Better Late than Never–Easter!
Ahhhh a huge sigh of relief that midsemester exams are finished and I have TONS of exciting things to look forward to—first of which being my trip to New Zealand that begins in just a few days. The past few weeks have been filled with finishing assignments and preparing for midsemester exams before the big 2 week break. I was lucky enough to spend a very relaxing Easter weekend with my Australian friend Brittany and her family at their holiday home about 3 hours north of Sydney.
I guess coming into this experience, I didn’t really consider the fact that I’d be away from home for Easter. I didn’t acknowledge the idea of missing out on Mom’s chili dip or not sitting on the living room couch peering over the window sill for our guest’s cars to climb up the mountain of a driveway. I didn’t think of any of these things..until Easter snuck up on me. The thoughts crossed my mind briefly of course, but instead of having any time to dwell on what I’d be missing back home, I was too focused on my excitement for my Easter weekend to come.
Not in New Hampshire, not in Hilton Head where I’ve spent an Easter before, not at Brown’s Seafood Shack by the beach, and not even in Sydney..this new place I call “home”. Brittany invited me to go to her family’s house in the Hunter Valley for Easter weekend. I had been looking forward to this getaway ever since the day it was brought up in conversation and now, I completely understand why.
We arrived at Brittany’s summer house by the ocean at around 6 PM on Thursday and relaxed on their deck (stunning views of sailboats and a moon that could light up the entire sky). We even got to see some wallabies…one with a joey in her pouch too! It felt fake. When I look off my deck, I see squirrels and the occasional pretty bird (don’t get me wrong Mom and Dad, I do love New England!!) and Australians look out their deck and see wallabies. This was the first reminder that I was definitely in Australia and I was definitely in the country.
I spent the weekend getting to know her parents and 3 younger siblings as well as meeting more of her friends from back home. We went on a dolphin watch and camel rides, giving us the chance to take full advantage of the gorgeous weekend weather. On Easter Sunday, we all enjoyed a delicious home cooked meal! Yum.
Easter was the first chance I’ve had to really spend some time outside of this busy city that I love so much. It was a nice reminder of the beauty that lies in other parts of Australia. When I tell you I felt so at home with Brittany’s family, I couldn’t be more serious. Coming into this study abroad adventure, I was expecting to live with other Americans, befriend other Americans and only have Australian acquantainces. It has been an irreplaceable cultural experience to have a best friend here that is Australian. We have spent nearly every day together since I’ve been here and we still catching ourselves saying “I can’t believe we sat next to each other at that housing meeting!” Easter will definitely be one of my favorite memories of Australia. I am hoping to create so many more memories in New Zealand next week!