No Longer a Tourist
Less than one month until I land back on American soil and I am struggling to find the words that could even come close to describing the way I feel about this inevitable end. However, I will try my best.
You no longer feel like a tourist when you become so comfortable in a place that it seems impossible to say goodbye. You have figured out which bus routes take you to Circular Quay and realized that the free bus goes in circles down George Street and up Elizabeth Street. You no longer carry a heavy camera around your neck every time you go into the city. You offer help to someone fiddling with a map desperately trying to find their way from A to B. You know the cheapest place to buy a coke and that 7/11’s one dollar coffee isn’t so bad after all. You recognize the faces of the homeless people that occupy the same corner of the same street day after day. You wave to the old man who runs the coffee shop right below your apartment complex…and he waves back knowing you are a familiar face. You don’t consider how on earth you are going to fit the contents of your room into suitcases to head back home…because you can’t imagine yourself anywhere othan than here. You know the one ways and the dead ends. You never notice that everyone around you has a different accent than you do. You have figured out how to navigate your way through academic buildings to avoid the rain. You know the locations of 15 different places that offer a $39 one hour thai massage and a million more travel agencies/currency exchange windows/ATM’s/hostels and everything in between. You know your way around even without your iPhone’s Maps tool…no Wifi really throws you a curveball when you’re lost. You are comfortable asking a store clerk or a bus driver for directions.
You’ve learned the ins and outs of this city that was once just another distant destination in your mind. But truthfully? Sydney is of course no longer just a city to me…it’s a home and an adventure and a place that transformed me from a tourist into a wannabe aussie. Throw me in the middle of Boston and I would have a difficult time finding my way to Route 93, but throw me in the middle of Sydney and I am plenty confident that I could find my way. When you live right in a city, it makes it so much easier to learn the ropes because of all the times you mess up first. I can’t count how many wrong buses and trains I’ve hopped on only to bring me to the amazing hidden gem places I discovered. I mean I have been taking the longest possible way to one of my classes the entire semester only to realize I could cut that walk in half by taking one less turn.
So, with less than a month left I am trying my best to take my time in every thing I do. While the excitement to see my family and friends is hard to deny, this last month will conclude an amazing journey in a place that has made me grow up more than I ever thought I needed to.You know you’re no longer a tourist when you gain another home.