The weeks are moving faster than ever and it’s starting to get to the point where the end feels near… scary. I’ve also been feeling weird about spending my first holiday season away from home ever. There’s been more homesick nights and nostalgic thoughts about home than normal but I suppose that’s expected when you’re across the world from your family and friends. I’m staying positive though and remind myself how special it is that I can be celebrating the holidays in a different country with completely different people during this rollercoaster of a time in my life.
Although I am just over halfway through my au pair contract, with three months down, and two to go, it often feels as if I am just getting here and getting to know the place. Of course I have my favorite spots by now, drive around on the left side like I learned that way, and can walk around the city without using Google Maps, but there is so much more that I am still discovering and finding to love about not only Australia but Brissy.
Before I left for Australia, I thought of how much I would fall in love with the landscape, beaches, lifestyle and people as a whole. What I now realize is how much I appreciate a once completely unfamiliar city to me, called Brisbane. No it’s not iconic Sydney or trendy Melbourne but I have come to really enjoy it for what it is and can’t imagine calling another city in Aussie home. It’s got everything I need and more, and it’s still on its way to making a name for itself.
The reason I’m talking about Brisbane so much this time is because these last two weekends have pretty much consisted of quality time with Brissy. Last weekend the whole crew went to Olivia’s brother, Michael’s, party that he was hosting for lifeguards before the O’Brien clan left for their holiday in Papa New Guinea and Leslie took off with her boyfriend for a week. What an interesting night. The sun was rising as my Uber driver dropped me off from the valley and I couldn’t get into the house so I slept on the concrete outside of Olivia’s new place…. one of those.
The rest of the weekend I spent wandering around Southbank with a new au pair friend of mine, Caroline, from New Orleans and her friend Megan, from Spain, and then spending an afternoon with Maddie Boo in New Farm where we went to the House of Mirrors exhibit at Brisbane Powerhouse – talk about give yourself a headache. Got cool pics though so worth it! I ended that weekend solo watching the sunset at Kangaroo Point with a glass of Sangria, and then headed back to Ferny Hills so I could spend my Monday running errands.
This past weekend Leslie and her boyfriend Cody, who came to visit from Gainesville for a week, got back from their week-long campervan trip and met Caroline, her friend Jake, Simone, and I at Kangaroo Point Cliffs Friday evening for a “Friendsgiving” dinner. We had some pie, mashed potato casserole, ham, a delicious Indian dish Simone made and plenty of wine to celebrate. Of course a few of us headed to the valley after and stayed out later than we should’ve but what’s new.
On Saturday, Leslie and I relaxed at Roma Street Parklands and then just walked around the city a but before calling it a day back at Hannah’s. Sunday was Leslie’s 23rd birthday so we did what she does best – day drinking and watching Gator football. We were so excited to find a couple different pubs that were able to find the game on one of their channels and while they were confused and probably didn’t want to turn it on since nobody else cared about it, they were kind enough to make our dreams come true and we got to watch the Gators play FSU. Not the best game but just seeing them play again, and in Australia, was everything. Later that day Olivia and Hannah met us and Maddie out, and told us all about their week in Papa New Guinea visiting their Dad, who works there. It sounds like such a beautiful and untouched place, almost like a deserted island but with lots of cute PNG children running around, claims Olivia. Many people say it can be scary for outsiders but they had nothing but positive things to say.
Yesterday was spent helping Olivia move into her cool new crib, chillin’ at the crib, buying stuff for the crib and then having a nice evening picnic at Mt. Coot-tha. I really do love her house and can’t wait for her and James to be roommates (haha). She is so kind to offer him part of her room and I know he is so excited to have it there to settle into once he gets here before Christmas. It’s going to be a party house for sure. 😉
Like I said, my time here as an au pair is closing in on me fast. I think back and realize how much I’ve done but then again, it still feels like there’s so much I still have to do while I’m out here and with the travel bug. I’ve been thinking a lot about what my next steps will be and it’s nerve-racking but also so incredibly exciting to not know exactly what the future holds… of course I have ideas but what actually comes of them will be a journey in itself. Everything is just a potential timeline in my head right now but as it unfolds, I will be sure to let you know.