One flight down and three to go. If only the next three were 50 minutes long like this first one I’d be a bit more excited about my journey to “down under.” I’m currently writing from Concourse C, Gate 20 at O’Hare International Airport while waiting for my United Airlines flight to LAX to board. This one is a four and a half hour flight, and then I have a three-hour layover, followed by a 14-hour flight from LAX to Brisbane. Joyyyy. From Brisbane I set off on my last leg of the journey to my final destination of Rockhampton. It’s safe to say I will have lots of time to color, jam, watch movies, and hopefully get some sleep. It doesn’t sounds so bad when I think of it that way. However, before I do all of that, this down time in Chicago has given me a chance to think. Think back that is; think back on the past few weeks that have sent me through a whirlwind of emotions. Emotions that revolved mostly around goodbyes: goodbyes to my community, my jobs, my coworkers, my pets, my friends, and my family.
I wanted to take the time to say thank you to everybody that showed me support these past few weeks, whether it was a “safe travels” wish or a 3 hour drive north on a Sunday night to help me pack and simply just be with me. I am fortunate enough that it was obvious that my friends and family were going to be there for me during my remaining days in Wisconsin, so I was not surprised to receive last minute gifts, going away letters, and countless hugs. However, what was a surprise to me was the overwhelming support and boosts in confidence I received from individuals who are not particularly close to me. So thank you to my yoga instructor, the bank teller, the AAA travel representative, the lady who cut my hair, my dental hygienist, and anyone else who got me even more excited to pursue this opportunity. From your stereotypical jokes about Foster’s and digeridoos to your horrible attempts at “Gday Mate,” I appreciate your light-heartedness and well wishes.
Of course I also want to say thank you to all of my friends (in order of goodbyes) who carved out time from their busy schedules to hangout and say goodbye.
- Kelsey: for making my first goodbye a bit easier by being so strong and making me laugh through it. Thanks for being the best sister I could ask for.
- Strombeezy: for letting me stay with you in Milwaukee. I had a kick ass time and am so happy I finally got to meet your lucky man.
- Jenny: for getting brunch with me and making me laugh. I’m so glad everything is falling into place for you.
- Jerrica: for sooooo many things, but mainly for starting your blog which has inspired me and so many others to take the leap. It was amazing meeting you in person, and I am very happy to consider us travel/au pair/Wisconsin friends. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Jerrica and her blog, check out Writings and Wanderlust now!
- Maddie: for getting coffee with me and being such an amazing listener. Best of luck in Africa my beautiful cousin. You will do amazing things!
- Tierney: for getting Culver’s for breakfast with me and taking time to say goodbye. Thank you also for your gift. Have an absolutely amazing rest of your time at LU and have some damn drinks for me will ya?!
- Rachel, Holly, & Alex: for expressing how much you are going to miss me a trillion times and making me feel awesome. Bowling was a blast, and I will miss all three of you so much.
- Sean: for Irish trash cans, Jimmy Johns, and letting me stay in 336 one last time. Not to mention being the nicest guy ever and making me feel like an angel whenever I’m with you.
- Mare: for getting completely shitfaced with me in Rockford when we were supposed to be “spending quality time together.” I’m so glad we stayed at a random, freaky house til 6 in the morning and then suffered from the worst hangover known to man instead of having a casual wine night like most girls. Thank you also for your attempt at a surprise visit ;] and helping me get last minute things ready for my trip. I miss you already my beautiful best friend!
- Abby: for being the best listener and advice giver there is and for urging me to pursue my dreams every time we see each other. Spending my last night at home wouldn’t have been the same without you there. Thank you also for getting married in September so I have something to look forward to upon my return to the states. I love you so much, bestie!
And it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyways, thank you Mom, Randy, Cody, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, and the rest of my family who has been so supportive since finding out that I’m going to the opposite side of the world for over half the year. I will miss you all soooo much.
To end this post, just know these past few weeks were pretty exhausting (but amazing at the same time). The stress I was feeling regarding prepping trip logistics and saying goodbyes were overshadowed by the excitement of the upcoming events I’m about to experience. How lucky am I to have people in my life that make goodbyes so difficult? Or like several of my friends have said to me, “it’ not goodbye, but rather see you next time.”
Alright, well my group just got called to board, so I’m off for LAX and then onto Oz. Today’s the day I have been waiting for and my Australian adventure has officially begun! Until next time,