I'm home. In suburban New Jersey. With no more adventures. No Australian accents. Not enough pears. And the list goes on...
I was not by any means ready to leave Australia. I had made a life there. Between my amazing friends, a city so unique, and unforgettable brave adventures - why would I ever choose or want to return to a life I once lived? Sure, it was nice to see my parents standing with balloons and hugs galore at the airport, but after crying for 23 hours on the plane, all I wanted to do was head back to Melbourne.
As soon as we landed in Texas for a connecting flight, I immediately disliked where I was. The money was weird, the way the toilets flushed was weird, and the people weren't as pretty as Australians. I had a mindset that I wouldn't like this place, and I couldn't adjust to a lifestyle here.
The first night at home was nice. I ate some good food (boy did I miss having a kitchen) and gave my parents and brother their abundance of souvenirs. We all sat around and snacked on tim-tams and other aussie lollies. The next day was Thanksgiving and I was sort of thrown back into the mix of this lifestyle - I baked all day, cleaned, and prepared for 15 family members to come over and question me about the whole experience. Of course, there is heaps of culture shock at home, but the thing that got me was not being able to put my experience into words. How could I possibly describe the best 5 months of my life with words? My photos say a lot, I have my journal full of juicy entries, and of course a blog...but the question: "How was Australia?" gets me every time. I still have yet to find an answer.
The first week at home, I unpacked and reorganized my room putting up all new pictures and my souvenirs all around...but spent a lot of time to myself. Reflecting on everything, journaling a lot, and skyping with everyone still in Melbourne. I wasn't jetlagged, but I stayed up quite late to chat with my friends because of the 16 hour time difference. I had to force myself out of the house to see my hometown friends, and I catch myself constantly picturing myself in Melbourne. I haven't really been a part of any conversations because my head and my heart are across the world. Surely I've started to accept that I will be stuck here until mid-January when I can head back to American University, but until then I'm ravenously searching for activities to keep me occupied. Although all I really want to do it sit around and flip through my thousands of pictures from the past few months.
The experience flew by far too fast, and at times it seems like I was never really there - and it was some sort of dream world. I never expected leaving to be such an emotional challenge, but I also never expected to become so connected to a place. It's something I've never felt before, and I'm not quite sure I'll ever feel again.
I'm already planning a trip back...seriously.