My Weekend in Victoria – Lost Family, Horny Penguins, and a Day in the City

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When it comes to family, how sure are you that you really know who lives within the tree? Are you 100 percent sure how many brothers or sisters your grandma has? Your dad? Your uncle?

Well, I always thought I did. Being first generation American, most of my family is in Germany where my mother decided 30 years ago to say “Peace!! I’m off to ‘Merica” (maybe not exactly like that but you got the picture). I have lived my whole life assuming my Opa (grandpa) was an only child and the family that I knew was all the family I had. I really had no idea what I was going to find when I moved here but one thing that I didn’t anticipate on finding though, was that I actually had family here.

Back in January, when it came clear and legit that I was moving to Australia my mom happened to mention that her father had a brother that moved to Australia after the war, but the brothers lost contact and that was that. She knew nothing of who could still be in Australia or if anyone still was from her side of the family. I was in shock! I couldn’t believe it! And said I was going to get to the bottom of this family tree mystery. Through Facebook we were able to locate 4 people with my mother’s maiden name that lived in the state Victoria. Through a few messages, we found out that, yes, yes YESSSSSS!!!! We are family.

Could this be real?  Did Facebook finally did something positive for society!! I guess, but it was quickly ruined by the selfie I posted moments later:/

So this is where my Melbourne story begins, with a plane ticket to spend the weekend with my long lost family in my new found country.

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Tiger Air

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I booked a flight through Tiger Air to leave Friday night after work. I was so thrilled to be getting out of Sydney, to see family and penguins…aww penguins!!! But then, Tiger air decides to text me… doesn’t even have the decently to call or email —must be owned by a man—-  and they tell me the flight is cancelled. Bastards. 6 am on a Saturday morning I guess it is, lucky me! Minus the lady checking me in, I really have nothing positive to say about that airline. The lobby area was a zoo, no organization, and people were very… rude? Most importantly the flight attended really pissed me off. The flight attended on the airplane didn’t believe that I switched off my phone before takeoff so he decided it was okay to grab it out of my hands and check for himself. If I wasn’t so sleepy from it being butt early in the morning, I would have smacked that ass hole. How dare he violate my personal belongings, plus,  I was 2 seconds away from swiping to the right on Tinder!! 🙂 Next time I will pay that extra 20 bucks to buy a ticket from a decent airline. Lesson learned, Tigers should not be on planes.

Family Time

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Back at their house, a huge feast of assorted meats and food was served, and of course plenty of wine. We spent the afternoon and evening catching up on life, culture and most importantly getting to know each other. They have always been aware of my grandpa, as his brother kept in contact with their sister (once again, we never knew he had a sister either). At one point they brought over a couple of photo albums and had and ask me if I knew who these people were, as they did not but knew they were a part of this long lost side of the family. I sat down, took a look at the photos and had didn’t really know the people either.

I actually really really really knew the people in the pictures.

Hey that’s MY MOM! THAT’S MY DAD! THAT’S MY AUNT! THAT’S MY OMA!

THIS IS MY FAMILY!!!

It was just so insane to see these pictures taken 40 -50 years ago, that they strangers had of my parents. They never knew who these people were this whole time and it was very surreal for me to able to help unlock this mystery for them. Since both my grandpa and his brother recently past, we just tried to unlock the mystery of why they lost contact, why he never mentioned he had family, what in the hell happened? We know a little bit here and there, but mostly it was speculation. I think we all just agreed, no one can imagine what happened to them after fighting a war for Nazi Germany. We will never understand what or how they felt, how much they were broken or lost, and we will just leave it at that. Even though I am not happy this side of the family was kept from us, I have nothing but respect for my Opa and his decisions to do so.

We know a little bit here and there, but mostly it was speculation. I think we all just agreed, no one can imagine what happened to them after fighting a war for Nazi Germany. We will never understand what or how they felt, how much they were broken or lost, and we will just leave it at that. Even though I am not happy this side of the family was kept from us, I have nothing but respect for my Opa and his decisions to do so.

Their photos:

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My mother and her sister
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My mother and her Dad
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My mother and father
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My Oma and cousins

Breakfast??

They next day was our big day of going to Phillip Island! I woke up excited and thrilled to finally see my penguins. As I got up and sat at the table for breakfast, I took a look at the egg-avocado toast and noticed something was weird about it… there was.. black stuff on my toast. Just pure black stuff. WTF? I took a bite of this mystery meal and right away felt a bit of a kick in my mouth… like a salty punch in the face. Was this poison? Did they hate me that much that they wanted to just end this weekend now by throwing me in the ER? Nope, even worse…. it was the infamous Vegemite!!!! My first encounter since I’ve been and Aus, and frankly.. it wasn’t too bad! My mouth did feel like it was getting punished a bit, but I rewarded it with a Tim Tam shortly after for it’s forgiveness. It worked:)

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During this 2-hour car ride down to the island, I finally saw my first wild kangaroos in their normal habitat.. there were so many! EVERYWHERE! I understand why we eat them now! The countryside was beautiful, with horses and cows on every acre between green hills and grasslands. The ride was very scenic which was necessary for such a long drive with a weeeeeee bit of a wine hangover.

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After a nice lunch at the local brewery (no, beer was not the lunch.. for the most part)  we went across the street the koala conversation. I was ecstatic to see a bunch of koalas all doped up on their eucalyptus and in their natural habit. We saw between 7 and 11 koalas, most were snuggled up sleeping as it was a cold raining day, but we did luck out and catch one on the move!

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PENGUINS

After the koala conservation, it was finally penguin time!!!!! Fairy penguins naturally habitat much of the coast on Phillip Island. We bought the “Ultimate penguin experience” which allowed us to have a private viewing and tour of the penguins. A small group of 7 of us went into a small room where we were educated on the life of a fairy penguin and briefed on our upcoming adventure. Fairy penguins swim to shore nightly back to their nest to… well… to get it on! And fairy penguins are not monogamous like many other penguin species, oh no… These little penguins are little sluts! Sleeping around more than married swinger couples in Orange County.

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Once the brief was over, we put on our gear consisting of black jumpers and night vision goggles and jumped into the van that drove us to the secluded part of the island. We sat on the freezing cold sand waiting to for the penguin’s arrival.

After a few minutes of looking around not seeing a dang thing, we all began to hear some noise in the distance. It sounded like ducks quacking, heaps of them!! Then all of a sudden dozens and dozens of little waddling fat birds started coming up the shore. It was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. They looked so silly, I just wanted to grab a mirror, put it in front of them and say “do you know this is what you look like????”

The penguins would pair up side by side with each other and just stand there yelling, marking their spot and their partner, just staring at us as we walked by. As we headed back to base camp we had to dodge penguins doing it from every corner. Oh my were they loud! They sounded like croaking seagulls. 

PENGUIN EXPERIENCE = AMAZING.

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 The city

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It was now officially time for me to head off to the city and begin my solo adventures. And apparently, it was also the time for the weather to go to complete crappola and start pouring rain. I checked into my hotel at the Citiclub and wanted to do nothing more than curl up in bed all day, but didn’t, at least not for long, cause the city was calling my name!!

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I headed to the Eureka Skydeck building which is one of the highest buildings in Melbourne. With a 360 view of the city, it was beautiful yet scary being 88 floors up. Once I was done observing the sites, it began to start pouring again so I just ran to the next big building over for some shelter… my oh golly jee, it just so happened to be the Crown Casino! What a wonderful coincidence for me 🙂 I played poker for a bit while harassing the cute dealer before heading back to the hotel to curl up in bed again. Don’t judge me, cold weather sucks! After an hour of relaxing in the room, I put on some lipstick and said time to cause some trouble.

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I walked to a nice restaurant down the street that I read had oyster shooters which I had been craving ever since I arrived in Melbourne. So of course, I couldn’t leave without getting some cause, yes I am THAT stubborn. I sat at the bar drinking my oyster shooters while waiting for a guy… whom I meet through my friend named…uhhhh..Zinder, yea. Zinderr……. to meet me, as he insisted on taking me out on the town. He took me to a local bar that was hosting a stand-up comedy night. YES! Good work random boy. As we walked in, I could hear people laughing, and like.. a lot, which is always a good sign because sometimes these can blow :/ As I walked in further I could here the comedian saying, “That f#cking C#unt stole my pop-tart”. Everyone busted up into laughter.. but wait there was more… he had to of said the F word the C word the N words more times than I could count and the crowd was just eating it up. This stuff could never fly in the states. That comedian would have had 5 lawsuits ready to go before he would even exit the stage.

As we walked in, I could hear people laughing, and like.. a lot, which is always a good sign because sometimes these can blow :/ As I walked in further I could here the comedian saying, “That f#cking C#unt stole my pop-tart”. Everyone busted up into laughter.. but wait there was more… he had to of said the F word the C word the N words more times than I could count and the crowd was just eating it up. This stuff could never fly in the states. That comedian would have had 5 lawsuits ready to go before he would even exit the stage.

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Melbourne was amazing!!!! Minus the weather, I loved the city. The people were extremely friendly and seemed to be genuinely interested in myself and my accent – unlike people from Sydney who seem to just be annoyed. I am looking forward to going back, both to visit the family again and also explore the city more. One day in the Melbourne just is not enough!

Coming up next week: 4th of July in OZ, Landing a Job, and my Birthday Adventures.

❤ Hot Mess

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4 thoughts

  1. Something like this happened to me last year. My dad found his half of the family on Ancestry.com after years of waiting he found some who are alive today! I got in touch with some of them and that’s how I ended up in Texas last summer, we all share the same tree related by one man from 1700s who had like 6 wives haha…amazing! It sounds like you had a great time in Australia, especially if you’re staying! 🙂

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