Hello, Goodbye

February 16, 2015

in Australia, Chloe McKenzie, Oceania, Spring 2015

It is currently 5 days until my departure date, and I feel like I am in an odd sort of limbo. It’s as if I am half in one place and half in another, and as a result, I am not fully anywhere. It has been a month since classes started here, but Australia’s semester does not start until March. When I am downtown, I can’t help feeling like a trespasser, like I am somehow pretending to be a student. I realize this is a tad neurotic—what am I expecting, someone to see me and be like, “She doesn’t even go here”? Of course not. But these 3 weeks of being school-less while everyone else’s semesters are already in full swing have heightened my sense of disconnect with my life in Wisconsin. I listen to my friends and family making plans for the coming months, plans in which I am not included—because, of course, I will be gone. And while I am making my own plans for the immediate future, it still feels like a dream, and I sometimes think that I have not grasped the reality of it: I am leaving everyone and everything I know to go live, for a few months, on the opposite side of the world. The truth is that I don’t have any experience on which to base my expectations for the next few weeks. It is all unknown, and any plans I make must necessarily carry this tinge of the surreal.

The last time I moved away from Madison 2 ½ years ago for my disastrous, semester-long interlude in La Crosse, I was a nervous wreck for a solid 3 months leading up to my departure. I absolutely dreaded it, and I did not actually want to go. This time, however, though it feels sort of glittery and unreal, I am not scared. I don’t know what will happen, but that’s alright. And there is something very liberating about the prospect of being so far away. The truth is, I am very, extremely, unduly, profoundly excited to face this unknown. For perhaps the first time, I have the opportunity to draw a complete blank when I imagine my life in a week and a day. And I truly cannot wait to see what happens next.

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