Far, Far, Far Away
It wasn’t until I was walking away from my mom in the airport in St. Louis that I think it really began to hit me that I was going to spend the next four months away from home in the US. And not just away from home, but like, away from home. 10,977 miles (17,665 km), to be exact (I’m trying to acclimatize myself to using the metric system in everyday life. Thanks, Jimmy Carter). It is almost impossible for me to have picked a place physically further from my hometown. To that effect, I have learned a wonderful new word- antipode (noun), the direct opposite of something. I have already started brainstorming on how this can be used in a pun-like manner, most likely on an Instagram caption.
This distance may explain why it took me a grand total of 37 hours, 39 minutes, and 28 seconds from the time I left my house in Effingham, IL, to the time I arrived at St. Thomas More Residential College in Crawley, WA. Because I knew that, with the myriad time changes I would be experiencing, figuring out the time by hand would be not-fun math, I set the stopwatch on my phone going when I left my house, letting technology do the hard work for me.
While I do love to travel, and don’t normally mind the getting-there part overly much, there is something about a 17 hour flight that would make the most patient among us cry. By the end, a small part of me wanted to claw at the walls of the plane, claw at the (perfectly nice) people seated next to me, and claw at my own eyes, in that order. Most of me just wanted to sleep on a horizontal surface. Would I fly straight from Houston to Sydney again? Well, I have to if I want to get home. However, I am glad that I have four months before I have to do that again.
A slight side note, just an observation on time zones. The way I traveled meant that I took off from Houston on a Wednesday night and landed in Sydney on a Friday morning. It seemed bizarre in the extreme that I kind of missed a day. A Thursday just slid right by without me truly experiencing it while I was hurtling above the Earth in an aerodynamic tin can at over 460 mph. Time is strange like that. It was just lucky happenstance that the Thursday I essentially skipped was February 14th, Valentine’s Day. The ultimate single flex.
Beginning Thoughts on the Land of Aus
As anyone who knows my sense of humor well can attest, I am a sucker for puns. I’ve made many myself, and have been known to genuinely laugh at a turn-of-phrase that others groaned at. So, to my delight, one of the first things I see when I arrive at the domestic Qantas terminal at Sydney Airport to catch my connection on to Perth, is this:
What I can only hope is that that is a Mexican restaurant named in honor of the Australian cinematic treasure Mad Max. I think I already like it here.
Qantas may have the best airline food I’ve ever had. And handed out ice cream Mars bars instead of peanuts or pretzels. Take note, US airlines.
Perth was sunny and 80 when we landed. This will be nice. I guess I see why retirees are always chasing the warm sunny summer.
I’ve heard “Good on ya, mate” said about six times already and have a few RAs pull me aside specifically (once they found out I was American) to tell me “Yeah, so thongs are sandals, mate. Just so ya know”, so I’m really looking forward to hearing lots more new accents and turns of phrase.
Underwater hockey. Is. A. Thing. In the words of the Aussies telling us about it. “They probably tried to play ice hockey and the rink melted. Also have you seen the Olympics? Australians are great in the water.”
Other than this, I’m just really looking forward to the next four months. I will endeavor to record anything of note, any interesting people I meet, foods I eat, sites I see, or things I do. Cheers, mate.