I love you, coffee.

Karen and I love coffee. It’s always such a joyous moment when get coffee, so we decided to capture a little bit of that happiness on film. Yes, the emotions you will see in these pictures are real. We love coffee that much.

It all began the first time Karen and I hung out.  We got up at the early hour of 7am to travel to Coolangatta to watch the Quicksilver Surf Competition. After stumbling around half asleep, we made our way to the bus stop not knowing which bus to take and where Coolangatta was located. We asked the bus driver of the first bus we saw if we could get to the surf competition by taking that bus, and she informed us we could. We asked her what stop to get off at and she said “Twin Towns, right after New South Wales.” Not understanding her accent neither of knew she said “Twin Towns” but we did here the second part. Although this was when I first got to Australia and I didn’t know much about anything, I knew that New South Wales is a different state from Queensland.

Needless to say we were very confused and still didn’t know how we would know where to get off, and to make matters worse, I had to top up my Go Card and couldn’t find money. As I rummaged through my bag looking for cash, all of the contents of my purse crashed to the floor. My makeup compact smashed into pieces as the lady bus driver looked at us in disgust. Karen and I, still without coffee, looked at each other in slow motion and said a very unenthusiastic “oh.” After a solid four minutes from when we got on the bus we finally took our seats, leaving a trail of makeup behind us. An hour and a half later we passed a sign for New South Wales and went looking for the surf competition. We followed some guys with surf boards but were faced with a dilemma when they went in different directions. Eventually we managed to find the beach and followed a path. “So, those waves are tiny. Almost non-existent,” I said, “Maybe once we go around this corner they will be huge!” Karen replied. The waves did not get any bigger and we were informed that the competition was canceled. Everything was better as soon as we got our coffee.

Gloria Jeans, Coolangatta

This picture was taken at the Starbucks in Broadbeach. It was a beautiful day and we were about to go to Blues Fest. Combine coffee with sunshine, harmonicas, and good friends, and life does not get any better.

Starbucks, Broadbeach

This picture was taken right before we road tripped to Byron Bay. First Avenue is a cafe right in Surfers, and its coffee is really hit or miss. This wasn’t the best coffee we’ve ever had, but considering it was 9:00am, we were still thrilled just to have coffee.

First Avenue, Surfers Paradise Blvd

This coffee was from Max Brenner, which is essentially a chocolate heaven. Luba, Karen and I went out to Main Beach for a delicious steak meal which we followed up with dessert at Max Brenner. We had chocolate fondue, a huge waffle with ice cream, fruit, and chocolate drizzled all over, and a couple of decaf skinny lattes. Yes we are fully aware of the irony of drinking decaf skinny lattes after copious amounts of dessert.

Max Brenner, Main Beach

This picture was taken at Starbucks in downtown Brisbane. We had just finished a day of shopping and were ready to warm up and relax.

Starbucks, Brisbane

Yep, we love coffee that much.

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Hello, Gold Coast.

So I live in Australia. Crazy.

Right now I’m living in Surfers Paradise, which is in the Gold Coast, Queensland. It’s like Australia’s version of Miami. The beach goes on for miles! The contrast between the natural environment and human development is wild. There is nothing more natural than the ocean, but at the same time you’re surrounded by skyscrapers.

First day on the beach!

It took a week to find a place to live. I looked at some awful places. The first one was right on the beach and had a great view, but was really dirty and small. And the middle aged man that was showing me the room failed to mention in the ad that he lives there as well. It was one of those sketchy places where this guy lived with all these young international girls that couldn’t speak English very well. So needless to say, we booked it out of there. When I got here I was staying with my friends Luba and Mo, who are both from Ontario. They are so great to me and have helped me out so much! It’s nice having some Canadian friends because it feels like family.

The places I looked at got better after that first one. My flat is pretty much right on the beach. I can actually hear the ocean waves crashing on the beach from my apartment. I live on the 21st floor and the view is amazing! You can see the ocean, the river, and the city. My flat mates are all great. I live with two Brazilian guys that are studying English here, and my roommate is a Korean girl who’s lived in Vancouver, the States, and Korea. It’s fascinating learning about their cultures and listening to their language.

The view from my balcony. I’m actually sitting here right now while writing this.

I’m also working at this place called Nicolini’s, which is a popular Italian restaurant in town. It’s run very differently than restaurants in Canada (there isn’t even a point of sale computer system!) It’s just a lot more laid back in general. The expectations from staff and customers are much lower, so when Canadians serve like we do in Canada, people are normally pretty impressed. There are a couple of Canadians, Italians, and Brazilians that work there. There are actually only a few Aussies on staff.

It’s not customary to tip in Australia, so servers actually get paid more. The average is around $16/hour on weekdays, $19 or $20 on Saturdays, and then $25 on Sundays. It’s nice because you’re guaranteed the money, whereas in Canada you never know how much you’ll make in tips because it depends on if it’s busy. However, in Canada you have the potential to make a hundred or couple hundred a night in tips. I still get some tips too. Not as much as back home, but it’s still some extra cash. I’m SO lucky I got this job cause no one is hiring right now. My friend Luba already worked at Nicolini’s and they had three people leaving, so she managed to get me a trial shift. I printed off 17 resumes and was all ready to paper the town with them, and I didn’t end up having to drop off one. I’m so grateful.

I’ve been spending as much time as I can on the beach, which still isn’t as much time as I’d like. The amount of times people have asked me why I’m so white is ridiculous. Uh, hello, it’s cause I just came from Canada! Last time I checked, winter jackets don’t help in the tanning department.

Stay tuned for a posting on the differences I’ve noticed between Australia and Canada (the accent isn’t the only difference!) , and a posting on my trip to Byron Bay (which was AMAZING!)