Week 1 is complete! I have spent the week with my parents in Brisbane, and they left this morning to fly home. It took them leaving for everything to hit, and it hit all at once. We did have a wonderful week, taking the ferry to different locations throughout the city and exploring more natural areas nearby. We went to the Australia Zoo, my mom’s personal favorite, which was fun, but also a little bit eye-opening. I fully realized and understood, for the first time in my life, that there is so much to see outside of the little bubble I live in between Monmouth and Middlesex counties in New Jersey. We also went to the glow worm caves of Tamborine Mountain, where there was also a small town, which I have been thinking about since. We visited overlooks, a small beach, and lots of restaurants. Throughout all of this, the biggest thing that stood out to me was just how much life exists all around, even in the cities. We were surrounded by birds and bugs everywhere we went. The city is decorated with shrubs and trees. At dusk hoards of bats fly along the river, and three nights in a row, in the middle of the night, I was woken up by a bird singing. Life is all over the place in this city. I know it’s cliche and probably a little bit annoying, but this week has mostly made me realize just how small I am, and just how big the world is. A 20 hour flight, lots of driving, and LOTS of learning. Being flooded with new sights, new words, an entirely new culture. It all has made me feel so tiny, but not in a bad way. In a curious way. I know because of this that, despite the homesickness, I need this experience. My parents left this morning and I already miss them way too much for words, but I am starting to understand that I am such a minuscule piece of this world, and that that’s a beautiful thing.
On the ferry the other day was a mother and her two young daughters, both toddlers. They seemed restless and itching to play. One of them was staring at me while running around the boat, which I didn’t mind– she’s a child, how could she know better? But before I knew it she was hiding behind seats, waiting for me to try and see her. She hopped on the seat two in front of me and started playing peek-a-boo through the back of the chair, and I joined right in using the chair in front of me, my bag, my hands. I forgot that my parents were leaving and I’d be alone on the other side of the earth. I forgot that my friends were 15 hours behind me. I forgot that I’m starting at a new school knowing no one else, not a single person. I forgot that I can’t see my dog until late June. Before I got off the ferry, she ran up behind me and poked me in the back. She sat on the chair behind me and when I turned to look at her, I could see the joy radiating from her face. It was comforting to know that while so much has changed for me in the past week, so much is also the same, no matter where on the planet I am.