We made it! After approximately 25 hours of travel, we finally arrived in beautiful Sydney, Australia. After the long journey, I am very thankful to have two feet firmly on the ground. International travel was quite the process. I’m unsure if our matching Augustana tank tops worked as more of a blessing or a curse in the airport. I think the employees were overwhelmed when they saw the army of Americans in the royal blue tanks marching their way. We probably were a sight to see to those native to Australia. I didn’t think I would stand out as an American so easily like everyone had warned us about, but boy was I wrong! After finally getting through Customs, we were able to hail a taxi to take us to our apartment. I was lucky enough to snag shotgun…and marched my way to the driver’s side of the car. How ignorant of me to forget they don’t drive on the same side of the car/road as we do. My friends enjoyed a nice laugh at that one. When we did arrived at the apartment, after the fifteen hour flight from LAX to Sydney (let me emphasize the 15 hours) we were scurried on a walking tour of the surrounding area with our CAPA advisors right away. Although I was tired and smelly from all of the traveling, it was nice to get a taste of where we would be spending the next two months. After that we were on our own for the weekend to explore and do whatever we wanted.
It’s hard to think we arrived in Sydney less than 48 hours ago and already so much has happened. I’ve tried to take full advantage of the free time this weekend allowed because I know once work begins it will be hard to come by. Because we are given a pass that allows us on any form of public transportation, we have been traveling mostly by bus. It may take a little while longer to get a hang of the different lines and general direction of things, but I think I’m starting to get a grasp on it. This weekend alone we hit the beach, explored downtown Sydney, and shopped around the nearby towns. It’s very exciting to roam around with no destination, it allows us the freedom to get lost and stumble into new places. Today, we found a beautiful church with very high ceilings, St. Peters Catholic Church, about a twenty minute walk from the apartment. I can’t wait go to mass next Sunday and compare the service from home. In the short time we have been here, I have already been able to experience and immerse myself in this new culture. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity, it seems to be truly one of a kind. I can’t wait to see what is in store.