There is one quick way to see how much someone has learned about a place and culture and that is to let them show it off to you! That is exactly what I will be doing over the next week before I have to head back home to the States. My sister arrived in Australia on November 23rd and I couldn’t be more excited to finally get to show off all the places that I have come to love.
The first stop we were able to make was to make sure she got her full dose of being a tourist at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. It truly is a great place to learn about not only the animals living in Australia, but also the history of the land and the problems that wildlife and the environment face today. Even though she was feeling pretty jet lagged when we arrived, she perked right back up when she was able to feed a kangaroo. After that, we spent the day looking at all the animals that call the sanctuary home from big names like wombats, crocodiles, dingos and wallabies to the more unknown like the cassowary and tree kangaroos. We were able to catch an Aboriginal dance show and my sister was able to take a picture with a koala for just a little extra cash. The zoo offers so much more that we just couldn’t fit it all into one trip, like, a sheep shearing show, the adventure parc course, and tons of feeding and wildlife encounters. Even if you have been there yourself, it is a great place to take someone that is visiting too as a nice introduction to Australia.
Fun fact: If you are looking to meet a koala, then do it in Queensland. A lot of the other states don’t allow you to actually hold them. So, you just end up crouching beside one like an awkward fan that paid for a meet and greet instead of good friends.
The sanctuary was a blast and it showed me that I had learned so much about Australia that I could pass on. Just little bits of information and a lot of explaining what certain terms meant. It was also so interesting to notice the things that I have already grown accustom to that someone new finds so exciting. The lizards that you can find lounging around on any walk and the brush turkeys always had to be pointed out and some even got their photos taken. We had to go see the beach right after seeing as my sister just came from Pennsylvania were it has already started snowing. On the drive home she had to point out that I said “I think those people are going on a pub crawl,” which I didn’t see any problem with at first until I realized that I would have normally called it a bar crawl. It showed me how comfortable I am here and all the little things that have become a part of me.
Our next big stop was taking a trip down to Bryon Bay, which my sister instantly understood why it was my favorite place. I took her to the beach, the lighthouse, and the brewery along with some stops into my favorite shops and café. It wasn’t even where I spent all my time and I could take her around without needing a map, which felt great. There was also a lot of stopping to take pictures of views that I have come to expect from any normal day.
Being able to show this place off and share everything that I have been doing has made me feel so much more connected to it.
The rest of the week is full of adventures to try to fit in all the best of Australia into a short time. She’ll get to have her first surf lesson, take a trip down the coast to see Sydney, and I might even make her try some Vegemite! Don’t worry, I’ll make sure she eats it the right way and not just a spoonful like most of the Americans on YouTube.
So, if you are feeling like your time abroad or traveling hasn’t changed you at all, then I challenge you to find someone to show it off to!