Friday, November 29, 2013

The end is here...

I leave tomorrow morning and it's not fun to think about. Don't get me wrong, I'm literally ecstatic to see my family and my dog and be in my home country....but this moment is so bittersweet.

Newcastle will definitely always hold a place in my heart. I love everything about it; it was the perfect place to study abroad! I got to live in an apartment in the main part of a city, a small city, but still! I'm literally a mere fifteen minutes walk to several gorgeous beaches. This has literally been paradise. My roommates- well, I honestly couldn't have asked for better ones. I have met and become very close with some amazing people on this trip....and I never thought I would ever say this but, I might have to make it out to the midwest sometime! I absolutely must see every single one of these people again. One word specifically comes to mind as I say goodbye to each of them....'reunion'- it must happen!

I just want to say how thankful I am for this entire experience- my parents rock! Without them, this would have never happened. Thanks Mom and Dad, you're the best!

Well.....I'm off to sleep as I have a very early airport pick up service tomorrow. Australia, you've treated me quite well. I know it rained all day just because you're sad that I'm leaving! I'll make sure to be back soon!

Durkee Down Under OUT.

A Week in Thailand!

If you were to ask me what my absolute favorite country I've visited so far was, you might think it would be Australia.....well guess again, because it's definitely Thailand.
Bangkok was so awesome but the most beautiful place I've ever seen is Phuket and the islands that are nearby.
In Bangkok, we went to temples and shopped.....a lot. We shopped at the famous Khao San Road, which was a three minute walk from our hostel, and one day we went to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Markets, about an hour south of the city. We also went to a bar on the rooftop of a very tall hotel, so you can see the entire city and that was gorgeous!
Floating Markets
Temple of Dawn
The Emerald Buddha Temple

Bangkok at Night

In Phuket, we did so much! First, we went elephant trekking and then had a sunset dinner cruise around Chalong Bay. The next day we went on an island hopping boat trip all day around the Phi Phi Islands, which are stunning. That was my absolute favorite part of the entire trip! We went snorkeling around reefs, walked on practically untouched islands, visited Monkey Island and fed the monkeys, and had lunch with an incredible view. The next day we went to Patong Beach in the morning, a fifteen minute walk from our hotel. Later, we did the Flying Hanuman, which is basically ziplining across the jungle! It was so fun! The next morning, we visited the super famous Big Buddha at the top of a mountain in Phuket; the views were spectacular and the Buddha just as cool! That night we had our flight out and had to leave the lovely land of the Thai!

It was the most incredible trip of my life and I will make sure to stop by there again, hopefully for longer!

Elephant trekking!

Sunset Dinner Cruise
Bamboo Island
Snorkeling Mosquito Island
Monkey Island

Phi Phi Don Island 
Patong Beach

Flying Hanuman
Big Buddha Phuket

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

One month left?! You must be joking...

Hello all!
It has been too long since my last blog post but I've been very busy the last couple weeks since my semester is coming to an end. With projects, papers, and the like, I have not found time to blog.
This is the last week of classes and then finals start next week. I had a group project and paper due this past Monday and have a project due this Thursday...then next Monday I have my only final and I'll be done! It's crazy! What's more crazy than that is there is less than a month left...not cool. Although, I can admit I do miss my family, friends, and country quite a bit at this point. I've been gone for three and a half months!! Something I've also been really missing closet; I am so sick of wearing the same clothes! Only two suitcases of clothing for four and a half months? It's been fine until about now...but that's not really a big deal, just something I thought I'd mention.
So what's new with Caroline? Well, traveling has become such a huge part of my life now. I feel like I go somewhere every week. New Zealand and Cairns was end of September and beginning of October; we went whale watching in Sydney October 27th; dolphin cruising at Nelson's Bay November 2nd; and my trip to Thailand is in less than a week (leave the 12th). Ah! I'm so seasoned!
whale watching out of Darling Harbor!
I really can't believe I leave Australia so soon. Every time someone mentions it in the group, everyone literally goes, "SHHH! Stop talking!" It's going to be so hard to leave these people. With only 7 of the 14 people going to High Point, half are going far far away to land of the Midwest- no, leave your cheeses and corn stalks for the beautiful North Carolina! It's not thaaaat hard to transfer, right? ....yeah I know, but seriously just do it anyway ;)
I've not only grown to love my fellow roommates but also this country. It may not have my beloved JIF peanut butter or any decent frozen pizza, but it will definitely have a piece of my heart. I've decided, even if it's the last thing I do, that I am coming back sometime in my lifetime! It's absolutely final! It's strange to think I've actually LIVED in AUSTRALIA for the past few months. Like I live here. I can say I've lived in Newcastle, Australia. This is really crazy and incredible to me. I have had absolutely the time of my life here. Another funny thing here is, I really did prepare myself that the time would fly by; oh I knew it would. But this fast?! Wasn't expecting that in the slightest. I leave in three and a half weeks and it still feels like July was yesterday. Oh, and definitely not excited to go back to the cold....Virginia/ North Carolina, please go easy on me. But I guess it will be okay, because every time I'll slip on my UGG boots, I'll think of this lovely place...