On my 24th birthday, I ate tacos for dinner. Cake and ice cream for dessert. There was ten inches or so of fresh snow on the ground and my old friend Pam and I skied down empty streets to the park.
A few days later, I got an e-mail from the University of Western Sydney offering me a full scholarship.
I flew to Vancouver. Then my visa didn't come through on time, so I flew home.
My grandmother died.
I spent two months lying on my back in a kayak, watching bald eagles and imagining that I was filling a reservoir of relaxation to draw from over the next few years. Geoff and I had the family out for a Canada Day BBQ, with s’mores and fireworks on the beach. The next day I flew back to Buffalo.
Three days to pack and say good-bye.
I flew out on July 6th. Another brief visit in Vancouver.
When I arrived in Sydney, it felt like the end of a journey instead of the beginning of one.
And that was six months ago now. Since then I’ve seen koalas and kangaroos in the wild, ridden horses in the Blue Mountains and looked east across the Pacific Ocean. I’ve cooked chicken soup from scratch, experienced temperatures above 100 degrees F for the first time and seen trees that predate the birth of Christ. I’ve baked Christmas cookies on my own and successfully delivered a 25 minute oral presentation.
I'd say I got my money's worth this year.