I left home for a semester, like most people do. I went to travel, to meet new people, to explore what I had never seen, like most people do. I left to get out of my comfort zone, like most people have done.
I went to Australia for my study abroad last semester.
I climbed the steep, winding hills to the lighthouse. I kayaked the deep ocean with familiar faces. I met people drastically different from me, and people who were cut from the same cloth as myself. I roamed the darkened rainforest, where the only light came from the faint glimmer of the hidden glow worms. I saw the gentle hop of a baby kangaroo.
I actually stopped, smelled the roses, and enjoyed the things around me.
I took a pause from the life I knew, and I'm not quite sure I know how to go back. Stuck in a middle ground, I'm yearning to go back and to move forward at the same time. I'm back home, but it doesn't always feel like it. You forget that life still continues even if you're not there. People adjusted. When I came home, I loved it, but it was easy to feel like a stranger, and no one talks about that aspect of study abroad.
Like most people say, and I agree, my experience in Australia was life changing, as cliche as that sounds. It was like no other. It felt like a movie with parts you would rewatch and parts you would skip. But like most things, even movies have to end.
I miss the place that made me understand myself. Not saying everything was perfect, everything was just different.
Now things feel different again, not just for me, but for Australia.
Australia is on fire. Helpless people, in need of our help. Koalas, trying frantically to get away, but cannot.
We are sitting at worn out desks, only moving to take notes we don't understand. Learning about ways we can change the world, yet doing absolutely nothing about it.
I can't go back now and I can't physically help.
Something needs to change.