Monday, September 29, 2014

A Story

I had a good weekend.

Not just a good weekend. But rather, the kind of weekend where when I returned home late Sunday evening and quietly pressed my bedroom door closed, I felt obliged to take to my journal to write about the unexpected joys that I had experienced over the course of the short three days in fear of letting any of the fresh memories fade. I had a good weekend.

Sand-boarding over Australia's renowned wandering dunes. Climbing sandy peaks that produce seemingly infinite views of "the bush." Eating sand by the mouth full and still bearing a wide, gritty smile. Prancing on the beach as a morning storm rolls overhead. Trekking into the ocean waters in pursuit of mother whales and their babies. Being enchanted by the boundless openness of rolling waves while simultaneously attempting to dance to Taylor Swift. Hearing first-hand accounts of World War Two stories on Australian turf. Flirting with baby koalas and inquiring about their habitats. Patting kangaroos as I would my own puppy back home. Passing a football on the shore at sunset while children raced towards the last sunlit waves. Falling in love with this world and every human, animal, plant, and water source in it. All of this, and so much more.

I had a good weekend. And the goodness, the simpleness, the absolute best parts- those can't be captured in a photo collage. Those can't be put into words in a short blog post. The quiet conversations that were shared as we drove from place to place. The way the sun warmed the top of my head under my new hat. The gentle reminders of why I'm here, of why I am right where I am supposed to be. The lightbulb that went off in my head when I connected real life events to what I'm studying in Elemental Geosystems and Global Politics. My new thirst to learn. None of these things can be captured quite right, but I sure am a lucky gal to have experienced them.

I had a good weekend.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Struttin' Unda the Sydney Sun

"All I know for sure is that I'm ready. I'm ready for this adventure and I'm ready for my life to change." These were the last words of my first blogpost prior to my first solo extravaganza to the other side of the world.

And these were the words I wrote in my journal just days ago before departing once again. "A new journey is starting has started. And boy, things are so great. Nothing is close to how I imagined it would be this time last year but, now that I'm here, I wouldn't have it any other way. And you know, before I went to my little country of islands, I wasn't this way. I was always dreaming, hoping, wishing for better. I craved leaving and being on my own and taking cool selfies in cool places. But now? Now I'm content STOKED to be right where I am, wherever that may be. Because it turns out, no matter where in this world I may find myself, I am still SO LOVED. I am loved by the most empowering, uplifting, beautiful, humbling people this life has to offer. And it's for that reason that I'm not a bit fearful to leave again for a year. Love is powerful. It spans oceans, suburbs, Indonesian macet, jungles, and multiple plot lines all the way to ME. Life is good STUPENDOUS."

For those of you who had thought that my days of crazy, sporadic adventuring were over, I have BIG news. They're not. In fact, they are far, far from it. As my time in Indonesia was winding down, I couldn't help but dread the impending days of college lecture halls, tasteless cafeteria food, and unengaged learning. If there is one thing I realized in Indonesia, it's that I thrive in an environment where I am constantly stimulated by new and exciting, constantly surrounded by an abundance interesting humans to learn from. And that, ladies and gentlemen is what brings me here today... To Sydney Australia. The Land down unda.

THIS is my lecture hall.
Two weeks ago I stepped foot on the continent that to be honest, I never pictured I would be standing on. I was fortunate enough to have found a fantastic family to au pair for right in the heart of Sydney (the term au pair essentially means "international nanny.) I live with them in their fabulous home and have access to my own bedroom AND bathroom in exchange for helping out with their two little girls- both of whom have quickly stolen my heart. The girls go to school during the day, so I have an abundance of free time to explore, make friends, surf, and get my course work done. Don't worry, folks. I am keeping up with the college grind and getting my core credits out of the way through BYU's unmatchable online program. 

I found this piece of art in one of my textbooks. Then I went
and found it in Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art.
This is how learning is supposed to be done.

My first sixteen days in Sydney have ironically been a quiet whirlwind. I moved in with a new family I had never met before with values and habits different from my own. I have had to make friends, this time without an exchange school or group of other exchange students to tackle the challenge with. I have had to navigate my way around a city boasting a population of 4.5 million people and figure out trains, busses, ferries, and light rails. And the craziest part isn't the fact that I have had to do any of these things. The craziest part is that this all feels normal. After a year in Indonesia, anything is seemingly possible. And I no longer fear the unknown. I'm not sure what this round of adventure has in store for me, and I'm not sure where I'll be this time next year. My naive, pre-Indonesia self said it best. "All I know for sure is that I'm ready. I'm ready for this adventure and I'm ready for my life to change."