By now I am sure you have read the article in Cosmopolitan that went viral last week. The author up and quit her $95,000 job to move to the island of St. Johns in the U.S. Virgin Islands and scoop ice cream. She was incredibly unhappy at her job and living in the Big Apple and decided to make a huge change. Reading this article truly reinvigorated me to find a way back to my own island.
I studied abroad in Sydney, Australia during my junior year spring semester of college. It was hands down one of the best experiences of my life. It was also probably the biggest leap of faith I have ever taken. I knew no one on my program, except for two sorta familiar faces from Bucknell. I had many fears and doubts, and I may or may not have broke down crying in LAX airport, during my layover before flying to Sydney, because I was hopelessly lost (construction at an airport makes everything more difficult).
When I finally found my group in the international gate, I discovered that I was the only one living in Sancta Sophia College. To clarify, in Australia you live at college but you go to university. After a three day orientation, we got on a massive bus and dropped everyone off at their new homes. Most of students on my program got off at the on campus apartments, three others got out at Wesley College, then it was me, the last one on this massive coach bus waiting to arrive at her new home. To say I was freaking out, (my legs seriously could not stop shaking) is a huge understatement.
Turns out this was the greatest blessing I could receive. I lived with all Australians in this secure building that was similar to a dormitory, plus a cafeteria, library, and a stunning quad. Sancta Sophia has a principal and staff, but it has a very similar feeling to a sorority in the United States. When I moved in I was very nervous to discover that I was to I have a roommate.
Alice became my best friend in Australia. Although we went to classes at different campuses, we did basically everything else together. I quickly made friends with the other wonderful women at Sancta, all who welcomed me with open arms. I honestly wasn’t sure whether or not they would embrace me since I was only living there for a semester. To my delight and surprise they were so excited to show me everything about the city and tell me all about their culture. In return, I told them about my life at Bucknell and growing up in the USA. I wrote this blog post for Sancta Sophia before I returned home, which more fully encompasses my experience. I also appeared in a video for the college as part of an advertisement for a newly constructed graduate buiding 🙂
When I left Sydney (and in the days leading up to my departure), I cried every single day. I did not want to leave. Both flights (plus a massive layover) were the most physically, mentally, and emotionally draining days I think I have ever experienced in my entire life. Once I was home in NJ, I was on a completely different time zone for a week and spent a lot of time thinking at 4am and crafting a plan to come back to Sydney.
Although this plan seems to be put on hold for the time being, I am determined to move back. Moving into a little apartment above a cafe in the town of Glebe (just outside the main center city of Sydney) or a little house along the beach, Bronte/Bondi/Coogee (I’m not picky) sound like perfection. I miss my friends in Sydney daily and am excited to see a few who will be visiting the USA this summer.
After reading this article from Cosmopolitan, it reminded me of my ultimate goal to one day move back to Sydney. To be completely honest, I was probably the happiest I have ever been in Australia. Their culture is much more lax and they are such genuinely nice people. There is not a constant rush in life like there is in New York/the Northeast. There is also not this pressure to follow a specific path in life. I feel like where I am from and the life I have grown up in expects you to follow the same route: go to college, graduate, get a good job, get married, have a bunch of babies, and move to the suburbs. This was the only life I knew growing up, but after living in Sydney and moving to NYC I am realizing that there really are no hard and fast rules in life. This is my life and I can choose wherever I want to go.
Although I am incredibly grateful to have landed such a wonderful job and moved to the Big Apple, I still daydream about Sydney. I know that I won’t be leaving the USA anytime soon, but I hope to plan a trip back to Sydney and maybe in a few more years move permanently. This is obviously not something that I can change overnight (well unless I want to make my life very complicated), but a goal that I can work towards. This Cosmopolitan article was just the kick I needed to remind me of what I can do with my life…anything!