And we’re both sad we’re not in Australia anymore.
It’s hard, coming back from studying abroad and integrating yourself back into the real world. Gone are the beautiful beaches, the scenic walk to class, and the kangaroos hopping around campus. Gone is the symphony of birds greeting you good morning at 5 am. Now, it’s just a good, good memory. And understandably, the adjustment back to life in Buffalo is tough for Danielle. But, I’m happy she’s back!
Danielle is also into photography like me, so she and her friend Ashlyn and I went out and shot around for a little bit! You already know it was freezing cold but somehow Ashlyn managed to appear as if the cold wasn’t bothering her. Kinda unbelievable what some people can do!
I met Danielle the semester before she left for Australia. I studied abroad in the fall of 2017 and met her in the spring of 2018 as a student ambassador for the program. She was already dead set on going to Australia and I only helped her cause. I informed her of the types of classes she might be interested in and answered countless questions. I didn’t need to sell the location much because, well come on, it’s Australia people! Beaches galore, beautiful wildlife, sunshine and sand…what could be better?
She’s texted me numerous times over winter break and this semester about Australia and I feel her pain. It really is a struggle and it’s honestly very easy to get depressed after! It’s especially hard when you go from 90 degree weather in the Sunshine Coast to 10 degree weather…I had that experience when I traveled to Boston. I was wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and sandals on my feet. I realized when I hit Vancouver that it was going to be very cold when I arrived in Boston, but that’s okay. I arrived and my mother took a picture of me before giving her son she hadn’t seen in five months a hug. I felt so loved.
Anyways, Danielle has similar feelings. So, I told her whenever she needs to chat, I’m always happy to talk about Australia and reminisce. Anyone that has ever studied abroad is connected with other’s who have done the same. It’s an experience unlike any other. It’s hard not to start your stories with “When I was abroad” and believe me, the friends that didn’t study abroad get sick of those stories quickly. Here’s the thing about it, though: we don’t necessarily do it intentionally. Perhaps a friend is talking about a time she got lost, and I might say “Oh wow, when I was in Australia, I got lost for 8 hours…” yada yada yada. It happens almost subconsciously. But, someone like me would never get sick of those stories. Bring ’em on!
It’s these little getaways to shoot with her and Ashlyn (who also studied abroad), the late night talks until 2 in the morning that’ll help. It’s a transition period for everyone and some people take longer than others. It’s nice to know someone who was abroad and loves talking about their experience. I lucked out in that department – my roommate the semester I returned to Canisius, Tyler, studied abroad in Eichstätt, Germany. He was happy to hear my Australia stories and trade some of his from Germany and the rest of Europe. And honestly, I’m happy that I had that because now I’m that person to Danielle and Ashlyn. I’ll listen to everything!
But for now, let’s twirl in the middle of the street on the coldest day of the year. Let’s be free and happy with life. Let’s take advantage of every opportunity possible. Let’s make more memories. Let’s crush this semester.
Let’s have fun and live, here and abroad. Here’s one major thing about studying abroad. A part of your heart will live in forever in your host country. I know My heart is still sitting on a beach in Caloundra, at Point Cartwright, surfing a wave at Alex’s Head, and stretching out in Maroochydore. Acai Brothers Superfood Bar Mooloolaba will forever be the best acai bowls. It’s only natural to want to return. I fully believe Danielle will be back there one day because I know I will be. I’m hoping for 2021. And hopefully Danielle can come too.
So let your heart live on.
Next blog: Coffee shop No. 5 of the year.