The Best of Australia

Last night I realized that it is getting closer and closer to the one year mark of the day that I left Australia. Ok, honestly, I’m being a bit dramatic; I still have almost two months until that but time sure is flying. If you had told me those words were going to come out of my mouth back in September, I might have killed you. Until November when I cemented my plans to come to Italy, it seemed that nothing was moving. Anywhere. That’s another story, and not one that I want to recount.

I didn’t do nearly enough posting while I was in Australia and it deserves a story too. The time I spent in Sydney was the first time that I felt completely independent and for the first time I didn’t feel responsible to anyone. I could do whatever I wanted, and that is a very freeing feeling. There was no job to report to, no kids to nanny, no parents to visit, no long-time friends I must be sure to see, there was nothing like that. I didn’t know anyone and no one expected anything of me, it was really refreshing. I was incredible lucky to find what I found in Sydney. I will forever be thankful about ever single option I chose for my study abroad experience. It left me completely independent to discover the best possible things for me.

There are a few moments that stand out particularly in my mind. It seems like everyday was something grand in Sydney, even that one day that Lynsey and I watched TV for 9 hours and didn’t move from the couch; and things got more interesting as the time went on. With great d

ifficulty I have come up with the top five moments of my trip and some of my favorite photos.

1. Karaoke: One day that will forever live in my memory as one of the best days of my life and one of the days that defines what we are as friends and what Sydney meant to all of us, is easily summed up with this picture which has followed me everyday since then.

Sadly, there are a few key players who didn’t make it into the shot, but they were there and we all know it. We discovered this little Karaoke Bar where we were locked in a big room all together and for hours we would all sing and dance and drink and it felt like home. I love this photo so much because it seems to just represent us so well, at our best.

2. Gosford: The most special thing about this trip was that it was completely unplanned. We all sat around Station St. talking about how we should do something for hours and we never came to a conclusion. Then I found the least exciting suggestion in my Lonely Planet and we were off on the 5 o’clock train. I think one of the things that made this trip so amazing was the Goon. From then on Goon would forever be

a part of our friendship circle, he just never seizes to entertain. A three-hour train ride and a one-hour taxi ride later and we were standing in the middle of the campgrounds on Puddy Beach. Five confused, drunk foreigners with one two-man tent and a backpack each. We found an open spot on the grass and the fun began. You could hear the ocean from the campground, it was an amazing sound and after setting up the tent we ran down to the beach. There we walked and explored until we decided it was time to eat, and were saved by the man in the tent next to us who hunted us down on the beach with a plate full of sausages and hamburgers. The night was eventful and I think it brought us all closer as did the next hungover morning when we discovered we were in the middle of nowhere, on a Sunday, during daylight savings time. The trip home was an adventure in itself, but we gathered our kicked spirits and explored, stopping at the Hawksbury River on the way home.I think that everyone’s first big trip has many life-changing effects on them and most of the experiences are ones that can never be repeated. I am happy to say that I will always look back on my study abroad experience as a huge and influential part of my life; not simply that semester that I spent abroad. This trip was full of firsts for me. My first time in a hostel, my first time paying rent, my first time without a job. One thing that I never thought would be a part of that list was bungy jumping.

3. Bungy Jumping: On my “spring break” from school Nell and I planned an eleven day trip to New Zealand and Fiji. We met Ivo there, as he had left a week before and Maud joined us at the last minute and we were on to explore the adventure country. Bungy jumping is one of those experiences that I always wanted to say I would do but didn’t think I was brave enough to do it. I have proved myself wrong! Not only did I do it, but I jumped one of the highest jumps in the world!
There I go. A special thanks to Nell and Ivo who booked this experience for Maud and I without our consent.

4. House Parties: Then there were the infamous backyard BBQ’s where we stayed outside drinking, occasionally eating, singing and playing the guitar until 4am. Our final one even got us a little reputation with the neighbors, and a good one at that! It doesn’t seem that you could find a better and more care-free group of people to put together.

5. The Kind of Souvenir That Won’t Stay on the Shelf: I guess I can’t really go without mentioning him because not only would he be butt-hurt about it but I did spend most of my time there and since with him. So here he is, the souvenir that won’t stay on the shelf (no matter how many time I put him back), Lorenzo. Of course I went to Australia hoping to meet someone, who doesn’t. I’ll tell you that I definitely didn’t go to meet an Italian (and don’t worry, he DEFINITELY knows that). People always say that you find it when you aren’t looking, well for me it was more like you find what you are not looking for. I can’t tell you the number of times I tried to look past Lorenzo for some rugged surfing Aussie; and look at me now.
Here we are in the Blue Mountains, exploring the great unknown.
Looking back is always good, but you can’t forget to look at yourself now and remember how lucky you are.