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Australian: Born & Raised – Part 2

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in My Life | 2 comments

10 days until we leave for Australia!!!!

kermit flail

View Part 1 here which is all about yummy Australian food (my Mum told me I missed Fish & Chips BTW!)

Today I’m going to talk about school in Australia. I was 13 when I moved here, so I experienced both primary and high school (barely) in Australia.

My year 2 & 3 class

Where I went to school, primary school was year 1-7 (we say year instead of grade) and high school 8-12. No middle school. Although after I left they have changed the name and I think merged the schools (they were next door to each other).

Also, Kindergarten and pre-school are swithed in Australia. So we had a pre-school in our primary school.

Our school year starts in January and goes through December (remember, reverse seasons). We don’t have a giant summer vacation like you do in the US, we basically have two weeks off between each term (4 of them).

BUT our school days are shorter, and we have two breaks: Morning Tea and Lunch. The first was basically a snack, and lunch was about 45 minutes where we ate lunch and had plenty of time to play. Both breaks were always outside, even in winter (which isn’t very cold). In primary school we had designated eating areas depending on your grade, in high school you ate wherever you wanted. There was the rare rainy day where our teacher would let us eat inside and we would find games to play in the class room.

The school itself isn’t one giant building like they are here, but made up of multiple buildings. My Primary school basically had one building per grade. It would have two giant rooms which would have two classes in each room with a space in the middle. The teachers with joint rooms would usually calloborate by switching classes for different studies and sharing “floor time” where we met in the middle on the floor for stories or what not.

There were other buildings for the library, music room, office, etc. All the buildings were connected via covered walkways.

My Brother Nathan’s first day of school
Nathan Grdde 1 & Samantha Grade 3 J 1997


Yep, we had to wear uniforms in public schools. Back then “free dress” days were the best where we could wear anything. Having now gone to school in the US? I choose uniforms. No hesitation. It sucks picking out clothes everyday, and of course there’s the social/fashion aspect of it that’s just a nightmare. I liked the days where my decision was shorts, skirt or dress.

No Hat No Play

One of the biggest rules we had was if you have no hat, you couldn’t go out and play. Cause sun cancer sucks! If you didn’t have your hat you had to sit on the yellow bench which also where kids in trouble had to sit, so I feared not having my hat.


One thing that really surpsised me about the US is how many people don’t know how to swim. At my school in Australia, we had several weeks every year where the whole class goes to the pool a couple of times a week for swimming lessons. There was a public pool complex on the other side of the highschool, so we would walk down there.

The older classes, around year 6 & 7 also got to do beach trips where we did some basic lifegaurd training. In year 7 we even got to do some surfing lessons.

Jealous yet?


After school sports didn’t exist. Well, not school sponsored ones. I played netball (basically basketball, but with no backboard and when you held the ball you weren’t allowed to movie your feet… and way cooler) on weekends.

Here’s some netball:

Our school sports were done during school. Each term we’d have a list of different sports to choose from and once a week we traveled to a different school to compete. Of course for the most part the teams were horrible because we didn’t really practice. But we got to play different many different sports, I did Netball whenever it was offered of course, but I also did cricket and softball.

We also had PE once a week… and music and library. I promise we still had time to learn things.

Graduating Primary School

Being “Tardy”

I giggled at the term “tardy” when I first heard it my first day of school in the US where I received a syllabus for every class, outlining exactly how I would be graded and all the rules.

There are rules in the US about being “tardy” to class. Can’t we just call it being late? In Australia, the bell rang and you went to wherever you were supposed to be. There weren’t any rules in place about being late, because everyone just did what they’re supposed to. There was no sense of urgency/fear of getting to your next class, you just went there.

You don’t need a “hall pass” signed by your teacher to go to the bathroom, you just raised your hand, asked to go to the toilet, and you went and came back like you’re supposed to. Nobody outside would stop you and demand what you’re doing, everyone was trusted.

Sure, kids still got in trouble and got time out (detention) during lunch, but we weren’t treated like prison inmates.


School buses don’t exist. Your parents dropped you off, you walked, or rode your bike. Some kids took the public bus.


In high school we had block scheduling which was one of the greatest things ever… until you had double maths.

And that’s all I can remember…

Stay tuned for part 3 where we get into some fun Australian TV shows & Music

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Top 10 Book Series I Want to Read

Posted by on Oct 21, 2014 in Books, Lists | 6 comments


It’s Top 10 Tuesday hosted by brokeandbookish.com and this week’s topic is “Top New Series I Want To Start (New..let’s say within the last year or two)”. I decided to just go with 10 book series that I want to start no matter how old they are. Some of these are books sitting on my bookshelf already just waiting for me to get to them.

AcrosstheUniverse100 Enclave100 FortunesPawn100 KnifeofNeverLettingGo100 Partials100
Uglies100 ShadowandBone100 Taken100 TheseBrokenStars TheMagicians100

• Across the Universe series by Beth Revis
• Razorland trilogy by Ann Agguire
• Paradox trilogy by Rachel Bach
• Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness
• The Partials Sequence series by Dan Wells
• Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld
• Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
• Taken series by Erin Bowman
• Starbound series by Amie Kaufman
• Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman

What book series are on your to read pile?

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Guest Posters

Posted by on Oct 20, 2014 in Guest Posts | 4 comments

In case you didn’t know from all the flailing lately, I’m off to Australia in 12 days!!! That’s less than two weeks. Seriously.

July 2008 – The last time I was in Australia with my BBF @ The Big Pineapple

We leave on the 1st and will be gone for two whole weeks (totally not long enough). So I’m looking to see if anyone is interested in guest posting while I’m gone. I’ll give you a second to calm down from your insane excitement at the possibility. My blog is pretty all over the place, so whatever you want to post about, I’m sure I’ll be thrilled by the idea.

If you’re interested, just shoot me an email: samanthanfabris@gmail.com and let me know what you’d like to post about.

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“Shovel Ready” by Adam Sternbergh

Posted by on Oct 16, 2014 in Books, Reviews | 0 comments


“Shovel Ready”

By Adam Sternbergh
Published January 2014 by Crown
FullStarFullStarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star

Spademan used to be a garbage man. That was before the dirty bomb hit Times Square, before his wife was killed, and before the city became a bombed-out shell of its former self. Now he’s a hitman.
In a New York City split between those who are wealthy enough to “tap into” a sophisticated virtual reality for months at a time and those left to fend for themselves in the ravaged streets, Spademan chose the streets. His clients like that he doesn’t ask questions, that he works quickly, and that he’s handy with a box cutter. He finds that killing people for money is not that different from collecting trash, and the pay is better. His latest client hires him to kill the daughter of a powerful evangelist. Finding her is easy, but the job quickly gets complicated: his mark has a shocking secret and his client has an agenda far beyond a simple kill. Now Spademan must navigate the dual levels of his world-the gritty reality and the slick fantasy-to finish the job, to keep his conscience clean, and to stay alive.

This is a depressing book. Times square was hit by a dirty bomb, and years later the whole city is in squalor. Those that remain are either filthy rich, or dirt poor. The rich spend their lives hooked into a virtual world, slowly wasting away in the real world. I’m all for dystopian but there are no heroes in this book. Spademan is a hitman, he kills people for money, no questions asked. But for some reason he decides to help his latest target and it turns into a weird story about a religious tycoon and his virtual reality world that doesn’t quite make sense.

The sciencey part in the science-fiction of this story just didn’t really work. I wasn’t quite sure how the virtual reality world functioned. Where it could have been a really intriguing plot device, it just fell flat and wasn’t really used other than for people to talk and beat each other up.

One of the biggest issues for me was the lack of interesting characters. I just didn’t really care for any of them. Sure you wanted Spademan to triumph and save the girl, but I wouldn’t have really cared one way or the other. Then there was the gore. There’s quite a lot of throat cutting and the descriptions had me a bit queasy and glossing over it.

The writing style is very unique. It’s short and to the point. When there’s dialogue, it’s literally just the dialogue, no he said, she said. There’s not even any quotations which at times got a little confusing. Spademan is constantly going back to the past and explaining what happened, and at one point I thought he was doing that again, but then I realized he was actually talking to someone. It got a little confusing at times, and would have to stop and re-read it. But I actually appreciated the shortness in narration as the book would have dragged too much without it.

“Shovel Ready” is a really quick read, and for the right reader, this may be an enjoyable book, but the sci-fi fell short, it lacked any interesting characters, and had a lackluster story line. If this doesn’t sound like your thing, then it’s really not.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for my honest review

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DIY Framed Chalkboard

Posted by on Oct 13, 2014 in DIY & Crafts, Home Decor | 4 comments


The other day Zack asked me if I had a chalkboard that we could use to hang up in the basement as a scoreboard for the dart board (yea, throw more “boards” in that sentence). My over-enthusiastic response: “No, but I’ll make you one!” *claps with glee*

So over the weekend I wondered off to the local Salvation Army store in search of a cheap frame. I found one for $3 that I quite liked (and after cleaing it I liked it even more I almost didn’t want to spray paint it). Then I went to Lowes and bought a can of coloured spray paint and some spray chalkboard paint.


I took the glass out and spray painted the frame. The back of the frame didn’t come out, it was a fold out one, so the back got painted too. I just followed the directions on the can for coats and dry time.


(Such a pretty colour! *pets it* It’s Valspar “Nautical” in case you’re wondering)

And did the same to the glass with the chalkboard spray paint.


I basically went back and forth doing coats between them. I did two coats on the frame as directed. The chalkboard I did 4 coats, just because I wasn’t sure how well it would go on the glass.

To prep the surface of the chalkboard, it’s suggested that you first rub the chalkboard with chalk. I don’t know why, it’s just what I see everyone do, so I did it too. I guess so whatever you write first isn’t forever etched on it.


I used some twine to tie a piece of chalk to the back of the frame.


Put the chalkboard glass in the frame.


And then hung it in the basement.


I think it looks great!


Zack has been teasing me that the colour is too girly for his “man cave” but he can suck it up, I wanted to buy a colour that I would use again. And I do adore the colour.

But the chalkboard seems to work well. I haven’t tried scratching it off or anything, but it didn’t come off when I used it, that’s always a plus.

So the whole project took me about an hour for all the spray painting, then it was just letting it dry over night. It cost me about $13. Yes, it would be cheaper to go to the store and buy a cheap, little chalkboard, but that’s including the cans of spray paint which can now be used for anything and everything. I’ve been looking around rooms in the house pondering what would look good in “Nautical” (hint: everything! … here kitty, kitty! I joke… maybe).

But it’s a fun, easy afternoon project. And it looks so much prettier than a plain chalkboard. What do you think?

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