Oh, the places we’ll go…

Thank you

Hello Our World School followers and friends! As some of you might not know, we are almost coming to the finish line of our trip. For some it is sad, for others, great. As for our feelings, they’re a little bit in the middle. We want to Thank You for the great comments and impeccable thoughts. Many of you at home are missing us incredibly and just want to see us. Just to put this out there, we miss you too. We would also like to thank U.P., GreenHill, and so many other schools around the world for following us and asking so many wonderful questions about our journey. We wish all the schools a pleasant summer!

~ Garrison Family~

( Written by Emma Garrison)

Jack and Joy ran down a hill and chased the sheep away.....

Jack and Joy are two of the four sheep dogs at Kenlea Cottage in New Zealand. They herd the sheep from one paddock to the other. A few days ago I watched them do their work and it was so cool. First Mr. Ken, one of the owners, blew the whistle and sent Jack off to chase the sheep. Jack doesn’t bark and just’s gives the sheep a mean eye and scares them. Then Mr. Ken blew another whistle and Joy went running. But Joy is different than Jack, Joy only barks and goes on the other side to lead them where Mr.Ken wants them. So that is how the dogs work. Other farms herd sheep with motorcycles nowadays, but Mr.Ken uses dogs. P.s. I got to ride his Four Wheeler to some place’s.


New Zealand Horse Riding

The horses were great!! I loved them so much. The first time I rode them was in in New Zealand at Kenlea Cottage, which was very cold, and the owners had two daughters who owned the horses. Well…. I change that. It wasn’t my first time ever. Not at all…. It was about my 1st …2nd …3rd…4th…5th… about the ninth time. The daughters of the owners were named Ashley and Emma, He He!!! The owner’s names were Ken and Christine. They own the horses, cottage, and the girls. The cottage is awesome! But that’s a whole other story. This blog is about the horses.   Anyway, the horses are so cool. I rode both and they’re both totally different! The names of them are Maggie and Buddy. They both love to get dirty in their paddock. What they do is roll over for the dirt, and then go into the pond, pretty deep, and make sure the dirt stays at least on their legs or hooves. Maggie usually is the dirtiest one because she has no dirt cover. One is naughty (sometimes), and one loves to go fast, and I really want to gallop. I hope you stay there, because they’re really nice. I’ll give you one hint about the cottage…., “Nice fire in the winter”.


Paradise Found

I love movies. I really do. More than just loving the story, I love everything about them, from the magic of special effects to where and how they filmed the storybook landscapes. Imagine my delight when I discovered the New Zealand was a filming hot spot for movies such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Chronicles of Narnia and Bridge to Teribithia, as well as parts of the Last Samurai and the Water Horse. Put scenes from these fantastical lands together, and you have the beauty of New Zealand. It was this alone that pushed us to board the plane on Sydney. Previous to this, New Zealand had truly been open. Ideally, we wanted a farm stay, but there’s price to consider, and for the rates we were finding, we might as well have stayed at the Four Seasons. Looking at the budget we wanted for New Zealand and the surplus of places to see, a campervan seemed like our best shot. Let me bring you in to my mind momentarily. At that time, I’d been with my family for eleven months and five days. Two bedrooms were the usual, and hotel life was the norm. Now, I’ve just been proposed the idea of spending a week in a campervan the size of our Yukon XL. I can’t complain—we’ve had a good amount of space to ourselves during our time in Australia, and it was going to be, after all, only a week. However, the idea was wholly unappealing. I maintained an open mind, aware that this was just the way it was going to be, but then my salvation came when our rental agent emailed us the news—the required campervan was unavailable. Could she have had better timing? Now, back to Square #2: where to stay. We went back to our original idea of a farm stay in the deep country. Prices were still through the roof, and we seemed to be getting little luck. All the time, I’m hoping for easy access to any of the Lord of the Rings filming sites, entirely for bragging rights. At last, we found it: a small, three-bedroom cottage on 720 acres of sheep, horse, and cattle farm lands for the best rate we’ve had in a very long time. I could not have imagined the beauty that awaited us, or the surprise news we discovered towards the end of our stay. Driving to Kenlea Cottage truly put our driving and map-reading skills to the test, as it truly was beyond the middle of nowhere. As mom stared down every sign that flew by, we stared into the sparkling sky above us. It’s not often that you’re able to distinguish the star clouds from the twinkling loners. Eventually, after what seemed to be endless hours of driving, we pulled into a rocky driveway and into the car park of a sweet, white cottage perched on a small hill, the lights standing out from its dark background. Ahhh, sweet, freezing-cold perfection. It remained so for the rest of the week, though sunny: the epitome of New Zealand weather. Between the mystical Waitomo Caves and the malodorous aroma of Rotorua, we enjoyed walks on the farm grounds to an ancient Mauri village, horseback rides over the hills, and movie nights complete with pizza and potato wedges. As our stay was coming to an end, I was somewhat disappointed that we had not had the chance to visit the nearby Hobbitown, home to the Hobbits and their Shire. During one of our many walks, Mrs. Savill, one of the owners of the farm on which we were staying, shared with us a story that filled that small gap in stay. Only recently, they’d moved to the farm they were on now. Before that, they lived on another smaller farm spitting distance from the farm the Lord of the Rings crew had commandeered for the backdrop of their Shire. It so happened that Mrs. Savill’s farm was in procession of the perfect hill for a particular camera angle, and so Mrs. Savill found herself suddenly on the set of the Lord of the Rings, with Elijah Wood and company cresting a hill on her farm. When the crew had migrated over to her farm, they noticed a horse of Mr. Savill that happened to look incredibly like the lead horse, despite a white spot on its head. Immediately, an offer was made for the horse as a “stunt double”. Though the offer was declined, they take pride in knowing that their horse managed to catch the eye of Hollywood. Well, that successfully completed my trip to New Zealand. Too soon we were packing our bags for the unknown lands of South America and the longest day of travel the world will ever know.


Twinkle, Twinkle little worm....

After a Long day of tramping through the Waitomo caves in New Zealand our whole family took a walking and boat tour in the caves of the Glowworms, originally known as maggots with shiny poop. Glowworms are little maggots that have glowing bottoms. That name didn’t sell the tours too well so they change it to Glowworms. We were the last tour of the day so we got some special advantages like being the only group in all of the glowworm caves so it was really silent and peaceful. Our tour guide was native Kiwi or, Maori (mow-er-ee) he was very nice and had a great voice. After a bit of history and looking at the rock formations we came to the center of the cave where the acoustics were great and he turned the lights of and it went black and completely quiet and he started to sing an traditional Maori song. It was beautiful. After that we continued on until we came to a river… with a lot of empty boats. He popped one over closer to the dock and we all hopped aboard. All the lights were finally off and we started to move and then it was like the rocks had parted and the night sky was shinning through. There were thousands and THOUSANDS of Glowworms on the roof of the cave and they were so bright and big it was amazing! Slowly 20-25 minutes went past and we were out side in the cold winter (it is winter in New Zealand right now) air. The ride was over and we all got off the boat with necks soar from looking up! We were sad to leave New Zealand at the end but we knew there more great journeys to come.


Auntie Sandie

Aunt Sandie is so amazing! She does so many crafts and paintings, and all are eye-opening!  With her we painted silk, Tie-dyed and made a lot  of things from scraps.  My brother made fake weapons and I made what looked like a glittery soda can.  Auntie Sandie does all her work in her garage, which she cleaned just for us!  I thought it was all perfect for a person like her.  Her clothes that she makes are all so cute.  She gave me a wonderful green pancho and a pink hand painted hat!  When we tie_dyed, I made a bag, shirt and two head bands.  Becca made a head band, shirt and sports-shirt.  Mckenna’s shirt was awesome and she and Becca made two baby onesies for a friend.  She also made a tie-dyed flag and gave it to Josh.  Josh made 2 or 3 ties, a shirt, a flag and, out of Mckenna’s shirt sleeves, a ninja mask.  My Mom was really awesome and prepared lunch instead of crafting.  We had such a wonderful day!


In the land of Oz

For 289 days, we knew where we’d be, every hour of every day. On May 17th, we would be arriving in Australia, and that was all we knew.  Spontaneity was ours at last! Our ideas shifted throughout the planning: a month in a friend’s apartment on Sydney Harbor, campervan-ing up the coast or inland… we had options. Eventually, we decided to share the love between the friends we had in Sydney and the family living 12 hours up the coast in Surfer’s Paradise. Sydney surprised us from the start. Cold winds blew in from the water, beating into our bones a chill that we had not felt in months. Glorious winter! (Although somewhat unexpected from sunny Australia.) We hailed a cab and headed towards the city center. Our wonderful friends allowed us to stay in their apartment for the duration of our stay. A fabulous greeting gift knocked on our door the first night, and for the following two weeks we played with my mom’s old friend, Mike, and his two delightful kids, Camo and Kate. Between movies and the beach, we laughed and played until it felt as if they were family. Eventually, we were off to see our actual family, a good two-day’s drive up the eastern coast. We needed to spend the night between towns, and we knew exactly who to stay with.  Sheridan, the 26-year-old who started the small orphanage in Lalibela, Ethiopia, lives halfway between Sydney and our family in the Gold Coast. Being the incredibly kind family that they are, they offered to let us stay in their house between the days of driving. We pulled up late that night to a country home situated on a small hill surrounded by farmlands. Could it have been more picturesque? As we were pulling our bags from the trunk, the door opened and Sheridan stepped outside to greet us for the first time, followed by her mom, dad and two small, furry dogs. We soaked up the animal love, as we had not had it for so long, then sat down for a cup of tea and began to talk about our lives and the orphanage we both cared so much for. Hours later, we dragged our tired bodies into bed and slept well into the morning. We talked again over breakfast, and then had to say goodbye until next time. We continued driving for the remainder of the day until we arrived just outside of Surfer’s Paradise to our accommodations. Docked in the marina, my Great-Uncle’s boat, the immense Flamingo Bay, floated in the still waters of the harbor. Welcoming us aboard was the captain–our amazing Great-Uncle David, two members of his crew, Bill and Tony, and two of my Great-Uncle’s mates, Chris and Giles. We got to know each other and then ordered some pizza, “some” being a huge understatement. The following week, we’d be departing for a short cruise up the coast, but until then, we met up with some other members of the family and put ourselves on a first name basis with the owners of a café a few blocks down the street. Before we knew it, the boat was sailing out of the dock into the bucking waves of the ocean. We filled our time at sea with interesting memories, including a humorous attempt at sandwich making, nights in front of the TV watching Two and a Half Men and Big Bang Theory, dolphins swimming and jumping alongside the bow, and whales breaching within spitting distance. It all ended too quickly, but the fun didn’t end there. We joined another of our great-uncles and his wife and son at a basketball game, cheering loudly. Afterwards, we visited his son’s pub, a Mexican-styled restaurant in the heart of the city. The following day, we dyed silk and tie-dyed with our Great-Aunt Sandy, creator extraordinaire. Later in the afternoon, we shopped with our cousin and her mom at a store with the largest sales I’ve ever seen.  We also attended a horse race with my mom’s cousin, his wife, and daughter. We took a small break from the family for another drive down to Sydney for a surprise birthday for Beck, during which time we visited Mike and his family again. We were sad to have to say goodbye to them, but more days of excitement were waiting for us on our return to the Gold Coast, including a hike to a natural bridge with my Uncle’s wonderful friend and his wife. Long ago, a waterfall flowing over the mouth of a cave collapsed the cave’s roof, creating a bridge-like structure and a pool perfect for summer swims. During the drive back from the bridge, we stopped in a fabulous town, where we picked up some heavenly soap and handmade ceramic mugs. The remaining time in Australia disappeared in a blink, it seems. We found ourselves near our departing date too soon, even after a two-week extension. The day before heading back down the coast for our flight from Sydney to Auckland, we celebrated our cousin’s birthday and said our goodbyes to the family. On the final drive, we stopped one last time to visit with Sheridan and her family. This time, however, we ventured into their small town. I could barely contain my excitement when I found out that Sheridan worked at a cinema and that we were going to see Eclipse! Despite the new wonders I have for the world and an expanded view of adventure, the comforts of home are always appreciated. My mom found her heaven at the Chili Festival, where she discovered a chili to out-do all others. For the truth in that, we will have to wait and see… Emma and Josh ran their hearts out with the dogs, and successfully tired themselves out by bedtime, both themselves and the dogs. The latter was greatly welcomed by Sheridan and her parents. The following morning, we finished our drive to Sydney. We had been in Australia longer than we had been in any country on the trip, and yet, it had gone by as fast as every other. We left Sydney in a bittersweet mood. The magic of New Zealand awaited us at the end of our flight, and that was not something to be melancholy about., however, our stay with friends and family had been a thousand times greater than we had expected. Well, just another reason to come back :)



The H.M.A.S Bundaberg is an Australian Navy ship that was docked in the same port as my Great Uncle David’s boat. We saw it the first day it arrived and I thought it was so cool. One day we decided to go visit it and they asked us if we wanted a tour. We said yes amazed by the fact that they even offered to let us on a working naval ship because in the States you would get lucky to get on a working ship let alone take pictures. Yep that’s what I said taking pictures. That is nearly illegal in the states and soldiers would be swarming you like flies on poo. So after we got on board they took us through a hall and then took us up to the Bridge, also known as the wheelhouse. When we got up there he showed us all the buttons and the captain’s chair and then took us down to the main deck. When we got down there another person showed us these cool things that were like scuba tanks but they were used to go put out a fire. Then he took us to my favorite part… the weapons. They were so cool because he actually took them out and let me hold them. The first gun I held was the pistol. Then I held the shotgun and then I held the largest handheld weapon. One thing though, is that I don’t know the real name of it but if you look on this blog there should be a picture of it. Then we had to get off and we made them cookies a few days later to say thanks. It was so much fun.



All of Australia is so awesome! It has so much stuff to do, including staying on my Uncle David’s boat, having breakfast at a place called Thyme every morning, and occupying your time with playing all over the place. It’s all too wonderful! Australia has all the best things mixed together – including our view from our apartment in Sydney. Whilst on a boat trip with Uncle David, we discovered the most amazing thing! There were bunches of dolphins. One bunch was 57 dolphins!!!! They were jumping just off the bow, doing flips, jumps, and tricks. Sure, the seas are a little ruff, but that doesn’t change a thing. Back on the Gold coast, where the boat was docked, there was a place called sea world. Now that was fun!!! We went, at sea world, swimming with the dolphins and snorkeling with sting rays, sharks, a bunch of beautiful fish, and Fish you see every day. Swimming with the dolphins was painfully cold. The worst thing was we wore short sleeved wet suits and the funniest part was that the shark tank, which was relatively warm, had long sleeved ones. Each of us had the dolphin of the group give us a kiss. The dolphins were so cute! They did tricks like jumping, flipping, making weird noise, and all that fun stuff. Also, in the shark tank, we swam around in circles (at least me). Although we weren’t allowed to touch anything, we could at least get one meter away from “ Strange creatures behind a clear substance”. In other words, humans behind the viewing window. Make sure you enjoy wherever you are in Australia!


China with Dad

When you say China what do you think of? Lots of People? Olympics? Well I bet most of you don’t think of your dad! I do! He works for A place called Tip. Everyone there is a teacher, even the students! Beijing is where the not so Little Olympics were held but it’s also where my dad worked for a whole entire year! When we asked our dad is we could go around the world and he said yes, he didn’t just mope around all year at home going “I miss my kids!!” , he applied for a job at T.I.P. He got the job and then….. yup… moved to CHINA!! We went to China to visit him during our travels and he took us to the very famous Silk market. I was soooo excited because as you may or may not know, I love shopping!!! We got to the market and I went crazy! It had everything I had every dreamed of! We had one of my dads friends come along with us, Dorothy or Dot for short. I don’t know how long we were in there for but I could have stayed there for days! While we practiced and master the art of bartering we also got very tired by the end of the day in the market. Us kids got a few different things such as, a fountain pen, a silk robe, a few pieces of clothing, lots of jewelry, some make-up and just a few more things. After a very long day of taking prices from $50 to $5 we hopped on my dads favorite bus and rode home. We got a few things and they were all fun and a present from my daddy! THANK YOU SOO MUCH DADDY!!! We had a wonderful time and I can’t wait to see you at home!