The End of an Era (or two)

So in case you are only a follower of me on WordPress alone, you wouldn’t know that I have again touched ground in the United States. After a whirlwind of time with my family coming into Australia, diving the Great Barrier Reef with them, saying goodbye again, then flying off to Perth for the craziest week of my life, I found myself back on a 14.5-hour flight back to Los Angeles and on two more legs to Kansas City (the Missouri side).

Upon getting back, I got the chance to spend time with family and a few close friends for Christmas, exchange gifts and well wishes and plan for my next trip. Which, hilariously enough, was only right back to Dallas, where I had stopped over on my way home.

The best (American) football season Mizzou has had in a long time, and I hadn’t gotten to witness any of it until I got to see my team play in the Cotton Bowl Classic. I was so proud of them. Even though the game definitely had highs and lows (like, catching balls, maybe?) it was great. I can say that because we won and I have no bitter feelings. Had we not, I probably wouldn’t have even included it in this post. It was a bonding chance for me to have with my dad and brother and I was more than grateful for that.

Now I’m back in Columbia trying to find one pair of socks in a sea of half-unpacked clothing and preparing for the semester ahead. The last semester. I would be lying to say I wasn’t freaking out a bit, but honestly, I talked to a couple professors today (shoutout Amy and Karen!) and they made me feel more at ease.

However, I don’t want this post to just be a recap of the last two months. I want to reflect a bit on things I’m going to miss and things I learned in a land down under.

I miss the weather. I came home and 40 degrees Fahrenheit hit me hard in the face. Oh, and then on top of that a polar vortex?? What even IS that?! The coldest it even thought about getting was about 40 in Melbourne and now talking to people back there, I miss 100. I’ll get it again…it will just take 5 months.

I learned how to be actually independent. I was a pretty independent person to begin with, but going to a new country knowing no one and not really understanding all of the quirks is tough. You have to learn how to figure things out, and usually with some speed. You also have to figure out that if you have no one to go to dinner with or to the museum, that is PERFECTLY OKAY. The fact that I wouldn’t even blink now about going to see a movie alone: it’s a relief.

I learned that sometimes you try really, really hard and still don’t get the results you want. But you’ll still make it out.  Hopefully passing.

Sometimes the universe saves the best for last. You think you made no friends on your study abroad trip and it generally sucked for the first four months but then the last two are the most spectacular months of your life. Callie, Great Walks staff, Aussie Wanderer crew: you people were all my saving grace. You made me so happy about my Australian experience I don’t even know how to thank you all properly. Just don’t lose touch.

I get to say I have friends all over the world now, and I’m really happy about that. You guys should never be afraid to drop me a line, and if for some reason you’re ever in my part of the world, I guarantee I’ll have a spare couch for you.

Australian sayings are kooky. They really are. And some songs on the radio will just forever remind me of events that transpired. From now on when anyone says anything about bacon, I’m just going to habitually roll my eyes…and be thankful I get the American kind. I also would like to apologize in advance for all my “In Australia…”s, but hey, if you’re interested feel free to ask me more than “So how was Australia??”

 

Because my only answer for you will be “It was great” as I sit back and smile, remembering (mostly) the last two months.

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