Welcome to Perth

So, it’s real now.

All the preparing, researching, waiting and wondering is finished, and here I am, a 22-year-old American kid living 10,000 miles from home in a city that most only know as the title of a Bon Iver song.

Am I scared? Absolutely.

Am I excited? Duh!

Do I have any clue what I’m getting myself into? Not at all. But that’s what makes it great, I guess.

I’ve been in the country for a week now, but I was fortunate to have spent the first four days in Sydney to “ease into” my Australian adventure. I was even more fortunate to have spent that time with my lovely mother, who, just four days before my flight took off, decided to buy a plane ticket of her own and join in on the fun. In short time, Mom and I conquered our collection of Sydney tourism pamphlets. We saw kangaroos, explored beaches and, naturally, snapped an obsessive number of photos of the Sydney Opera House.

Somewhere around 8 p.m. each night, we’d succumb to the jetlag (or perhaps the red wine) and pass out embarrassingly early. Our tourist time was great, though, and I’m thankful that I was able to share it with my ever-so-spontaneous mother. She’s joked a few times about how she’s going to find herself an apartment in Perth, and somehow I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she actually acted on that.

On Thursday, we parted ways at the Sydney Airport. I hopped on a five-hour flight west to Perth as she camped out for her 15-hour flight back to the States.

That’s when it all started to sink in: I’m moving to Western Australia. I’m going to live there for the majority of the next year. I don’t actually know anybody there, or who my roommates will be, or if my boss will actually be there to pick me up from the airport, or (my greatest fear) if my home will have Wi-Fi.

Needless to say, I was filled with the full range of emotions when the pilot graciously welcomed us to Perth. And as I stepped off the plane, I thought back to the night I finished the Skype interview with my new boss – the same night I called my parents and informed my friends that I was  “moving to Australia.”

It’s real now.

My first few days in Perth have been all about settling. And the settling phase is always the toughest part. New bed. New time zone. New relationships. New job. New car. New phone. New roommates.

iMessage has cured enough of the homesickness, though, and a Skype chat with one of my best friends over the weekend reminded me that I’m never too far from the people I care about. The settling is tough, but once I figure this place out, I know that I’m bound to love it.

Perth itself is beautiful. Large, green parks outline the city and overlook the Swan River. Stretches of white-sand beaches are only 10 minutes from downtown, packed with surfers even in the dead of our (65-degree) winter. It’s tough to get bored when the ocean is accessible on any given day throughout the year.

I’ve worked three full days already at my new office, and though it’s early, I really think I’m going to enjoy my job. On day one, I met with a group of six students from a nearby university who will serve as our video production team for the season. Awesome group of people! I’ll be leading weekly production meetings and guiding the video efforts, which is a little strange for me considering that half the group is a year or two older than I am. When in doubt, though, I’ll just remind them that I graduated from the J-School at the University of Missouri. Surely they’ve heard…

Outside of the video work, I’ll oversee anything that falls within the Media and Marketing categories, which is, well, just about everything. Some days I’ll focus on our digital marketing efforts, and other days I’ll be working with the local press, ensuring that our baseball team is getting its proper share of media coverage. I’ll be busy and I’ll be challenged, but I can already tell that I’m going to enjoy the work and learn “heaps”, as the Aussies would say.

So, yeah, I’m excited. And I’m scared. And I still have no idea what I’m getting myself into. I’ll learn soon enough, I suppose, but for now, I’m fixed on the little things, like relearning how to text with T9, remembering to stay on the left side of the white lines, and finding out if the toilet actually flushes in the opposite direction. (It does.)

Surely, I’ll be able to look back on this someday and acknowledge it all as a year of incredible growth, discovery and adventure. That seems inevitable. But for the time being, the idea of any grandiose reflection is replaced with the immediacy of the life in front of me. I’ll love it, sure, but I have to live it first.

It’s real now. These are the minutes and hours that I’ve been waiting for, and I know that I won’t let myself let them go to waste.

Keep in touch, friends, and thanks for thinking of me from back home.

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