Sparkly Red Shoes

Erin Biesecker
June 20, 2018

There’s no point in sugar-coating it- study abroad so far has been a mixed bag. Managing the push and pull of wanting to explore an entire country and of making the most of an almost-job is a whole bunch, all at once. Just to show you how great and awful of a time I’m having all at once, here’s an example of all of it smooshed into one weekend.

Phase 1) me, missing Kansas and Toto.

I found it a little difficult to say goodbye to my mom on the phone after a pretty average conversation. I realized that I couldn’t believe how much I missed her. It didn’t make any sense- I’ve gone way longer than 2 weeks without seeing her or my dad. But also I was half a world away, so that changes things a bit. Anyway, I ended up trying to convince myself that I was totally fine as I failed to hold back some waterfall action. This resulted in me missing the feeling of home.

Phase 2) me, lightly tossing caution to the wind.

Just a few hours later, I received a text from my mom saying her friend who moved to Australia 15 years ago invited me to her place in Brisbane. She was pretty sure I wouldn’t want to go, understandably. The whole issue of timing with airplanes is not really my style. But I knew my parents loved this sweet family, so I decided to go. Anything that could feel like home away from home was worth it.

Phase 3) me, running out of ways to say thank you.

Turns out, I made the right choice. A thousand times over. I had a super-duper time in Brisbane where I was welcomed with open arms into this family’s life: exploring South Bank, feeding kangaroos and holding koalas, lazing around and watching netflix, going shopping with one of the daughters, and watching them painstakingly make me a beautiful birthday cake from scratch. I can truly say it was a home away from home.

Phase 4) me, realizing there really is no place like home.

How happy I was made me sad. See?? I’m pretty unstable. Watching the younger daughter run around the mall with her closest friend and her mom running after them felt very close to home, so close that it made me wish I was home again. I’m sure some of you are thinking- why can’t she just enjoy herself? It sounds like an amazing weekend! I thought she wanted it to feel like home. Well, I discovered the pros and cons. I did cry a little bit in the corner of a target. But as we drove back to the airport, I felt pretty happy with myself for willingly jumping through a whole lotta social hurdles with a family I didn’t know on my own.

Phase 5) me, considering the pros and cons of jumping out of a moving vehicle.

Whoops! Just when you thought this rollercoaster was coasting it’s way back into home base, it throws you for a loop. Every adult insisted that I take the taxi home, safer and all. Made sense. Well, turns out my taxi driver was super incompetent and drove me around in circles while changing the address of where we were going when he thought I wasn’t looking. It dawned on me that I had no idea where this man was going, and all the young-girl-alone-in-the-city warnings started flashing. I called my parents and stayed on the phone with them as I came to realize this fool actually just had no idea how to get to my hotel, and he was quite harmless. However, it sure did freak me out.

Phase 6) What?

I found myself staring blankly at my desktop the next morning extremely confused on what to feel. That was a whole lotta emotions, none of which had any time to process, that were buzzing around my head. I tried to use my hour commute to process, but I really just didn’t know how. It’s not until writing it down now that I feel I’ve come to some sort of grips with it all, but I don’t know how or why.

So that is what my rollercoaster weekend was like. Hopefully getting thrown around this much will make me a bit more resilient. Because life is just so freaking weird and unpredictable and I’m sure this weekend will not be the craziest weekend I will ever have. I’ll have bigger and grander ups and downs with events flashing by like Florida newspaper headlines- astounding audiences that crazy crap just happens like that. I still feel pretty unstable, but maybe I’ve found a baseline more flexible, more able to take on the crazy. To finish on a good note, here are some of my personal favorites from the amazingness that is Florida news headlines:

“Opossum Breaks Into A Liquor Store And Gets Drunk”

“College Students Warned After They Brought a Dead Alligator Into Dorm and Tried to Make it an Internet Sensation.”

“A McDonald's Customer Attacked An Employee Over A Broken Ice Cream Machine”

“Florida Man, once arrested for fighting drag queen with a tiki torch while dressed like KKK member, now running for mayor.”

*mike drops*

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Erin Biesecker

<p>I have been a rower for seven years, and it has been a large part of my college experience. Rowing has helped me learn&nbsp;teamwork and camaraderie to the extreme- needing to get our bodily actions with little more than centimeters as a&nbsp;buffer. And it's amazing! I witness sunrises and sunsets on a beautiful river with my closest friends and it's everything&nbsp;I ever wanted from a sport without ever having known it before.</p>

2018 Summer 1, 2018 Summer 2
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Bethesda, MD
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