90 Degrees and November

In The Art of Travel Fall 2015, Sydney, Transformed by Christina Buru2 Comments

I am sorry for the somewhat depressing “transformation” description that is about to ensue. I wracked my brain for pivotal moments during my time here, and don’t get me wrong, there have been a lot. Culturally, Australia is different than I expected. All I heard before I came here (courtesy  of my friends) was the endless list of creatures with the ability to kill a human several times over. But guess what, I have news for you guys, the majority of the Australian population lives in cities. Cities that are way cleaner than New York. But no that’s not what my post is about. The thing I learned over the past few months (but this week in particular) is that I get home sick. What??? Crazy right??

This seems like an understandable and common thing, but the reason I was surprised was the fact that it was coming from me. From the beginning there were people in the program who “wanted to go home” after not having been away that long, but I was excited and constantly occupied. During regular semester in New York I don’t see my family (because they live in Texas), we skype though. Here we Skype too, but the difference is I go home for Thanksgiving. That doesn’t make sense to do that this year. I don’t get home sick in New York. And I wasn’t home sick here, until it was Thursday and Thanksgiving. I missed it being fall, but I never complain about warm weather, the absence of this holiday was weirdly affecting though.

I woke up Thursday morning and got ready for my internship. As I walked through the 90 degree heat (at only 7 am) it really hit me that its NOVEMBER. ITS NOVEMBER AND ITS 90 degrees. Furthermore, as far as the country is concerned this is just another Thursday. Everyone is pretty aware that thanksgiving is not a thing at all anywhere else in the world (DUH), but it was weird to me that they weren’t even aware of what day it was ( When I went into work one co-worker commented that I looked particularly sad to be there that day, to which I explained why, she was immediately sympathetic, but explaining the significance of the day, which to me is mostly just being with my family, was strange). I think I had just been moving so far forward, constantly occupying myself (looking forward to my next trip), that it didn’t really sink in until that morning, it just felt unnatural, the heat with the month.

People in the program are getting together and making food and essentially we are having our own Thanksgiving. So I guess a less “gloomy” lesson to pull out of this besides homesickness can hit you at the most unexpected times (in my case it was simply unexpected that it happened at all, I mean there’s less than a month left, I made it this far without any twinge of sadness). When you are traveling it is nice to embrace the culture and their traditions (ex. Melbourne cup day that I wrote about in an earlier post), but it is also nice to have a community of people, who like you, are away from their family, traditions, whatever you want to call it, during a time everyone is used to being with them.

Travelling is nice, but so is going home. I’ll be home for Christmas, with plenty of stories to tell from Australia (a lot of them unexpected yet all the more entertaining), but for now I continue to settle back into the unique experience of a Christmas tree lighting while its 90 degrees outside since Thanksgiving has come and gone and I am now able to look forward to my trip to the Great Barrier Reef next week!


  1. Wow, I am shocked to hear how warm it is in Australia — I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised as it is the Southern Hemisphere. I think it’s perfectly normal to feel homesick, especially at a time when it’s customary to be with your family (Thanksgiving). This was my first Thanksgiving away from home too. At least the NYU community was able to put together a makeshift dinner — they did that for us too, here in Paris. It’s also easy to forget to stop and breathe sometimes with the constant movement that comes with studying abroad. We’re always on the go but we forget to reflect on our experiences. Naturally, it’s a lot easier for family back home to really feel the strain of missing a child because their lives otherwise proceed as they normally would. Your unique holiday experience was a pleasure to read!

  2. Since I’ve always wanted to visit Australia, maybe I’ll be less terrified to go now that you’ve dispelled my misconceptions of the deadly Australian wildlife around every corner! Although since I hate the heat I probably wouldn’t go during this season. I can relate your homesickness, especially during the holiday season. In particular I miss roaming the wintry Manhattan streets beneath Christmas lights. Any celebrators of the holiday season are few and far between here in China. Since I won’t return home until late-January I’ll miss the entire holiday season! Yet for now like you I should continue to immerse myself in my experience abroad.

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