Hello, hello and g’day, g’day! It has dawned upon me recently that I have 9 weeks left in Australia and 5 weeks left of classes.
Regardless, I am trying my best to bestow my presence upon every inch of Australia that I can. And where better than Ozzie’s not-capital-but-still-most-well-known city? After the stress of midterms–and by stress I mean I had to spend four whole hours on two papers (I know, how wretched)–this weekend was the perfect time for another escapade. This time to P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney. Or, simply: Sydney.
Despite being only an hour away from Melbourne, Sydney felt slightly intimidating to me. And not just because all the girls were so excessively dolled up that Saturday night and my friends and I were apparently so underdressed that a man asked if we had just been exercising. In these past two and a half (my gosh) months, I’d grown comfortable with Melbourne-its trams, the various eateries, the university, my house in St Kilda. I was now throwing myself into unfamiliar territory again, and this time I did not even have a place to stay (at first). My fellow travel companions and I had planned on booking a hostel upon arrival in Sydney, which was and will always be a bad idea, especially when Sydney has something so enticing to tourists as a Chocolate Festival. We managed to find something available for the three of us after a few hostel (but not hostile) rejections, and after we had a place to stay I felt much more at ease. This study abroad thing is really testing my need for order and schedule… and my restraint (again: Chocolate Festival, AKA the ultimate test of self-control).
Between browsing shops at the marvelous Manly Beach, prancing around the Opera House at night, and braving the beautiful waters of Bondi Beach, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmingly grateful for this study abroad experience, and anxious that there was still so much to see. It was another reminder of all that Australia has to offer, how little I really have seen here and all over the world, and how much I really want to explore all of it.
I met someone from the Netherlands awhile back who had been living in Melbourne for about a year. For me, a year seems like a lot of time compared to my five month semester, yet neither of us felt like we had taken advantage of the city–let alone the country. Even someone who’d spent a year in Melbourne felt that he hadn’t had enough time. How can I possibly fit everything in? The sad truth is that I most likely cannot. And I can’t help but think back to the States and what incredible places I have yet to visit in my own country–even in my own state! It was suddenly very disconcerting to come back from Sydney and recall that conversation with my Dutch friend, to realize how little time I have left here.
Being abroad can pressure you to put your experience on a timetable and to stuff as much as you can into it. Yet if you get hung up on the things you may not see, how can you appreciate those that you are seeing? I have a tendency to doggedly look toward the future and under-appreciate the moment. I am beginning to realize how adverse this constantly forward-looking perspective of mine can be. It’s okay to have a bucket list and look forward to it, but I have to remember to put the darn bucket down while I’m ogling at the Sydney Harbor Bridge and just enjoy the view. It’s like the saying goes: stop and smell the roses (like the beautiful ones in Sydney’s Royal Botanical Gardens)!
I’m still studying of course, turning in an essay or assignment now and then, but study abroad truly is about so much more than that! Plus, I have yet to tell you about all these cultural differences (i.e. have I mentioned how they tend to say “no worries” here instead of “you’re welcome”?). So stay tuned until then!
… Actually yeah I may just not go back to the States.