I received my new passport yesterday and it made me think about the last time I got a passport…and the time before that.  10 years ago in February, Dan and I flew to Australia to see one of my friends get married.  It had been 10 years since I had seen my friends and host family from when I lived in Australia as a foreign exchange student.

It is sort of funny to think about. When I was 15 years old, I took off by myself on a train from Dallas to Los Angeles.  I met a boy who was with his mom and sister on the train and we hung out the whole train ride.  When we got to the LA train station, I was like well it was nice meeting you.  Have a nice life and I walked away.  I could tell his mom didn’t think I should have been all by myself and was worried about me getting to the hotel where I was meeting my chaperone.

I wasn’t worried.  I was an expert at traveling.  Haha! Now, I really wonder what my parents were thinking.  This was before cell phones and Uber.

I got to the hotel where there were about 5 other foreign exchange students heading to Australia.  We decided to go explore LA and ended up getting piercings.  I got my belly button pierced.  When we got back to the hotel, the chaperone was horrified.  Luckily she couldn’t see my piercing and didn’t call my parents and tell them about it. The rest of the kids were in T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

As a side note, don’t get your belly button pierced right before you are going to be on a 14 hour flight.  It is much better if you can have your stomach flat for the next day or so.  LOL

When I landed in Melbourne, my host family picked me up from the airport and drove the hour to their home.  It was all so new.  As I looked out the car window, everything looked different and magical.  I couldn’t understand a lot of the words they were saying because of their accent.  I was exhausted from not sleeping well on the plane and jet lagged. I remember wanting to see and know everything but being too tired to even think straight.

That trip changed my life.  It opened my eyes to another world.  One were things I thought were truths, weren’t.  Where I saw how a different family lived together in a much different way than my family.  Where no one had any preconceived notions about me. Where people thought about things in a much different way than I did.

20 years later, I am getting ready to take off on another adventure. But this time it is different.  Before, I hated my life.  I hated my family.  I really only had one friend, Danica, in school.  I wanted to get away from my life so badly.

Now, I love my life.  I love my family so much that it is hard to even remember why I didn’t like them when I was younger.  I have tons of friends who I am going to miss desperately when I leave.  Although I am excited to see the rest of the world and get to experience that aww and wonder again, I am a sad to say goodbye.


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