About Christine Nevins


Latest Posts by Christine Nevins

Who Needs Refrigeration, Electricity or Soap Anyways?

January 18, 2010 by  

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Living the life of a Tasmanian hippie truly is a trip, almost to the point of being indescribable–all in a good way.

Prior to my arrival, I was informed, via telephone, that my time here would be spent primarily taking care of the animals/Avian, eating Lissa’s quirky, organic-gluten-free (Andrew’s allergic) health creations, and some dirty work in the garden. Fair enough. However, my naivety really underestimated the weight of the situation. I totally thought I was prepared; my reasoning being, A.) My aunt has a horse farm in Virginia that I visit yearly and help her care for her 4-6 horses.

After completing the daily tasks required for those ridiculously sensitive animals, any other type of domestic pet care feels like borderline negligence. B.) Nutrition is one of my only hobbies I still actively pursue. A lot of credit probably has to go to my other Berkeley based aunt whose been a vegetarian-lactose intolerant-organic eater long before it was cool (started after her breast cancer diagnosis).

After growing up with holidays meals consisting of sun-dried tomato-goat cheese pizza and asparagus based guacamole, I’ve learn to gracefully adjust and  in time my palate has matured into being pretty daring and   very forgiving (I was vegan for two {terrible} weeks in college after all). Something I’m weirdly proud of, and lastly, C.) How hard can gardening be?

Good thing I enjoy being wrong, sometimes.

I am a solid sucker for puppies, and there are 7 adorable ones here.  10 weeks old, sharp teeth and crazy. The unconditional love is overwhelming, especially since they are all competing against each other for your affection and touch. The hardest thing about it is simply leaving! If they hear you anywhere, they cry. While I know they’re fine, it still tears me apart. God, cute overload.

And also- they aren’t hard to care for. Just feed them, give them water, and watch them to be sure they don’t bite the chooks. And because these are hippies, they really don’t care to clean up after them. They are allowed to shit where ever they please. With 7 of them (8 including Henna), it’s getting to be just everywhere.

There are definitely times that I want to say “Can I please pick this up?! It’s everywhere!!” I’m actually worried about asking about cleaning because I don’t want to offend them. There are many things that I believe should and can easily be cleaned that they just don’t. It is their house after all.

I’ve never been much of a gardener and this experience reminded me why. I feel really ignorant and selfish saying this, especially since its what so many people here do, but I do not in anyway want to grow my own food. Its an extremely large amount of effort for something I have a feeling would just not turn right for me. It’s reminds me of the times my mother would buy things like a bread maker and a juicer, but instead of creating bread and juice, she’d make salty, fluffy, sandwich croutons and sweetened, cloudy water with pulpy sediment.

I appreciate our farmers and can only imagine the headache this organic trend has brought upon them. Organic food is more expensive but really, not by much, especially when you think about how much more work it is for them to keep such a large amount of crops healthy, while pesticide free.  It’s hard,  always extremely hot or cold, and pay is not good. So I’m going be quiet and to try to just support local, organic produce, instead of force my offensive looking produce onto the homes of my future neighbors.

I’m ecstatic to be living without a solid internet connection, television,  reliable cell phone reception, or even a car; things that I’ve severely taken for granted  or have become embarassingly reliant upon. It kills me to know that the pieces of modern society are just going to become more excessive and powerful if anything, at quite a remarkable speed — remember, we grew up without the internet and cell phones???  Now our cell phones have Internet access!!!

While technology does bring lots of exciting things to the table, it all comes at a cost in terms of tradition and culture, which in my opinion is huge. Taking these things out of my life has really taught me how to readjust, make new discoveries, and pave new paths for myself –make use of imagination again. I feel a bit perverted for almost liking that squirmy, uncomfortable feeling of being pushed on the edge, but that feeling of accomplishment high afterwards is like no other.

Australia still has many places without cell phone bars –and I like that. The US is so industrialized that its smothering. I’ve learn to really value solitude, especially after living with my own inner- OMGwhatamigoingtodowithmylife struggles- alongside 6 girls in SLO, and 5 boys in Sydney. Learning to be by yourself contently is such an important skill that I think I’m getting closer to mastering, although in the beginning, I will admit I was a little spooked when I first really heard myself think. I’ve truly never been this alone before.

I think the assumed ‘I’ve seen in all attitude comes from American culture. It’s one of the main complaints I’ve heard about my country, mainly assuming us all to be ignorant and that America is the center of the universe (even though we all know California actually is. duh). In defense, simply being an American and loving where you come from should hardly be a crime, which it is what it sometimes feels like.

I can only imagine what things would be like for me if I came from, I don’t know, TEXAS. Lisa, being from Detroit, seems to know where I’m coming from. She did choose a drastically different life but its not like she has hard feelings for the states. When people move to a foreign place, they assume its because they hated where they came from, when I think more often than not, that’s hardly the reason at all. 

The Hobart International Games: Australian Open Pre-Games

January 16, 2010 by  

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Lissa was volunteering to work as a bar staff volunteer for the Hobart Open, which is a smaller scale of the Australian Open. I think the winners from these matches went on to try to qualify for the Australian Open but I’m not too sure. She asked me if I wanted to join her so after my garden work, I met her at her office and we walked to the courts. Lissa signed up to volunteer because she really wanted to see the games but tickets are pretty expensive, but working as a volunteer, you get a free shirt, food and you get to see the game. I used to play tennis in high school so I thought it’d be cool to see a pro game.

The view from the courts was amazing. Tasmania is incredibly beautiful.

Quick panoramic shot of the mountains around the court!

Mt. Wellington

January 12, 2010 by  

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Off to see Mt. Wellington. Tasmania is a small island and Hobart is an even smaller city, so the bush, mountains, CBD, the wharf, etc. are all within a 20 minute drive to each other. And while it was only a 20 minute drive to the top, the temperature dropped tremendously. It was FREEZING at the top! View was well worth it.

Exploring Hobart and Salamanca Place

January 9, 2010 by  

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Produce at Salamanca Market

The bugs in Tasmania were eating me alive – literally 56 bites to count on both legs. I want to die.  The walk to Hobart CBD was really nice: a little bit chilly but a crystal clear day with blue skies.

Hobart is the second oldest Australian city and still has a lot of old, historic brick buildings. I love all the cobblestone roads.

It was Saturday so the Salamanca Market was held in Salamanca Place. It’s a huge tourist attraction and because of all the hippie types, there’s a lot of interesting things to see. Lots of pictures of the extinct Tasmanian Tiger, which is the mascot for Cascade Brewery.

Tasmanian Tiger

Tasmania is known for excellent seafood, cheese and fudge. Definitely found great samples of each. I bought this amazing tea towel. Not sure who its for yet but I had to buy it simply for how ridiculous it is.

Atrocious but can’t deny it has character. The Tasmanian Devil is on pretty much everything. It’s always shown  screaming because they have
a terrible screech. In the zoos they are actually pretty cute; kind of like giant dog-hamster things.

I wandered around bought a small bottle of Tasmanian wine for my dad, honey for my mom, and then just sat on the grass and listened to some bloke play guitar.

Now you can pretend you were there! Have a listen.

WWOOF – Willing Workers of Organic Farming

January 7, 2010 by  

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Possibly one of the worst flights in my life. Basically left the club in Melbourne and got in a taxi to the airport. Good memories but at what a price.

I called Amanda, my WWOOF host and asked her where I should get off the airport shuttle. I told the driver at the beginning and he apparently missed it , He gave me a really hard time and  said I’d have to stay on for the next shuttle load, meaning another hour and half. I told him to forget it and got off someplace random. The jackass then drove off without asking me if I had luggage in the back, which I did, and left with all my stuff. I called Amanda and she met me, even though it was a little out of her way. I called the shuttle company, reported the driver and eventually got my luggage back. Some people…

I was so exhausted from the previous night and traveling that I honestly just wanted to sleep. Usually I do okay with allnighters but I was really hurting. Too bad Amanda had other plans for me. She told me to get in work gear and had me start weeding in the sun. While praying for an early death, a wallaby rushed by me, jacked a tomato from the garden, and ran off. I paused and wondered if that actually just happened. It’s easy to forget where you are sometimes. And then something like that slaps you back into reality.

The property is breathtaking. The house is literally in the trees. Tasmania gets made fun of a lot by the mainland but it really is beautiful.

Amanda and Millard’s amazing view

Trees!!!

So if you aren’t familiar with WWOOF, it stands for Willing Workers Of Organic Farming. What it basically means is that people register to become hosts with WWOOF to be added into a book. They write a description of their farm/house and the tasks they would like done. In exchange, the worker gets food, board and a cultural experience. There are a variety of things listed. Everything from nudist colonies to alligator farms and simple organic households (which is what I was at). Starting an organic garden is a tremendous amount of work (farmers really don’t get the credit they deserve) and most people just need help with pruning, mulching and weeding.

I really wanted to see Tasmania and heard that it was a lot more liberal than the mainland and thought that WWOOFing there would be a lot more interesting.


I Love Everything About Melbourne, Except The WEATHER

January 7, 2010 by  

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Temper Trap -  Amazing Melbourne based rock band that I heard about from Linda back in Sydney

Australia is full of Germans and Canadians. What I’ve noticed with a lot of the German travelers is that many seem to just jump on a plane fearlessly without much of a plan. Andrew was a prime example of this because he spoke little to no English. Tamica said it was a bit of a struggle to entertain him but she’s an amazing people person so they made due.

Later, I met John and Juan Jose, two guys that were traveling separately that both happen to be from the US, both are sweethearts. John is  a guy originally from Vermont that had recently acquired Australian citizenship and was looking for a place to settle. Juan Jose actually lives in California and went to CSU Long Beach, his dad went to Poly (world is too small). He is steadily getting his teaching credential and traveling along the way.

Definitely should have made more time for Melbourne. Melbourne is lovely. It was a little empty in the city because I came around New Years when many businesses are still on holiday, but it’s very interesting. I could see why it’s listed as one of the best places to live in the world. The only thing I truly hated was the WEATHER. It’s one of those places that have 4 seasons in one day. I never knew how spoiled I was with not just California’s heat but consistency. I was always either sunburned or freezing. Fail.

I went to the markets and found tons of amazing art by local artists. I bought two paintings and some jewelry for friends back at home. I’m not a shopper (although Melbourne is known for amazing shopping) but I love going to markets because with all the craziness, I felt really immersed in the culture. Plus, all the art is authentic and you can usually grab a great deal.  Oh and btw, food is MUCH better in Melbourne than it is in Sydney.

Don’t you love how they think of us?

Just to hear some of the music

Is that one of them? And a picture for comparison…

…is worthless. Whatever.

Seeing this show was so much different than others. It was a really intimate little show with no fences or barriers in front of the stage. Pretty low security, no weapon searches. People were pretty much up to the stage, just enjoying themselves. American media really does kill the spirit of a lot of things.

Exploring Melbourne With A Local

January 5, 2010 by  

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It was only an hour flight from Sydney to Melbourne but because of all the madness the night before, I was not exactly prime. Jenny went to Torquay for NYE and wasn’t back yet so I booked in at a hostel. In Melbourne, there were ads, even in Sydney for this huge rage called “White Light” or something along those lines. Every imagine what a 14 bed, co-ed hostel looks like the day after New Years? Never mind, let me show you…

Jenny was horrified. I settled into my hostel when Jenny called saying she was back from Torquay a bit early.  We checked out a bar on top of a Thai restaurant called Cookie. The top deck is like a huge lawn, complete with deck chairs and giant dice to sit on. That screen is for movies. Recommended.

AVATAR

The next day, Jenny took me to see Avatar. She got free tickets from the Oxfam walk she is doing. It just came out in theaters and her dad wouldn’t stop talking about it. Our verdict? Longgggg. Now I’m going to get a bunch of hate comments. Whatever, bring them on.

Healesveale Sanctuary

We took in the Healesveale Sanctuary to see some Kangaroos and Koalas — when in Rome and all that.

Emu- these things make such a weird noise

Kangaroo! We fed him sweet potatoes.

They’re pretty lazy. And everywhere.

Baby croc. They have super soft skin. Which is probably why we make them into bags and shoes…:(

Common brown snake. One of the top 10 poisonous snakes in the world.


My first encounter with GIANT pelicans. They are  roam free around the zoo.

Toddler to scale

Animal hospital doing surgery on a bird

Let’s now enter into a different pace, shall we?

Yarra Valley Wineries

Jenny took me wine tasting through the Yarra Valley Wine Region which is well known in Australia for producing some of the best wines, alongside of Adelaide (South Australia) and Margaret River (Western Australia).

I was introduced to some Australian music, including Aussie Hip Hop! Haha, definitely not the same as the US. Have a listen.

Release the Spirit

January 1, 2010 by  

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Release the Spirit was the theme of the NYE firework show this 2009 in Sydney. This day was a lot more stressful than it had to be. But its my own fault. I decided a few weeks back that I wanted to see the fireworks show and then pretty much get out of Sydney to travel.

I really wasn’t thinking when I bought my flights. The cheapest flight to Melbourne was on January 1st. At 6:00 AM.  My backpack was pretty nasty from traveling so I put it in the washer. Turns out the washing machine completely shredded the two straps. It looked like a dog had gotten to it. It definitely wasn’t going to work so I just threw it out.

So on NYE, I had to buy a backpack, get a new camera in time for the fireworks, pack up my entire apartment into two small suitcases (my amazing friend Michelle let me store a 32″ suitcase at her house until I came back.

Another thing I didn’t think about before was how big the fireworks show is in Sydney. My friends wanted to sit in the Royal Botanical Gardens, which is right between the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.


If you ever go to Sydney, go to the Royal Botanic Gardens. The trees are amazing.


Cheeseeee (Thats one of my  BebeSydney dresses)

Christine and Sangeetha. Sangeetha is wearing something also from Bebe. For a Christmas present I got them all something from the label.

The weather wasn’t that great. It rained off and on and somehow I got a sunburn through it all. They were supposed to have an airshow but it never happened.

At 9 PM, they had the first teaser fireworks show and then at midnight the big one. I have to say, it was pretty amazing. On TV, they just show the fireworks shot off the bridge, but they are actually shot off from different places around the city so it’s everywhere. There are also boats in the harbour with coloured lights floating through the water.