I judge every city against New York City. New York city is a patchwork city of many cultures, languages, and experiences. Because of the sheer variety of experiences and people, it is relatively easy for me to blend in seamlessly. It is an international city and a city of travelers. Sydney measures up very well. In some ways, Sydney is better. Sydney is similar in that it is a city filled with nomads like myself. The cultures represented are very different, but the rich variety of people is the same. The distance I’ve felt from other students has lessened somewhat. As we have all settled in to the relentless rhythms of class and schoolwork, we’ve all come together in mutual struggle. However, the gulf between us widens socially. Our priorities and lives are much different.
I have approached my studies with the two objectives of enriching myself in the culture and traditions of Australia and completing my studies. Consequently, I’ve somehow ended up taking courses involving Australia’s perspectives of Europe and the United States, Anthropology in Australia. My own quest to escape from Orlando goes relatively well, and I don’t feel the sense of detachment and worry that has pervaded my life in Orlando in the last few years. The best I’ve felt so far was in New Zealand. It is a far cry from the metropolitan life of Sydney, or even Orlando, but it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. In New Zealand, I was able to feel a sense of relaxation I hadn’t since the very first few weeks in Melbourne. I have no doubt I’ll return as soon as possible.
Probably the thing I’m most proud of is that I’m getting along very well independently. My concerns about being alone and isolated that intensified during my first few weeks were unfounded. Without traveling companions and on a very meager budget, I’ve managed my time here very well. I have good friends I’ve made, I’m taking classes and making connections that will no doubt help my career, and if I can just survive midterms and finals, everything will be fine.