Coming home

June 5, 2010

Coming home

We are about to end our trip to Australia.  I believe everyone is anxious to return to the USA, but everyone of us has had a great experience in this country.  The individuals in this group have been wonderful traveling companions and all have been very helpful and considerate to each other and the people we have met.  I will say the group has also earned high praise for being the first group to ever be on time and almost always early, to our appointments.   The last few days have offered us significant independent time to explore Sydney and the surrounding areas.  Based on my conversations with the students, the quiet and openness of Kansas will be extremely welcome to everyone!

Most of the group went to the musical “Wicked” on wednesday. The opportunity to watch an international cast in a major city is something that should not be missed.  The cast did a terrific job and at the end everyone in the group had a great time.  The group was also very fortunate to be at the performance in which the magazine, Women’s Day Australia, was doing a piece on the male lead in Wicked.  All the students were asked to be part of the camera shoot and all of them got his autograph and had the opportunity to take their picture with him.  The magazine will be available online in a couple of weeks.

Thursday and Friday this week had us in a couple of different locations.  On Thursday we  visited Redfern and listened to an overview of health programs related to aboriginal population. A small group returned to the Bondi Beach school to help with the after school program.  Saturday we packed and got ready to return to the USA.

On Friday, only two brave souls took our last opportunity to tour some sites outside of Sydney.  We went to the Blue Mountains to see wander around the wildlife park, go hiking in the Jamison Valley, view the “3 sisters”, ride the world’s railway, and cable car, and finally take a cruise back the Paramatta river.  All in all some beautiful scenery, although it rained most of the day.  Our tour guide was a physical education teacher who had just recently taken up leading tours as a part-time job.

My camera blew up on the trip so I missed so great shots and hope to get pictures from others who took pictures.  I did buy a new one and went out for to a walk around Sydney to took pictures of the brilliant architecture of the city. After I return home I will add pictures to this blog.

I also am constantly amazed at the subtle and not so subtle things in Australia that catch my attention.
1.  The biggest (and best for me) attention grabber was that Australia is a Coke a cola country. No Pepsi in this country, you ask for a coke you get a coke, not a “is Pepsi okay”.
2.  Australian TV is terrible. I feel as if I am watching TV from the 1960s.
3.  News programs in Australia are not a significant part of programming.   Politics are not front and center as it is in the states. Although there was a significant protest of the Israeli situation in Sydney this week.
4.  Restaurant behavior is very different.  When you go into a restaurant, you don’t sit down and wait to give an order to a waiter or waitress.  In Australia, you go up to the counter place and pay for your food order and then go over to the bar area to get your drink.  The order is then delivered to your table.  This system is difficult to get used to, but certainly has two advantages:  one, there is no tipping in Australia and two, when the meal is over you can get up and leave at any time, you don’t have to wait for the check.
5. The price of an object, is the exact price, no added taxes.  So when some says coffee costs 4.00, that is what it costs.  I spoke with several Australians who have traveled to the states.  They all agree that one of the most difficult things for them to get used to is not having the advertised price as the exact price.
6.  This is the first official day of winter for Australia – it is 70 degrees and Australians find this weather to be cold.
7.  Every meal is served with fries (called chips-potato chips are called crisps).  Why does it seem strange to me that lasagna is served with a side os fries!
8. Half the population of Australia wears the old converse tennis shoes and the other hall wears shoes with heels so high it is unbelievable.   But, I can’t get over the converse sneakers – high fashion over here.
9.  The Australian sayings are very catchy.  My favorites are “no worries”, “too easy”, and “no sting in it’s tale”.
10.  The world is a small world.  On the tour to the Hunter Valley, we met a couple from Wichita, KS.  Ah, home sounds very good!

Well, the trip is coming to an end, I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog and thanks for your comments.

We aren’t in Kansas Any more!

June 3, 2010

It was nice to finally see a part of Kansas since it has been so long!!
All of us girls went to see the broadway play Wicked! It was amazing! It is hard to explain the play in detail because it could easily give away some of the sercrets you have to wait and find out about when you go in see it! All of the actors and actresses were incredible at the roll they played. Everyone could hit the high and low notes to make the sound of the music come to life! The scenary effects were undiscribable! I can not image the time and hard work it would have taken to set up the stage!
Of course every play usually has some type of love story to it! As always the male lead roll was amazing and breath taking as usual! A few of us girls were part of a photo shoot with him after the production! His last performance will be this sunday so a local Women’s magazine was doing an article on him. Then we were able to get pictures and autographs after the photo shoot! I bought a book that tells all about the characters and the people who played their roll! It is amazing to see what kind of art work it takes to get someone into complete costum. Some of the costumes would have taken hours before the show to fully bring the character to life!
Finally understanding where the Wicked Witch of the West began, makes me want to come back to Kansas and watch the Wizard of Oz again!

Today a few of us still had to attend the Bondi Beach School since we were not part of the group on Monday!
Dr. Shane, David, April, Rachel and I decided to head to Bondi Beach and get some lunch! Our tour guide Tasha told us about a great Mexican/Burrito place on Bondi beach we should try. Of course at first we questioned it because we all talk about how amazing the mexican food is in Emporia and surrounding cities that it is hard to campair. Some of us have tried mexican food in Cairns and were not to crazy about it. This little resturant was called Beach Burritos! It turned out to be amazing! The burritos were about the size of a burrito at Chipotle! April had a difficult time figuring out how to eat hers so like always the final solution is to just cut it up and use a fork! 🙂 Dr. Shane recommended to never have Mango Salsa on your tacos. The two just don’t mix very well!

We then had about an hour before we needed to be to the school. We all walked along the beach and tried to enjoy the water as we were getting hit with rain drops and heavy wind coming off the water. Dr. Shane decided it was time to get out an umbrella but the wind was not too happy about that because it took the life out of the poor umbrella 😦 Dr. Shane’s $5 perchase was no longer needed. There were surfers out on the water like usual they are never afraid of the LARGE waves that were coming in. They were happy to have something to surf on. We continued on to look at the small shops that were around the area before heading to the school.

We got to Bondi Beach School and had the oppurtunity to interact with the children that attend the after school program. This was the same school the group on Monday went too. Of course the students remembered who the visitors were on Monday and asked if we knew them! They did not realize that we were all part of the same group! Questions were asked and compairsons of how we say things were told to one another! It is so much fun to learn from the children in the area because they always tell you lots about Austraila or where they are from! Plus the children have very creative and different names so its neat to learn how the say them. But as always the children tell us that we talk funny or just dont say things quite right! It was a fun day!

Great times here in Aussie but we will be leaving soon!
From those of us here on a once in a lifetime oppurutinity!

Hannah P 🙂


June 3, 2010

Sydney, Australia
Anne Steven

Today we learned about the Redfern-Waterloo Partnership Project (RWPP). The 2005 census of Redfern-waterloo showed that 60% of the population are umemployed, over 60% of the families are single-parent families, and approximately 50% earn an income of less than $400 per week. The RWPP are developing a human services plan to help improve those statistics through two phases.
Phase 1 is focused on: families and children, young people, aboriginal services, and health services. Phase 2 is focused on: Homeless people, people with disabilities, the aged and migrant communities.

To look more into the RWPP go to
Redfern-Waterloo Authority

We also visited the National Center of Indigenous Excellence.

This was a great place for sport and recreation. It offers a variety of options to stay physically fit. They also offer living accomodations for camps and or visits.

This was our last scheduled event for half of the group. The other half went to Bondi School to volunteer again. Now it’s free time and preparing for the 40 hour trip back home.

~ Annie


June 3, 2010

Sydney Australia
Anne Steven

The women of the ESU Austarlia group had a WICKED time tonight. We all went to see the amazing musical WICKED. I have seen the show before and was even more impressed the second time around. The theatre was on the smaller side which ensured most people a terrific view. We were there when students from a local school attended the show and they seemed to make it a little more entertaining with their cheers and sighs at the love story in the show.
All in all it was AMAZING and I definitely want to go again.

When we were leaving the theatre a man chased me down and said he was from Woman’s Day magazine and asked if I wanted to do a photo shoot with Rob Mills (the male lead of the show). I said sure, and he asked me to grab a couple friends. I saw Kassidy and Hannah and told them to come with me. We joined a group of about 20 women young and old to do the photo shoot. The photo shoot was happening because this week was Rob Mills last week of doing the show and he’s become a sort of heart throb in the area. Rob was very funny and had fun with the shoot. After doing 8 shows a week for 2 years he has decided to take a holiday (vacation). He’s going to South Africa to watch the world cup then heading to USA to get an agent and start acting there. 🙂

If you have the chance to see Wicked… Give it a go! It’s phenomenal.


U.S. Consulate

June 3, 2010

On Tuesday, we finally got the group back together to visit the U.S. Consulate stationed in Sydney. It was quite the experience as we went through security similar to that of an airport just to sit down and wait to be called up (we were told we were the first group to ever be early!). Once we got to the meeting room, there was an amazing view of the city. After gawking at the sights, we took our seats and listened to the general of the Sydney Consulate. She went into detail about the relationship the United States and Australia had with one another, and how friendly it was. We actually have a treaty with Australia basically stating that if someone wages war on the other, we will both be there to fight. She told us of all the places around the world she has lived, but could not tell us where she was going to be next. Since Barack O’Bama has become President (he is supposed to be in Australia by the end of the month), however, she said many things have improved. She says the Australia Embassy ambassador from the US is great to work with that O’Bama assigned. We learned a lot about the different jobs she holds and her every day schedule. She was so nice and very kind for taking some time out of her busy day to meet with us!

Kings Cross & the Art Museum

June 3, 2010

Monday afternoon, while the rest of the group went to Bondi Beach for the after school program, Shawna, David, Hannah, and I went on a couple of adventures. Shawna talked us into going to Kings Cross (an area we were told by the locals NOT to go to) and then I talked everyone into going to the Art Gallery of New South Wales. When we arrived at Kings Cross, we decided the locals were correct and jetted just about as fast as we got there. There were “nightclubs” everywhere and a man peeing on the side of the street. From there, we had to find the correct train to take to get to the art museum. We chose correctly and made our way through Hyde Park to reach the outside of the museum. The building was beautiful that housed the artwork and the pieces inside were amazing. There were several portraits of historical figures, landscapes from the early settlement days of Australia, and too many naked bodies to count! Nonetheless, the pieces were definitely interesting to learn about. Many different types of brushstrokes and techniques were used and some pieces were even illustrated on bark from trees. It was definitely a great trip and one that got us away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a few moments. Hopefully we can find a few more of those along the way until we return home to the States.

Another update to pics & videos

June 2, 2010

I had to add another album because the first one is full, so check these two websites for updated pictures and videos from the ESU Australia adventure.

Album 1
Album 2


Another Day in Sydney

June 1, 2010

Yesterday we went to the bondi beach school and had a blast playing with the kids and reading to them. Those kids were so funny and well-mannered. It was also really funny when Kassidy made the comment about celebrating the 4th of July because to them that means nothing, and how a little girl laughed at Ashley when she said the word stew. They had so many funny questions for us, like if all of us were on big family and why all of us didn’t wear uniforms.
After we got back to our accommodation Dr. Ermler took us all out to eat at a restaurant and the food was amazing. We were all very thankful to Dr. Ermler for doing that. It was nice for all of us to eat together because sometimes it seems like we are busy doing different things. After dinner a few of us went to this ice bar that they had near the Sydney Opera House. Inside it was 7 degrees farenheit and everything was made of ice. There were ice sculptures of an eagle, the Sydney Harbor bridge, the Opera House, dolphins, and even an ice car that you were able to sit in! We had a blast taking lots of pictures and posing with all of the ice, but were only allowed to stay in there for thirty minutes because of the cold temperature. Upon entering, we even had to put on ‘eskimo-type’ coats to help keep us warm!
A few days ago a couple of us got the chance to see a movie at the IMAX theater, which has the biggest IMAX screen in the world. We went and saw Prince of Persia and it was amazing. We had trouble knowing where to look because the screen was just so big. At first, we were wondering how we were going to be able to focus on the whole screen, but in the end we enjoyed the experience and loved the movie!
Ashley and Stephen

Bondi Beach Public School

June 1, 2010

A group of seven took a train out to Bondi Beach. Once we arrived it was very windy we took some time to take pictures at the beach. At the beach the surf was wild and crazy!! After a few pics we went to the Bondi Beach Elementary School to the after school program. There were about 40 children and we just played various games, and got to chat with the children. Next it was Tea time and they kids got to ask us questions, and the most common question was if we were from America!! Also if we had vegatable gardens! For their tea time they had apples, and then they got pumpkin soup with bread. Most of they children really enjoyed the soup. We had story time next and Amber read Curious George to the group. While the book was being read there was a student that carried around a large jug of sunscrean… with all the schools that we have went to we have noticed that sun block has to be applied before every recess or outdoor activity. That is part of being a “sun safe” school. When the book was finished it was time for us to go. The students went out to play and we headed back to the city!
Kira and Kassidy

Updated pictures and videos

June 1, 2010

Check out this website for updated pictures and videos from our trip to Australia. 🙂

Australia photos & videos