Last Saturday my best friend, Bender, surprised me and came to Sydney for spring break. I had absolutely no idea. We briefly discussed the possibility early in the year but when I asked him a few weeks ago whether or not he had found flights, he said no and that he was not coming. As a pleasant surprise, he had colluded with my friend, Ryan, who is studying in Sydney with me, to surprise me for the week. He barged into my room early last Saturday morning while I was sleeping. I can honestly say I have never been more shocked, surprised, and unexpectedly overjoyed in my entire life.
We had an action-packed week – beach day at Bondi, hiking the cliffs at Manly, taking in the views from MacQuarie’s Chair, eating Lebanese food and Thai food and the best burgers and pancakes ever, wandering through the Rocks, visiting the Opera House, going to Sydney Harbor National Park, and playing baseball in the apartment, just to name a few things. Most of these activities were second takes for me, but they seemed novel nonetheless, as Ryan, Adam, and I were adventuring with a fourth travel partner.
The fact that Bender was in Sydney, Australia, all the way from TCU still has not hit me. He left this morning and it still does not seem real. I am still a junior, but he is a senior, who will graduate and start his career before I even consider studying for finals, as I won’t return to the states until July. On top of that, his next step may take him away from Fort Worth. By the time I am back in Texas, he might be gone in another corner of America, starting his new life.
When we bid adieu to each other in February, we knew our time together might be coming to an end. Of course we would be there for the big moments, but we knew that doing life together as brothers may be coming to an end. In an ideal world, we would both be working for the MLB or an MLB franchise with my house down the road from his, or even connected via sky bridge; our wives would be friends and all would be great in the world. But life is not always ideal and this pursuit is not probable.
This epiphany has troubled me my first month here, as I will not see many of the TCU seniors for a long time, including my fraternity big. Not returning until July, this is the toughest aspect of studying abroad for me. Some of these guys, particularly Bender, are my best friends and I struggled knowing I was giving up my last semester with them.
Studying abroad seems like these 5 glorious months in another country, and another hemisphere, when you look at social media posts and ask someone a quick question about their experience. But when you actually discuss the full experience of study abroad with someone who has studied abroad, they will tell you it’s not all juice boxes and graham crackers. You may not see some great friends for a long time or ever again if they are seniors, you may miss your little brother’s graduation and senior year of baseball and first ever home run – HE HIT A DINGER, Y’ALL – you will miss out on a lot of experiences. This has been very tough on me.
But having Detamble and Wagner here with me has made a world of a difference. Having a piece of home here with me and having amazing guys to do life with in Sydney has been my saving grace. I knew studying abroad would be tough, so that’s why I chose to travel with two of my really good friends. Having Bender show up was just the ultimate icing on the cake. Heck he added icing, a whole new layer of cake, and even more icing. #GoDBacks #GoRangers