University of Wisconsin–Madison

PINK CLOUD

I have officially been in Australia for 9 full days. Today was the first day of the Australian first semester, so it’s essentially the first day back after their summer break. It is March 2nd, and I have not attended a single class since December—going on towards 3 months now. I don’t recognize my own handwriting.

This past week has been like something out of someone else’s life—a beautiful, insane interlude from my reality. The program I came through, CIEE, has kept me and the other people in it extremely busy with a string of spectacular outings: Feeding kangaroos at Caversham Wildlife Park; a didgeridoo lesson in Freo; and a truly amazing 2 days spent biking and snorkeling around Rottnest Island (see pics). Thanks to CIEE and an unprecedented stroke of luck with my flat mate situation, it has been almost too easy to make friends. The weather has been gorgeous and hot and sunny. The views are almost too good to be true. This has been the best 9 days of my life…and now classes are starting.

I am actually kind of relieved, in a way—this is normal, this is real. Sitting on campus with an iced coffee, writing a blog post between classes makes me feel more grounded in some sort of reality. Which is good because, I’ll be honest, at certain times this past week, I’ve looked around myself and felt the edges disappear, and everything was floating away, or else melting together. And all I could think was, this can’t be real, this place cannot exist for me—the chasm that exists between the place I am in now and the place I left behind feels almost comically huge, and the shock of it has left me unbalanced. Sometimes, I’ve looked around and felt like I couldn’t breathe, delirious with the sheer improbability of it all.

10 days ago, I left the cold far behind, and now the memory of it is beginning to fade. Meanwhile, this new reality begins its shift from a hazy, beautiful dream into something solid—something I can keep for good.

beach bikes rottnest roo

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