Friday, January 1, 2010

Last Week in Oz!

Week 7!!!!
Ok so it's true...I am actually back home safe in Michigan and writing my last blog...but things were too crazy to update prior till now so here it is!
I left Perth to take a 7 day bus tour up north to Exmouth! Coral bay and Exmouth are both cities along the western coast that are close to the Ningaloo reef, which is like the west coast version of the Great Barrier reef. We set out at 8am that day, stopping to visit the pinnacle dessert (they use to be a forest of trees but are now rock formations) as well as went sand boarding which is like snowboarding on a sand dune. There were 17 people on our bus, mostly backpackers from Europe and Asia. We had people from Ireland, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, China, and of course, the good ol' USA! (represented by moi, of course!) Yeah for new friends!

This was one of my favorite days! We went to Kalberri National Park were we decended 150meters down into the Z-bend gorge! We went hiking around 9am and it was already almost 100 degrees! I got to sport my "fly net hat" which is super stylish...most people are jealous they couldn't wear one (thanks host family!) But seriously...the flies get REALLY bad...and you pretty much are like eating the net was a must.
I also went ABSELING! OMG sooo great! Its like propelling yourself off a cliff...backwards! It was soo exhilarating! Then we hiked to a near by this sweet valley...and went for a swim! I seriously felt like I was in a movie. It was gorgeous! Next we went to nature's window, which is this "rock window" that over looks this deep valley with a river below.
Then it was onward to Shell of two beaches in the world made entirely of shells! Crazy huh! So pretty! And we made our final stop at Monkey mia, where we watched the sunset and spent the night on the beach....all in all a fantastic day!

We got up early to see the dolphin feeding at 8am! I got picked from the crowd to feed a fish to the mommy dolphin...I know...VIP status :) Later some pelicans came on the beach to rock out with us. That was fun. Apparely the staff here feeds the pelicans as well, otherwise they try and steal the fish from the dolphins during the feeding show!
We stopped and had a look at stromatolites at Hamelin Pool. These little guys were once blue green algea/cyanobacteria, that overtime became trapped in shallow water as a layered, fossilized structure. They were around about 3.5 billion years ago, producing major amounts of oxygen for our atmosphere that eventually allowed conditions for more complex life to posper. Or at least thats the evolutionist perspective on it all. We finished the day at a hostel in Coral Bay...Ningaloo Reef tomorrow!

The time is flying by...but this is what the trip is all about! I decided to take a boat day tour where you go snorkeling out in the ocean and get to swim with Manta Rays. Snorkeling is AMAZING! The colors of the fish and the reef are sooo bright and vibrant! My favorite part though was swiming with the Manta Rays...they look like sting rays...but they aren't dangerous and they are about 3 times as big! It was pretty intense actually...they had a plane overhead that found the rays and then they slpit us into groups of ten and "droped" us off the boat at two different sites and then we just chased after them! They are pretty quick swimmer actually! I felt like I was one of those tornado chasers! wicked cool....

We went up to stop up North! Today it reached 48 degrees ceclius...guess how much that is in fahrenheit? 118!!!! Lucky we were in the water the whole day! Our tour guide took us to a sweet beach where we went snorkeling for about an hour. I LOVED it here. It was actually better than coarl bay I thought because I saw a turtle! Turtle Turtle! (This was actually my nickname for the trip...because apparently I'm kinda But also since we snorkled from the beach, versus off of a boat, the coral was alot closer to the top of the water, so you could literally swim right over it! You have to be careful though...coral is sharp! And if you touch dies! I actually grazed my knee on some accidentally...and it gave me a nice cut! ouch! After snorkeling we headed back to our campsite to lounge by the pool for the afternoon. Some of our other friends had gone skuba diving, and one guy went fishing and caught a Spanish Makeral that was as big as him! Dinner was good that night :) We had cooked fish and Italian spagetti...cooked by REAL Italians! We also drove to a lighthouse and saw an AMAZING sunset :) oh la la!

Wednesday and Thursday...
These final days were spent mostly in a tour was alot of driving back to Perth! But we did some fun games to pass the time. My favorite was blindfolded Karoake! (The name alone sounds great right?) You go up to the front of the bus, pick a song on your iPod, grab the mic, and sing blind folded. Only YOU can hear the song! (I not only did it first, but I also was the only one brave enough to actually go blindfolded! I preformed Taylor Swift, "You belong with me", because I naturally karoake to that song whenever I hear no biggie there. I also did an encore act of Aaron Carter's "Aaron's Party/come get it". I was rapping all up in thur! Were people impressed? I think so. Later that night we stayed at a farm stay and I preformed my own authored rap, as well as taught the gang how to "star spin". All in all Ray~Ray was making her mark! We did do some fun things like stop in this other country called Hutt River Province and went to a cool animal rescue park where we got to feed camels, emus, kangeroos and hang out with snakes! We arrived home thursday night, exchanged contact info, and all decided that we just HAD to meet up the following night to hangout in Perth :)

AAAAHHHHH Two days until I leave! We all went out for diner and drinks friday night, but the best choice I made was on Saturday. One of my friends I met from Switzerland offered to be my tour guide and take me to Rottnest Island. Its similar to Mackinaw Island in the sense that you have to take a ferry to get there, and no cars are allowed. It was magical :) I ended up running into a guy my family knew and he let us hangout on his boat...which was HUGE btw :) We hired bikes and biked around the whole Island! Its about 10kilometers, so not too bad! There are lots of different beaches along the way and lighthouse, so you can stop and snorkel, or swim, or boat, or really whatever you want. They also have these animals called Quokkas! They are the size of a squirrl, but can hop like kangeroos. They are super cute! But it was a great last day because my host family threw me a going away dinner that night, and I got to pack all my suitcases at 11pm...finishing up at 3:30am! (opps) and leaving for the airport at 4am! Lucky for me...even though my bags were overweight I just smiled real pretty and the guy let me check 'em! Gosh I love being a girl. My flights back were pretty terribly long, but I met cool people, and even got access to a VIP red carpet club that I randomly won, and got to hangout at this sweet lounge with free food, wireless, drink, and movies w/ big comfy chairs, where people said "Welcome to the red carpet club, Miss Gonsior,". That's right.... VIP yeahh boiii! So all in all....if you asked me what I would give this experience on a scale of 1 to 10...I would say 25. Easily. Its good to be back...but I do miss Oz. Someday I will return :) until then...Gosh it's cold!!!!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Final Count Down....

Week 6 (Last week of teaching!)

Oh leave all those beautiful children...but what a fun week we had! My teacher actually gave me monday morning off because I am such a hard worker :) That was nice! It was great to sleep in and get caught up on some of my GVSU final evaluations and surveys. I took over full time on Tuesday, got to plan all the activities, and my teacher was out of the room the whole time! We started doing christmas activities, games, reef and card making, and playing christmas music! We made reefs out of coat hangers and wire...simple...but sooo cute! I showed the kids some cool youtube videos of christmas light shows that were synchronized to music...gosh I love youtube!

On Wednesday I taught my last science lesson to Miss Onn's 6/7th grade class on Solids, liquids, and Gases. We played a game of tag outside simulating the ways the molecules move in the various states...they loved it! I also did an experiment with hot and cold water, showing how they wont mix when the hot water is on top because it is less dense. And finally the students did an experiment using candles, water, glass cup and fire, using the difference in air pressure that is created when the fame is extinguished by the cup to draw the water from the bowl up into the cup. Overall they were pretty wicked sweet!Thursday my students threw me a party! SURPRISE! They were all hiding under their tables when I came in, and popped up! ( They actually had "spies" that were on the look out for me...which I pretended I didn't see of course :) ) I was sooo overwellemed with how awesome my teacher was! They sat me down in a "chair of honor", and gave me a huge bag of "Aussie mementos!" (I don't know what I'll do with 5 stuffed kangeroos...but hey, it's the thought right?) I got this great hat which all the kids signed, LOTS of chocolate, pins, key chains, ornaments, cards, flags...pretty much anything you could want! Some kids made me special cards and I got this cool doll made out of jenga pieces!
During lunch time we had special food that all the kids had brought in, and they had me eat at each table as the guest of honor :) I showed the kids my "science sista" music video...and at the end one of the looks me straight in the eye and goes..."Miss Gonsior...I didn't know you were a rapper?!" It was pretty priceless:) And if that wasn't the end of the day they bestowed me with a huge life size card that the students had put together themselves with all their photos, and next to each photo was a heart from that student with a personalized note from them to me :) It was so lovely. I actually cried when I took it home to read that night! I gave the students all christmas card photos of me and them as well as Fruit tingles (my fav aussie candy!), and a customized star ornament I made them. All in all it was great :) I got sooo many hugs! I will have to go back because the students there are just tooo fantastic!
Well its true...I am back now...and I still have one last post to write about my Excursion up North! So stay tuned....!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Week 4 and 5 recap!

Wow...time is flying by...and I'm not writing! Sorry!

Ok so i'll try to give you some details....

Week 4

So I finally made it to Kings Park! I'd been wanting to hit that up and if you read my morning message to my kindergartners I have a sweet photo of me with the Perth Skyline behind me. Gorgeous! Prolly one of my favorite spots of been! Just like this huge park you can walk around in. I found out they have outdoor movies starting up this week which is a pretty popular thing to do now that summer is here!

I taught my second lesson on electricity to the 6/7th graders and it went really well! I had them make circuits with their bodies and they came up with some pretty interesting results...

I also taught a math lesson on division with remainders this week. I used "Fredo Frogs" which are the chocolate candy that ALL the kids love! They thought it was pretty much amazing...well...because it was.

Friday I went to the city opera and saw Handel's Messiah. It was beautiful and I got all dressed up. You've prolly heard the song "Hallelujah" from it...its pretty popular. Saturday the American girls did a thanksgiving dinner for our host families and teacher coordinator. It turned out really nice! I cooked cheesy potatoes from scratch! yeah for my first dish! We had turkey, pumpkin, and peacon pie, lots of stuffing, chicken, sweet potatoes...the works! Each girl took one of their family favorite recipes and cooked it up! Finding some of the ingredients was a little tricky, but all in all the audiences gave us 5 star ratings! It was nice to feel like a big family :) Check out those Cheesy Potatos!!!! Sunday I went to Fremantle with the girls...which everyone here calls Freo. It was quite exciting for me because I actually ran into a guy I knew on the train, and then another girl I had met at the New Moon premier while we were shopping in the markets. I felt like I was home, running into friends where ever I go. My family plays this game where if your in a location and spot someone you know you get a point. Since I'm at a disadvantage, I would get tripple points for anyone I ran into that I Sunday was a winning day for me! I really enjoyed Freo...there were street preformers (I saw a guy do a back flip through a flaming hula hoop off a ladder...wicked I know!) and we went to the prison! Very interesting to see the cells and set up with the tall walls and such. Random funny people here call cell phones "mobile phones", so when I asked a girl for her "cell number", she started laughing and the guy next to her was like, "what are we, in prison?" haha guess I never thought of how that could be funny...crazy huh?

Week 5!

This week was a blast! I got to teach an English lesson on the book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day!" I taught my kids about synonyms and antonyms and had them write their own story about Alex but where he has a perfect, fantastic, fabulous, wonderful day. They had soo much fun with the story...especially because there is a reference where Alexander wants to move to I thought that was quite witty of my to bring and read to them :)

Wednesday I taught dance again...we reviewed the cotton eye joe, cupid shuffle, something else, and taught them some of the classics such as shopping cart, sprinkler, making the pizza, wii remote, lawn mower...ya know...the good stuff. We did it all to the YMCA so you know it was quality. Check out us grooving to the cotton eye joe! (P.S. I just kind of figured out how to insert pictures recently so I'm going a little pic crazy)

Thursday was a great day...I went beach swimming with the 6/7th graders! Thats right...I went to the beach during school hours. Part of their curriuculum for 2 weeks is go swimming at the beach every morning! I know...way jello. Except apparently its pretty common to get stung by Jelly fish. I did not...which was good! That reminds me of another funny thing..."jelly" here is considered "jello". Their "jam" is like our when people in America say they eat peanut butter and jelly...Aussi's think Ewwwww! cause they think its peanut butter and Jello! funny huh?

The Week END!!!
This was offically a weekend of no sleep. We had our class sleepover friday...which was amazing! It was like being a camp counselor...only better! I got to lead all the games...put a bit of Camp O'Malley style into Australia. We did fox tails, heads and tails tag, Princess/Jester, Dragon tail tag, and more! The kids thought it was so great I was running around and playing with them...quote "I've never seen a teacher go down a slide!" We had a talent show where I made an appearance preforming the popular Hanah Montana, "Hoe Down Thrown Down!" (cam would be so proud!) Four of the girls here had learned it and asked me to join....Heck Yes! I was also able to impart some of my newly aquired magic skills from the summer (yeah BW!) and pass those on to the youth of tomorrow. I taught them how to send a torch (which is what they call a flash light...BA, I know!) through a table! I was actually quite impressed with their presentation. They dressed up in top hats and capes, they even had a sweet "magic table" that they decorated and put together. We had a dance party to "So What" by Pink, and i gave out glow pretty much it was a Rave. We watch "The flight before Christmas" can tell by the title it was Awesome. And we played this chocolate game where you have to dress up and eat chocolate everytime you roll a six, and then if someone else does they get to come in the middle and put on the dress up clothes and start cutting pieces of chocolate that they can then eat. It was WAY intense...lots of screaming going on.
Only downside of the night was some highschoolers decided to break in and vandalize...apparently thats the cool thing to do for teens here. I woke up at 2:30am after not going to sleep to around midnight to profanities and the sounds of windows being smashed. Now you may have thought I would be scared. Actually, my first thoughts were that a cricket game was going on....then when I finally came to I was ready to run outside and give those kids a run for their money...ya know, show em a few muscels...but then I was told I had to stay inside and let the police and security deal with it because the kids had cricket bats....oh...prolly not the safest thing. Didn't get back to sleep till 4:30am....BOO! The kids woke up at 5:30am and thought it completely necessary to all come and jump on top of me...not a lie. So no sleep that night....but it was still good, and the kids didn't wake up/know about the vandel thing so it was all good.

Saturday Night I got to go out with a REALLY cute Aussi teacher set me up. haha. He had a sweet black truck which they call a "ute" here. (pronounced..."youte") He was real cool and introduced me to a bunch of his friends. We went over to "his mates" house for drinks (still think that phrase is hilarious!) and he lived right on the water with a balcony overlooking the Ocean. I had my first experience of playing Pool with Aussi rules. So get this...they don't call the balls "solids and stripes" like they should be called, they call 'em "Bigs, and Smalls", because apparently all the solids have small numbers, and the stripes have big. They have some other crazy rules that i wont get into. So they we went out on the town and they took me to a place called "Gold Bar" in Subi, and Connections in North Bridge. Another thing I learned...a Hookah there is called a "Shu Shing"....some of the guys got one of those at Gold Bar. These clubs were seriously like movie type clubs...way hot! It is just soo crazy to me how dressed up people get here! Seriously, every girl you see is in a dress, hair all did, and crazy high heels. But this time i was prepared...wore a new dress I bought here so you know I was looking good :) Kids here stay out till like 5/6 in the morning though....luckily they brought me home by 4am...but it was a crazy night!

I finally got to a church! I had to wake up at 6am sleep. It was 35 people but kinda like a rock concert. The band was jamming and the paster was jumping up and down during songs. It was pretty ridiculous. It was funny though cause I didn't know what to expect...last minute connection through my families son's girlfriends brother who is in the band there...but they meet in a school building...and the church I go to in Grand Rapids meets in a school that was kinda funny. I helped them set things up and got to hangout and meet most of the people before hand. It was really a big family. First time I've gotten to church since I've been previous rides kept falling through! But definitely worth it!

Arvo (afternoon)
I went to this place called the "Garden". Its a hip new place for "Sunday Sessions", which is basicially what most Aussi's do on Sunday...they go somewhere and have drinks all afternoon. I went to Leederville and met up with some teachers from my school. While I waited for them I was at a coffee shop and guess what I found? A PAC MAN MACHINE!!! So instantly I was playing. I found a nice pair of guys playing pool nearby to take my photo. Struck up some convo with them and found out the one guy had been to NY! small world! P.S. that reminds me...I met a girl from Midland, MI earlier this week when I went shopping down at Hilary's Harbor! (real small world) But yeah, the Garden was sweet...all outdoors, trees, a cool balcony we sat up on and talked and hung out. I just love how everything is so outdoorsy here! I did end up crashing when I got home....7pm I was out! Woke up at 7am the next day so I'm doing well now! Time to sleep though again....prolly my last blog till after my trip up North....Love you all thanks for keeping up with my crazy adventures....

Two More Weeks Till I See Your Lovely Faces!!!

Ray Ray

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Morning Message 12-4-09

Dear Kindergartners, 12-4-09

Greetings! I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving vacation :) This week I went swimming at the beach with the 6/7th grade students. It was so nice! Every morning for two weeks the 6/7th graders go to the beach to work on their swimming fun! Today I heard it snowed in Michigan. Guess is 90 degrees here today! We are having a sleepover with my class tonight because they earned 1000 stars for good behavior! I am in charge of the games. I can't wait. Hope you are having a great week. I only have one week left of teaching! Miss you!


Miss Gonsior

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Morning Message! 11-27-09

Dear Kindergartners, 11-27-09

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you had a great meal and enjoyed your time off school. Guess what? I still had school! That don't have thanksgiving over here...that's only an American Holiday. I had a great weekend! I went to Caversham Wildlife Park and guess what? I got to pet Kangeroos and Koalas! They are soo cute!

I also went to this science museum where I saw this show that looks like the night sky and they tell you all about the stars and the planets, and its all in this dome shaped room. This week I went to Kings Park for a walk around and you can see the whole city of Perth from there! Remember those photos I showed you of the big skyline with all the tall buildings? That's the view I saw! It was gorgeous!

I've been seeing christmas decorations and hearing christmas music here! Its so crazy to think that christmas is comming up when its not cold or snowy! Its about 80 degrees and sunny right now! Benny Bear would need to put on his swimsuit! Remember Miss G misses you and loves you! Have a great week!

Love, Miss Gonsior

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Friday Morning Message! 11-20-09

Dear Class,

Today is Friday, November 20th, or 20-11-09 as they write it here! They do a variety of things different in Australia! For example, the cars here drive on the left side of the road, and the driver sits on the right side of the car! Also, the schools here have uniforms the students have to wear!

This weekend I went on a trip to a place called Margaret river and got to see emu's (a type of animal), kangaroos jumping by our car, and humpback wales jumping out of the water! Here is a picture of one of the beaches I was at.

Today I went on a "excursion" with my class, which is what we call a field trip here. We went to an aquarium, where there are lots of different types of fish, coral, sharks, sting rays, and octopus! It was almost as fun as our pumpkin patch field trip, but not quite because you guys were not there!

Hope you are all doing well :) Miss you lots! Bet you are staying warmer than me (it's been cold and rainy the past couple of day :(

Miss Gonsior

Week 3 Excursions!

Well I am just doing a terrible time keeping up to date...ahhh!

Recap of the Weekend:

I went on a trip with my host dad, Len, and two of the other American teachers, Megan and Kendal to Margaret River. Margaret River is about a 5 hour drive south of Perth into a beautiful farming country filled with beaches and wineries and lots of wild life.

I had my first wine tasting at a real classy winery! There were beautiful lush gardens outside, and then you walk in up to this bar type thing, and they have a list of 6 different wines,(3 white, 3 red), and then the wine tender pours you one at a time in a nice glass, telling you information about the wine and asking your opinion. I learned about why people swirl the wine first and then smell it before drinking...apparently when you swirl it the wine mixes with the air and gives off smells that you can start to distinguish the variety flavors present in your glass. All part of the experience :)

We journeyed around to some beaches, a chocolate factory and went out for dinner in main strip of town...which is basically one street :) I also went shopping...early of course cause they all close at 5pm...but I got this killer hot pick dress so I'm pretty stoked about that!

We went to a couple of other that was pretty much in the back of a shed (such a variety of styles!) as well as this beach where we ended up seeing humpback wales jumping out of the water! We also drove by a grove with emus, this random place where they have these huge huge trees, and had kangeroos jump out along side of our car! I felt like I was in Michigan...but w/o the deer :) I actually tried a Kangeroo Burger at a restaurant...not too bad! Returned Sunday night at 8pm...all in all a very relaxing weekend!

Week Lessons:
I started my research MI project! We did an art project today for the cover where the kids painted a background blue/green and then dipped their hands in paint and did hand prints to make a MI map picture! So cute :)

I taught my lesson on electricity to 6/7th graders and had a blast. I was amazed at how fast they got through things, could think critically, come up with new ways to change their experiment, and work together as a team. I had them build circuits and was told by one girl that my lesson was the funnest science she's done all year! It was great cause I had all this freedom to essentially do whatever I wanted, so we had a lot of conversing together, and exploring how electricity works.

Social Activities:
Monday night...I learned how to play this game with my family that is similar to the card game "liar" or "B.S." but you play with dice and have to raise your bets each time about what you think people rolled, and then people can loose die and the last person with die left wins. So we had some good quality family game night time!
Last night I went to the World Premier of NEW MOON...starting with a dinner trip to the pub, followed by a showing of the first movie, "Twilight" at 9pm...and then the second movie at 12:30...needless to say I didn't get to bed till 3:30am...but it was sooo worth it! the second movie is wayyy better, funnier, and the atmosphere of premiers are just the best. People clap and cheer when the main characters come out...and I met a few new girls so my friend base is going up! yeah new fb friends!

Upcoming excitements!
Tomorrow I teach a lesson on water density...where the kids test various objects whether they sink or float in water. Also they are making boats and seeing how much weight they can hold!
Going on an EXCURSION (still love saying that word) to Aqua, an aquiarum nearby with cool water creatures and such. I get to be in charge of a group so watch out!

P.S. Some of the kids have started to give me going away presents make me books and such, and I LOVE it! This one girl made me a friendship eraser (didn't know these things heidi...if you wanna get on that?) She also gave me one of her butterfly hair clips...hmmm well ya know what ev.

Saturday I am going shopping with my teacher! she is super awesome and I can't wait! Hopefully some killer new clothes to bring home:)

Next weekend us American Girls are doing a Thanksgiving dinner that we all put I can test out my new cooking skills! horah!

K well that's all for now...sleep is calling my name! Peace Love and warm :) Keep rocking out and I'll ttys!