Saturday, May 25, 2013

Land of Kangaroos

Travel Blog #1

Australia. The 6th largest country on planet earth. A continent. Probably another huge melting pot where all Asians migrate to because its the closest Western civilization around. Another check off the list of places to go, another continent I've been to.

What brought me to this beautiful place was the fact that my family hadn't been all together as a whole cohesive 4 piece unit since July of 2010 when my sister moved to the States for her undergraduate degree and I followed the year after. It was high time for a family vacation - and this time, that meant a caravan in the land of kangaroos.

Meet kangaroo.
It took awhile to get my sister adjusted. She grabbed a handful of food and the kangaroo comes up to her more than eagerly and all she could do was scream, "Hazel! Help! How do I feed the kangaroo?"

And then came the kisses. My sister was a natural at getting them, while it took me about a million tries before little Roo decided that I could have a kiss too.

But the most amusing thing ever was my dad on his Samsung Galaxy tablet, taking continuous shots of us interacting with the kangaroos, while himself staying as far away from the hopping creature as he could. That resulted in some very curious animals approaching the man with the big box in hand... and a few dozen shots of the same exact thing. Or a motion picture, literally.

Yea, I am a woman of many poses.

Of course there were other animals at Caversham Wildlife Park and I was one of those tourists who takes pictures of all the animals, but really, who wants to see pictures of animals? Rather, just go to the zoo yourself.

I did discover that llamas and I have a mutual understanding...

... koalas are the cutest little things ever and if it was possible, I would want a koala bear instead of a teddy bear.

... I often feel like a bunny: short, small, but adorably cute ;)

... and well, I have a gift in taking pictures of floating animals.
Of course, that wasn't all we did in the five days we were there. We went kayaking down the Swan River (where apparently a good deal of dolphins reside, we didn't spot any). Raced my sister around the lake and she went straight into the pole thing that marks the ends of different zones. Don't tell, but I think she knocked one partly done. Of course, that led to bumper kayaks. That didn't work out so well. Us Chang sisters have craziness in our bones. We also don't look anything alike or like any of the same stuff. Guess the only mutual thing is the craziness.

Visiting a chocolate factory, wine tasting, going to the famous local ice-cream shop were things also on the agenda. Oggies Ice Cream Cafe turned out to have a lovely outdoor section with a playground, lots of grass, and would you know! Soccer balls! Turns out I'm pretty great at playing soccer with an ice-cream cone in hand. We had a mini family competition to see who could kick the ball between two really close stumps with the least amount of attempts. Reigning champion, hate to brag, me! ;) It took me only three attempts while the dad took 7, the mother, 8, and the sister, 9. In all fairness, my mom had a handicap and was allowed to shoot from a closer range.
As for wine tasting, that was interesting. Ended up we liked some and actually bought a bottle which was consumed later.... me!

Not really. I had about three small sips that were more like drops and called it good.

In every trip, there is one day when its rainy and foggy and you just kinda do absolutely nothing but still have fun. That day to us meant making a trip to Mandurah, south of Perth, having some great fish and chips at Cicerellos, and taking pictures at the bay. We then went to the caravan park for that night really early in the afternoon, sat in the caravan through a really intense rain, while my sister was stuck at the bathroom. She revealed to us that she was trying to figure out how to get back to the caravan and considered using a plastic chair as an umbrella but decided that would look too weird. Later on that day, the dad went to grill burgers for dinner and got caught in the rain as well and literally used a plastic chair as an umbrella and appeared at the caravan looking like a strange creature with a huge plastic hat. I'm pretty sure we got our craziness from him.

You can tell who's the loud one.

Back to the dad, here's another shot of him taking photos. Notice the orientation of the tablet and how it varies. He tries.

To end the trip, we traveled back to the Swan River to go catamaran sailing. That by itself was quite an adventure. Firstly, once we were situated and sailing out into the open, there was absolutely no wind and so here we are going at like 5mph. Of course my sister, being such a huge mathematic junkie, gave us a running commentary on her estimated speed of travel. We caught some speed and after awhile decided it was time to attempt turning the boat around. We did everything our instructor told us to do yet the boat was not turning. My sister's giving her suggestion, my dad's putting in his input, nothing's working and I'm like, "Y'all. Let's think this through logically. Physics, people, physics." And finally we turned. And made it back to shore. My family are hopeless scientists, but thankful someone on board had a minute understanding of physics.

Behold, the Chang family.
(Pictures taken from three different cameras so you get a full perspective. View Facebook album here and leave comments!)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Dirt Road Prayer

Dear God,

I often rant within myself how little people know about me, and I've only just recently started opening up to fellow human beings about my innermost thoughts and emotions. But still, not a single human being here on Earth knows me like you do. And I can only just be so grateful that You do know me, inside out and backwards.

I thank you that You are always with me, even in the Charlotte Douglas airport at 6am in the morning, when its quiet and I'm all alone and my emotions are going through a hormonal fit. No, instead, I was able to go, "Hey God. This is what's up." And You listened.

I thank you that I can walk through airports and pray for the random strangers and people I see walking by. What a way to truly reach the nations.. in a place where everyone is from different locations, united by a similar mean called travel.

I thank you that You truly know what I'm going through right now, when no one else truly gets it. A sort of mixed emotion of happiness and unhappiness. A sort of anxiety and a sort of excitement. Just a ton of mixed emotions.

So here's my prayer, dear God. That you guide me and lead me. May I remember who I am in You. Remind me to live like a new person because I am that person. Give me peace. Help me be brave. Finally, help me to love.

There's my dirt road prayer.

It doesn’t matter how long it’s been
I can talk to God like he’s my best friend
Take my heart lay it down again right there
In a dirt road prayer.