On August 20, I arrived in Brisbane, Australia to begin a new adventure. I had come from spending eight wonderful days in Queenstown, New Zealand with my boyfriend, James, while he worked at a ski resort there. I was feeling emotional, tired and confused. As excited as I was for my own overseas experience, I was entering into an unknown, with the comfort of all my loved ones behind me.
Luckily, I was distracted from those feelings pretty easily by the company of some local friends, and angels, by the names of Olivia and Hannah. I met Olivia at a summer camp in Maine a few summers ago where we worked as counselors. Olivia’s sister Hannah, Olivia and her friend stayed with me in Florida one year after camp while they were traveling the U.S. To them, picking me up from the airport and taking me in for one week was “payback” but to me it was the most generous of gifts. I am so grateful to have entered into such an unfamiliar situation with their help, friendship and knowledge. I spent the next couple of days on a camping trip with Olivia, exploring some of the most beautiful towns and landscapes south of Brisbane. I then spent the rest of the week staying at Hannah’s apartment in the city and using my days to wander around and get to know Brissy before I had to move out to the burbs.
Yesterday I moved out to a suburb called Ferny Hills, about 25 mins. from the city, to settle in with my host family. Mark and Camille, my host parents, are super kind and laid- back, welcoming me with open arms and smiles. As soon as I walked through the door, four-year-old Kirin showed me my room and gave me the tour of the house. It is modest but more importantly, cozy and comfortable. I have a bedroom downstairs with my own couch and TV area as well. They have made me feel at home straight away and I have already fallen in love with the two young boys. Kirin is the eldest and Charlie is 11 months. Both have very sweet demeanors and beautiful smiles, like their mother’s. Kirin has the craziest imagination. He is really into pretending there are monsters and crocodiles to run away from at the moment. I can’t wait to see his imagination grow and hopefully foster that energetic spirit he has.
Today I met up with my friend Leslie who is from Florida as well and is au pairing in a suburb south of Brisbane. We went to a place called Mt. Coot-tha, where we did a hike and then spent some time at the lookout on top. We’re looking forward to planning some more fun trips on time off. I am still a tad uncertain of my hours and duties as the mom does not go back to work for a few weeks and seems to be flexible until then. She is very understanding in regards to my travels, which is huge.
I am still adjusting to being out in the suburbs and living with another family but I am warming up to it all quickly and have a great feeling about it. I realize how unique and wonderful of an opportunity it is to be able to fully immerse myself into another family’s life and culture, and I am so excited for all I will learn throughout these next five months! Cheers to the beginning of an amazing journey!