40 days till I’m home. My favorite number. It’s biblical, not too much or too little. My old football number. Troy Percival. Etc.


A huge part of study abroad is this idea of “change”, it’s part of my draw to it and same goes for most others. What rarely is mentioned is what kind of change this is. You’d think people would mention it in blogs and social media, but turns out it’s so hard to quantify or explain, so it just gets left out.


I’ll give it a shot.


It scares me. It scares me that I will never be the same person or have the same outlook as I did 4 months ago. I can’t go back, I can’t undo these experiences. Nothing really can be undone in life, but for some reason this carries a much greater magnitude.The difference is so much bigger than anticipated. Something highlighted for me during a recent conversation with my brother planning our upcoming trip to Singapore, Bangkok and other parts of Thailand. Travel doesn’t seem a big deal to me at all now. A six day hike in Tasmania? Spend four days on an island in Thailand living with a Muslim fishing village? Heck yes, how do I make this happen? Four months ago I would have passed and stuck closer to a comfort zone. It’s still a daunting undertaking for him, same as it was for myself a few months back. I just hope I can shift his outlook closer to where I am now as I feel that opening up my eyes to traveling the world in unique ways has been a major positive of this experience.


It’s also scary to see that some of the traits that got me here in the first place have regressed or gone entirely in some cases. These I can fix and recover, and have already begun to do so. Much wear & tear and breakdown is to be expected upon one’s first time abroad, living alone across the pacific for five months after all. What is truly daunting is to see how many flaws and issues I hold within me and. I had thought I was doing things pretty well. But going walkabout has exposed parts of me in bad shape.


But I am beyond grateful for being exposed like this. I needed it so badly. I needed something or someone to call me out, to challenge me to step up, to show me my fleas and destructive behaviors, my vices and weaknesses. I’ve gotten that here without a doubt. And it will make me a better human being for it all. 


It’s time to return to what got me here while at the same time rebuilding the parts of me that were simply covered up by some shoddy facades. The last week has been excellent, dinner at a delicious back alley Korean BBQ place and then at Taxi Dining Room, the nicest restaurant in Melbourne and all of Australia. That was a well spent $70, props to a friend for making that happen. A tour of Rod Laver Arena where the Australian Open is played because I would be a terrible Holycross if I missed one of the great tennis sites in the world, bike tours around the city, experiencing Degraves St and all of the other lane ways and coffee shops of this city once more. It’s a fantastic part of study abroad to meet like minded and different minded people. They push you  I gotta say,I really have come to love being in this city and feel that it has become a part of me, I’m more hipster now (see the scruffy beard, long hair, beanie and fondness for coffee. And now it’s time to push the bar up higher, pick myself up and get to work in plenty of areas of my life. Learning mandarin anyone?


The final forty begins.

Edit: Tickets to Tasmania for the Great Overland track hike with some good friends, and tickets to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur purchased. Oh, and did I mention I’m meeting my brother in Singapore? Damn this is unreal, too blessed 


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One thought on “40

  1. Annelle Arthur says:

    I’m not as adventurous as you are although your Pop-Pop always stretched me while abroad beyond my comfort zone. One thing I did learn is that life is not black and white but, as you have found out, many shades of gray. I also learned that there are many kinds of people in this world but most people want a family, to love their children, and to have a good job, education for the kids. and peace. I also learned that all the religions have some core values the same. Basically it comes down to one word: love or agape. Jesus had it right. Love the Lord your God (no matter what name your culture calls him) with all your heart, soul, and mind. Love your neighbor as yourself. It’s pretty simple and damned difficult at the same time.

    Next week we go to Texas where things are more black and white. I accept that because they’re all good people but I’m not very comfortable around that atmosphere for very long. When I return, I’ll be the President of Assistance League of Irvine. Thought it would be an easy year, ones to coast through. WRONG! One of our members, a unique individual with a PhD in Chemistry who was never married or had kids but who loved Assistance League as we treasured her. She passed away in March. Two weeks ago we received a letter informing us that we are named in her trust and that the trust will be paying off the mortgage $150,000 plus prepayment penalties. Suddenly everything shifted. We now have the challenging task of creating more philanthropies for kids and families in need. I have the task of leading this group to agree on some major decisions. Thank goodness I had the experiences I did at the district. I have lots of wonderful people to work with as well as a few challenging individuals. So life is not black and white but many shades of gray. It’s what makes it so exciting!

    People ask me how I can handle working with Pop-Pop. I love him and it’s my privilege. His memory is gone as well as all his higher mental abilities. The old Pop-Pop would be horrified by what has transpired and yet he’s considerably healthy and quite contented with his life. Who am I to get negative or get down on either him or myself? So life goes on and so far he can stay by himself during the day or evening. Don has been a saint. He’s patient and kind and very giving.

    That’s how my life is. I did lots of traveling and don’t regret any of it. For a 75 year old lady, I’m full of energy and excitement for life, good health, and very liberal ideas. Interesting, isn’t it!

    Love you,

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