Australia, Ballarat, Friends, Rowing, Blogging, School

Testa rodd i Australien

För ett halvår sedan tackade jag ja till att testa en ny sport, nämligen rodd! Jag hade aldrig suttit i en roddbåt tidigare och visste knappt hur den såg ut, men jag körde på taktiken att testa så mycket nytt som möjligt. Med roddlaget har vi skrattat tills magen krampat, varit helt utmattade från roddmaskiner, jagat spindlar i båtskjulet, ätit massor av godis och kämpat tills händerna blöder under träningar och tävlingar. Det har varit händelserikt att testa rodd i Australien, så här tänkte jag berätta om den upplevelsen utifrån mina bilder.

I min stad, Ballarat, är rodd den mest populära sporten och så gott som alla skolor har sina egna roddlag som möter varandra i tävlingar under helgerna. Rodden har varit ett utmärkt sätt att träffa vänner efter skolan, då australiensiska ungdomar vanligtvis jobbar efter skolan, och jag uppskattar att rodden har fyllt min fritid med roliga aktiviteter, resor på helgerna, eftermiddagar på sjön med roddlaget.

Under min roddupplevelse har jag träffat många engagerade och sprudlande Australiensare som inte bara varit exalterade över att få lära mig rodd, utan även ord och fraser som jag aldrig tidigare hört. För att få mig att prestera så bra som möjligt googlade min ena tränare vad som gör en svensk person arg, och Google gav svaret norrmän, så innan varje race påminde han mig att ”You have to beat the Norwegians”.

Vi har tränat i ur och skur, kallar morgnar innan solen hunnit gå upp och efter skolan i 40 graders värme. Allt för att förbereda oss inför den stora tävlingen Head of the Lake.

High School andan var på topp vid roddsäsongens sista tävling, Head of the Lake, där alla skolor i Ballarat avgör om vilken skola som helt enkelt är bäst. Det var pirrigt att tävla men jag försökte njuta av varje sekund. Det var tusentals människor runt sjön för att heja på sina lag och hela min årskurs från Ballarat High School var där med hejaramsor, danser, plakat och skolans specialgjorda tröjor för eventet med våra namn på ryggen.

För att avsluta roddsäsongen hölls en middag för alla roddare, tränare och föräldrar där priser delades ut och märken för alla roddares skoluniformer. Några dagar innan middagen hörde min tränare av sig till mig och frågade om jag skulle vilja hålla ett tal om min roddupplevelse som utbytesstudent och det var en sådan ära att bli tillfrågan att jag inte tvekade en sekund på om jag skulle tacka ja. Det kändes som en personlig vinst att hålla det talet, för innan Australien var jag orolig och hade ångest innan jag höll tal i skolan och nu tvekade jag inte alls på om jag skulle klara av att tala inför 200 Australiensare! Vanligtvis när jag blir nervös här borta påminner jag mig själv om att jag lämnade allt och alla som jag kände till i Sverige för att själv flytta till andra sidan jorden. Och i jämförelse med det bleknar det mesta och jag inser att det mesta inte är värt att vara nervös över.

Utöver våra märken som vi har på skoluniformen så har vi även våra crew-hoodies. Jag ser fram emot att mysa i den hemma i Sverige och minnas alla äventyr som jag varit med om med rodden! Desstuom har jag nu börjat leta efter en roddklubb nära där jag bor i Sverige, för jag kan helt enkelt inte få nog…

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Australia, Host family, Travelling

Hello everyone, we are more than halfway trough the holidays now in Australia, and on Tuesday I start my last term at Ballarat High School. Im at a beach house in Seaspray right now, together with my host family and some relatives to them. Yesterday I came home from the central Australia trip and Ill post photos from that later on. Tomorrow we are probably going sand duning and possibly body boarding in the water.

Its less than 50 days until I'm back in Sweden now so I have a small bucket list of things I wanna do before heading home:
1. Sovereign Hill
2. Vic Market
3. Melbourne Wheel
4. Eureka Sky Deck
5. Trying hedgehog and eclair with Shauna

Yesterday I got my Sac results back for Outdoor Ed and I got 100%, wihoo. I love Otdoor ed so much that if I would live in Australia later in life, I could imagine teaching that subject :)

Here is a photo from our beach walk in Seaspray this afternoon...



Australia, Friends, Travelling

I wanted to show you some photos from the road trip I did with my last host family during the summer holidays. It was me, my host mum and another exchange student that drove from Ballarat in Victoria up to Gold Coast in Queensland.

Here is the trip in pictures:

The day before: getting ready for Australia day. Me and Lollo found a big section of Australia Day gadgets in the shopping mall and decided to go all in for the 26th of January.

Day 1: Starting off with a long drive in the afternoon. It was about the same distance as Stockholm to Vemdalen but we arrived 10 h later (2 am in pouring rain) because we got lost. When arrived, we put up the tent and went straight to bed.

Day 2: Woke up and said hello to some friends that we were camping next to. They had brought their boat here so after breakfast we went out on a wing biscuit after the boat. That was super fun and I was totally exhausted in my arms afterwards. This day we tried Tim Tam with mango flavour, so now I can tick that one of my list (I have a goal to have tried all different flavours before I leave Australia) I think Im up to 9/13. That night we stayed at a caravan park next to the beach with a view of the ocean.

Day 3: Visited Australia rock (the shape of the rock is Australia minus Tasmania) and the blowhole in Kiama. Lollo and I always fell asleep in the car and made it a competition who could get the ugliest photo of the other one sleeping. And Lollo, you´ll see my best one when your birthday is here… That day I had the best banana bread ever! I´ll come back to Sweden and make you guys some, because life is simply not complete without trying this!! That night we stayed at some friends place in Wollongong and that area was awesome. The family had no less then three porsche cars and a huge house!

Day 4: Visiting the beach in Wollongong and driving for basically the whole day. The distances in Australia are huge, which you realise when you drive from Victoria to Queensland and back in 14 days.

​Day 5: I think the first beach was in Newcastle and then we drove to Coffs Harbour where we made are dinner and ate at the beach during sunset. The big banana is just a commercial thing for Coffs Harbour, but we thought that you can't drive through the city without stopping for a photo.

Day 6: We woke up in Ballina and Lollo and I found this awesome place that was our playground for a couple of hours. From there we saw wild dolphins swimming past us a little bit now and then. Thereafter we drove to Byron Bay, which was a place I loved and really want to come back to one day. As you can see in the photos, it was a windy day so it took more than 200 photos to get some decent ones where we don't have hair all over the place. The pier is the most easterly point of Australia.

Day 7: A day in Gold Coast, the city that is located in two time zones. I did the highest external building climb in Australia, 270 m above the ground, and when you came to the top you got to choose if you wanted to try and lean over the edge. That was nerve wracking, when looking down I could literally see cars 270 m underneath me and I felt like Ethan Hunt for a second :)

Day 8: A day in Brisbane with friends. We looked everywhere for an Australian bucket hat for Louise, she has quite a big collection of them now. And I found some kangaroo friends on the street. We took the train home from Brisbane to Tweed Heads, where we lived, and the last photo is an accurate demonstration of our energy level after that day.

Day 9: Sorry but I do not have many good photos from this day. It was mostly driving and then finding a camping spot to stay over night. Although me and Lollo did go for a beach walk before dinner at a beautiful beach and we were the only ones there. That afternoon me and Louise went hiking in the bush and got lost, it wasn't a serious situation cause we could always walk back the same way we came from, but the 30 min walk became 2 hours. Every night when camping, me and Lollo sat outside the tent playing cards and drinking tea, those are memorable nights.

Day 10: We counted the mozzie bites we got last night and I had 87, Sweden might have more mozzies during summer but the ones over here are way bigger and more painful to get bitten by. This day was also mostly driving and camping. Today's walk was more successful though and we saw heaps of goannas (for those who doesn't know what goanna is: They can be pretty scary cause they are so discrete and silent when moving, so sometimes you don't realise you have one next to you.

Day 11: We drove to the Blue mountains and these rocks are known as the Three Sisters. Also I tried vegemite-cheese scroll today and that was definitely something you have to try of the Australian food, but to try once was probably enough for me. Did you´s have coke ginger in Sweden over christmas? We did, and I liked it :) That night we stayed at an eco lodge and that was so much fun!! Nothing worked with electricity and the kitchen and dining area was outside. I felt like I had come to Wild kids :)))

Day 12: We left the eco lodge early in the morning to travel to Canberra. We visited the Royal Australian Mint and the Parliament house. Canberra was not like any other capital city I have visited. This one was small, with long distances between places and it never really felt like I was in a city, thats probably because the city has not existed for very long.

Day 13: We left Canberra before 6 am to go to Thredbo to climb mount Kosciuszko - the highest mountain of Australia. There was a chair lift maybe halfway up and then we did a 14 km return walk to get to the summit. When buying our tickets they looked at our clothes and said "Do you know that it is 20 degrees up at the top, but it feels like -1?" so they made us put on three layers of warm clothes. But when we came up to the top we realised that those people have apparently not lived in Sweden, nevertheless experienced -1 degrees in real life, because up there it was hot and our three layered clothes were taken off straight away.

Day 14: Australia day was celebrated floating down the Murrumbidgee River in Wagga Wagga. Lollo and I had Australian theme face painting, tattoos, hats, thongs, stubby holders and flags ready for the day. When we floated down the river we even had out own inflatable esky with drinks :) Thereafter we went to a pub with friend where Louise competed in meat pie eating competition (I unfortunately got a blood nose, surprise surprise).

​Day 15: A long travelling day, about the same distance as going from our house at Tjädervägen to Vemdalen. I can't believe how long the distances are in Australia! It was an eventful trip and I am so happy Louise could come with us. The day when she went home again I felt so lonely, no-one was there to play Uno and laugh all night long with me. But next week we´re both going to Alice Springs so we´ll be reunited! Excited!!!



Australia, Friends, Travelling

Next week will be the last week before school holidays, and then Im going to Alice Springs and Uluru together with other exchange students. The last trip with other exchange students was to Cairns and that was ages ago, but I never got to post photos from there. So here is my blog post about Cairns:

The trip to Cairns lasted for only four days, but the schedule was so packed that we did things you normally do in two weeks. In other words, there was not much time left for sleeping. As usual I packed my bag in the last second (nope dad, I never seem to learn) so I had a three hour sleep before leaving 3 am to drive to Tullamarine airport.

This was a trip with Southern Cross, my Exchange organisation, so we travelled in a group of 40 students plus two chaperones. There were students from all over the world but only me and another girl (living in Perth) from Sweden. I have spent a lot of time with french exchange students and one of them was Valentine, she is apparently living in the same city as me and goes to the school next to mine. People from France seem to be so happy all the time, and a little bit crazy too, but in a fun way though.

The first day was so busy it felt like at least three days of experiences. We went to an aboriginal centre where we practiced throwing boomerangs, watched koalas and crocs, got aboriginal face paintings, took a walk in the rainforest, got to taste some weird berries from the wilderness and watched some aboriginals dancing.

When we had lunch I tried some crocodile soup, not really a favourite but it was fun trying. So far I have had kangaroo, crocodile and shark here and I'd love to try emu before I leave.

The next day was a whole day out by the Barrier Reef… I think I was in the water snorkelling for more than 6 hours :) Barrier reef is certainly a special place!!
The day after, we went out the explore Cairns Daintree, so we did some bush walking in the rainforest and walking at the beach. It was tempting to go for a swim there because it is so beautiful but then you end up as lunch for the crocs. At least the hotel had a big pool that we jumped into as soon as we came home :) We also went in a boat down the river to look at crocs but we only saw small ones.
And then it was time to fly home again. Look how different the nature is when flying from One part of Australia to another. Tropical forests ---> desert ---> farming land ---> green land

And yes Cairns, I promise to be back soon!!



Australia, Ballarat, Rowing

As I wrote on Instagram; Roll ups, laughing, crew trip to the hospital, ergs, Head of the Lake, RIP Scottie, salted liquorice, fishing crabs, Norwegians, passing out and teaching dogs how to swim - rowing has been eventful with these girls!

And last but not least, my speech that finished the rowing season...



Australia, Ballarat, Rowing

On Saturday, about two weeks ago, my rowing coach texted me and asked if I wanted to give a speech the following Monday during the annual rowing dinner. Of course I said yes, it was such an honour that they asked me, and I could impossibly decline that opportunity! There was almost 200 people there and I spoke about my time trying rowing as an exchange student, shared some good memories and thanked Ballarat High School for giving me all those amazing experiences. This dinner was the final of the rowing season so now rowing is basically over for me in Australia. There is only one "fun session" left where there is a tradition to push the cox into the lake :)



Australia, Ballarat, Rowing, School, Swimming, Friends

Yes the title is correct, this is the first time during my exchange year that I actually need to spend a lot of time on studying, cause my homework is piling up. I don't mind though because I learn heaps of English and the subjects are so much fine. I enjoy having lessons about Australian environment, English language and Textiles, much more than studying about molecules and acids as I had to do in sweden.

Swimming went well and the 23rd of March is the Greater Western Region Swimming competition. So there I'm gonna swim 50 meter fly, back and free. Actually already a little bit nervous.

Last Saturday it was white night in Ballarat, so a lot of houses on main street were lit up in beautiful colours and they had art and music everywhere. Before the festival I went with some friends to a heavy metal gig hahaha I never thought I would listen to something like that but it was actually good. They were so talented :) And during white night I had indian food and omg my mouth is still burning, even now when its five days later. No, not really but that was crazy, couldn't feel my mouth in a couple of hours.

Today me and my host sister Shauna took the school bus down to central square after school with the goal of finding a fancy dress for Saturday. On saturday is the rowing dinner that will finish off the season and we will get rowing badges to have on our school uniform jumper. Its gonna be fun, and we'll see if Simmo is going to say something in Swedish in his speech. He's been talking about it the whole season so he better do!

Im gonna go back to studying now. Have heaps of Outdoor Ed homework to do. Also, there will be two SACs in Textiles and English on Friday and I'd like to get good results because Ive really tried hard in these subjects. So i say good night now, although its probably more accurate to say good morning to all Swedes. And sorry about misspellings in this text I do not really have time to go back to crosscheck. See you! Xx



Australia, Host family, Rowing, School, Swimming

Hello everyone! It is about time I write something here. It been very busy the last weeks but I can't complain because I like when there are heaps of stuff to do. About one and a half week ago Ballarat High School had their annual Swimming carnival and I swam all events and did very well so I'm happy. The school is divided into four houses with their own colours, a bit like Hogwarts in Harry Potter, and Im Lawson with with red. Next to me in the second photo is my host sister Shauna and she was dressed in green cause she is Baird

Last Friday we had an assembly with the whole school at the same time and they called me up to get an awards flag because I was the Age Swimming Champion. Therefore, this week on Wednesday Im gonna compete for BHS against all public schools in Ballarat and on Thursday I will compete agains all private schools in Ballarat. Im so looking forward to it and Im not as nervous as I was before the school one, mostly thinking about how I will be able to survive the butterfly but I think Ill be fine.

Also, rowing season is about to finish. Yesterday was Head of the Lake, which is the biggest rowing competition over here and you could say it is the final of the season. We came third, 6 seconds off the record, so Im very happy and feeling very grateful that I got the opportunity to try rowing through school. Its been one of the best parts of my experience in Australia! The day was awesome with heaps of the year 12s in school to cheer for all rowers. I must say the BHS's spit crew (the cheering group) was the best of them all ;) All rowers get a jumper with their names and crew members and I love mine, have been wearing it every day since I got it. This is a photo of the whole crew before racing:

All the rowers at Ballarat High School:

Funny story: My rowing coach googled "What makes Swedish people angry?" to make me ready for the race and therefore made me have a note in front of me when racing that said "Beat the Norwegians". He's done his practice in Swedish too so I had my note written in Swedish ;) Saturday the 11th there will be a dinner for all people involved in rowing and since my coach Simmo is the sports director at BHS he will give a speech and he's told me he's gonna do some of it in Swedish, I guess we'll see how it goes later.

One thing I love about my host family is that they, just as me, are very into baking. Ive made the kärleksmums and chokladbollar and they find it very weird that there is coffee in our sweet stuff. It is very satisfying to bake in this house too because since they have guests over pretty much every day the cakes and biscuits disappear quickly and the family always become so happy when I want to bake more :) So me and Shauna are trying out some new recipes, like yo-yos. yummy yummy

Its time for me to say nighty nighty. Also I wanna say that today is mums birthday and it feels so weird to be away from her and sending her a text instead of being next to her and give her a big hug! But happy birthday again mum, love you xx



Australia, Ballarat, Host family, Rowing

Hello, I have not forgotten about the blog, I've just had a couple of tough months where I never felt like writing. I'm in a new host family as well, things got too tough in the last family when my host mum and her partner split up.

So, summer holiday is over and last Tuesday was the first day back in school. I have actually never felt this happy about being back to school, that must be a good sign! I like the routines and I do not mind the busy life with lessons and sports being back on.

February is the big rowing month as well! We have regattas pretty much every weekend, and sometimes more than one. The Biggest event is Head of the Lake though, which is the 26th if I remember it right and I think all schools in the area are coming to the lake that day. I have certainly come to realize that rowing is not only a sport in Ballarat - it is a lifestyle. Everyone looks at it like there are two types of teenagers in Ballarat, rowers and non-rowers. It is a huge commitment to row and you are expected to give up pretty much anything for training sessions and regattas. Along with that, rowers have their own social groups and stick together. Sometimes it feels a bit narrow-minded, but I guess it is the way it is.

Today was a regatta at our lake in Ballarat and I'm totally knackered and sore. We had three 1k races and I would guess that we in total rowed for 4 hours with a high pace. It was harsh conditions also with waves so even though I left the boat 6 h ago, it still feels like I'm in a rocking boat.

Have to sleep now, I have come into really wary morning and night habits so even though it is 8.30 pm my body tells me its time to go to sleep. Good night Xx

I'll post some photos of Fairhaven beach and light house where I went with my new host family yesterday. This has also become my new header :D I do not have any photos from the actual beach though because I was in the water swimming and body boarding the whole time. They call me the seal for a reason!



Australia, Host family, Blogging

The fourth blog post I wrote for Explorius was about the Christmas I celebrated in a bit of a different way this year...

Julafton på stranden

Att duka upp till jullunch med utsikt över stranden och havet, sitta vid bordet och känna sanden mellan tårna och samtidigt svettas i det nästan 40 gradiga vädret. Frågan är om julen kan det bli mer exotiskt än så för en svensk? Min värdfamilj beslöt sig för att ge mig en riktig australiensisk jul, så vi packade in allt i bilen och körde till stranden på juldagen. Och med allt menar jag inte bara familjen - utan även julbordet, granen och julklapparna.

Tidig morgon med fjärilar i magen
Kort och gott kan jag säga att den svenska julen känns som rena Astrid Lindgrensagan jämfört med den australiensiska, men julen här borta har ändå haft sin charm. Min juldag började med att William, min 6-åriga värdbrorsa, vaknade långt innan solen gick upp för han var så uppspelt över att få öppna presenter och väckte hela familjen i och med att alla behövde vara vakna innan presenterna började öppnas. Han kom smygande, knackade på min dörr och viskade ”ville bara berätta att ni bara är två stycken som fortfarande sover”. Fem minuter senare var han tillbaka med ”ville bara säga att det bara är du som sover nu”. Så trots att mina ögon helst ville vila några timmar till så kunde jag inte låta honom vänta längre, för det gick ju inte att ta miste om hur ivrig och glad han var. Jag måste säga att jag verkligen uppskattar att ha yngre värdsyskon, och nu över jul har deras lycka över tomten och firandet smittat av sig, så de annars ganska lugna fjärilarna i min mage väcktes till liv igen och var vakna över hela julen.

En unik dag att minnas

I och med att jag hört att många får hemlängtan runt jul så gick jag runt och funderade över när min hemlängtan skulle dyka upp. Men december passerade snabbt och det var endast en kväll där jag tänkte extra mycket på alla hemma i Sverige. Trots att min svenska familj befinner sig över 1500 mil bort så känner jag mig glad att denna dag existerat i mitt liv och lägger med glädje till denna upplevelse i samlingen av unika dagar att minnas. Dessutom måste jag säga att oavsett hur surrealistiskt och underbart det var att få fira jul i Australien, så har en jul borta från min familj gjort att jag uppskattar och längtar efter att få spendera fler jular i Sverige.