I love a sunburnt country: Saying goodbye to SydneyPosted: June 17, 2011
Highly original title courtesy of this poem, which you should be reading right now.
My last weekend in Sydney was rather anticlimatic, actually.
I spent Friday night in the common room of my college, watching TV and chatting with friends.
Saturday, several of us went to the city to walk across the Harbour Bridge, because one of my American friends hadn’t done it yet. The trains were out of service due to trackwork, so we took a bus to Wynyard, then walked back across the bridge. We stopped for gelato at Milson’s Point, which was a very good decision. We then began the journey back to college, as it was quite cold and starting to rain. We caught one of the trackwork buses, which took FOREVER–at least 90 minutes, compared to the usual 45. We amused ourselves by drawing pictures on the foggy windows with our fingers, but lesson learned: never take a trackwork bus.
Once we got back to college, we gathered around the gas heater in the dining hall to warm up (yes, really), then enjoyed a delicious–especially by college standards–dinner and dessert. After dinner, most of my friends had homework or other commitments, and it was freezing cold and pouring outside, so I regretfully decided to stay in for the night. I bummed around the common room, talked to people, and tried to forget it was my last night in Australia. Eventually, I went to sleep.
The next morning I woke up and–guess what–still raining. I got soaked on the walk to the bus station, but the rain stopped by the time I got to the city and caught the airport train.
One of my other Sydney friends, who left a week before me, said it took a while for her to fully realise she was leaving. That was definitely not the case for me.
As soon as the train left Circular Quay–the last place I’d see Sydney Harbour–I burst into tears. The harbour is my absolute favourite part of the city, so leaving with no idea when I would see it again broke my heart.
The sobfest continued as the train passed through St. James, Museum, Central, Green Square, Mascot, and Domestic Airport. When I arrived at International Airport, I decided I should probably pull myself together. I checked my luggage, acquired a boarding pass, cleared customs and security, and made my wait to gate 9.
The flight was long, of course, clocking in at about 12 hours. To pass the time, I took advantage of Qantas’ excellent movie selection and also slept a little bit.
When I arrived at LAX–four hours before I left Sydney–I was greeted by Alex and James, two of my best friends at Mizzou. We spent the day cruising around L.A. It was fun to try In-N-Out Burger, see the other side of the Pacific, and enjoy one last adventure before heading home for real.
The next day, Alex took me to the airport and I got on a plane to St. Louis. As much as I loved SoCal, and as much as I loved Sydney, it felt great to be finally going home for real. Every time someone said “Flight 768 to St. Louis,” I smiled. I couldn’t believe it was really happening.
The flight was only about four hours long, but it felt much longer.
When I arrived at Lambert, I was greeted by my mom, dad, and sister. We definitely did one of those cheesy movie run-into-each-other’s-arms things. Then, because it was 10 p.m. and I’d only eaten one meal that day, we went to Ted Drewes for dinner.
I arrived home on Monday night. It’s now Thursday, and I still feel like I want to sleep forever.
I haven’t even gotten over the jet lag yet, but I’m already having Australia withdrawals. My family, in turn, is probably already sick of hearing about them.
At some point this week, I also realised I left a piece of my heart in Sydney–and I’m pretty sure no matter what I do to get it back, it will stubbornly refuse to budge.
This is probably the part where I should do some cheesy sentimental wrap-up about how amazing my time abroad was, how much fun I had, and how much I grew and changed as a result. Blah blah blah. But in the interest of not writing a study abroad brochure, I’ll just say all those things are true, and leave it at that.
I will, however, include a cheesy song: one that’s been running through my head all semester, and almost exactly captures my feelings toward the people I met, things I saw, and experiences I had in Sydney.
That’s it for this blog. Thanks to everyone who supported me with their advice, encouragement, and finances (that’s you, mom and dad) throughout the semester. If I know you, I look forward to a joyful reunion sometime this summer. If I don’t, make yourself known–I’d love to meet you!
One last thing, and this goes for all of y’all: if you’re thinking about embarking an adventure of your own, DO IT.
No excuses. None of this “I don’t have time/I can’t afford it/I’m too scared/I have responsibilities” nonsense. I couldn’t afford to go to Australia either. I was nervous too. I have responsibilities as well (Even college kids know what those things are, so hold the snarky comments, grown ups). But I went anyway, and it was the greatest experience of my life. Of. my. LIFE.
So whether you’re looking to move halfway around the world or just head out of state for a weekend, do it. You’ll be glad you did. And whatever you choose to do, I look forward to hearing all about it.
Okay, off you go. Stop reading about my adventures, and start making some of your own.
Until next time,