Three Travel Books, Two Maps of Brisbane, One Girl.
Are you nervous?
That’s what I have been telling myself, or something along the lines of “you’ll be all right what’s the worst that can happen?” and then I pause and think about getting mauled by every living thing in Australia. I honestly just torture myself by searching “10 deadliest things in Australia” and it comes up with stuff like the box jellyfish and I’m sitting there like, well I used to love swimming in the ocean. I won’t get attacked in a cool way though it’ll be a headline like “Idiot abroad student hospitalized trying to pet an [insert deadly animal that probably looks cute but can kill you with a swift kick here]”.
Regardless of my obsession with the terrifying wildlife, I don’t think I am that nervous because it hasn’t set in that I am leaving in two weeks. Instead, I have to remind myself sometimes – note to self: stop pretending like you have more time than you do and maybe attempt to pack, or at least make a list of things to pack, or maybe just think about making a list of things to pack. But, no I am not that nervous I mean, so far I have asked my study abroad mentor so many simple questions she’s probably nervous for me. Don’t even get me started on my parents; those two are worried enough for ALL of the IFSA-Butler students studying abroad this year. For example, the other day my dad handed me an Amazon package and said: “this is to help you in Brisbane!” Knowing my dad, I wasn’t expecting some cool device, but as I had suspected, I pulled out not one, but three tourist books and two maps of Brisbane. These are not just simple pocket maps. These are huge foldable maps that covered half of my dining table when I opened one up. Picture this: 5’3″ girl carrying a map that is wider than her arm span and long enough to trip on in the middle of the city, flipping it this way and that thinking which side is up? And where even am I standing on this thing? And why do all the streets just look like my jewelry when it gets tangled in a knot, and there’s so much going on its impossible to tell when one chain begins and when it ends? It stresses me out just thinking about it. BUT That’s not even the best part. Beaming, and clearly seeing no problems in his plan, he takes one of the maps and says, “Okay, so I’ll have one of these here, and you take the other one to school, and you can call me if you get lost, and I’ll direct you.” As if dropping a pin on my iPhone is too hard, and instead it’s easier to give me directions for the middle of Brisbane from my kitchen in Maine. I’m not lying when I say the nerves are at an all-time high for him and my mom but as for me, it won’t hit till that plane touches down in Sydney.
Until then I live in the lovely state of Maine spending my time thinking about packing, looking up deadly Aussie animals, and practicing an Australian accent in the mirror. I have also been looking through old photos and such because, hey fun fact, I used to live in New South Whales Australia when I was a child and ever since we left I have wanted to return. I am looking forward to seeing a new part of Australia as well as actually experiencing it as I was only 5 when we flew back to America for good. So, I am taking this abroad experience as a return to home, using the word home tentatively, and as the ability to create new and better memories of a place I have wondered about since I left. So, instead of nerves, I feel wonder, excitement, and desire. I wonder what it will be like to live in an apartment in the city and commute to school. I wonder if I will find my classes on the first day, and heck if I will even pass my classes (questionable). I am excited to meet new people and eat vegemite, although I hated it as a child, and finally, I desire to get on that twenty-two-hour flight and start my journey.