My Aussie odyssey if officially over. I returned home back to the states safely a week ago. As I got my final results back from my classes and passed, thankfully, it finally hit me that my adventure in Australia had come to an end. It was all in all an amazing, life changing experience. Not only was I able to live in Western Australia for four months but I got the chance to travel a bit at the end.
With my classes completed in the third week of November, I took the opportunity to travel through the eastern side of Australia. Traveling with friends I had made over the semester, we flew to Melbourne and began our east cost adventure there.
We decided to drive the Great Ocean Road for a few days to see more than just the city life. We rented a car in Melbourne and packed the boot with all our (mostly mine) luggage from the semester abroad- Tetris style. We drove directly to Warnambool, about where the Great Ocean Road begins and stayed in a hostel over night. The next two days we slowly drove up the Great Ocean Road, making it back to Melbourne, stopping at sites, road side beaches and sleeping in hostels along the way. I saw my first wild Koala and saw some amazing views of the ocean. Once we returned to Melbourne we dropped off the car and toured around the city for two days. We took a night train to Sydney and I spent my last 4 days in Australia seeing the big city I had always dreamed of visiting. I fell in love with Sydney. I think what really makes Sydney so great is the Sydney Harbour. You can take ferries to different parts and beaches and especially right now, the weather is beautiful. We went to the Sydney Opera House, took a trip to Manly Beach, The Rocks (a historic place in Sydney where the first Europeans settled), Chinatown and walked through the city at night. Leaving was hard, knowing that not only was my vacation on the east coast over, but I was saying farewell to travel companions and my Aussie life. Bittersweet feelings accompanied me through my flights home but a welcoming family at the airport was a relief.
Many people told me that I would experience a culture shock when I arrived in Australia. But the biggest culture shock I experienced was coming home. In addition to the 18 hour time change, I was a bit overwhelmed by the American culture. It is crazy how accustom a culture can become to you in just a short amount of time. I really made me notice the differences between Australian and American culture. Being home is a bit of a shock, a lot of emotion, missing friends and Australia but the excitement of being around family and seeing friends is also there. I feel so blessed to be given the opportunity via my school, scholarships and encouraging support from my family and friends to study abroad in Australia. I have met amazing people, seen some beautiful scenes and experienced an Aussie life. The thing I treasure the most that I brought home was the desire and eagerness to travel more. There is so much more to life beyond America and I cannot wait to travel and discover more. I have learned so much by the simple act of traveling.
I know I will return to Australia. Not ready to say goodbye to that beautiful country just yet. But for now, I must continue my odyssey else where.
Ciao Bella! Xx