March 2nd, 2017 — (HOW IS IT MARCH ALREADY?)
Today is officially the two week mark of my time here in Townsville. Three if we’re counting the days in Canberra. Honestly, it feels like I’ve been here for so much longer. Maybe it’s because I’ve always felt at home here in Australia, it never feels like I’ve left. That being said, the first few days here in Townsville was rough. And I mean it. As much as Australia is home to me, this was by far the hardest transition. The five days I had spent in Canberra was wonderful. I got to stay with my amazing cousin (she cooks the best meals and makes sure I have enough wine and champagne every night), and met up with old friends. Oh how much I’ve missed Canberra. Canberra is such a gem- everyone had told me it was going to a boring little government city (perhaps a close comparison to Ottawa, haha), but honestly it is a beautiful city with some incredible people. It’s filled with parks, great food, and fantastic weather. Seeing my friends again that I had met last July was just perfect. We picked up right where we left off- climbing mountains, eating, talking for hours, having a picnic, sharing silly stories, and laughing at the most ridiculous things. I couldn’t have been happier and I didn’t want to leave.
I knew leaving for Townsville was going to be hard. Sure, I’ve traveled to places where I knew nobody, but it was different this time. I’m going to be living here for a year and a half, and meeting so many new faces. What if I don’t make any friends? What if everyone already has their own groups since I missed all of O-week? What if nobody likes me? What if my roommates are crazy? What am I doing?? Did I make the right choice? Can I stay in Canberra longer? Can I just travel for life?
Fortunately, I was lucky to have my new roommate pick me up from the airport, and felt that maybe this was going to work out. Now don’t get me wrong, my roommates are lovely and I feel so incredibly lucky to have such chill, friendly roommates. (I’m going to refer to them as the boys now) The boys are in their final year of med school, and are more than a head taller than me. They’re absolutely hilarious, and love to stay active. To put it short, they work hard, eat healthy, exercise daily on the weekdays, and let loose on the weekend. When I first arrived, they had already invited some friends over and would be heading out to a nearby bar. I reluctantly decided to join- I was tired, and still feeling down about leaving Canberra. But I wanted to make a good first impression , so I tried to be social… but I couldn’t. When their friends came over, I couldn’t make conversation, it’s like I had forgotten how to talk. Everyone always sees me as this social butterfly, but when you’re placed in a situation where everyone else knows each other, I’m the most timid person ever. I start to get anxious and overwhelmed. I start to feel really uncomfortable and start to question what I’m even doing.
When we get to the bar, I feel even more uncomfortable. Everyone here knew each other, and I didn’t know anyone except my roommates who were catching up with all their friends. I stepped outside, and called my friend back in Canberra for some encouragement. It hasn’t even been a day in Townsville and I’ve already fallen apart. Yikes. Am I ever going to make any friends? After some wise words from my friend, I walked back into the bar with my chin up and told the boys I’ll be heading back home first. I needed the rest.
I spent the next day alone, I needed to recollect my thoughts, I needed to wallow. I tell myself it’s going to get better.. I know it will.
And it did.
I met some incredible people the next day at an outing to a nearby swimming hole, and couldn’t wait to get to know these people more. They were all studying marine biology as well- turns out, basically everyone here studies marine biology haha, go figure.
The days keep getting better and better, and I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for me! I’m loving my classes so far (it’s so different when you actually take classes you are interested in), I’m taking on every opportunity I get, I’m biking to school, I’m slowly getting use to this high humidity weather (ugh), I’m swimming more, I’m rock climbing outdoors again, I’m more relaxed, and perhaps most importantly, feeling like myself again!