The building I work in has a balcony with a view of the ANZAC Bridge, and yesterday I spent my lunch break up there. It was one of those days where the sun was perfect, the humidity was perfect, the temperature was perfect, the breeze was perfect, and the pollen count was awful (can’t win ’em all).
I was taking pictures because of course I was, and thinking how gorgeous the day was. I looked at the ANZAC bridge, and at the wind blowing through the gum trees, and I thought Hey, I’m in Australia.
Come September, I will have lived in Sydney for three years. And more often than not, I forget that I live here, in another country. I don’t hear Australian accents anymore – and I don’t even recognize it when Americans are speaking to me. Seriously, at least once a week an American patient asks where I’m from and it’s not until they say “Oh, DC is so cool, I’m from Ohio.” that it even registers with me that they sound different. I’ve adjusted to the different foods, different words, spring in October and autumn in April, and (mostly) to walking, driving on the left. I really only remember that I’m living abroad when I get an urge to call my family or my friends, and I remember it’s 3AM for them.
Living abroad – I think it’s a big deal, but also not – all at the same time. I moved to an English speaking country, and I had a built in support system before I even stepped off the plane. So yeah, my story isn’t an “I got here with $5 and a backpack and no friends or family and now I have a thriving life” story, but still, it was hard. I struggled with the adjustment and homesickness, and denial thereof. But now, things are so stable that life abroad feels ordinary – like it’s no big deal.
The fact that I forget I’m in a different place is a bit shocking, but also, not. With enough time, places become familiar. It’s nice though, to get a reminder from the universe that I’m experiencing something special. And that I need to not take that for granted. But which I totally fucking have. I’ve been here for almost three years and I’ve left Sydney only a few times. I made it to the beach twice this year, once last year. It’s time to get out and finally see and do things – things that don’t include Netflix and my couch. There’s awesome suburbs, killer galleries, awesome museums, theatre, opera, mountains, tiny dusty towns, hikes, rivers, beaches, nature, animals, vineyards, history, and things that can kill me and I haven’t even made a microscopic dent in any of it.
I mean, seriously – how have I lived in Australia for so long and never seen a kangaroo in the wild? I feel like America is looking at me and shaking their heads in shame.
I shall shall persevere.
Audrey vs Australia: A Characteristic and Not At All Unsurprisingly Delayed Adventure Series – coming soon! I’ll be going out to see the sights, and reporting on my adventures and (more than likely) American tourist shame for all you fine people.
First stop: Katoomba. Get ready for this jelly.