I’ve always been told not to measure my wealth in what a man says. And everyone knows that money isn’t everything. But what about your value as decided by your friends? Oftentimes, they do more to define us as people than anyone else. Family will always be there for you, but your friends are the family you choose.
My friends have brought so many wonderful things into my life. Whenever there’s a concert in town, I have at least one person who would love to see them. Kay will come to the country shows, Will for anything hipster, Hillary for the Hip Hop, or Lucy for Quiet Corral (RIP). When I don’t know what to wear, Lauren will style me- and then later I can wear the same thing around different people and pretend it was my idea. When I don’t know what to say, or what to do, there’s always someone there.
But what happens when one of them falls out of the picture? Well when you’re at home, you turn to the others. You meet new people, and you get over it. It stings, but it doesn’t burn.
When you’re somewhere else, far from home, what’s the etiquette for that? Because when you start over, you have one BFF for everything. Music, Makeup, Boys, Food, they do it all. You find yourself befriending hybrids of all of your home friends. Someone who loves dogs like Danyelle, but also knows basketball like Ashley. Someone else who sings like Jackie & designs like Brenna. So when one goes missing, it feels like your heart has fallen out of your chest and into your stomach. Not one ventricle, a fully sized aortic pump is missing. And there’s no transfer in sight.
The loss of a friend will hurt no matter what the circumstance. Whether it is due to geography, physical health, betrayal, social climbing, or replacement. But to me, it hurts the most when you have nothing, and no one else there to help you put the pieces back together. I’ve had to learn to put them back together myself, which is something that I didn’t think- and sometimes I still think- I had the strength to do.
But at the end of the day, even if I can’t hug my friends with the force of T-Rob right now, I can love them as much as Jamari Traylor loves White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups & I can hope that will always be enough for them. Because it’s enough for me.
6 months, halfway there. It seems like its gone by in two seconds flat. Two of the most jam-packed, emotionally exhausting, sun kissed, insane seconds of my life.
While here, I’ve met friends I’ll never forget, men I’d like to, and beaches that remind me over and over again that I’m not in Kansas anymore.
It’s been a challenge from the start. Three fighting kids in the backseat of a car where I’m not only on the wrong side of the road, but the wrong side of the car. Cooking foods I’d never even heard of before on a militant schedule, to people I hardly knew. It took becoming stronger than I ever thought I’d need to be, but it was worth it.
But the other side is a dream! Sun, sand, surf, sushi: they have it all in Sydney*. I learned how not to raise my kids; the utter importance of hearing “I love you,” “I’m proud of you,” and “I’m sorry.” Learning so much about myself was not what I came here to do, it’s merely been an added bonus.
Maybe the biggest surprise came from back home. I was shocked how some people fell right out of my life, no matter how hard I tried to hold them into it. It was their time to leave, and that’s ok! I just had it penciled in my calendar for a couple more years down the road. I was even more surprised by how many people have been here with me every day. From postcards, to texts, Skype, and FaceTime- it’s really blown my mind, and made me feel loved and warm like I never had before. I’ve discovered that transplanting hemispheres is kind of like watching your funeral; You find out who really loves you. You hear from those who had regrets about how they treated you. And you can easily visualize what your life would be like if you were still at home, it’s completely linear direction that follows everyone else’s around you.
I’m finally in a place here where everything feels right. Adjustment period over, routine in place, desserts plentiful, ESPN- accessible.
I’m halfway, 6 months in and still going strong. This postgrad life down under isn’t even close to slowing down. In fact, I think I’m just now hitting my stride.
So for all of you asking; No, I don’t know when I’ll be home. It won’t be before July, but the rest is up in the air. I’ll be cheering on my boys in blue and missing every single one of you this March, and pinning Kansas close to my heart as always.
Loyally Crimson & Blue,
*except Taco Bell & BBQ dammit
Whilst over here in Oz, I have been using a prepaid phone in order to text and call local numbers without astronomical prices. “But Katie!” you may ask, “Why don’t you just put your Australian SIM card in your iPhone?” Excellent question, people who know everything about the cellphone policies of this hemisphere, but unfortunately for me Sprint has decided that my phone should be locked for only their SIM card usage despite many different forms of arguments from me. If you’re looking to help my cause, please direct all complaints their way, or simply mail me an unlocked iphone.
And because I recently switched numbers (new family, new phone), I’ve been getting quite a few wrong number phone calls/texts. These messages and phone calls were obviously meant for the person (or people) who used my number before I acquired it, however when they switched numbers, they apparently declined to tell about half the people in their contacts list about it. So based on the texts and phone calls I’ve been receiving over the last month, I’ve been using my very advanced detective skills to shape a profile of the person who formerly operated under 434 082 578 (by the way that doesn’t spell anything cool, I’ve always wanted to be able to say “My number is 0434-kate”)
Looks like he is getting the some payback [insert multiple chinese symbols] http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/dream-homes-turn-into-nightmares-for-canberra-buyers-20140212-32io5.html
From this message I gathered that
- My number formerly belonged to someone of Asian descent
- They appear to want revenge on their architect
Interesting, perhaps they can put me in contact with some kind of Australian hit man?
Phone Call #1:
Hello, is Mon there?
From this I can deduce that my former phone owner gets phone calls at weird times. Not unlike myself, but still- new information.
Hello, hope your day is well going. This is Ly. I was wondering if you and the beautiful baby are free for photos tomorrow? Tell me time we can get together!
Now I know that my ghost of numbers past not only has a child, but also that it is very cute and photogenic. Originally I was confused and thought that Ly actually wanted pictures of the little girl I watch, which seemed weird but believable. Then after I forwarded it to my host-mom and dad with confused results, I confirmed yet another misdirected text.
Message #3 (Recieved on Feb 14):
Happy a Valentine to u!
Yikes, this guy obviously has the hots for her, and she didn’t even have the courtesy to tell him she was changing numbers? Is this the father of her beautiful baby?! Or the architect, scorned but trying to work his way back in to keep her from suing him for her ruined house?
Your Mobile# has won £1,000,000 GBP in APPLE/FREELOTTO .Ref No:AFL 401. To Claim send your Name,Email & Mobile to firstname.lastname@example.org
Wow, obviously the karmic gods have repayed my friend for her shitty nightmare house by allowing her to win a lottery! That she apparently was notified of via text! How official.
Hi Nora, My I order a flower for tomorrow.
A Mother, a vindictive revenge artist, a lottery winner, a florist- this woman has everything! Too bad I don’t know her new number so we can hang out… I’ll update as the situation intensifies. By the end of my time here I should know everything about her, and I may have even learned some Chinese in the process!
Fireworks, Palm Trees, & lots of Champagne; My New Year’s Eve was full of things both old and new in Sydney. Karlisle, Sarah and I celebrated the end of 2013 at Cargo Bar on Darling Harbor. It was amazing to see the fireworks (which started as early on as 8pm and kept going long past midnight), especially the ones coming off the Harbor Bridge. We all carefully selected gold and sequin-infused dresses, and danced the night away. Here’s to a cheery and brilliant 2014!
#9: Snowvertime- A few years ago we had “Snowpocolypse.” In 2013 we had “Snowvertime” when KU announced there was no school the next day during the middle of a basketball game that we would eventually go to DOUBLE OVERTIME in and win. This happened not once, but twice this year. The first game was away against OSU, the second was away against Iowa State. I remember watching the first game at 23rd St with some Lauren, Cody, & Chris. We got the text/email and screamed! That game was one of the most exciting games I’ve ever watched. Probably the most exciting away game ever. The second snowvertime game I watched on a big screen at the Brickhouse, and we all had pretty much the same reaction- MORE WINE! It was because of snowvertime that I didn’t drive my car for a full month, and instead we walked through the snow to sandbar to celebrate (Hence my parka of a vest).
#8: I’m Feeling 22- My 22nd birthday was full of so many people and places that I love, split between the Sandbar and Red Lyon after a delicious dinner at Yokohama. It doesn’t get any better than this. I really wish there was a place in Sydney that served popcorn at the bar.
#7: Randwick Races- Although Sydney doesn’t have popcorn and Tabasco sauce, it does have the races. My first trip will most likely always be my favorite as it is impossible to top. I met some lifetime friends that day, temporarily fell in love with an Aussie Man, and had my first true day out in Sydney since I’d gotten there four weeks before.
#6: Mom’s Wedding- This July, my Mom & Mark finally tied the knot at the Danforth Chapel on KU’s campus. Their full on Kansas wedding with royal blue and sunflowers was a perfect celebration for all five of us. A day full of love, family, and I was a fan of the open bar as well.
#5: Last KU Basketball game in AFH- Although this was one of the sadder moments of the year, it was the end of an era and deserves to be pretty high on my list of memorable moments. It was the last time I got to sit in the student section as one, the last time I had to wrangle people for camping responsibilities, and the last time I rolled that newspaper cone to make confetti with.
#4: Walking Down the Hill- The best part of graduation was walking down that hill arm in arm with my sisters. Afterwords we got to climb on that roof one last time and start our own tradition
#5: 22 Tennessee Trip- Kay Anne & I drove straight through to Tennessee this weekend for one last hoorah before the summer was over! We went to Knoxville first and spent 24 hours with Danyelle, then stayed in Nashville and had the time of our lives. One of my favorite cities, and two of my favorite people make for one amazing weekend.
#2: Cairns Weekend With my best Mates- Sarah, Karlisle, & I took a long weekend- our first vaca ever- to go to Cairns. We arrived without a plan, but ended up having the best time Snorkeling, Drinking, and heading to the Pool (or as they call it, the Lagoon).
#1: Black Diamond with my Best Friends- I know, it may seem surprising considering all the other huge things that happened this year (like moving continents). But April 20 was such an amazing day filled with all my favorite things: ADPi, Parties, Sparkly Dresses, Boys, & Sandbar.
This Christmas was so different that anything I could have imagined. Although I was hoping for an extremely tropical day, we got a very comfortable- although slightly rainy- day full of fun, friends, and family. I spent it with Karlisle’s host family: the Dunlops. Jen (Her host mom) is the oldest of six siblings, so they had the whole huge family over. The kids were running wild: jumping in the pool, playing karaoke, and having LOTS of fun with the bubble machine.
I’ve spent a lot of time with this family over the past three months, so it was really great to be able to enjoy the holidays with them as well. They included Karlisle, Sarah, and I in their Xmas gift exchange so we each bought a gift for someone in the family and we each received one from someone else in return (purses from Mimco, they know us well). We had a delicious antipasto plate as an appetizer- or as they call it, an Entree- along with lots of champagne. This family knows how to get down. Then came dinner, complete with Turkey, Ham, roasted potatoes, and a vegetable meadley. It tasted slightly like home, but with a slightly healthier Aussie edge. That edge was completely removed by Karlisle when she did the most Canadian thing I’ve ever seen and put maple syrup on her Turkey. Buddy the Elf status. At each of our place settings there was also a little popper that we pulled and it exploded into a little toy reminiscent of one that would appear in a Sandbar drink: rubber duckies, key chains, and little paper crowns. For dessert we had christmas pudding (kind of like fruitcase that’s been doused in Brandy and lit on fire), Pavlova (basically whipped sugar, taskes like an airy marshmallow) with strawberries, and custard. A big difference in the meal here is that they incorperate much more cold food because of the typically higher temperatures.
After Dinner, we went out on the deck and had our own little karaoke session (Adults only-I’m considered an adult LOLZ). Serving spoons were passed around to be used as microphones and we all enjoyed the tunes of Billy Joel, Elton John, Michael Jackson, and many more late into the night. It was a christmas full of traditions both old and new, some of which I’ll be bringing home with me. Some of which I’ll keep locked away in my special box of Sydney things. I hope that everyone at home enjoyed the usual comforts of snowy days in and fireplaces (a rare sight here), I was missing some of it!
Yep, this is pretty accurate. I love the beach weather, but Christmas just doesn’t feel like it’s really here without these things.
Christmas is just around the corner! All those wonderful traditions and activities people around the world gather together to enjoy are happening or about to happen!
Except in Australia, where Christmas looks like this.
Not that anyone here is going to complain about the awesome beaches and generally great weather. I’ve got experience with cities where it snows every day for weeks. But you’ve got to understand that the average temperature on Christmas day down under is around the mid 40C mark (about 113F) and that rules out a number of activities, such as stepping outside of any air conditioned room. Last year things got so hot that we had to assign a new colour for the temperature maps.
So whilst you’re having a ‘traditional’ Christmas, make sure you enjoy some of these things for us…
Hanging Stockings on the Mantle
You’d think that this would be a…
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I had some seriously kick-ass Thai food this week! Hope everyone’s having a great Holiday Season at home. Here they call it “The Silly Season,” for reasons that are beyond me. Christmas is just around the corner and after it’s over I’ll be sure to update with lots of pictures and stories. For now I have KU Basketball to cheer on, beaches to escape to, and packing to do!