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Visiting Close Family Friends Down Under

      When I was a kid, our family had a few au pairs, or nannies from another country that stayed with us for a year. Two of them were from Australia, and I became especially close to them. Over Christmas break, I had the opportunity to go visit them in Australia with my sister. We left on December, 16, 2018 and arrived in Sydney, Australia on the 18th. We met up with the au pair that we had when I was four years old, and stayed at her house for a few days. We were able to spend time with her and her family while also exploring Sydney.

      While in Sydney, my sister and I went to the city multiple times and explored different areas. Our favorite thing that we saw was the St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Eye Tower. The Eye Tower was a large and tall building with a mall on the first few floors. There was a restaurant area that we went that revolved around itself. It had large windows so that we could look outside at the view of the city. It was fun to look around and see some sites while also eating a delicious meal. There were also a couple days where we went to beaches and enjoyed the warm sun. The water was not as warm as I expected, but it was nice to relax and see the clear, blue water.

      After a few days in Sydney and a short stop in Melbourne, we met up with our brother who had been living in New Zealand for the past year. The three of us flew to Hobart, Tasmania and met up with our other au pair who we had when I was two years old. There, we spent time with and her parents. We went to a Taste of Tasmania festival where we got to try all kinds of different foods and drinks. Another day, we went to a wildlife park where we saw a Tasmanian Devil and fed Kangaroos. We were in Tasmania for a shorter amount of time, because we were also visiting Queenstown, New Zealand.

      In Queenstown, we celebrated New Years by viewing fireworks over a lake. We also explored the town, saw landscapes, and had a few adventures. My favorite things that we did was the Shotover Jet and the Luge. The jet, was a boat that held about fifteen people and sped through canals, did 360’s and weaved in and out of rocks. The Luge was like go-karting, with a large track that had hills and turns that we went down on our own individual cars. Overall, I had a great time “down under” and would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of a trip to another country. I hope to return one day and see Hobbiton in New Zealand, which is north of Queenstown.

      Because of certain family dynamics, Christmas has become a stressful event in itself. I like Christmas a lot despite my parents being divorced, forcing some festivities to be celebrated in multiple homes. My favorite part about Christmas, besides the Roman history and holiday music that plays on the radio, is watching Christmas movies. Two of my favorite Christmas movies have to be National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and The Polar Express. The first one I adore because of all the crass and crude humor. The second one, The Polar Express, I love because I saw it when the movie premiered back in 2004, when my parents were still together. The movie fills you with a warm fuzzy feeling upon viewing and puts you into the holiday spirit, especially the song “Believe” by Josh Gordon.

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