The first few days of being in Australia was nothing that I could not handle. Thanks to TEAN’s orientation, I did not have one second to be home sick or think about the new culture that I am in. I was tired but excited. Jet lag was not aloud to sink in because every second of every day was planned. A few people in my program did not enjoy how structured the orientation, but due to my structure-oriented personality, I thrived.
During orientation, my separation process was going smoothly. I was making friends and constantly staying busy. The first day, I went to a wild life preserve where I got to pet my first kangaroo. Then we went to the rain forest where we were able to swim in a gorge that was filled with water from the rain forest. Nothing seemed real. I felt as if I was on a vacation and I would be going home in a few days. The second day, I went to the Great Barrier Reef. I was able to scuba dive for the first time. Scuba diving was such an incredible experience that I hope to be able to do again and again. The follow day, I decided to cross-sky diving off my bucket list. As I jumped (or pushed) out of the plane, all my worries went away. I was in a beautiful country, filled with amazing people, and was about to have the time of my life.
Then I landed. As I finished my sky dive, everything began to slow down. We made our way to Broad beach where we would be spending our next four months. Suddenly, it hit me that I was on my own. There were no tour guides to tell me how to spend my time. There were no scheduled lunches or dinners. We were all spread out in different hotels, making it more difficult to get in contact with people on the TEAN trip. The constant down time was my first culture shock of Australian culture. In America, we are known to constantly being going. I work six jobs and never have a second to catch my breath. But, that is the way I like it. I am comfortable in the fact that I am never alone and never have the time to sit and think. In Australia, you have nothing but time to sit and think.
Sitting in a restaurant in Australia is meant to be leisure. In America, as soon as you finish eating, the check is in your hand. This does not happen in Australia. I have learned that the waitress/waiter will wait as long as they please to hand you the check. Everything is in slow motion here. Although, this frightens me at the current moment, one of my goals is to learn how to slow my life down. On location 3049 of Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning, Slimbach says, “The environment hasn’t changed, but our self-awareness, cultural knowledge, and empathic ability have.” This quote stuck out to me because I know that the culture I am in will not change but instead I will change. I believe that this change will be for the better. I believe that I desperately need the change that Australia is about to bring me and I accept it with open arms.
I chose two pictures for this blog. The first picture was my view from my balcony in Cairns, Australia. At this point in my trip, I was secure with myself and my choice to be in Australia. The second picture is my current view from Broadbeach, Australia. This balcony will be my home for the next four months. The change from Cairns to Broadbeach, to me, was huge. Being in my location where I will be for the next four months has made the culture shock and awareness finally sink in. Although I am scared for the change, I am also excited. I hope to leave Australia as a self-sufficient, lack of stress, confident woman.