There’s a false sense of security you have when you leave for 6 months. You purpose this idea that the live’s of those back home remain the same, stop, and plateau. It’s a safety blanket that keeps you from thinking about the potentiality of you missing out on something. But of course, you’re abroad and nothing back home could possibly compare to everything you are experiencing in another country. That safety blanket is lie, because everyone (life) is changing, growing and evolving back home. Though you may feel like a completely different person now, as may the people back home. Time does not stop, nor do the people that we involve ourselves with. The safety blanket is a protective factor that can easily be stripped from you when you least expect it.


Yesterday, I found out my grandma passed away. Her death was drawn out, yet quick. She has wanted to leave us since the day my grandfather passed away; you could see that in her face, mannerisms, and in her soft-spoken words. Before I left for Australia, she said good-bye to me like I would never see her again. Walking away from her with a chill running down my spine, I also knew that was the last time I was going to see her; a silent acknowledgement. No one in my family was especially ready to say good-bye to someone they loved so dearly, but we all knew it was time.

Across the globe, I cannot be with my family, I cannot be a part of their grieving, and they cannot be a part of mine. We are just voices over a device. We’re detached from each other, and I’m especially detached from the reality of the situation. I imagine, and envision situations my family is in but I do not know the actuality of the hours planning a funeral, saying final good-bye to her.

Across the globe, I grieve; caught in-between feeling alone, and knowing I have all the support I need. I wish I could say my final good-byes to my grandmother, I wish so badly I could be at her funeral surrounded by loved ones. I feel guilty that I left knowing she was in bad health, but I know that feeling will pass. My grandmother was proud of me, and was so excited for me to finally travel to Australia ( a life long dream).  I know that somewhere my grandma is at peace, perhaps with my grandfather. It is in that comfort of thinking she is somewhere lovely, and with my grandpa that will get me through.

I love you, grandma.

Blue Mountain


During my Autumn break, my roommate and I spent two days in the blue mountains. Completely engulfed by greens, and hues of blue, we gazed with widened eyes at the mountain ranges that carried for ages. Our minds grew quiet, and our body’s still. Just like the Great Ocean Road, there was an enchanting, memorizing air to the blue mountains. As we began our first hike, smiles were planted on our faces, and giddiness boiling out of every pore. We tested our determination within the blue mountains, hiking up and down 922 steps on 90 degree angle. Least to say, going up and down that many steps, really pushes your body to its last drop of endurance.

The following morning, Alex (roommate) and I got up to watch the sunrise over the mountains. Racing down to the trails, we ignored the cold that was penetrating our skin, and sending chills down our spines. As we arrived at our destination, the sun was just beginning to peak over the far mountains; pinks, oranges, blues, reds, covered the sky and painted the mountains. We jumped over a fence and sat on the edge of rock, watching and listening. Below us, hundreds of birds were calling for mates, crickets were still chirping in the darkness that hesitated to leave, and the hush sound of trees swayed in the passive wind. I closed my eyes, and I began to pray. An act I rarely do, nor find significance in. In that moment, I began to talk to a God I didn’t believe in, and I found meaning in the words that fluttered in my mind. I talked about my gratitude, and how this trip as changed so much for me. I thanked that God over and over again for letting me be here, and experience such beauty. I felt complacent sitting on that rock, embracing the warmth of the sun that was now emerging from the mountains. Rejuvenated, and wary about my rekindled relationship with a God/Creator/Higher Power/Universe, I inhaled the crisp morning air, and continued on my hike.


So, the blue mountains were another spiritual experience I had but least to say, being there was amazing and I recommend anyone traveling to Sydney to take a trip out there for a couple of days!

One Full Week as a Kiwi :)!

So it’s been one full week and a couple days change here in New Zealand, and quite honestly I couldn’t be happier with the way things are. Wellington is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! The city itself feels quite new and modern. My house is adorable, and all of my flatmates are wonderful. We are a house of 7 international students, and we are all from different places! We got England, California, The Netherlands, Cape Cod, Philadelphia, Hawaii, and of course New York all under one roof. Within the first five minutes of arriving in New Zealand, my flatmates invited me out to go to the Sunday farmers market. I literally threw my stuff down after my 36 hour commute, put on shorts, and headed out. The first impression I got of Wellington Harbour actually took my breath away. Being from Long Island, I am not stranger to beaches and water, but this is a new level.

Socially and Environmentally I am in absolute heaven, but I will admit, I had myself a good cry after the adrenaline wore off after the first few days. Coming to a new country, though not all that different than my own, is very over whelming. I have traveled in America, even Canada, and have never felt so disoriented as I did for a couple of days in New Zealand. Yes, New Zealand is an english speaking country, and some things do resemble America. However, there are enough differences between our countries to get a bit frustrating sometimes. Brands are a big thing. As someone who pays very close attention to ingredients in foods and products, it was very scary to not only not recognize most of the brands at the supermarket or the drug store, but also not be able to comprehend nutrition facts. This was very stressful to me, and took me a bit to adjust. I am still not adjusted to it. Another huge stressor for me is traveling while here. Wellington is no joke when it comes to it’s hills. Having no car and not a lot of experience with public transportation yet, I have been walking too and from everywhere. One day I decided to solo explore the city, and ended my day buying a bag of groceries that easily weighed 30 pounds. I got lost for 2 hours, walking up and down hills and hundreds of stone stairs without phone service or any good way to explain where I needed to go. Lastly, and perhaps most crucial to healthy survival here in New Zealand, is the recognition that living so close to the Ozone hole requires sunblock every day. I learned this lesson the hard way. As someone who chooses to fry in the sun without sun protection to get a better tan, you can imagine how sorry I was for not looking into this HUGE known fact amongst the Kiwis.

Adjusting to life here was not hard, it just took a few quick slaps to the face, and now a week later I feel much better. I’ve gotten Skype up and running, so I can see my boyfriend all the time, I’ve gained some navigation, and I am already planning some trips with my flatmates to explore this beautiful country!

Until next time,


Foots-crazy (cray)

Today marks a week since I landed at Melbourne airport, and it feels like I’ve been here for months; time is an illusion here.

When I first arrived at my apartment complex, I was taken back by my overwhelming, and relentless anxiety. I was alone, and surrounded in an suburban area, plagued with graffiti; I felt uncomfortable, and dying to be near the beach or the city. I learned too quickly that the drug culture is immense here, and something different from that of New York’s. Where I live Aussies call “Foots-crazy”, instead of “Footscray”. And, I should be careful about walking at night. My initial reactions of this place were something that never crossed my mind when I daydreamed of Australia. I felt an underlining disappointed because Australia seemed like it was nothing like I wanted it to be.

But like I said, time is an illusion here. My initial reactions subsided as fast as they clouded my every thought. I now love it here, I love that just down the road there is a beautiful park that runs along a river, with the city skyline in clear view. I like how I’ve mastered public transportation, and can now get anywhere in Melbourne quiet easily. I love that after a hectic day at the city or beach, I can come back home to my familiar “suburban life”, and feel at ease. There’s a comfort in being surrounded by houses, that look so different from any I have ever seen ( especially when you live on the 12th floor). There’s an independence I’ve gained by finding the hidden gems in my area: incredible brekkie places, and quaint bars. I like the friends I’ve made here, and the many more I keep meeting; I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Australia has been a dream, that was all it was, a dream. I fantasized what it was going to be like, and there was no ounce of reality in those dreams. But now, Australia is a reality, and I’m so happy it’s not what I’ve dreamt about. It’s different in ways I would have never expected like understanding most conversations here. Would you believe me when I say there is more of a culture shock here than you would expect? Because there is, and it starts with the slang. Not only is almost every word abbreviated, but one word can have five different meanings. It’s endearing, and confusing, and I feel out of my element. I’m learning slowly what things mean, and incorporating the words I like into my every day vocabulary. But I’m just getting started, and I’ve already fallen in love with Aussie culture.


With love,


I’m just living.

Yesterday I finally left to embark on one of the biggest adventures of my life, but not without out a week long stop in San Diego, California.

As I boarded the plane and said my final goodbyes to my dad and boyfriend, I felt no ounce of sadness in me. Yeah, I’m leaving my family and boyfriend for six months, but it’s hard for me to be upset when I’ve worked so hard for this. This is what I’ve wanted since I was little; this has been what I daydream about. I boarded the plane, and I was off, not looking back, and wishing to dear god I would actually sleep the whole flight to California. Fortunately, I slept. I actually slept a lot, with the quiet humming of the man snoring next to me. The flight was filled with laughter, inexperienced fliers, and lots of screaming children, but I didn’t care. I was half dazed from my slumber, and full of anxiety filled excitement.

The anxiety started hitting me on that flight. I became worried that I wasn’t ready for this adventure, that I would miss having the normalcy and security I had back home. I thought about the security of having a routine, and knowing that routine like the back of my hand. Right now, I have no routine; I do not know what to expect. I thought about this for awhile, and the anxiety grew. The plane landed, and I was brought back to reality from the bustle of people too eagerly trying to leave the plane.

The heat hit me, the sun burned my eyes, and I realized how ill dressed I was for San Diego weather; I was wearing a scarf, jacket, and pants. A smile swept over my face, filling me with ease. I felt at home, like I always do when I visit San Diego. I saw the familiar face of my older brother, and more anxiety dissipated from my body. The anxiety I was building up on the plane was now subsiding, I began to realize “wow, this is it. I’m doing this, hell yeah!”

All my fears seem so small now. I can do this, I know I can do this, I’ve always known I could do this. I’ll have a routine again in Australia, and I’ll have normalcy. But for now, I’m going to enjoy not knowing what each day holds. Today, I’m sitting outside at a cafe drinking a cold brew coffee, and writing this post. The sun is shining, the air smells like a mix of flowers and coffee, and people are conversing everywhere. Tomorrow, maybe I’ll go for a hike, or explore more of downtown San Diego? I don’t know what each day holds, and that’s the best part about this trip; I’m allowing myself to be free and open to each experience I have.



With love,




14 days

As the title indicates – I am in the homestretch. There are a few things I am feeling right now that I figured might be good to share.

Right now – I’m studying for my last final exam (biology, ugh) which is in a few days. I will be beyond relieved to have that be done and over with. Finals are finals no matter where you are. I think my over all experience regarding the university here has been good. I do not anticipate my final grades being anything too amazing unfortunately. I’ve never tested well. I am a bit worried about how the grades translate back over to New Paltz, and my GPA. I like it where it is currently haha.

Other than academically – I have not really done too much travelling or exploring in a while. I have been too busy studying, and I am running out of money rapidly in this expensive country. The last thing I did was go to a place called “Lakes Entrance” which was amazing. I went koala spotting and ran into this giant field of wild kangaroo – cautiously approached one and got growled at. It was exhilarating.

I was asked to fill out a study abroad survey yesterday by my adviser which triggered me to start reflecting about my time here. A lot of my responses were uneventful, and unenthusiastic. Don’t get me wrong – this experience has been one I will hold dear to me for the rest of my life, but I guess I have been a bit closed off for a lot of the time and therefore it probably definitely was not all it could have been, had I been more open and active. This is something I do even back home, and at New Paltz too. Upon coming here, I remember feeling very nervous that I would be too homesick to function while I was here. However, though I of course had moments of homesickness – it was not actually a huge issue. I was most generally focused on being here in the moment and whatever I was doing at the time. I didnt give myself much time to reflect on the concept of home being so far away etc.

With that being said – once I reached the one month away from going home mark a few weeks ago I started getting excited at the thought of it. Being reunited with everyone I love, and places I have missed. Food. FOOD. Now that the time is even closer and closer and closer as days pass.. my excitement is dwindling, and my anxiety is raising. I cant put words to why I could be “scared” to leave, or go home. The best I can do is to say that it’s not like I can just come back anytime I want.. it’s not a weekend trip or a quick getaway – its Australia. Travel 24+ hours to get here/ $2000 ticket,  Australia. I know someday I’ll make it back here, but it’s sad to think how long it might be. I am honored to have lived an extraordinary life already before I’m even 21 years old. A life most people I know could only dream of, in many aspects.

Hypothetically even if I took nothing from my experience here in Oz and hated the entire thing and never wanted to come back again (which is all false) – I would still be able to say that during my 5 months here I learned more about myself then I probably could have in 5 years back home. The most important of which involving my independence. I thought I was independent before I’d come here – but I was so held back by fear of change. Being away from home, the people in my life, my comfort zone. Now I know I am able to live without those things for a while and still be a functioning happy human being. And I am a better me now for having learned that.

I will depart in 14 days from Melbourne International Airport and fly 15 long hours to LA and then eventually 9 more hours to JFK and then another hour to Syracuse where my family will await me. I am coping with the thought of having to cope when I get there, and having trouble doing so. I am worried for my future self a bit. I know some friends who have had a dark spot after returning from study abroad. I’ll get through though.

Lastly – I am less than excited about going back to being under the legal drinking age, and shitty american beer. VB 4 lyfe.

14 days.


30 days left

Today marks my final day of classes here in Australia as well as the one month marker before I head back to the states. This weekend we have a trip planned down to a place called Lakes Entrance for about 3 days. I hope to get in some more adventures before it is time to go – but I have to study for my last 2 finals as well. My status here is basically the same – hanging out and doing fun things or just relaxing at home. The days are going by incredibly fast and slow at the same time. Though I do not feel homesick, I do feel conflicted that I am ready to go back home – and conflicted that once I am home I will be ready to come back here.

I will do my best to update soon with some fun photos from this weekend!

Days go By.

I haven’t had time to blog in quite some time it seems like – since Easter. As of today I have only 50 days left in Australia..

This reality is one I do not know how I feel about. Of course I am excited to see my family and friends again, and get back to New Paltz. But its a weird feeling to think about leaving this place. I feel like I have made a life here, and in 50 days time I will be up and leaving it. I have a routine, I am used to the door handles being higher, and the toilet water spinning the opposite way. When I wake up in the middle of the night I do not wonder where I am. I do not have any stress here. Classes are easier, people are more easy going. Life is better. The best way I can think of coping with my leaving is by taking it all with me. For instance, when I leave for New Paltz after each summer, and then I go back home to my close minded conservative town – I always initially feel completely lost as they just do not get it. That there is a life out there, not far from home. That there is so much more. By the end of the summers I usually feel like I have fallen back into suit with how I had always grown up there. Accepted peoples idiocies, while they spoke mindless babble. With that being said, I wont do that this time. Considering I feel different returning to my hometown after just being in New Paltz, returning after an experience like this will be extreme to say the least. I will not let myself forget what I felt like to be here, out in the world. I will keep this all with me. -> which is regrettably why I have bought an obscene amount of souvenirs that I will have to buy an extra suitcase for.

So yes. Of course I am excited to go home. I will remain excited to go home until I see everyone for a little while, and see nothing has changed, because it never does. Once the excitement dies down, there comes the feeling that I will undeniably regret having left here – the feeling that I will want to come back – and the feeling that I might not be able to in any reasonable time span. Australia is not exactly a location that you can just fly to for a weekend to visit, and maybe thats the hardest thing. My experiences here have unforgettable to say the least. I have already started trying to convince my Mom to save up and come here for a family vacation in a few years.

APART from the sobby stuff..classes are over in two more weeks. Which is so exciting. I am really content with complaining about the one paper I have to write versus the 5 + 3 massive Art Projects I would have during this time at New Paltz. Academically my time has been smooth here. I’ve gotten A’s on nearly every assignment and test besides some math ones…because face it, it is not my strong suit. I hope I do not jinx my finals by saying that – but I am anticipating a good outcome.

APART from academics – I’ve been trying to travel around once a week to a haunted location to check it out. Just because thats too fun. Last week or two weeks ago? I visited a mental asylum that had been abandoned and completely and utterly vandalized and gutted. However – it was really creepy still. There was beautiful graffiti art blanketing the walls in every corner of the building, floor boards missing, no lights apart from what poured in through the busted out windows. It was a truly amazing time. Besides that – as you can see from my photo above, I played with some Kangaroo. And yes, they were as amazing as you probably think they would be. Probably twice that. Plus – who actually gets a selfie like that one. I did not expect it to come out that way. What a photogenic and cooperative Roo he was. Here is one photo from the asylum which is particularly creeptastic – Enjoy. Laurundel

I guess that is about all I have to share right about now..

50 days.



Easter on the Great Barrier Reef


This mid semester break was well spent up in Queensland! I did various amazing things during my 5 night stay in Cairns but the most amazing and memorable thing was my day trip to Green Island where I spent Easter Sunday in the water snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. This experience was one I will hold with me forever. The amazing marine life had me completely speechless. The best way I could describe it to my family was that I hungout with the cast of “Finding Nemo” all day on Easter. I was fortunate enough to see thousands of fish, a green sea turtle, a reef shark, a sting ray, giant sea clams, and of course Nemo himself. I had become infatuated with the wildlife very quickly and spent practically the entire day laying on the top of the ocean as these creatures casually went about their daily routines and allowed me to spectate.

The oceans in Cairns had signs all over warning people about the dangerous Irukandji that may be present in the waters. These are really small jellyfish (aka “stingers”) – about the size of the red tip on a match – and they are deadly. Thankfully even if there were any in the part I was swimming in – my wet suit protected me from any possible stings.

Nothing I saw in the water particularly scared me – as I saw no Crocodiles (aka “Salties”) or anything else particularly aggressive. I did have a momentary second of ‘holy crap’ when I saw a bit of crocodile shaped coral a few meters away from me. Whew. Close to the end of my day on Green Island I was paddling into shore through the reef when I saw a really long something in the sand on the bottom. I finally got to the head and saw that it was a snake. My first actual wild snake sighting so far in Australia. I am not particularly scared of snakes – but I was not hanging around to examine this huge mean looking guy. I kicked pretty hard to shore after that – someone told me later on that the snakes are not commonly seen in the reef where people are usually populating the water to snorkle – and it was a good thing I got out of there because they are generally not the most harmless guys.

About a block from my hotel were these incredible mango trees – and as if that wasnt cool enough – in the trees lived THOUSANDS, not exaggerating, THOUSANDS, of flying foxes. Each evening around 6:30 pm they would all leave the mango trees in search for some dinner. They would absolutely swarm the skies above and it was an unfathomable thing to watch happen each night.

I have seemed to develop a bit of a souvenir addiction while I have been travelling around. I see really cool native Australian things or hand made goods and I cant help myself. I have spent an unreasonable amount of money on souvenirs. I am grounding myself officially from souvenir shopping for the rest of my time. I am ridiculous.

I am back to Melbourne as of today. I have a few more days of break before classes begin again. Midterm week. Im not too stressed. I have reached my halfway marker here I believe. I dont know how I feel about that.

Thats all for now!! Thanks.


Arrival at “fin del mundo”

December 16, 2014- Tuesday (Buenos Aires- El Calafate- Ushuaia)

By 4:45AM I was awake and packing up my things; I must have checked the room about six times to make sure that I had everything. The hotel provided breakfast which consisted of pastries, orange juice, coffee and tea. The breakfast is quite different from the typical American breakfast; it was much lighter and the pastries served seemed more like something that would be eaten as a dessert in the states. Around 5:30AM we departed for the airport, arriving around 6AM…but it was the wrong terminal, so we had to get back on the bus and go over to the domestic terminal where we checked our bags and headed for the gate. The security in the domestic terminal was very lenient, we were allowed to bring water, weren’t required to take out liquids or remove our shoes, much different from any security in the states. It was kind of nerve wracking for some other students to see such relaxed security, but while discussing it we figured it is likely this way because Argentina doesn’t have many reasons to be as uptight about airport security, especially with domestic flights. The terminal was very small, much smaller than any airport I had ever been in, which was very different from the international terminal in the same airport, which we passed through last night, which was huge. While waiting for the flight myself and some other students formed a little circle where we started to get to know each other better and begin to connect, which made me feel much more comfortable.002We began boarding the plane around 7:50AM and took off around 8:15AM for a 3 hour flight to El Calafate, where we stopped for about 20 minuets while other peopole got off and others boarded. The scenery in El Calafate was beautiful, much like a desert and drastically different than the scenery in Buenos Aires, which made me wish i had a window seat on the plane. The water was so blue, almost turquoise in colour which was a stark contrast to the reddish brown sandy and rock surrounding the water. Around 12PM we took off again and started on our way to Ushuaia.

The airport in Ushuaia was quite small and looked much like a ski lodge. It was a bit cooler that it had been in Buenos Aires, where it was about 80 degrees. When we stepped out of the airport there was the most beautiful mountains (The Southern Andes) right in front of us. They were like nothing i had ever seen before, i instantly took out my camera and continued to take pictures until we arrived at the hostel. The hostel was not what i had imagined,005 it was actually quite nice. There were 4-6 people to each room; each room had three sets of bunk beds. After arriving we had a quick meeting with the professors joining us on the trip, and then we were free to go and explore Ushuaia.