Here We Go: Week One
9, 682 miles. Tomorrow that will be the furthest I have ever been from home. 18 minutes, 37 seconds, and my order from my favorite Indian joint will be here. 9 loving and sincerely freaked out adults that are even less ready for me to be over 9000 miles away for 5 months than I am. 1 night. I have 1 night left before I leave Atlanta, cross the Pacific Ocean, and begin my study abroad adventure in Melbourne, Australia
Now the obligatory “this is me” section. My name is Danielle. I was born in Louisville, Kentucky. I am a Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology major at Emory University. I play rugby, perform in musicals, and I am a huge nerd – evidenced by my love of all things Harry Potter, Star Trek, and Doctor Who. And I’ve always wanted to travel the globe.
Like I said, I leave tomorrow to study abroad; the first stop on my lifetime world tour of the….well, world. It’s weird but the realest part of the whole thing is the 24+ hours I’ll be spending in the air (or in airports). What I’m really excited for is, well the reason I chose to study abroad in Australia, the research opportunity. I will be working in Dr. Heather Young’s lab. My focus will be on neural crest cell development in the enteric nervous system. I am beyond excited to work in the lab and to get a taste of research outside of the U.S.
My journey begins with my first stop: L.A. I’ve never been to California, and it’s bittersweet that my first time there I won’t see anything outside of the airport. My dad says that doesn’t count. I’m tempted to agree with him… But there I will meet up with my fellow study abroad students. And prepare for the long flight. But hey, there’s ocean views right?
After L.A., I begin the 16 hour flight to Sydney (well 16 hours before the “super-fun” delays airports are known for). But I’ve stocked up on reading materials: Tale of Two Cities by Dickens, Return of the King from the Lord of the Rings series, and Neuromancer by William Gibson. I also have my Rubik’s Cube (remember that nerd thing I mentioned earlier?) not to mention the almost 50 hours of music I have at my fingertips. Hopefully that will get me through the time I don’t plan on sleeping, because I am the worst at being bored. Maybe that’s why the insanely long time in the air is what feels like reality. The five months in a new country still feels so far away.
But no. It’s so close. In a a little over 24 hours, I’ll be in Sydney getting over jet lag and taking touristy pictures of the Sydney Opera House. I’ll be there for 4 days. They’ve got quite a line-up for us: walking and harbor tours of the city, a pub dinner, and (what I am most excited for) a trip to Featherdale Wildlife Park in the Sydney Zoo.
Then it’s another flight. Luckily it’s the last one for a while. This one takes me to my final destination – Melbourne – for three more weeks of orientation. And as a hard-core night owl, the 8:30 am sessions are going to be…. really, really hard. Step one when landing in Melbourne: find the nearest coffee shop.
Well, I look forward to blogging with you over the next 140 days! See you next week.