Posted by: Katie | April 8, 2012

Dreaming of Disney


Nicky T.
Nicky is one of my friends I first met online because of our similar interest in Steve Irwin and his shows. She has always loved animals and currently has one cat (Salem) and one dog (Sooty). The focus of this blurb was going to be about Nicky traveling from her home in Australia to achieve her dream of visiting Disney World in Orlando, Florida (and I am grateful that I had the chance to met her in person and spend some time at Disney). However, I couldn’t ignore her other passions, such as belly dancing and hooping. Last year, Nicky gave birth to a baby girl (Billie) and couldn’t be happier. I hope you all enjoy learning a little more about Nicky’s life:

1. You’re one of my handful of online friends that I’ve made through similar interests (such as a love for animals). In your opinion, what makes animals so special?
I was born and raised on a farm, so I have been immersed with animals my entire life. I love that they are so innocent and, pets in particular, very non-judgemental. All they want/need is someone to love, look after and nurture them and in return will be your best friend. Wild animals I just find fascinating, the different habits different species have, the way they do things, interact with others.

2. You’ve lived in Australia your whole life, but achieved your dream of going to DisneyWorld two years ago. What was the main difference you noticed about Americans compared to Australians?
The accent! I honestly didn’t think mine was that bad until I had to repeat myself slowly so many times after receiving many confused looks! It’s funny because I can understand the American accent, and at Disney I heard many different forms of the accent, I think because here in Australia we are saturated in American media (TV shows, movies, music etc.) that we are used to it.

Another thing I was surprised by was the behaviour of Americans. There is a term ‘ugly american’ which refers to American’s being rude and arrogant when they travel, so I was prepared thinking I would run into this but in fact I found the opposite to be true. Everyone, staff and other tourists, were so friendly, polite and very helpful. I don’t know if it was just because we were at the ‘happiest place on earth’ or if that is just the way Americans really are but it was a very pleasant surprise.

Money and shopping was a bit culture change for me. In Australia we have different sized and shaped coins and our notes are different colour and size as opposed to in America. Figuring out what a dime and a penny is worth when trying to quickly purchase something was a bit frustrating, and I still forget to this day what they are. This is why I came home with way too many coins, because in the end it was easy to just not touch them, so when I got them in change they went in my purse and never came out again! Hopefully will be better next trip. Paying when shopping was also different because here in Australia we have the tax and GST already on an item before you take it to the register. And tipping is something we don’t do in Australia. Although after giving a taxi driver a very large tip accidentally I soon became wise to that!

3. I believe this was your first time flying and first time traveling such a great distance away from home (correct me if I’m wrong). What did you do to handle the fear of such new experiences?
I was very lucky to grow up travelling since I was a baby. My parents took me on road trips (with a caravan) all around Australia spending months at a time away. And when I hit school age we continued travelling but on shorter journeys. It was only when I entered university that I stopped travelling, but my mother has continued to do so both with friends and by herself (my father has passed away when I was a teenager). So seeing her travelling gave me the courage to make the decision to travel and to feel comfortable doing it myself. It was actually my second flying holiday, when I was 15 we (my mother and I) took 3 planes on our way to Tasmania and 3 planes back.

To prepare for the new adventure I did as much research as I could before hand. I youtubed the planes I was taking so got to see them taking off/landing from the inside and outside of the planes. I choose the seats I was going to sit in and printed off maps of the airports I would be moving around in (I took 4 flights there and 4 flights back). I also became active member on different Disney forums such as disboards.com to talk with people that have been to the parks before so I would know what to expect. I made a schedule of the parks I wanted to visit on each day depending on what I believed would give me the maximum value (eg. Some parks opened earlier some days, others stayed open later, some had parades only on certain days etc.) Of course some days those plans got thrown out the window and I just went with whatever but being prepared definitely helped feel more comfortable with things.

4. Did Disney World meet your expectations? What park was your favorite and why?
I actually always wanted to go to Disneyland in California and had never even heard of Disney World until I went to book the trip and a local travel agent had a special on a Disney World vacation. I am so glad I did go to Disney World though! I have had friends go to Disneyland and say it was good but were a bit disappointed. I absolutely loved everything about Disney World, I was there for 2 weeks and didn’t come close to seeing all of it though as it is just so big. But that is the wonderful thing about it; there is so much to do and so many new things just waiting to be explored. I am not a big fan of thriller rides but was pleasantly surprised at how many things there are to watch, partake in and just experience without being scared to death.

My favourite park would have to be EPCOT. The ‘Future World’ part is a lot of fun and has some enjoyable rides and attractions but I loved the ‘World Showcase’ part, I really enjoyed seeing and experiencing so many different cultures, that I probably wouldn’t experience unless I travelled to those actual countries, all in one place. I also really loved the Animal Kingdom park because I love animals and found it fascinating seeing some creatures I had never seen before. I loved the safari and the bird show the best but after visiting Australia Zoo so many times where you can touch almost all the animals was a little disappointed this wasn’t the case at Animal Kingdom. I didn’t spend a lot of time at Magic Kingdom due to rainy/cold weather but I am predicting that it, along with Hollywood Studios, will be well visited on our upcoming trip as they seem to have a lot of shows and experiences that cater for younger children which will be what I will be doing with my baby.

5. In Australia, you are part of a belly dancing group. What sparked your interest to join? Have you always liked dancing?
I saw the ladies dancing at several festivals and events around town and always loved watching them, but never got up the courage to give it a go until a friend suggested we try a class for exercise. We tried the class and I had so much fun I fell in love with dancing. The ladies in the group are some of the friendliest people I have ever met; we regularly get together to socialise outside of class. I still attend weekly classes as a student as well as performing with them now and also teach the beginners dance class (nefertitidance.org) I have always loved music and was in the choir and played the violin during primary school (equivalent to elementary school) and always tried out for the school dance performances but shied away from it while in high school. Dancing is just a lot of fun!

6. You also have gotten interesting in Hooping. What interested you in trying this new hobby?
I came across a video of someone hooping on youtube, it caught my eye and I searched for other hooping videos. I had never really heard of hooping (other than kids playing with hoops) before. But saw the videos and thought “I could do that” so I bought a few how-to dvds from Hoop Girl (hoopgirl.com) and Hoopnotica (hoopnotica.com) and a hoop (hulahoops.com.au) and taught myself a few basic moves. I then became involved in online hooping groups (hooping.org and hoopcity.ca) where I was able to chat with other hoopers around the world, learn new moves, get inspired by watching others and even learnt how to make my own hoops. I started posting videos of my hooping progression online and my belly dance teacher saw them and asked me to put together a hoop dance to incorporate into our performances. From that there was a bit of interest from others wanting to learn how to hoop and eventually I started a hooping class. Hooping is like belly dancing; it’s a lot of fun and it’s addictive…plus it’s a great exercise without doing a boring workout!

7. You gave birth to a girl, Billie, last year. What have been the challenges and joys of young motherhood?
Thank you for thinking I’m young! I am fortunate I studied a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) and a Master of Education (Special Education) at university and have worked with children from babyhood to twelve years old for several years now so I have a good understanding of children and their development. But of course having a little human being all of my own is completely different than having one I can hand back at the end of the day!

I think the first 12 weeks were the most challenging. Having this new little being suddenly in my life, trying to get in sync with each other and working out what she wanted and when she wanted it. There was not a whole lot of sleeping going on in those first three months, I literally felt like a walking zombie. All the horror stories you hear about babies waking and screaming all night long were so true. But it did get better! I don’t know what happened but something around that three month mark just clicked and she suddenly slept through the night, it was and still is the greatest thing ever! I know I am so lucky because there are so many parents out there still struggling with sleep issues with children a lot older than her.

The other big challenge is dealing with all the sudden ‘baby experts’. They come out of the woodworks from everywhere and seem to have an opinion about everything baby wise, whether they have a baby themselves or not! While it is great getting advice from people it is not so great having to listen to the constant “you should do this” “I did this” etc. They are usually very well meaning people but they are not you, they are not your baby and they are not in your situation. Everybody is different and the best thing I have found is to smile, nod and take all the advice with a grain of salt because in the end you know yourself and you know your baby better than anyone else.

The joys of motherhood are endless! I have a beautiful little person I get the pleasure of watching venture into and learning about this world. She is kind of like how I previously described animals (I probably shouldn’t compare my daughter to animals although I love both dearly) as being very innocent and pure and just wanting/needing to be nurtured and loved and in return loves you unconditionally. Right now is an amazing and exciting time in her life as she is currently going through so many new changes; she has discovered the joys of solid food, her first teeth are showing under her gums just ready to pop up at any moment and she is up on hands and knees about to launch (she can wriggle around – sideways and backwards) into the fun world of crawling. While I have her on a loose sleeping and eating schedule there are never two days the same, every day is a new experience and joy with her. As far a being a ‘young’ mum, I had her at 26 and am now 27, I think I am in a fortunate position where I am able to spend a lot of time with her and am able to experience many things with her such as travelling together. And hopefully as she gets more mobile I’ll be able to keep up with her and also be able to connect with her on her level without too much of a ‘generation gap’ as she grows up…hopefully.

8. In May, you are returning to DisneyWorld with Billie. Will you plan to bring her again as she gets older?
Definitely! I think Disney World is the perfect place to vacation with a child as she grows up as it allows children of different ages to experiences new fun things as she grows into different age ranges. So far Billie and I have done a road trip for 3.5hrs to Australia Zoo where we spent two days followed by a 3.5hr drive home and she did really well. So then we took an overnight train trip for 21hrs up north to visit friends for a week and a half followed by another 21hr train trip home which she did really well with, so now I have booked the big international trip. I am hoping that by building her travelling experiences up she will cope well and be a happy little traveller allowing her to grow up and experience a range of different cultures, places and different things in life. (Nicky has created a blog about Billie and will be trying to update it during the trip. http://billiesbigadventures.blogspot.com.au/)  

   

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Responses

  1. LOVE LOVE, it Great “job”
    U go girl….

  2. Nice….~♥~

  3. […] Irwin Autograph. Her first trip involved visiting for Steve Irwin Day and she was able to meet Nicky, who was the first post on this blog. Her second visit was during the cooler winter weather in […]


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