Hello Western Australia!

I have made it to Perth and have fallen in love with Western Australia!! My host mother Carole and my Rotary Sponsor Counsellor Greg James and his wife Helen, were waiting for me as I arrived late Saturday night. They let me know that my new nickname was “Disaster”. Greg says to me, “You were in Thailand during Tsunami and you survived, you choose to go to Queensland when we have the worst floods in 50 years, then you are in Cairns when the worst Cyclone in our time decides to hit… What next an earthquake?!”… now they call me Disaster…  

We drove to Carole’s place to meet David her husband. We had some wine from WA and it really was a lovely greeting. Carole and David have been so accommodating and have taken me all around Fremantle and to different parts of Perth. David works at the Perth Mint and is in the process of creating the world’s biggest gold coin, one tonne of gold! Carole is very active in the rotary community and acted as president in 2008. I met with the rotary club last Monday night, and they were a blast! Carole happened to mention my specialisation in Sexology in Psychology and introduced me to the group as a Sex therapist!! The club has not let it down since… constantly asking questions about the field of sexology and my ‘experience’, haha. It is a small club with 33 members (only 2 are women). There club is very active in the community and I was able to sign up for several projects! The one Carole and I are leading is a fundraiser for the local blood bank. I am also part taking in the distribution of a community connection booklet and with their bi-weekly sausage fundraiser. We are also attending a movie night fundraiser on Sunday, and a golf tournament on Mar 4. We went lawn bowling the other night with all the Rotarians and their partners and had a really good time; I am awful at Lawn bowling!! But demonstrated how we are good at ‘Curling’ back home.

My university starts tomorrow and I am very anxious to get my courses selected and get to know the university. Yesterday, David and I went on a brewery tasting tour and I was able to discover a lot of downtown Fremantle and it’s a beautiful area right on the water. Fremantle is a very old standing British Port in Australia, they have their Fremantle Prison which is a huge tourist attraction. The streets are busy and full of cafes, markets, breweries, seafood shops, pubs, art stories and Ugg Stores. It’s very bohemian and hippy style, with lots of artists and people of free spirit wandering the streets, which reminds me of my home town in Nelson, BC.

I have met some truly amazing people so far. I met a wonderful Australian girl named Julie, she is an osteopath from Melbourne, and we started looking for a house together and secured a beautiful 3 bedroom house in the heart of Freo. There is a beautiful courtyard with a small pond to hangout and drink tea and talk about our world travels. There is another couple who will be living with us they are from Brazil and South Africa; it will be quite the international house of students!! I am having an amazing journey so far and have been blessed to land in such an amazing rotary club and host family! Thanks again to rotary!

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About Nicole Ripley

Chosen as the 2011-2012 Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar for District 5060. I will be studying a Masters in Counselling Psychology at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle, Australia. I will be hosted by the Rotary Club of Attadale and South Bunbury in District 9465.
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