Of all of the blogs that I wrote about my time in Australia, this one has been the most difficult by far to write. Not because I have nothing to say, not because I don’t want to write about it, not because I didn’t have the experience of a lifetime, but because I refuse to come to terms with the reality that I as I write this I am traveling 541 miles per hour away from the place I learned so quickly to call home and from the people that became my family over the past five weeks.
Good thing the ladies next to me (ugh middle seat) are passed out right now or they would probably be concerned for my wellbeing because of the tears streaming down my face right now.
It’s a bittersweet feeling. I remember a similar situation happening on what feels like just yesterday. I had just said my hardest goodbye and hurried through security in the Austin airport so that the guards wouldn’t see the tears I was so terribly trying to hold back. I boarded the longest flight of my life and for hours sat so anxiously dreaming of the adventures I was about to have down under. I had some high expectations, but I never expected to be changed by this trip in the way I did.
I swam in the Great Barrier Reef with sharks. I met celebrities. I fell shoulder deep in freezing water in the Outback. I watched Finding Dory in Australia and saw her in the wild. I zip lined through the rainforest. I laid under the stars in the Outback and listened to the dingoes. I was met by a giant rat on a midnight bathroom run. I stood under a giant waterfall. I held a koala in my arms like a baby. I drank cider in the Green Dragon in Hobbiton. I jumped off the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere. I laid down next to a Kangaroo.
I couldn't be more thankful for this experience.
I am thankful for Gaby for being my partner in crime and personal photographer throughout this trip after I broke my phone.
I am thankful for Alejandra for the sweet memory she gave me when she cried as she was surprised with a 21st birthday cake.
I am thankful for Eileen for breaking in those horrendously painful heels for me.
I am thankful for Luqman for saving me on a moment's notice from that lizard that crawled into my bed.
I am thankful for Melyssa for being the Drupal queen and putting up with all 50 million of our questions.
I am thankful for Eva for being an actual mermaid and making all the rest of us look bad.
I am thankful for Cameron for knowing how to operate a zip line and coaching us through it all.
I am thankful for Mikaela for being my personal alarm clock when I refused to wake up to any of the alarms we set.
I am thankful for Erin for teaching me all I need to know and more about the UT swim team.
I am thankful for Evelyn for helping me survive all of our journalism classes over the past six months.
I am thankful for Jade for providing endless amounts of entertainment and for keeping us all on our toes.
I am thankful for Lauren for convincing me to jump off a building and not hating me for getting her killed off in every round of Werewolf.
I am thankful for Karla for incredible photography and videography skills that truly captured the beauty of Australia.
I am thankful for Ivey for her endless, unbelievable stories.
I am thankful for Kendall for letting me live vicariously through her and for always being the life of the party.
I am thankful for Cano for taking beautiful pictures of everything in Australia, but me. The number of blackmail worthy photos of me you probably have on your camera roll is concerning.
I am thankful for Jeff for all of the life advice and bush dancing.
I am thankful for Dr. Kris for guiding us through this incredible experience and sharing his stories with us.
I am thankful for the blues of the Great Barrier Reef, the reds of the sands in the Outback, and the greens of the rainforest.
I am thankful for every second.
Anyone else down for a reunion trip next summer? :) I miss you all already!