It is hard to fathom that no one, besides the people that lived this experience with me, will understand what changes have actually happened in my life. I have moved so far forward in such a mature path. I cannot imagine taking the steps backward to who I was before coming here. I have been inspired to always move forward and aspire for excitement. I am incredibly grateful for everyone who was a part of this year, no matter how small. For the past few weeks, the thought that consumed my mind was that I have these people in my life that I would spend every moment with, to suddenly nothing. 

Over the past month I have been saying goodbye so often. So much for friends arriving together, leaving together. The hardest of all was of course my host family, the family I have dedicated a year of my life to. It's a beautiful thing that I could build such an amazing relationship with these children. This was clear when my 12 year old let the tears run with mine. But what a last day we had together. Purely for good memories, we went to Crissy Field, my favourite area of San Francisco. A place where we had spent many afternoons after school together. The girls got on better than I've ever seen. We laughed and played for hours without knowing. Then topped off the night with the fantastic Swensens, the next best thing. 

The last goodbye is in a month. It's incredible that I truly believe I have made a best friend for life. We were put in the right place at the right time to meet each other. As annoying as you are Bethany, I do love you (because I know you're my main fan). 

As for this incredible city, San Francisco. You will always be my second home. I will miss the constant ringing of the cable car lines that slowly grew to be white noise to my ears while I slept. I will miss the fog horn that sounded on those occasional days that fog covered the city, which became quite comforting. I will miss all the places I've seen that hold so many memories. I will miss the hills that I have conquered so good. 

I love what I have done and am so grateful for absolutely everything. Thinking back on this year will forever warm my heart. 


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​Cancun. Either a romantic getaway or there to go absolutely wild. I'd like to believe that Beth and I had the best of both worlds. A beautiful well deserved week away. 5 out of 7 days were spent purely laying by the pool and beach tanning and occasionally (more often than not) dipping in the water to escape those 32 degree days. The other days were sent doing tours at the cheapest price we could bargain to. First tour being Chichen Itza, one of the seven wonders of the world. Very historical. The other was a 'snorkelling' tour, which was more of a party boat with an open bar and dip in the ocean. 

Cancun is definitely very commercialised and I wouldn't say it exactly portrays Mexican culture. Luckily, the week before Cancun, I had joined my host family to their holiday house on the other side of Mexico. Their property is a 2.5 hour drive from the nearest city, that being Puerto Vallarta. Even though the property itself was very luxurious and totally first world, there were little villages all around that was extremely interesting to see the Mexican culture and lifestyle. Unfortunately, less than a year ago, that area was hit by a very large scale hurricane that ripped through some of the nearby villages which we could still see the damage today. On the Chichen Itza tour, we went past a couple of villages that were made up of tin and no glass in the windows kind of houses. For me, I have been places like this before and had anticipated the level of poverty in the countryside. However Beth, the Queen of England and United States with a little Italy on the side, was not prepared to experience this. It was super interesting for me to be with someone who got culture shock as it was a reminder of levels in society and developing countries. Its so important to keep this in mind and consider how others are living.

Anyway, Cancun is all about getting as much money from the tourists as possible. We were staying in the best location, right net to the main part of town. But when you walked the street in that area, people were no stop approaching and yelling for us to buy their things. In the mornings, that city part was completely deserted and from the other side of the road, sales men from the flea markets would be yelling at us. We learnt to just ignore. There were people selling club and bar entry deals every 3 steps (thats the 'wild' part). I was completely taken aback when the cheapest deal you could get was $60. We cheated the system of course, as if  I would pay $60. 

So Chicen Itza day trip. I shit you not it was 40 degrees over there. I had sweat literally rolling down my leg, and I never sweat, not even in Bikram yoga. That was fun fun. Spent an hour trying to get the perfect picture. Not even sure if we got it. We had an included Mexican buffet, which I really filled myself up on tortilla chips. After the excruciating heat, we went to this Cenote. This is like a massive hole in the ground that has fresh water at the bottom. It was super pretty. When we looked in the hole, everyone was wearing life jackets and we were like 'omg why can no one swim' and then we jumped in the water and realised that there was nothing to hold onto and you just had to tread water like never before. 15 minutes of that was good for me. I refused to spend $3 on a life jacket. Considered it my workout for the week. It was pretty hilarious though, because so many people would try to be getting out on the one ladder all at once and people were clustered everywhere, it literally looked and felt like we were on the Titanic with 3/4 wearing life jackets and people pushing each other under. Solid day trip. 

Next day was the boat tour. Had my first cocktail at 11:56am. Why not when its free. We went to this snorkelling spot and I was expecting pretty coral, but there was literally nothing below us for ages. Then we went in a 'guided snorkel' and turns out there is this underwater museum. It was amazing, there were like statues of people in groups and a car with a person on the front. Very creative. We then spent the day on this island that was quite pretty. Then suddenly when we started heading back to Cancun, this party boat became a serious party boat. I mean, they went around pouring tequila from the bottle into everyones mouths. We then did this cool wind thing where you sat on a rope in the water and hoped that the wind would pick you up in the air. I also met a fun Australian lady who was an au pair when she was young, so that was quite exciting, we talked for ages. 

The ocean in that part of the world is exquisite. Crystal blue. I really love it. I am glad I was fortunate enough to experience two completely different parts of Mexico. It was interesting to see the differences between an isolated area, to a very popularised tourist central. On the west coast of Mexico where my host families property is, we drove for hours in the country and everything was green and untouched. However when we drove for hours to get to Chichen Itza from Cancun, you can see the detrimental effect of so many people in the small area. Nonetheless, I loved both sides of Mexico, especially their crystal blue waters. 

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It has always been an issue we have been aware of. Gun control in the United Sates. Crazy people. In Australia, the worst part of being jumped and mugged is like getting punched in the face (and the actual mugging of course). But in America, you’ll get both those, plus most likely a gun to the head. Not that it has happened to me, but to be explained further in this post.


I took a class here and there was a section on politics for like an hour, and there was a big discussion about gun control and why it is what it is. I am not one to usually listen, but this was so informative and I won’t forget it. They explained how guns are a state law, not federal. State law is obviously when there are rules within a state, these are usually like road rules, drinking on the street and simple things like that. Federal laws is the president saying nah-huh and it is overall banned throughout the country, like Kinda Surprise eggs….(but not guns). State laws can become federal but it is a very long process and needs so many approvals blah blah (that part I zoned out of). SO the reason guns have stayed as a state law is because you have places in the middle of no where with absolutely nothing but big brown bears or scary animals near farms. These farmers need guns for hunting and all their farming needs. Makes sense. But then you have California and its just so darn unnecessary to need a gun. So I understand that because the whole country is so diverse in its needs, you can’t have it okay in one state and walk 5 minutes across the border and its not okay anymore. However, I believe that there are lengths they could take to change the way guns are accessible. Or have more licensing laws. I mean, I went to Tahoe and the stores that sell guns advertise like crazy and are literally everywhere. What I am saying is, there could be laws put in place to stop the motion and appeal.


The scary part is, not knowing who has a gun or when one will be used. There are attacks all over America we hear of. But the reality is, I am living in a major city, and this stuff happens here too. One Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago, I was enjoying a quiet weekend alone at home. I decided to go out at precisely 1pm and walk to the Marina. Jolly good day for a walk. Next day I get emailed a link of a news article that says there was an armed robbery on the next block over from my house Saturday 1pm. 3 guys with guns jumped 3 lady tourists. But there happened to be 3 undercover police men walking right past. Coincidence right. This area is covered in tourists as the famous crooked street is the next block, so police are very common to be hanging around. But also very common to rob the dumb tourists. Anyway, long story short, super scary how I was only probably 200m away from the commotion. Moral of the story is, guns are bad.

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​You know when we were young (lets be real, still now), we do normal things that are cool and our parents haven't got a clue why or what. Then even worse, when they try do the cool thing and they just don't pull it off. The cool things could be words like 'on fleek' or gestures. Point is, the responsible adult in your life just didn't get it. It was like a young persons cult of being hip. Well I have officially fallen into this old person category. There is this phase of coolness at the moment called 'dab'. Serious. Its where you like put your arms across yourself. It is used in dancing and when you sneeze... little hard to explain. Well my kids just won't stop doing it and I'm like why. At first I thought maybe it was just their classes at school. But then one day, we were at Disneyland, and we were with this guy who was only 18, not exactly like we have a huge age gap, but he still went to school. Anyway, C sneezed and she did this dab. Then the guy looks over at her and was like 'did you just...' and she just slyly nodded like 'yes, yes I did.' It was an unspoken moment of coolness that I just did not get. I felt like such an old person. 

There was another time something like this happened. One day I was watching the schools talent show and every now and then they got the kids to get up and do things like Simon Says to avoid restlessness. So they did the Chicken Dance, and of course everyone knew it. Then they played this song, I haven't got a clue what it was, and literally every single child in that school, all in sync, did this dance to it. I was thoroughly impressed but also thoroughly confused. It was something to see, really. It was basically the Chicken Dance for the new generation. I am sure the 'dab' was in the dance too. I went from 19 to 49 really fast. Its true when they say children age you. I guess you can use the kids to stay in the loop though. There is an app called Musicaly that is quite popular, again, I am not sure if this is just within my kids school or if it is like seriously a big deal. But because the kids are obsessed, it makes me not want to have it. But who knows if I am missing out on the new Instagram. I guess I am just too adult to be able to know whats cool and whats not anymore. But also, what is age appropriate. I am just glad that I have the trusty radio to keep me in the loop of the popular music. Seriously, the radio here is fab. It is like 20 different 104.7's so you can always avoid ads. Its hilarious though because as kids we always sung ads and of course the radio station slogan is quite catchy, so I can sing every single one of them. But now my kids do it and I feel like I have left my mark on them. 

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You hear in movies its like "What time is it? Summer Time!" and everyone is all excited and everything. Well really, that excitement is meant for the kids, but I like to include myself in these exciting events. For these fancy American kids, they get summer camps the entire duration of summer, minus the occasional out of town trip they take. So really, summer is like the exact same for me as school was, except I get a tiny sleep in and tag along on a couple of those out of town trips. My story comes together in like 3 ways, so I will go start to finish and just side track as we go. So first week of summer was full on. I will start with the last week of school. That last week, everything had to happen so fast and I just didn't feel quite as on my game as usual. But that doesn't matter because we survived anyway and now schools over! Honestly, I don't really even remember that week even though it was only 2 weeks ago. I just remember there wasn't school Monday and then suddenly it was Friday. Then we also had a little situation where B was more of a party animal than I have ever been and went to 2 sleepovers in a row. I can't express how grateful I was to miss the days after those sleepovers. So as the weekend came up, I decided to take advantage of it, classic. But this was because I have realised there are only like 3 weekends left with particular gal pals. But also because it was the only chance to go to Lake Tahoe! So Catherine, Beth and I shoved as many things as possible into the car (for 1 night...) and went to Tahoe. I chose camping, no one thought I could do it, but watch me. We spent way too much time looking for a campsite that was known for parties around the bonfire. But eventually we figured Tahoe was more of a family destination. On the bright side, I turned my attention to spotting a bear seeing as apparently they were spotted like 3 times a day. Of course, I didn't see one, devastated. We didn't do all that much in Tahoe, except snuggle in a 1 person tent. But it was relaxing and we always have fun.

So then comes the real week. Monday morning, the fam and I flew down to Orange County to hit up Disneyland!! We stayed in the fab Disneyland Hotel with the fab view overlooking both parks and the whole downtown Disney. So as soon as we landed we went into Disneyland and I gave the kids a regular childs trip to Disney, where they actually had to wait in the hour long line. Ha. How was I supposed to know that we were meant to just wait for special treatment. All fun All fun. Even better, out of all the times I could've gone to Disneyland this year, I went the exact days Paul, Cori, Amira and Otis from next door went! So on Monday night, I met up with Paul and Amira and we watched this amazing water show (Otis had hit a wall). It was like the next level up from the Bellagio in Vegas. On Tuesday I got a 6am wake up from room service with breakfast. I think it took me until now to recover from that early wake up. I am just not made for it. We did early entry into Disney because we were in the fab Disneyland hotel of course. Later in the morning, B and I happen to run into Paul and Amira and we got to go on the Indiana Jones ride together. It was really great to be able to introduce B to people in my real life, and it was super cute that Amira is like the same age. After the ride I saw Otis with his grandparents, but narrowly missed Cori for the second time. Anyway, it was just fun to hear those Australian accents and have some sentimental reminiscing. Tuesday afternoon was spent in our private cabana (ooh you say), while the kids swam. Then we had a private guide take us through Disneyland to the front of all the rides. Classic. That was pretty exciting because we got everything in in a couple hours. Wednesday morning we realised we hadn't done California Adventure yet, so Christy and I got our running shoes on (me, thongs) and got in like 4 rides in an hours. Winners. Those rides were the best out of both parks. Tower of Terror and California Screaming. Highly recommended for anyone who goes to Disneyland. So we then had a little road trip down to San Diego. From here, I was a little out of it, to be explained. But we spent one night in a friends house, then the next in a resort. When we got to the resort, we had been upgraded to the Presidential Suite, what a life right. It was like a house. My favourite part was that the lounge room tv had a painting over it and when you turned the tv on, the painting slid away. But again, I didn't fully appreciate it because I was a little out of it. 

So unfortunately for me, all this party was too much party and it made me bed locked. When I got home on Friday, I literally fell into bed and slept for 15 hours! Man, I have not been this sick since I arrived. On the bright side, being too sick to leave the house meant that I got a whole season of One Tree Hill in (my new phase). Gotta look at the bright things right. Anyway, so I ended up at the doctors, and no wonder Americans have to pay so much for medical, it was the most thorough thing ever seen. Theres a reason I got expensive insurance right! So now the first week has blended into the second, Hawaii in 3 days. Hallelugh 

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​An au pairs goal and questions to themselves is: Did I make a change in anyones lives over the year? Usually this question is directed at the kids and how much the au pair influenced them and made a change in their lives. For little kids, this could be answer by teaching them to not poop themselves or ride a bike. But for me, my kids have long since learnt how to ride a bike and most definitely do not poop themselves. So there isn't much I could teach them in the way of rites of life. The next part of this question is: Did I make an impact on their lives? This one comes down to who you are as a person and how well you did your job of integrating into their lives. For ages I have been seriously unsure if I have made an impact. Like, will I be talked about years later like some of their other nannies they still talk to me about today. Will they go somewhere and say "this was Talisha and our spot", or will they randomly start telling a story about a fun time they had with me. I got to a point where I didn't doubt they would talk about me (I believe I am fun),  but did I make an influence? 

Well, the answer is. I did in a strange way. At the moment, B has a project at school where they have to show step by step how to make something. B chose Honey Joys, which is something that I introduced. But that sorta just sat with me like 'aw cute'. But then she came home the other day and said her friend is doing Fairy Bread. This friend who I have had a play date with maybe twice months ago has taken away the littlest thing from me to remember and chose out of a million things. Their teacher must think I am a real hoot because the amount of times B has done like an Australian associated project, and now another random child is writing about this amazing Australian discovery. 

I know the whole point of cultural care is 'cultural exchange' but I didn't actually think that I could share much from Australia. But I feel like I have spread a lot of random things that you wouldn't expect are Australian culture. I have also really promoted Australia as a great country (they should pay me for their tourist influx coming soon). It is so cute when the kids are asking when are they going to visit Australia and they talk about all the places they want to visit when they are there. I swear I am not even encouraging it, the kids do it all on their own. I suppose I am the first of their actual 'cultural exchange' au pairs, as the first one was from Mexico and they go to Mexico all the time. But being from a whole new country thats so far off in the distance (its amazing how much effort everyone thinks it is to go to Australia, no one ever thinks about what we have to do every time we leave the country), its an exciting thing for them to know about and want to see. Who knows if they will have the same enthusiasm for all the other countries their au pairs may be from. I really hope they don't get another Australian in the future because I may have bs'ed a few facts, but us Aussies roll with each others sarcasm. 

As for influencing other humans in this life, I did the same thing with advertising the great Australia. Can't wait for everyone to visit!! 

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​Last week, I got an email from Cultural Care telling me that I have to book my flights home now or they will charge me a late booking fee. This was really out of nowhere, and suddenly I realised, wow 3 months left. I sat down the night I got the email and opened the "request your flight" page and it was so surreal that I had to shut it and do it the next day. I literally couldn't bring myself to fill it out. I felt as though there were so many questions to ask. But then I remember I am an adult and have to make choices on my own these days. But seriously, it shocks me that they ask for us to request these flights so far in advance, but they don't actually tell you when the flight is until 6 weeks out. This is mostly annoying because if someone (like me) choses to do a travel month, 4 of those 6 weeks are during your travel month, so its a little hard to get prepared. Anyway, basically I had only thought my first week of the travel month through, then suddenly I had to choose how long I was going to stay through the travel month. Me being me, of course chose to do the whole thing because why not. But also I had Beth in mind as its her birthday in the last week and I have to fly out of LA anyway which is where she hopefully will be living otherwise I will be very annoyed. So here I am faced with actually having to organise myself well in advance and actually start planning my travel month. Quite daunting really. 

So its 9 months today. Only joke I have is that we all could've had babies by now. What is truly insane, is that my kids finish school next week and then it is summer time. I know that summer is going to FLY by. Literally only spending 4 solid weeks at home out of 11. Wow thats the first time I have worked that out, its a good life. I have 2 definite trips to Mexico booked, and probably 2 more to be confirmed. Everyone can be jealous, its okay, natural feelings. But even after all those holidays, I have an entire month of vacay to book! 

I will stop bragging and y'all can just read about the holidays as I post them weekly (; 

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​Yet again, another vacay to add to the list. Last weekend was a trip to Southern California beaches down the highway 1 (I think its still the hwy 1....). But, we did it in style. Lets start from Friday night, because that night made it a long weekend. I decided to go out, which meant I went to sleep around 2am. We had a very early flight on Saturday morning, which meant I had to wake up at 4am (young and fit right). Even though Beth didn't approve of my frolicking, I promised dear Beth that I would be the life of the party, and I would believe that I delivered. So anyway, we did long stay carpark because turns out its cheaper than getting any public transport or Uber. But the carpark was full and it was very stressful as it was already an hour before the flight. So we were on the shuttle freaking out because it was 30 minutes before the flight and we weren't even in the airport yet. But oh when we got there, did we run! Totally fine because the security was basically empty. My favourite part about security these days is that I don't have to take my passport anymore, I can just show my California license!! If that doesn't make me a local, then I don't know what does! Anyway, we got to sit down for approximately 3 minutes before walking onto our flight. Then of course, I don't remember much of the flight because I slept the whole time as per usual. We promised ourselves we would be super early to the flight home.... (to be continued below). 

To start our proper style (because long stay carparks and flights are only a little style), we had hired a Ford Mustang to do this little road trip! We felt so cool. But we get to the car hire place and it was like the dodgiest place ever, but the car was nice if you didn't look at all the scratches. But I guess the reason it was so affordable was because it was like super old school. No USB holes, no AUX cables, just a good old cigarette lighter. Throw back right. We just wanted to cruise with the roof off, but turns out So Cal weather isn't actually hot year round. That didn't stop us! We just blasted the heater while the roof was off, all good.

So as for the locations. We started in Laguna Beach, everyone had said 'wow such an amazing place!!', well not sure because really there wasn't exactly much there. It was a very small little town, with a small beach. Cozy is the word. Eye candy: 10/10. Next stop was Newport Beach, personally I loved it. Probably because like I love a good beach, and that was a nice beach. Heads up, turns out none of The OC is actually filmed in Newport, so that was disappointing. There was most to do there. We did enjoy sitting on the beach watching new lifeguards train. Eye candy: 11/10. That night we slept in Huntington Beach in a small airbnb, but it did the trick. The next morning we actually went down into the town of Huntington Beach, and it was by far my favourite stop. I was so surprised that I hadn't heard anyone talk about it before, because it was fantastic. There were streets of shops and cafes, but the beach was so big and open, which we have already established I love. There was a fair going on, so there were cute markets everywhere too. Eye candy: 10/10, this was the last eye candy for the day sadly. Long Beach was next. It was very much an industrial city. There wasn't exactly the beach vibe, or a beach that the city goes directly on. The lookout over the ocean is like oil mines and piers for loading ships. Wasn't the prettiest. We used Long Beach for some serious shopping, so that was good. Next stop was a place called Redondo Beach. We went here purely because THIS is where The OC is filmed. This was all fun, but keep in mind The OC finished 10 years ago now... so only a part of the pier was familiar. We then ended our time in Manhattan Beach. Similar to Laguna, everyone raved about how amazing Manhattan Beach was. But we didn't seem to find much there. We were there as like the sunset, and apparently its more about the beach vibe, so maybe we just missed out. We had a nice dinner there though! 

So, the flight home. We decided to drop the car off 2 hours before our flight. We did however notice that there was soon much traffic going into the airport when we were dropping the car. So we drop the car and all is good, and we were waiting for their shuttle. They kept saying 5 minutes. Then suddenly its an hour before the flight and we were still sitting in the car hire place. So Beth goes out and tells the guy our flight leaves in 30 minutes and he freaked out and decided to just take us. What would I do without Beth. Good thing she did that though, because the line for security was absolutely ridiculous. By the time we got to the gate, we were sitting for about 5 minutes this time before we got on the plane. So much for being early right. Funny story about that plane ride. It was a redeye, and generally everyone gets that and no one speaks so that everyone else can sleep. I am one of those people that sleep. This guy sits next to me, and he just wanted a jolly good chat. I didn't want to be rude so I gave a little back. But come on, I fell asleep TWICE during the conversation to be woken by the drinks lady. But this guy just did not get the message. 

Anyway, it was sad to realise that was Beth and my last trip planned until Cancun (!!!). We have too much fun. There just isn't long left and our weekends are getting full. I mean, I basically spend the entire of July in Mexico. Not complaining. Just sad I can't spend every waking moment with my bae, Beth. Its aight, I have plans to visit her in my travel month, hopefully before she makes friends and I am still the apple of her eye <3

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I must start by saying (probably for the billionth time) how grateful I am for having such a strong group of friends. But what is even more fantastic than just that friendship (again probably said this a billion times) we all arrived on the same day. Beautiful. Poetry, really. It is seriously so lucky that we have each other, as we are all at the same point in our lives. Also the beautiful fact of not having to say goodbye to friends constantly throughout the year. That was all fun and games until 2 of my homies decided to opt out a month early. They have just under 3 months left, the rest of us 4, and we want to make sure that we are making the most of every single smidgen of spare time there possible is. There was this one night where we were celebrating Catherine's birthday and we sat down to have the discussion of when we can do what on which weekend. We all got our little planners out and went through every single weekend there is left, just trying to fit one activity in. We found a single date on the last weekend where we could go camping, that was fun until I ruined it by becoming busy with vacays, oops. The funniest part of this whole ordeal was when we were trying to find a night for karaoke and I suggested a date that was literally 2 months out. I guess you just can't please everyone.

Nonetheless, every moment we do end up with is fabulous. Ironically, the plans manage to be formed better a day out from the activity with us. Last weekend we took advantage of our time on everyones free Sunday and took advantage of my connections and had a beautiful day in Napa. Personally, I had more of a 'eh' emotion because Napa is Napa to me, same things on the reg when I need to go there. But this time, I had friends and people to talk to and it was actually oh so much fun. Unfortunately Napa didn't show its best side. Looking at the weather app, its like 30 degrees daily and when we were there it was tops of 22 and overcast the entire day. That didn't stop the German speakers from going swimming. We had to spend like 30 minutes clearing dead frogs out of the water first (little do they know that happens every time). There is this bloody awesome, ridiculously big pegasus thing that I could float around the pool on without getting wet. We also did the things that my host family always show new guests like bike through the vineyards and play bocce ball which apparently is Italian/French, so Frenchie was quite excited.

Anyway, it was such a relaxing day that everyone needed. It was also such a bonding day. It had been a long time since everyone was together sharing stories and opening up. It was topped off with a phone call from Beth at midnight telling me she thought she left the oven on. Well, second road trip of the day back to Napa, to find that the oven was not on. At least no one was on the road so I was home and in bed by 2:30am. All is good. Crazy story though, on my drive back, I was driving on the 6 lane 101 with no other cars around, so I was going a solid 15 miles over the speed limit (24km- oops haha its normal here) and the highway patrol sped past me at probably 35 miles over the limit without even giving me a second look. The system makes no sense.

My point of the importance of friendship is that it is incredible we are so close and my favourite part of the weeks is when I can be bothered to go out after work just to sit with friends for an hour or 2 talking about nothing. But even better when we have something organised for the weekends. Like a fun party, who doesn't love a good party. I cannot wait to make the most of the time we have left together, because then it will be like maybe once in 2 years and then at our weddings and then funerals.... I will miss these people so much. Thats enough love for them, it might get over their heads (; mwah!

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I have been very focused on seeing the United States as a whole, I had almost forgot that I was in one of the best cities that people travel from all over the world to come see. I also realized that with only 4 months left now, I have a very limited amount of free weekends left to take advantage of. I still most definitely want to go to a lot of other cities, but on the weekends where that isn’t possible, why not see San Francisco?

The past 2 weekends, I have really opened my eyes to San Francisco. Well the tourist side that was on my bucket list at least. There are definitely 2 different sides to San Francisco. If you are visiting and accidentally stay in the wrong area and stick to it, you most definitely won’t like the city. But fortunately for me, I live in a very fab area, and if a tourist chose to stay nearer to where I live, they would get the pretty side of the city. The whole bay along the water is for sure the ‘prettier area’, but I must give the below downtown area a thumbs up for the culture. If you want really authentic, don’t care about safety, below Market is the place for you. However, for me, I am more of the appreciating safety kinda gal, so I love my neighbourhood. 

From before I arrived, I knew one thing that I had to do was walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. From the car park across and back, it’s only 7.5km…… Totally fine. What has been holding me back for 8 months is the weather. Apparently it’s super windy and cold on the bridge, so I was waiting for a warm day to give me hope. Very fortunately, these past couple weekends have been so uncharacteristically warm, like 28 degree sort of warm. SO of course, I had to seize the opportunity. It was actually very exciting, walking across the bridge. It’s a shockingly long drop to the water, and the rails are only waist height. I have driven across the bridge countless times, I had forgotten that the bridge is a major sight in itself. Walking across was for sure the best way to go. Highly recommend! That same day I also walked from my house down to the beach, which I wouldn’t have actually thought was a reasonable walk, but turns out it’s not all that far. However, because of this surprising 28 degree day, and the amount of outdoor walking I did, I could remember the time with a wonderful sunburn. I know the sunburn was shocking because I actually peeled really badly which doesn’t usually happen to me. 

The next weekend, I spent Saturday with Beth looking at Silicon Valley and all of its high tech HQ’s! It was quite exciting to see where Facebook, Google and Apple were. Google had such an amazing office. They had like colorful bikes that you could just use for free. Free things always win my heart. We just wanted pictures with cool signs for each of the companies, but their signs aren’t all that exiting to be honest. We also went to Stanford university, because why not. But I’m not sure what I was really expecting of a university campus. It wasn’t all that exciting, pretty though I suppose. 

On that Sunday I spent my morning volunteering at a beach clean up. Admittedly, I only did it because I had to for my credits for my visa. But it was actually a real eye opener. Pretty sure it was for Earth Day, but we just like had bags and cleaned the beach. I was given a special bag for cigarettes alone, which I managed to half fill up. I was so shocked as I was just one person picking this rubbish up, and I wasn’t exactly trying all that hard, yet I collected so much. Quite disgusting actually. 

After that, I went across to Muir Woods, where all the massive redwood trees are. The hikes were nice but I was very preoccupied with a little issue I had. All the signs leading to the park said ‘please use shuttle car park full’, so of course I used the shuttle because it was insisting. I get on the shuttle, it starts driving and then they decide to say it costs $5. So I got all sassy to the man in the woods office and he sassed me back. So my whole hike I was so angry about the $5 shuttle, especially because there were plenty of free car parks which were supposedly full. But when I was getting back on the shuttle, I said to the bus driver that I lost my ticket and got on for free. Needless to say, I felt very satisfied. 

The afternoon and night was spent celebrating Catherine’s birthday, a month and 2 days after her actual birthday… She was still happy. It was so pleasant sitting on the big field facing the bridge. It was the icing on the cake to the weekends. We are so lucky to be where we are, doing what we are doing.

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