I’ve been avoiding writing this blog for quite some time. I still don’t think I’m emotionally ready to discuss my last few days in Oz. I’m not sure if this blog expresses it enough, but Australia has been everything I hoped for and so much more. I had no idea how heartbreaking it would be to say goodbye, so instead I said, “I’ll see you later.”
I was pretty lucky to only have one final this semester; sadly it was the second to last day of exams. I studied some days down by the river basking in the sun and other days while swimming in the infinity pools a bit of a walk from GR.
Don’t judge me, I must be relaxed to study. Stress makes me mess up. So I actually dominated my exam because of my awesome study method.
The night of my exam, I went out for my last night at the Tav with some of my favorite ladies. The Tav is a great place to just chill outside on the deck and chat with friends. It was the perfect time to unwind with all my lovelies.
The last Friday was Drink the Bar Dry at Uni Club. This was an emotional mess. I was having a great time with the perfect Aussies I befriended and then suddenly and without warning, tears began flowing. I laugh when I cry because I know I look ridiculous, so I’m smiling as tears are streaming down my face.
I also dropped everything out of my purse while jumping around and the band had to hand me back my phone. Catch phrase of the semester: oops. Regardless of the tears, I had a blast.
The next morning I was off to my friend Lorna’s house for the next few days until I had to leave. My mom thought this was a terrible idea because she was paranoid that something would happen to my bus on the way back to school. Silly mom.
It was probably risky of me not to come back until the day before my flight home, but I was not ready to say goodbye to Lorna. This turned out to be a great decision.
Lorna lives in Mackay, which was maybe about a 4-hour drive south of Townsville. On the way we stopped to get food and I took a touristy picture with a giant mango in Bowen. It was lovely.
The first night at Lorna’s, her mom ordered us a pizza and we had a beautiful girls’ night while watching Jurassic Park 3. After the movie, we went off to bed because we had a big day ahead of us.
We woke up early the next morning because Lorna’s dad was taking us and her little brother on some Aussie adventures in Eungella. Eungella is an Australian national park. It is known for its platypuses. *girlish screams*
We set off (without our brand new GR hoodies, dumb mistake because it was quite chilly) and checked out a place where Lorna’s dad would take her and her brother fishing. It was so pretty and clean. I mean, of course it was, it’s Australia.
We then stopped to check out a waterfall on the drive. I’ve never seen a waterfall in person before coming to Australia. I saw them everywhere during my visit. And each one was still magical in its own way.
Afterwards we grabbed some Pinnacle meat pies. Australians love their meat pies. An Australian meat pie (according to Wikipedia because I couldn’t think of a proper way to explain it) is a hand-sized meat pie containing largely diced or minced meat and gravy, sometimes with onion, mushrooms, or cheese and often consumed as a takeaway food snack. The pie itself is similar to the United Kingdom’s steak pie. I had the steak and cheese because I’m from Philly and I missed my cheesesteaks.
We waited to eat our meat pies until we went off to find a platypus. Unfortunately, Lorna scares away all wildlife (except kookaburras that like to steal her food) and we did not get the chance to see a platypus. Damn you, Lorna (totally kidding, love you). We watched and waited silently, but only caught a quick glimpse of one. Well, we think it was one. It could’ve been a turtle.
The disappointment made our stomachs growl, so we packed ourselves back into the ute (truck) and drove to a perfect look out spot. Lorna’s dad backed up so Lorna and I could sit in the back of the ute and eat our pies. It was stunning. I don’t think there was one moment when Australia didn’t take my breath away. This was no different.
After we ate our super yum meat pies, we decided to do some real Aussie driving. Luckily the ute could handle the rough road, because it was totally worth it. We stopped to get out and take some pictures of the amazing Aussie bush land. I swear, Australia never disappoints. Pictures don’t do it justice.
We tried once again to spot a platypus on the way back. We sat silently and waited yet again. Other people saw platypuses, but Lorna drained our luck! Also while we were sitting by the water, a leech crawled up onto Lorna’s sneaker.
Australia has made me hate leeches. They freak me out. What are leeches? Bugs? No, they’re more evil than an ordinary bug. I don’t like them. This particular leech must’ve liked the taste of Lorna’s shoe since it attached itself. Watching Lorna try to get it off was pretty entertaining.
Lorna wanted to pay her grandma a visit before we went back to her house. I appreciated this because why not? I got to meet my friend’s grandma in Australia. I think that’s pretty neat. Plus, her grandma was a doll!
We made one last stop on the way back to this one place where Lorna and her brother would go in the summer to swim and play on the natural rockslides and whatnot. It was definitely a place I wish I could have hung out at in warmer weather.
When we finally returned home, Lorna’s mom had a fantastic home cooked meal prepared for us. This was the first home cooked meal I had in nearly 5 months. Words can’t express how glorious it was. Nothing tasted better than that meal. So happy to have something other than GR food!
We had an early night because I had to catch my 6-hour bus ride home at 7am. That morning was incredibly sad. Lorna’s brother, Josh, woke up to say goodbye and so did her mom. I was told I was welcome to visit whenever. Oh how I wish it were that easy. I’d be there right now.
Lorna drove me to the bus stop and when it finally arrived we shared our “I’ll see you later’s.” Because it’s not goodbye. I refuse to let it be goodbye. I cried yet again as we hugged before I got on the bus. Just so it doesn’t seem like I’m crazy, Lorna cried too. It was a beautifully sad moment. I am seriously so lucky to have made such an awesome friend during such a short time. Thank goodness for technology so I can Skype my friends and keep in touch. I still manage to talk to Lorna almost every day. I still miss her every day.
The only good thing that came from my tears was the fact that no one wants to sit next to the crying girl on a Greyhound bus. So at least I got to sit by myself for the whole emotional ride.
When I finally made it back home (I meant, GR, totally meant GR), I finished my packing and went to my friend Rosie’s room. We ordered a pizza, had a Disney movie marathon, oh and I cried some more. When we were watching Tarzan, Rosie goes, “The song Two Worlds is like us!” Mind you, one part goes “Every moment now the bond grows, Grows stronger, Two worlds, one family.” *cries more*
When it was time for me to take a shower and a quick nap (we were leaving for the airport at 3am so there was no point in actually sleeping), Rosie walked me back to my room to say an “I’ll see you later.” Little did I know she had a surprise for me.
All of the absolutely flawless ladies I befriended had bought me an Australian flag and signed it with little messages. How did I get so lucky to make an amazing group of friends like these girls? I don’t understand. That flag was the sweetest gift I have ever received and I’m actually tearing up just thinking about it. I think that’s my favorite souvenir from my whole time in Oz.
After Rosie left (To go cry. See, she cried too, I’m not that crazy), I got my last few things together, napped, and was off. I’m not going to talk about all my flights because that’s boring and I don’t want to relive it, but I made it back to Philly around 11pm.
I returned home to my family all excited, but I don’t think anyone was as happy as my kitty, Tink. Tinkerbell was waiting by the door for me and started crying and purring and she didn’t leave my side for 3 days. Yes, this meant she wouldn’t even let me go to the bathroom alone. She’s perfect.
It was wonderful to see my family and eat my favorite foods and see my best friends (thunder struck when Leslie and I hugged for the first time in 6 months), but I’m STILL sad about leaving. People always tell you all the wonderful stuff about study abroad, but no one really talks about how absolutely heartbreaking it is to leave.
I’m incredibly lucky that I got to experience all that I did and make the friendships that I made. I appreciate every moment I spent either out in nature or in the company of beautiful souls. I love everyone I got the chance to meet, and we will meet again. I’ll be back to Oz in 2 years max, even if just for a couple weeks. After my journey, there’s no way to keep away.
AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE!