Back to Reality

Yes, it’s official, my time in Australia has come to an end. 😦 It was really hard to leave but I felt like it was time for me to come home. Of course traveling home was no small task for me as it involved an almost 9,000 mile journey.

I’m from northeast Iowa so my travels home involved a two hour drive from Newcastle to Sydney, a 14 hour flight from Sydney to San Francisco, a three hour flight from San Francisco to Minneapolis and finally a three hour drive from Minneapolis to my hometown of Waukon. If it sounds like an endless marathon, that’s because it was.

I looked at my flight plan the day before I left and the total travel time was over 18 hours and that was before figuring in the car rides to and from the airport. The huge amount of time spent traveling is frustrating in itself but this was just increased by the fact that I went back in time by time zones so I actually got back to Minneapolis less than two hours after I left Sydney.

I’ve traveled out of the country before and it’s always a good feeling to return to the US. I was excited to be going back to the US but during my big flight, I was really stressed out about making my connection. I only had an hour and 10 minutes to make my connecting flight and if you know anything about United States Customs, that is really cutting it close.

Due to the increased security caused by terrorist threats and the busyness of traveling on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I thought that I didn’t have a chance of making that second flight. Thankfully, my first flight landed 30 minutes early. I ended up making it to my gate with only 20 minutes to spare before boarding began.

I finally landed in Minneapolis around 4:15pm and my wonderful family was waiting for me by the baggage claim.

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After talking about how I was running on about two hours of sleep and picking up my bags, they handed me my winter coat and we headed out into the frozen tundra.

When I finally got home it was so nice to see my dogs again and be able to sleep in my own bed! Since returning to the US, I have been working a lot and eating as much of the American food chains that I missed as possible.

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My jet lag wasn’t too bad when going to Australia but I thought that it was going to be a killer when I returned to the United States. I don’t know if I’m a freak of nature or if my sleeping schedule was just so messed up that changing it didn’t make a difference but I really didn’t have any jet lag. My parents said it took them a couple of weeks to adjust and the time change was 17 hours so you would think that I would have had some struggles with this. I don’t know, I think maybe I should be tested for medical research.

It’s also really weird to be home this time of year because almost all of my friends are at school prepping for their upcoming finals. I can’t even tell you how nice it is to be able to fully relax and enjoy the holiday season without constantly having to worry about my impending doom of final exams. I may have sacrificed half of my summer but I think if going back earlier was the price that I had to pay to have this time off then I think that it was worth it.

This leaves me with extra time to work and build my bank account up again and to work on some professional things like polishing my resume and editing my portfolio. I’m trying to enjoy this time while it lasts because I know that soon I will be back to the reality of going to school at Iowa State and trying to balance a million different things.

I already miss Australia in a lot of ways but really I think that I’m content with the time that I spent there and the experiences that I had. I wouldn’t trade my study abroad experience for anything but let’s be honest, I’ve also got a pretty great life here in Iowa that I was happy to go back to.

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