It’s now been just over a year since I relocated to Australia from America. And like every big experience in life, I’ve learned a few lessons along the way I wish someone had shared with me.
1) Sometimes, the simplest things will REALLY get to you.
After being here a year, I still manage to forget that life here doesn’t run the same way it does back in the States. When having to pick up a prescription refill, I discovered they don’t store my information at the pharmacy (called the chemist here), and I had to bring in the paper prescription every time I refilled. No one had told me this the first time, and I was fairly certain I’d thrown it away with the bag three months ago.
To add to this, getting the prescription refilled required getting a doctor’s visit, which takes about three weeks where I live due to a shortage of doctors.
Luckily, it turned out I kept the information since they’d switched me to a medication, but it was a forcible reminder of how one cannot assume with any interaction.
2) Homesickness doesn’t go away, but you adjust.
There are some days where I feel like jumping on the first plane home. Not because of any particular difficulty, but because my family and friends in the states are amazing, and I miss them terribly.
The funny thing is, if I were to leave here, there are plenty of friends and family I’d miss here, too. And planning something with them keeps the homesickness away.
3) You aren’t who you were a year ago.
Every experience you’ve had, good and bad, will be with you forever. You’ll learn life lessons, some of them going deeper and cutting harder because of the unfamiliar surroundings.
Then one day, you’ll be going through town and nothing will seem odd. The buildings are the same old, the scents familiar, the people ones you’ve seen elsewhere.
And then, it hits. This place has become home. A place filled with problems and benefits, annoyances and joys. Maybe it wasn’t what you expected, but it’s okay.
So, was the year wasted? Not in my case. How about yours?
Marisol Dunham has been a freelance writer since 2007, and now lives with her once long-distance boyfriend in Australia. An American wandering the bush, she writes about her life and writing ventures on her blog at http://www.madunham.com/. You can find her on Twitter at @maridunham.