Happiness Is…

Happiness is… heading out on an old boat, feeling like you’re starring in Pirates of the Caribbean… and seeing your friend smiling back at you from the bow.

Happiness is…. looking from a plane down below to a place you’ve never been…

Happiness is… overcoming ocean fears and seeing fish you couldn’t even picture in dreams, swimming close enough to touch…

Happiness is… knowing you are walking where two Unesco world heritage sites touch, knowing how rare this is…

Happiness is… meeting interesting, wordly, friendly people from all over the world, and realizing you would never have had this experience back home…

Happiness is …sampling tropical fruit you’ve never had before.

Happiness is… the sense of adventure you feel knowing you’re traveling alone.

Happiness is… dancing until the early hours of morning and getting up mere moments later for a full day tour.

Happiness is… sunshine, warmth, and knowing you’re enjoying it in a country’s ‘winter’.

Happiness is… returning to your own bed after an action-packed, ridiculous, amazing first holiday in Australia.

Happiness is… knowing you’re about to catch up with some Canadian friends in the city you feel you haven’t seen in ages. ❤

This, my friends, is some of what I’ve experienced lately. I left Wednesday July 3rd for Cairns in Northern Queensland. I arrived my first night and met up with my friend Natalie, who ironically, was in a class of mine at Queen’s and I didn’t even realize… duh. We explored the esplanade and grabbed dinner. It’s fairly cute, and funny- they have workout stations all along the boardwalk! You can stop by and do some ab crunches or bicep curls while you walk 🙂 Every night there’s entertainment of some kind. I saw a guy playing electric flute, which made me want to pick mine up again… for about a day. Ha ha.

The next day we were off to our boat tour! An old pearl lugger with tons of character took us out to the GREAT BARRIER REEF. WOO. My father told me he’d come over here and kick my … if I didn’t check it out, so I figured, it’s kind of the thing to do, right? 

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Meet the Falla! A great day! The boat had a great story, and a crazy/great skipper. I wasn’t happy on my first snorkel in (read: scared shitless of snorkeling,yes, I’m a pansy) but the second outing on the reef was AWESOME. I kept shrieking at Natalie about every fish I saw. Such a great day.

 

The next day was a tour of Cape Tribulation and Daintree river. I took a cruise and saw crocodiles in the flesh… learned all the truths and myths; bottom line – stay the heck away from them! Image

DO NOT MESS WITH ME! (In case you can’t speak crocodile)

Anyways. We continued on past the daintree by ferry…this is a remote area that has maybe only 400 residents north of the river. They all use solar energy or generators since there are no power lines. It was an interesting thought, knowing you were far from conventional life in a sense. Cape Tribulation is, in one word, stunning. I only wish we had stayed longer. 

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Literal happiness. I rate this in my top 3 sights since moving here… it was great. I must also mention during our lunch, we stopped at a small animal sanctuary for a sumptuous lunch, which had cockatoos and kangaroos! Sorry for photo overload but must share a bit 🙂

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I know it’s mean, but the cockatoo bit three dudes after being kind with me… another teacher laughed along with me. I learned a lot on our tour, and am now smart enough to know NOT TO TOUCH A GOSH DARN THING IN THE RAINFOREST. I’m telling you. I almost grabbed a cassowary plum (looks like a big dinosaur egg) and was told I could get a nasty rash on my arm for 3 months. Typical Australia…

 

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I did an active tablelands tour with Natalie too. Basically, waterfalls, lakes, crater lakes, etc. It was very informative, but very cold, seeing as it was mostly wet rainforest. They get so much rain every year. We stopped at one waterfall (so cold) with it’s own sort of built in slide… as you can see: 

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After a few tours it was on to Airlie Beach and whitsundays tour… what can I say… two days sailing one of the top 10 beach areas of the world. White, white sand – 99% silica, in fact. You can brush your teeth with it, polish jewelry, etc. Too beautiful.

All I can say about the tour in a nutshell is : 54 people – each one bringing a 4L of GOON, and/or beer… mostly IRISH… I’m sure you’re thinking, shenanigans? Yes. Many, many shenanigans. And a lot of misunderstood conversation. And singalongs. yes. I got stuck in a bunk with 5 irish singing irish diddies and could not leave until I sang out national anthem. I did us so proud the irish people asked me to never sing again. Taking one for the team, represent. 

We snorkeled a place called the ‘aquarium’ because the water is 8 feet deep but the fish are so populous they swim right by your face… probably my best experience all trip.

Saturday night they do this sort of elimination party game on the boat. Suffice to say, I tapped out early, but I got a bevvy of ridiculous shots:

ImageI met some great people on that trip. I must say, the rest of my holiday was spent in limbo – the weather would be sunny, rain, wind, sun, repeat – so you could never stay at the lagoon for too long… but 11 days passed too quickly… I will edit and leave my photobucket link later, but most people see my photos on facebook… if you have questions, ask!
After nearly 2 weeks of drinking, little sleep, and early morning tours, I was glad to return to a routine on Monday… I barely slept for fear of missing my first day of my short 2-week contract…but I LOVE IT. I thought I’d be wretched with kids, but surprisingly, it’s a side I didn’t think i had. I teach year one french and math to 58 kids all day… I get about 5-10 hugs a day, a lot of glue stuck to my arms, need to wash my hands more than usual, and wish
  I could clone myself ten-fold to help everyone, but I’m loving it! One week left and then WHO KNOWS. At this stage I am staying home, watching modern family, hoping to see people (its pouring outside, and my umbrella broke in a pseudo-squall last night (#*$*$@@@!!) and looking forward to another week with the young’ens. Fairly certain I may come home for the hols’ in december and come right back! Miss you, love you, keep in touch people!

 

From Melbourne with loveeeee,

 

 

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