Kickin’ the Bucket

NOT LITERALLY but today marks my LAST day in Sydney after 10 weeks experiencing this amazing place. I will officially be kickin’ the bucket from Australia and heading back to Ohio. Australia has taught me heaps about myself, other people and life in general.

Living abroad can be tough from finding your way around a foreign place to understanding slang and being away from loved ones for several months. That being said, it can be one of the most INCREDIBLE, LIFE-CHANGING experiences of your life! It was for me.

Just after I arrived, I created an Australia Bucket List that included all the things I wanted to do before I left. Well, here I am on the last day of my time abroad and my bucket list is BEYOND complete.

Enjoy my journey!

1. Play with a Kangaroo

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Marked this one off on my second day here at a wildlife park in Cairns.

2. Pet a Koala

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I pet a koala, held a koala and saw wild koalas! I really overdid myself on this one.

3. Visit Bondi Beach

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One of the most beautiful beaches in the world if I must say so myself!

4. Visit the Opera House

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I visited the Opera House and I visited it again and again and again. It’s truly a magical, icon!

5. See a play at the Opera House

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I saw a modern interpretation of Romeo & Juliet (which I still couldn’t understand!) with all the other interns.

6. Climb/walk on the Sydney Harbour Bridge

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I walked on the bridge and ran across it during the Blackmores’ Sydney Running Festival!

7. Visit New Zealand

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I traveled to Auckland, New Zealand. It was cold, rainy, sunny and windy all at the same time. This picture was taken atop Mt. Eden overlooking the city.

8. Have an Aussie barbie

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Thanks to a family friend back home who grew up in Australia, I had dinner with two Aussie families and the traditional “shrimp on the barbie” with a lovely Melbourne couple.

9. Visit Melbourne and other cities

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This was taken from the 88th floor of the tallest building in downtown Melbourne and the Southern Hemisphere! I also had the opportunity to visit Newcastle, Cairns and Katoomba in the Blue Mountains.

10. Take a boat ride on the Harbour

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This is my friend Eden and I taking a ferry to Manly Beach. 360 degree views of the Harbour is pretty awesome.

11. Have dinner at the revolving restaurant

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Although I didn’t have dinner due to the outrageous prices, a few interns and I had a $12 glass of wine as we made a complete circle around the city. It took about an hour and 30 minutes.

12. Visit Manly Beach

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Visited Manly and saved a few lives. No biggie.

13. Eat Kangaroo Pizza at Australian Heritage Hotel

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I ate kangaroo and EMU pizza. So yummy! Sorry cute, little kanga!

14. Eat at Harry’s Cafe de Wheels

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This is me eating my meat pie with gravy and peas. Harry’s is an Australian icon and is a popular late-night drunk food establishment. It’s been around since the 1930’s depression years.

So that about wraps up my Australia Bucket List! There were two things I wrote down that I didn’t do…#1 Try to Surf and #2 Go to the Sydney Aquarium. I’m not devastated I didn’t accomplish these. Actually, I could have done both but chose not to. I thought I wanted to surf but after seeing how massive the waves here were and experiencing how cold the water was I decided it wasn’t for me. Plus, I hate salt water. I don’t know why I even wrote ‘visit the Sydney Aquarium’ on the list because I’m not all that fascinated by marine life and I can visit the aquarium back home.

I’m leaving Australia satisfied and with that I’m ready to symbolically “kick the bucket” back to the United States!

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I’ll have a Kangaroo pizza, please!

If I could sum up the food in Australia in one word it would be: ENDLESS. If you’re hungry for a big, juicy burger, you can find it on the nearest street corner. If you want Thai, there’s 20 options within a 1/2 mile radius. If you want seafood or Italian, it takes one quick Google to find a good place. Whether you’re looking for a quick, cheap eat or a multi-course gourmet meal, Sydney’s got ya covered.

Over the course of my stay here, I photographed most of the meals I ate. Since I didn’t want to be accused of posting too much #FoodPorn on Instagram, I opted to write a blog post about my culinary adventures. Enjoy and don’t get too hungry!

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A very popular Australian dish: Chicken Schnitzel. Don’t be deceived by the funky name. It’s just breaded chicken. Add marinara sauce and cheese and you’ve got Chicken Parmesan. A bit of a letdown for me but delicious, nonetheless.

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A delicious Australian cheese plate I had while visiting an Australian family.

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The main course following the cheese platter. Indian spiced lamb, stir-fried zucchini, pasta salad with butternut squash, cheese and spinach and a side salad.

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A massive burger I had in Auckland, New Zealand. It was bigger than it looks and YES, I ate it all…

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Ginger beer I had on the set of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. It doesn’t have any alcohol in it and pretty much tastes like Ginger Ale.

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This is an example of a home-cooked meal. This is as fancy as it got. Usually I would heat up a frozen pizza or make some 90 second rice. This is pasta with meat sauce and I thought I did good!

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Kangaroo meat that we had for family dinner. We overcooked it and some pieces were jerky-like. It has a very ‘meaty’ taste but is apparently very lean and good for you!

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This was a splurge meal I had in Auckland at a nice restaurant on the waterfront called Mecca. I get this meal at one of my favorite restaurants in Athens called Salaam. Spinach, beetroot, onion and squash (?) wrapped in a crispy phyllo dough with powdered sugar on top. Sweet and savory = MY FAVE.

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This was a rice dish called Paella that my friend made me when I visited Newcastle. Rice, chicken, chorizo, peas and yellow pepper.

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Delicious Thai noodles with peanut sauce, chicken and veggies.

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Australia’s version of Coldstone. Caramel ice cream mixed with TimTam’s (a chocolate covered wafer that’s very popular here). This cost me $7 and it was worth every last dollar!

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A truly Australian lunch: meat pie with ‘chips’

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Enjoyed this pumpkin and pine nut pizza overlooking Newcastle beach.

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My first experience with bubble tea. This was chocolate flavored milk tea with pearls (which are little balls of rubber). It was gross. The only reason I finished it was because I paid $5 and felt bad throwing it away.

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Chicken chorizo rolls with coleslaw and chimicurri sauce from the Rocks foodie market. A bit spicy but delish.

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Vietnamese Rice paper rolls with prawns (shrimp), salad leaves, rice and mango from Miss Chu.

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Kangaroo and Emu pizza at the Australian Heritage Hotel. One of my favorite meals I had!

And that completes my culinary adventure through Australia! Check out the link below for the top 40 foods that Australia calls their own!

http://travel.cnn.com/sydney/eat/40-foods-australians-call-their-own-651613