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Ali's Gap Year Travel Page

Ok so it's not my GAP year anymore, and Canberra's not so exciting as England but its still good!! We have dramatic storms and midnight evacuations in the falling hail, plus, I'll keep you updated on all my study dramas, I bet your excited!!

Diary Entries

Thursday, 08 March 2007

Location: Canberra, Australia

Hi everyone, I know its been ages since I've posted anyhting - I mean I still haven't finished writing about my trip and I've been back for three months!! Oh well, once again I'm gonna use the excuse that I've been busy and that because I've just moved away from home again and am now a resident of the ACT!! How exciting!! Mum and I came down here on the 9th of Feb and she stayed over O week to help me move all my stuff in to my third floor room (lots of huffing and puffing there!!). Might recruit the army to help me next time!! I would just like to point out that I did in fact drive all the way down here while mum navigated - not a bad effort considering the furthest I'd driven before that was Hawk's Nest!!

O week was a lot of fun and there were heaps of things to do organised by both the college I'm staying in (Burton and Garran) and the university itself. There were introductory lectures, market days and the usual. B & G organised heaps of parties and events to welcome all of us first years such as pizza nights, walking tours to all the best local shops, classy nights, a drag n diva night (some good outfits there and certainly a good ice breaker with all the boys in dresses!!) and other fun stuff. I unfortunately got really sick and missed out on the toga night and the occa night and even the luau but I still had some fun anyway. I also went in a few poker tournaments which I actually did really well at considering all the people I was playing against all took it really seriously and used all the fancy terms and stuff. I just sat there drinking my champagne and winning nearly every hand - i ended up with a pile of chips triple the size of every one elses!! Pity it wasn't for money..... The others at the table got grumpy at me cause they were better players (or so we all thought) but I kept winning so maybe I'm better than I think or perhaps it was just the champagne.......

At the moment I'm busy settling in to life here in Canberra. We are in week three of classes and I'm doing microeconomics, statistics and Chinese. Because Chinese is such a hard course, I'm doing double of it all year so I have to wait til next year to start my non-language major for asian studies. I'm probably studying about 4 times the amount of Chinese than I am with the other courses put together!! Its so much work!! But I do like it especially the characters. I'm terrible at the speaking but at least I'm good at writing it. But now statistics is getting a lot harder so it might mount a challenge to my chinese study time (stupid probabilities - I hated them in school and I still hate them now!!).

In other news, I'm back in the workforce and I'm now a junior pharmacy assistant (BIG BIG thanks to Jan!!). I'm at Hawker pharmacy which is a bit out of the city but I really like working there and its a really good job - different to anything I've done before. At the moment I've been working a lot (today is the only day this week that I have off hence the reason I'm writing now) but thats because I'm doing a lot of training, having never worked in pharmacy before. The retail part I picked up really quickly but obviously the pharmacy specific parts take a while. Any hints uncle Howard?? Normally I'll be working three times a week which will be perfect.

Anyway thats it for the moment because I need to go rescue my washing as things sometimes wander. Though if I wait long enough someone might put it in the dryer for me!!

Next installment: what happened when the storm hit Canberra, there's fun, there's excitement and there's a whole heap of drama. So get ready for the night of havoc that well and truly said 'welcome to Canberra it's a fun place'!!!

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Location: Barcelona, Spain

I suppose its time I finished writing about all this before I forget it all!! Its so good to be back home again thats for sure!!

Spain was definately one of my favourite places on our trip and not suprising because it was one of the places I'd most wanted to go to. Our first stop was in Barcelona where we spent 4 nights. On our first morning we went for a walk down the famous La Ramblas in the very centre of Barcelona and I have to say it is one of the coolest streets in the world!! It is lined with shops and restaurants and down the middle it has all sorts of markets, stalls and the best street entertainment you will ever see!! We came across all sorts in Barcelona from singers and musicians to break dancers, puppeteers, painted men, mimes and even a pair of professional acrobats!! It was like one big open air theatre and you could wander around for hours without getting bored.

We wandered down to the harbour and had a look around there before we headed off to a palace designed by the architect Gaudi who designed many of the coolest buildings in Barcelona. He was like the arcitectural equivalent of Salvador Dali - his buildings are full of the strange and the bizarre and many of them look like they are dripping!! Anyway, the palace was shut when we got there so we wandered across the city to the gothic quarter which is possibly the most beautiful and atmospheric part of the city. In the narrow and winding backstreets we discovered a tiny jewish synagogue that had somehow survived all the inquisitions and was over 1000 years old!!

After that we did the necessary thing and headed to the chocolate museum to take a look. It had information about the history and the making of chocolate and how it had been nrought to europe, but the coolest part was all the sculptures that were made of chocolate!! I've never seen anything like it!! Some of them were huge and so intricately detailed - we saw guitars, cartoon characters, models of buildings like the sacrada familia, we saw animals and even a perfect cholcolate model of Louis Armstrong with his trumpet!! It was awesome!! More on Barcelona next time!!

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Location: Greathouse, England

I suppose its time I caught up on a bit more of my holiday then!!

After our week in Assisi we spent the day travelling by train to Nice. 4 trains and about 13 hours later we arrived safely in Nice and after a good old walk from the train station, we found our hostel which was just a block away from the beautiful (albeit pebbly) waterfront. We ended up spending 4 nights in Nice but the first one we were exhausted after all those nasty trains!!

On our first day in Nice we did a bit of wandering (our particular travelling specialty. Courtney doesn't believe in maps though so its up to me to make sure we don't get lost!!) and we walked for a while along the waterfront and found the famous food markets in the middle of town. These markets were crazy and the vendors were continually yelling about their prices and their produce. It was a bit bewildering but at least for the first time in our travels I could understand the language. I even got to practice it a bit when we bought some delicious fruit and some of the best cheese we found in Europe!! None of the sellers seemed to speak any English so my bit of french came in handy!!

We had a late lunch and then that evening headed off to the movies to see the 'The Black Dahlia' which was thankfully in English (you just had to ignore the french subtitles!!). We weren't to happy on coming out though to find that we had to walk down a dark street to get home!!

The next day we took the train to Monaco to have a look at how the rich and famous live. It was a beautiful sunny day and very hot despite being november, so I can understand why they would want to live here!! Monte Carlo was a very beautiful and very clean city but it was built into the cliffs surrounding it so we had a few hikes up hills throughout the day!! The waterfront was beautiful and I have never seen yachts that size in my whole entire life!! They were more what I would class as a ship rather than a yacht!! I would love to know how much money was tied up in that harbour - It would probably feed all the 3rd world countries for a decade!!

Having heard that you actually have to pay a fair sum to get into the casino, we contented ourselves with the still impressive outside and headed off to the exotic gardens instead. These gardens are made up entirely of different species of cacti and were not exactly what we had expected when we went to Monaco but they were actually really good and were high up on the hill so we had priceless views out over Monaco and the Meditteranean. It really was an amazing spectacle!! Down the bottom of the garden was a small cave system and we got a free tour with our ticket. The tourguide unfortunately didn't speak english and I don't know many french words that have to do with caves so we had to be content with listening to him speak Italian to the other tourists. We weren't really worried though because we had already been to Postojna where the cave system was much much bigger so we were happy just to look.

By the time we got back to Nice we were exhausted from walking all day so for a treat we went out to a fantastic mexican restaurant (not quite as good as the one in Rome but very close) which made the strongest cocktails I've ever had!! One of those was equal to about 4 normal ones!!

The next day we went for a brief morning trip to very high class Cannes where we found getting a coffee a very expensive and snooty affair. The waiters in the posh cafe didn't seem to like us much probably cause we don't ooze wealth or style though by the end we did ooze irritation!! We didn't find ourselves drawn into staying very long in Cannes though we were happy to walk on a sandy beach (no waves though!!) for the first time in our holiday. We also did a little bit of shopping in the posh gallery Lafayette though only because we got a non-EU shoppers discount (slightly making up for the discrimination in Italy!!) and we only bought a face wash each - nothing too expensive!!

That afternoon was spent almost entirely at the laundromat watching the slowest washing machine ever!! Lucky Courtney brought along her Sudoku or we would have gone mad!!

Unfortunately that was our last night in Cannes so we celebrated by having a picnic on the pebbly beach with a 2 euro bottle of wine (which was actually very drinkable!!). The next morning we headed off early to Barcelona on what was to be a 12hour odyssey on two trains. Needless to say we turned up at our hostel looking pretty feral and frazzled and thankfully there was no one else in our dorm that night cause we would have scared them away!! Despite the inauspicious beginning, it was in fact the start of one of the best stays in our trip and Barcelona (Spain in general actually) was definitely a high light!!

Anyway, in other news (i will catch up on Spain later) I am getting onto my flight tomorrow and heading home!! I can't believe my year is actually over - its gone so quickly!! I wish I could stay longer but I'm also so excited about going home and I can't wait to see everyone in just a few days!! I'll probably tell you the end of my travels instead of typing them hehehe. I'm so lazy...... Not long now and I'll be back!!

Thursday, 07 December 2006

Location: London, England

After our time in Rome we caught the train to Florence and found our hostel and after dragging all of our bags up four flights of stairs (no easy task I can assure you!!) we were told by the rather nasty lady running the place that our rome was actually in another building on the other side of town. Still sweating from the climb up the stairs and getting angrier by the second we asked why the room we had booked wasn't in the hostel where we had booked it and kind of refused to move. They weren't very happy with us for not moving (and vice versa thats for sure!!) but they set up beds for us (trundle beds with sleeping bags - even less happy now!!). The only thing we couldn't fault about this hostel was its perfect location right in the centre of florence. We only stayed there for two nights before we moved to a much nice (and cheaper) hostel just a couple of streets away.

On our first evening in Florence we got a much needed gelato and went for a wander around. Florence is still full of tourists like rome but its alot more relaxed and doesn't feel as crowded. Its a great place to just wander around the streets and the piazzas. We started at the piazza del duomo which is home to the spectacular and HUGE cathedral which is tiled on the outside with the most amazing patterns in green and pink tiles. Then we wandered to the loggia della signoria which is an open air display of some really famous statues by florentines. Then we walked across the ponte vecchio which is Florence's most famous bridge and is lined with jewellery shops.

The next day we went inside the duomo and found that it is just as large on the inside but a bit bare really, underneath though, they have a crypt museum where you can see the excatvations of older cathedrals and roman ruins (the mosaics were amazing!!). After that we did some shopping at the leather markets and just like jacqui, I came out with a really nice handbag (and a few other things!!)

The next morning we were just wandering around when rain forced us into the palazzo vecchio which turned out to be a good move. The palace was once home to the Medici family and was decorated just like you would expect from such a powerful and rich family. The palace was amazing and had some incredible fresoes and great views out over florence. The day after was a big one, we got up early to go to the Uffizi gallery - one of the best and the biggest galleries we saw. We pent all day there and by the time we came out we were exhausted!! We saw so many amazing pieces of art though - lots of ancient roman sculptures, paintings by Raphael, Botticelli, Michaelangelo and even a few Da Vinci paitings and sketches.

Despite being all arted out, the next morning we also got up early but this time we went to see the David. Unlike Jacqui and Renae, we basically got straight in and hardly had to wait at all. Its only a tiny gallery but the David is worth it 100%. He is the most amazing statue and the copy in the palazzo vecchio doesn't even come close. Michaelangelo was a genius thats for sure!! I completely fell in love with the David and even Courtney was pretty impressed!! That afternoon we went across the river to the palazzo pitti, another palace of the Medici. Our ticket got us into the costume gallery, the silver gallery and treasure rooms and the Boboli gardens which were amazing. We got the best views out over the whole of florence and the surrounding tuscan country side. They were some of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen and it made a nice change from the endless galleries and palaces it felt like we'd been visiting!!

That day was our last in Florence so the next morning we caught the train to Assisi for our week of time share (thanks to Courtney's parents!!). Our accomodation there was like complete luxury compared to some of the hostels we've been in along the way - no fighting over the showers, no getting woken up by other people coming home late or getting up early and no one snoring!! It was a very relaxing week and a great way to recharge the batteries for the next half of our trip. That being said though, we did do a few things (except the first day when I positively refused to get out of my bed until nearly 12!!). We went into a Assisi nearly everyday and it was a really nice country town high up on the hill top so we had fantastic views out over Umbria.

Assisi's main claim to fame is that it was the birth place of St Francis (who we now know a lot about!!) and it has an amazing basilica dedicated to him. Ive never seen so many monks and nuns wandering around as I did in the streets of Assisi!! The basilica is built on two levels and we explored the whole thing at various stages throughout the week. It has very bright and vibrant frescoes on every inch of wall you can see and the most amazing thing is that some of them are nearly 800 years old. Its an important place of pilgrimage because it also holds the sacred relics of St Francis such as his clothing and blessings written by him.

Assisi is a great place to just wander and get lost in the narrow medieval streets which is really spooky if you are there between 1-4 pm cause everyone goes for a siesta and the streets are deserted and the shops shut!! We also visited the crypt museum of the cathedral (different to the basilica and the thousand or so other churches in Assisi) which showed the remains of the old cathedrals and some roman ruins as well. We also went into an old church i the main square which had been built into the old Roman temple to Minerva and still had the columns outside.

On our last afternoon in Assisi we even went to the effort of climbing up to the Rocca Maggiore, an old fort high up on the hill above Assisi and we had the most wonderful views out over the countryside. Its exactly what you imagine when you think of Italy, especially the Tuscany region. The fort itself was pretty interseting too and we spent a few hours climbing up and down its towers and twisting stairways and walking around the walls. It really was a beautiful spot and I felt we got to know the town fairly well in the week we were there (especially its many lung busting hills!!).

After that we headed off to Nice but I'll write about that next time!! Jacqui's back from New York tomorrow!!

Happy Birthday Jenna!! Hope you enjoyed Robbie Williams - was he just as good in real life??

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Recent Messages

From Jacqui
Yes ali i check it all the time but you never write anything on it, good to see your starting to catch up...
Response: This coming from you!! How many times did I check yours in the 9 weeks I was away and you hadn't written anything?? Good to see you've caught up on Rome now. Bet you are having an awesome tim in New York - you might find a change or two in your room when you get back cause I've kinda spread my stuff out a bit......he he he
From Mum !!
You cheeky girl! I have been checking your page every day, only to be disappointed day after day, with no news posted. Don't phone calls and emails don't count as messages? I really like this story on Rome - sounds like a wonderful place to visit - just not in the dodgy parts! You & Courtney are certainly getting around, and your time in Europe is nearly over. I suppose in some ways you will be glad to get back to the UK and be able to set your pack down for a while & just rest. Pity Jac won't be there, but it probably won't worry you anyway. Lucky her - off to New York. Can't wait till you both get home.
Love Mum
Response: Actually mum, I called you both times....... Good to finally have some messages!! Won't be long til I see you all at Christmas - 2 weeks now!!
From Mum
Hi Ali,
Glad to see you are keeping us all up to date with your travels in Europe. Good to know you were listening when I told you we needed to know where you were and what you were doing!! It's Thursday here, and Dad and I have been home for a week already! Back at work and getting over the jet lag, which wasn't too bad, but the nodding off at all times of the day is slowly starting to subside. What a great time we had visiting you and jacqui - long way to come for that afternoon tea you prepared for us - but well worth the trip. Did I really look so much like a windmill when we came through the arrivals gate - I was very excited. Already you and Courtney have been on the move for over a week - Prague sounds like an interesting place to explore, no time to be bored with so much to see and do! Budapest, I have heard, also has amazing sights to check out, hope you enjoy that just as much. Say hi to Courts for us - must get back to work. Keep safe and healthy Ali, and keep us informed of all the places you visit.
Lots of love Mum
Response: Glad to hear you are over the jet lag now!! Not looking forward to it when I get home - hope I don't sleep through Christmas!! Budapest is beautiful, I like it even better than Prague and I will definitely be back here one day!! Courtney's right here and I'm keeping her in line!!
From Jac
Hey Al
Sounds like you are having an awesome time! Do you have enough warm clothes or did i make you unpack too much of your stuff he he! Hopefully see you in rome!
Response: It´s great over here!! I have lots of things to reccomend you do when you get here!! Have´nt even needed any of my cold weather clothes yet and I was walking around in a T shirt today!! Can´t wait to see you in Rome!!
From Mum
Come on Ali!! What's happening with your journal? Oh - thats right - you have been away in Egypt and then you had to come back to work and have been tooooo busy. Looking forward to reading your stories from Luxor - the photos are great. I can tell everyone - now I have some photos of Ali - its only taken 6 months!! But they were worth waiting for, i don't think you have changed at all!
Love you heaps Mum
Response: Yeah, yeah, yeah.....
I know i'm slack, but i've been busy!! i promise!! Glad you like the photos, indisputible proof that I am still alive (just in case the weekly phone call didn't tell you that!!).
Not long now until you are over here yourself!! Can't wait to see you - which reminds me, YOU haven't sent ME any pictures in all this time have you?? except for the christmas ones, but they don't count because i'm in them!!
I'm glad I haven't changes too much, except of course for the heathrow injection!! he he he
Love you and can't wait to see you!!
Ali xx
PS. Is dad wearing the england shirt I sent him for his bday?? If not you have to make him!! He has to fit in when he gets over here!!
From hazel are you holding up in the UK? Say hi to courtney for me.. ^^
lucky you...any planned trips to germany to watch the football?

take care,
Response: No trips to Germany planned....but I am going to Egypt!!! Saw Courtney on the weekend, she just as annoying as ever lol. How's uni going?? Studying hard I hope (but not too hard)!!

Say hi to everyone for me
From jac
Well has your back recovered from carrying my big box of clothes up the stairs??? ha ha
I am going to look very stylish when I finally get there. Finally got to Cambodia today, yah! But you dont want to know about some of the transport we had to take!
Update this journal!!
Response: Ok, ok i'm finally updating the journal - mum's been on my back too!! Speaking of backs, I think I should be entitled to keep anything I choose considering all the effort I went to to get that giant box up the stairs!! If you keep sending me such big parcels from SE Asian countries, people will start to think I'm smuggling drugs or something!!
Take lot's of photos of cambodia for me cause i've always wanted to go there!! xx oo
From Dad
Good to hear from you last night, hope you don't wear yourself out too much this weekend.
I will transfer some money after the weekend to see if it works ok. I'll let you know.
Luv Dad
Response: Of course I wore myself out this weekend daddy!! who needs sleep??
Great to talk to you (twice) on the weekend and catch up on what's going on at home. Thank you for the money, even though I don't even know if it's come through successfully yet - i'll have to hide it from Jacqui when she gets here!!
From Jacqui
Well haven't we been the little socialite?? Glad to hear your getting out there. I hope I get tears when you finally see me, but the beaches in Thailand are calling so I may stay an extra month or two. I have gone crazy in a tailors shop and have bought 11 new items of clothing for less than 230 AUD wow including a coat for sunny London. Am also getting boots made!
Can't wait to get to London!
Love Jac
Response: 11 items of clothing?? What about the two boxes full that you have already sent to me?? You don't need THAT many clothes here any more - it's not so cold now!!
I can't wait for you to hurry up and get your butt over here either!! Who cares about beaches in Thailand, we had a sunny day today so we can match anything you've got over there!! ;-)
Take care and stay away from birds that look sick, and stay away from the beach in case they have another tsunami, and watch out for SARS, as a matter of fact, why don't you just come here now??
From Mum
Hi there baby girl,
Well, you continue to have interesting things to tell us all!. Maybe you should speak to the mad Portugese chef about the state of his kitchen - it's just not good enough. Although, with that cake (for which you rang half way round the world for the recipe) I do think a lot can go wrong & it still tastes wonderful. Funny that you took the chance on a burger & piece of cake & didn't get any bad reaction from them. Maybe your insides are getting a little stronger and the odd naughty food won't hurt so bad. I know you are a bit sad about Anya leaving, just be glad you both got on so well, & you now have another place to visit before you come home. We will have to get Jen to come over and she can go with you, she would love it I'm sure. Enjoy the quiet before Catherine arrives, you will probably be very busy showing her all the things she needs to know - you are not the 'new girl' anymore!!! Isn't it great vodka is not on the banned list for coeliacs? Must go & get some work done. Lots of Love till we talk again Mum
Response: G'day mum, sorry i've been so slack about writing things on here, but it's just so much more interesting to read about Jacqui's adventures!! I will write more though to stop you bugging me so much - just kidding. Anyway, take care and keep sending me messages and emails cause I miss you heaps!!
Love Ali
From Jacqui
Well its about time you wrote something new on here, you are letting down the team! Hope you get out and see some good things soon. The English couple I met today came from Salisbury and one of there nans lives in chippenham.. the aussie couple came from the hunter valley, small world huh!
Response: How cool is that?? Tell them they're not missing much - it's still raining here in Wiltshire!!
I love reading about your travel adventures in Thailand, though the talk of Thai food is making me jealous!! All that working sounds like its doing you good, but don't forget about the Heathrow injection - it is real!! I got a letter today from Jenna with some of her pictures from Thailand, don't forget to send me yours!!
Love Ali
From Bruce Dann
G'Day Ali
Glad to see you are still hanging in there and enjoying yourself. We read your page every now and then and try to keep up with your comings and goings. Good luck and take care!!!
Uncle Bruce and Auntie Annie
Response: Hello!! It's great to hear from you. I am having a great time here and I've seen a little bit of the country. I am hoping to go and see Portsmouth in the next couple of weeks (on your advice!!).
Take care and enjoy yourselves!! You'll be leaving on the big 4WD adveture up north soon won't you???
Love Ali xx oo
From From Derek & Mara
Hi Ali,
Mara and I have really enjoyed reading your diary entries thus far and are glad to hear you're over the initial homesick blues (including being unwell) and that you're settling in. Congrats on your University offer at ANU. It will be good to have a place to stay when we visit Canberra (family rates of course). Mum and Dad received your postcard .. I'll teach Dad how to use this Website when I'm next down at their place. Sounds like your Mum was just a "little" jealous of Cirque du Soleil, oh well these are the sacrifices parents make for their children, I'm sure you'd agree. The upside is Jacqui leaves shortly so the house should be nice and quiet (apart form Jenna of course, but she has always been the quiet one of you three ..).

Look after yourself and remember to keep an eye out for my overseas present. Nothing to flash .. between 50 and 100 pounds should do the trick !!

Derek & Mara
Response: How special do you think you are cousin Derek?? I'm just a poor volunteer!!
It's great to hear from you both, I hope everything is great where you are. Can you believe that Jacqui is leaving on Friday?? Mum and Dad won't have to put up with her at home, but I'll have to put up with her when she gets over here!! I must admit that I am actually looking forward to that!!
Take care
Love Ali
PS. Don't forget that you're coming over for a BBQ in summer!!
From Cathy
oh, you would be disappointed with the olympics, ...and by that, i mean i am. THERES NO MORE "The Ice Dream" with roy and HG. That was the highlight of the olypics for me. and now they have gone. honestly, i would gladly give channel seven a good pop over the noggin, given the chance. anyway, glad that you arnt suffering that same pain as i am. watching the moguls and the ice skating is quite ok tho....but there is no need for you to feel like your missing out on anything.
Response: No more ice dream?? That's a tragedy!! I used to love that show.
Nice to hear you get some of the interesting sports, I mainly get the curling over here. Everyone seems to take it so seriously and they show nearly whole matches!! I have seen some of the snowboarding (which is AWESOME!!) and some of the figure skating too. Also in the last few days I've seen a little skiing and the skeleton too (Britain was horrified by only getting 5th place in the mens)
I think you should write to channel seven and abuse them!! The best thing about being over here is that I don't have to put up with Joanna Griggs and Bruce. I get to listen to a scottish lady with a lovely accent (which makes up a little for the excess of curling)
Enjoy the skiing!!
Ali xx oo
From Jacqui
Hey Al,
Im glad I can finally SMS you, isn't it fun. I can wake you up in the middle of the night!! (but your not allowed to do it back!). I have now had two farewells already. Terry and Bill threw me a pool party, and it rained all day. Im sure I can squeeze in a few more parties before I leave. Im hardly home at the moment, so Mum and Dad have to spend alot of time alone together... well they haven't killed each other yet!
I am writing this on night duty, so now you know why its not making sense! Seeya later Ali gator. Love Jac
Response: I know you can wake me up - I got one of your messages at 2am!! I wasn't asleep though cause I had stayed up watching movies.
I can't believe you will be over here so soon because you still haven't planned anything!! Glad to hear you are enjoying yourself - not partying too hard I hope!! Get used to the rain cause its been raining here all week!! Who needs sunshine?? I just hope it's a nice day when I go to Cardiff on Sunday. I'm taking some residents to an ice show and I'm very excited!!
Hope you don't have too many of those horrible night shifts left!!
See ya later jacket potater!! Love Ali
From Mai
Happy Valentine's Day Ally!!! May you have a fulfilling year (meeting hot guys) and always be happy. My sis sent me an SMS saying to keep smiling cos u never know who is falling in love with ur smile..corny i know but its the thought that counts right? hehe..hope u spot P. Harry or "Cedric" soon! hehe..One of them can be ur Valentine..or maybe that French hottie u were talking abt..Antony? *winks* ..Have a great one!
Response: Hey there,
No valentines for me this year but I did get a post card from my Aunty and Uncle and a letter from my grandparents - so I am loved!! Good luck with starting uni and moving to Sydney. It sounds so exciting!! Still no sign of Prince Harry or cedric, but its only Feb - we still have all year!! Maybe I can join the British army or something!!
Take care and have fun!!
Cherry xx oo
From Cathy
I LOVE THEM! they must have been the coolest in person, and FOR FREE!!! i wish id done a gap year now... i only ever see them on SBS, so im sure youll hold back nothing when you rub that in my face in the future :)
Response: Oh, yeah I did see them didn't I?? I won't rub it in - not too much anyway!! They are heaps better in person than on SBS, but don't worry because I will come and see them with you again - even if I do have to pay!!
You must be getting so excited about starting uni, I have faith in your abilities to knuckle down and work hard!! Besides, I can still nag you and keep you in line from over here, can't I??
Thanks for your message, lots of love and all the best, Ali xx oo xx oo
PS. It would be awesome if you could com visit. Do you still work at the Kavon, Magenta my dear?? Or were you Columbia??
From Cathy
HI ALI!!! im sorry i didnt come to this site sooner, but i lost the web address hazel gave me!! sounds like youve settled right in over there, im not suprised, your so adept at making your mark on people.. (adept?? is that the word im looking for??) anyway, ive got big plans to come visit you and ruff at the end of the year, and hopfully by then you can take me to all the good places. O week starts monday, and im not nervous at all. However, i am fearfully afraid that i might slip into a similar study pattern that i adapted for the HSC, so fingers crossed i get my act together. i cant wait until you get back, lately ive felt rather cut off from friends, mainly becuase i dont have the unignorable excuse of seeing them at school, and secondly, becuase your not around to pull me back into line when i cross it. tee hee. anyway. post often, post long, ill read it all. LOve you stacks, Cathy
From Jac
Hey Al
Glad you are finally updating this page! Got your new number. Tried to send you a message but still wouldn't work, so I will try and figure it out soon. Jen sent me a pic on the mobile of their resort... looks great. I only have 8 shifts at work left... scary huh. Riley is missing you! Love jac
Response: Only 8 shifts?? Wow, it still feels so far away!! Lets just murder vodaphone ok?? Courtney thinks it would be good revenge to bring the whole company down and I agree!! I bet Jen is having a ball and I'm a teeny bit jealous though we have had two beautiful sunny days in a row (shock horror!!). I miss Riley too, but now I have some pictures of him to hang on my wall!!
Take care and start planning this holiday of yours ok?? 8 shifts is not a long time!! Remember, I have given you a maximum of two weeks (no more than an hour in each tourist site), because you need to come and see me. I am far more important than backpacking around Asia, and as if you wouldn't want to experience the English food and weather!!
Love Ali xx oo
PS. I'm going to come meet you at the airport - won't that be exciting!!
From Mai
Hey Cherry,

Yes, Mai would like to know where P. Harry is but heck - plenty more fish in the sea eh? :P I am glad to hear ur enjoying urself and that u 'occasionally' miss home - its only normal - I'd be more upset if u didnt miss us! :P here is a *BIG HUG* from me for that nasty cold of yours. I am moving soon so I would give u my new mailing address in an email, ok? *muahz*
Response: Hey there,
I'm still looking for Prince Harry - you never know, we might get lucky. Thanks for your big hug, I am missing hugs from everyone!! Good luck with moving, you will love uni I'm sure!! No fear right??
Love Cherry
From The Kemps
Hi Ali, You said about the Australian Open tennis, well Paul, Debbie and Katrina went down to Melbourne for the middle weekend. It was great except that it was 40plus degrees. We went the Friday night session and the Saturday session. It was a great experience but was just to hot to really enjoy. The casino on Sat night was great and best of all it was air conditioned. Didnt lose to much money. Hope you are well and taking in all that you are experiencing. Take care.
Response: At the moment I would swap this for 4o degree heat because we have had a vicious cold snap in the last week but it still didn't bring any snow!! I had to sleep for a few nights with thermals under my pjs, 3 pairs of socks, another jumper and an extra blanket on my bed because our rooms get cold up on the top floor. The cold has eased a bit now, but the worst thing was that we got some beautiful sunny days but couldn't go out to enjoy them because you would freeze!! Its the first really cold weather I've experienced here.
Glad too here you didn't lose too much money at the casino. I haven't been to any over here (yet) but I have heard that you need to be a member and get a special card to go in. I have been playing poker fairly successfully with friends from the village so I will know which table to head for if I do go to the casino!!
Love always,
Ali xx oo
From Bec
It sounds like your having a great time!! You will have to tell me all about seeing the movie sets when you get home.
I start teaching and tutoring again in 3-4 days, not looking forward to going back to the casual circuit but hey, works work! Just went and looked at a new Honda Jazz, still not sure, its so expensive (but very nice!)
Anyway hope to hear more of your travels (adventure) soon!!
Luv Bec
Response: Hey Bec,
Good luck looking for your new car. I miss driving heaps because it is so much easier to get around!! The roads here are so winding and narrow that I would probably have about a million crashes though!!
Don't work too hard, and don't let those students boss you around too much!!
Love Ali
From hazel
Yeah, i'll get your 2nd e-mail soon...-_-
Thanks, congrats to you~! :P Business was my first preference, since dad doesn't want me moving away. Dr Carter lol. I always knew she was gonna get it. I'll be visiting Del alot hopefully, since Camperdown is close to where my brother lives.
I think I'll get cheaper tickets....yep...Europe, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and HK it is. Cheesy chips and mushy peas? Yum.
What's this about ghosts? I'll send over some Asian charms ward off any evil spirits :D
You've heard abt that criminal? He was caught in Bondi yesterday~ SMH has a can always go there to update ^^ Angus is always watching the Australian Open -_- can never get control of the tv.

Response: I had forgotten that Shae would be Dr Carter!! (speaking of which I am excited because I get to watch ER reruns everyday at lunch time!!)
I am very glad to hear that Angus is watching the Australian Open, I have really missed it but got to watch the men's final.
Lots of Love
From Mai
OH MY BUDDHA!! Guess what Umbilical Sis? I got into Bachelor of Business (Marketing) @ University of Western Sydney!!! :D I GOT IN!! I am sooo stoked..and relieved haha! Congrats on ur offer of Bachelor of Asian Studies(Specialist)/Bachelor of Economics @ ANU. *muahz* So proud of you..Asian studies..ur such a darling..:P
No sighting of the elusive hotties? Well, understandably since its only been 2 weeks and 1 day.. :P
luv, ur umbilical sis..:P
PS Ur grammar n spelling is getting awfully different..wrong spellings and tenses to boot! :P tsk tsk Miss Merewether High! haha
PPS Im only teasing ;D
Response: Congratulations!! You must be so happy, only problem is that we will be in different cities for university!! I told you not to stress about it didn't I?? Who should you listen to then??
What is wrong with my spelling and tenses? Sorry if I can't be bothered editing everything I write, but you try typing messages when there is a ghost outside the door!! I wonder how good ur spelling wood b....
Go celebrate your success!!!
Love Cherry
From hazel
Hey Alison ^^
I only got your first e-mail forwarded, still waiting for your second one *rolls eyes* whenever someone gets around to it.

Nice to know you're enjoying yourself, and will definitely try to go visit - brother's gf got a job at Flight Centre, so hopefully end of year agenda includes Europe :D How's the bangers and mash over there? hehe...and i'll send over photos etc for you to fill your wall~

Response: Be strong Hazel and tell tgose slackers to send you my email!!
Congrats on getting Business at Newcastle, I am sure you will really enjoy it. That was your first preference wasn't it?? You should be so proud!!
I am glad that Europe is on your agenda - you will have to dust off those yr 10 french books and start practising!! Will you get cheaper holidays now?? Are you still hoping to go to Korea and Hong Kong (and all of the other places in Asia you said you wanted to visit)??
Nice to hear from you,
Love Ali

PS. I haven't tried the bangers and mash yet, but I will vouch for the cheesy chips and muchy peas. The shepherds and cottage pie are also pretty good. The food here is a bit institutional, but isn't too bad. I mainly get my own meals and only have a cooked lunch!!