Australia, Hiking, Host family

A national park called the Grampians is located about two hours from where we live in Ballarat and since this is a perfect place to go hiking and camping we went there last weekend. Besides Rachael, Ben, Sienna and me we also brought two exchange student friends with us. Axel came from outside Ballarat and Tilde had to travel a long way from Geelong.

They came straight after school on Friday and got a guided tour in Ballarat before going to our place. I must say that I start to learn my way around Ballarat now. I was totally lost in the beginning though, because I thought all buildings looked exactly the same. 

Saturday was hiking, hiking and hiking. We went to a place called the Pinnacle that is famous for it's incredible view. This day was a loooooot of uphill walking and we all had sore muscles afterwards.

We started off with the Aboriginal culture center which is some sort of museum.

Look what Alice found - Wonderland has it's own car park!

Then we put up our tent - and I must say that camping is so much more fun here in Australia than I remember it to be from my old days in Scouterna.

Thereafter we did more hiking and this time we became a bit geographically misplaced (absolutely not lost hehe) so we had to walk back on the road. Ben and his friends also had some trouble out in the bush because they all got stuck in the mud at the same time while Four-wheel driving. But we all solved our problems before darkness came at least.

Rachael is such a good cook out in the bush, she makes the most advanced dishes. This time we had golden syrup dumplings for desert and everything was made over the camp fire.

The next day was rainy so we did not do much hiking except from walking to a waterfall. Breakfast is the best when camping I reckon and we had the mandatory eggs and bacon, yummy.

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Australia, Melbourne

Something I had on my bucket list for Australia was attending a Tanderrum. So after school one day, we rushed to the train station to travel to Federation Square in Melbourne where we watched the traditional ceremony Tanderrum. There were five Victorian aboriginal nations that gathered to allow safe passage and temporary access and use of land and resources by foreign people. I would certainly call it a new experience and I liked to see some of the old aboriginal culture. 



Australia, Ballarat, Host family, School

As a lot of you already know, I started a new school called Ballarat High School when I came back from the holidays. This was my host mum's first choice of school for me from the beginning and the school I thought I would go to for a while, but BHS unfortunately stopped to enroll new students just before my arrival.

However, after going to BSC for a couple of weeks and when I made friends that go to BHS, I realised how much more the other school had to offer in terms of social life, school sports and subjects. Therefore, we went to BHS and talked to the principle and after an interview he offered me a place in his school.

It has been a week in my new school now and so far it has been great. The challenging part is that it is a huge school so it is easy to disappear in the large amount of other students, but at the same time I really enjoy having lots of different people that I can get to know and it feels more likely for me to find people I would like to hang out with here. In fact, I have already met some awesome people ;)

Another fun thing is that BHS is located near lake Wendouree and they have their completely own rowing club and boat shed by the lake. Today I went to their rowing session 6.30 am (early mornings again!!!) and talked about whether I could start rowing with them. You need to be four people in every boat and we are so far two persons that would like to create a new team, so fingers crossed that two more people will be interested in rowing soon. Anyway, I am probably going to some of their sessions from now on to start practising, because I have heaps of technique to learn. I have been rowing in the gym before, but what we practised today was way more difficult. I'm ready to take up the challenge though, and I look forward to learning something completely new!

​Some photos that does not have anything to do with what I have written about, but these are better than nothing I reckon. We have been baking cinnamon buns three times now and finally succeeded with tasty and fluffy buns! Since they don't have fresh yeast in Australia, we were a bit unsure about how to use the other type of yeast and they became doughy and hard the first two times. The second photo is a poster Emily made for me. I am Alice in the middle, Rachael is the White Queen, Emily is the rabbit, Will is the Hatter and Sienna is apparently the Cheshire cat. Very sweet of her!



Australia, Melbourne

Right now I'm enjoying the sun in our garden while writing blog posts for Alice in wonderland and Explorius. It's starting to get warmer here in Ballarat and I need to start using sun screen because I have gotten freckles all over my face and burned my nose a little bit a few days ago. Everyone has been talking about the warm summer coming up and the unbearable heat, but I have had a hard time believing them since it felt like I lived in a fridge my first weeks in Australia. It was similar to Swedish weather but imagine to add heaps of rain and flooding. Oh well, now I can see the warm season coming because I'm struggling during school days to cool myself down in my warm school uniform. It will probably be more comfortable when I can start to wear the school's summer dress.

The two weeks of holidays have come to an end, and I have now done my first week in school. There have been some changes around school after the holidays because I changed from BSC to Ballarat High School. So far it feels good, but I might dedicate a whole new blog post to this topic.

During the Holidays I have been to Melbourne a lot. It is an easy trip to do considering it only takes just over an hour with train and you arrive in the central of Melbourne.

When doing the first trip there, I met Lollo and had a picnic in The botanical garden. It was such a lovely place, we have to go back when it's warmer! Thereafter we did not have any plan so we jumped on a random tram and ended up at Melbourne University where we walked around for a while. And omg such a huge campus it was, it felt like they had built their own city there!

Next trip to Melbourne consisted of a visit to Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium with some Swedish and German exchange students. We listened to an interesting speech about sharks and it felt good to hear (now when it is only two weeks until the trip to Cairns) that it is more likely for me to get killed by a cow, vending machine or an icicle than by a shark.

Look at these happy fishes/stingray!

Melbourne is btw wonderful after sunset and we had dinner at this restaurant.

The day after that a couple of exchange students as well as people from BSC went to the Royal Melbourne show together. There were rides, show bags, heaps of food and of course some face painting! ;)

Tim Tams are my favourite biscuits here and we found a Tim Tam pyjamas!

There is an interesting mixture of old buildings and brand new towers in city so it's nice to just take a walk in the city at look at everything. I also love that small cafés that can be found everywhere in alleys.

​That was everything I had to write about this time, but l will be back to tell you about Tanderrum and my new school, hopefully very soon!



Australia, Ballarat, Host family, Blogging

My first blog post as a student reporter for Explorius has now been posted on their website. I wrote about the first couple of hours when I just had met my host family and the post is written in Swedish.

Here is a link for my page on

Första timmarna med värdfamiljen

När det var dags för flygplanet att landa på Melbournes flygplats började mina händer skaka. Jag var nervös, förväntansfull och lycklig över att äntligen få träffa värdfamiljen som jag endast haft kontakt med på Facebook. Min första tid i värdfamiljen bestod av många nya intryck och upplevelser, därför tänkte jag ägna mitt första blogginlägg åt att berätta om mina erfarenheter från detta.

Första kulturchocken
Innan jag klev av flygplanet var jag lika spänd som ett barn är kvällen före julafton. Jag behövde egentligen lite tid att lugna ner mig innan jag skulle träffa värdfamiljen, men det fick vänta – för direkt efter avstigning av planet stod min värdmamma framför mig och väntade. Hon gav mig ett stort leende så fort vi såg varandra och därefter en stor kram. Efter hämtning av bagage begav vi oss ut för att vänta på min värdmammas pojkvän som kom med bil för att hämta upp oss. Och nu fick jag min första chock över att jag inte är på hemmaplan längre – för här kör bilarna på andra sidan av vägen, här finns endast nya ansikten och här används ett språk som jag behöver anstränga mig för att förstå.

Blyga värdsyskon & välkomstpresenter
Hemma i Ballarat mötte jag mina yngre värdsyskon William (6) och Emily (8) för första gången. De blev helt knäpptysta när de såg mig och därefter sprang de iväg och gömde sig. Senare under dagen smygtittade de fram bakom dörrposter och möbler då och då och fnissade när jag försökte prata med dem. Vi var alla blyga i början men efter några timmar var samtalen i full gång.

Framme i Ballarat fann jag även en kasse med presenter som värdfamiljen fixat, så som australiensiskt godis, husnycklar och busskort. Dessutom hade min 6-åringa värdbror hade gjort en plansch där det stod ”Welcome to your wonderland Alice” vilket var mycket gulligt. En till sak som gjorde mig på glatt humör och gjorde att jag kände gemenskap med familjen var att de gav de mig ett A (min initial) i present för att sätta upp på väggen bland alla andra familjemedlemmars bokstäver. Mitt A pryder nu ena väggen i köket tillsammans med 8 andra bokstäver.

Svår australiensk dialekt
En av de tidiga svårigheterna jag stötte på var att förstå min värdmammas pojkvän när han talade. Han har nämligen en riktigt grov och annorlunda australiensk dialekt så ibland förstår jag lika mycket av vad han säger som om han talade kinesiska. De första dagarna kändes det frustrerande och pinsamt att behöva säga ”Pardon” efter varannan mening men nu några veckor senare både förstår jag mer av vad han säger och jag har berättat hur svårt jag upplever det att förstå hans dialekt. Min värdmamma avslöjade att till och med hon har svårigheter att förstå honom ibland och nu har hans dialekt blivit ett internt skämt inom familjen. Det var en av alla gånger jag insett hur viktigt det är att vara öppen och berätta hur jag känner för min värdfamilj.



Australia, Ballarat, Hiking, Host family

It was not many weeks of school until the holidays started. That Friday a bunch of us year 11 students went to the pancake kitchen here in Ballarat to eat lunch. I did not have a difficult choice about what pancake to order because there was one called Alice in wonderland. It was pretty yummy.

The same night I went to the movies with Rachael and Sienna to watch Bridget Jones's baby. It is easy to notice how Ballarat is a much smaller city than Stockholm, because wherever I go I tend to meet people I have gotten to know these last couple of weeks. There was a funny coincidence last time I went to Melbourne with Lollo, we namely met three french exchange students at Flinders street and afterwards when walking on to Macca's, we found two Finish girls we both know.

The morning after the Pancake Kitchen I was up early to go for a morning walk with a japanese exchange student that I got to know through my local coordinator. It was sunny but still very cold, the temperature is around 10 degrees every day. Everyone is talking about how hot the summer is here but right now I can't really imagine it because its freezing cold everywhere and all the time. In our house the normal temperature is 12,5 degrees.

When I came home from the morning walk, Rachael was packing the car for camping, she had namely found a good place to stay in Mt Buangor. This is very typical in my host family, to be spontaneous and always find something new to do. I got a few minutes to pack my backpack and then we headed out for hiking...

Hiking was tough, lots of uphills.

My stomach was growling and we made garlic & herb lamb shanks for dinner. It took its time to cook the food so it was dark when it was ready, but it was absolutely worth every minute, super tasty.

​Since Rachael has a big van, we could easily fit a double sized inflatable mattress in the back of the van and sleep in there. When we woke up it was cold and foggy and I got the feeling we were in a Jurassic Park forest. Thereafter, we had egg and bacon for breakfast before travelling home again. I loved this camping trip, but I would prefer to wait a couple of weeks for some warmer weather before going on similar adventures.  



Australia, Ballarat, Host family, School, Melbourne

Came home from school now so I thought I would share some pictures and write about what I have been doing the last week. We had Footy Day today so it was casual clothing and AFL clothes in school today.

We have done some canoeing with outdoor education which has been so much fun! The first time we fell into the water though (Anthony's fault) and it was freeeeeezing cold in the water. The second thursday we were lucky to stay in the canoe and that was in lake Wendouree which was beautiful, so many plants and animals I have never seen before.

School every day from 9.00 to 15.15, then we have been to netball sometimes because my host sister plays. Rachael has played for a long time also and she took me to a game where the better teams played. Rachael, Ben and I went to the movies a Friday and watched Suicide Squad. The salon was old-fashioned and cozy.

On Saturday we went to Melbourne and visited IKEA for instance. We found grandma Eva's book about IKEA and Rachael is a huge fan of the company (and many other things that are swedish) so she bought it. A fun fact we discovered was that all thousands of books in the store's book shelves and small apartments were written in swedish. Then of course we had to eat some meatballs.

Melbourne was lovely, they had a lot of small coffee shops but that is something to explore next time. Rachael had her first time at H&M, the main store is fascinating (last picture).

The rest of the weekend I spent with my family.

Some photos, weekdays…

Last weekend started off with some Inflatable world. I was there with Oline, Frida and two of their host parent's grand children, I am pretty sure that we raised the average age quite a lot.

After inflatable world Jaaz's mum came to pick us up and drive us to their house in Clunes. Jaaz had some sort of ceremony for her netball season and than they celebrated that she was the second best player the whole night, so it was a full house with a lot of people. Jaaz is btw the first aussie that likes salty liquorice, I brought her some more and we had heaps of laughter when her friends wanted to try.

Now I have two more days of school until the holidays, which will last for two weeks. My plans so far are to meet a lot of people in Melbourne and maybe have some sleepovers with other exchange students around Victoria. I have to wait and see what the plans will be with the family, they have a tendency to be very spontaneous. But the holidays starts this Friday with a visit to the pancake kitchen with my classmates.



Australia, Ballarat, Host family

Last Friday I had a day off from school so Rachael and I took the opportunity to do something funand went to Ballarat Wildlife Park. This was also the firstday I met Lillian and we took her with us in her pram. Lillian is a very kindbut sadly it is difficult to communicate with her (because of her epilepsy) and that makes me quiet exhausted to not understand her :(

Anyway, the three ofus went to the wildlife park that’s actually next to my school. The first thingthat happened when we came to the park was that a bunch of kangaroos camejumping and one grabbed our map to eat it. At least he madesure to share it with his mates.

Almost all the animals were verytypical Australian, such as koalas, wombats, emus and crocodiles. The emus werea little scary since they were so big and walked around freely and made strangenoises. Also, there was a huge crocodile that we got to see when it was fed andI’ve learned heaps of facts about crocs. All I can say is that I hope Iwon’t meet one of those when I go for a swim. They seem to be so smart also!It is fascinating that they are good at learning people’s habits – thereforeyou should not go wash your hands at the water’s edge at the same time and samespot as you’ve done before, because there might be a croc waiting for you.

Afterwards we were lucky enough to get some special treatment because Rachael knows a lot of people who works at the wildlife park. A girl called Eliza came with her so cute and so small kangaroo Vinnie in her backpack and that was seriously the cutest thing I've ever seen. She went to get Rodger, one of the Koalas, and let us pat him.

They have a famous wombat called Patrick at this wildlife park and we got to meet him because they came with him in a wheelbarrow to make a video of us meeting him. The video should apparently be used for the news on channel 7 because they wanted to announce his birthday, but we forgot to turn on the TV to watch it that night.

It has been a long day today (waking up 5 am for swimming) so I have to get some sleep now before we leave to go to the movies in an hour. Tomorrow we are taking the train to Melbourne which will be fun and later that evening we are going to an 18th birthday party. See you soon!



Australia, Ballarat, Host family, Hiking

Efter simträning och möte med min local coordinator gick vi ut för att vandra the Goldfields track som är ett 210 km långt spår som man kan promenera eller cykla. Vi var alla trötta så blev bara 6 km men det var tufft ändå för jag drog Lilly i hennes vagn upp för mååånga branta backar. William är 6-åringen i gult och grönt på första bilden och han är så söt, idag frågade han mig "How does nature grow roads?". 

Naturen här är så annorlunda jämfört med Sverige och vi mötte ett gäng kängrus i skogen och såg kameler vid en farm.

Efteråt mötte Rachaels sambo Ben upp oss och körde oss med hans galna bil (måste visa en bild) lite off-roading. Hade inte hört talas om det innan men wikipedia kan förklara: ​Det var lerigt, bumpy och kul, men samtidigt lite läskigt när backarna var branta som svarta slalombackar...



Ballarat, Swimming, Australia

Nu har jag börjat simma här i Ballarat, både för att jag älskar själva simningen och det är kul att träffa nya människor. Träningarna är mellan 6 och 8 på morgonen (!!) alla dagar i veckan förutom söndagar, men jag har pratat med tränarna om att mjukstarta lite med bara fyra dagar.

Alla som jag än så länge har träffat i klubben har jag gillat väldigt mycket och dom verkar spendera mycket tid tillsammans. Bland annat äter alla frukost tillsammans varje lördag (vilket var idag) och det var ett härligt gäng människor att umgås med.

Simningen i sig självt är sig lik. Dock är det en Olympic size swimming pool (50 meter) och det är verkligen kul att få testa det! Dessutom har Australien vänstertrafik även i poolen, vilket innebär att dom simmar på andra sidan av banan och det var väldigt ovant och svårt att anpassa sig till eftersom jag har simmat halva mitt liv på höger sida. Det hände bara några enstaka gånger att jag hamnade på fel sida men dom gångerna blev alla så förvirrade haha.

Idag på träningen hände en kul grej, mitt i allt hade klubbledaren hela klubbens uppmärksamhet (vi tränar alla samtidigt) och så bad han 6-7 personer ur elitgruppen visa när dom simmar ryggsim. Sen helt plötsligt säger han att han vill introducera en ny person i klubben, Alice Atle från Sverige. Därefter frågar han om jag kan visa när jag simmar ryggsim och jag får simma fram och tillbaka om och om igen medan alla analyserar min simning. Jag visste inte själv om jag var det bra, dåliga, urusla eller bara ett annorlunda exempel… men tydligen var jag det bra exemplet för ledaren sa att jag var den enda i klubben som lyckades med ett kraftfullt undervattensdrag. Snacka om självförtroendeboost ;)