Cheers to the Freakin’ Weekend

I am so glad the weekend is here!!! The last few days of the work week really kicked my butt. I am finally adjusted to the time zone, but I am still way too tired to be staying up as late as I have been! Hanging out with my friends has been worth it, though. I look forward to coming home every day and hearing about what they are up to at their respective internships!

Thursday and Friday were so busy at the office, which I try to think of as a good thing! Sitting around bored is always hard and makes the day drag on so long. If I am busy I at least am not looking at the clock too often, so the end of the day comes more quickly than I expect. Like I said in my last post, I did a lot (and I mean a LOT) of laminating and sorting/packaging inventory. Once I finished those tasks on Thursday, I assumed I would be able to move onto the next thing on the list to prep for the Ball.

However, on my way to work on Friday, I got a text from Isha. She had sent pictures of the completed packaged items to the boss, who said they were ‘good’, but needed to be redone in a different way. I was definitely frustrated, but what the boss says goes. I did understand the reasoning for repackaging, so that helped me to have a better attitude about it.

Isha was coming in late Friday, so I went right down into the stock room to begin repackaging the items. I took a 20 minute lunch break around 2pm, but besides that, I was working on packaging the inventory from 9am to 4:30pm when I FINALLY finished. More than 7 hours later, everything was repackaged the way the boss requested. Fingers crossed she likes how they turned out!

When I came upstairs to let Isha know I was finished, she asked if I had checked my email. Obviously I had not, since I had been busy all day. I turned on my computer for the first time all day to check the email, only to find out that the design of one of the item descriptions that I already printed, cut out, and laminated over 50 copies of had changed. Since I didn’t have time left Friday, I guess that’s what I will be doing all Monday morning!

I was so frustrated to have to redo almost all of the things I had spent the entire week doing. It was really discouraging to know that the hard work and time I spent on my tasks had gone completely to waste. I guess I will just need to try even harder on the things I do from this point on! The last days of the week were definitely trying, and this upcoming week will be even crazier considering the ball is on Saturday the 2nd. I am hoping to just get through all of it in one piece! Prayers are greatly appreciated for success at the Ball and the job as a whole.

On a brighter note, the evenings are much more fun than the work days! On Thursday, my friend Kat needed a jacket and some shoes. So Omario, Kat, Tommy, and I all went to the Westfield mall to shop! When I agreed to go to the mall, I did not realize that the it was a mile and a half from the train station in the opposite direction of our accommodation, but at that point I already had committed so I went anyways. I am glad I brought sandals in my backpack to change out of my heeled work shoes!

Kat got her shoes and a jacket, and Omario got a hoodie. We were all starving, so we decided to get some pizza on our way home. We walked a little bit and I saw a huge hotel building all lit up in rainbow colors, signifying that Vivid (a huge light show/festival held in Sydney every year) started the next day! I got all excited about it until Omario pointed out that if we were seeing Vivid lights, we were walking in the wrong direction from our accommodation. He was right. We had walked close to another mile in the wrong direction. Thankfully, we found a little Dominos by the water that had $5 personal pizzas, and we ate dinner before making the long trek home.

After work on Friday, everyone met at a sushi restaurant across the street from Central Station to grab a bite to eat. I’ve been to this restaurant already and loved it, so after I recommended it, everyone wanted to try it, too! We ate and then caught a train to Circular Quay, where the Opera House and Harbor Bridge are, so that we could see the main lights of Vivid, which officially started that night! It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! All of the buildings in the area were lit up with moving lights and different projections. There were also some installations of lights and attractions that we took our time walking around and appreciating. We went into the Botanical Gardens, which had a long one way path that took you all the way around the Harbor and came out pretty far from where you started. The best part we saw was a light up pathway that almost resembled Candy Land. When you stepped on each piece of the path, it would light up! We spent a decent amount of time just running and jumping on the different pieces to see how many we could light up at one time. Vivid lasts for a few weeks, so we will for sure be back to see more lights and installations!

Saturday had a much slower start that I think we were all very grateful for. Except Tasha, who had to go in to her internship for a shift and didn’t get out until 12. The rest of us decided to wait for her before we went out to do anything. This meant lounging around in pajamas, planning a very special long weekend getaway that I will post about in a few weeks! Stay tuned!

When Tasha did get back, we all decided to go to Manly Beach and hangout for a bit. We had a bit of trouble getting there and were all getting hangry so we decided to get lunch first. We went to Circular Quay and ate at a cute diner that looked out onto the Harbor. Even though at this point it was already after 4pm, every one of us (except Christina) got breakfast food. Australians call it “brekky”, which I think is so fun. I might be implementing that into my vocabulary when I come home. The pancakes we got were to die for. So fluffy and flavorful. They were on the smaller side, so I for sure could’ve eaten more.

We took a bit too long eating our food, and just barely missed the ferry to Manly. Instead of waiting an hour for the next one, we got on the “fast ferry” (which was $9…but it did get us there pretty fast) and we watched the sunset on the way. The sun sets so early here! Its completely dark by 5pm which is super weird. We didn’t make it to the beach as early as we planned, clearly, so even though we all had bathing suits on, they did not get used. We did walk around Manly beach and went in the water only up to our shins. I am not sure if it felt like the water was warm because my body was so cold, or if it was genuinely warmer than I was expecting it to be! After we were done in the sand, we went and got some froyo (I was too cold so I got a hot chocolate) and headed back to our accommodation.

Since it is so dark so early, my body was so exhausted! Everyone was wanting to make the most of our evening and go to a club. I will be honest, I had a bit of an attitude beforehand, because clubbing just isn’t my thing. I don’t like to drink, and the club that everyone wanted to go to had a $30 cover charge. I had no interest in paying so much money to do something I didn’t even think would be fun, so thankfully everyone decided on a free club. I tried to wake myself up a bit and change my mood so I didn’t miss out, and I am so glad I did!

The club we went to, Stonewall, is a gay bar, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. But it was so much fun, I can’t even explain it! They had a drag show and good music, but it was packed. In some places I couldn’t even move without bumping into people. I did get myself a fruity cocktail that barely had any alcohol (mostly for a cute Instagram picture to tell the truth) but it was delicious. I had such a fun time dancing with my friends! Everyone said what a good time they had, and by the time we left it was almost 1am. One girl drank a bit too much and by the time we got back home was really not feeling too great. She ended up throwing up, and I felt really bad for her because I could tell she was so embarrassed. Her roommate slept with me, since I have an extra bed, so we could give her some privacy.

Sunday morning was an early wake up call for a super exciting day trip! I was so tired from not getting enough sleep, but I drank a Spark and powered through. Our trip was over two hours on a bus, but well worth it. We headed to Palm Beach to take a ferry to a little island called the Basin so we could FEED WILD WALLABIES!!! It was probably one of the most exciting things I have ever done. The one girl didn’t join us, since she was still not feeling well from the night before, but the remaining six of us were ready to make the most of the last day of our weekend! Palm Beach was SO beautiful! I joked to my parents that I flew all the way around the world to end up back in Palm Beach, which I thought was very funny. We all ate lunch at a little restaurant by the water (I got fish and chips) and then walked around on the beach to kill some time before the ferry was supposed to leave.

Once we got over to the Basin, I was a bit nervous we wouldn’t see any wallabies, especially since we had travelled all that way. But then one started to come right up to us! We had stopped at a Cole’s to grab some carrots and bananas to feed them, so I quickly grabbed out my carrots and broke a small piece off. I barely had to kneel down before the wallaby hopped right over to me to take the carrot! I was a bit nervous, but I wanted to pet it really badly so I just slowly reached out my hand. Wally, as we so lovingly named him, didn’t seem to mind one bit. I got to sit there and pet him and take pictures and I was over the moon. Everyone else took turns petting and feeding Wally and another nearby wallaby. Then we went on a little walk around the Basin itself, and started a 2.8km hike, even though we knew we did not have enough sunlight to finish it. We tried to just get up higher to see if we had a better view of Palm Beach before we walked back down. Tommy, Omario, and I saw an opening in some rocks, so we climbed through and hiked up through the rocks instead of on the path. We found a super high rock formation and took turns climbing all the way up and taking pictures. There were too many trees to get a clear view of the wharf, but it was beautiful nonetheless.

The bus ride home was not fun for me, as I got pretty motion sick. I hate being in a car or bus for too long, and it definitely made me feel queasy. Once we were home and off the bus I was feeling much better. We all ate some dinner and pretty much passed out since we were so tired from staying up late Saturday night and waking up so early Sunday. Overall, the weekend was so great. I am loving my new friends and the adventures we and memories we are making together. They are helping to make me not feel so homesick. Enjoy the beautiful photos of Vivid taken by my sweet friend Jade! She is a whiz on a camera, and was generous enough to let me post her photos. The ones I took on my phone just didn’t do it justice! (also, there are repeats of videos that won’t let me delete them for whatever reason…so enjoy it twice!)

Here’s to hoping this upcoming work week isn’t too stressful or crazy! I am ready to go in with a new attitude and hope it gets better from here. Wish me luck!

xo, Hannah

“Life was meant for good friends and great adventures.”

The Sydney Opera House all lit up for Vivid!
Dressed and ready for the club!
Wally, you’re not looking at the camera, dude.

J-O-B is a Four Letter Word

On Monday, I started my internship here in Australia. Like I mentioned before, I am doing a business administration/event planning internship with the DANII Foundation, which is a company that works to make affordable, life-saving alert technology a reality for people living with type one diabetes, as well as to educate the wider public and advocate for the type one community.

Since I got lost on Sunday trying to find the office, I left quite early on Monday to make sure that I had enough time to navigate the train station. It takes about 30 minutes for me to walk from where I am living to Central train station. That is where I will catch my train to head to work. There are a lot of different platforms where trains are coming and going, so I was a bit overwhelmed to find Platform 1 and make sure I was boarding the proper train heading in the right direction. The train I need to catch is called “Hornsby, via Macquarie University”. However, leaving only 3 minutes earlier every day from the same platform is a train that is called “Hornsby, via Gordon”. I almost got on this train since I was just paying attention to the Hornsby part, so I am glad I noticed it didn’t head the same way! Once I did get on the train, I rode it for 11 stops until it reached North Ryde station. It took about 35 minutes to get from Central to North Ryde. Then, it is only a 10 minute walk to the office. Thankfully Jess drove me by the office on Sunday, because Google Maps was taking me the opposite direction! I recognized that I was going the wrong way, and trusted my (usually very poor…) sense of direction to take me the right way. I was impressed with myself when I did make it to the right place without the help of the walking directions!

My favorite part of the commute is being able to call home. When I am on the train at about 7:45 or 8am my time, it is 5:45 or 6pm in Florida! I have loved getting to talk with my mom and dad and tell them about my previous work day. I was nervous I wouldn’t get to talk with them more than once or twice a week, but so far every day I have had the gotten to call and hear about their life and tell them about mine! It truly starts my day in the best possible way.

I got to the office way earlier than I was supposed to, so nobody was there. I only had the contact information for Patrick, the man who interviewed me, although he doesn’t regularly work in the office. He was coming in on Monday though, since it was my first day. He told me the code to the office and I let myself in to wait for Patrick and Isha, my supervisor. They came shortly after I got there and gave me a tour of the office and introduced me to the other women who work in the travel agency that is in the same building, also owned by the founder of the DANII Foundation.

At first, Isha seemed very flustered that she had arrived a bit late to find she had received over 200 emails just from the weekend, and said her priority was answering those first. I patiently waited for some direction, and continued to ask if she needed any help if it fell quiet a bit too long. The first thing she eventually did have me do was finance related. This I found to be quite interesting. When Patrick interviewed me, he told me the company was small and that I would be able to be exposed to all aspects of how they ran it if I chose to do so. He listed marketing, social media, and finance as examples of things I could learn. Immediately, I told him finance was not my strong suit and I didn’t have much interest in it, and he said I would not have to do anything finance related if I did not want. He said they were grateful to have me interning at all, and he wanted me to “get the most out of my time in Australia by learning things that were of interest to me”. Then, less than an hour into my first day, what am I doing? FINANCE. Guess who was not happy.

This is really when I began to feel overwhelmed. It hit me that I was in a strange country very far away with all new people I’ve barely met, doing a job I have no clue how to do, and I all of a sudden felt very unprepared. I study education, not business! Why did I think that I was qualified to be an intern at a company that expected me to have business knowledge when I obviously know that I do not? I missed my family and the familiarity of home, and it definitely showed in my attitude for a while.

For my lunch break, I had to walk to the gas station on the corner since I did not bring lunch. In hindsight, I should’ve packed something just in case, but I did not know what to expect for my first day, and figured there would be at least a little pizza shop or something near by. The gas station is the only place to get food anywhere near here unless I wanted to walk back to the train station and ride a train to the next city. They did have a ‘fresh food’ section at the gas station that Isha said is usually good, but clearly I picked wrong because my lunch was disgusting. I’m not sure how you can mess up chicken and corn soup, but it was bad. Thank goodness for a sale on sweet potato chips! I called Stevie while I was out of the office and tried not to cry while I told him how frustrated I was. He talked me down and helped me to see the positives of this experience, all of which I knew but had forgotten in my little freak out. I was grateful for his calm demeanor and the way he was able to get me refocused on what was important.

On top of still being completely jet lagged, exhausted, and not feeling very good as a result, my first day (up to lunch) was horrible. I went back to the office with a renewed perspective and attitude, and things did get a bit better! Isha gave me the task of going through a list of auction donors for their annual Jelly Bean Ball that is coming up in two weeks. I was to cross reference the spread sheet with another document that contained numbered logos, and make sure that each logo corresponded to its proper company. There are over 200 auctioned items, and even if the same company donated multiple things, their logo needed to be represented for the correct amount of donations. This was a tedious task that took quite a long time! Midway through the list, Isha told me their last intern was given the same job last year, and assigned an incorrect company’s logo to a very large donation. This logo was printed in every guest’s brochure and on a banner in the main ballroom. The woman who owned the company that actually donated the item was attending the ball, and was FURIOUS to see their generous donation being credited to their competitor’s company. I made sure to be extra cautious and even double check the logos after that story!

The day only continued to get better. Each year in September, the DANII Foundation hosts an educational cruise for people and their families who have Type One diabetes. They give out a very small handful of scholarships, and Patrick had just finished selecting the winners. He asked ME to call and notify them that they won! This was by far the highlight of my day. Every single person was completely shocked and so grateful. Some even cried on the phone! One woman said she thought I was scamming her because I didn’t sound Australian, and requested to FaceTime me. Of course I said yes, so we chatted on FaceTime for close to ten minutes while she thanked me over and over before showing me photos of her daughter who has Type One and telling me all about their family and why they needed this scholarship so terribly. I was truly humbled and so happy to have made these peoples days, even if the only thing I did was give them a phone call. Their excitement and gratitude was contagious, and I couldn’t help but smile the whole rest of the day!

As the week has progressed, my experience at the office continued to look up. I have not been too terribly busy, but am continually asking where I can be of assistance. Isha and I are preparing for the Ball, which is coming up so fast. We spent a few different days sorting and packaging inventory that will be for auction. I also was put in charge of printing, laminating, and cutting the different auction item descriptions to put in frames. That alone took me hours on Tuesday. At least I am not bored! We will continue packaging up more items for auction during the rest of the week, and finalize more last minute details for the Ball. The OCD/organization freak side of me really enjoyed this part!

I am reminded daily that God is with me during this journey. Even when I have felt frustrated or defeated, He lifts me up and comforts me with a peace I can’t even begin to explain. I have been in Australia for almost a week now, and I know without a doubt that He has carried me through and will continue to do so. Thank you, Jesus, for watching over me!

I am looking forward to all of the things I will learn through Isha and the DANII Foundation. Almost one week down, seven to go!

xo, Hannah

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,” – Colossians 3:23

This is my desk at work! (featuring some of the laminated papers I spent forever working on).

First Weekend in Sydney

I have officially been in Sydney for a full weekend! It was jam packed full of activities, and staying busy helped a bit with the jet lag. The time difference from here to Florida is no joke, and it is seriously taking a toll on my body. I immediately tried to only acknowledge local time, so I do believe that has helped in adjusting more quickly! Still a long way to go until I am fully transitioned, but we are getting there.

When I landed in Sydney and passed through customs, I was greeted by a driver holding a sign with my name on it (which I thought was pretty snazzy) who took me to my accommodations. It was not quite 8:30 in the morning by the time I got all my things upstairs into my room, so I did not see anyone right away. My first thought when I got here was pure shock at how SMALL my room was. I was lucky enough to be given a single room, so I was expecting it to be on the smaller side, but the room is truly itty bitty. Come to find out later that it is exactly the same size as the rooms that my peers are sharing with each other, and now it all of a sudden feels huge!

Since nobody else was really awake yet, I had just enough time to shower before we left out for the day. This is when I met the six other interns that came from America with the same company I came with, CIS Abroad. There’s Tasha, Christina, Kat, Jade, Tommy, and Omario. Everyone was so sweet and made me immediately feel welcome. I had been a bit nervous that I would feel excluded because they had 24 hours together before I even arrived, but that was not the case at all. I also met the site director, Maria, who I had been in email correspondence with for the past few weeks prior to leaving America for this trip, who also was very helpful when I had the initial flight delay issues.

Our first stop after leaving the accommodations was a little corner store to get Opal cards. This is what Australians use to pay for public transportation, like buses and trains. We are living just outside the city, and all of our internships are around an hour (or more) of a commute, so we will all be making the most of the transportation that is available! We then took a bus to a shopping plaza Maria called ‘China Town’ (that was actually called Market City) not too far from where we live. We stayed here for about 20 minutes before catching another bus to a nicer mall, called Westfield.

This mall is where I was able to get a phone plan. Before leaving home, I did my research on the best ways to have phone service in Australia. AT&T could only offer me $10 per day as an international rate, so I knew that I needed to find something less expensive. In order to unlock my iPhone to get an Australian SIM card, my phone needed to be paid off. Turns out my phone still has 7 months left before it is paid off, so that was not an option either. Then, John came to the rescue! His phone had about 2 months left on it before it was paid off completely, but he offered to pay it off early and let me take his phone with me so I could get a SIM card! He saved me from needing to get a flip phone, which would’ve been very difficult, in hindsight, since I have been using Google Maps to get just about everywhere.

I opted to get a prepaid plan from Vodafone, which is one of the better Australian phone companies. I got 24GB of data, with unlimited calls and texts, for only $35! The service has proven to be excellent, too. The other phone companies offered similar priced plans for way less data, so I clearly got the best deal. While 24GB seems like a lot, I have less than optimal WiFi at my accommodation, so having the data has helped me not worry about having a good connection to FaceTime and call my family .

After the phone situation was sorted out, Maria took us to a delicious Italian lunch. We ordered pizzas to share and I had to try to discreetly peel the cheese off of my pizza so I didn’t look like a total freak (LOL). These people don’t know me well enough yet to just disregard my weird mannerisms. However, the food was very good, and nobody said anything about the pile of cheese I left on my plate.

Next on our to do list was to tackle the trains! Maria took us to Central station, which is the main train station near our accommodation. We rode it a few stops to Circular Quay, which is where the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge are located! Maria treated us to some yummy gelato at her favorite shop before we walked to the Opera House. I can’t even begin to put into words how incredible it was to see these two iconic landmarks in person. Truly took my breath away. We were able to tour the Opera House and then get drinks at the restaurant/bar that is right next to it. It was only about 5:30pm by this time, and it was pitch black outside. That was definitely not helping with how tired I was. Multiple times, someone made a comment about how impressed they were that I was still awake and in a good mood! I felt like I was really making the most of the day, which I was proud of myself for doing.

By this point of the evening, we decided as a group that we would go to the grocery store, Coles, on our way home to get some things for breakfasts, as well as enough pasta to have a ‘family dinner’. It was such a fun way to end a busy day. The kitchen at the accommodation is shared between all of the people who are living there, and each bedroom has a designated cabinet that holds a pot, pan, two plates, two bowls, a cup, and some silverware. We compiled enough of our pots and pans to make the pasta, and sat around on the counters eating and laughing and enjoying the company of new friends.

I passed out SO FAST Saturday night. I’m not even sure my head hit the pillow before I was asleep! I woke up Sunday morning still feeling extremely tired, and even a little bit sick to my stomach. My body is taking a beating from this time change for sure.

Sunday was our free day. We were instructed to use the public transportation to navigate our own way to our internships, since they each started on Monday. Before heading off to mine, I walked with some of the other interns to the University of Sydney, which is only a few blocks away. We turned a corner and I felt like I was transported to London or Dublin! There was a huge castle-like building right in the middle of a gorgeous stretch of green grass. It did not look at all like a college campus, and it took me by surprise since it is just around the corner from our accommodation and you’d never know it was there. I will definitely be taking walks over there again just to see how pretty it is.

Using the public transportation on my own was difficult. I tried to utilize Google Maps the best I could, but there was a huge marathon taking place that was causing lot of buses and trains to not be in service. I only found this out after boarding a random bus and train thinking I was going the right way. I ended up completely lost and on the opposite side of the city from where I needed to be. Thankfully, my sweet friend Jess came to save me! I met Jess on Facebook through a mutual group we are in, called the Sisterhood, which is a part of Jordan Lee Dooley’s Soul Scripts. If you are a Christian girl/woman, I HIGHLY recommend looking it up and joining. The community is second to none. How crazy is it to meet and become friends on Facebook and then meet in person in AUSTRALIA?? Totally awesome.

Jess drove me around to find my internship, and then took me to Kmart (which is the Australian equivalent to our American Target) so I could get some last minute things I was missing. It was so nice to hang out with her and have her take me to the places it would’ve taken me ages to get to on my own. I am so grateful for her friendship! It’s like a little piece of home is here with me in Australia. Jesus, You are so wonderful! He orchestrates friendships (and everything else!) to perfectly fit when we need them the most. His Love for us astounds me.

After I got back to my accommodation, I was able to finally unpack all the way. I am not a savvy packer by any means, but I barely had the room to fit all the things I brought just by myself. Imagining sharing this small space with another person made me very grateful to have my own room. I also got to hang up some pictures I printed and brought with me. They make me so happy. How lucky I am to have people that make being away so hard.

I am still not totally adjusted to the time zone, so getting a lot of sleep is crucial before this internship really kicks off. Hopefully I feel better and more adjusted very soon. I am nervously excited to see how the first week pans out!

xo, Hannah

“Once the travel bug bites, there is no known antidote. I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.” – Michael Palin

How beautiful is the University of Sydney?!
This shows the intricate design that was required to build the sculpture that became the Sydney Opera House. Each of those pieces are made out of pre-poured concrete that weigh multiple tons each!
This piece of the Opera House was designed to look like the bow of a ship to accentuate the Sydney Harbor.
The cute shop we got delicious gelato from!
The Sydney Harbor Bridge at night was breathtaking.
I never imagined I would be able to see this incredible sight in real life!
Gelato with friends! I got strawberry sorbet. Yummy!
Finally meeting sweet Jess in person! The Sisterhood is so incredible!
One of the cool buildings we walked by on our way to catch a bus to Central Station.
Tour of the Opera House!
I couldn’t ask for better people to take on this journey with!
Market City had some awesome souvenirs to buy for cheap! I will most likely be back here…
Me and my sweet friend, Tasha!
I still am having trouble believing this backdrop isn’t photoshopped.
One of the big Westfield shopping malls! They had some high end stores I will make sure to stay away from.

Off to Australia!

The day is finally here! It has been quite the journey so far! Let me debrief.

On Wednesday, May, 16, my beautiful mother took me to the airport to send me on my way. We said a tearful goodbye and I collected myself and carried on. Security was a breeze, and I proceeded to a bar to grab a glass of wine to destress a bit. When I got back to my gate about 15 minutes before I was supposed to board, I noticed the TV monitor now said my flight to Dallas, that was supposed to leave at 5:30pm, was now scheduled to depart at 7:30pm and land at 9:40pm due to inclimate weather. Immediately I began to freak out, since my connection that was taking me to Sydney left Dallas at 9:50pm, and I knew there was no way I was going to make it. The gate agent instructed me to call the 800 number for American Airlines. The woman on the phone calmed me down and, after 30 minutes on the phone and many full flights later, was able to completely rebook me for flights leaving the next day. Now instead of flying FLL to DFW to SYD, my new itinerary had me flying FLL to DFW to LAX and then SYD. This greatly increased my travel time, but did have some benefits. I was able to have my sweet Stevie come pick me up from the airport and take me home to spend an extra night with my family, and I got to sleep in my own bed.

Thanks to my six hour layover in LAX, I also got the opportunity to see my grandpa, Uncle Ryan, and Leah! They picked me up from the airport and took me to the Santa Monica Pier for a delicious Mexican dinner at Maria Sol and some yummy margaritas. It was the absolute perfect break from airports and airplanes. I loved getting to spend some time with my family that I love and don’t see often. They took me back to the airport and I went through security for the final flight of my journey to Sydney!

Unfortunately, because of the issues with my flight from yesterday, I was not able to keep the extra leg room flight that I paid for. I ended up sitting in the middle of the four person row, and was extremely unhappy about it. I tried to make the most of the situation and sleep, but did not have too much luck. About halfway through the flight, the man sitting to my right got up and moved somewhere else, which left a vacant seat between me and the woman on the other aisle. She got excited and told me to share the extra space to spread out, but did end up taking most of it immediately by laying down. I was able to maneuver to get a bit more comfortable, and was maybe able to get an hour or two of sleep sporadically throughout the rest of the flight. When I wasn’t sleeping, I was catching up on movies I have not gotten a chance to see, which was still fun! The 15 hour flight didn’t seem too bad, in my opinion. Definitely a doable flight! I was bummed about not being able to see the sunrise out the window, though. Instead, I watched it on the inflight entertainment system via the SkyCam! Not quite the same effect, but it worked well enough.

The food wasn’t so bad, either! I ordered chicken and rice for dinner, which was pretty yummy. It came with vegetables, a roll, and some raspberry cheesecake. For a snack, I was given a Kit Kat bar and an apple, which I thought was interesting to be paired together but I ate it anyway. For breakfast, I ordered the fruit platter, which was a delicious assortment of strawberries, pineapple, grapes, watermelon, and cantaloupe that was accompanied by a vanilla yogurt.

Obviously I was initially distraught when my flight was so delayed, since I was supposed to be in Sydney on Friday morning and now will not be arriving until Saturday morning. I would be missing two different orientations on Friday, along with the opportunity to rest and unpack before my schedule got busy. However, everything happens for a reason. Jesus was looking out for me through all this chaos. For example, before I boarded my flight from FLL to DFW, they called for all remaining passengers to check their carry on bags, as there was no room left in the overhead bins. For me, I knew this was not an option. I had snacks, a blanket and pillow, my headphones, and many other crucial items I needed with me for all of my three flights that would be completely useless if they were checked all the way to SYD. I held on to that duffel bag with my life, and thankfully nobody tried to take it. Once on the plane, I prayed that there would be enough room to shove the bag as far under my seat as possible, and hoped I would also figure out somewhere to put my backpack. While walking back to take my seat, I saw one open overhead compartment, with ONE open spot, just big enough for my bag. I almost cried tears of joy. I said a prayer of gratitude as I sat down and easily fit my backpack under the seat in front of me.

Suffice it to say, the traveling experience I was expecting was not at all what actually took place. However, I am grateful that I am safely in Sydney, even if it is a day late. Over 30 hours of travel later, but I did it! Things could’ve gone much worse, and I am so thankful that they didn’t. I think I can officially say I am a traveling expert after all of this. I always appreciate more experience under my belt! Here’s to hoping the trip home in July is much less eventful.

xo, Hannah

“On such a life-changing, educational adventure, the Universe provides its first lesson…no matter how much meticulous preparation, things do not always go according to plan.” – Kirsten Wechsler

Off I go!
My bigger bag was only heavy by two pairs of shoes. Thankfully the smaller bag had enough room!
Saying goodbye to Mommy. Not fun.
This glass of wine for sure helped relax me with the craziness that took place with all of the delays!
Second times the charm! Thank you, Stevie, for picking me up and taking me back to the airport!
Awesome picture on the Santa Monica Pier with my amazing Grandpa!
It’s happening! Hello, adventure! I can’t wait to see what is in store!
A wonderful dinner on the Santa Monica Pier with Ryan, Leah, and Grandpa!
One of the best margaritas ever!
The view from the Sky Cam!
Dinner on the flight. Not too shabby for plane food!

The Journey Begins

Hello friends!

Thanks for stopping by! I am so excited about this blog and all the wonderful updates and memories I will be able to document using it. It is officially TWO WEEKS until I leave for Australia! The countdown is getting shorter and shorter, and I can’t wait to finally start the journey of a lifetime. I am starting to think about what I am going to pack, make lists of things I want to do in my free time once I am there, and begin to mentally prepare myself for 24 hours of travel time (speaking of, if anyone has any movie or book suggestions, I am all ears).

This trip is slowly becoming more and more real. While I have known that I will be going to Australia for a few months now, it still seemed like more of a dream than a reality. Yet plane tickets have been booked, housing is confirmed, I have an incredible job waiting for me, and still I am having a hard time believing that this is real life! My dream trip is about to take place, and I am so thankful to have you wonderful people to update and this amazing blog (designed by my wonderful Auntie Candi, is she not amazing??) to save as a memory forever.

I am so blessed to have this opportunity. I can’t even begin to thank my parents enough for literally giving me the world. I promise to update with all the fun stuff I get to do, and I will try not to make my posts too long, but forgive me in advance because they probably will be. Feel free to read as much or as little as you’d like, but thank you again for coming along on my adventure.

Thanks for joining me!

xo, Hannah


“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

Sydney Australia