My first week, meeting new people, overcoming jet lag, new environments, trying new foods and all the experiences.
My first week in Australia was really exciting. It only made me more excited for the rest of the 3 months that I’ll be here.
Let’s start from the beginning.
On Sunday 9 Feb 2020 greeted my family with tears flowing and a sore but excited heart. This is the beginning of my independence. I flew from O.R Tambo to Dubai. On my flight I met a guy that was n student teacher in my preschool, we knew each other from a distance so we had time to get to know each other better. We talked a lot on the flight and grabbed a coffee as soon as we landed. A magical moment: I fell asleep on the plane and started to get cold but wasn’t able to wake up and get myself a blanket, he notuced and put a blanket iver me without wanting anything in return. Its so lovely to know that there are (half) strangers out there that would do such nice things for the people around them. As this is my first solo travel he felt like a reassuring person/ sign and helped me get through the airport and took me to my next gate. We parted ways and I talked to my family quickly before boarding my next flight( 14 hours fyi)
I slept most of the time on the flight. I landed in Australia 7pm. I got my bags at baggage claim and immediately skyped my mom and dad. I walked to the gate end and met Magdaleen Kelly(my mom’s cousin) one of the most loving souls I’ve met thus far, where I will be staying with her and her family for the next 3 months.
Why I’m in Australia?
It’s my first stop in my gap year. I’m here for some working experience in the accounting field and will be working with Mags(Magdaleen) and other accountants. Im doing this because my plan for university was to go into accounting and I want to be 100% sure before committing. And I obviously want that touristy part so that I can explore and experience.
Mags and her youngest son welcomed me and I knew that that moment was the start of a new chapter in my life.
I unpacked everything, talked to my family, ate dinner and got to know the Kellys a bit more.
I woke up Tuesday, 11 February, and could finally see everything in day light. I still couldn’t believe that I’m finally in the place ive been planning on going for the last couple of months. I’m so excited and can’t wait to do and experience everything and anything. Mags took me to the beach and I came in contact with the locals for the first time. The culture here is totally opposite from where I come from. People where everywhere on the beach surfing, walking, rowing, chatting and drink coffee at a coffee shop right on the beach and all of this at 11am on a Tuesday. I couldn’t understand how they could have jobs but be on the beach ar this time of day. After a couple of conversations I found out that they schedule their meetings, work hours, lunch breaks etc. so that they could do what excites them the most. Its absolutely wonderful to see people living the lives that makes them the most happy.
On Wednesday the 11th I woke up 4am( jet lag messed up my sleep schedule pretty badly) and after I Skyped my parents I went to go watch the sunris eon this foggy day. I also went on a short hike back home. I walked with mags to take her youngest to his school. It was such a wholesome experience to see the goodbye-ritual they do everymorning. Later I walked to the gym I was recommended and went to get a membership. Priorities ya know. That evening all of us went out and ate at a cozy restaurant. I already feel at home with this family and couldn’t have asked for people to make me feel more at home. We ate ice cream for dessert and watched Schitts creek (a series me and my famiky watched together each night) which was the start of a new tradition for us.
Thursday 12 Feb: i slept until 12pm( yup, jet lag was here to stay for longer than i thought)my eyes felt droopy for hours on end. I went to the gym and felt so rejuvenated afterwards. I can’t wait to be back in my routine. I took the long way home and walked to the beach. In my hometown we are really far away from any sea side so I’m super excited to stay like 200m from the beach. I took that hike again and went home feeling great! Of course after dinner I skyped my parents and we watched schitts creek and it made me feel close to my family even though I’m 1000’s of kilometers away.
Friday: 14 February, Valentine’s day! I woke up walked with mags to drop of her son. And we went to the local farmers market where you can literally buy anything you can think of. At home I received a poem my mom wrote for me and it had me in tears instantly. I went to the gym and felt like a new person again( at this point jet lag was still super prominent). Me and mags went to pick up her son and spontaneously decided to go eat gelato in a bequtiful area a couple of minutes away. We ended up driving past all the nearest beaches to give me a general idea of where we are. At home I booked a CPR certification for next week. That has been on my bucket list for the longest time. I just want to be sure I would know how to save someone in case of emergency. We also spent the evening conversing with people that also live in the area. Its always nice to meet new exciting people.
Saturday, 15 Feb. One of my favourite days.I woke up and talked to my family. We had a beach day. We went down swam for a bit and enjoyed the sun. Afterwards I got ready and went to the gym and took a walk along the beach. When i got home I got ready for tennis. Thats right a bunch of neighbors in the area come together every Saturday and just play tennis and catch up. I met new interesting people and played tennis until the sun went down. This was the first time that I’ve played tennis on a grass court and I love it! This feels like a dream. Everybody is so nice, social and interesting. I feel like I always learn something from new people. We watched Schitts creek and afterwards I talked to my family before I went to bed.
16 Feb, Sunday: Exploring Sydney. Me mags and her 3 children went by car, bus and then a ferry to make our way to the Sydney Harbor bridge and also the Opera house. Thia was such an amazing time and I felt like an excited tourist. I ate oysters for the first time at a newrby restaurant and wasn’t totally repulsed. We walked around in a couple of shops and then took the B-line bus back home. Me and the youngest watched a movie together. I told him about our sunday tradition back home and how me and my household always braai and watch movies on sundays. With that story I convinced mags to make braai broodjies( lekker!) and it felt like home. After dinner me and Mags went down to the beach and ended the day off with a swim. She showed me all the stardish families and we watched the sunset before waliing back home. What an amazing way to end off the week.
This was the first week of my gap year in action. I can’t help but feel so blessed to have this opportunity. I’ve met so many people and had so many meaningful conversations with new people. It makes my heart feel warm. So far Australia is truly amazing and I haven’t even experienced half of it.
I’m so thankful to Mags and her family for treating me like a member of their household. This feels like my home away from home. And I feel like I belong.
Of course there’s been tears and sadness. Its never eady to leave people behind. But I try to focus on being in the moment and staying in contact. I skype my family 2 times a day and sometimes more. I miss being around them but I know that I’m here learn and work.
Next week is the start of me working here and gaining perspective of the fields I’m interested in. I’m trying to experience or do something new every day.
I can’t wait to see what the rest of my stay here has for me.
Thank you so much for taking the time and reading my blog. I truly appreciate it and can’t explain how happy it makes me to know people are interested in what I’m doing. Have a great rest of your day❤