Studying abroad is pretty common at my school (uni). Every year, almost half of the junior class (3rd year students) studies in a different country. I never really thought I would be part of that statistic but I surprised myself and completed my application to the University of Melbourne on the last possible day, the day it was due. Probably because that sophomore slump was all too real and I desperately needed a break from my uni, ranked by Newsweek and The Huffington Post in 2012 as one of the top 10 most stressful colleges in the U.S.
Picking Melbourne over Sydney wasn’t exactly a conscious choice, it just sort of happened. Mainly because everyone was going to Sydney and I didn’t want to go abroad with people from my home uni. Sydney was so iconic that it seemed a little too cliché to study there. If I was going to study abroad I wanted to do it right and I wanted to go alone.
As soon as I got accepted to the University of Melbourne I made a promise to myself to just go with the flow and relax for once. I was just going to let life happen. So I boarded a plane knowing literally nothing about Melbourne, or Australia for that matter. I was finally leaving the fishbowl.
Annoyingly, life did just happen. Particularly when I was not looking for anything to happen at all.
It was my third day in Melbourne and his third day working at his new job. I was exploring the streets near my apartment in the CBD, trying to get a feel for the city and what was around me. My friend and I were doing said exploring when we saw a pretty impressive looking gym and decided to check out memberships. We talked to a rep, got a tour and were immediately hooked. When we came back out to the front I saw him making smoothies for members at the gym’s cafe. I couldn’t help but think, “That’s my type.” So of course I bought a smoothie with a little encouraging from my friend, not really considering what I would actually say or the consequences of my actions. I had made a promise to just let life happen.
I ordered and he immediately picked up on my accent. “So you’re from America?” I definitely turned red. Was it that obvious?
We started talking and I mentioned that it was only our third day in Melbourne and we could use a few tips on places to go out at night. So he had me write my number down and promised to take me to some popular places for Uni students.
It all went downhill after that.
I kept thinking, what if this ends badly and I have to see him at the gym? What do I say? It’s probably better if it ends sooner than later.
But unfortunately, it never ended badly and it never ended.
Letting life happen led me to eating strawberries in Fitzroy Gardens while he showed me cute card tricks. Letting life happen led me to walking along the Yarra river under the stars with him, hand in hand. Letting life happen led me to playing tourist while he showed me The Shrine of Remembrance and Luna Park. It led to beach days at St. Kilda and spontaneous dinners and movies. Ultimately, it led to spending a week in Bali with him before I had to go home, which is a story for another time.
And now, because I let life happen, I’m stuck with long distance calls, Skype, memorizing what hour of the day it is in a different country, and wondering what the soonest possible time I can see his hazel eyes and tousled brown hair again.