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Off to Sydney we go! We were initially nervous to see how this time would go as last time we were not big fans. We stayed in downtown Sydney and did not enjoy it at all because lets be real… We are not city people! But we knew we had to go get people certified in Sydney, so for the sake of our business we did it.
We finally arrived in Sydney, far later than expected, but everything still worked out. Our lovely Australia Instructor, Jane Hemingway-Mohr, whose house we would be doing the program at, was there to pick us up and she greeted us with such a beautiful smile! Since we arrived so late we were unable to see the place where the program would take place the night before so we had no idea what to expect the next morning. Staying positive, we eagerly waited for morning as we were curious where this program would take place.
Morning finally came and Jane came to pick us up bright and early to take us back to her place before the course began. Let me tell you; it was not what we expected at all! WOW! That was the only word we had to describe her place. We were in complete awe! As we approached her place, the gates began to open to welcome us to her place. It was beautiful! There was not a thing I would change about it. The classroom was perfectly set up and we were not sure how on earth this was even possible? It was like a version of Shangri-La, a dream. Everything was laid out beautifully and to say the least, we were much more excited to begin than usual. We were ready to start the day! You all should know that throughout our time in Sydney, Jane would come to be know as Saint Janey of Terrey Hills and you will understand more as you hear more about our trip. But it was because of Jane and her family that changed our minds completely about the Sydney.
The week began with 12 women and this was a special group! Such a diverse group. They were women from all different backgrounds, walks of life, places in life but all together were brought to Sydney for a similar, new purpose. However, that was not the only reason this group was so special; they were the most loving, supportive and truly determined group of women that we had trained yet. One would think with that many women in a room for an extended period of time that at one point or another, a little drama would ensue, but this was not the issue. It was truly an honour to be there with them and again, they made this course that much better. We were already agreeing with one another that this course was better than last time and we were loving every minute of this experience!
After a days of hard work, we did not really go out much after work as we mainly preferred to hangout at Janes. But when we did go out, we got lost. Typical! Even when we think we knew and were completely positive where we are going, we still manage to take at least one wrong turn. Would it really be a trip if Kari and Carolyn did not get lost? Absolutely not! So of course, this trip was no different other than the fact we only got lost the one time but we made sure we got really lost. We of course drove the wrong direction for a solid fifteen minutes just to ensure we were for sure lost. We did not just want to be lost, but really lost! But at the end of the day we survived and there were no near death situations even with Carolyn driving on the opposite side of the road than we drive here in Canada. Hooray! We made it and our beds were waiting for us.
It became clear why we really did not go out much after work because a couple of hours out would turn into 6 maybe 8 hours being lost. So we would just chat with Jane’s beautiful family and relax on the back deck by the pool. Her lovely husband even cooked up an AMAZING dinner for us one evening. See what I mean? It was a dream! How could it get any better than this? Another reason we were not fans of Sydney last time we were here was because of the food… It was atrocious. But, this trip proved us dead WRONG! Almost every meal was to die for, especially the one that Jane’s husband Stephan cooked for us. Again, this was an experience we were not regretting and we were happy we gave Australia a second chance.
After the course was complete and our facilitators had all left to go begin their dream careers, we decided to change it up a bit and go stay a couple of nights in Manly Beach as this was one place we absolutely loved last time we were there. So Jane drove us down to Manly Beach and we began this adventure by going for a delicious lunch and then we had to go find a place to stay. But seeing as there was a surf competition going on, there were very little places to pick from to stay at. Asking ourselves ‘how long we would even be in the room for?’ we decided we could take anything we could get. So we got an one bedroom room, where we shared the bed for a couple of nights. No biggie! But don’t worry it turn into a BIG problem shortly after, of course! Nothing can ever go smooth and as expected. It was after dinner and we were so tired that we could not even keep our eyes open, that we decided that we had to go back to the room. It was a fairly early night but we did not get the sleep we needed. It was an hour into the night and it hit. It was terrible. It was the stomach flu. Starting with Carolyn it kept her up all night which ended up keeping Kari up while she was at it. After making it through the night, not even five minutes after awakening, BOOM. Kari gets hit. The stomach flu got her. This is what I mean by “it turned into a BIG problem!” as one bed means one bathroom. I gotta say, nothing brings two people closer than two sick people and one toilet. We could not move, our new bed was the floor.
DUN DUN DUN DUN… Jane to the rescue! Another reason why we called her Saint Jane. She came all the way out to check on us and brought us fluids, toast, and some anti vomit pills from the pharmacy. Seriously! Could this woman be any more lovely?!
Thanks to Saint Jane, we survived the stomach flu. However, it left us with sleep deprived, dehydrated bodies. It was the next day and it was time to mentally prepare ourselves for the long time home. So Jane came to pick us up and take us back to the airport. We arrived at the airport safe and sound, said our goodbye and thanks for such an amazing trip and off we went. We were ready for home.
This trip was a memorable, lovely experience. Thanks to lovely Jane, we were able to enjoy everything Australia had to offer… Well other than the stomach flu.
This trip was exciting! Not only were we about to go train the largest group of facilitators yet, we were also there for the very first course for our new Australia Instructor, Jane Hemingway-Mohr! But before we even got to Australia, we figured that since we were going so so so very far, we should probably stop over in New Zealand!
Karsyn and her husband had gone to Mount Maunganui before and told us it was the cat’s meow, so thats where we headed!! And they were right! After a LONG day of flying and wrapping our heads around the fact that we had just lost an entire day because of the time difference, we headed to our hotel. It wasn’t quite ready yet, but they were kind enough to offer us the pool so we could take a dip and wake up a little. As it turns out, we don’t really know what to do in a pool just the two of us… We dove in (or gently stepped in to avoid shock), commented on how great it felt, and Kari then looked at Carolyn and said “Now what do we do in here.” “Beats me.” Carolyn replied… so after 4 minutes of trading water, we decided we better get out and check if the room is ready. Alas, it was not, so we headed down the road to go get some coffee and see what this place was all about. Turns out that Karsyn and Ben were totally right! What a GORGEOUS place! The beach, the waves, the mountain, the surfers - all amazing!
We asked Karsyn and Ben what we should be doing in Mount Maunganui and they came back with some ideas for us, climb this, walk that, exercise…. it’s like they don’t know us at all. Generally we are not the kind of people who climb or run on purpose. However, we didn’t realize how much walking we would be doing on this little trip. The main strip of stores and restaurants was only about a km down the road, and an easy walk, however we probably walked that at least 8 times a day… getting in way more “exercise” than we had initially planned. We had told Karsyn and Ben to let us know of things to do that were not difficult, time consuming or over a 2 degree incline. They told us of a pizza place that we never found and a coffee place that we did find, but could only go to once because we only had $10 in cash. We had asked them also to send us pictures of the things they did with them in it… turns out that they suck at taking pictures and send us a bunch of pictures with their faces photoshopped in. So we thought we should show them how it is done… the pictures are fantastic! While walking down to another pier, Kari started to mention “Maybe we should start joggin—“ as Carolyn tripped over absolutely nothing on the ground. “Ok, we won't start jogging.”
We thought we needed a little excitement in Mount Maunganui so we found the V8 Trike tours. At first we thought the beach tour would work for us, but only the highway tour was left. Thanks goodness! Man those babies go FAST! We giggled and laughed the whole way through, not only because of the fun of it all, but also the hairstyles that were created! A total blast!
After the adrenaline boost, we ran (yes, ran, try not to faint) over to the pier to take the fairy out on the water. We thought we could relax see some sites, have a drink! Sounds like fun.. well we went from HIGH to low very quickly. Not quite the party cruise we were expecting. But we had a bag of chips and a drink and stayed awake for the rest of the boat ride.
The next morning, after one last walk on the beach, we caught a cab back to the airport to head to Auckland before getting to Sydney to be able to Sydney that night to meet up with Jane and the horses before we got to our hotel. This is not really how things worked out. Our 40 min flight to Auckland turned into an 8 hour rollercoaster of emotions.
So we got on our scheduled flight. There we sat, ready for our next adventure! And we continued to sit there for about 40 min. At one point Kari looked at Carolyn and said “It is so amazing, in a car, if there was a light or something that came on, we would still probably just drive it and continue on for a bit. But a plane, they have to stop and figure out exactly what is going on and no flying with an engine light!” Well not even two minutes after this statement, the pilot came over the intercom letting us know that there is a problem with the plane that the engineers will need to take a look at and see if we can even fly!
So off we went, met a lovely woman who we could chat with for a little while while we awaited our fate. We were told about 45 min later that this plane could not take off, and that there was a shuttle to Auckland we could take. So we have now officially missed our flight to Sydney. But wait! They have found a new plane! Woohoo! So on the new plane we went. And we sat. And sat. About half an hour passed before the pilot came back on the intercom.
“Well ladies and gentlemen. This is unprecedented. On the first plane, there was a significant issue with engine one. On this plane, we cannot get engine two to start up. Unfortunately we will have to ask everyone to also exit this plane, and we will have the engineers looking into it. I am so sorry folks… I have never seen this happen before. We have two planes that flew in here, and both are currently grounded.”
So back into the terminal we went. It wasn’t too long of a wait before we were told that the plane is not working. There is no more planes. The shuttle is our only option. We looked into our next flight (which was also the LAST flight) to Sydney that night. Which would be very close. Now remember, the course was starting at 7:30 am the next morning. We HAD to make that flight!
On to the cramped little bus we went! And basically sat there and panicked while we crept through the horrific traffic. We got to the airport ten minutes before the flight was supposed to leave. The first people we spoke to basically told us we were hooped, but we found one LOVELY woman who took us under her wing, saw that the plane was delayed and RAN us through the entire airport. We made the flight to Sydney and off we went!
The course in Pitt Meadows came together pretty quick. Kristen, our host really did manage to pull everything together in the shortest time ever, which also meant we had to get all of our stuff together rather quickly as well.
We arrived at the airport and started our drive to Surrey where we were staying… which apparently was bad… but we will tell you that story after. So we drove. And drove. And drove. And the traffic! My goodness the traffic! Usually we can get our bearings within a couple of days, but this time, we never got ahold of it. We never even managed to play any tunes in the car as we were far to focused on what the gps was telling us to do. Speaking of the gps. This was it’s last trip. After a couple more mystery tours as a result of this thing, we will be hosting a “GPS is going in the garbage”party shortly upon our return. The traffic was unreal! And if you have read our past blogs, you will know how Carolyn feels about this. This was more of the high stress driving than we really prefer.
However the train didn’t really work out for us either. We went into Vancouver one night to have dinner with Kari’s son-in-law Mark and decided that a train would be way easier. And on the way there it was! Beautiful! We had a seat on the train, managed to get off at the right stop, it was easy! Dinner was fantastic with great company and we even made a few new friends while we were out and about. We thought we would try to look for some outfits for Karsyn's upcoming wedding while we were in Vancouver. After about three stores we realized that we are really terrible at shopping and gave up to have a nice relaxing beverage in Milestones. Plus it was raining. So that was another excuse not to dress shop.
After dinner we made it back to the train station at about 9pm and the place was packed! It was like rush hour had hit all over again! So we stood on the way back which was very very long, but managed to make it to the final stop. To which we got off the train and thought… well this doesn’t look familiar. Well that was because it wasn’t! We programmed in this Surrey station into the GPS, so that is where we assumed that we had gone to, however, the GPS had LIED ONCE AGAIN and taken us to a different station! So now there we were, in the dark, realizing that we are now totally lost and don’t actually know which station our car is at.
Now throughout the time we had already spent in Pitt Meadows, people had given us funny looks or asked “why” we were staying in Surrey, and we were about to find out why. As we were lost, we saw some lovely police men who we told that we were completely lost. The beautiful police officer helped us and once we eventually figured out to look at our parking receipt to figure out which station we were at and actually took us to our station to make sure we didn’t get lost again. We told him we were staying in Surrey. From this he went on a very long tangent about how we SHOULD NOT be staying there. How dangerous it is with the drugs and beatings and murders etc. Basically he scared the crap out of us a little. Up to that point we really hadn’t seen anything wrong in Surrey (nor did we our entire stay). So after our enlightening conversation we had to walk across a very dark and very long parking lot to get back to our car. We walked quickly and kept keys in between our fingers to make sure we were armed. The walk was completely uneventful.
Overall, BC was beautiful! Beautiful people, beautiful landscape and AMAZING horses who we fell in love with. We truly do have the best job ever! Except traffic. We hate that.
There is something comforting about heading off to a host school where the hosts are already facilitators! We were so excited to go out and see Rachel and Flo from Flar Equine in Hubley NS!
The flight time was the good ol’ red eye! We figured we could fall asleep on the way so no problem! Well, that’s not how we work so no sleep for us!
We arrived at the Halifax airport and grabbed our rental car. A little different from the one in Texas, we went from the little blueberry car to a nice MASSIVE SUV! A little more fun to drive for sure, that is until we saw the underground parking at our rental apartment. Not quite the space or turning radius that was needed for pulling in and out. Every time we tried to leave the parking garage it became the scene from Austin Powers where it took 16 little turns to be able to leave.
The apartment itself was lovely! Nice size and perfect location. Just a couple little things. Firstly the hallway looked almost exactly like the hallway from the Shining and was about as hot as the hubs of hell as well! Day or night, the sweating heat hit you in the face like a back wall! The other lovely item about the apartment was the location was right in the middle of the action… maybe a little too much. It was pride week while we were there and the party took place right outside our window! Not that we ever have an issue with a party, but at 3am, the rave music was still pumping and we still hadn’t slept! UN TIS UN TIS UN TIS over and over again. And not even so that a song was normal enough to sing along to… it was really just the same line over and over again.
One of the best things about Halifax? The food! We love to travel and have amazing food and we found one restaurant there that really delivered! We even went out for ice cream one night. Being the true adults that we are, we both ordered bubblegum! But bubblegum ice cream is not as we really remembered. It was sticky. Sticky to the point that as Kari was talking it would stick to the outside of her lips and make strings from top to bottom - a look that Carolyn found absolutely hilarious and completely broke down laughing over!
We decided that we should do something fun while we were there so booked ourselves a night time harbour cruise. What a blast! Great tunes and great people. Only issue was it was freezing and so windy that we looked as if we had gone through a tornado. The plus side to that is it also gave copious amounts of laughter as we looked at each other. Especially Carolyn hair which grew into a full disheveled sculpture upon her head.
We did get to go out on the water once more before we left as our beautiful hosts took us out on their uncles boat. What a BLAST! Carolyn even got to drive (which made her almost giddy with excitement).
It was a beautiful way to end the trip and as we headed home from Halifax we thought… yea, we could go there again!
South Padre Island is the kind of place that makes you sit back sigh and say “Ahhhhhhh” as you sit back and watch the waves lap up right in front of your balcony. How beautiful this place is.
Getting there was a little more of a challenge. First of all, we got our rental car. Possibly the smallest little blue car we have ever driven. As Carolyn described it, there was simply a hamster running on a wheel under the hood where the engine should be. Getting up a hill was really an exercise in becoming the cheerleader for the little car to get to the top. “You can do it little car, just a little father! After we get up the hill you will be able to coast down the other side!” Aside from driving a blueberry around, we, once again, utilized the GPS. Once again, It took us in the wrong direction. Once we finally got on track we were on our way to the location for the course.
WOWZERS! The host facility was amazing! Gorgeous location and even the classroom was maybe the best we had ever had. Angela was beautifully hospitable and her family was amazing! Completely satisfied after setting up we headed back to our condo for the week. After the gps once again gave us some “creative” instructions we arrived and headed strait out to the patio to check out the ocean. There is simply no better sound in the world then the ocean crashing right outside your window!
Everyday we went for a walk on the beach. For the first few days this worked out beautifully! Until Carolyn told Kari to “watch out for the crabs, you don’t want to step on one.” Well up to that point she hadn’t even considered that she COULD step on a crab and was FOUL with Carolyn for putting this in her mind! The rest of the walks weren’t quite as much looking out to the ocean but more at the ground, paranoid of the crab that would surly pop out.
Driving to the host location was a bit of an adventure each day. The first day was dark. Very very dark. The little car purred like a tired platypus as Carolyn tried to get up the first hill. Then the rain began and it poured! Between the rain, the dark, the purring platypus and then the fogging windshield this one was pretty touch and go!
This trip was also the trip of the selfie stick. Oh my goodness did we have fun with that thing… only problem was actually making it work! The rubber kept slipping off the button, so there was either 30 pictures taken or none each time!
We made a few friends on this trip, one being a very persistent seagull. Before we go into this story, you should know that Carolyn only really has two fears. Mascots and birds. Birds and Carolyn don’t really get along. They kind of - scratch that - they totally creep her out. Especially if they get too close. So in a beach location such as South Padre Island, the struggle was real. We had lunch at a nice little place overlooking the ocean and as we sat and ate a seagull landed on the railing nearby. Step by step - he moved closer. And closer. Until we could see his beadie little eyes glowing with anticipation of stealing one of Carolyn’s fries. This did not sit well with her for two reasons; the bird was far too close (shudder) and second, they were her damn fries! So Carolyn used her best authoritative voice to say, “Hey you bird! Back off!” while shaming him with her pointer finger. But this little guy just kept on coming. Closer and closer and despite Carolyn’s threats and angry hand talking, he just kept creeping in. The only thing left to do in Carolyn’s eyes was to down all of the food as fast as possible to avoid any further interaction with the bird. This lead to immediate heart burn and bloated belly, but to get rid of that bird, “it was totally worth it. Ugh. Freaky.”
While we were in South Padre, we also celebrated Kari’s 50th birthday! Well, we tried anyhow. We thought for this momentum occasion we should probably go out and get our groove on! We tried a couple of places first, but there wasn’t too many people and not really the kind of jam that they were looking for. So a nice young man told us what place would be hopping that night, and off we went with high hopes for a great night. Once we arrived we could hear the music playing inside - this was our jam! Hooray! We have arrived! We have found our fellow music lovers and life shall be grand! Then we walked in. And our people were there alright. All 6 of them. We tried to get it going, got a few dances in, before deciding that maybe we should just call this one a night and coffee on our balcony looking over the ocean may be a good way to close down the party.
On our way home we had an overnight layover in San Antonio and we are so thankful we did! We went and walked down the Riverwalk which was AMAZING all the way down to the Alamo. If we ever got the chance we would go back as the river walk was our kind of place. It was too bad we were so tired from the week, but it was truly the most amazing layover of all time. Give us a call San Antonio! We will definitely come back that way!
Peace River, Alberta… It’s not a name you hear too often, but nonetheless, it is an absolutely breath taking town that everyone should visit! The trees, the river, the town! All of it is just way too sweet. We fell in love with the town itself, but also with the beautiful people that hosted our certification school there, and our ‘now’ fellow facilitators as well. This wasn’t our typical trip, because for one, Carolyn wasn’t there, and two, we didn’t get the chance to sight see because we never left the ranch! (That’s how fantastic this place is! Northbase Ranch is what it’s called - check it out if you are ever in the area!)
However, the most amazing thing happened when we were down there. For the sake of this blog, we will call it “intention is everything.” And it truly is. Intention is what you put out into the world, and in return you will get back what you’ve put out there. So when we say we can do something, darn straight! We’ve set our mind to it, and now we’re going to go get it! But if we say, we can’t do it, well then, you’re right, we can’t! And that’s intention. So this is how the story begins.
Beautiful Juicy. Such an amazing mare, so much personality, and just an absolutely loving heart! Now, from the beginning of the week, to the end of the week, the transition was HUGE! There was some history with Juicy, just issues that she had been having, and sometimes as the human beings we are, we have a hard time letting go of the past and moving forward. And so the intention that was being put out at the beginning of the week was that Juicy had certain issues restricting her from being the best EAL horse.
HOWEVER, this is where the story gets cool! Now, we had our facilitators and our lovely volunteers come out to help us run a program. The volunteers were the participants, and so we thought, let’s bring in Juicy and just see what happens! So Juicy comes in, and these volunteers, knowing nothing about Juicy’s past, and knowing nothing about the issues that were going on with Juicy (P.S. not safety issues), Juicy performed with the utmost respect and excitement towards the program! Juicy was AMAZING to say the least.
Now we know you’re asking… how can this even be possible?! Because of intention! The intention in the arena the second day coming from the volunteers was that Juicy was capable of absolutely everything, and nothing could stand in her way. And how did she act? Just like that! Nothing stood in her way, her demeanour was calm and relaxed, and Juicy showed she was the PERFECT EAL horse.
It seems to be that we always assume that something is wrong with the horse. But if we take a step back and really look at the situation, maybe it’s just an issue that we have inside of us, and the horse just reflects back the intention that we are throwing his or her way. It was an absolutely beautiful way to end the week and gave a whole new outlook, and new faith to everyone who would be working with Juicy.
So what did we learn in Peace River? Intention is everything! Don’t judge a book by its cover - if we have the right intention entering whatever situation we go into, we will be successful!
WOOHOO! Our first time heading down to the States for an EAL School and we are PUMPED! We flew into Boston and true to Kari and Carolyn style, followed the GPS and got lost. But with one quick turn around we continued on our merry little way. What a gorgeous drive. As we got out of the city and into the country the landscape just got more beautiful.
As the light of the day dimmed we finally pulled into our B&B to meet one of the highlights of our trip! We stayed at the Birchwood Inn in Temple New Hampshire! A perfect place for us with our own separate space, a gorgeous little restaurant and even a little pub all located within the eclectic place. However, the owners were the best part! Andrew Cook and Nick Finnis were not only the most charismatic people that we may have ever met in our lives, but also the most parental! There was ZERO chance of us leaving for our day without eating breakfast, and ensuring that we always had a lovely lunch and dinner as well. Breakfast was on the table and we were expected to be there or Andrew would ensure that we knew that we were late! This was of course done in a way that was absolutely hilarious and the two kept us in stitches with there phenomenal humour! Plus, it was pretty easy to come in for breakfast (even though neither of us are usually very good at eating breakfast) because the food was AMAZING! Every meal we had there was prepared by Andrew and we were never EVER disappointed. The man can COOK! All in all, the stay was more than we could have ever hoped for. If any of you have the chance to stay at the Birchwood we would HIGHLY recommend it!
Now lets talk about Villi Poni Farm. What a magical place with amazing horses! Our host Emily made it easy to run the course there for sure! Plus! They had a couple of donkeys, but none like we had ever seen! They were so adorable we just wanted to hug them all day and night! The team of participants that we had were great! All different personalities from different places, but all there to learn how to bring EAL to the world.
So when we are at home, we have this odd thing that we like to call our horses, “ponies.” We realize this isn’t accurate however we just do it. Kind of like how all of our horses have nick names. Now Villi Poni Farms has all Newfoundland Ponies at their location, so you would think that this is great! We will now be accurate in our wording. NOPE! We called all of them horses! Apparently our minds just work in a different sort of way!
After the course we thought that since we had a little time maybe we should drive into Salem. Again, the GPS failed us and took us in the worst round about way with the most traffic. In life, Carolyn possesses the patience of a saint - that is until you put her in traffic. Then there is zero patience to be found and frustration takes over. The trip to Salem was long and backed up and took a lot of creating exercises to get her through it.
Salem was very cool, but only having an hour there after the traffic jam, we were soon well on our way back into Boston. This time the GPS pulled through and we arrived just in time for our flight!
New Hampshire and Boston were amazing places and more beautiful that we could have imagined!
Our second time to Huntsville seemed like it was going to be a breeze! Heck we had been there before, we were even staying at the same lovely B&B, AND we had a GPS! And it really was easy! Our host facility was once again amazing and the team of facilitators were awesome.
We even had one gentleman who actually had no horse experience, but simply knew that this type of learning was on the upswing, so he wanted to hop on the wagon early! Jim was a fantastic learner, but every once in awhile, would randomly disappear! The running joke became, “Where’s Jim,” as it seemed one of us was always asking that question. He was a fantastic sport about all the girls teasing him!
Another lovely bonus of our second time back is that we even got a few visitors! Monique and Melina both travelled to come pick our brains and get in some practice while we were in town!
A few days in, Carolyn’s cold that she started out the trip with started to get worse. And worse… and worse. Eventually the girl had purchased enough cold medicine that she could breathe! We had also decided to get some training videos done on this trip too! You’ll notice that these ones feature mostly Kari and Carolyn.
Once again, Suzanne Thompson was a beautiful host as we stayed at the Crews On Inn. Such a lovely stay, with beautiful people, beautiful horses and beautiful scenery!
Off to the East Coast! We hadn’t been out East since we had travelled with Strathmore Heritage Days, so we were excited to go out and eat lobster and sing the Unicorn Song once again! We got off of the plane to a sunny day and remembered one of the reasons why we loved Charlottetown, PEI… because of the airport. What a great little airport! Friendly people; we didn’t get lost; it didn’t take six hours to get to the other side - this is good stuff! So in record timing we had our rental car and were on our merry way! We had rented a little old historic house in Charlottetown and made our way to it without getting lost (we know, we were surprised too). We arrived at our little house and headed on in to explore. The little garden area was adorable and the house had that historic feeling and simply beautiful character. The only issue was that the heating was also similar to how it would have been in the 1800’s which was pretty much non-existent. As it turns out, May is still pretty chilly in PEI and we had never been more happy to have our winter coats.
The first night in the house we went up to bed (with socks and extra sweaters on) and all of a sudden, Kari hears Carolyn start to laugh and laugh, so she goes to see what’s happening. Carolyn had just had the bejeebers scared out of her when she opened the closet as there was old dressing gowns hung creepily in the closet. The closet door remained fully closed for the rest of the trip.
We headed out to meet the host and the horses. What a amazing group. One of the horses was actually missing one eye, but wow. What a teacher. These horses never cease to amaze us in what they are capable of.
The course began and we had an AMAZING group of women. The very first day, we actually had two of our facilitators ask us if they could meet with us after to pick our brains a little. Well we had never had that happen before! We met up with our fantastic team that evening and what amazing questions!
In the evenings we would try to head out into town to see what was around and came across this little second hand vintage store called Robin’s & Ruby’s Emporium. We ended up hanging out there for an hour chatting with the owners and looking through all of the items. What a connection that we made with them and even took a selfie to prove it!
By the end of the course we were officially frozen, but happy as could be! We headed out for a big lobster dinner with everyone the last night and then headed off to our favourite little airport in the morning to head on home!
We arrived in Melbourne and headed off to meet Karsyn and Ben. We didn’t have a vehicle and a nice man at the airport told us to just hop on this bus, get off at this stop and then we could walk to our condo. Although this man was nice, he was severely mistaken! We ended up hailing a cab from the bus stop (remember we also have our luggage with us) and it was another 15 minute cab ride from where we were! We got to the condo and headed upstairs where the lovely kids were waiting for us with a fridge stocked with all the goodies that two girls who just got off a plane and walked 6 blocks to a bus to have to hail a cab after, could want. We stayed up playing games and describing our adventures over the past week.
Now one thing that Carolyn desperately wanted to do was swim with the sharks. We walked up to the Aquarium and as a twist of fate, there was one spot available for the next morning! Carolyn was flying high with excitement! However, the next morning she showed up, ready to go and achieve this dream she had had since she was a wee girl. She sat and sat and waited and waited until finally an employee showed up to deliver the news. The diver is sick. So, incredibly disappointed Carolyn had to walk away without her swim. The other side of this was that she was not meant to meet up with the group for another 5 hours and no one had their phones on. She walked around Melbourne, checking out the sites, stopped for lunch and met some lovely people from all over the world! Meanwhile the rest of the gang sat around having lunch discussing if Carolyn had been eaten by a shark or not.
We also discovered the Escape Rooms! If you haven’t heard of these before, Escape Rooms are basically a problem solving team exercise. You go into the room and have to find your way out (hence: escape) within a certain period of time. We did pretty well during the first room where we had to escape from jail and had such a good time we thought, “Hey! Lets do that again!” This time we chose Transylvania Escape! The first part of this was one member of the team needed to get in a coffin which was to be closed and locked shut with chains. Carolyn volunteered for this delightful feat and went back to be locked inside a coffin - which was surprisingly comfortable.
So the gang starts the quest and they had to decipher a complex code that Albert Einstein himself would have had trouble with to unlock the chain on the coffin. Kari, Karsyn and Ben figured out all of the clues and got the correct code for the lock - but alas - the lock did not open. After a few more tries, they called in an employee who also tried the correct code. Still the lock would not open. Kari reassured Carolyn numerous times in the coffin letting her know, “Don’t worry, they will be here too with the lock cutter,” as Carolyn practiced her eternal dirt nap. 20 minutes later the lock cutter arrived and Carolyn was free!
This whole fiasco clearly shook all of us up as we could not figure out a single clue after that point.
We also took another opportunity to get a bit more of a flying experience and headed out to a zip line course… which was quite a distance away and up a VERY steep hill. Online the zip lining course looked quite safe and not TOO high up so we thought we could handle it all quite well…. until we climbed up to the top. Ben, being the little monkey that he is, had no issue. However, us girls to a little bit to get us moving off of certain obstacles. We made it through in tact, thank goodness, but the train ride home was just a time to sleep as we needed to rest after that life threatening experience.
We landed at the Townsville airport and walked off the plane to feel the breath sucked out of our lungs as we gasped for air. The heat! The sheer HEAT! Now being from Canada we do get a little bit of hot weather, even up into the 30 degree celsius mark, but it is dry heat. Townsville is humid. Not a little humid. A lot humid. And by the time we reached our hotel we had probably said “Oh my gosh it’s hot” about 104 times during the half our drive. This was also Carolyn’s first experience with driving on the other side of the road. And the first experience of getting lost in Townsville. We are not “map people”, we are more GPS people (which if you read all of these blogs you will find that that doesn’t even always work for us) but we were quite pleased with ourselves once we finally arrive on location. We were looking right out onto the ocean and the scenery was breathtaking. We however, were not. This was the day that we realized that we were destined to look completely disheveled for the rest of our time in Townsville.
We met up with our host Angela from Pinnacles and she was going to show us the way to get to her place. Half way through the trip we figured out that Angela must be planning to be a driver for NASCAR some time in the near future as she drove like she was going for the Sprint Cup. Carolyn was literally sweating, not only as a result of the heat, but also to keep up with Angela and not venture off onto the wrong side of the road. (for the record, she only almost did that once during the trip!)
We arrived at Angelas and she started to show us around her GORGEOUS property. This place was straight out of the movies! The horses, the kangaroos, toads, and a little goat! She introduced us to her family and showed us around and the excitement started to build!
The drive back from Angela’s was a little more difficult. As it turns out, when you are driving on the other side of the road all of your distance perspective from the sides of the road can become a little less in tune. The code word when Carolyn drove a little too close to the edge of the road was Kari yelling “WEEDS!! WEEDS!!” and that code stuck for the rest of the trip.
We had to move around a few course times as a result of the heat, so we ended up having a bit of time to take a look around Townsville. We decided that we should go to see the Billabong Sanctuary. Harvey, Angela’s lovely hubby gave us verbal directions. This was poor decision making. As we mentioned we are not good with maps. We are ESPECIALLY not good with verbal directions!! We made it to the very large traffic circle he directed us to, however the exit that we were supposed to take was a tad bit sketchy in our minds. So initially we went with that we were supposed to go right. We travelled along that road for about 25 min. We were wrong. So 25 min back to the traffic circle and we try the next exit. 15 min down that road and we realized that this is also wrong. Two more trips through the traffic circle and another 2 hours and we finally took the LAST exit and were on our way to the Sanctuary (which turned out to be a mere two minute drive from that point)! We made it to the Sanctuary with about 40 mi of time to see as much as we could see. All we wanted was to hold a Koala so come hell or high water we were going to hold a koala! The lovely lady working there only charged us the kids rate since we were so short on time so we got our tickets and headed in. Now I’m not sure what we were expecting, but we walked around the corner with our little bag of kangaroo food and right in front of us were dozens of kangaroos. We had never seen one in real life before, and if you haven’t seen them walk, it is kind of like a scary crawl as they creep up towards you. Carolyn was freaked! The kept coming and lots of them and closer and closer! Kari was dishing out food as fast as she could as Carolyn finally yelled “just drop the bag!!” Just then, a young couple walked past us, patted the kangaroos on the head. It was then we realized that we are compete losers and made our way further into the park. With moments to spare we were finally able to hold a koala, see a wombat, some ducks, hit the bathroom and head back to the course.
Another note I should mention from this trip is that we complained of the heat the entire time. And in typical Canadian style, we also apologized for complaining repeatedly. Townsville made us realize that there are truly sweat glands all over our bodies. We did not know that we could sweat from our knee caps until visiting Townsville. The first few days we would get up, put on our makeup, and do our hair, only to look like we had landed on the face of the sun 30 seconds after walking out the door. Eventually we gave up on this and stuck to mascara and ponytails as thats how we always ended up at the end of the day anyhow!
Townsville, although super duper hot, is absolutely beautiful. We loved our time there and our facilitators. When the week was done it was hard to say goodbye. After our hugs with everyone we hopped on a plane and headed off to Melbourne.
So if anyone was not aware, the flight to Australia from Calgary is 16.5 hours of flying time. For those of you who do not know us personally, the average time that Kari usually sits in one spot is approximately 24.6 seconds. So that much time in an “air coffin,” as Kari called it, was a definite push! She made it through the multiple long flights and we FINALLY landed in Sydney! The initial plan for Australia was to meet up with Kari’s daughter Karsyn and her boyfriend Ben in Melbourne after the course.
After we got through security we beelined it for the doors to smell the sweet sweet fresh air! Then we felt a tap on the shoulder! Karsyn and Ben had arrived in Sydney early to surprise us! And surprise us they did! There were shrieks and giggles and hugs and mushies for about 10 minutes before we overcame the shock of the two people standing in front of us! We collected our luggage and headed out to the little camper van that the kids had been calling home. And the best part - they had a nice cold beer waiting for us to enjoy in the beautiful Sydney sunshine!
From there we travelled off to one of the most beautiful places we have ever been - Bondi Beach. Wow! The ocean, the smells, the atmosphere! All gorgeous! At this point we had recovered from the flight and were hopped up on life! We checked into our hotel for the night and as we entered our room we all began to laugh. The room itself had just enough room for one double bed and that was about it! However the balcony! My goodness the balcony! It was the same size as the room but the view of the ocean was breathtaking.
We took a long hike along the ocean and tasted many of the yummy foods along the beach strip in Bondi - if you haven’t noticed, we like to eat when we travel! The sunsets were so colourful that even the thousands of pictures that Carolyn took could not come close to showing how amazing they really were!
Then we were off to Sydney! Now after staying in Bondi, we had kind of gotten out of the city daily grind - only to be quickly and aggressively reintroduced to it when we got to downtown Sydney! Sydney is a busy busy place! But when in Sydney - do the touristy stuff! First stop was taking a ferry over to Manly Beach to meet up with Carolyn’s friend, Kelly, that she used to work with in Calgary! Kelly showed us the marina in Manly and we headed out for a delicious pasta dinner. We didn’t know it then, but this was going to be the best meal of the entire trip and we should have cherished it more! On the fairy back that night, Kari had a short snooze while Karsyn and Ben played out the “I’m Flying” scene from Titanic while Carolyn documented it all on film! We passed by the IMPRESSIVE Sydney Opera House which to take in at night was nothing short of breathtaking!
The next morning we thought we should attend the wax museum and the 4D show of Sydney as well as take in the city view from the Eye in the Sydney Tower. We hit up the 4D experience first… now when we thought 4D, we thought that this would be quite the experience and we would really FEEL our way around Sydney. Well. This was not the case. We walked in and stood in line for about half an hour to get into the theatre area. We stood in the front row and waited with eager anticipation for the show to start. The lights dimmed around us as we stood there looking quite smart with out 3D glasses on. A bird showed up on screen that started flying over Sydney. Then some fireworks went off on the screen and we felt a little heat - like as if someone was holing a small lighter in front of us. Then the big finale that we had all been waiting for was flying through the surf on the ocean - the 4D part of this experience was essentially a little poof of water in our faces. We thought that it may have been the young man who ushered us in with a tiny spray bottle walking along and squirting the audience. And after the 8 min that all of this took. It was over. We left feeling confused, surprised and 36 dollars lighter in each of our wallets.
After the 4D show of a lifetime (simply because we probably won’t ever try another) we headed off to Darling Harbour to see the wax museum. Now this is our kind of place. Anywhere that allows us to take pictures with very realistic famous people wax figures and act like 5 year olds is the place for us! We posed with Oprah, Iron Man, ET, the Royal Family, Ghandi, Katy Perry, Ryan Gosling, and P!nk just to name a few!!! We had an absolute blast! Sure, we may have gotten a few “wow those people aren’t quite right in the head” looks, but the way we figured it, we will never see any of them again anyhow so who cares! This little trip may have provided us with some of the most entertaining pictures from the entire trip!
Then we found a magical little place. Nibblin' on sponge cake, watchin' the sun bake; All of those tourists covered with oil. Strummin' my six string on my front porch swing. Smell those shrimp, They’re beginnin' to boil!
Thats right MARGARITAVILLE! Now we just stopped in initially because we were tired, hot, hungry and the sahara desert had taken up residence in our throats, but this place kept us there all night! The bartenders put on a show everytime they made anything! We sat outside just off the harbour and then! A band shows up from…guess where… CANADA! How could we leave then? So we stayed and danced all night! Such a great place, with great staff, great musicians and even better company! A great send off for us and our time in Sydney as the next day we were off to Townsville for the course!Read all the blogs
This is super exciting because we had a group from Standoff, Alberta who all went take the certified EAL course.
We had an amazing opportunity to help out a group from Standoff, Alberta but unfortunately the weather was flipping freezing out! So we made the trek down town to find our beautiful hotel, which was by no means beautiful, but it was the best hotel in Standoff. Not only that, it was the hotel as featured in the Motion picture, Brokeback Mountain! And of course for those of you who know us and our story of being life partners it was fitting for us to stay there! Of course being the losers that we are we had to take a picture in front of the place. We met the lovely man who owned it who was quite eager to tell us did tell us that Heath Ledger is dead. We arrived in our room to find there were no windows and it was cold and the TV did not work and there was hair in the bathtub and hair in the sheets. We were not thrilled to say the least. So to make a bad situation much better we went to the store for copious amounts of food. Then after buying all of the food in the store we went out for dinner.
After a dinner that was decent, we went back to the room to set up our TV relax situation for the night. Since there was still no TV working, and no table in the room, we pulled up a chair between our two cement style softness beds and laid back to watch a movie on our wee little iPad.
We made it through the week, the course was fantastic and the facilitators were amazing (even if they told us half way through the week that the first time they met us they thought we were gay). So we thought we would go for a nice steak dinner. We walked into the restaurant which was a little bit like walking into a ghost town. There was seating for probably 200-300 people, however, we were the only souls in the place. Kari asked for a nice well done steak and Carolyn for hers to be medium rare. What came back was a little different. Carolyn received a slab of rubberized meat about an 1/8 of an inch thick and Kari received a very well done inch thick steak. Which was a touch odd in the first place. Upon eating our leather, we decided to give up and go home… however, we could not find our waitress. Carolyn walked into the kitchen after 15 min to find the cook who informed us that she was out on a delivery and wouldn’t be back for another 20 min… and that he also didn’t know how to run the cash register. Well at this point, we were ready to go. We self tabulated what we thought would be the amount for the bill and left cash with the cook who promised to text us with the receipt later that day. The cook actually did send us a copy of the receipt afterwards.
On the way home, we needed some tunes. However, the radio was not working for some reason and the iPod would not connect. So, we stopped to buy a tiny little speaker that fit perfectly in a 16 oz cup for a little extra oomph for the beats! And off we went home! Stay tuned for our next EAL journey!
As featured on the Family Channel!
The first traveling school ever for Equine Connection - The Academy of Equine Assisted Learning - woohoo!
We were very very excited! Huntsville was our first traveling school and we didn’t really know how the classroom for the course was going to transpire. We arrived into Huntsville, Ontario in awe of the sheer beauty that surrounded us and headed off to Back of Beyond where the course was being hosted. Driving down the road to her place was so magical that we were waiting for a unicorn to pop its head out at any point! What a GORGEOUS place! We met with the lovely Cathy and she showed us the classroom area. Although it was a little small and maybe not what we expected, it worked beautifully for us and our facilitators!
Then we met the horses! WOW! What an incredible herd! We even got to work with some of her Clydesdales! There is nothing like walking beside a clyde! You can literally feel every step they take as the ground moves beneath you! It was a little nerve racking even for us, but very quickly we fell in love with these gentle giants.
We stayed at a lovely little B&B with probably the most caring and generous host that we have ever met! Suzanne of the Crews on Inn was PHENOMENAL! She took care of everything! There was nothing we needed to bring or take care of. We were always stocked with coffee and everything had so much character! If you are ever in Huntsville you HAVE to stay there!
Another shining star of this trip was a restaurant called That Little Place by the Lights. There we ate the most delicious pasta of our entire lives!!!! We didn’t even talk though dinner but rather just made grunting noises as we stuffed our faces of this delightful food! After we plowed it back in record time, we rolled out of the restaurant to go straight off to bed!
Huntsville was an amazing place with fantastic people and scenery that made you feel as though you had walked straight into a Thomas Kinkade painting! And off we went home! Stay tuned for our next EAL journey!
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