Gracious, I’ve been in Oz nine weeks now… where does the time go? Because I’m slack and have zero follow through (full confession) I’ve not updated the way I wanted to so this will be a cliff-notes version that hopefully gets expanded on.*(Apologies in advance, this ended up being longer than anticipated.)
RUGBY- Hooligans and Gentlemen playing with oval balls
If you’re a rugby fan, you have to come to Australia in their Fall/Winter. I only followed Rugby Union before I got here, which I still love, but the saturation of Rugby League here is incredible. There’s Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday afternoon and Monday Night footy of League and Saturday night Union matches. I love that almost any time I have a hankering I can go to a match and have a good time.
My first Rugby League game was Origin One… what a ripper! It was all a girl could ask for, biffo and all. Sadly, NSW lost the series to extend their drought to eight years, but as they say in every sport, “there’s always next year.”
Following Origin, my first big, professional Rugby Union game was the British and Irish Lions (donned Welsh Lions this year) vs. Combined Country in Newcastle. Hunter Stadium is an amazing place to watch a match if you get the opportunity. A smaller capacity (est. 28k) and great views from every seat. I was so happy to be able to witness live a Lions match, since they only tour every four years and only hit Australia every 12 – visiting New Zealand and South Africa the other tours. It was fun to watch and a great game to remind me why I love Rugby. The Lions were defeating CC so fiercely that near the 70′ mark when CC almost scored even Lions fans were shouting for the ref to just give them the try as not not be held to nil… at this point there were 50-0 or something. The Lions went on to score again and again and in the final seconds for a final score of 64-0.
I was lucky enough to accompany my cousin, Cherokee, her husband, John, and my little buddy, Anthony to Gold Coast on their family vacation. Woot! I haven’t been on a roller coaster in probably five years… and let’s just say that did not end so well for my lunch that day. Needless to say, I was a bit apprehensive when we went on “BoneSaw” for my first ride at Dream World. Luckily the amusement park gods were with me this trip and I thoroughly enjoyed every whip and hair-pin curve and loopty-loo of all the rides we went on this trip.
Moving to Sydney
Once I decided to try and find a real job, I decided to move closer to Sydney and found a place via flatmatefinders.com.au. Great site if you’re looking for a place in Oz. I was able to find a sharehouse in McMahons Point and all it took was this view to sell me on the place.
I think the major difference with long-term travel (or temporary relocation) and shorter term travel is the amount of free time. When you are on a two week vacation to a destination, you typically have a list of things planned and a loose or set itinerary that makes up the majority of your days. You normally don’t have to worry about meeting people to hang out with as much because you are normally traveling with someone or have someone who resides in the destination where you’re visiting. However, when you are traveling long term and in a location for a period of time, you have more time to do things, and in return more free time. While I have a list of things I will do while I’m in Sydney (and Australia in general) sometimes the biggest obstacle is finding someone to enjoy them with.
I’ve always been a person who does a lot of things solo, and I’m okay with that, but sometimes you get tired of doing everything solo and just want to enjoy an experience with someone. As I talked about in Breaking Out of Comfort I have done a decent job of getting out and putting myself out there: networking events, meet ups, etc. But you wont always become fast friends with the people you meet; and even if you do, sometimes schedules get in the way and getting together just doesn’t work. The key is to keep putting yourself out there and trying to make connections… I have to remind myself of this sometimes.
Home sickness sucks! Every person who has moved away from home can tell you how much it sucks to be away from family. Sometimes just a voice message from my niece or a text from my mom can bring me to tears I miss them so much. It hurts, and you get lonely and sometimes you just want to curl up and cry and wish you were back in your comfort zone… and that’s okay. Sometimes those things need to happen. I’ve shed tears while I was here, I’ve spent nights so homesick I just sit and sink further into depression and it seems like I’ll never get comfortable here, and then something inevitably happens where I’m reminded that this is an opportunity I created for myself to enjoy life and create memories. So while I’ve cried and been homesick, I’ve also had some of the most amazing experiences of my life and made memories that I will cherish forever.
It’s not easy, but I enjoy it nonetheless.
Thanks times a thousand
One of the people who has made this transition easier is my cousin, Cherokee. Due to circumstance, I’d not met her before I turned up in this foreign country with my suitcases and a confused look. But she and her family opened their home and their arms and accepted me into the family. It’s a testament to how thick blood really is, at 26 I met a cousin I never knew and hit it off like we had known each other our whole lives. She’s been there for me when I was down and missing home, having once gone through all of this herself. I could write for hours and still never be able to express how truly thankful I am for her.
A bit of advice
“You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.”
I struggle with this constantly, but I try and remain open. If you constantly live in past experiences and shut yourself off, you could miss out on some of the best experiences in your future because you’re busy dwelling on things that cannot be changed.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received that I can pass on is to hit up every possible contact you have wherever you are visiting. Making friends is hard, and your sister’s co-worker’s cousin, or younger brother’s teammate might be just the door you need opened to meet people that will make a huge difference in your life. You’ll feel like a pest, and a bother, but typically people are willing to help a new person meet new people and get to know the city they call home.
I’m glad I pushed the fringe connection I had and was consequently introduced to My Kiwi. In addition to becoming one of the many wonderful people I’ve met here; he’s made me realize that it’s okay to be happy and just enjoy now and has accompanied me on some of my favourite experiences here thus far.