Thursday, May 2, 2013

Goodbye, Down Under!


By Coby Moss

G’day everyone!

This is the final blog of the 2013 Australia program and I have to say it is bitter sweet. I am left to write about the final day in Australia, which in my opinion was very surreal. The day started with waking up at the Sapphire Resort (where we were currently staying) and applying for classes for the following semester. I had realized that I needed to get last minute shopping done so I went out to walk and headed to downtown Brisbane. While I was walking down Melbourne I couldn't help but feel that the program wasn’t over. The day felt almost natural as if I was doing my normal routine and that I would be seeing the same people the following day. It was there that I began to conceptualize everything that I did while in Australia. I began to think of all the experiences we had in Sydney, and then all of the tours and sites. Everything felt like it just happened yesterday. It was as if we went to Bondi the previous day and there was yet another adventure ahead of us. It was then that I couldn’t help but think about how awesome the program was, the group who represented Australia 2013, and all of the people we met along the way.

As I walked down Melbourne Street and crossed the Victoria Bridge, I finally reached Queen Street. This is a bustling part of Brisbane that is a center of shopping, bars, and food. The street was packed with people all in their work attire who all had a destination they were trying to reach. As a result, I had to do some weaving through the crowd. I eventually found a store that had all the merchandise I was looking for. It was a typical tourist shop that had everything Australia. Of course I had to buy an “Australia” sports jacket and a couple for the family so I went along with the purchase. It was there that I also bought a flag that I knew I was going to hang up the following semester.

Queen Street
Photo courtesy of www.2pi.info.com
After these purchases I walked back to the resort. I found it a bit humorous that I was walking along the same path that I did to go to school while I was in Brisbane. It brought me back to the month that I stayed with my host family (who were very generous and caring I might add). This triggered my memory of taking the City Cat to school each and every day. I am pretty spoiled for being able to take a boat to school every day. After this thought I began to think about the group. I had an epiphany of how each individual had grown. I was impressed with the fact that many came out of their shell and that each grew in a their own particular manner. I truly believe that the Australia program had a positive effect on everyone. Whether it was some small effect or one that was large, every individual had changed.

I eventually made it to the GED building. When I saw those steps I couldn’t help to think of all the lectures we had and then of all the days we decided to hit up the Archive after school. The Archive is an awesome bar that is just a few blocks from the GED building. The inside, with pages of comic books covering the walls, looks like something that came out of Portland, Oregon. Essentially it was like walking through a portal, and I have to add it definitely helped out with the homesickness.

After ruminating about out lectures I finally made my way back to the resort. Feeling a bit anxious about the next day I started to pack as soon as I returned to my room. Not long after I got back some of the homies walked in to sit and chat. Eventually, it was just Justin Eubanks and I talking about the questionnaire as he was filling his out. We talked about the question “What three ways could this program be improved” and realized that we were having trouble trying to think of some good ones. In a way this made me realize how good the program was. I then realized that I had to fill out my own questionnaire and that there wasn’t much time before our final dinner to finish it. With only 30 minutes to spare I had to get ready for dinner and give my honest opinion on the questionnaire.
Yueping and baby Mira
Photo courtesy of Rachit Malhotra
I must admit I was only slightly late to dinner but it was a great sight to see everyone at the table sitting down together and having a wonderful time. I looked around to see the faces I was going to miss. As I looked around I saw a family. While we all had our own differences, we were a mob who did their best to understand each other. This occasion brought me back to our first real sit down dinner at the Blue Mountains. At this time the family wasn’t tightly knit. It is great to see how a group of people came together over a short period of time. While everyone may have not clicked or become close friends, we still made ties that were substantial enough. And of course, like the one in the Blue Mountains, the meal we were having at the Punjabi Palace was perfect. While it was sad to think about our last dinner together, the joyous vibe I got from the crowd truly made the night.

After finishing our dinners it was time to return to the resort. It was sad to say goodbye to Nat (the individual who led and organized our program) and to her family, Yueping, and of course Julie who were all responsible for helping ensure that we had a wonderful educational experience. Once we said our farewells and walked out of the restaurant, the program truly felt like it was over. Our study abroad program to Australia was a journey that I hope other Lewis & Clark students have the opportunity to enjoy. It was an experience that I will never forget for it really changed my life. To put it all together, a lyric from Macklemore comes to mind, “We laughed… we cried…. And we had a really really good time.” 
The Australia Family, 2013
Photo courtesy of Kyla Covey

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