilies and a box of chocolates. They didn’t come in a vase so I was a little worried about what I would do, but my extra water bottle worked out perfectly. It is a teal blue plain clear plastic, so it doesn’t even look that strange. I wrapped the bow around it, to make it prettier and today almost a week later, I have 8 full flowers with 4 on the way and a yummy smelling room.
On Thursday the 21st I had another lab which was fun and I got to learn a lot. It is cool because all the kids in my class are all some form of like medical/sports exercise type majors, so a lot of the work is very practical. They don’t have to do general education classes except for four classes, so my friend is taking Genetics, Cell Biology, Chemistry, and Principals of Human Structure and Function all as a first semester student. It sounds so crazy and overwhelming to me! But back to this lab, we got to test albumin levels in the blood in order to see if two different patients had liver failure. So it was cool to do real world type stuff and understand it. Afterwards I went back to Varsity College to tutor and mostly worked one girl with learning disabilities write the definitions for her spelling words. All of the kids there get their own computers for the year and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I understand why, but as the little girl told me they are difficult to use and they use them for absolutely everything. They are only difficult for her because she doesn’t have a lot of experience with it but still, I think they take away from some of the skills used when doing homework. For example we were pretty much working on computer skills like creating a table, finding dictionary.com, and copy and paste skills, instead of handwriting and using a dictionary. I doubt the girl even read the definitions of her spelling words. After ethics class, that night we went out for Dane’s birthday since he was turning 21. We had fun and went to Sin City in Surfer’s Paradise. Around midnight my from friends from UD and I went home and I actually had a really cool conversation with a guy on the bus about the differences between The States and Australia.
On Friday I pretty much hung out in my room, worked on some post cards, and did homework. I walked back to the doctor and just wanted to ask him to look at the wart on my finger, hoping that I wouldn’t have to make another appointment and pay again. Fortunately the nurse looked at it right away, cut it down a little and said it should go away. Hopefully it does and I don’t have to go back, but she said it might need to be refrozen. It was a very cooped up day and I was definitely ready for it to be Saturday because it was supposed to be really nice. Which it was, yay! We spent the whole day at the beach and I definitely needed the time to soak up the sun. I even walked down to the hotel that mom and dad might be staying at in Burleigh Beach. It looks nice and is super close to the water.
That night I didn’t sleep very well either and I was supposed to go tree planting with the student philanthropy council. Unfortunately I was wide awake at 5 am and couldn’t go back to sleep until 6 and then the fire alarm went off. As we walked downstairs, we saw that it was absolutely pouring rain and luckily they didn’t actually make us go outside. While waiting, I also got the email that our tree planting event was cancelled, so I finally got back into bed and slept until noon haha. After hanging out and walking into town with Rachael, I went to the gym and had a great workout. I went to bed early that night after talking with my big Kathleen for a while outside. It was really funny, we were standing in the parking lot talking, when a girl walked outside and told us we were being too loud and she could hear us in her room while she was trying to study…talk about awkward haha why she didn’t close her window, I don’t know. I have also decided to try and create better sleep habits for myself since I haven’t been sleeping well. This is because I have been going to bed really late some nights and early the next night and have been waking up early some morning and late other mornings.
On Monday the 25th I went back to the elementary school and had another really good day, except I was really mad that I accidently left my umbrella on the bus. On the way back home I have a bus lay over at the town centre, so I ran in and got another umbrella for 6 bucks. Hopefully even though it’s cheap, it will survive the next month and a half. Everything was pretty much the same at school, except this time I sent the ring leader of my difficult 6th grade boys back into his classroom because he wouldn’t work and was being so rude to me. I think this created a bit of a shock and hopefully we will be better next week, since they realized I can be mean too. Haha. I had another great workout at total body toning, showered, ate dinner with the UD girls, and then watched Wreck it Ralph with my big and Dane, it was so adorable!
Today Tuesday the 26th, I had my classes all day. I am frustrated because I am starting to get a little lost with cell biology as it is getting to harder material. Fortunately Dr. Sellers recognizes this, so she is having a catch up review class before the mid-term next Thursday. Oh I was also happy because the last little scab/blister of my wart is fully gone and my finger looks normal again. Yay! I had a great day in my ethics tutorial, answered a bunch of questions, and learned a lot. I did a boat load of laundry and then went to Zumba and dinner. I am happy because I spoke with a teacher and the assistant principal of another elementary school where I am going probably to volunteer on Fridays. I am going in tomorrow to meet with them and a little kindergartener with Autism that I might work with. I am getting busy, which I enjoy and also have a fair amount of work to do over the course of March. So hopefully that will help the time go quickly, as I am beginning to get ready to come home.
Hope to talk to you all soon and that you have a great week. Love you!