Monday, September 19, 2011

Lost and Found

Happy Monday morning everyone! I know it’s Monday and I probably shouldn’t be in such a good mood, but Monday morning means that we leave for the Bahamas in LESS THAN A WEEK. I couldn’t be more excited. Though I can’t wait to get there, I am also kind of sad for the whole thing to be over. As I think I’ve mentioned before… I love weddings and have had so much fun helping my sister plan for hers.  Maybe if blogging isn’t my true calling I could become a wedding planner haha.

Anyway, since my weekend consisted mostly of shopping, working, cleaning and organizing, I am going to go in another direction with this post and tell a different story.  When I was 20 years old, I decided to move to Australia for six months. At the time, I had never even been away from my family for more than two weeks and yet made the decision to move to the other side of the world… completely by myself. It was a bold move, even for me. I got the idea from a friend of mine who had spent a summer in Adelaide (where I would end up living) and once the idea was in my head… it stuck. I was determined to go there, and I wanted to do it alone. Looking back, I don’t know where my 20 year-old self got the courage, but somehow I found it. I won't deny that I was scared in the few days leading up to my departure but there was a driving force inside me, a strong sense of adventure that calmed my nerves. I knew the first few days were going to be very difficult, and they were, but it was an experience that shaped me into the person I am today.

The night before I left, after a nice family dinner, my sisters and I drove around listening to Journey and I can remember thinking ‘how am I going to make it for six months without them’. Getting on the plane the next morning was one of the hardest things I have ever done. At a few points, I considered turning around and running back to the safety and comfort of my family… but I didn’t. I boarded the plane and made the 24+ hour trek to Adelaide, South Australia. As I mentioned before, the first few days were rough. I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t know where to get groceries. I didn’t know where the bank was. I was lost. Completely lost. I tried to avoid calling friends and family as I knew this would just make it harder and University didn’t start for a couple weeks… so I sat in my room for a few hours and waited. For what, I don’t know, but I waited. Finally I made the decision to stop feeling sorry for myself, got up and went to explore.  Knowing Canadians are often more than happy to help a fellow Canadian, I went to  Eddie the manager of my apartment building (it was a complex for students only) and asked him if he knew of any Canadians in the building. He smiled, and told me that three very friendly girls from Ottawa had just moved in one floor up from me. I was so relieved. Again, I don’t know where my 20 year-old self got the courage to do this (probably a combination of loneliness and desperation) but I went upstairs and knocked on the door of the apartment number Eddie had scribbled down for me.  At first I heard nothing and considered turning and running down the hall, but then someone swung open the door and said ‘Hey, what’s up?’. That someone turned out to be M, who ended up being my closest friend for the 6 months I lived there and who I still talk to today. Two other girls lived there as well and the four of us would end up traveling together, partying together and doing pretty much everything together for the entire time I was in Adelaide. Man, am I happy I went and knocked on their door.

During the six months I lived in Australia, I packed as much exploring and as many adventures into every single day as I possibly could. We did everything; from driving the great ocean road from Adelaide to Sydney, to wine tours on camels, to surfing at Bondi Beach, to skydiving, and everything in between.  I have no regrets about my time in Australia, and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I went completely out of my comfort zone and found myself by doing so. I don’t think that I realized how little  I knew about myself until I started pushing my boundaries; seeing what I was really capable of.  I am so grateful for the opportunity I was given (much thanks goes out to my family for their support) and don’t think I would be the person I am today had I not taken this chance. I wouldn’t give up the experiences I had, or the people I met, for anything in the world.

Part of my organizational weekend was cleaning up my computer. I have way too many documents on my hard drive and I know I will need lots of space for all the pictures we will be taking down south. While doing this, I came across all the pictures from my trip and decided to go through them. I don’t look at them that often, or share them with many people (I don’t have a facebook account) and this may be because the memories I have and the months I lived while there are now a part of me.  I do get somewhat teary-eyed looking back at the times that passed, and the friends I made who are back in Oz… but the memories are with me all the time. I thought I would share a few of my favorite pictures on here, however, because the beauty in Australia can take your breath away. So enjoy… and happy Monday!

 Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Sandsurfing, Seals & Kaolas - Kangaroo Island, South Australia

No photoshop here! That's the color of the water at Blue Lake, South Australia, 1 of the 12 Apostles & a waterfall... all stops along the Great Ocean Road.

Surfing, Kayaking through the shipwrecks (so many dolphins) & a view from our van.

Our camel from our 'Camel Vineyard Tour', a Kaola pancake made during one of our pancake dinners, an orphan kangaroo named Wino.

Sunset on the beach near my apartment. As you can see by the local... this show happens everynight, no need to act impressed!

Just another day down under

With love,