Days Abroad: 8
Today marks one week of being in Austin!
I woke up this morning with a good case of the snuffles, so the glitz and glam of being overseas has somewhat lessened. My roommate is yet to move in so I am stuck in a rut of feeling very sorry for my sick self, but in all honesty I still love being here!
Having Mother Bear here was such a treat, I did not realise the extent of how close our family was until I realised that I was the only international student (both exchange and degree seeking) that had a parent with me in Austin. I was tempted to see it as being too dependent on my family, but then I realised that I it is actually such a privilege that Mother Bear was not only able to afford coming with me, but that she wanted to. So thank you Mamma, for making the transition so much easier for me and for exploring the world with me!
Since I last wrote I have been getting lost daily, learning how to use the bus system, registering for classes and attending Exchange and International Student events. The camaraderie between all the exchange students is so amazing! Even if we have a language barrier, we are all experiencing the same things and wanting to see and try absolutely everything which gives us an immediate bond. One thing that I have learnt is that I am definitely going to have to brush up on my Spanish; I keep finding myself around Spanish speakers and in true me-fashion end up being the only Kiwi/South African wherever I go. I find it so beautiful to watch other people speak in their native tongue, because their whole body language changes and I know the comfortable feeling that you get in your heart when you are able to converse in your native tongue. To my surprise I have not met another Kiwi yet, for a small nation that normally sprouts up everywhere I thought I would have found one by now!
We got a chance to explore the wider Austin a bit and I absolutely fizzed at how stereotypical some of the neighbourhoods were – it was so beautiful! I definitely already miss the vivid greens and blossoms of the Garden City, but have likened Austin’s bleak winter to that of the Transvaal so I feel a little more at home. I still have not come to terms with how much bigger everything is here. Even my attempts to prepare myself for a world in a far larger scale did not quite prepare me for the size of everything in Texas! Have I already written about that? I dunno, if I have it should tell you how much of a surprise it was.
I have met so many amazing people already this week that I am ecstatic at the thought of spending the year here! I have already found a few organisations around campus that I would be interested in joining and found a potential church home for the year. I have not however, found a replacement for my beloved netball yet, so I still have one box that needs ticking! Oh, I also need to learn how to speak American English: papers are courses, fullstops are periods, university is college, netball is non-existent, Kiwi is a fruit not a people group and my name will be pronounced in a myriad of ways while I have to clarify with everyone over email that I am in-fact a girl.
I already feel as though this year is going to open my eyes to more of who I am, who I would like to be and how to be the best representation of that as a global citizen. Here I am not the smart one, the umpire, the netball player, the one who works at the gym, the one who was in my dance/gym class, the one from high school. There is no reference point here, I am simply just the girl from New Zealand who you eventually find out is not even really from New Zealand. There is so much freedom in that! Moving cities within a country, there were still reference points that people could draw from your past, but here there is nothing. It is also daunting though, being given the freedom to determine precisely who you are going to be judged as being in this new season.
Well, hello Austin. This is me. Happy one week anniversary. Let’s have some more fun.