Swiper no Swiping

Who would have thought that coming to a different country would turn me into a grown up version of a childhood cartoon character? The infamous Dora the Explorer was constantly embarking on quests. With her purple backpack and trusty monkey sidekick, she was always ready for an adventure. I have come to realize that I am much like Dora. As I have spent the last 7 weeks in Adelaide, my quests have been plentiful. Adorned with my purse filled with many goodies and my trusty friends alongside me, I have been able to amble the countryside.

 Along each adventure, Dora would call upon her backpack to help her find her way to her destination. I too rummaged through my bag whenever an adventure came upon me. Pulling out my faithful iPhone, I was able to find directions and snap photos of each place. My favorite game to play was Spot the Difference. Just like Dora searching for a difference in scenes, I constantly found the differences between Australia and home. For instance:

  1. America’s agricultural IMG_384710525804_946178382062102_8851821984736373841_npests tend to be deer, wild boars, raccoons, crows, etc. while Australia has a problem with kangaroos, wild dogs, birds, and me.
  2. Each country has its own slang, which can get confusing at times. In America, they say, “how are you doing” while in Australia it’s, “how are you going.”
  3. The Australian fashion is a little bit behind that of home (though I don’t know much fashion past a pair of pants and a t-shirt). Aussie Sheila’s (girls) wear chunky shoes and their hair pulled halfway up into a bun.
  4. Australians don’t eat hotdogs. They eat snags in bread. Sounds nasty right? Surprisingly it’s good! Just slap a sausage on a slice of bread and you’re ready to go.
  5. Everyone in Australia is just so friendly. They seem to love American accents and always question where I’m from. Americans on the other hand prefer to keep to themselves on the streets and in public areas.
  6. IMG_4047The American legal drinking age is 21 while Australia appeals to the younger crowds at 18.
  7. Australians drive on the left side of the road but their steering wheel is on the right side, totally flipped from the United States. Let’s just say that was hard getting used to. You may want to stay off the streets when I get home. I might just stray and drive Australian style.
  8. Alcohol down under is up the wazoo. I don’t understand how people can afford getting drunk here. A shot alone is cheapest $5.
  9. The beaches in Australia are down right AMAZING!IMG_3735 Bright blue water and IMG_4121fine white sand is such a picturesque view to soak up in the February heat.
  10. What is baseball? Oh yeah, it’s much like cricket but with bases. They both are huge national sports though. And football (American), well you might as well play rugby.

So of course my detective skills were going wild here in Australia. Each obstacle was easily defeated with the help of my new family. Luckily I never failed to find my way back to The Nest and successfully completed each quest. Unfortunately, as each journey came to an end I 11008067_10206514528086637_3814768694064474190_ncame closer to the end of my stay here. I’ve come to realize how fond I have become of the bustling Rundle Mall and endless array of gelato, not to mention living with great people and newfound friends. Adelaide will always have a place in my heart and I will eternally remember the memories that my camera phone has captured. My only wish is that there were no foes that hindered my fun. I guess just like every Dora episode, Swiper was always in the background searching for the opportune time to strike. Mine has been time. It has finally caught up to me and here I am sitting in the airport waiting for my long journey home.

Swiper no Swiping!


Ready, Set, Don’t Go

Here I am, sitting in a maroon Jeep with the top down and my hair whipping in the breeze. As I push the pedal to the metal I speed down the highway of Life, leaving college in the dust. Next stop, a career and maybe even a house.

 Wait, hold up! I’m barely even 20 years old and I’m already thinking of graduating next year. How can this happen? I swear I just graduated high school not even two years ago. Time is just flying by and here I am in a hurry to pick up the pace. Either way, four years of college is just a rough estimate right?

Coming into college I had this idea that I wanted to finish in three years, graduate, move back to my little old hometown of Bayliss, and work as an agricultural loan officer. At least, that’s what I kept telling myself and everyone else who read the millions of scholarships I applied for. Throughout my whole first year, I had the mindset that I just needed to finish my classes, check them off my list, and then move on to the next ones. Wow, how boring and monotonous is that! I seemed to have missed the mark when it came to the meaning of college: making friends, having fun, and doing a little studying on the side.

Now don’t get me wrong, there have been moments throughout college where I seemed to have seen the light. I have managed to make some amazing friends while at Cal Poly. Kayla, Alanna, Shane, Conrad, and all the others that I have befriended, they have always accepted me for my studious character, goofy personality, and they never flinch after eating my food. They have also managed to help me develop lasting memories, some better than others.

IMG_1716 IMG_2548 10351912_885554168162747_784258329762225516_n

As some of you may not know, coming to Adelaide for study abroad was not exactly planned. Somehow the opportunity fell into my lap and now, here I am typing on my laptop, looking over this beautiful city. Since I’ve been here, I came to a realization, with a little help of course. It finally hit me that I was living out the Alabama hit song “I’m in a Hurry”. Just as the chorus goes:

I’m in a hurry to get things done
Oh I rush and rush until life’s no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die
But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why

I’ve been in such a hurry to grow up and check everything off my list of “to-dos”. And because of that, I have forgot the bigger picture, enjoying each moment for what it’s worth and drinking in my youth. Just like every other person my age, I now look at kids and question why they want to grow up so fast. Why did I want to grow up so fast? I miss eating PB&J sandwiches at grandma and grandpa’s house, while wearing nothing but a swimsuit all day and making adventures over by the grain bins and cows. I’d love to give up my tuition fees, homework, and tests to be able to live those memories out again, so young and carefree.


Now that I have finally slowed down my imaginary jeep (a girl can dream, right) on this highway of Life, I have decided to take a few more fun classes throughout my studies. Though it may set me back an extra quarter, I will still be proud to accomplish a four-year degree in three years and a quarter. Who knows, I may find a love for horse riding or fair management. Better late than never, right?

Throw out the Planner We’re Going on an Adventure

It was the stretchy pants and Starbucks. Oh you caught me, a basic white girl at heart who fell in love with a school for its fashion sense that consists of Birkenstocks and socks, leggings, polo shirts, Sperry’s, and cowboy boots? Yeah, cowboy boots. I knew I’d love this college.

As a senior in high school, I only had two choices to make towards the next chapter in life. It was either Cal Poly or Chico State. For me, that was like trying to choose between Rocky Road ice cream and Mocha Almond Fudge. Couldn’t I pick both? I could have applied to many more colleges, but I knew that having to select one was worse than finding a restaurant I wanted to eat at. I’m a girl. I can’t decide!

So why did I pick Cal Poly? No it wasn’t for the fashion sense or the ability to walk up hill to class (which is a workout in itself). Instead, I chose the Mustangs for the school’s hands-on approach towards learning and the amazing agriculture program that was offered. Then again, being able to grab Starbucks on the way to class freshman year was definitely a plus.

Cal Poly’s “Learn By Doing” philosophy has carried on from the classroom, labs, activities, and even to my study abroad program in Australia. Who would have thought? As I have moved to a new country for two months of my life, I have learned many lessons from my adventures, some more significant than others.

Now, before I came to Adelaide I was not much of the adventuring type nor did I do anything on a whim. To me, an adventure consisted of driving to Wal-Mart to look at the wide selection of pool toys, ice cream, and crafts. Living in a small town, there was never much to do outside of the barriers of the rice fields. In addition, my planner barely ever had extra time for “fun activities”. So, naturally, studying abroad was my way of going out on a limb.

While here, I have learned that adventures are so exhilarating. I have yet to take a nap since the first week here because I am constantly doing something. From going to the German town of Hahndorf to the beach at Glenelg, I can say that my tennis shoes are sure getting a workout. My stomach on the other hand is not, there’s just way too much gelato for me here. Maybe that’s why I never liked living in the city!

IMG_4008 IMG_3842IMG_3714  IMG_4014

My favorite “Learn By Doing” experience thus far has not been experienced while sitting in the classroom. Instead, it has occurred after throwing out my planner, putting off my assignments, and going on small journeys with the friends I have made here. One of the trips included a flight to Melbourne, a tour of the Great Ocean Road, and two days of sightseeing. Who would of thought that I would be willing to book a trip 7 days before I left and even put up the money for it? Dang I’m getting bold here.


The Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes


The 12 Apostles (It’s a lie there’s only 8 rocks)


The Love Lock Bridge over the River


Downtown Melbourne at Night

One day I am going to look back on my study abroad trip to Adelaide and reminisce on all the memories made and the lessons about dropping my “to-do” list for having fun. Today though, I am so fortunate for my experience and the Cal Poly friends I have made down under. They have brought me much joy, happiness, long talks, and many laughs.


The Negative Side to a Life of Winning

“And First Runner Up is…. Natalie Massa!” Oh the horror to hear my name get called as the first loser. All the time and effort put in to perfect my speeches, poise, and talent; wasted away for a sash that said I wasn’t perfect. Wait, I’m not perfect? Wow, what a shock.

All my life I grew up with the impression that people adore those who stand out, whether it is academics, sports, or clubs. I was taught that getting straight A’s and participating in everything from culture club to club volleyball would make me a well-rounded person. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely see myself as well rounded, but I also hold high expectations for myself. Some are achievable while others remain out of my reach.

I can still remember all of my middle school and high school classes. Though it wasn’t difficult to get a 4.0 each quarter, I made it my mission to be as perfect as possible. I still remember getting an A- in one of my 5th grade classes. One of my parents jokingly nagged me for it and I took it to heart. Let’s just say I didn’t get many A-‘s after that.

4-H and FFA were the worst for me. Even though I loved the organizations and developed from them, my perfectionism still shone threw like a sore thumb. I always had to prove that I could do anything. From holding clubs offices to All Star, Platinum Star, National Degree, and even National Proficiency Finalist, I couldn’t settle for anything sub par. Though I lost in the State Proficiency Finals two years in a row, I came back for a third time and finally won. I wouldn’t let a small fall get in my way of achieving my goal.

263926_187696687952429_1401388_n 10710488_10202747348476047_660124728581815524_o

 It finally hit me at the end of my senior year. After losing two local pageants and earning first runner up in both, I finally realized that I wasn’t always going to win in life. Though each loss hit me like a blow, I knew that I did my best. I was fortunate enough to have a strong support team behind every speech, practice, smile, and meltdown.

  599744_4100699245041_2005367573_n IMG_0879 DSC_0173

Now that I have come to college and realized that a B is still a kick butt grade, I appreciate the smaller achievements such as great friends and my amazing family. Though my perfectionism still shines through at times, I have to remind myself that in the end the difference between an A and a B in my major classes doesn’t matter to my future employer. It’s the hard work, love, dedication, and passion for the job that really means something.

Right before I get off my soapbox, I just want thank my family and friends who have put up with my constant push to be “perfect”. Though I now know it is not always achievable, I appreciate the love and support I have received after all of my wins and even the losses. Without you all I probably would be having a meltdown right now.


Like Miley Cyrus said, “Nobody’s perfect.”

The City that Sleeps

Ok so let me just get this off my chest. Why are there no hot Aussie men in Adelaide?! I just don’t get it. I was expecting to find a flock of guys that looked like this around every corner:

aussie-men-308741 Thunder-From-Down-Under-Wall-Calendar-2015-Trends-MegaCalendars-9781438833262-Front

But instead, I am surrounded by a mixture of races and languages. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still interesting to walk down Rundle Mall and hear anything from French, Chinese, Korean, Aboriginal, and all other nationalities. I have noticed though: this city, a mixing pot of cultures, is much different than the place I call home.

Now, when I decided to study abroad in Adelaide, I didn’t know much about the city’s culture let alone where it even was. I was hoping that we would be located near some farmland. To be honest, I felt like those odds were not going to be in my favor. Who was I kidding? They wouldn’t stick some goofy little farm girl into the outback and expect her to survive a night cuddled in a kangaroo’s pouch and fighting off some of the world’s most deadly snakes.


Much to my surprise, downtown Adelaide reminds me a lot of Old Sacramento. There may not be the “old western” look to it, but instead it is how the city is run that makes me feel like I’m only a car ride away from home. Comparable to Old Sacramento, Adelaide is very busy during the daytime. Whether it is Saturday or Tuesday, there are always crowds of people ducking into stores and walking past. In addition, downtown Adelaide starts to close down during weekdays around 5 or 6pm, the same as Old Sac. Shops become barren and the only places open are the bars and my favorite, Gelatissimo.

One major difference from back home though is the beach. I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw a beach near my house unless you’d like to consider the weed filled canal banks. Needless to say, the canal does come in handy when the weather is over 100 degrees. Nothing like cold mountain water to take the breath straight from your lungs. Back to my point though: the beaches are directly from a magazine. With crystal clear water and clean, white sand, I feel like I’m in the tropics. And the water is warm too! I can’t say the same for San Luis Obispo though.

IMG_3646 IMG_3640

Now, I couldn’t go to a foreign country and not find something that reminded me of agriculture. So I found food! Yesterday, my class ventured out to a quaint little German town called Hahndorf. We ate of course, food, and then picked our own strawberries from the field. I ended up finding my farmland after all! I even tried their homemade strawberry ice cream. My dad would be so jealous right now.

IMG_3844 IMG_3846 IMG_3849 IMG_3859

So in the end, I learned many lessons so far on my trip:

  • Don’t expect to find the Bronzed Aussies (they’re not here).
  • Agriculture can be found almost anywhere. You just have to look.
  • Don’t try to go grocery shopping late at night. You end up with an empty bag and an empty stomach.
  • Beaches can actually be warm! And beautiful too.
  • I could never fight off a snake. And I am awful at Photoshop.
  • Ice cream and gelato are necessities.

Ewe Got a Friend in Me


Now what little girl didn’t want a pony growing up? ME.

And what little girl didn’t like wearing dresses? ME (traumatizing story).

What little girl wore her brothers’ hand-me-down clothes? ME…wait I still do that.

And what girl dreamed of following in the footsteps of her two big brothers? Of course, ME.

Bryan, me, and Eric

Bryan, me, and Eric

Growing up with two older brothers who played baseball, basketball, football, soccer, tennis, and wrestling in addition to 4-H, FFA, Culture Club, and all the other fun activities they were in, naturally I had some big shoes to fill. Luckily I was the tag along who most referred to as “Little Massa” because I was always there in the bleachers, quietly watching every match or game. Little did everyone know, the shy little brown haired girl with big blue eyes was just dying to one day become athletic, outgoing, and active just like her brothers.

IMG_3668 IMG_3670

By kindergarten, I was enrolled in 4-H and started my first year as a primary member. I was so excited because I was finally able to participate in something that my older brothers did as well. I didn’t have very many friends though, so I spoke very little and only participated in my mother’s arts & crafts project. By the end of the year, I made new friends and even went to 4-H camp. This shy little girl was starting to blossom.

I have to admit, I’ve never been a huge animal lover, hence why I never wanted a pony (I didn’t want to have to clean up after it when I couldn’t even keep my room clean). Surprisingly though, once I was old enough to show market animals, I was all over it. I got my first lamb as a 4th grader. I walked and worked with him almost every day. I even went into his pen and talked to all of the lambs. My lamb was quite gentle by the time fair rolled around. I was prepared to show the judges all the work my lamb and I had put in. Even though he was twice the size of me, I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

IMG_3686 IMG_3667 IMG_3669 IMG_3674 IMG_3694 IMG_3688

Now, I would never consider myself a competitive person. I never won Showmanship or Grand Champion lamb. I was in it for the sole reason of the money. Just kidding. That was a big bonus though. Instead, I loved the responsibility that I gained from the project as well as the friendships that I formed with other kids from all over the county. My nine years of raising market sheep taught me that as long as I work hard and have fun along the way, everything else would fall into place.

IMG_3690 Fair IMG_3677 IMG_3689 IMG_3666 IMG_3672

In the end, I thought that joining 4-H and raising market sheep would help me to grow up just like my brothers. Instead, I gained a greater gift. I acquired my individuality and found my own voice.

My last year showing and selling at fair.

My last year showing and selling at fair.

Giving a speech at the 2013 Glenn County Fair on how 4-H changed my life.

Giving a speech at the 2013 Glenn County Fair on how 4-H changed my life.

Side Note: If you are or know anybody in grades K-12, look into joining 4-H. It was the stepping-stone that allowed me to change my entire life and build lasting friendships. You don’t have to raise animals. There are so many options to choose from. Some of my favorite projects were cooking and 4-H Camp.

The 2013 Glenn County 4-H Camp Youth Directors. Camp Theme: "Flash Back"

The 2013 Glenn County 4-H Camp Youth Directors. Camp Theme: “Flash Back”

Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite

So the last two and a half weeks here in Adelaide have been such a whirlwind. The first week I got settled into my new apartment. Luckily I knew two of my roommates from the Cal Poly program – Mackenzie and Jynel. There were two others, a quiet Asian named Wilson and the RA from the UK, Camilla. Over time, the two other girls and I really got to know Camilla. She is a hoot. Our whole study abroad group loves her now!

School is going really well. After having the quarter from hell last quarter, I feel like I’m in paradise now. The teachers are very nice and very laid back. I’m learning all about wine (ew), the culture of Australia, and the maritime. We have gone on class trips ranging from winery tours, Kangaroo Island, wildlife preserve, and the beach. My favorite class though is Senior Project. There are six of us taking the course and we are required to write a weekly blog post on a theme for the week (hence my weekly posts that have nothing to do with my trip). Each student has their own designated week and they pick the theme and the class has to go on a trip/do what the student chooses. The first week we went to a little wine bar for some bubbly. The second week we toured Haigh’s Chocolate Factory, and this week we all tried kangaroo and crocodile hotdogs. I must admit, the croc was way better.

IMG_3248 IMG_3354IMG_3539 IMG_3550

The city of Adelaide is very beautiful (it’s not called the City of Churches for nothing). Everyone here says it’s not that big, but to me it’s huge. And don’t forget noisy! There are cars constantly driving by and people talking outside the windows. The one great part is the closeness and ease of everything though. I can take the tram/bus/train to the beach, church, shopping, you name it.

The past few days have been a little bit crazy. After noticing what I thought were a few mosquito bites the first few days here, I decided to shut my bedroom window. The bug bites multiplied and itched like crazy. I felt like a little child with chicken pox. I needed someone to duck tape oven mitts to my hands so I couldn’t scratch myself anymore. After over two weeks, I was covered from head to toe in bites. It finally occurred to me: it’s probably not mosquitoes, especially since I’ve only seen two or three tiny little ones since I’ve been here. I did a little research and came to the conclusion that I had bed bugs. I told the apartment complex and they checked my bed. All along the edge of my bed were bloodthirsty little bed bugs just waiting to attack me again. I thankfully got moved to another room.


After learning about my bed bugs, the staff told me to wash all of my clothes under hot water in my shower. Unable to dry them all, I carried a large bag full of clothes, dripping wet (about 50+ lbs.) 4-5 blocks to one of my professor’s apartment so that I could use her dryer. I treated myself to some hard earned gelato after that, while flaunting Jacky’s (my professor) dress. She told me I looked a lot like her daughter Kayla.

10934182_10205860236485284_749411771_n IMG_3533

Yesterday the staff told Mackenzie and Jynel they had to move out of the apartment as well. After that fiasco, a group of us made homemade Mexican food to celebrate the apartment complex’s awful service. At least the food was good. Today I finally got everything moved out of my initial apartment and into my new one because my room was scheduled to get fumigated. The staff then told me I’m moving on Saturday to my own personal suite on the 13th floor, two doors away from Mackenzie and Jynel. I guess getting bitten to death wasn’t so bad after all!

In the end, a group of us are going to Melbourne tomorrow for the entire weekend so we can get away from the mess of the whole situation. On the bright side, I got to touch a koala and kangaroos yesterday!

IMG_3442 IMG_3565 IMG_3567 IMG_3569 IMG_3573 IMG_3576

Winner Winner…Who Shot Dinner?

304 days and the countdown begins.

No, it is not what you think. I am not counting down until the jolly old fat man comes to steal my precious milk and devour my homemade cookies. And again, no, it is definitely not the day that I demolish the turkey, stuffing, apple cider, and dessert. Though, a home cooked meal sounds really good right now.

My countdown has nothing to do with national holidays or even my birthday for that matter. Instead, it is related to a family tradition of mine that dates back generations.

IMG_3407 Image

One of my favorite weekends every year is the opening of pheasant season. It comes around on the second Saturday of November like clockwork, as gunshots ring out the commencement of a new season.

IMG_3408 IMG_3401

The foundation of pheasant hunting began when the colonials brought pheasants to North America. Fast-forward to today and you can watch hunters every November and December go out in their camouflage décor with shotguns slung over their shoulders. This sport proves a tradition to the hunters and my family’s pheasant farm alike.

IMG_3405 IMG_3392  IMG_3394 IMG_3391

Though pheasant hunting has been slowly decreasing over the years, possibly due to the decrease in hunting ground, approximately 99% of Alves Pheasant Farm’s business comes from those pheasant clubs. Holidays also prove beneficial for the smoked pheasant, which is one of my personal favorites when served warm with rice.

Now the opening of pheasant season doesn’t just mean hunting for my family. Instead, we turn it into a great celebration. Another year of business, friends, and fun. The Friday before the big day, everyone arrives for a barrel cooked tri tip lunch. Now if you’ve never heard of or even tried tri tip cooked in a barrel, you may want to reconsider life. Later, everyone comes back again for dinner, but instead we feast on homemade clam chowder, a recipe that was passed from an old family friend to my grandmother and then finally to my mother. Now, don’t get me wrong, you may be picturing a feast for about 20-30 people. That’s a bit off. We are talking at least 50-70 for lunch and the same for dinner. Half of that are family and the other half friends that my grandpa made throughout the years.

But what does eating clam chowder and tri tip have to do with hunting a bird? I always wondered why we don’t eat pheasant to commemorate the beginning of the season. I guess that would take all the fun out of shooting them then.

I have to admit though; my favorite part of the whole event is late at night after the festivities conclude. Since wild pheasant is hard to come by, the uncles, cousins, and older friends all go out and release the pheasants in fields designated for hunting the following morning. Though it sounds easy, the task is quite entertaining. As boxes upon boxes of birds lay in the back of trucks, the releasing begins.

IMG_3397 IMG_3398

Now I will explain how this works. You grab a pheasant, spin them around a little bit in a clockwise motion, and then tuck their head under one of their wings. This causes the bird to calm down. Following that you gently place it in a weeded area on the edge of the field, much like that of its natural habitat. All of this is quite humane and allows the bird to stay in the same protected area until the sun rises.

I enjoy going out and releasing the birds because it serves as a great social event with friends and family as well as a learning tool about a key aspect in the family pheasant farm. The opening of pheasant season always brings everyone together into one place. It is a time to reminisce, be thankful, and enjoy great food! And once Saturday morning rolls around, the hunters come back with their prizes. Someone is always bound to say, “Who shot dinner?!”

IMG_3393 IMG_3411

This Ain’t No Cinderella Slipper…The Shoe Doesn’t Fit

Looking at me you may not notice, but behind my Portuguese skin you can see a hint of Italian in my small ears, feet, child-like hands, and even my 5’3” stature. Growing up, this combination of rowdy ethnicities called for loud family gatherings full of heated conversations about how the 49ers were playing the week prior or how everyone had to gather the cows back into the pen after someone left the gate unlocked. These exchanges were always accompanied by a beer in hand for the uncles and wine for the aunts. To me this was normal. I just suspected that when I was old enough, I would drink wine just like my aunts.

1441396_10202745814434343_1765401709_n photo-1

Now, if I were in Italy right now (which I can admit has always been a dream of mine) I would be walking around Venice watching the locals eat their fresh bread and converse over a glass of wine, much like that of my aunts. Coming from the same heritage, I should like wine just as much as them, right?

Well, this past week has helped me learn that even though a bottle of wine can have a cute name such as Gigglepot or Passion Pop, it does not mean that I will like it any more. In all truth, I think the stuff is awful! I will definitely not be a wino anytime soon, that’s for sure!


As my senior project class rang in the beginning of the quarter, all seven of us (including the teacher) began with a bottle of “bubbly” (sparkling wine) as we sat around and got to know each other. As all the others commented on how smooth and “dry” the wine was, I sat there confused at how they tasted something like that and why I didn’t enjoy it as much as they did. In the end I gave my glass to someone who would like and appreciate it more than me.


After going wine tasting to four different wineries today, I have now mastered the pucker face. Red, white, rosé, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Fiano, and Chardonnay; one after another, each glass was nothing I suspected. I couldn’t manage to enjoy the flavor or find the “chocolate”, “fruit”, or “buttery” taste that lingered. Whether the grapes that made these wines were green, purple, young, or old, it didn’t matter to me because I knew I wasn’t going to like it. This Cinderella slipper that I thought would fit did not. I began to feel that I was not cracked up to be the stereotypical Italian nor would I ever fill the shoes of my aunts. But, I finally realized something. Whether I like wine (or even alcohol in general) in ten years, twenty years, or never at all, it doesn’t matter. I am my own self and even if I don’t enjoy exactly what others do I feel that it’s okay. I can be my own version of Cinderella without the glass slipper.

IMG_3271 IMG_3272 IMG_3281

On the bright side, while we go on our next two tours throughout this trip, I can enjoy the scenery at each winery. In addition, the teacher has designated me to find my favorite wine label on each trip. Let’s just say this task suits me very well.

IMG_3274 IMG_3291 IMG_3314 IMG_3315 IMG_3299 IMG_3298

So I guess the moral of my rant is that it’s okay to be different than everyone else. It’s also perfectly fine to be the same in certain aspects as well. We are all our own individuals. There is no glass slipper nor a one size fits all. Either way, I don’t need a shoe to tell me I’m a princess!


Word(s) of the Day: Canned Butter


Coming from a family full of dairy farmers, this picture seemed a little funny to me. As I approached this display in the Auckland, New Zealand airport, it hit me. “Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

On January 1st, 2015, this small town girl started the adventure of a lifetime. As I embarked on my journey from the Sacramento airport, I new that I my trip would be a many of ‘firsts’. It was my first time out of the country (not including a day in Canada), my first time flying by myself with a passport, and my first 12 hour flight. It is easy to say that I was quite a bit stressed out, especially having to go through TSA security twice in California along with an additional 2 more times. Let’s just say that I know how to unpack, take off shoes, and repack everything all over again in no time flat.


Now after spending many hours flying, I never would have thought that plane food could taste so good. Eating beef, mashed potatoes, and a brownie was like heaven. Definitely nothing like my mother’s cooking, but at that point I would have eaten the canned butter for all I cared. I have to admit though, flying 12 hours straight with a selection of 121 movies to choose from, I never got bored but unfortunately did not sleep much either. That came to bite me in the butt later.

Once I finally made it to Adelaide, I finally met up with another group of students who were in the same Study Abroad program as me. We took a taxi (more like a small bus) to our apartments and got all checked in. I thought I was finally all settled in for the day…until my stomach started growling. We had no food and my roommates (Mackenzie and Jynel) and I were starving. Boy I wish I had that canned butter!

The rest of the day was quite nice and relaxing but I cannot say much for the rest of the days to follow. We will have to see!

Thanks so much for reading. G’day Mate!