As my month-long holiday is coming to an end, I find it ironic how I take a vacation from my vacation (Australia) at HOME. But more than that, I realize how incredibly LUCKY I am to be able to do so - that my "home" is a vacation.

Granted, Sacramento isn't the biggest tourist destination (ha), but that's my original home and I will always always ALWAYS love it dearly. I got to be in one of my oldest friend's wedding, spend time with my family and play with my nephews that are growing all too fast (reality check, or should I say a slap in the face by reality: when they're around 20 years old, I will be 40!! FORTY!!). Anyway, I got lots of good family time in and got to see some old friends as well, which is always nice. I absolutely LOVE summer days in Sacramento consisting of BBQing, swimming, going to the lake and ending with the most amazing warm summer nights!
I was back and forth from San Diego to Sacramento a total of 3 times. That's three 8-hour drives & one flight. I didn't originally intend on going back and forth so many times, it just kinda happened. When I first arrived back in the States - 

OH and can we first talk about how I was reeeal reluctant to go back, BTW? I may or may not have been a little careless with my passport the week prior to flying home  so I might have an excuse not to have to go back (sorry America, but I looove Australia and I reallyy wasn't ready to go back to reality)

- I had landed in LA and then took a train to San Diego after hanging out with my mom in the horrible city that is Los Angeles (8 hours in the city really solidified my hatred for this place. From the exasperating traffic, to getting lost in the ghetto - thanks mom! haha - to rude employees at the train station.) After spending the 4th of July in not-so-sunny SD, I drove up to Sac for my high school best friend, Rosy's wedding. I drove up with my friend, Miles, and was close to deciding to just stay in Sac the remainder of my time in The States, until he ended up needing a ride back down to SD. 

My first few days back in SD were kind of a bummer. Everybody was pretty busy working & what not and I spent the weekend mostly by myself. The weather was perfect and I went on bike rides to the beach and ate all of my favorite food - alone. I decided to go back up to Sac early and then of course, my last 2 days in San Diego, everybody was around and reminded me why I love this place so much. It's funny because I was seriously questioning whether or not I ever wanted to move back to San Diego and then did a complete 180 and am now excited to move back here when I return from traveling. I guess loneliness will do that to you.

Anyway, I spent my last couple of days in San Diego wishing I wasn't going back to Sac and wanting to stay there. I had a flight from Sac-LA and then my international flight from LA-Melbs and so I decided last minute to change my Sac-LA flight to Sac-SD so I could spend my last few days back in SD. Talk about last minute plans.

So I made the drive back up to SacTown and spent more quality time with the fam. My dad came into town, which is a kind of rare occasion, so it was nice hanging out with him. And then my mom came up for my sister, Mallory's birthday a few days later and so we had a BBQ with each of them (one perk of your parents not being able to be in the same room as each other = more family events because of having to separate them). So here I am back in Sacramento and you can probably guess what I'm thinking by now - I just want to stay here instead of going back down to SD! (Yes, I sometimes wonder if I am clinically bipolar as well).

I literally thought of every possible way to just stay in Sac and worked out a pretty good plan, but decided last minute to just go back down. So now, I'm in San Diego on my last full day of vacation before heading back to Aussieland (and for some reason I'm inside blogging instead of laying on the beach...hmmmm...). And of course, I'm not completely 100% thrilled on going back (I may or may not have delayed getting my visa to enter back into Australia, at the chance that I may not have to go back). 

Not that I'm not incredibly excited to see Nate, but this trip back and pretty much my entire trip to Australia, has made me realize how much I love my home. How much I love California and honestly, America overall. And I've never been one to be super pro-'Merica. But I love this place - this country - and I love living right by the beach (No - Australia is NOT all beaches like how their propaganda leads us to believe!) I love cheap alcohol you can buy everyyywhere. I've missed my friends and my family so much. I'm LOVING watching the Olympics from America. I miss having a working iPhone (damn you AT&T for making it impossible to use iPhones with foreign sim cards!) I miss driving, In-N-Out, California Burritos, having toilet seat covers in public restrooms, Sacramento water (it tastes amazing! Although I may be a little biased since I grew up there), seeing all American sports on TV, driving on the RIGHT side of the street and the rest of the familiarities of home.

So as much as it seems like all I've done is whine and complain about where I am or where I'm going, from all of this, I've come to really appreciate so many things - everything really. Not only am I blessed to be able to travel to all of these places - my homes included - but they're all so amazing that whenever I arrive at each one, I don't want to leave. 
Overall, I had an amazing time catching up with old friends - one of the biggest things I've missed while being away is having a lot of friends. I've made a few good friends in Australia, but most of the friends I made at all have moved back home. I've missed the nights of going out with a big group and then passing out on a friends couch with the pizza guy banging on the door because your drunk friend ordered a pizza and then decided not to wake up when he came to deliver it. I don't miss getting hammered 5 nights a week (well, every so often I might), I just miss making crazy memories with friends. 

I'd love to think that one day I will decide to just live in some exotic city like Nepal or Tuscany or something, but I honestly don't think I could permanently live anywhere but California.
 
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So after my span of seemingly “soul-searching” kinds of entries, I deemed it necessary to fiiinally actually write about you know, living in Australia and all. And so don’t worry, this is a TRAVEL entry, not a life entry (thank God, I know).

I have obviously been struggling with quite a few things in life right now (yes, I realize this is already starting to sound like a LIFE entry, promise it’s not…not completely anyway), and so here is a list of the ongoing BATTLES I have with this country. (I still love you Australia, don’t worry)

Public Transportation:

There are pros and cons to everything. I thought that the good outweighed the bad in this area, but I am increasingly despising public transportation a little bit more every time the tram is late (which is several times a day).

I am honestly almost impressed at how the Trams & Trains know me so well. And when I say “know me”, I mean HATE me. Or how it bases its being on Murphy’s Law. How can it possibly know that I need to go to an interview across town, so it makes sure the times on the internet are wrong? And then of course, when I get to the tram stop 2 minutes late, the tram was on time and I had missed it. When EVERY single other tram I wait for, is always AT LEAST 3-5 minutes late. You can almost rely on it (unless you’re trying to make it to an interview of course).

The best solution I have come up with for this problem, is to not check times. Always go extra early and more often than not, you end up waiting less than you would if you had prepared and checked the times online before (because like I said, they’re often wrong, and the trams are always late anyway). This unfortunately will not work after about, 7 or 8 o clock when you decide to go out in the city to get drinks because the trams don’t come as often (perhaps every half hour or so). So you may end up waiting longer than you would if you had planned it. Fortunately, you’re usually somewhat inebriated in this situation so waiting isn’t a huge issue. 

As frustrating as it may be, I still enjoy the economically sound (AKA cheapness) and peacefulness of riding on public transportation. There’s no better time to gather your thoughts and relax. Unless you, like me, have a tendency of falling asleep in any kind of moving vehicles and have had to be woken up by the driver on multiple occasions because you’ve reached the last stop. On the last tram of the night. 
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Escuela:

So school has never been my strong point. I guess that’s not really true. In elementary school I was a real “star”. Unfortunately, “uni” involves a tad bit more effort and focus, that I just don’t seem to be able to muster. So I thought that I had senioritis last semester but I didn’t even KNOW what senioritis was until this semester. Granted, these classes don’t actually count for anything because I’m graduating regardless, so I have a good excuse for lacking motivation. However, it’s too bad because these classes can be quite interesting. When I do decide to go.

Other than the battle of trying to even make it to classes, I also have a little bit of difficulty keeping up in one of my classes: Contemporary Australian Politics. When I began the class, I had no idea what the Australian Political system was like AT ALL, but that's not even the problem. It’s actually their viewpoints and perspectives that I have trouble with, because sometimes it’s just so completely different to how we think in The States.

For example, we talked about Australia’s Welfare system. Each class, a few people come to class prepared to debate certain topics. Yesterday we talked about Welfare and “Mutual Obligation”, which in short, is just certain things people that are receiving Welfare need to do in return. Such as getting a college education or doing specific types of community service, regardless if it’s related to “what you want to do in life”. So I kid you not, but students were legitimately saying that these people, who the government was GIVING money to, shouldn’t have to do anything in return. And this just BLOWS my mind because I’m thinking, why should tax payers have to pay for the living costs of lazy individuals? And I mean, if you know me at all, I am in no way conservative/Republican/right-winged AT ALL. I have an almost socialist view of how I would want our society to be.

But anyway, students were arguing for these teen moms and unemployed people – who mind you, aren’t necessarily from poor families and neighborhoods. We’re talking about your normal every-day people who just don’t want to work. It’s NOT hard to get welfare in this country. My teacher admittedly went on about how he got welfare when he was younger because it was so easy to get and you could literally live off of it fairly well. We’re not talking food-stamps here. These people get decent checks in the mail of amounts that people in The States don’t get for actually doing labor and working.

And so they’re arguing about how the Australian government is acting as a dictator by saying these teen-mom-welfare-receiving individuals need to get an education (which they will PAY for) because if someone doesn’t want to go to college, then they shouldn’t be forced to. I thought OUR government babied us, but it turns out that we’re quite harsh. (Granted we have a very high poverty and unemployment rate) but people shouldn’t just be GIVEN money and so much support by hard working tax payers because they don’t feel like working at a job that “isn’t what they want to do”. Tony Abbott, the Liberal Party leader (and “Liberal” to Australians means Republic basically), named these people “job snobs”. There are people here that could get a job and are qualified for jobs, but they don’t want to get work because it’s not the “right job” for them and are waiting around for the right one. And THESE are the people who are receiving welfare. Obviously there are people in need that are receiving it as well, but far too many people in this country get a free ride. There’s a “high unemployment rate” (which to them is about 5%) & also a shortage of skilled labour in many occupations (http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/stories/s27562.htm). (I actually have to write a paper about Welfare and I decided not to because I figured I was going to fail the class anyway. And yet here I am, quoting politicians and citing sources).

Anyway, like I said, these are the battles I’m dealing with. Like shutting my mouth during the class debate so people didn’t think all Americans are heartless. Since you know, these people are just “lost and confused and don’t know what they want to do in life”. Umm yes, I can relate, yet I’m still working two jobs and I’m not even a citizen of this country. But like I said, their perspectives are just so different. Australia is so much more laid-back and relaxed and I suppose, much nicer (as in the opposite of mean), than America. And maybe this kind of perspective has given them an advantage. I mean, it’s given them a LOT lower of an unemployment rate so I guess they did SOMETHING right. In the States if the same issues were brought up, our government would laugh at them and would definitely NOT give them any money just because they haven't found that right job that suited them. But then again, America is a power-hungry country with a high poverty/unemployment rate that can't afford to give any money away because we spent all our money on the war. (Still love you though, US!) So I guess it's all about perspective on which of these two countries is better off. And in what sense "better off" would mean.

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Work:

So it seems fairly hypocritical that I am going to complain about work right after that whole welfare shpeal…schpeal? However you spell that word…but at LEAST I have a job. Although I don’t think this country would give me welfare checks regardless, so maybe I’m just biased ha. Anyway, I’m struggling with this whole “not-tipping” concept. Right, it’s great when I go out to bars and restaurants and the price on the menu is what I’ll ACTUALLY be paying, and not 30% more (tax + tip). But when I’m on the other side of it, NOT receiving tips, it’s quite a bust.

I’ve worked in the serving/restaurant industry for what, 7 years now? Ever since my lovely little hostess gig at the Denny’s down the street from my house in Orangevale. And even THEN I got tipped. Anyway, I have dealt with a fair amount of abuse from customers saying their food sucked, or their drink wasn’t strong enough, or they put too much tomato sauce – whoa, I mean KETCHUP – on their burger so they need a new one and blah blah blah. Okay, you’re giving me money – like literally handing me money that I get to put in my pocket and go home with and spend on drinks later. SOO, I will put up with your nonsense. But Mr. I-don’t-want-to-get-out-of-my-seat-and-order-at-the-register-even-though-this-is-a-café-where-everyone-else-is-but-you-should-serve-me-at-my-table-and-then-I’m-going-to-yell-at-you-because-you-should’ve-known-I-wanted-a-large-sized-latte-even-though-I-never-told-you-but-you-should’ve-read-my-mind – I don’t want to deal with you because YOU are not giving me my future rum&coke money. I am clearly losing a lot of patience with these people. Especially since I live in & work in this apparently “up-scale” town of Camberwell where even Australians can be snobby and a PAIN in my “arse” (that’s what Aussie’s say instead of ASS…weird). 

Unfortunately there’s no way to spin this battle to make it into a half-full cup of water or whatever the phrase is.

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Oh the Weather Outside is Weather…:

(Forgetting Sarah Marshall reference if you didn’t know. If you didn’t know, go watch it). So I for some reason, used to call San Diego weather bipolar. And I’m honestly confused as to why I did that. Because from what I remember, it was about 70-75 degrees and PERFECT about 300 days out of the year. Yes, there are 65 more days where the weather was a little less than perfect. Perhaps 65 degrees or 80 degrees. Every now and then it would rain.

I now know, like how I know how what senioritis is, what BIPOLAR WEATHER is. People actually call Melbourne the city that has 4 seasons in a day, or something more eloquently said than that. I am literally sitting in my room at this moment with the sun glaring off the neighbors’ window and straight into my eyes, when it was dark and cloudy about 10 minutes ago. No joke. It will rain for 20 seconds sometimes and then suddenly subside long enough for the sun to come out for about 15 minutes and then 10 minutes after that, I hear thunder and lightning. Sure, it sounds kinda cool. But what the hell am I supposed to wear when I’m getting dressed for the day? 

My iPhone weather app says it has a 40% chance of rain. I look out the weather and it’s completely sunny. I get ready and the clouds take over so I put on my rainboots, only to trudge around in school in them, feeling like an idiot while everyone else is wearing sandals in the sunshine and humidity. The only thing worse than that is deciding on wearing Toms and getting completely soaked because it starts pouring rain. And usually I would just bring my umbrella just because of how sporadic the weather is, but the wind & rain destroyed mine. That was also during an episode of battling the trams and having to run to my interview. (Evidence below).

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Fortunately, all the rain and bad weather (I’ve actually NEVER been in so much rain in my entire life) makes me appreciate every single day of good weather. Unfortunately, most of the days happen to be on the days I’m stuck inside working. (Murphy’s Law at it again..or is Catch 22? I honestly never could remember which was which and which applied to my life. Probably both ha). But regardless, it's nice to wake up to a beautiful day when your weather app told you there was a 95% chance of rain every single day. Every now and then, the unlikely 5% can endure:)

 
There's no better place or time to write than when you're sitting at the airport. So here I am. I'm not yet leaving for Australia, but just going back down to San Diego/Vegas/LA for a week until my final departure.

First of all, I should probably mention that I kept a diary for about 13 years until my laptop tragically crashed a little over a year ago, resulting in the loss of about 7 of those years. (Always back your computer up on an external hard drive or a flash drive at the very least!) The remaining years are on actual handwritten diaries or old-school floppy disks. I decided to quit writing after that (dramatic, I know). But it’s pretty discouraging (AKA heartbreaking) when literally hundreds of pages slash my entire high school and college life were erased (this also includes pictures. Thank God for Facebook). But ya, so I've had a few years of experience with writing at airports/on airplanes.

Anyway, it’s always so bittersweet being at airports. Always leaving somewhere behind. I suppose I should be more optimistic and see It as going somewhere, but it always seems more bitter than sweet. I sit here now (which is currently on the plane), leaving Sac until July – which isn’t even that big of a deal because I’ve gone longer without being home or seeing my family. It’s just weird now that I’ll be living in a different country, even further away from my adorable nephews and the rest of my amazing family. My nephews are all getting so big, it’s crazy! When I get back they’ll probably be twice the size they are now.

NorCal was good while it lasted. Went to a Kings/Warriors game at Oracle Arena in Oakland, which was fun – minus the Kings losing (PS, how am I going to watch basketball in Australia?!!). Hung around the bay for a couple days visiting Nate’s family and then came to Sac about a week ago. Jumped around my sisters houses and got to spend some quality time with the family. I feel like I’m getting pretty good at this packing light (well trying to) and constantly moving thing because we changed houses every 2 days at least.
So now I’m heading back to San Diego right now and then I’ll be leaving for Vegas on Friday until Sunday. Monday I’m having my going away/birthday dinner with my friends. I hate goodbyes because I’m definitely not the emotional type and basically just get really awkward and uncomfortable in those situations. It’ll just be weird because I’m not sure if I’ll be moving back to San Diego, ever really. I mean, I obviously wouldn’t mind and if I didn’t have any other plans, I might as well (there or back to Sac). But my goal is to keep traveling and moving around. Hopefully Nate or I (or both of us would be nice) get a good job somewhere and can move to a different country or even stay in Australia. That’s the plan for now, but who knows – things always change. 

OH & I added another thing to my bucket list. My old dance coach Kristin convinced me to go to this hip hop dance class last night and so I went. Almost forgot how much I love dancing. Or how good it feels. (Or how out of shape I am). So I’m determined to find a studio or somewhere in Australia to take dance classes. It definitely filled a void I didn’t even realize I had. 

So hopefully all of my blog entries aren’t this long. I realize I should probably be trying to cut them short to keep my audience’s attention. But it’s so hard to condense everything I want to say. I guess I’m a little too used to doing the whole diary thing where I would write pages and pages about my entire life. So I’ll work on making it short and sweet. Til the next airport I arrive at! 
 
As I leave San Diego, I can't help but reminisce about the last 5 years I've spent here. I remember being your typical scared, little Freshman, trying so hard to fit in but just wishing I was back home. Then finally getting the hang of it after meeting my still-now-best-friends, joining Gamma Phi and just getting over the homesickness. (Mainly due to things not working out with the boy back home. Which, of course, always seems to work out for the best.) But whatever gives you that extra push, right?

I spent the rest of the 4 years - yes I'm a proud five-year student - making plenty of mistakes, moving far too many times, having WAY too many different jobs, and trying to figure out my life. Which, I definitely still haven't done yet, but hey - I'm only 22 years YOUNG (23 in a few weeks..which is scary because 23 rounds up to 25, 25 rounds up to 30...scary).

My friends always make fun of me because I've literally had about 12 different jobs all throughout college. From that horrible on-campus call center I started with, to way too many restaurant jobs, with a few random jobs here and there - I've got all kinds of experience :). I always figure, why would I settle for this job I hate if I can just quit and get a new one that I'll hopefully like better? I may sound lazy or irresponsible or unreliable, but honestly, how important was my role as the hostess as the bar downtown? Or even a bartender at another bar downtown? These jobs are NOT going to lead me to my career and to them, I'm replaceable and expendable anyway - as are most of their employees with those types of positions. Let's be real, even if I was the star server at one of the many restaurants/hotels I've worked at, it's not like they won't ever be able to function without me. And I definitely can function without any of these jobs as well. If I go to work miserable, then yes, I'll do something about it (i.e. quit) because we all have choices in life and I don't intend on staying somewhere just because I feel stuck. 

This obviously goes for life as well. I don't want to stay in my comfort zone and perhaps get a mediocre "big kid job" once I graduate. I know that there is so much out there in the world and I don't intend on letting the opportunity to go explore it, pass me by. Like I said before, when else will I be able to pick up, drop everything and travel? This is the perfect opportunity. I love San Diego and I will miss it dearly, but it's time to move on and hey, maybe one day I'll come back :)