I honestly do not know where these last few weeks have gone. One second I remember walking through the streets of Melbourne on a warm fall day and the next I was picking up my luggage from baggage claim at LAX.
My boyfriend came to visit me with 3 weeks left and it was the perfect opportunity to revisit all my favorite spots in the city. A small group of friends and I signed up for a three-hour free walking tour of the city. Among the many typical tourist attraction spots, our tour guide Lenny showed us a few lesser known locations that came to a surprise for me and Ali. Small cafes that we never had the chance to go to, hidden bars and rooftop restaurants scattered the city and we had only seen a small handful of them. Even though Melbourne is even smaller than Washington D.C., there seem to be so many undiscovered parts that I hope to return to.
We revisited the tropical city of Cairns which is actually where my adventures in Australia began. For a few days, we enjoyed the hot sun and warm waters that have left Melbourne in the cold (can I really consider Melbourne’s 50-degree winter cold?). I ran into friends that organized our stay back in February and joined students that were finishing their 3-week summer abroad program. It was an odd feeling knowing that these 40 students had traveled around Australia for a few weeks while I feel like 5 months was too short. We spoke for hours about favorite cities and sites around the beautiful country. The students were sad to leave but they had no clue how it felt to leave Australia after calling it home for months. The following days were contributed to the Great Barrier Reef and cycling through the rainforest. Before I knew it, I was dropping my boyfriend off at the airport and entering my last week in Melbourne.
My close group of friends and I had special plans each day, from revisiting the famous street art to waving goodbye to the penguins of Saint Kilda. It was a weird feeling as people walked past me in the street, knowing people come and go; some spend their entire lives in this city and others arrived just hours ago. The week was spent reminiscing the many crazy adventures we had and how far away they all felt. The entire semester Ali and I would randomly take a step back and look at where we were and sit back in awe at it all. We would even imagine how weird it will be when we return home, and look back at everything we have done in the past 5 months.
Now, after absolutely way too much flying and waiting between flights and buses, I do look back and remember the excitement that came with each crazy decision. Once the jetlag wore off, small details made me smile like driving on the right side, opening the back door to my house, turning on my car, making breakfast, having my cat wake me up in the middle of the night. It is nice being back and visiting old friends and family. I appreciate them and I would not be where I am today without them. I feel the same way towards my Australian friends and family whom I wish to see again soon. One of the hardest things about being abroad was realizing that I had this incredible opportunity that I had to take advantage of to the fullest. I would have to say the second hardest thing was leaving but I know for a fact I will be back before I know it. It was not a goodbye but more of a see you again soon Melbourne.