“Love conquers all things; let us too surrender to love.” -Virgil

I have to admit it. It’s been eating me up inside not saying it aloud. I’m in love. It’s all I think about; it crosses my mind every minute of every day. I’m talking about Australia, of course. I am absolutely loving it here. Brisbane is simply amazing. I have never felt safer in a city. Last night, coming home from dancing at 2am, we were worried that we got on the wrong bus. It all seemed fine until we turned left onto a road that we usually turn right on, and then crossed the river. Minor freak out, though I told myself that it’s all part of the adventure and worst case we’d just have to get off and get on another bus. In the midst of this freak out, one Ozzie boy sitting across the aisle said basically, you’re screwed mate, this bus goes down to the West End not up into Ashgrove. So, we said, oh well. We’re Americans, first night in the city, you know how it is, we’ll figure it out. Thinking back, I probably would not have revealed so much about myself if I were talking to a stranger on a bus in Boston or New York. So, this boy gets off in the West End (obviously to continue partying) and the Ozzie boys sitting behind us say, don’t listen to that guy, he has no idea what he’s talking about. This bus stops in West Ashgrove, in fact we’re almost there. They then explain to us how to get back to the Woolworth’s near our house (I wasn’t naive enough to tell strangers exactly where I was living). They press the stop button so we don’t miss our stop and wish us a good night.

It was a simple thing, but it meant so much. Reassurance, guidance, genuine concern for our well being. How many Americans do you know who would do the same thing in that situation? At home, it’s stranger danger, keep your head down and your nose clean, if you need help you could maybe ask a cop or a store clerk, but not some rando on the bus. Here, it’s mateship. It’s taking care of each other. We’re all in the same boat (or at least the same bus). It was a beautiful introduction to that facet of Ozzie culture, and it’s an experience that’s making me fall absolutely head over heels. Love conquers all: language barriers, fear and worry, culture shock. If we surrender to that love, if we allow ourselves to love wholeheartedly and indiscriminately, if we look out for and take care of each other, we might like what we find out about each other and about humanity.

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