the life of kat

trying to learn to be like Jesus by caring for this world and loving each one of its creatures unconditionally

The Normalizing of Body Diversity

I woke up today to see that three of my friends had shared a photo on Facebook of Myla Dalbesio’s Calvin Klein campaign with the bold white words “CALVIN KLEIN’S FIRST plus size model”.  Thankfully, all three friends that shared this were outraged at the photo. As they should have been…. Myla Dalbesio is a size 10. Typically, within the fashion industry this means that her bust measures at 36″, her waist 28″, and her hip 40″. Yes, a girl with curves indeed, but I don’t know if I would go as far to say plus size.

Please do not mishear me and think that I am shaming plus size. I am so happy that the industry is seeing positive growth in this area, and that we are beginning to see curvier, softer figures in the media. My plus size homegirls need to see their bodies in the media too! They need to know that they’re gorgeous and sexy. What I am asking and petitioning for, is not less plus size models, or less “regular-sized” models, but for more MEDIUM-SIZED, models. When more medium-sized models begin to appear in the media, it will provide balance for the industry and normalize medium-sized bodies.

A Quick Note: Plus size ranges from size 18 and up. A “normal size model ranges from 00-4. This leaves a large gap between the two, that the industry isn’t sure what to do with. Sizes 6-16 are what I classify as “medium-sized”, sometimes even called “in-betweeners”.

“I can never figure out where I fit in, and I’m always making someone mad. I’m not skinny-skinny, but I’m not fat and fabulous either. I’m a size 10. There’s been a whole public outcry about me not being as big as people think I should be. They say, ‘What do you have to complain about? You have a great body.’ But if you’re a size 6 or 10 (US), that doesn’t mean you don’t need to see yourself represented too.” -Myla Dalbesio

Maybe you read this, and it just seems like another body-love, self-acceptance rant to you. Good. Because it is. I remember the first time someone told me that I could be a plus size model. Those of you who know what I look like might be floored when you read that. I was dumbfounded when I heard it… I was confused. Because my measurements are actually really similar to Myla Dalbesio. My bust measures at 33 1/4″, my waist at 26 1/2, and my hips at 41 1/4″. That’s almost a 15″ difference between my hips and waist, and you better believe that I am proud of that difference. I got it from my mamma (like actually). But for so long those 15 inches that my Mother and God had given me- were a source of tension. American culture around me tells me that I shouldn’t have hips or thighs. That I should look like I did when I was 13, before puberty. This is absurd.. Why do we idolize youth to the point that we push our bodies to do things they were not made to do?! This idolization of youth and one body type has led to eating disorders (see 2 blog posts below), distorted body image, and self-loathing. Women (and men!) become fixated on numbers, on a scale or on measurements, when really their body’s natural resting weight is not _____* and anything less that that will be strenuous on their body to maintain. This is not just an issue with 20-somethings, 30-somethings, or 40-somethings. This is an epidemic infecting the young women and men in our country. The saddest thing you will ever hear is when a 12-year old tells you their greatest fear is getting fat.

So women AND men, do not accept the labels that you see around you. Do not accept the fashion industry as it is. Push for authenticity. Push for vulnerability. Demand change. We need body diversity, normalizing sizes 6-16. Maybe you want to see a girl who has a large bust and a round waist, and small hips and thighs with small legs in the media. I know I do. Men- maybe you want to see a “dad-bod” or a long, lanky guy covered in tattoos. I want to see a girl who looks like me, too, who has a smaller bust, smaller waist, and round hips and thighs in the media. This issue starts with us. Let’s watch our speech as we make references to our bodies and the bodies around us. Let’s speak positively about our bodies, and recognized that beauty is more than size and shape. Go out and tell the girl sitting next to you that you love her hair or her eyes. Go out and tell the guy at the coffee shop that he has a great smile or killer forearms. Let’s start to be real about our bodies- and not just for what they look like, but what they can do.

My body is made to laugh. My body is made to run. My body is made to make music. My body is made to sing, to dance.

My body is made to echo the stars, moon, and sun around me. My body is beautiful. 

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a réponse to the Orlando Massacre

I wish, I wish, I wish.Yesterday on a walk, I started thinking about the world in which we live in. It’s so beautiful, and yet so tragic. Tears fled to my eyes as I began to think of my LGBTQ brothers and sisters who were massacred not even a week ago. Even now, my heart is heavy as I think of the loss their neighborhoods and families-the world- is experiencing because they are no longer in it.

I wish this wasn’t “old news”. It is despicable how the media exploits people’s lives. As if to say 20 minutes of air time was all that a person is worth. I would argue their families would disagree. They will miss them for more than 20 minutes, 20 hours, 20 years. They will live the rest of their lives under a shadow of this event.

I wish more of the Christian community would stand up, and show how much we care for the lives of these people. I know Jesus mourns (present tense) for each one of them. I know Jesus mourns for the shooter and his family. I wish more of the Christian community would stand up and show how much we not just care for the lives that were lost, but those that are still living. That we could stand with the LGBTQ community. I understand that sometimes all we Christians know how to do is pray. It is praying that brings us peace and hope. However, it is not so with these brothers and sisters of ours. I have seen many comments frustrated with Christians for offering prayer. And how can we pass blame? I bet many in the LGBTQ community are actually well-acquainted with prayer. Praying for understanding, praying for change, praying for answers. Yet, many have never received understanding or answers. What they need from the Christian community is the unending support and love that our Savior would have given them. “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” I will take it a step further: And as others wish that you would do to them, do to them.  I think the LGBTQ community needs more than just our love, prayers, and support, I think they need our voice! I think we need to listen to them, and rally with them! It is for this reason, that I will join with them in crying for gun law reformation. NO, this does not mean that I think guns should be banned completely. YES, I do believe this means there should be policies set in place that make it harder for terrorists to get guns. I think one of things to be considered here is our consumption of oil, and who we are buying our oil from. But in reality… this is not an issue of gun violence. This is an issue violence stemming from hate and prejudice.

This act of violence.. of hatred.. grieves my soul. And honestly, I wish I could say that the massacre surprised me. But when I look at the world, I see a world in which its inhabitants have picked apart and destroyed the earth for its resources, its land, and its people with no regard for anyone or the creatures in it but one’s self.

When will we value the lives of others above our own? When will we put the needs of our brothers and sisters above ourselves? We are connected, to this earth and to each other. Let’s start acting like it.

I stand with the LGBTQ community as they long for restoration and peace.

7/23/15

MY NAME IS KAT ZOSCHKE, AND I HAVE AN EATING DISORDER.

I have been meaning to write this for several weeks now. However, I’ve put it off. Today, I am putting it off no longer. Taking the first step to wage war against the battle inside of my mind.

I used to be the girl who could eat whatever she wanted, whenever she water. In fact, I was the girl who would challenge any line-backer to a Taco-Bell party pack eaten contest, betting money that I’d win. My mom even said I had a hollow leg. Yes, I loved eating. It was fun! It brought people together.

That is until I left the country in May of 2014. When I left the country, I knew I would’t be back for 7 months. Before even leaving, I had decided I was going to come back “new & improved”, “KAT 2.0”! Not only was I going to be the cool, free-spirited, down to dart, cultured girl, but I was also going to look good. In my mind, looking good meant I was going to be 2 sizes smaller, with a super cool, alternative hair style, and all brand-new edgy clothing to match. You know, the kind of girl you see on the runway or in a magazine.

I got to South Africa, where I ended up teaching kids about art. South Africa was full of life and full of joy. While I was there, I roomed with a vegan. She taught me a lot and I was fascinated by it. I ended up not buying animal products, not because I believed it to be healthier, but because it was way cheaper. I ate food that was given to me when it was presented: sweets, meat, coffee-whatever! I did not restrict myself. At some point, I realized I was eating a lot more than I normally did (as is often true in travel) and decided to start working out to compensate. I LOVED it. I could feel my body getting stronger and decided to also start eating clean. I did this telling myself that I was going to feed my body what it needed. I was going to give my body the best possible fuel for it…. This, deep down, was not the real reason I opted to eat clean. I started researching “clean-eating” and found the 7-ingredient rule, “Don’t eat it, if it has more than 7 ingredients”. The thought is that the more ingredients it has, the more processed it is…. Well, let me tell you. Nearly EVERYTHING, has more than 7 ingredients in it.  But I stuck with it.

For about a week. Shortly after, I arrived in Australia. It was a lot harder to eat clean there. There were more options.. exciting options.. What’s “pavlova”? (food of the gods) What’s all the hype about Tim-Tams? (the peanut butter ones-OMG) It got to the point where I said, “Hey, I’m traveling! I only get these things while I’m here!”, and I indulged. For the record, I am glad I indulged! Sure, I gained 20 pounds, but I had so many fun experiences…. Banana Fritters? ON POINT. The thing was, at the time when I was doing all this, I decided to become a Vegetarian- unless there was Kangaroo around, because have you ever had that? Crikey, it’s good. However, at the same time, I was reading more and more about veganism. I was reading more about nutrition, in general. Animal products are bad for you. But soy is bad for you too. Oh yeah- and sugar? That’s poison. EVERYTHING IS BAD FOR YOU.

So, I came home with all this knowledge and my extra 20 pounds. I hated it. I had never struggled with insecurity before. I had never really struggled with body image before. I knew what I had to do. I had to work-out, and not eat meat ever again. In fact, if I wanted to be serious, I wouldn’t consume any animal products.

Well, the 20 pounds melted off like it had never been there…. but it wasn’t enough. More. More. More. Thinner legs, smaller waist. My mind was consumed with self-depricating thoughts about my body and food. Food was no longer fun. I would eat ice cream or pizza and feel shame. I didn’t even want to go out with people sometimes because I knew that we would stop somewhere like my old stomping grounds, “The Varsity Truck”, and I would buy a grilled cheese mac and cheese (without bacon, because ‘I’m a veg now’).

The problem continued, and one day I found an article about ORTHOREXIA. The NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) describes orthorexia nervosa as, “Those who have an “unhealthy obsession” with otherwise healthy eating may be suffering from “orthorexia nervosa,” a term which literally means “fixation on righteous eating.” There was a section asking you to ask yourself these questions,

  • Do you feel guilt or self-loathing when you stray from your diet? check.
  • Have you put yourself on a nutritional pedestal and wonder how others can possibly eat the foods they eat? …check.
  • Are you constantly looking for ways foods are unhealthy for you? check.
  • Are you planning tomorrow’s menu today? check. (I actually plan my breakfasts as I’m going to bed.)
  • Do you skip foods you once enjoyed in order to eat the “right” foods? sigh.. check..

It’s exhausting just reading that list. I hate that food became like that for me. For so long, I denied that anything was wrong.I denied that I had disordered thinking about food because I wasn’t all skin and bone and I didn’t throw up after I ate. But reading that list, it should be clear that I was (am?) messed up in how I thought not only about my food, but my body. If it is not clear to you, I would challenge you to take a closer look at yourself. Is it possible that you may also be unhealthy in your perception of food and your body? Do you love yourself? Do you love food? Are you labeling yourself? Are you creating barriers for yourself?

I am so grateful, that I discovered Orthorexia, because it shed light on a dark place in my life. Now, I’m on the journey to healing. If someone wants to go get ice cream or a slice of pizza, I will gladly accompany my friend and not just eat it, but enjoy it. I will still eat things that are vegan and vegetarian, because I think that it’s fun. I like it! It’s all about balance. There are some days where I will even say, “I’m going vegan”, but I have to repeat to myself “IWILLNOTBEVEGANIWILLNOTBEVEGANIWILLNOTBEVEGAN”. Because for me, that it unhealthy. Labels, walls, and barriers may help you shed 20 pounds, but they also destroy your mind and your emotional stability. There is no love. There is no grace.

So here, I am, before the entire internet, with all my issues laid bare.  It is my pledge to you that I will strive towards health, but I will also strive towards grace. I will remember that ultimately, whether I am a size 0 or a size 14 doesn’t matter. I will remember that people do not love me because I am shaped the way I am shaped, but because I am KAT. And that Jesus doesn’t look at me and condemn me because I ate an egg with 2 strips of bacon or a creme filled donut, He says “Kat, I love you. And you are enough. Quit striving. Come to me, and I will give you rest.”

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m about to make a salad and then get a concha from my favorite Bonito Michoacan. Or maybe I’ll get a cuernito de creme… I haven’t decided yet!

11/17/2014

I figured since it’s been more than a week I should finish my post about my time in New Zealand. Wow did it take a turn for the better- it was so incredible and I am so glad I went. More than where I was, I met so many amazing people.

DAY FOUR:

The previous night, (the end of day 3) I met 2 brothers from Chile. They cooked me an amazing dinner and we stayed up late just chatting. Incredible South American hospitality. I’d almost forgotten. I still chat with the younger of the two brothers, and I hope to one day see them again. Anyway, the next day I caught a bus to the Crossing and met a German named Marius. He was also backpacking a lone so we agreed to hike together. He was a lot of fun, and a fabulous photographer. He reminded me a bit of my cousin Katie, who is always taking photos of me, haha. The hike was incredible. 8 hours, with some pretty strong winds near the top of the volcano. Totally worth it though… Those views.. Once we finished the hike, Marius and I split ways and I made my way to Lake Taupo. I was exhausted from the hike and didn’t see much of Taupo, but I met two wonderful Israeli girls. Once again, we chatted the night away and they made me dinner. The hospitality and kindness of these people who I’d just met blew me away, and it didn’t’ stop there. Just wait, because my journey gets crazier.

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DAY FIVE:

The next morning I met Richard (remember, him?) in the kitchen. We loaded everything in the car and drove to Rotorua, where I would spend my next two days. The first day I went to Hobbiton. SO COOL. The movie set is beautiful, and brilliantly thought and planned, down to every last detail. I love things like that. Everything that goes into the making of a movie. It’s nuts. When I got back home, I checked my email and saw that I had people respond to my couch surfing requests! Because of my excitement, I ran into the other room and started yelling to the only person there. He was German, and quickly became a friend. His name was Marcel. As I was causing a lot of commotion, several other Germans came in. Pretty soon they were wondering what we were doing. We weren’t really doing anything, but I quickly solved that and a movie night at the hostel was in order! Because I made friends so quickly at the hostel, my plans the next day were easily worked out…

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DAY SIX:

The next day we headed to a forest for a walk and a waterfall! There were 5 of us, but ended up being 6 as our other friend, Peter, met us there. We ended up wading through the water and decided to make our way to the other side and up towards the top of the waterfall. I was towards the middle of the waterfall, almost to the other side, when I lost my footing and fell in. My phone quit working, but it made for a good laugh for my German companions, so I didn’t mind too much. I don’t have many photos from this day because of that incident. Afterwards, I took a walk around the town and then Peter and I made dinner together.

DAY SEVEN:

I woke up early and hitchhiked my way to Cathedral Cove. THAT WAS THE BEST AND COOLEST EXPERIENCE EVER. There was a total of 8 drivers (I think) that helped me get there. It was fun to get to see so many different walks of life and learn their stories. I met a woman who had just lost her mom, but also had just gotten engaged. I met a man who worked in prisons, as a sort of counselor. I met a young guy who was going to school to support his 2 kids. I met a commercial fisherman named Wayne. I met a truck driver with a big heart named Simon, and his friend, Percy. I met a possum hunter who grew marijuana.  I met an Australian man who’s life seemed to be torn apart with hardship and loneliness and searching. And then. Then I met Shep. Shep was the first person I was going to couch surf with. The plan was to couch-surf with Shep on Wednesday night, meet up with a different couch surfer in Thames on Thursday night and then head to Auckland with him on Friday so I could catch the overnight bus that evening and make it back to Wellington where I would join Hannah that day. When I finally made it through Cathedral Cove to Coromandel Town I called Shep (on a gift-shop’s phone, since mine was dead). He told me to meet him at the fire station, that he would be there around 5:10. So I walked through Coromandel Town (it was a street long) and then made my way to the fire station.

When I got there, there was quite the group of firemen shucking mussels. I told them I was with Shep, and they told me to take a seat and that he would be here any moment. I sat down for 45 seconds and then decided that that was enough of that. So I made my way into the kitchen, asked if there was anything that needed to be done and went to work straight away chopping onions. Soon enough Shep showed up and we were joking around in no time. Apparently, and I would soon see this for myself, Shep was really good at avoiding work. They joked that I did his share for him. Well, we finished the onions, but there still needed mussels to be shucked. So I shucked some for the first time! It was super easy and super fun. I tried one, and it was weird. When Shep found out that I had not had New Zealand fish & chips, he took me straight away to get some and we went to a lookout over the water. It was beautiful, and the fish and chips were KILLER. Shep is close to my dad’s age, and so it was nice to spend some time with someone like that. I miss my dad a lot!

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DAY EIGHT:

The next day, after staying in Shep’s spare room, we made our way to Thames, where he worked. I was going to hike the Pinnacles, but the road was closed. So instead, I made up my mind to do a different hike, and then it started pouring. No bother! I just made my way through the little town and its shops. New Zealand has tons of little towns. At first I hated it, but by the end I loved it. I found a bakery and picked up some lamingtons (a chocolate coconut sponge cake-YUM) and went to visit Shep at work. Upon discovering that I had come bearing gifts, he quickly took a break from his “work” (remember, Shep doesn’t actually work), and we chowed down on the lamingtons and some milo. Then he sent out a few more emails and we went to lunch. From there, we took a bit of a road trip. He’s a contractor, and so he checks how the work is going on all the road construction. Afterwards, we rewarded ourselves with some ice cream.  I decided to make my way to Auckland that night, since Shep and I were getting a long so well, instead of meeting a second couch surfer. So we headed over to Auckland, grabbed some dinner, watched the Hobbit, and headed to sleep.

DAY NINE:

That morning, we parted ways and I hitchhiked into the city with a wonderful guy named Kairua from the Cook Islands. Islanders are the best. Seriously the nicest. From there, I made my way down to the harbor and just watched boats come in and out for a while, until I met another guy, this time from Rwanda. We chatted for several hours, but then he kept talking about his wife and how he was going home in a week and so I decided to leave, because we was making me homesick. Very cool to hear about his part of Africa, though. From there, I went through this really weird park that had a huge tree actually overtaking the park. You had to step over and bend under branches to even follow the path. Next, I made it to a gallery and met a girl named India, where again I talked for hours with her. This time, I was filled with inspiration and creativity. From there, I took a little walk through Albert Park to the State Library. Soon after, I caught my overnight bus. I met a girl named Taylor who was 19, but way beyond her years. She had a 2 year old daughter named Neveah, who was just adorable. They were great company and the sweetest. She gave me a whole bag of cookies… 🙂

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DAY TEN:

WOOO MADE IT BACK TO WELLINGTON! Got there, checked into my hostel, and made my way towards Hannah. When I met up with Hannah, we walked all through the city. She took me to some of her favorite spots: coffee, scones, cookies, cafes. It was lovely, and nice to see a friend. She even took me to a look out over her old home, where we shared stories and laughs. This might have been my favorite part of the whole trip, but it’s hard to say! After I met up with her, I found my friends from Australia who were also on exchange and we hung out, skipping rocks down by the harbor. It was after, later in the evening, that we all got to see the fireworks for Guy Fox. It was a great way to end the trip. Perfect, really.

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I learned a lot on my trip and had a splendid time. But I really learned how true it is about the journey being what is important, not the destination. I learned a lot about myself, but also a lot about others. I hope to take some of these lessons with me forever, but even if I don’t, I know that I will treasure these memories for years to come.

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11/1/14

NEW ZEALAND

Sounds cool. And it is. It’s super beautiful, but I’m backpacking solo and not gonna lie, it’s pretty lonely. It’s definitely giving me a good prep to be back in the states (36ish more days).

Anyway! It’s been a whirlwind. It’s super expensive here, so I’m going broke pretty quickly and things don’t always go to plan…but I’m learning to take each day as it comes and rely solely on Christ. Also that I could care less about experiences and more about the people I’m with…which makes this trip tough. Because if I don’t have people, I have to fill up my time doing things.

DAY 1:
Walked around Wellington and planned out the first part of my trip. Stopped in the museum to see the world of wearable art exhibit and hiked up Mt. Victoria with my 12 kg pack. I then caught the train to Paraparaumu where I planned to see Kapiti Island the next morning. I checked into my hostel, Barnacles, which was super cute but very quiet.

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I then walked along the beach and watched the sunset. I was super weepy and i don’t know if I’ve ever felt more small and alone than I did in that moment. (Below are pictures of the beach but I’ll show you the sunset picture from Halloween, because that was better than the one on the first night!)

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DAY TWO:
I woke up from a nightmare that my ferry had been cancelled and there was nothing else to do in Paraparaumu. That nightmare came true. So, I tried to make the best of it. I found a little bakery and had a custard roll. I went to the information center and planned my trip a little more and talked to the ladies. I then went to a bookstore and read a fair bit in the Hobbit (I thought it was appropriate, given my location). Then I went to the movies and saw Fury. Yup. By myself. It was really good but made me really emotional. So I went on a walk. Then on my way home, I saw trick-or-treaters and lost it. I had forgotten it was Halloween. I started crying. I saw a girl my age at the bus stop so I stopped and asked her what people around here did for fun. She said, “Yeah there’s not much to do around here so everyone just does drugs for fun.” ………. So there’s that! But she kept me company for a while. When I got home I decided to check out a Halloween party that I saw a poster for on the boating club. I met Bill, an older man at the door, and asked if it was open to the community. He said it wasn’t, but I think he could maybe tell I had been crying because he invited me in as his guest. It was a pretty good Halloween party for people who don’t celebrate Halloween! I still missed dressing up, but I appreciated the kindness of the kiwis. When I got back to my hostel, I decided to do some quiet time, but the power went out! Fortunately, it didn’t go out in the halls. So I set up camp in the hall where I met Richard. He is on his was to Rotorua as well for an insurance conference. We will meet up in Taupo and travel together. Which is really nice!

DAY THREE:
Today I woke up and got on a bus to Turangi. It’s a small town, but I’m here so I can go to the national park and do “The Crossing” tomorrow. It’s a 7.5 hour hike and passes in between several mountains, one of which is Mt. Doom. I’m very excited! I checked into my backpackers and visited the information center again so that I could book my hostels for Rotorua and also my trip to Hobbiton! Then I went for a walk down by the river which was really lovely. Killer sights and scenery. I just wish I had someone to share it with. I find myself praying a lot.

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10/29/2014

I board my flight to New Zealand in an hour. The first night I am staying in a hostel and figuring out what I’ll be doing the test of the time from there. I’m excited as I’ve not done anything like this before. The spots that I really want to see are: Tongariro National Park, Lake Aniwhenua, and Rotorua.

Sydney was amazing. I’m officially mad at everyone in Melbourne who said I only needed a few days in Sydney because they were WRONG! State rivalries…

DAY 1:
Anyway, my friend Stella and I flew together. We got a hostel and put our stuff down and met an Irish guy named Seamus. He was cool and super helpful. We decided to not let any time go to waste so we set out exploring. We started at the night noodle market, which was full of Asian culture including one of those New Year dragon parades! It was super cool. We grabbed some gelato and took it all in. Our next stop was the Soda Factory, a 1950’s style bar. But it’s secret- prohibition style. The store front looks like a closed hotdog stand. Then you open the fridge and there it is! Really good food too: MAC AND CHEESE SPRING ROLLS. My friend Zach had studied in Sydney last year and had told me about the place, so I was really glad we found it! After dinner, we headed to Darling Harbor and watched the fireworks.

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DAY 2:
Stella and I woke up bright and early and went to HILLSONG! It was really cool and everyone was very warm and friendly, which was awesome to see, especially from such a big church. After the service, we caught the ferry to Manly Beach which I liked even more than Bondi. It had more of an islander feel to it because you had to take the ferry to get there. Plus on the way you get to see the Sydney Opera House from the water! We spent the day there and got Ben and Jerry’s. We then caught the ferry back, where we met some guys from Wales! We walked through the royal botanical gardens on our way back and ended up getting locked in! (Where of course, we then hopped the fence!) We decided to take it easy that night and grabbed some Lord of the Fries to eat back at the hostel and chat with Seamus.

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DAY 3:
Bondi Beach and fish and chips comprised our afternoon! And I finally found banana fritters in Sydney. I might have just had a major craving, but they also might have been the best I’ve ever had!
Afterwards, we took the train to Blacktowne where Mr. and Mrs. Pearce let us stay in their lovely home! Do you remember me telling you about Naomi a while back? Well these are her parents. They were INCREDIBLE hosts. They fed us and took us to the station as well as picked us up. It was nice staying with them, because I got some much needed family time (I miss that) as well as getting to know more of my brothers and sisters in Christ on the other side of the world!

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DAY 4:
Woke up and went to the Blue Mountains. Hiked from Katoomba to Leura and it was so beautiful. We saw Echo Point, the Three Sisters, as well as the Giant Staircase and the Leura Cascades.
However, we were stalked and then flashed so that was a little weird.

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DAY 5:
Today we took it easy and hung out with Grandpa. We ate breakfast and then went to the Christian book store, where we looked around and then he bought us coffee and cake. I’m sure I’ve gained some weight since staying with them! They’re so generous! He then dropped us off at the station where Stella and I went our separate ways.

Now I’m in the airport waiting for my flight. Here goes nothin! Hopefully it goes well. I’m sure it will. Not entirely sure what I’ll do… Debating flying down to the southern island for a few days to meet up with Stella again after I do some tramping.

Sorry if the pictures are l mixed up. I wrote this on my phone.

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10/21/14

¡INTRODUCING ROZ!

My Australian Ride or Die. (If Beth is reading this: no I do not call everyone my ride or die I only have a few. And yes you are #1 because you jump out of my car when the exhaust pipe falls off)
I first met ROZ (she’s one of the few people that my phone automatically autocorrects her name to all caps because she gets me that excited) at the donut shop. I work with her there and so it truly was donuts that brought us together. Ever since day one, there was an instant bond. I don’t know a lot of other people that get as excited about donuts as I do, but she is one of them…. Aside of our common obsession, she makes me feel accepted and loved. She is good at that. She radiates positivity and life to everyone she comes in contact with. She is a total sweetheart.

This past weekend we decided to hit up some op shops, an organic food store, and grab a bite to eat on Brunswick street. We were on our way to try out this health food place, when she spotted a food truck down a lane way and turned to me and exclaimed, “THE TACO TRUCK. I’m sorry but we are eating there.” Hahaha it was this moment that confirmed her ride or die status.

Anyway, she is so encouraging and I’m happy to have her as a sister in Christ.

Here’s some photos from our adventure.

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10/8/14

This past weekend was the best and since it’s now Wednesday I suppose I should write about it.
It was probably one of the best weekends I’ve had in Melbourne.

To kick off, Tiffani came over on Friday and we went out to dinner with some of my work mates from the donut shop. They’re the best-so much fun. We grabbed Malaysian after much anticipation (and wait) and it was the best I’ve had.
Tiffani stayed the night and on Saturday we were going to go to the Tulip festival. We got all the way to Ringwood and realized she had forgotten the tickets at home. So we rescheduled for Monday and stopped in Blackburn for some coffee. There’s this place called “Nuts About Coffee” which I like simply because I get a biscuit with my coffee. However, it was warmer so I decided to get an iced coffee. Iced coffee as I know it, is considered cold press. Iced coffee as they know it is, well I’m not really sure but it has ice cream. Imagine our surprise when they brought us coffee with scoops of floating ice cream! (And we didn’t get biscuits either. I guess it’s a hot drink thing). Anyway we decided to head down to the docklands, before we met up with Cholena and her boyfriend Nick for his birthday. We spent the day in the city and found a great little smoothie place. When we finally made it to Cholena and Nick, we all shared in Bimbo’s infamous $4 pizza. It was a blast and the ambience and decor was great. There were beautiful lanterns and even a plane in the inside of this joint. However, pictures were hard to get because it was so dark.

On Monday, Tiffani and I finally made it to the tulip festival, where we enjoyed tons of Dutch things (including Dutch pancakes!) but mostly just every kind of tulip imaginable. It was beautiful.

Tiffani leaves in less than 2 weeks which I think was part of the reason it was so fun. However it was also saddening, knowing she’ll be gone. It also got me thinking about home and my return, which is not where I want my mind to be right now.

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10/4/14

As many of you may or may not know, I took a little trip to Brisbane this past week. It was amazing. Sunny weather (unlike Melbourne) and great company. I got to stay with my good friend Belinda, who lives up there but is moving here at the end of the year. Unfortunately, she is moving up literally the day I fly out.

I was only there for 6 days but man was it jam-packed! I’ll break it down into days with photos for you:

DAY ONE:
I flew out on Thursday and arrived that afternoon. We drove home from the airport and got sushi train, which is basically a sushi fast good joint there. It comes on conveyer belts! I love it. Sushi is one of my new favorite things that I will take back with me to the states. Probably because I don’t get it with fish, just veggies. Anyway, I got spring rolls, sun-dried/cream cheese/avo roll (literally the best ever), and inari. When we arrived, however, I flipped my lid because I saw A SOUTH AFRICAN GROCERY! So I forced her to go and got some of my favorite long-lost goodies: Romany creams, chockits, (both of which are biscuits/cookies), pineapple fanta, and braii seasoning. From there we went to her parents house and grabbed her things because we were house sitting for someone. It was awesome and felt like we owned a beautiful little flat all to ourselves. Because I was feeling kind of wiped, we reckoned to take it easy. So we went to one of Belinda’s favorite spots in Harbortown, grabbed some great Italian and headed to see The Equalizer with Denzel. (Also something has changed in me and now action may be my favorite movie genre, well besides thriller, of course!)
I don’t have any pictures from this day because I wasn’t thinking. Whoops. Oh. But I do have my South African goodies photo lol… I was excited..

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DAY TWO:
Friday started off with a bang as we drove to Mt. Tamborine. It was gorgeous. I’ve decided I don’t need to be just a “mountains” or “beach” person because I can be both. I will love on a mountain with tropical rain forests and just drive to the beach. Anyway the hike was a good one and we has a little picnic outside a church we found. Later that night, she took me to Surfer’s Paradise where we are at Hard Rock Cafe and Max Brenner’s. I could barely stand up after eating so much.

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DAY THREE:
Saturday, we went shopping in Harbortown at an outlet mall. I was on a mission to find running shoes for my health kick I’m on. After much searching, I fell in love with a pair of bright orange new balances, with a vibram sole. They’re barefoot style so they feel great! I don’t think I’ve ever spent this much on shoes or had a pair this nice. I feel very fancy when I wear them. We were going to eat lunch on the beach, when go figure: it started raining. I actually love that it rained so randomly though. It reminded me of Florida very much. That night we went to RiverFire, a huge fireworks festival over the water, in Southbank. Southbank is basically the coolest because it’s a city on an island pretty much. It was super busy and was maybe my favorite night of the trip because of the atmosphere and
beauty. I had missed the 4th of July being in South Africa and so this made me feel very patriotic. Luckily, Belinda was kind enough to play a long.

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DAY FOUR:
Belinda had to work on Sunday until 2. It was actually nice to have the morning to myself. Did some yoga and basked in the sun. She came home and we quickly booked it to Byron Bay where we spend the day strolling through the surf-town. For dinner we grabbed some Mexican and ate it on the beach. Belinda had never had a quesadilla before!! I couldn’t believe it. But I guess Australia is pretty far away from Mexico. From there, we went to a bar to check out this dj, Touch Sensitive. However, we got the times wrong and he didn’t go on till 8. We met these old folks that thought we were Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, they were also trippin on acid. They were really friendly though, so we played a couple rounds of pool with em. Once we decided things were getting too friendly, we drove to the lighthouse, spent some time and then finally got to see Touch Sensitive. He was great and it was tons of fun.

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DAY FIVE:
Monday turned out to be pretty eventful! I really wanted to see the glass house mountains, and so she took me. On the way, we found the cutest fruit stand and stopped. We got tons of fresh fruit and pineapple juice (not as good as the one in South Africa), and I got my favorite: nanna nice cream:) We then got to Mt. Beerburrum. We had no idea what we were getting into. Although it was only a 700 m climb to the top, Mt. Beerburrum, although not the toughest to climb, is one of the steepest. I have never hiked up anything so steep in my life. At one point I think we were both hunched over, walking like Grandpas. Pretty embarrassing. The kids behind us were complaining to their mom. Needless to say they didn’t make it to the top. As we neared the top, I actually ran into (literally I bumped into her) Bindi Irwin, Steve Irwin’s daughter. She was SO nice that I actually thought she was one of Belinda’s old friends. I didn’t realize until Belinda ran up to me and told me who it was! Haha. She’s so outdoorsy. When we got to the top, I peed in the bush though, so I think we are on pretty much the same level. As we waited for the subset, a group of guys, mostly French but also a Canadian, got to the top too. They were super friendly. They’d only been here a few months and were already working on getting their 2nd year visa. Crazy. On the way back home, we stopped by Costco and split a slice of pizza and a churro. It felt good to spend 4.50 on American sized junk food. Made me miss the family a bit. We always go to the Costco food court after a grocery run. When we finally got home, we had ourselves a Mexican dinner. All in all a great day!!

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DAY SIX:
My last full day in Brisbane was awesome. Belinda had to work again so I had some more time to myself. I went on a run and ran 3 km (I was stoked because I thought I had ran 3 miles..not so) and sun basked again, this time receiving a burn. When she came home, we researched places to eat, so we could go out with a bang. Since I liked Southbank so much, we went there again. Actually we revisited sushi train too. We had plans to go to the Valley, but ended up just taking a walk by the river and through the botanical gardens. Then we saw a San Churro and obviously had to stop. Then we saw a pancake parlor and stopped there too. When deciding to catch a train into the valley, we looked at eachother and just knew that it wasn’t happening. I said “You just want to go home and watch a movie?” And she said, “That’s actually exactly what I was going to ask you!” So that’s exactly what we did! We came home, immediately changed out of real pants into sweat pants and watched Mystic Pizza with Julia Roberts. We actually ended up pulling an all nighter, since I had to be at the airport at 5:15. It felt like a slumber party and I loved it.

All in all, Brisbane was beautiful, both in scenery and in company. Next on the list: Sydndey & New Zealand! I’ll try and write again! I had a crazy weekend that I need to tell you about!

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9/25/14

Today I fly to Brisbane where I will stay for 5 days with my friend Belinda, who lives there. I am currently on the plane. I’m listening to the new alt-J album and loving it.
Flying is one of my favorite things especially when going someplace new. I’m becoming nomadic. I got on the plane and felt like I was going home… But knowing I’m not, I wasn’t even disheartened! (Actually I’m a little afraid and even sad to go home)

Strangely, Melbourne has taken a little piece of me. I’ve found it took me a little bit longer to get settled here than other places I’ve visited, which I don’t like admitting. I’ve started working at a donut shop, which I think has helped. I absolutely adore it. The customers and my workmates are so warm and friendly. And it’s so much fun training it into the city early in the morning. No one else is on the platform, so I just dance. Preferably to come and get you love by redbone. Or hooked on a feeling. Either will do.

Anyway, I am not sure what all we will be doing in Brisbane, but I hope to catch a wave or two and see the rainforest. I’ll keep you posted!

Here are some of the pictures from the donut shop, Shortstop donuts. The boss man, Anthony actually went to America and Canada on a donut tour and then came back to perfect the dough recipe. Donuts aren’t as largely a thing here as in the states. But he’s done a pretty good job with them. They’re made using really fresh ingredients. Like the red velvet gets it’s red color from beetroot! COOL! And the banana chocolate hazelnut is a banana bread cake donut filled with banana custard and then dipped in a homemade Nutella spread with fresh roasted hazelnuts.. I’m going to have to stop eating them every single shift.

(Delayed posting because of no wifi. Wifi is super shotty here.)

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