Monthly Archives: June 2013

Eyes Open

The last solid memory I have is hugging my family at the airport and then the feeling of anxious excitement. What the hell I had just gotten myself into?

Everything from that point until now does not feel real. It was as if I got on the plane and have been have the most intense vivid dream. Down the rabbit hole as it were, all kinds of unique and amazing experiences with people who may or may not have been real, and now I can see the end of it. The Alice and Wonderland metaphor is strangely fitting, it is a wonderland, but in a strange and frightening way just as much as it is a in a beautiful way. I have made some incredible memories with some people I can truly call some of my best friends, people I know I will stay close with through life. That is if they are even real. This has not been what I expected, these are not the people I saw coming, but it has been and will be wonderful in my eyes. I’m the last one standing as it were, most everyone had left already, I can feel part of myself leaving with them. The person I am here fades bit by bit as they leave and the reality that my time here is measured in days and hours, not weeks and months sets in. I don’t know how this all happened. I don’t know how I was able to keep myself together and survive all the things I did. Have I been here for years or hours? I really don’t have a grasp on the time I’ve spent here. I’m not sure I care. LAX feels so long ago. I feel a local, I feel I live here, in Melbourne, at least in this alternate life I do. I’ve been here all my life, this is me, at least for now. 

One day baby we’ll be old, oh baby we’ll be old, think of all the stories that we could have told. 

As soon as I get home I’ll spend the next few days sleeping, I’m not even kidding. I really will. And then I’ll wake up back in the reality I have always known, and the person I am in this moment and have been for the last five months will begin to take a back seat, fading away back across the Pacific. It is simply inevitable. I’ll be out of wonderland. And I won’t ever be able to explain it to those who were not with me every step of the way. I want to share this all so badly, but I just won’t be able to convey it all. I have pictures and stories, but those are less substantial than smoke really. This wonderland I stumbled into and wandered through will stay with me and those who have been through it with me. 

 

I’m exhausted and worn down in a way that isn’t exactly physical and isn’t exactly mental either. Being abroad puts a different kind of wear on you, at some point you hit a wall. I’ve hit a wall. I’m tired.

But I am so happy and so blessed to have been here at all. As of a few hours ago I am done. Exams are over. Finally. I am at the Airport for my flight to Perth, then onto Singapore to meet my brother for a bit of adventure. Headed to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Koh Phangan island in Thailand and then Bangkok before flying back to Melbourne for just a few hours, grabbing my bags and boarding the flight home to LAX. I can’t give the end of this experience the fully fleshed out post I would like to, my brain is a bit too worn out for that and I’ll need a bit of hindsight to understand what it has all been and what it all means to me. So I’ll likely have a final post on this semester in a few weeks when I’m home and rested. I will miss this dearly I know that much, and it will always stay with me. It doesn’t register that it is actually over yet. It probably won’t until I see the California coastline as the sun rises and my plane flys in on July 7.

My eyes are open today. In so many ways my view is wider, my gaze deeper, and my eyes see so much more. Today, and everyday I am blessed. That much I know.

And with that, the walkabout enters its final chapter. Somehow, someway I am still walking. Love you all.

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Reality?

The most incredible part of studying abroad is that the prospect of returning home excites you just as much as leaving home did. 

This is not to say that you’ll want to leave, and even if you do it’s a near guarantee that within a week or so of being home you’ll wish you were still abroad.

It also bring just as many unknowns.

Wait, what do you mean I’m in Australia, across the enormity of the Pacific Ocean? That I’ve lived here for the past five months? Did I really have all of those utterly ridiculous experiences? And have I really met these people, seen these sights? 

It’s June, I thought it would have sunk in by now and made sense, seemed less surreal. But no, as much as I have adjusted and acclimated to living this life, as soon as I stop and give it more than a passing thought I have to stop dead and laugh. This is just ridiculous, there’s no way this has been my life. 

Did I really get on that plane at LAX? I can’t process how this is supposed to be real.

What in the hell am I supposed to tell everyone back home? How do you explain something like this to them, especially when you yourself can’t get a handle on it? It’s such a paradigm shift, so hard to quantify but carries such magnitude on the bearing of your life and self. How do you go back home and synthesize your old life with your new experiences? How do you merge who you were with who you are? It’s hard enough to tackle these in isolation.

The people in your life see you in a certain light, they know you as the person who left just a few months ago, it’s unlikely the status quo has changed for them. Some may have not given more than a passing though to you, and others may have missed you everyday. But the person they miss will come home so changed. It feels as if I’ve had years and years worth of experiences, and I’ll return and be all full of excitement and stories and want to share it all with everyone, but really, though they will care, I cannot convey it with the complexity and impact of it all. They will never know this as I know it, I can not wire them my memories, emotions, pains, and joys gained out here. Can you go through something of this nature and then re-assimilate? Do you return to your old role within friend groups and your family or are you set to carve out a new role? Does anyone even notice the change in you? Or does it turn out to be nothing more than some extended memory that will never leave you, but never touch others? And what of the friends and connections established while abroad? Will you miss the routines and the little things? Do they become memories as well, fading out of reality as the days pass?

Will it seem a superiority complex, a story for everything? “Oh ya, this one time in Australia…” becoming your most used phrase. And everyone quickly getting sick of it. Somehow making you feel wiser and more aware because you were blessed enough to go abroad, does it actually make you any wiser, more aware? Or do you just layer on another set of illusions and probably false perceptions? 

Can you go back to doing what you did before? Does it still bring anything to the table? or has it become empty?

It’s so damn daunting because for the first time in your young life, something genuinely feels as if it has magnitude on a large scale, large enough to shape your entire life. There have been times where my life was genuinely in danger. This entire experience could have gone south so quickly. It hasn’t though. And that seems almost more dangerous, giving a false sense of invincibility. It’s a nasty side effect, you get reckless, figure it all just works itself out. And somehow, someway it does. And it scares the shit out of you that you have managed to pull it all off. It has taught you so much about yourself and the world, at least you think it has. You can’t know if anything is actually concrete because there is so little concrete to compare it to. 

But you have. And now all that remains is a couple of weeks, exams, and a trip with a brother to southeast Asia. 

And then the most daunting destination, Home. What is it to you now? And what are you to it? 

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