An Australian Bucket List

Two things. First, I acknowledge that it has been three weeks since my last post, and for this intermittence, I apologize. Second, I am back on American soil.

On Wednesday, my flight landed at JFK just past 5PM, and I walked in my front door at 7PM. It felt like the longest day of my life. Wait, it actually was the longest day of my life. Because of the traveling and the time difference, I effectively lived in the 18th of November for 40 hours.

The days leading up to departure were strange. I was in Bali for the first week of November (a trip I will tell you about in another post) and returned to Sydney on the 8th, just in time to finish studying for my three exams. Honestly, it felt wrong to be studying during my last week in Sydney. Would studying be on your bucket list? Didn’t think so. There was so much I still wanted to do and see in Sydney. But I recognized that saying goodbye to the life I had made in Australia did not mean my entire life was ending, so study I did. I sat for one exam each day on the 11th, 12th, and 13th (Friday), and then was free to enjoy my last five days in Sydney.

By the time I returned to Sydney from Bali, I had compiled a short mental list of the most important activities for my remaining days. This list included walking over the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Luna Park, watching the sun rise, and a few other relatively unambitious goals such as spending time on the beach and eating all the delicious foods that are accessible and pervasive in Sydney, but equally unavailable in the United States. A few examples: passionfruit, kangaroo, emu, fish and chips, haloumi sandwiches.

But then my exams ended, and I felt paralyzed. There were innumerable options to choose from for an absurdly short time period. I came to realize that my bucket list was really only two items long. First, I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my roommates, travel buddies, and all the other smart, genial, adventurous students who had become my extended family in Sydney, and second, I wanted to soak up the sun and the salty water at the beach I had learned to adore, Coogee.