Same Blog, New Website!

Hi friends! It’s been almost a month since I posted here, which I have to apologize for. We are still doing great and little Abel is now twelve weeks old! He’s growing so fast and I am so obsessed with him. I love being his mom!

The last several weeks I’ve been working on a new project which I’m so excited about! For months now I’ve been thinking about upgrading this blog by changing it to a new web address and I finally have!

The Canadian American Kiwi is still going strong but now you can find us at www.tillycutforth.com! 

I won’t be posting here anymore, so make sure you bookmark my new website so you don’t miss a post!

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Hawaii {January 2019}

I shared a few weeks ago about our trip to the States over Christmas, but I didn’t go into a ton of detail so today I want to share a little more about our time spent in Hawaii!

One thing I loved about our entire trip (besides, like, everything) was that we got to do it with my sister Adalia and her family, Ben and Percy. Even though we both live in New Zealand, Ben and Jared are both so busy with their jobs that it’s hard to get away, so we hadn’t seen each other in ages. Ben and Jared had barely spent any time together at all. So we all really enjoyed spending time together and Jared and I loved getting to know Ben, Adalia, and Percy even better. Percy is the cutest little monkey! Honestly man if our kids are half as cute as he is, I will be thrilled!

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Here, Percy was a little disgruntled because he loved eating the sand but obviously didn’t really enjoy the taste or feel of it in his mouth. Unfortunately you can’t always have it both ways.

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After an awesome two weeks in Bellingham, we stayed in Hawaii for several days on our way back to New Zealand. My grandma Cindy and grandpa Earl came to Hawaii as well, as did my sister Kalina. We arrived in Honolulu on Sunday afternoon and enjoyed the scenic drive to Hau’ula, about an hour away. I’d never been to Hawaii before, besides the airport, and the few glimpses I caught out airplane windows of the gorgeous mountains and blue water had given me a desire to actually visit someday. It did not disappoint!

Grandma and Grandpa stayed at a hotel about five minutes from where the rest of us stayed. Our place was right across the road from the beach, and there were several good beaches for swimming, snorkelling, and surfing within a half hour’s drive.

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We stayed until Thursday and our flights left around midday (Kalina’s back to Bellingham, the rest of us to NZ – and grandma and grandpa stayed in Hawaii for several more days).

Even though we had just three full days in Hawaii, we managed to pack plenty of fun into that time! We visited Pearl Harbor, tried out snorkelling, surfing, boogie-boarding, and swimming, and went to I-Hop, Red Lobster, and Wal-Mart. Good stuff.

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I love history and I’m so thankful for the military, so visiting Pearl Harbor was really special.

Of course, when we found this, we had to recreate it:

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I couldn’t bring my camera into Pearl Harbor, so these iphone photos will have to suffice!

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Also, yeah. It’s okay. We weren’t actually lost we were just trying to figure out how to get to a certain part of the ship. We figured it out eventually.

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Then of course the beaches… the place we stayed had boogie boards and snorkelling gear that we could use. I had never been snorkelling before, but of course I’ve always wanted to because it sounds so amazing! Well, it was incredible!

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I loved snorkelling at this beautiful little beach! It was so incredible, and since this was a popular snorkelling spot, the fish were used to people so you could get very close and get a great look at them. If you’ve never been snorkelling before, you should definitely try it! We only had a few snorkels, but we had enough goggles to go around, so I just kept resurfacing to get breaths of air, and it was still great fun.

Percy enjoyed it too…

He even tried out surfing. ūüėČ

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After this we visited a beach where Ben, Jared, and Kalina all tried boogie boarding, but the waves were so huge they got told by the lifeguards to stop because they weren’t experienced enough. I’m not a very strong swimmer, so I wasn’t about to go try not to drown, because it would not have been very fun for me. So Adalia, Percy, and I just enjoyed the sun and sand!

I did warn you that most of the photos I took were of Percy, right?

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But ummm that face?! Too cute!

When we weren’t exploring the beaches, we spent the evenings watching movies and eating popcorn.

I love these photos I got of Ben, Adalia, and Percy at the beach across from where we stayed, one morning.

All in all it was a really fun time, and I would love to return someday, but maybe for a bit longer!

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Until next time!

American Christmas

If you’re wondering why I haven’t blogged in two months…

So am I.

I never really know what to write about. Even though there’s tons going on that you would probably find at least somewhat interesting. So I’m just going to write, and if it makes sense great, and if not, at least I tried. So here we go!

Last Christmas was really special because Jared and I got to go to America to visit my family! It was our first time being back since our wedding (almost a year and a half ago) so it was really special to see everyone again. My sister, her husband, and my stinkin’ cute nephew also made the long trip from NZ to Washington, so it was a party! THEN to make things even better? My BEST friend (and cousin) Arianna, her husband, and their baby came to visit from California. So it was basically the best.

Jared and I hadn’t seen Ben, Adalia, and Percy in a longgg time, and so it was really fun to see them and spend time with them! It was so good to see my cousin Arianna too, and it was Jared’s first time meeting her husband Micah, and none of us had met baby Oakley yet.

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I mean, let’s be honest. Could she get any cuter?!

One really fun thing was how excited Apollo was EVERY time he saw me for the first week. When he first saw me – TILLY!!! And a huge hug. The next morning? TILLY!!! And a huge hug. When I went with mom to pick him up from school? TILLY!! And a huge hug. It was so sweet!

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Jared and I had such a good time visiting with my family, and were excited to see my old church family and friends too! It was so hard to leave them all when we got married, so you can bet that we had such a good time visiting with them.

ALSO on the day after Christmas we went to Canada to visit my grandparents.

Now here’s the thing about my Grandma Jean. She loves to cook. And she cooks for an army. It’s impossible to be hungry at Grandma’s house. We had so much delicious food including Hungarian cabbage and noodles, and nokedli. It was a gooood day, my friends.

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Now, I’m totally telling things out of order, just for the record. Christmas day was full of all the traditions that I’d been so excited to share with Jared! Biscuits and gravy for breakfast, opening stockings, and spending all day long working on a large jigsaw puzzle together (see above photo of Micah and Ben!). We play board games, eat food, and just chill out.

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We had an amazing two weeks and THEN on the way back to NZ? We stopped in Hawaii for a few days of beachy goodness before heading back to our normal lives. Kalina came along to help out with Percy, and Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Earl came as well!

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Percy was not thrilled with the taste of the sand and yet kept eating handfuls of it. Look at those adorable brown eyes. And that expression of despair…

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You probably have noticed that most of the photos in this blog post are of Percy or Oakley. It’s just because about 95% of the photos I took were of those two cuties. Pretty sure when our baby is born my blog will be 99% Baby Kiwi, with maybe one or two pictures of food (because we all know how much I love food) scattered in.

As my pregnancy gets further along and Kiwi keeps growing, I have been feeling wayyy better morning-sickness-wise but also very very tired all the time. So I’m trying to take it pretty easy when I’m not at work, and hopefully that means I’ll be focusing more on spending time blogging.

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Changing Seasons – Moving Across the World

It’s crazy to think that it is winter here in NZ right now. It does get cold but it’s definitely not Bellingham cold. It was probably colder in Bellingham last March (when I returned to the US after 6 months in NZ) than it is now in NZ. It’s just about as rainy though!

I think I am finally getting a sense of the seasons again. Moving to the opposite hemisphere can just mess with your sense of time. You have cold, rainy, Thanksgivings where you huddle around a hot fire and drink tea and hot cocoa all the time. Christmas is freezing and everyone hopes for snow as you dig into roast turkey or ham. Then you have a few months of cold weather and relentless rain (or snow) with no fun holidays to break it up. Then spring finally comes around, and there’s Easter as it starts to thaw out, then by Memorial Day it’s actually getting warm again. The Fourth of July is hot and (hopefully) sunny, and it stays light until 9 or 10 so fireworks don’t get started until late at night. As the summer comes to a close and everyone’s thinking about school again, you have Labor Day, and the crisp fall days that come with it…

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Then you move to the other side of the world. You celebrate Thanksgiving in warm weather, Christmas is spent at the lake and Christmas dinner is barbecue. January, February, and March are hot and sunny and if you live in NZ you’re never more than a few hours’ drive from the ocean. Easter is when it starts to get cold, and Memorial Day doesn’t exist here. Fourth of July? Sure we have July 4th… but it doesn’t mean anything. The weather grows colder but surprises you. For a week it will be so cold you’ll need your heater going before you can get up and do anything. Then it will be actually *warm* for a few days, and then as rainy as Bellingham.

When Jared and I got married and moved to NZ, I was so glad that it was almost Spring. We got to NZ in August and spring started on September 1 (keeping track of seasons is so much easier when they start on the 1st!). Moving across the world is¬†hard. Even when you are madly in love! Even when you have friends and even family in your new home. It’s not easy at all, especially when you have amazing family and friends that you must be crazy for leaving behind. Seeing the leaves return to the trees, flowers, birds singing… it helped a lot. Sometimes autumn and winter can be kind of dreary, but you can’t help but love the growth that comes with springtime! And while moving across the world is hard, it was so worth it. Look at this handsome face I get to see every day!

It’s really crazy when you move to another country how many things are different. I got so excited to see Stagg’s Chilli in the grocery store and I don’t even know why! It was just to weird to see an American product that I hadn’t even thought of in ages.

At first you miss the big things, like your family, friends, church, etc. As times goes on though you realize the little things that make it even harder. Not knowing which brands are quality and which ones are cheap. Makeup prices being twice as high in NZ than in the US for the same brands and same products. Sometimes it would be nice to just see a Walmart or Target, or to see a brand you recognize, or a food that you always had at grandma’s house. There’s so much more too, I just can’t think of it at the moment. They’re not things that you can sit down and think of, but things you’ll notice as you’re at the grocery store or on the way to church, and you suddenly realize, man imagine driving on the right side of the road again! I haven’t seen snow in so long… man I would love to go to the mall in Bellingham one more time.

It’s odd on a holiday when nobody cares. You’re all excited to celebrate Thanksgiving or Independence Day but most people don’t have a clue that day is special to you.

BUT there are fun things about moving as well! You get to learn another language! I mean yes we speak English in NZ but there’s so many words that are different, and slang words. I’ll just give you a few comparisons of American words vs their Kiwi counterparts!

Bathroom – Toilet. Unless it’s a bathroom *without* a toilet (because it’s in a separate room), THEN it’s a bathroom.

Counter – Bench.

Garbage/Trash – Rubbish.

Cookie – Biscuit

Biscuit and Scone – Scone

Have you ever moved to another country? Was it similar to the one you came from, or different? I can say that moving to another country is pretty weird. It takes a while to get used to! But I love being in New Zealand. From the first time I came here, there have been some great, friendly people who have helped make the transition easier. Shoutout to you guys! (that is; basically all my NZ friends and family. Love you guys!)

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Video: Waipu Beach

Yesterday was Anzac Day here in New Zealand, a special day that commemorates the Australians and New Zealanders who have served and died in wars. Jared and I got up early to attend the Dawn Parade and ceremony that started at 5:40. It was really special, and I’m so glad we attended.

After that, we came home and chilled for most of the day, getting a few things done around the house like church treasurer matters and dishes. Then we went to Mum and Dad’s for dinner, and afterwards church. It was a good day, but also kind of busy, so I didn’t get a chance to put my video from yesterday on my blog here. This video is from when my friend and I went to Waipu Beach last week! And I want you to know that I will no longer be using the super generic music that iMovie has for you to use. I promise. YouTube Creator Studio has songs without copyright that you can download and use in your videos- there’s so much variety too! Tons of genres, moods, and different types of music. If you are like me and have been using the default music that comes with iMovie, let me tell you, this is a life saver.

Anyways, enough of that! Enjoy the video!

Waipu Beach

On Friday, Sonic and I drove to Waipu to go to the beach with my friend Mia and her son Jesse. It was a beautiful sunny day (except for the minute and a half where it rained… but it was sunny and gorgeous again soon after!) and we had so much fun.

I always forget to bring my camera, but I took lots of photos on my iPhone. It was so beautiful! At first we just walked around and enjoyed the sand and water. Jesse loved splashing in the water. Sonic loved running on the beach, splashing in the water, and meeting some other dogs.

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Look at his floppy little ears in that picture above? So cute!

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It was low tide while we were at the beach, and we found some amazing tide pools full of life! I got so excited! Have you ever been to an aquarium with a touch tank? It was just like that! Sure, not quite as much variety at this beach, but it was similar. There were several kinds of starfish, crabs, anemones (maybe; not entirely sure what they are but they look like the anemones in Finding Nemo, except these are purple). We even saw.

Octopi.

IN THE WILDDDDD.

I’ve seen a large octopus at the Seattle Aquarium. I’ve never seen one in the wild before!

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How amazing is that? We saw several of these little guys!

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And I had no idea what this creature in the photo below was until someone on Instagram asked if it was a Sea Hare, and I googled it and found pictures of Sea Hares that look just like this, so yes- it’s a Sea Hare!

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These two photos above were taken less than thirty minutes apart; it really amazes me how God makes such beauty, and such variety too!

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It was such a fun day! We’re planning to go back soon hopefully, with Jared and Jenno (Mia’s husband) this time!

Do you live near a beach? If you do, what is your favorite beach to go to? We have so many beaches in Whangarei… so…. many….. it’s amazing! But this one was by far my favorite because of the tide pools!

7 Differences Between New Zealand and America

‘Toilets flush the opposite way in the southern hemisphere!’¬†

You’ve probably heard that before. But I don’t think that’s true. To tell you the truth, I don’t know, because I’ve never checked. I don’t pay much attention to which way toilets flush.

But there are some different things I’ve noticed since living in New Zealand!

  1. Light switches. They are the opposite. In the States, up means on. Down means off. In New Zealand? It’s the opposite. Up is off and down is on. Whaaa?
  2. Door handles. In New Zealand, door handles are a little bit higher than they are in the States. I’ve seen some, though, that are way higher- you have to reach up to open the door.
  3. Vocabulary- there are several words that are different: dog leash is lead, counter is bench, garbage/trash is rubbish, bathroom is toilet or loo, truck is ute. Since I’ve been here for a year total now I’ve become used to those words and to using them.
  4. Bathrooms are??? Guys. In America. You have a bathroom. In a half bathroom you just have a toilet and a sink, right? In a full bathroom you also have a shower or tub. But you always have a sink and a toilet together. In New Zealand, some houses have a room with only a toilet, and a separate room with a sink/bathtub/shower. To wash your hands you have to go into another room. What??? That is so weird to me.
  5. Variety. While grocery stores in New Zealand have plenty of variety, in America you have even more.
  6. Prices. I think this has to do with New Zealand being an island, so it’s more expensive to get things that aren’t made in New Zealand because of shipping. Either way, I do know that many things are more expensive in New Zealand (even when accounting for the exchange rate between America and New Zealand).
  7. Culture. Obviously the culture is going to be different in different countries. But one thing I’ve noticed is that the native Maori culture is very big here- it’s part of who New Zealand is. In politics, there’s a Maori party, children learn some of the Maori language in schools, many place names are in the Maori language, and the language is used- on city signs and buildings, etc. In America the most interaction I have with the Native American culture is when I drive by casinos, or when driving to/through a place with a Native American name- Nooksack, Tulalip, Samish, etc.

Anything else you would add? Oh and also *duh* the accents. I forgot about that because by now I’m just so used to the New Zealand accent. It did take a while though… at first I was a bit slow because my brain took more time to process what people are saying. I’m used to it now since I’ve been listening to the New Zealand accent pretty much every day for a year (while I was in the States Jared and I skyped every day so I still heard the accent).

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Flashback Friday: Australia

When I came to New Zealand for six months, I thought it would be fun to visit Australia while I was nearby. Who knew if I’d ever get the chance again? I didn’t know when I would be in NZ again and if I would get the chance to go to Australia. Turns out I’m here to stay now, but at the time I had no idea that I’d be living here now! Adalia and I planned a week-long trip to Australia. We got a great deal for our holiday at the Sunshine Coast. It was so exciting for the two of us to pack up and hop on our flight to Australia. I’d never been on a holiday like that before, and it was so fun to have this adventure with my sister!

When we arrived at Brisbane, we bought two bus cards and loaded them with (more than enough) money to get around. Then we found our shuttle that was arranged to take us to our accomodation.

It was the perfect beachy resort house! The best part about it? It was right on the beach. It was just a short walk through the bush to get to the ocean. There was also a swimming pool- and a hot tub, which we had to try out for some reason even though it was easily 30C (85F). Yes we are crazy!

We got settled into our house. It was seriously beautiful! It was comfy, including a kitchen, laundry, lounge, bathrooms, and large bedroom with a balcony, where you could see a bit of the ocean! There was a tv as well, and dvd’s to borrow from the office.

I don’t remember exactly what we did when, so this probably won’t be chronological, but here are a few things we did.

One of the first things was to go grocery shopping. We got some cereal, milk, bread, butter, and ice cream and popsicles. I’m sure we got a couple other things too, but those are the important things that I remember. We really wanted to visit a farmer’s market that we saw advertisements for. We started out on the bus but we got off a couple stops early to try and walk the rest of the way. We thought it would be fun to wander around. Who cares if you get lost when you’re in Australia? Well, it wasn’t quite as exciting as we had originally anticipated, because walking can take a while. Eventually we found a store where we asked for a map, and then found our way to the farmer’s market. By the time we got there we were tired and about ready to go home, but we decided to look around anyways since we made such an effort to get there!

We found fresh crab at the farmer’s market, and got some for dinner that night!

We also grabbed some camel milk and some fruit that I’d never tried before- fresh figs, lychees, and passionfruit. They were so good!

We saw this huge lizard one day, and these wild turkeys were all over the place. They’d even be wandering around in town!

For me, the highlight of the trip was fulfilling my dream of going to the Australia Zoo!!!

It was incredible to be there. To see the animals. To watch the shows. To have amazing photo opportunities! I watched the Crocodile Hunter several times when I was little and I’ve been off/on obsessed with it ever since. I remember hearing about him passing away. I remember realizing that Bindi and I are only about three weeks apart in age. I just love. The. Crocodile. Hunter. And. Australia. Zoo. To visit in real life was such a dream come true. I’m so blessed to have had so many amazing opportunities in my life including this, going to Colombia, Malawi, NZ, Canada, and more, and I’m only nineteen. Praise the Lord.

I actually went to the Australia Zoo twice. Why? Well, the first day we missed our connecting bus to the zoo so we were an hour later than originally intended. It was torturous. I wanted to cry. We look up the bus route and figured out how to get to the zoo. Thankfully there’s a bus stop at the zoo so it was easy. We just had to switch buses once. Well. Our first bus was having problems reading the bus cards. Not just ours- everyone’s. So each time we stopped, it took a little longer than it should have. Because of that we were delayed a couple minutes. Just enough that when we pulled into the bus station where we were meant to switch buses- we watched our next bus pull away right as the bus we were on pulled in.

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The next bus wasn’t for another hour. We wandered around, checked out a few op shops, and got coffee at a cafe. Finally it was time to catch our bus. It takes a while to get from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane. I was so. Full of anticipation. Finally we pulled into the zoo. It was amazing. Where to start?! It’s a huge zoo so it took ages to wander around and see all we could.

One of my favorite parts was the show at the Crocoseum. It was so incredible to watch these huge, powerful animals being fed.

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I sat as close as I possibly could to get a good shot. I was really wishing for a telephoto lens, but hey, I was just grateful for the opportunity. What photographers go through… I sat in the blazing hot sun instead of under the shade because I wanted to get these photographs! And to see these crocodiles up close was just amazing.

Adalia and I anticipated staying until the zoo closed, around 5pm. But eventually we decided to check the bus schedule and when we did, we realized that the last bus that would take us back to Sunshine Coast left earlier than that. In fact, is was in less than 45 minutes. Let me just say that we were pretty relieved that we checked the schedule when we did. However, because we were intending to stay longer, I was a bit disappointed and really wished we could have spent more time there. The next day I finally realized, hey, who knows when I’ll ever come back here… this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, and I really want to enjoy it as much as I can and really be satisfied with it! So I decided to go back to the zoo. Adalia wasn’t as interested in going back, so we did our seperate things that day. I’m so glad I went back so I could just wander around and take in everything and just enjoy it more.

The ‘big’ thing we did on our trip was ocean kayaking. We went with a guide and a few other people. Our guide, Sean, drove us all in his van down a beach for an hour or so, to get to the spot where we would be kayaking. The view was beautiful and it was so fun to anticipate what we might see in the ocean! We were hoping to see some dolphins. We got in the kayaks and paddled out a ways. There were two people in each kayak, and in the middle of the kayak was a clear window so you could look underneath the kayak. As we paddled out, we saw two rays and a couple schools of fish. I was expecting to see a lot more but it’s actually really hard to see through rippling water. We didn’t end up seeing any dolphins but what we did see made it so worth it (I’m getting there!).

Our guide Sean assured us that ocean kayaks are very difficult to tip over so we didn’t need to worry about tipping. But, on the off chance that we did, he instructed us to grab onto the side of the kayak and wait for him to come over and help us back in. Well at one point, Adalia and I somehow had our kayak sideways as a wave came and we ended up falling out. Pretty impressive, huh? Some people (like Kalina who had to endure my clinginess in the ocean in Oregon after we watched The Shallows) may know that I’m actually afraid to be in deep water. I start thinking about what could be in the water and how I can’t see it, and I kind of freak out. Well, same thing happened here. We hadn’t seen many animals yet but I still flipped out the second I was in the water. Wait for Sean to come help us? Yeah right! I grabbed onto the side of the kayak and pulled myself in, and Adalia did the same. As we sat in the kayak, bobbing in the waves, I think we both started to get a little seasick.

At one point, Adalia and I saw something in the water near us. We were excited to see another animal! We couldn’t make out the shape very well, but we watched as it swam towards us, under our kayak, and away.

Later, after we returned to the beach and got in the van, not having seen any more animals, our guide Sean informed us all that he had seen a shark earlier. A SHARK. While we were kayaking. He added that he didn’t tell anyone at the time because it wasn’t around for long so he didn’t have time to call us over to see it, so he didn’t want to scare us. Everyone else in our group was pretty relieved that they didn’t know at the time. Me? I LOVE sharks. I know. It’s kinda crazy. I should be scared of them, and I do have a healthy fear of sharks. But I also love them. I’m not terrified of them because I know they’re not a threat to me unless I’m in the ocean and even then it’s unlikely that I would come in contact with one. Adalia and I didn’t think much of it at the time, besides, ‘cool! A shark!’

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Well, when we were on the bus that evening on our way to Noosa Heads to get dinner, we suddenly realized- WE SAW THAT SHARK. We looked up pictures of sharks on our phones and sure enough, that’s the shape that we saw. That’s what swam under our kayak! I’m so excited that I actually came so close to a shark!

Other things we did on our trip included watching movies from the resort office, and eating ice cream and popsicles. It was stinkin hot, guys.

This is the gorgeous beach right behind where we stayed!

So, that was our trip to Australia. It was incredible. I loved Australia! Even now sometimes I think, man, why don’t we live in Australia? And then I remember that everything there can kill you, and New Zealand has the same climate and incredible beaches and even better scenery, yet without all that danger. And then I’m pretty thankful that I live here.


Have you been to Australia?! Where’s your dream place to visit? My current ones are the States (haha…. gotta visit my family and friends!) and I still would love to go back to Colombia someday. And I hope that Jared and I can maybe visit Australia ourselves one day. And… okay I’ll stop there. I think you get the picture- I love travelling.

5 Tips for Successful Travelling

Alaska. Texas. Colombia. Malawi. New Zealand. Australia. California.

I am so thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had to travel. I was born in Canada. My mom is from Alaska so my family visited there a couple times when I was young. We moved to the States when I was a baby. We road tripped to see friends in Oregon. I accompanied my parents and youngest brother to Texas to have his heart surgery done. I flew to Colombia with my grandparents to visit missionaries they know there. I went to Florida and then Malawi with Teen Missions Int’l. I hopped on a plane to spend 6 months in New Zealand, a country I’d never been to. My sister and I flew to Australia for a week and thoroughly enjoyed our girly vacation. A year later, after returning to my home in the States (where I got to be in my best friend’s wedding in California), I now call New Zealand my home.

Tips from a world traveler

In total, I’ve been on over 30 airplanes. So many airports. And I’ve learned a lot about travelling.

  1. My first rule is,¬†don’t stress.I always feel like I’ve forgotten something when I travel. To ensure you do remember everything you need, make a list that you can refer to when packing. But when you’re at the airport waiting for your plane, don’t worry about ‘did I remember to pack pajamas?’ At that point there’s not anything you can do about it.Make sure that you have the most important things: Passport, boarding pass, wallet, cell phone, glasses or hearing aids, etc.Funny story- I almost forgot my passport when Jared and I returned to New Zealand after our wedding. How do you forget a passport when you are literally moving to another country?! I don’t even know. I didn’t even know exactly where it was- I didn’t think of it until the day after our wedding, and a few days before our flight. Smart. Thankfully my mom saved the day and brought me my passport, birth certificate, and glasses, all of which I had forgotten to pack.

    Those are important things. But if you’ve forgotten a sweatshirt? It’ll be okay. You can get a new sweatshirt if you really need it, but it won’t ruin your trip to forget it.

  2. Leave plenty of¬†time.My parents always make sure to leave the house with plenty of time to get to the airport and get through security with time to spare. It takes away a lot of stress as well, as you’re not thinking about the traffic and the minutes ticking away.Another story from when Jared and I got married: Our flight was at 8am. We got up at 3am and we finished packing, loaded our car, and headed to the aiport. We had a rental car so we had to fill it up with fuel before we dropped it off, and it took us a while to find a fuel station because we didn’t know the area well. Once we dropped the car off, we had to get ourselves and our big bags on a shuttle to the aiport. Once we found the place to check our bags, it was about 7am. Bag checking closes 1/2 hour before the flight. The line was long. And when we finally neared the front, there was a lady ahead of us taking an extremely long time to fill out some paperwork that she could have done ahead of time.As the minutes passed, I kept glancing anxiously at the tv screen displaying the time, and fervently praying that we would make it to the front of the line before 7:30. Finally the line started moving again, and we made it with minutes to spare. Phew! After we left our bags, we went through security. The line wasn’t too long and we got through without any problem. We headed straight for our gate, and when we got there, the plane was already boarding. Talk about cutting it close… at least we didn’t have to wait more than a few minutes before boarding out flight though! However, I¬†don’t¬†recommend this method of travelling.
  3. Bring entertainment.
    Especially if you have a long flight ahead of you, or flying makes you nervous, it is really nice to have something to keep you occupied. I have been on a 17-hour flight before and it was incredibly boring… for your own sakes, please bring something! A book, music, or a game. If you have an electronic device that you plan to use, like a kindle or smartphone, bring your charger. Some planes, especially for longer flights, have USB ports so you can charge your devices. Many also have screens on the back of the seats that you can listen to music or watch movies on. Often you have to pay for them, but I’ve found that on longer flights they are usually free.
  4. Dress comfortably and weather-appropriate.
    When you’re practically undressing to go through security (God bless America), waiting for hours in uncomfortable seats, and then sitting in tight quarters on a plane where you can barely move, it is way better in comfy clothing. And I don’t know about you, but I am almost always freezing cold on airplanes. It used to irritate me until I realized that:a) The air outside is actually¬†way¬†colder, so it could be worse.
    b) The air is intentionally kept cool to lower the risk of spreading bacteria in the air. So I do appreciate that we don’t all get the cough that one guy on the plane has.
    That being said- bring a sweater or jacket in your carry-on just in case.Also make sure that you are dressed right for the climate of your destination. When I first went to Florida, as soon as I stepped off the plane the heat and humidity just hit me. When I returned to the States from New Zealand in March this past year, I knew it would be cold so I wore warm clothing.
  5. Find your gate¬†and don’t be afraid to¬†ask for help.
    When my brother Judah and I flew to Florida to Teen Mission Int’l, my mom advised us to get to our gate as soon as we passed through security. Every time I fly, I go straight to my gate before getting food, looking around, or anything else. If your boarding pass doesn’t have the gate on it, find an electronic screen displaying the departures. It will have your flight number, time, destination, and gate. And if all else fails find an airport employee and ask for help. That’s what they’re there for!

 

What is your dream travel destination? Where is your favorite place that you have been?

Reverse Bucket List – 6 Awesome Things I Have Done!

A bucket list is all the cool and crazy thing you want to do someday… so a reverse bucket list is all the cool and crazy things you¬†have¬†done! I am so blessed that I have been able to have so many exciting adventures so far.

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1. Road Trip in Canada

In 2015 my cousin and best friend Arianna graduated from highschool in Manitoba, Canada. I was able to tag along with her and her family from Maple Ridge, BC, where my grandparents live, to Calgary, Alberrta, where my cousins lived, to Manitoba for the graduation. It was so fun and we made tons of great memories! One thing we did was we got to visit the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) depot and museum in Regina, Saskatchewan.

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Here I am at the RCMP depot museum with my cousins Elli and Arianna.

Go on a missions trip

This one ties in with the next two:

2. Go to Africa/on an African Safari

When I was 15 I got to go with Teen Missions International to Malawi, Africa. It was an amazing two months and probably not your ordinary way to spend a summer! After two weeks of training in Florida- hot, muggy, swarms of mosquitoes, living in tents and bathing and doing laundry by hand in the lake- my team and I flew to Malawi, Africa, where we stayed for just over a month as we drilled a well in a remote village.

I learnt a lot by living in a tent, and walking 1/2 mile each way to get water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and doing our laundry by hand. We got to help teach ‘Sunday School’ every day to the children who would come after school. It gives you a new perspective when you travel to a faraway place where most people you know have never been.

The length of the trip helped us really get to know the local people, and after roughing it for almost 2 months total, I gained a new appreciation for things like running water, electricity, showers, a bed. We worked hard Monday-Saturday and by the time we left, we had just barely finished drilling the well. It took another year or two for the well to be properly installed with a pump, but now those people have running water right there, instead of having to walk 1/2 mile to get it every day.

We also got to go on an African safari, right before we flew back the the USA. Honestly we didn’t see all the animals we hoped and expected to see (although when we returned to the safari camp after, we got to see a herd of elephants up close and personal!), but it was still an incredible experience! Like everyone else, I had learned about Africa, read books and seen pictures… but I never thought I would actually go there one day. It was so surreal to be there.

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3. Visit Colombia/See the Andes Mountains

Less than a year before I went to Malawi, I got to visit Colombia with my grandparents who have close friends who are missionaries there. This trip was only 2 weeks, but it really changed me a lot. We taught some Indian women from a refugee camp how to knit and crochet, a skill that would prove useful for them. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to go back but I left a piece of my heart in Colombia. Hearing their testimonies and seeing their faith in the midst of destruction and persecution showed me that God is bigger than any problem we may face, and that he truly loves us and cares for us. And to see God’s beautiful creation… wow! We spent two days driving over the Andes Mountains and they are so breathtakingly beautiful!

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4. Visit Australia/Go to the Australia Zoo

I have dreamed of visiting not just Australia, but specifically the Australia Zoo for years! One year ago, my sister Adalia and I were exploring the Australia Zoo and it was truly a dream come true for me. I loved it so much I even went back the next day so I could thoroughly enjoy it, because who knows when I’ll ever be in Australia again? (It’s more likely now, but at the time I didn’t imagine that I would be living so close to it!)

5. Live in another country

Honestly I never imagined myself spending 6 months in another country, much less moving there forever. If I had, I never would’ve guessed it would be New Zealand. But a year and a half ago, I was finished with high school and 2 years of college and I had so many ideas of what I could do in the next few years. Maybe I could go back to Colombia, or visit Adalia in NZ, or just save up for Bible College, or… just anything really. While I was still thinking about what to do, my sister Adalia asked if I wanted to come to New Zealand… for a couple¬†months! I thought about it, and I wasn’t so sure at first about how long I wanted to go for. But I thought hey, why not? So — I hopped on a plane and went to spend almost 6 months living in a country where I had never been before and knew exactly 7 people (my sister, her husband, and most of his family). I still think it was kind of crazy, but it was an amazing adventure, and that’s where I met Jared! So that brings me to my next and final item on this reverse bucket list.

6. Get married

A year ago, Jared and I had known each other for a few weeks and were texting all the time. 8 months ago we got engaged. Almost 6 months ago we got married. It has been a crazy whirlwind of a year but it has been amazing! Our wedding was so special, too. It was everything I could’ve dreamed of and more! From the decorations and the location to the ceremony and each person who was there.

So that’s my reverse bucket list! I am so blessed to have been on so many amazing adventures. I just realized I’ve been to 4 continents… and flown on countless airplanes! I’m so excited to see what God has for my future too.

Head over to my Pinterest board ‘Been there, done that’ if you want to see some more exciting things I’ve done!

What are some things on your bucket list, and your reverse bucket list?