As of today, I have officially been home from Australia for a month. And to be honest, I have some mixed feelings about being home for such a long period of time before going down to my home uni again in another week. I do love being home, especially because I was blessed to have a beautiful white Christmas with my family in my hometown with plenty of cheer (and not to mention, lots and lots of food). I still have friends that stuck around in Straya a few weeks after I did, and seeing their photos or videos online definitely makes my heart squeeze a little because I miss the sunshine and the Australian accent. I try to use the Aussie lingo sometimes just to keep it alive in my heart, but I have definitely been given a few odd looks after asking “hey, how ya goin’ today?” even in the most casual setting. I won’t let that stop me from throwing out “heaps” whenever I can, though!
Sometimes I feel like I forget that I even was gone in a foregin country for 5 months. Then, I’ll get a message from an Australian friend, or I’ll see a photo that I took on one of our adventures, and everything comes rushing back all at once how much I’ve learned and been lucky enough to see. Thankfully, I have plenty of reminders of my travels and really enjoyed creating a photo album with all of my photos, ticket stubs, postcards, and little things I collected along the way that remind me that nothing was a dream, but it makes it all still tangible to me no matter where I’ll be in the future. There are so many memories that I never want to forget, and I feel like the only way to make sure I never do is to solidify them in pictures and journals, so I can look back on them whenever I want to feel nostalgic. Australia will always have a very special place in my heart now, and I take every opportunity I can to tell people about my travels and how incredible the Aussies are. I’ve noticed many things that are very different in America vs Australia, as I knew I would notice when I came home, and some of them are very familiar and others make me question why we Americans are so different and how we can improve many things to be more efficient with our country in comparison.
Overall, I’ve adjusted to being back home very well because I’ve been around my family and two of my closest friends as much as possible, and been able to work at the job I have during the summer to earn back a little of the money I spent abroad (which, to be honest, was a lot). The strangest thing to get used to the first few days was not hearing the Aussie accent around me, but now I can hardly remember when that was all I heard (and I’m too horrible at accents to try and recreate it for others, sadly enough). I feel that I’m the same person I’ve always been, but I have so much more knowledge and confidence in my abilities overall now that I’ve survived on my own for months in a foreign country, making me feel worldly and traveled with a lot more cultural balance beneath my belt. I would never, ever trade my experiences in Australia for anything, and I feel like I studying abroad was the best decision I could have ever made for myself during my college experience, because I have learned more about people, myself, and the world than I ever could have in a classroom.
Cheers, for the last time,