It has taken me some time to get my words and thoughts together to write this post.
Due to COVID-19, about three weeks ago, I found myself spending a fortune on a one way flight home that left 5 days later. I never thought I would have to finish my time abroad 3 months before I planned to. Saying goodbye to the family I had made in Australia was heart breaking and having to travel back to the U.S with such high infection rates so close to home was scary.
This transition from having the time of my life living and studying in Australia to coming home to New York being quarantined in my house has been difficult to say the least. In addition, I have had to transition to remote learning through my host institution which has not been the easiest.
On a brighter note, even though my study abroad experience was cut short, I did have the opportunity to experience what it was like living and studying in Australia for about a month and a half. I have made friendships with people all over the world and made memories that I will forever cherish.
My last few days in Australia were probably some of the best. I overall spent some quality time with my friends over the entire weekend. We went to St. Kilda and spent some time on the beach. We spent the day at the Moonlit Sanctuary where I had the opportunity to pet a Koala and feed some kangaroos (which happens to be my favorite animal so I was excited to say the least). We visited the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne. I has my last dollar donut from my favorite Vietnamese bakery and rode the metro for the last time. My final night in Australia, my roommate (who I was leaving with the following morning) and I had some friends over, cooked all of the food we had and had a huge family dinner. All of these memories as well as so many others will stay with me for the rest of my life.
While it has been hard to deal with not experiencing as much of Australia as I had planned to during my time studying abroad, I know that I will be back. As I am writing this post, my mom is actually supposed to be in Australia with me. We had booked various tours and activities and had so much to do for the week she was supposed to come visit. We are both heartbroken that we are not able t be together over there right now. This all being said, visiting Australia is something that has been on her bucket list for years, and she assured me that we will make it back there. Whether it is for a few weeks on vacation, on a work visa, or completing Graduate school abroad, I know I will make it a priority to back in the land down under one day. Until then, I am trying to make my few packs of Tim Tams last as long as possible and I have so many photos to look back on to remind me of the place I love so much.
Australia, this is not a goodbye forever, just a goodbye for now.