Rose tinted glasses

The honeymoon has sort of worn off, and I’m starting to settle into a routine. Brisbane is still beautiful, most people are still kind and helpful, Australia is still lovely and fantastic and I wouldn’t trade my time here for anything. However, the rose tinted glasses are losing their sheen. I’m realizing that I need to work just as hard as any semester at Hobart, and with the added distraction of legally being able to go out to bars and clubs, a balance needs to be struck. Also, I’ve been homesick for the first time. I miss my dog, my family, familiar food, familiar surroundings. I almost feel guilty about feeling homesick. I’m having such a great time, I don’t want to miss anything by being wrapped up in thoughts of home. Maybe going back out into the bush will help. I really didn’t feel homesick at all on Straddie, I was so excited about learning about my surroundings, seeing koalas and kangaroos and all kinds of cool sea creatures. We leave for Lamington on Monday, and maybe that will help. 

There’s one last thing I’m worried about. I’m a meat eater in a house full of vegetarians. I’m really worried that I’m being judged for my choices. I have considered a vegetarian lifestyle, but I ultimately decided it wasn’t right for me. I have no problem eating vegetarian meals while I’m at home, and I’m grateful that my host parents buy ham for my sandwiches and that sort of thing. I just don’t want to be made out as the bad guy, or the girl who has that weird gross habit of eating animal flesh. I’m assured that’s not the case, but I’m not so sure. 

No witty or insightful ending for this one. Except maybe, don’t worry Mom, things are fine, I’m still having a great time, learning a lot and enjoying myself. Just needed to get these thoughts off my chest.

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“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.