It has been one year and one day since we arrived in Melbourne, Australia. And what a year it has been. We learned, we traveled, we discovered, and we grew as individuals and as a couple. We enjoyed Australian ways while also missing aspects of our beloved home in the States. We made ourselves a little home here and adjusted to a new way of life for the past year. Now our bags are all packed (some even shipped!), our apartment and furniture has been sold, and we are ready to close this chapter of our lives, a chapter full of lessons in love, life, and the world. Jaime worked really hard this year and learned so much and took wonderful care of so many patients being children and adults alike. His year came to a close with a solid certificate of accomplishment and some really cute little thank you notes adorned with stickers and drawings from his little patients. I have spent my time reflecting (ok maybe a little too much reflecting), but reflecting on my appreciation of all life has to offer and how I can continue to contribute to the world.
We made friends who took care of us in the beginning and showed us the way and friends who then carried us throughout the year in their own ways. We met people from all over the world and learned so much about all the differences and similarities that ties us all together as humans. We traveled all over a continent and beyond and experienced so much beauty and culture. Sitting on the plane as it pulled from the gate, we remembered our initial arrival in Melbourne, Australia just one year ago, wondering and waiting for what this adventure would bring. I remember it like it was yesterday. And now, it is all a memory, a meaningful and beautiful memory of a year full of every possible emotion, challenge, and adventure a young couple could want. And we were even lucky enough to be able to share our world and new experiences with friends and family.
As this chapter comes to a close, (in the writing style of one of my favorite writers), we will think about our last few days living in Australia. We will eat at all of our favorite spots. We will joke with the local post office workers that this box, the 6th, or maybe 10th box, was seriously the last box to be shipped. We will thank our mentors and friends over beers and celebratory gifts. And friends will drop by just to give us a hug and a warm "see you later." I will drop off the last bag of donations at our dry cleaners and she will give me a many well-wishes and a hug. Jaime's Italian barber, the one who shouts to him from the street.."Doctor! Doctor! Come on in here!" will give us each a free haircut and a hearty hug. We will then have our final Australian-made iced coffees (with the ice cream) and flat whites. On our last night we will have dinner with two close friends at our favorite neighborhood Italian restaurant with Al, our jovial server, who will share new pictures of his grandson and give us a beautiful bottle of wine. After our friends and most of the customers leave, we will stay for awhile with Al and talk about how fast the year has gone by and how much we will miss him. Al will walk us to the door and after a huge hug, he will shoo us out as he wipes away a tear from his eye.
As the plane departs, Jaime and I will look at each other and smile. A warm smile, a proud smile, a smile that says, we did it. And then we will fly away...to the next adventure.